Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rosh Hashana Honeycake - for Everyone

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, is a day away, and so it's time to break out the honeycake recipe. Honeycake is my favorite part of Rosh Hashana, intended to help usher in a sweet new year. Of course, given most people's new year's resolutions to get healthy or to lose weight, maybe honeycake isn't the best choice. Still, traditions are hard to break ... and honeycake is too good to pass up. So, I just do what I can to make my honeycake a little healthier.

Here is my take on my Grandma Sarna's honeycake, with variations noted for the allergy-prone or vegan baker:

Whole Wheat Honey Cake
1 cup hot water
3 tsps. instant espresso
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups honey
3/4 cup sucanat
3/4 cup safflower oil
1 egg (or 1/4 cup chia gel or 1 mushed banana)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or barley flour)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (or barley flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. salt

Grease a bundt pan with coconut oil or butter, and dust with flour to keep the batter from sticking. Pre-heat the oven to 325F.

Dissolve the coffee into the hot water. Then add the orange juice to the coffee. In a large bowl, combine the coffee mixture, honey, sucanat, and oil, whisking together well. Allow to cool well before adding the egg, chia gel, or banana to the mixture.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour(s), baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing together until just combined (don't overmix!). A little lumpiness is fine.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Allow to cool in the pan for an hour before turning out onto a serving dish. If desired, dust with powdered sugar or serve with ice cream (or non-dairy ice cream ... like this one!).

Serves 20.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Potato Chickpea Pancakes

I must apologize for the long delay in posting. Life has been a whirlwind, and I'm a bit over-committed at the moment. That said, I will still post from time to time, whenever I get a chance to come up for air. I hope you'll be patient with me.

As we are in the process of readying our house to sell it, I've been going through all the nooks and crannies, and finding all sorts of interesting forgotten things. One thing that I found was a pantry item - chickpea flour. Ah, yes, I bought some chickpea flour several months ago to make falafel balls, and somehow I bought way too much. It's been sitting there ever since with no purpose, unless I make a lot of falafel balls. So, I racked my brain, and came up with these very tasty potato pancakes - a vegan/vegetarian complete meal all on its own, good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Very seasonal! Very cheap! Very tasty! Very gone!

Potato Chickpea Pancakes
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and grated
1 medium onion, grated
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 scallions, thinly sliced (whites and greens)
1/3 cup olive oil, + 2-3 Tbsps. for frying
1/3 cup chickpea flour
salt and pepper, to taste
Yogurt Cardamom Sauce (optional) - recipe follows

In a large fine mesh sieve fitted over a large bowl, squeeze the excess moisture out of the potatoes and onions. Allow the excess water to settle in the bowl for five minutes, and then pour the water off gently, leaving the starch at the bottom of the bowl. In the same bowl, combine the starch, potatoes, onions, zucchini, scallions, 1/3 cup of olive oil, chickpea flour, salt, and pepper.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Once hot, add about 1/2 Tbsp. of the remaining olive oil and reduce heat to medium. Spoon the potato batter into the skillet in flapjack size pancakes, and flatten the batter so it cooks evenly. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side. Fry pancakes in batches, adding additional oil between batches, as necessary. Keep the pancakes that are done in a warm oven (275F) until ready to serve.

Makes 12 pancakes.

I served this dish with a yogurt cardamom sauce and a side of quinoa tabouleh.

Yogurt Cardamom Sauce
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/8 tsp. salt
pinch ground cardamom
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients. Place yogurt mixture inside a fine mesh sieve lined with cheescloth, and allow to drain over a bowl for 20 minutes. Serve a dollop on each pancake.