Canada Day Challah

Wednesday, July 1st was Canada Day. As a Canadian I needed to celebrate on the closest shabbat.  However, the truly closest shabbat is the 4th of July, and as an American I need a red white a blue challah on that day. On Friday, June 26th, I woke up to fabulous news.  SCOTUS had ruled on same-sex marriage, finally making it legal in all 50 states. Plus, this weekend was pride weekend.  What’s a gay-allied-dual-Canadian-American to do? I asked my friend Maxine, and she said go with the pride challah because she’s “more queer than Canadian”.  But I’m more Canadian than queer. So I made both.

First, my Canada Day Challah.  I decided to use maple syrup in the challah instead of honey. And I cut out a Leaf shape:

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Then the Pride Challah. I’d already made a rainbow one back in the fall for Parshat Noah.  So I looked for rainbow sprinkles at the store.  The only kosher ones had too many white ones in them to look rainbow.  I hit up the candy isle– skittles aren’t kosher and M&Ms don’t have purple (and do have brown).  So I used what I had on hand, the “gayest” thing in my pantry– the mulitcolored fennel sprinkles that I used back at Purim.

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The final products were beautiful and delicious.  The maple leaf, because of the amount of salt on it (that’s red colored salt I used) tasted like pretzel challah and was a big hit!

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The one I didn’t like

I tried a new flavor a few weeks ago. I haven’t posted, because it wasn’t that good. Rosemary Garlic Challah. It sounds delicious doesn’t it?  Well, it was a bit of a dud.

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I used roasted garlic and fresh rosemary from the garden.

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It turned out beautiful but tasted a bit meh.

Chimichurri Challah

My friend Michael sent me this recipe to try out. I don’t have access to ramps here in Seattle, as I understand they are best when foraged.  So I googled for substitutes and found a suggestion of green onions.  I made my basic dough, instead of using theirs, then used the food processor to make the filling:

  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

I rolled out the dough and spread on the filling:

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Then rolled it into a tube. I quickly realized that it wasn’t going to stay closed for me to braid. So I coiled it into a beautiful round.

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It was delicious and eaten quickly!!

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I had some of the filling left over, and my spouse ate it on tortilla chips the next day, then asked me to make more for the next shabbat.

Lemon Cheesecake Challah

Yes, you read that headline right, Lemon Cheesecake Challah.  Seriously.  We could probably just stop there.  But why?  Here’s the story…. This weekend is the holiday of Shavuot.  This holiday, I lovingly refer to as the “stay up all night and eat cheesecake holiday.”  What’s not to love about that.  The holiday commemorates (in part) the receiving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. We stay up all night in anticipation of receiving the Torah (fun!).  And because G-d gave us the commandment to keep kosher in the Torah, all of our prior meat and dishes were suddenly rendered problematic, and we ate dairy until we could kasher things. This, among many other reasons, is why we eat dairy on Shavuot.  Of course, I don’t eat meat at all, so most of my festive meals feature dairy in some sort.

I found the recipe for lemon cheesecake challah on Smitten Kitchen. I used my regular challah dough because it is proven, but I followed their recipe for the cheesecake filling and the lemon curd.  Lemon curd may become my new favorite thing to make. If I’d known you could make something THAT delicious THAT easily, I would have made it before.

Now, technically, for motzi on shabbat, challah needs to be parve (neither meaty or dairy). So when I make dairy challah, I always make a loaf of “plain” as my second loaf, so that motzi can be over parve challah for the halachically minded among us.

Now, on to the challah…Using my regular dough, I rolled out a large rectangular shape.

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Then cut slits into the sides:

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I layered on the cheesecake filling, then the lemon curd:

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Then “braided” it:

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I brushed it with egg and sprinkled it with some nice, organic, coarse sugar.

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Then baked it.

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This is a beautiful and delicious recipe.  Happy Shavuot everyone!

Caramelized Onion Challah

I didn’t have a good theme for this week, and was getting a little tired of shapes, so decided it was time to adventure into flavors again.  I googled “challah flavor” and found a few good recipes (others coming in future weeks– like rosemary garlic challah!!)  One that I found was a caramelized onion challah.  Ummm….yes please!

The first step is to caramelize the onions. I’d never done this before but the recipe indicated and the inter-webs confirmed that this was a long process.  I often make my challah on Friday mornings (get up, braid, put in oven, shower, take out of oven, leave for work) and an hour to caramelize wasn’t going to fit that schedule.  So I did the onions on Thursday night.  I used one whole onion. My partner said it looked like too much when he peeked in and I was only moments into caramelizing.  Boy did those suckers cook down.

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I cooked them in our cast iron skillet on medium-low (about 3-4) for an hour.  When they were done, they were beautiful!

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The next morning I made my typically challah recipe and rolled each “snake” in onions before I braided it.

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Any that fell off I just shoved into the cracks between braids.

The finished product was beautiful!

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And delicious, if I do say so myself.  I seriously think this one was better than the ginger one in February, but I like onions better than I like ginger!

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