Chillin’ Out


Pumpkin soup and other recipes.

2 large onions, sliced
4 Tbsps. oil
7 cups water
1½ pounds cubed pumpkin
1 medium white potato, cubed
2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
1 Tbsp. pareve chicken soup powdered mix
½ tsp. salt or to taste
¼ tsp. white pepper
½ cup non-dairy creamer
3 Tbsps. margarine, optional toasted pine
nuts for garnish (optional, but oh-so good)
Directions: In a stainless steel pot, sauté the onions in oil until golden. Add the water, pumpkin and both potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and simmer for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. With an immersion blender or food processor, puree everything until smooth. Place mixture back into pot. Add the soup mix, salt and pepper and continue simmering for about 10 minutes. Stir in creamer and remove from heat. Stir in the margarine for a richer, buttery flavor, if desired. Sprinkle each serving with the pine nuts. Makes 8-10 servings
Challah Ingredients
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water, divided
3 Tbsps. white sugar
1 egg
6 egg yolks
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsps. canola oil
2 Tbsps. salt
2 Tbsps. cinnamon
¾ Tbsps. nutmeg
½ Tbsp. allspice
¼ Tbsp. ginger
Pinch of cloves
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
7 to 9 cups all-purpose baking flour
Egg Wash Ingredients
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
You will also need:
Large mixing bowl, whisk, kitchen towel, 2 cookie sheets, parchment paper, aluminum foil, pastry brush and timer
Directions: Pour ½ cup of the lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) into a large mixing bowl. Add 2 packets of yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar to the bowl, stir 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 ½ cup lukewarm water to the bowl along with the rest of the sugar, egg, egg yolks, honey, canola oil, salt and spices. Use a whisk to thoroughly blend the ingredients together. Whisk in the brown sugar and pumpkin puree to form a thick liquid.
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.
Place a saucepan full of water on the stove to boil. Meanwhile, remove the dough from your mixing bowl and wash out the bowl. 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.
Take the dough out of the oven. 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 for a few minutes, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from feeling sticky.
Now your dough is ready to braid. If you plan to separate and bless the challah, do it prior to braiding. Separate the dough into two equal portions; each portion of dough will be enough for a large loaf of challah. After you’ve braided your challah loaves, place them on two separate cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (this will catch any spills from your egg wash and keep your challah from sticking to the cookie sheet).
Prepare your egg wash by beating the egg yolks and water till smooth. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the mixture onto the visible surface of your challah.
Preheat the oven to 350˚. Let the braids rise 30 to 45 minutes longer. You’ll know the dough is ready to bake when you press your finger into it and the indentation stays, rather than bouncing back. The challah will need to bake for about 40 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. Turn the tray around, so the opposite side is facing front, and put the tray back into the oven. Turning the tray helps 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 the tray 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. You can test the bread for doneness by turning it over and tapping on the bottom of the loaf: If it makes a hollow sound, it’s done. Let challah cool on the baking sheet or a wire cooling rack before serving.
Makes 2 challahs
1 cup dry kidney beans
½ cup dry white beans
½ cup barley
2 large potatoes, peeled
and cubed
1 medium-large pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and large cubes
1 large onion, cut into chunks
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup barbecue sauce
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons each: garlic and onion powder, paprika, black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
4 cups water or more to cover all ingredients
Directions: Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Mix well. Cook on high for 3 hours, then reduce to low and cook overnight until the beans are tender.
Makes 8 to 12 servings
12 tablespoons butter, melted (or unsalted margarine)
2 cups pretzel rods, crushed into crumbs
1½ cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup plus 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1½ cups milk chocolate chips (or pareve chips)
Directions: In a medium bowl, add the melted butter to the pretzel crumbs, sugar and 1 cup of peanut butter. Stir together until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan. Combine the chocolate chips and the remaining peanut butter in a microwave safe dish. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until mixture is melted and smooth. Two intervals should be enough. Mix again to combine. Spread carefully over the pretzel layer. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares. Yummy!
Yields as many as the sizes you cut.
This article first appeared in the Baltimore Jewish Times.


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