Oh hey, what’s up? I’m just sitting here, editing a post and thinking about the fact that my almost 5 year-old is ‘graduating’ preschool this week. And while I’m not crying right NOW, you best believe that this has been hitting me quite intensely for a few weeks now. How is it that the years are so long and so short all at once? I’m honestly at that point where if one more person stops me while I’m trying to calm a tantrum-ing child of mine in a Target with, “Enjoy it now. Mine are so grown and I miss them”, I just might lose it on them (the stranger, not my children. Let’s be clear). In the movie of my life that is constantly playing in my head, I have responded to these well-meaning strangers with an emotionally-charged, “I got it! OK!! I KNOW! YOU ARE THE 10th PERSON THIS WEEK WHO HAS SAID THAT TO ME. I AM CONSTANTLY STRUGGLING WITH WANTING THEM TO GROW UP AND NOT ALL AT ONCE! NOW PLEASE BUY ME A LATTE AND LEAVE ME BE”! Also in the movie of my life that is constantly playing in my head, the role of ‘me’ is played by the talented and stunning Gal Gadot cause it’s my movie and I can do what I want.

 

We are all on shaky ground lately due to the change that seems to be blowing our way. As a result, my husband and I went ahead and purchased a minivan cause what better way to manage your emotions then to participate in a major purchase (so says your friendly social worker and school counselor)!? Look, I know what I’m doing, OK? OK!? But honestly, I never knew I always wanted this minivan. Like, I didn’t know I always wanted to NEVER physically have to open the side doors to my car, but I don’t. I really don’t and thanks to modern technology, I don’t have to open my car doors ever again. When husband and I bought our first car 7 years ago, we spent every penny we had on a base model Honda Fit. The only luxury that car had was the standard automatic window. Now we’re ballin’ in our swaggin’ wagon and it’s a little strange. Have we all really grown up this much!?

Speaking of ‘growing up’, the other ballin’ thing I’d like to talk about is this here recipe of crash hot potatoes with pesto and labneh. If you don’t know about labneh, let me learn ya something. Labneh (also known as kefir cheese) is a tart cheese spread akin to Greek yogurt and can be found at your local kosher grocer or Whole Foods. I used to actually not like labneh but, as I mentioned above, I’ve done some growing up and so has my palate. I now LOVE labneh and actually prefer it to Greek yogurt for a delicious and protein-packed snack or breakfast (pair it with Persian cucumber, Roma tomatoes, salt and some delicious olive oil and you’ve got my ideal snack). The recipe below is basically my idea of ‘grown up’ cheese fries. Except instead of French fries you’ve got perfectly cooked fingerling potatoes and salty, fresh pesto to bring out all the flavors. You can make this as a dip or spread it on your plate like I did so you don’t have to do SO much work (dipping food into a dip can be a lot of work).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crash Hot Potatoes with Pesto + Labneh

Ingredients for Crash Hot Potatoes:

1 lb. fingerling potatoes
6 – 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tbsp flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
1
/2 cup Labneh

Ingredients for Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
3 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Boil potatoes in salted water until fork tender; about 15 – 18 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Drizzle a large sheet pan generously with olive oil. Place tender potatoes on sheet pan, leaving plenty of room between each potato. With a potato masher or large fork, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes.  Brush or drizzle the tops of mashed potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with flaky salt such as Maldon Sea Salt.

Place sheet pan in oven and bake for roughly 20 – 25 minutes or until edges are browned and crispy.

While the potatoes roast, make your pesto: Recipe for pesto found here.

Once pesto is complete and potatoes are perfectly baked, spread labneh on a plate and top of pesto. Top that plate with potatoes and enjoy! You could also mix the pesto and labneh into a bowl and dip your potatoes in that as well. The choice is yours!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you know when you’re done? Not done with eating, mind you, but done having kids? I thought I knew. I participated in a week-long Positive Psychology workshop last summer and spent the majority of my time digging deep and reflecting on the fact that I thought I was done. Gd had blessed me with two incredible children and that’s it. Leave the party while it’s not only good but great. I spent the many months since that workshop giving away all of our baby gear to various friends and colleagues who were not done and needed the support. “Put it to good use”, I thought, “cause I don’t need it anymore”. But then something happened (as it always does). My father-in-law died and I turned 37. Suddenly I found myself wrestling with my own mortality and with that, the questioning of whether or not I was really ready to close this chapter in my life.

My arguments for not having a third have always been the same: With the life we lead (the expenses of daycare costs, being a working-parent household, wanting to live an observant/kosher Jewish life), we can give two kids a great life but three kids? Three kids would be tough. Plus, I don’t know what you do for a living but I spend a lot of my day talking with adolescents with mental and developmental health struggles so that coupled with the statistics of giving birth after 35 (i.e. the rise of potential of certain developmental delays), I’m frikkin’ freaked. Again, Gd has blessed us with two healthy, developmentally-abled children. LEAVE THE PARTY WHILE IT’S GREAT. But what if it could be greater?

I still have no answer. We are in conversations, clearly. With baby one and two, we were closed up about our family planning but with the potential of baby three I’ve basically been polling everyone I know (and don’t know) on what their thoughts are on how many kids I should have. Yes, that means I sometimes accost strangers in the grocery store with awkward, inappropriate questions like, “Excuse me, hi, you don’t know me but, you have lots of kids. How’s that working out?”

That’s totally normal . . . right? HELP!

 

So since motherhoood and parenting has been constantly on my mind, I made y’all a Mother’s Day breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner recipe using some of my favorite ingredients. If you don’t know what malawach is you can read about it and get the recipe for this quick yet super fancy meal over at Interfaithfamily.com. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

Would not be able to parent without my besties!

 

Supporting our friends, Bear and Bud Bookclub, at the Babyccino event in LA last weekend.

 

 

 

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So you might be thinking to yourself, “Dude, Whit, it’s Chanukah time! Why aren’t you frying those donuts!?!” Well friends, because I’d rather fry my latkes and bake my donuts then do both so my first recipe of the season is a baked recipe. Also, it’s been seeming like every. single. person I work with is on a specialty diet and since every time I bake for a post, I take the extras into work, I figured baked donuts would have a better chance of actually being eaten than fried donuts. Even my beloved co-worker, Julee, who is like my appetite-twin, is on a specialty diet. She told me about how she made fried onions out of buckwheat flour and coconut oil and a little part of me died inside. No. No, no no. Sigh. So, therefore, I give you baked donuts.

So, with that out of the way . . . how are you? How was your Thanksgiving? I tend to think of Thanksgiving as my holiday ‘off’. After the intensity (and expense) of the high holidays I want nothing to do on Thanksgiving but drink coffee, watch the Macy’s Day Parade, maybe make a pie or two and then head to someone else’s house for dinner, which is exactly what we did. Thank you, friends.

 

Baked Chocolate Chai Donuts with Tahini Glaze Jewhungry Kosher Blog
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Donuts have become one of my new LA delights (along with ramen, tacos and specialty ice cream parlors). They aren’t a foodie treat I really enjoyed until moving here. What’s ridiculous is that apparently about a year ago, a Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Downtown L.A. and folks were lined up around the block for it. There were articles written about it and people missed work just to get their hands on it. I personally do not get the obsession with the Dunkin’. Maybe it’s because I grew up with Dunkin’ Donuts but also cause it’s a donut and as much as I love yummy treats, I don’t love waiting in line for well, anything. That said, now that I’ve dabbled in baked donuts and realize how easy they are to make, I don’t foresee heading to a lot of donut places anymore. Once you’ve got the foundation of the mixture for your donut down, you can mix in other spices or toppings as you see fit. Since I’m a MAJOR tahini fan, I, of course, needed to make something that paired nicely with tahini and so a nice moist chocolate donut spiced with chai flavors won out. I originally had no plans to top these bad boys with sprinkles but then my sous chef, Siona, had to help me with this recipe, which meant that there would be sprinkles involved. And, to be honest, it totally elevated the donut. That Siona . . . I tell ya.
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Ingredients
  • 1/3 c. + 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cold brew coffee or cold espresso
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 large egg

    Tahini Glaze
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • dash of kosher salt
  • sprinkles (optional)

Just a note — I use piping bags for getting the dough into the donut pan. I used to use a small spoon until reading about this little piping bag tip from an old issue Bon Appetit and haven’t looked back. Also, when storing leftovers store uncovered, otherwise, donuts will get goopy.

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together milk and vinegar (Mazal! You’ve just made buttermilk!). Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to curdle. Melt butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, sift together flours, cocoa, baking soda, sea salt, and chai spices in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Into the cooled butter, whisk in sugar, honey, coffee, and egg until evenly combined. Add in buttermilk.
  5. Whisk together wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Over-mixing will create a dense donut.
  6. Spray donut pan. Add batter to a piping bag and pipe evenly into the pan (about 2/3 full). You will have a little extra batter. Make a couple donut holes or mini donuts.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes. Allow to cool 1 minute before turning pan over to remove donuts onto a cooling rack.
  8. Meanwhile, make glaze. In a flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together half and half and powdered sugar until smooth.
  9. Once donuts have cooled completely, about 15-20 minutes, dunk in glaze, flipping to cover the entire donut as expertly demonstrated by Siona in the pictures above. Place on cooling rack and allow to dry for a few minutes. If going for sprinkles, dumb a bunch of them in another small bowl and dunk the glazed donut in just as you did into the tahini glaze.

 

 

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