Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

In the past two weeks we have had many reasons to celebrate.  Our anniversary marking 36 years of marriage, and our son’s and daughter-in-law’s marking their first year of marriage.  There have also been weddings, engagements, and of course, birthdays.  In an embarrassment of riches the 4th of July almost slipped by unnoticed except that three recent experiences served as reminders of this 236th birthday.

We had the opportunity to tour a plantation in Nashville where we were reminded of one of the darkest periods of America’s past, and then just one week later we were filled with hope at the recent decision of the Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s Health Care Law.  Then, just a few days ago I read an article in a Temple Bulletin which included an excerpt of a letter that President Washington wrote to the Jews of Newport Rhode Island in 1790.   “May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while everyone shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid….May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.”

I hope you can enjoy the 4th under your own vine or fig tree, but if not, Strawberry-Rhubarb pie with a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream should do.  Happy 4th!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Pastry

1 1/2 sticks butter (or pareve margarine)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tb sugar

2-3 Tb ice water

Cut cold butter in cubes and place in bowl of food processor.  Add flour and sugar.  Start processor and add ice water through feeder tube, but only enough water till dough gathers into a ball.  Remove dough and wrap in Saran wrap.  Refrigeration for two hours or up to two days.  Try to handle dough as little as possible when rolling out.  This yields enough dough for two crusts.

Filling

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled, and sliced in half

4 stalks rhubarb, thinly sliced

1  3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

i tsp vanilla

2/3 cup flour

4 Tb butter

In  a large bowl, mix cut fruit with flour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place one pie crust on prepared dish.  Add fruit and dot with bits of butter.  Cover fruit with second crust.  Crimp the crusts together, make slits in the top, and brush with about 2 Tb milk or non-dairy creamer.  Sprinkle with sugar and place in oven to bake.  Place lined cookie sheet on the tray below the pie to catch any drippings.   Bake for  about 50 minutes or till golden.  Tip: If edges brown to quickly, cover with foil collar.

Enjoy,

Irene

Kopytka (Polish Noodles)

With Rosh Hashana just a few days away, this morning Norm and I began preparing in earnest.  We made 12 Challot between the two of us, some of which are being shipped to the kids on the East Coast.  Since I already had a cake to send to my daughter, I decided to bake Oatmeal Cookies and Ginger Crinkles for my son and daughter-in-law.

I hadn’t spent much time thinking about a menu for the holidays, although I knew dinner would include some standard dishes, like home-made Challot, chicken soup with Kreplach, fish, vegetables, chicken and some type of beef.  I needed inspiration for the main courses and last week it arrived in unexpected ways.  My Machatenista sent me a link with some recipes, one of which was chicken with dried fruit and honey and so, to my surprise, ( and I am sure to her surprise as well) Nancy ended up helping me with the menu.  Then I had lunch with two old friends, one of whom had just lost her Mom.  We sat and talked about our children, our mothers, the holidays, and food, and that’s when Anna G. shared her recipe for Goulash.  I decided that a stew would help balance some of the sweetness of the meal but I wasn’t quite sure what to serve with it.  Always trying to incorporate a dish that my mother would make, I decided to prepare a thick Polish noodle called Kopytka, which actually means “little hooves”.  It is the perfect size, shape and density for a thick hearty stew, a noodle that can “sop” up the sauce.   I have to warn you, this is not as quick or easy as it looks, but it did make me feel as if my Mom was in the kitchen with me, for hours and hours.

Shana Tovah to all of you. 

 

 

Kopytka

The more common version is made with boiled potatoes but this is the way my mother prepared these hearty noodles.

4 eggs

2 Tbs oil

1 Tbs salt

1 tsp pepper

2 cups water

6 cups flour and more as needed.

In a bowl mix eggs with oil and add salt and pepper.  Mix in water, and gradually add flour till dough is workable.  Dough needs to be firm enough to roll into ropes.  On a floured board, take a portion of the dough and roll into a 1″ thick rope.  Slice on the diagonal, about 1/2″ pieces.  Repeat till you have used all of the dough.  Toss some flour on the noodles so they don’t stick together.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (throw in some Telma or Osem for extra flavor), and throw in the Kopytka, about 10 at a time.  Once they float to the top, cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and allow to cool in one layer on baking sheet.  Serves 10 -12.

Enjoy,

Irene



 

Chocolate Cake


Rosh Hashana is approaching and as usual there is a feeling of anticipation and excitement about what the New Year will bring.  Pouring over tattered recipes, trying to decide between making a traditional meal or trying something new, choosing which Challah recipe to use and do we want a sweet chicken or savory.  Will I make my mother’s apple cake, not because it is the best, but because it was the apple cake that she made, and when I make it I am reminded of her.  Of course, there are the guests, because what would a Yontif celebration be without guests.  For me that is the best part, the pull of the holidays to bring the family and friends home.  Not sure who will be here, but hopefully some calls will trickle in, and I will be grateful to share my table.

This recipe was given to me by my friend Susan T.  who raved about the results.  She was right, the cake is light and chocolaty and not too sweet.  It is a perfect cake for a birthday celebration.

Happy Birthday Shira!

Susan’s Chocolate Cake

3 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups cold water

1 cup oil

1 tbs vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour three 9″  round pans or two round pans and one loaf pan.  Sift together first five ingredients.  In another bowl, mix water, oil and vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients and combine.  Add chocolate chips and divide batter into pans.

Bake about 25-30 minutes, till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Serves 8-10

Enjoy,

Irene