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So if you read my Valentine’s Day post, you’ll know already that I recently attended an amazing conference centered on the topic of how to help adolescents thrive as they transition into adulthood. You’ll also know that the headliner of this conference was Jane Fonda. What you might not know is that this conference was one of the best professional/personal development experiences of my career as a school counselor. Not only for the sheer fact that I was in a room of committed individuals who were also passionately engaged in trying to be an ally for youth in an increasingly difficult world, but also because I left with actual, tangible resources that I can implement in my every day life.

 

One of the best directly relates to the images you have previously seen on this blog and my various social media handles — that of images of my kiddos. When I first started out in the blogging game, I filled my posts with images of my family. I wanted a blog that was not only delicious to look at but that also gave readers a glimpse into my personal life. Here’s the thing though: My girls are growing up and, please Gd, they will continue to grow up. They’re going to grow up and become adolescents themselves and could quite possibly Google themselves, as Dr. Devorah Heitner so lovingly pointed out at this conference. I want to make sure that when that times comes, they don’t feel like their journey to adulthood was chronicled at every turn without their permission. In addition, and this is what really struck me, I don’t want my kids feeling like they always have to be ‘on’ because you never know when mom might be recording this for her blog/Instagram/Facebook. So, in an effort to give them more anonymity and to create a culture of consent in our family, I will now be ASKING their permission to take and subsequently publish their image (the baby is a bit too young for this so instead, I’ll just be more mindful of how much of her life I’m putting in front of strangers).

 

 

So what does this have to do with Purim and hamantaschen? Mostly nothing but I wanted to make mention of a change in what you’ll be seeing on this here blog for the future. Instead of the delicious faces of my kiddos, I’ll be sharing more delicious pictures of food. How ’bout them apples?!

And about these hamantaschen? Welcome to your new fancy ‘taschen. I have ALWAYS wanted to work with blood orange and black sesame. The flavors of each are delicious on their own but once combined with the yumminess of Joan Nathan’s hamantaschen dough recipe as featured in her book, Jewish Cooking in America, well, magic happens. And, I mean, come on, anytime I can make something naturally pink, I’m on it. While there are many steps to this hamantaschen recipe, most of them can be done days in advance. In fact, all of it can be done days in advance. Also, note that the black sesame does look and taste like poppy seeds so if you can’t find black sesame seeds (I found mine in Whole Foods), you could easily sub in poppy seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

Black Sesame Hamantaschen with Blood Orange Glaze

Dough Ingredients:

2/3 cup butter or margarine (room temperature)

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg (+ 1 egg for glaze)

1 tablespoon blood orange zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp of salt

Black Sesame Filling

1/2 cup roasted black sesame seeds

1/4 cup almond milk (or regular)

1/4 cup honey

1 tbsp zest of blood orange

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tbsp butter

Blood Orange Glaze

1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

Dough Instructions:

Using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and blood orange zest and continue creaming until smooth.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt to a separate medium-sized bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until a ball of dough is formed (if not using a stand mixer, do this step not with the hand-held mixer but with a wood spoon). Shape dough into a disk, wrap in saran wrap and chill for AT LEAST 3 hours (I chill mine overnight).

Filling Instructions:

Lightly grind the black sesame seeds in a food processor using the “pulse” function for roughly 30 seconds.

In a small saucepan, combine the milk and honey over low heat, stirring until the honey dissolves into the milk. Then add the ground sesame seeds and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently. While it’s simmering, add the blood orange zest and vanilla.

Once the mixture has thickened considerably — or as desired, stir in the butter until it melts, cooking it for another minute or so. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. You can make this a day ahead, when you first make the dough, and cover and store in the fridge.

Putting it all Together:

Once chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees with rack in the center. On a floured work surface, roll out dough to a scant 1/4-inch thickness. With a 2 3/4-inch round cutter, or wide-rimmed drinking class, cut out circles; place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Gather scraps, chill while previous cookies are baking, and repeat with your roll-out and cutting until all dough is used.

Whisk together remaining egg and 1 teaspoon water in a bowl. Brush circle edges with egg wash; pinch seams together. Bake cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 1 sheet at a time, about 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding filling.

For Blood Orange Glaze:

Whisk together the ingredients until combined and smooth. Once cookies have cooled completely, drizzle on top until it’s perfectly covered in pink.

 

 

Before arriving in Los Angeles, I heavily researched the city in order to figure out what part of the city we’d live in. And by research I of course mean that I watched old episodes of the original Beverly Hills, 90210 and poured over the most recent Bon Appetit at the time that had a lovely spread about hipster hangout, “Sqirl” (so hipster, in fact, that the ‘u’, ‘r’, and ‘e’ are apparently not necessary). In the article, they mentioned a sorrel pesto bowl that is the restaurant’s number one seller. At the time I was absolutely not interested in trying a savory bowl of sorrel for breakfast. Why in the world would I want brown rice when I could have cinnamon rolls or sticky buns or brioche toast!?!? I mean, come on!!

 

 

 

 

So when we arrived in Los Angeles in the summer of 2014, my patient husband and even more patient daughter let me drag them to the Mecca of hipsterville, Silverlake, to stand in line with every other sucker and wait for breakfast. And let me tell you, it was one of the greatest culinary decisions I’ve ever made (and not only because within my first 24 hours in LA I got to see the high Jewess of the world, Natalie Portman, who was also eating at Sqirl). This meal was so. friggin’. YUMMY. I was feeling adventurous and also feeling that there was no way my husband was going to be up for shlepping all the way to Silverlake from the Westside again so I went ahead and passed by all the brioche options and ordered the brown rice pesto bowl. When our meal arrived, I looked at my husband’s brioche toast topped with chocolate ganache and thought, “I have made the greatest mistake in the world”. But then I took my first bite of the pesto bowl, all mixed in with lacto-fermented hot sauce (still have no idea what that means), feta cheese and a perfectly cooked poached egg and I knew I was forever changed. Let me tell you. Putting pesto in brown rice and topping with a poached egg, feta, radishes and hot sauce is THE GREATEST IDEA EVER. Therefore, I went ahead and copied it as much as possible. This has become my go-to Sunday morning breakfast ever since that fateful day in Silverlake.

 

 

Brown Rice Pesto Breakfast Bowls

Ingredients for Bowl:

1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup pesto (see below)
2 eggs (or more, depending on how much you love eggs), poached
1/4 cups feta cheese
3 radishes sliced thin
Optional: Sriracha

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 (can omit and use 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast to make it vegan)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
3 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:

Cook brown rice according to package. Remember that brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook so make sure you plan according. Once done, transfer rice to a large mixing bowl and leave about 3 – 5 minutes.

For the pesto. If you want to be kind to yourself and your time, you can please feel free to buy pre-made pesto. If you want to make your own pesto, place the basil leaves and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times. Add the garlic and cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor. Stir in some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the poached egg: I learned how to poach an egg via The Kitchn’s tutorial so I’m sending you there for this recipe. Come back and read on when you’re done. 🙂

Once brown rice has somewhat cooled, add 1/2 cup of the pesto to your brown rice and combine. Top with 1 poached egg, feta, and sliced up radish. Serve hot.

 

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

 

Oh. Hi. I’m not sure we’ve met yet. My name is Whitney Fisch. A few things about myself:

  1. I have two daughters who are so cute sometimes I scrunch up my face and make a, ‘GAH!’ noise in order to manage the overwhelmingness of the cuteness.
  2. I am a school counselor so I spend a lot of my time hanging with high schoolers, which I never thought I would love but, as it turns out, I do!
  3.  I LOVE BUFFALO WINGS! I WANT ALL OF THEM ALL THE TIME.

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you may have already known the above information. I have written about my love of wings before here. It’s not so much the wings as it about the sauce. I LOVE buffalo wing hot sauce. I love it so much. I want to take a bath in the stuff. As a teenager, a favorite snack of mine was canned corn mixed with my mom’s buffalo wing sauce and blue cheese salad dressing. Also, did I mention that I led a super healthy lifestyle as a teenager?

As a ‘foodie’ and someone who loves Instagram and therefore follows other foodies on Instagram (especially LA-based foodies), I was seeing Chef Ludo’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich all over people’s feeds this summer. And then Bon Appetit magazine came out with their ‘most perfect fried chicken sandwich ever‘ and I was done. I needed a kosher-fied fried chicken sandwich and I needed it drenched in buffalo sauce STAT! Conveniently enough, I had bottles and bottles of oil in my pantry as the Chanukah season requires some serious frying. Therefore, I made my own dang buffalo fried chicken sandwich based on Bon Appetit’s recipe and it was AMAZING.

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

Make no mistake, the sandwich is all about composition. Do not attempt this sandwich without allowing yourself the time to pay attention to the details. This sandwich is the perfect marriage of spicy sweetness mixed with tangy coleslaw and a lightly non-dairy buttered bun. It’s also crispy and crunch while still being juicy! It’s a sandwich to be enjoyed on a Sunday night surrounded by loved ones who will still love you as you sniffle and slop your way through spicy hot buffalo sauce ecstasy. Pass the hand towels, this one is a keeper!

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

 

 

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

Buffalo Fried Chicken Sandwich

Chicken

1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal or 2 teaspoons Morton kosher salt
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 skin-on or skinless, boneless chicken thighs

Seasoned Slaw

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
1 teaspoon celery salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 green onion stalks, finely diced (green parts only)
1 tablespoon of Bread and Butter pickle brine
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage

Buffalo Wing Sauce

3/4 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (I use Frank’s and have only used Frank’s since I was a kid so have no idea how this would taste with any other hot sauce).
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Assembly

1½ cups all-purpose flour
⅓ cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 cup almond or coconut milk
3 tablespoons hot sauce (such as Frank’s)
Peanut or vegetable oil (for frying; about 8 cups)
4 soft seeded hamburger buns
3 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter, melted
Bread and butter pickles (optional but HIGHLY recommended) plus 1 tbsp brine
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions for Prepping Chicken:

Mix salt, sugar, and baking powder in a small bowl. Season chicken all over with salt mixture (you won’t need all of it). Chill uncovered on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet or on parchment paper, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Seasoned Slaw:

Combine all ingredients up until the cabbage into a medium-size bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Add in the cabbage and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Directions for Cooking Chicken:

Whisk flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and 2 Tbsp. salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg, almond milk, and 3 Tbsp. hot sauce in another medium bowl. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, turning to coat and packing into crevices. Shake to remove excess; return to rack. Pour 3 Tbsp. almond milk mixture into flour mixture and work in with your fingers. Dip chicken into remaining almond milk mixture, allow excess to drip off, then pack moistened flour mixture firmly onto chicken. Gently shake off excess; return to rack. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.

Pour oil into a large heavy pot fitted with thermometer to come halfway up sides. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 350°. Working in 2 batches, fry chicken, turning often and adjusting heat to maintain temperature, until deep golden brown, 5–8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain.

Directions for Buffalo Wing Sauce:

In a medium-sized sauce pan, add the hot sauce and heat over medium flame. Add in Worcestershire sauce, brown and margarine and stir well. Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste a bit (if you dare) and add more brown sugar at 1/2 teaspoon at a time if you like your sauce a little sweeter. The sauce should taste spicy and sweet with a hint of sour from the vinegar in the Frank’s. Turn off the flame, cover the pot with a lid and keep warm while you prepare the buns and assemble the sandwich.

Directions for Assembly:

Heat a dry large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. Brush cut sides of buns with margarine and, working in batches, cook, cut side down, until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch.

Once done, take your cole slaw out of the refrigerator and spread a heaping spoonful onto one of the sides of buns. Add pickles to the other bun.

Pour the hot sauce into a large bowl that is big enough to dip the whole fried chicken in. Working in batches, dip one fried chicken (one at a time) into the bowl and cover with sauce. Let some of the sauce drip off into the bowl and then transfer to the buns. Do this until all chicken is complete. Serve hot and with TONS OF NAPKINS.

Buffalo fried chicken sandwich

 

 

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