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Sep 24 2014

Rosh Hashanah Confession: I Have a Thing For the Produce Man

By at 10:03 am

produce-isle

Because repentance is serious business in the home stretch leading up to Rosh Hashanah, I’m finally coming clean: For nearly a decade, I’ve had a thing for the produce man at the local supermarket.

Years ago, our then 3-year-old son–a clever, square peg of a boy who has long struggled to fit in–had another challenging morning at nursery school. He decided it was a silly thing to transform an empty orange juice carton into a spice box for Havdalah (ceremony for taking leave of Shabbat). His refusal led to an ugly power struggle with his already-exasperated teacher, ultimately landing him in the penalty box, where he frequently kept the seat warm.

The dreaded call came. I stopped writing and ran to get him, tail between my legs. I listened as the principal meted out judgment, the same harsh words I’d heard in various mutations over the past year. He’s difficult, unlovable, a challenge to manage… In fact, I’d spent so much time in the principal’s office that I’d already derailed my full-time career. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 9 2013

A Dairy-Free Summer Dessert Your Family Will Love

By at 12:16 pm

kuchenbuckleSometimes a dessert can be like a great poem–taking on a different interpretation every time it is approached, yet always retaining its greatness. The Summerfruit Kuchenbuckle is that kind of cake. It is uncomplicated in assemblage yet multi-layered in flavor. It is a celebration of sweet and juicy seasonal fruits, and fluffy flavorful cake. It is completely open to personal preferences… And it’s dairy-free to boot!

A Kuchen is a comfy Ashkenazic fruit-topped cake sometimes featuring a layer of streusel. A Buckle is a homey American dessert, descriptively named for the way the fruit sinks (or buckles) into the cake batter. This cake is a combination of these two cakey desserts, making it a: Kuchenbuckle. It’s a recipe that is dictated by the best fruits the season has to offer; use plump plums, sweet peaches, or the most appealing apricots your market, or garden, yields.

Coconut oil spread is a wonderful parve baking option in general, and in this cake it contributes to a really pleasing and moist crumb, with only the barest hint of coconuttiness. Double down on the coconut flavor if you wish by using coconut milk. Or, if you prefer subtle almond flavor use almond milk (soy and rice milk work well too). This is a sweet dish that you can make your own, every step of the way.

During the summer I make a different version of this cake almost every week. Last week it was Plum Almond, the week before it was Nectarine-Pine Nut. It always comes out of the oven tasting great. And whenever I add the streusel-nut layer, this recipe goes from a poem to a song.

kuchenbuckSummerfruit Kuchenbuckle
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil spread plusmore for greasing pan (available in the refrigerated cases in some large
supermarkets and most health food stores)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or nut extract or citrus essence
½ cup coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk
2 cups thinly sliced (about ¼”) pitted stonefruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, or if you have a lot of patience-cherries)
½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, slivered almonds) or Nut Streusel (recipe below) optional-but highly recommended

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350° Grease pan. Fit a piece of parchment paper over bottom of the greased pan, and allow for it to overhang the sides.
2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon , and salt
3. In a large bowl cream together coconut oil spread and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla (or whatever extract/flavoring you’re using).
4. Mix a third of the flour mixture into the wet batter, then add in half of the coconut milk and mix until well combined. Continue alternating between the flour and the milk, mixing well after each addition and ending with the flour mixture. A light and fluffy batter should result.
5. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out evenly with a spatula. Place fruit slices in whatever pattern you please over the cake’s surface, so that it is covered in fruit. If adding chopped nuts or streusel-nut crumbles, spread them evenly over fruit slices.
6. Place in preheated oven and let bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in its center comes out clean.

Streusel Nut Crumble
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold coconut oil spread
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients. With a pastry cutter or a fork, mash all the ingredients together to form a crumbly-textured topping.

Jan 9 2012

Exclusive Update: Mayim Bialik’s Actual Fruit Face

By at 10:26 am

Last Friday, we published Mayim Bialik’s adorable and touching post about making a “fruit face” for her sick 6-year-old son. This Monday, we are pleased to announce that Kveller has gained exclusive rights to a photo of the actual fruit face made for said son. Kindly erase from your memory that stock photography fruit face we used in the post and replace it with this, Mayim’s ultimate fruit face. Thank you.

mayim bialik fruit face

Jan 6 2012

How to Make the Perfect Fruit Face

By at 2:11 pm

fruit faceMiles is sick. Just a cold, really nothing big or bad, thank God. But he’s 6. And being sick when you’re 6 and feisty is a combination of novelty and opportunity, I suppose.

When I was a child, I didn’t mind being sick. I got to stay home from school, eat foods not normally eaten, and spend time with my mom. These were all good things. Fun foods in our house were ginger ale and white rice, and sometimes a little chocolate. My mom said it was good for an upset tummy. I needed to believe she was right!

Since we homeschool, sick days don’t involve missing school per se, but they do involve fun foods and extra time with both me and my husband, who is home with our boys when I work. Here’s the conversation I had with sick Miles yesterday morning:

“Miles, I already made you miso soup and toast with [vegan] butter and jam. I know you asked for porridge but that’s a lot of carbohydrates. So let’s pick a fruit or vegetable.”

“Ummm. Watermelon.”

“Miles, it’s winter. I don’t have watermelon.”

“Ummm. Cantaloupe.” Read the rest of this entry →

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