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Good morning, GUSBubbalas!!!!!  You really can't plan too early for Rosh Hashanah.  As a matter of fact, you are already sort of late if you are reading this diary and thinking:  "Oy vey!!  My feasts are going to be ongepotchket.  Everyone will point and scream:  'chozerei!!!!!'  I'll look like such a nebbish!!!!"  Don't be ver clempt because the Shiksa in the Kitchen is here to save your tokhis.  I know, I know -- I'm fluent in so many languages but here's the handy dandy translator courtesy of The Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara.  Happy, lovely website.

I'm typing on Friday because I'm really very responsible.  Off to the lake later when I finish my tedious work for the day.  I won't have access to the toobz until Monday night.  Have a great holiday weekend one and all.

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Remember -- if you want to be really daring -- my Tuesday diary had that Coffee and Rum Brisket Recipe.

These recipes from the lovely Shiksa in the Kitchen come to you via the history kitchen at PBS.  Click the links because the pictures are beautiful -- especially the challah.

Apple Honey Challah

DOUGH INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, divided
1 packet active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 egg
3 egg yolks
3/4 cup honey
2 tbsp canola oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp salt
5 to 7 cups flour
3 medium granny smith apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp turbinado sugar (optional)

EGG WASH INGREDIENTS

1 egg
1 tbsp cold water
1/2 tsp salt
Servings: 2 round challot (challahs)
Kosher Key: Pareve

Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast and 1 tsp of sugar to the bowl, whisk to dissolve. Wait 10 minutes. The yeast should have activated, meaning it will look expanded and foamy. If it doesn’t, your yeast may have expired, which means your bread won’t rise—go buy some fresh yeast!

Once your yeast has activated, add remaining 1 ¼ cup lukewarm water to the bowl along with the egg, egg yolks, honey, canola oil, vanilla and salt. Use a whisk to thoroughly blend the ingredients together.

Begin adding the flour to the bowl by half-cupfuls, stirring with a large spoon each time flour is added. When mixture becomes too thick to stir, use your hands to knead.

Continue to add flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth, elastic, and not sticky. The amount of flour you will need to achieve this texture varies—only add flour until the dough feels pliable and “right.” Turn the dough out onto a smooth surface and knead a few more times.

Place a saucepan full of water on the stove to boil.

Wash out the mixing bowl that you used to mix the challah dough. Grease the bowl with canola oil. Push the dough back into the bottom of the bowl, then flip it over so that both sides are slightly moistened by the oil.

Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Place the bowl of dough on the middle rack of your oven. Take the saucepan full of boiling water and place it below the rack where your dough sits. Close the oven, but do not turn it on. The pan of hot water will create a warm, moist environment for your dough to rise. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.

Take the dough bowl out and punch it down several times to remove air pockets. Place it back inside the oven and let it rise for 1 hour longer.

During this final rise, fill a mixing bowl with cold water and dissolve ½ tsp of salt in it. Peel the apples and dice them into very small pieces, about ¼ inch large. Place the diced apples into the bowl of lightly salted water. Reserve. When you are ready to begin braiding the dough, drain the apple pieces and pat them dry with paper towels. Toss the apple pieces with 1/4 cup of sugar. If you’d like, you can add ½ tsp of cinnamon to the sugar to give the apples an apple-cinnamon flavor.

Take the dough out of the oven; it should have doubled in size during this final rise. If it has not fully risen, return it to the oven till it's had a chance to properly rise. When the dough is ready, flour a smooth surface like a cutting board. Punch the dough down into the bowl a few times, then turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Knead the dough a bit, adding flour as needed to keep it from feeling sticky. You will have enough dough for two medium-sized challot (challahs).

Divide the dough into two equal halves. Put one half of the dough on a smooth, lightly floured surface. Leave the other half of the dough in the bowl covered by a moist towel. Cut the dough on the floured surface into four equal portions.

Take one of the four portions and stretch it with your fingers into a rough rectangle, about 1 foot long and 3-4 inches wide. Use a rolling pin to smooth the dough, if it helps. The rectangle doesn’t need to look perfect, and it shouldn't be too thin-- the dough needs to be thick enough to handle an apple filling.

Sprinkle some of the sugared apple pieces across the center of the rectangle. You should use about 1/8 of the apple pieces in each rectangle. Liquid will collect in the apple bowl as you progress—do not transfer the liquid to the dough, or it will weaken and become mushy. Do your best to shake off excess liquid before placing the apples on the dough. Leave at least 1/2 inch border along the outer edge of the dough clean, with no apples.

Gently roll the upper edge of the rectangle down to the lower edge and pinch to seal, creating a snake-like roll of dough stuffed with apples. This is the beginning of your strand.

Gently and carefully roll the stuffed strand till it becomes smooth, using gentle pressure with your hands on the center of the strand, pulling outward as you roll. If any apples begin to poke through the dough, repair the hole with your fingers before you continue. Re-flour the surface as needed to keep your dough from sticking.

Taper the ends of the strand by clasping between both palms and rolling. At the end of the rolling process, your strand should be about 16 to 18 inches long with tapered ends.

Once your apple strand has been rolled, repeat the process with the remaining 3 pieces of dough, making sure that they are even in length with the first strand. In the end, you’ll have 4 apple-stuffed strands.

Now your stuffed strands are ready to braid. There are a few different ways to braid 4 strands into a challah. This recipe will guide you through one method for braiding a round four strand challah. For other braiding methods, click here..

Place two strands in the center of a smooth surface, running parallel top to bottom. Place the third strand across the two strands, going under the left strand and over the right. Place the fourth strand directly below the third strand, going over the left strand and under the right. You will have something similar to a tic-tac-toe board pattern, with the center of the board being a very small square and 8 “legs” sticking out from that center. Keep the center as tight as possible… you’ll be braiding from the center. I have numbered the strand ends in the following diagram to make the braiding process easier.

REALLY -- NOW'S THE TIME TO CLICK ON THE CHALLA LINK BECAUSE THE DIAGRAM MAKES EVERYTHING SO EASY TO DO.

After the round has been braided, place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Let the braid rise 30 to 45 minutes longer. You’ll know the dough is ready to bake when you press your finger into the dough and the indentation stays, rather than bouncing back. While this challah rises, you can braid the other half of the dough in the same way, or you might choose a different braid for your second challah. No matter which way you braid, you can conceal the apple pieces inside the strands using the same method described above. Your second challah will rise as the first one bakes.

Prepare your egg wash by beating the egg, salt and water till smooth. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the mixture onto the visible surface of your challah. Reserve the leftover egg wash. Sprinkle the top of the challah with 1 tbsp turbinado sugar, if you wish.

Each challah needs to bake for about 45 minutes total, but to get the best result the baking should be done in stages. First, set your timer to 20 minutes and put your challah in the oven.

After 20 minutes, take the challah out of the oven and coat the grooves of the braid with another thin layer of egg wash. These areas tend to expand during baking, exposing dough that will turn white unless they are coated with egg wash. Turn the challah around, so the opposite side faces front, and put it back into the oven. Turning it will help your challah brown evenly—the back of the oven is usually hotter than the front.

The challah will need to bake for about 20 minutes longer. For this last part of the baking process, keep an eye on your challah—it may be browning faster than it's baking. Once the challah is browned to your liking, take it out and tent it with foil, then place it back in the oven. Remove the foil for the last 2 minutes of baking time.

Take the challah out of the oven. At this point your house should smell delicious. Test the bread for doneness by turning it over and tapping on the bottom of the loaf—if it makes a hollow sound, and it's golden brown all the way across, it’s done. Because of the apples in this challah, it may take a bit longer to bake than your regular challah recipe. Err on the side of letting it cook longer to make sure it's baked all the way through. You can also stick an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the challah-- when it reads 190, it is baked all the way through. Let challah cool completely on a wire cooling rack before serving. Bake the second challah in the same way.

Phew!!!  I know that looks like a lot of work -- but aren't your family and friends worth it???  Hmmmmmm??????
Kale and Cranberry Salad

INGREDIENTS

1/3 cup raw pine nuts or unsalted raw sunflower seeds
1 bunch (about 10 oz.) kale [if you can find baby kale, I'd recommend using it]
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 red bartlett pear diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste

Total Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Kosher Key: Pareve

Toast the pine nuts or seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, till golden brown. Watch them carefully, they can easily go from brown to burned if you're not careful. As soon as they're toasted, remove them from the hot skillet to keep them from browning further.

If your dried cranberries are super dry and not very soft, you can soak them in hot water for 5 minutes to plump and revive them. Drain the cranberries and pat dry before assembling the salad.

Cut the thick stalk ends off of the kale, then chop the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. You should end up with around 8-10 cups of kale leaves.

Place the kale leaves into a salad bowl and pour the olive oil over them. Massage the olive oil into the kale with clean fingers for 2-3 minutes till the kale is softened and slightly wilted. This will help remove bitterness from the kale.

Add the lemon juice, diced pear, cranberries, and toasted pine nuts to the bowl and sprinkle the salt evenly across the top. Toss the salad till well mixed.

Let the salad sit for at least 5 minutes at room temperature. Toss again, then serve. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed Tupperware dish for up to 2 days.

If it weren't for the kale, lemon juice, pears, cranberries pine nuts and knife, this would be a perfect recipe for Lonely Liberal in PA.
Pomegranate Glazed Salmon

INGREDIENTS

4 boneless salmon fillets, skin on
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cornstarch or potato starch
Black pepper
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses (click here for the recipe), room temperature
Nonstick cooking oil spray
Fresh pomegranate seeds and mint for garnish (optional)

YOU WILL ALSO NEED

Large nonstick oven safe skillet, or any nonstick skillet and a baking sheet

Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: 4
Kosher Key: Pareve

Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Rinse the fish fillets in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt, and corn or potato starch. Rub the flesh side of the fillets evenly with the brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle the fillets lightly with black pepper.

Spray nonstick skillet generously with cooking oil and heat on medium high till very hot. Place the fillets skin side up, flesh side down into the skillet and allow to sear for 1-2 minutes till a dark crust forms. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan-- this will make the fillets difficult to turn. If the pan seems too crowded, work in batches.

When a dark crust has formed (it should be crispy and even a little black in places), use a pair of tongs to gently turn the salmon and let the skin side sear for another minute.

Remove skillet from heat. At this point, you can transfer the fillets onto a lightly greased baking sheet. If your skillet is oven safe - no plastic handle, heat resistant - you can finish the fillets directly in the pan. Brush each fillet with 1 tbsp of pomegranate molasses.

Transfer fillets to the preheated oven and let them cook for 8-12 minutes longer, till internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F or until desired doneness. Serve fillets fresh from the oven garnished with fresh pomegranate seeds and fresh mint, if desired.

Note: If you are cooking a lot of salmon for several guests, sear your salmon fillets in batches in the skillet, then transfer them to a lightly greased baking sheet for finishing in the oven.

Dairy-free Saffron Scalloped Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

5 lbs potatoes - Russet or Yukon Gold
Generous pinch of saffron threads
2 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp non-hydrogenated butter substitute (or use butter for dairy)
2 1/2 tbsp flour
1 can (15 oz) coconut milk
1 cup almond milk (or use milk for dairy)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp finely minced garlic (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
Pinch of cayenne, or more to taste (adds heat)
Paprika for garnish (optional)

YOU WILL ALSO NEED

mortar and pestle, 9x13 baking dish

Servings: 12
Kosher Key: Pareve or Dairy

Gluten Free Modification: Substitute 1 tbsp potato starch for flour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Peel the potatoes, slice them thin, and cover with cold water till ready to use—this will keep them from turning brown.

Grind the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle to a powder.

Add 2 tbsp of hot water to the ground saffron and let it soak for 5 minutes.

Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Drain the sliced potatoes and place half of them in a thin layer on the bottom of the dish, with each slice overlapping the next just slightly.

In a small saucepan, melt 2 tbsp non-hydrogenated dairy free butter substitute over medium heat. Whisk in 2 ½ tbsp of flour to form a thick paste. Continue whisking for a minute or two until the mixture turns a sandy brown color.

Slowly whisk in the coconut milk, a quarter cupful at a time, followed by the almond or soy milk.

Whisk in the salt, garlic, cayenne, and saffron water. Heat the sauce over medium, whisking frequently, till it boils. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Pour half of the sauce over the layer of potatoes, using a ladle or large spoon to make sure the potatoes are evenly covered with sauce. Put the sauce back on the stovetop over low heat to keep warm.

Make another layer with the remaining potato slices.

Use a whisk to break up the top of the sauce. Pour the remaining sauce over the top layer of potatoes, again using a spoon or ladle to control the sauce. Make sure every potato is covered and no white areas remain.

Cover the dish with foil. Place in the oven and bake covered for 60 minutes, till the potatoes are tender.

Remove the foil and turn on your broiler. Place your baking dish 4-6 inches below the broiler. Broil the potatoes for a few minutes till the top is nicely browned.

Sprinkle the top of the casserole lightly with paprika. Serve potatoes warm as a side dish.

Honey Apple Cupcakes

This recipe is too adorable to try to copy so just click the link.  This particular part is why I love this recipe:

"This recipe offers a great opportunity to get kids involved in preparing for the holiday meal. Teach them about the symbolic ingredients while you mix, bake and decorate together. Includes free printable decorations."

Enjoy your weekend!!

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