Tag Archives: orange

Poppy Seed Hamantaschen

22 Feb hamantaschenFeature

Purim is one of my favorite holidays, and not just because you are supposed to party.  It also gives me an excuse to bake (and eat) some delicious cookies.

Hamantaschen are a traditional part of Purim – and poppy seed is the best (and perhaps most traditional) flavor. There are a variety of theories about the origin and symbolism of these cookies, but my favorite is that they are shaped like the triangular hat worn by the villain in the book of Esther.

Whatever their origin, they are delicious.  I’ve made countless batches over the years, but this recipe is my crowning achievement – I finally nailed the perfect cake consistency with a light citrus flavor.  Though I rarely bake with Crisco, it turns out to be critical.  The filling is incredible as well – the almond flour brings out the nutty flavor of the poppy seeds and helps thicken the consistency.

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Homemade Cocktail Bitters

10 Jan IMG_0878

I have a secret: I want to be a bartender.  (I even took a week long bar tending class but left after day 1 – long story but I don’t think it would translate well to text. ) Only I don’t like to stay up too late, am often called shy, and sometimes like to mix in my pjs. So for now, my home bar will have to do.

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I must say, I can’t complain.  Hubby and I have collected a number of different things that fill out our bar nicely.  And mixology is a lot like cooking – you can experiment with quantities and mixtures quite a bit to find tastes that suit you.

Two things that help with this are special liqueurs and cocktail bitters.  Both of these can turn an ordinary rye or vodka drink into something far more complex. And since you can make bitters at home, I did.

Bitters are relatively simple to make, but they involve some funky ingredients (bitter spices) and time.  Not hands on time, but storing jars in your closet and shaking occasionally time. They are worth it though. Your cocktails will thank you and so will your friends – bottled up they make excellent gifts.

Bitters

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Vanilla and Orange Chia Seed Pudding

24 Feb Closeup

This is going to be a long one. If you aren’t interested in my craziness, skip to the bottom – this pudding is “the bomb.” Prep time is less than 5 minutes, though you do have to wait at least four hours to enjoy.

Besides liking things to be delicious, I make a concerted effort to also make them nutritious.  I’d like to say that it’s because I’m a health conscious vegetarian, which is partly true.  The real reason I try and make food nutritious is that I am totally neurotic.  There are billions of chemicals out there that are being put into food and body products and they all can cause cancer.

Ok. I know I’m being a little dramatic, but isn’t it just a little terrifying?

My dear friend, Steve, who is a financial blogger, has a similar relationship to the things he puts on and in his body.  If you have ever had the opportunity to read his blog, then you may have discovered his ability to use words.  Let’s just say we’ve had many wordy conversations surrounding such topics as Omega-3s, sunscreen, kale, shampoo, etc.

Today’s post centers around the important topic of Omega-3 fatty acids (ok, took me long enough).  According to our long conversations, which I am sure are COMPLETELY backed up by facts, humans should have a ratio of at least 4:1 Omega 3 to Omega 6, a ratio which is more than reversed in the standard american diet (some sources say up to 1:30).  Having the proper ratio can help prevent all kinds of scary diseases (heart problems!) and other annoying issues (dandruff).

Omega 3s are commonly found in fish, but there are two easy vegetarian sources – flax seeds and chia seeds.  Thanks to Steve, I became a big believer in adding flax where ever possible.  Then my big sis, Jeanne, introduced me to chia seeds (you can read all about their virtues on her her blog, Brûléed). It didn’t take long for these to become a regular part of my day – they are even easier to use than flax!

I borrowed this picture from my sister at Bruleed - you must check out her post on chia seeds

Ok, enough already.  This chia-seed pudding is absolutely delicious.  The subtle orange and vanilla flavors meld perfectly and are refreshing and light.  This could easily be enjoyed as dessert or snack, but I ate it all this week with breakfast.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup almond milk

1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar

1/4 cup chia seeds

orange zest

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

In a quart sized jar, mix the almond milk, agave, and vanilla.  Shake to combine.  Add the chia seeds and orange zest and shake again to combine.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and even better overnight, shaking occasionally.  Break up any chia seed clusters with a spoon and shake again.

Serve and enjoy!

About 4 servings – refrigerate up to 3 days.

Recipe inspired by the chia seed pudding recipe in the March issue of Food and Wine (page 30)