The Principles of Kwanzaa

Posted On December 29, 2009

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The Principles of Kwanzaa >

Umoja (Unity) > To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) > To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) > To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) > To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose) > To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity) > To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith) > To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Source: Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa founder

Kwanzaa trivia

Posted On December 29, 2009

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On December 26, 1966, the first day of the first Kwanzaa was celebrated. How much do you know about the seven-day tribute to African-American culture?

1. Dr. Maulana Karenga is credited as the designer of the seven-day holiday. At which California school did he work as a professor in the Black Studies department?

A. UCLA
B. CSU Long Beach
C. San Francisco
D. UC Berkley

2. Karenga created the holiday largely in response to…..

A. The riot in Watts
B. The death of Dr. Martin Luther King
C. The Vietnam War
D. A challenge from a student

3. Kwanzaa comes from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means what in Swahili?

A. Gathering of equals
B. Growing branches
C. Mother of descendants
D. First fruits

4. The celebration focuses on the Nguzo Saba, or seven principles of African culture. Four of these are unity, self-determination, cooperative economics and collective work and responsibility. Which of the following is not one of the other three principles?

A. Purpose
B. Communication
C. Creativity
D. Faith

5. What traditionally comes on January 1, the final day of Kwanzaa?

A. Quiet reflection
B. The lighting of the black candle
C. The exchange of gifts
D. Bible study

ANSWERS >

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Recipes > Beignets for Hanukkah

Posted On December 29, 2009

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Ingredients >
4-6 cups vegetable or corn oil
1 cup milk
1 cup water
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons sugar
1-2 firm bananas, cut into 1/2-inch slices (optional)
Confectioner’s sugar

Method >
1. Pour the oil into a deep pot to a depth of 3-4 inches. Heat the oil to 370 F.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl with the mixer at medium-high speed, combine the milk, water and egg. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix until the batter is smooth.

2. Using a 1/8 cup measure, drop the batter into the hot oil and fry about 3-4 minutes. Don’t make them much bigger or the inside won’t cook properly. The beignets will float to the surface; turn them a few times until the beignets are golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels and either roll in or use a strainer to sprinkle on confectioner’s sugar. Serve hot. Yield: 20-24 beignets

To make banana beignets, fill the 1/8 cup measure halfway full. Add a slice of banana, fill the rest of the way with batter. Fry as directed above. Roll in confectioner’s sugar.

Dust generously with confectioners’ sugar. Serves 8.

Time to make the latkes > Hanukkah

Posted On December 29, 2009

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Potato Pancakes
Ingredients >
2 large eggs
3 cups grated drained all-purpose potatoes
¼ cup grated onion
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 tablespoons matzo meal, or as needed
Canola oil, for frying
Applesauce and sour cream for serving (optional)

Method >
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly. Add potatoes, onion, salt and pepper, and mix well. Stir in 2 tablespoons matzo meal, and let it sit about 30 seconds to absorb moisture in batter. If necessary add more to make a thick, wet batter that is neither watery nor dry.

2. Place a large skillet over medium heat, and add 2 tablespoons oil. When oil is hot drop in heaping 1/8 cups (about 2 tablespoons) of batter, flattening them gently to make thick pancakes. When bottoms have browned, after 2 to 3 minutes, flip and brown on other side. Add oil as needed. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with additional salt to taste. If necessary, work in batches, keeping cooked pancakes warm.

3. Serve hot with applesauce and sour cream, if desired. Yield: 4 servings (about 24 small pancakes).

Hanukkah > for the love of latkes

Posted On December 29, 2009

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As potatoes are shredded and oil is measured, family bonds season the Hanukkah kitchen.

Even with a traditional holiday such as Hanukkah, it’s fun to get creative in the kitchen.  If you ask 10 Jewish women how to make a latke, every one will have a different answer. Some like shredded potatoes and shredded onions. Some go for a more mashed potato consistency, made by first boiling the potatoes, then putting them through a food processor. Because Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of oil, fried foods such as latkes and doughnuts take top billing.

Traditional Potato Latkes
16 servings

Ingredients >
3 cups grated russet potatoes
1 large sweet onion
2 large eggs beaten slightly
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

Method >
1. Grate the potatoes and set aside.
2. Grate the onion into a separate bowl and squeeze out excess water.
3. Mix the onion and the potatoes; add the salt, pepper, eggs and flour. Mix well.
4. Drop by heaping tablespoons into oil heated on high.
5. Cook until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
6. Serve warm with sour cream or applesauce.

Lower-Carb Latkes
16 servings

Ingredients >
1 cup grated russet potatoes
2 cups grated green zucchini (or mix zucchini with yellow squash)
1 leek, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup flour (or low-carb product)
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

Method >
1. Grate zucchini, squash and leek into same bowl.
2. Drain excess water and pat dry with paper towel.
3. Mix in remaining ingredients.
4. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto heated, lightly oiled, nonstick griddle or pan.
5. Cook until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
6. Serve warm with sour cream or applesauce.

Doughnuts
36 servings

Ingredients >
6 tablespoons sugar
5 teaspoons dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 F)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon salt

Method >
1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water; let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Stir 4 cups flour, oil, vanilla, cinnamon and salt into yeast mixture to form soft dough.
3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Gradually add remaining flour to prevent dough from sticking.(Don’t add too much flour because dough will get dense.)
4. Place dough in large bowl coated with cooking spray. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm draft-free area about 40 minutes until doubled in size. Punch down dough; cover and let rise again for another 40 minutes, until doubled in size.
5. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, to 1/4 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter or drinking glass dipped in flour, cut dough into 2-inch rounds.
6. If desired, place a teaspoon of jelly onto a cut circle and top with another circle of dough. Press edges together to seal. Leave on floured board covered with a damp towel until ready to fry.
7. For plain doughnuts, roll a piece of dough into a 6-8 inch length. Twist to form a circle and seal ends together. Leave on floured board covered with a damp towel until ready to fry.
8. In a heavy skillet or deep wok, heat 2 inches of oil to about 350 F-360 F. Place doughnuts gently in oil and fry until golden brown, turning once. Remove with slotted spoon or tongs and drain on paper towel.
9. Sprinkle with powder sugar or glaze and serve immediately.
Glaze: Half box confectioners’ sugar dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water or lemon juice (for a lemon glaze).

Cook for Hanukkah

Posted On December 29, 2009

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In many households potato latkes share the menu with chicken on Hanukka night dinners and at other festive meals. Whenever the menu includes meat, in kosher kitchens there won’t be sour cream to serve with the latkes. Instead, a main course with a savory sauce can complement the potato pancakes. Chicken stewed in a chunky tomato sauce with plenty of caramelized onions fits the bill perfectly. Flavored and enriched with the chicken juices, the sauce tastes great with the latkes. The recipe for this dish below has only six ingredients and is very simple to prepare. You can leave the entree to simmer while you are frying the latkes, or you can make the chicken dish a day or two in advance and reheat it before serving.

Another way to celebrate Hanukka, instead of serving potato pancakes, which originated in the Ashkenazi kitchen, is to follow an Italian-Jewish custom and serve fried chicken. To make it the Italian way, according to Edda Servi Machlin, author of Classic Italian Jewish Cooking, you marinate a cut-up chicken with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic salt. Then you flour the chicken, dip it in beaten eggs and deep fry it. For an easier way to prepare fried chicken, use boneless chicken and bread it schnitzel-style.

Fried meatballs are another tasty option. According to Wizo’s La Cucina Nella Tradizione Ebraica, an Italian-Jewish cookbook, Italians prepare fried meatballs in a variety of flavors, with chopped green olives, with spinach, with chopped cooked eggplant or with raisins and pine nuts added to the meat mixture. The meatballs are dipped in flour or bread crumbs and fried, then are sometimes briefly heated in tomato sauce. Or you might like to make Machlin’s polpettine di pollo e patate: Mix 21⁄2 cups diced cooked chicken, 450 grams of seasoned mashed potatoes and 3 eggs, form patties and fry them in olive oil. This way you have the best of both worlds, chicken and potato latkes in a single dish.

Chicken with chunky tomato and onion sauce > This tasty, easy-to-prepare stew depends for its good flavor on thoroughly browning the onions. Serve it with potato latkes on Hanukka, or with hot cooked rice or boiled potatoes on other occasions. If making the chicken ahead, skim fat from the sauce before serving.

Ingredients >
3 medium onions, halved and sliced
3 tbsp. olive oil
900 gr. to 1 kg. tomatoes, diced, or two 800-gr. cans, drained and diced
6 chicken thighs (about 900 gr)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Procedure >
Heat oil in large deep skillet or saute pan. Add onions and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 20 to 25 minutes or until deep brown, taking care not to let them burn and reducing heat for the last 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Stir and cook over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until sauce begins to thicken. Add chicken, sprinkle lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes more or until chicken is tender. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

Spicy fried chicken with capers > To prepare fried chicken is to use boneless chicken breasts, give them a spicy coating and add a tangy Mediterranean style topping like the capers and parsley in this recipe. The lean meat is kept juicy by the rich and crunchy bread crumb coating. To vary the coating, you can substitute whole-wheat flour for the white flour, or matza meal for the bread crumbs.

Ingredients >
4 boneless chicken breast halves (about 550 gr), skin removed
11⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1 egg
1⁄3 cup plus 1 tbsp. olive oil
4 tsp. capers, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
lemon wedges (for serving)

Procedure >
Arrange chicken in one layer on a plate. Mix cumin, coriander, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle 11⁄4 teaspoons spice mixture evenly over one side of chicken pieces and rub thoroughly into chicken. Turn chicken over, sprinkle with remaining spice mixture and rub into chicken. If you like, marinate for 1 or 2 hours on a covered plate in the refrigerator. Spread flour in a large plate. Spread bread crumbs in a second plate. Beat egg in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat 1 chicken piece with flour on both sides. Tap and shake to remove excess flour. Dip the piece in beaten egg. Last dip the chicken in bread crumbs so both sides are completely coated; pat lightly so crumbs adhere. Repeat with remaining chicken. Set pieces side by side on a large plate. Handle chicken lightly. Heat 1⁄3 cup oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough chicken to make one layer without crowding. Saute until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Turn carefully using two wide spatulas. If oil in skillet begins to brown, reduce heat to medium. Set chicken pieces side by side on ovenproof platter and keep them warm in a 135º oven while sauteing remaining pieces. Sprinkle chicken with capers and parsley. Heat 1 tablespoon oil briefly in small skillet and pour immediately over chicken. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.

Quick and spicy chicken meatballs with mushrooms and peppers > These chicken meatballs, spiced in the Middle Eastern style, are easy to make with ground chicken or turkey but you can use ground beef if you like, or half beef and half chicken. After being fried, they are heated gently in tomato sauce with diced green peppers and sliced mushrooms so that they enrich the sauce and absorb flavor from it. If you prefer that the meatballs have more of a crusty, fried surface, serve the sauce separately.

Ingredients >
1 tbsp. bread crumbs
1 tbsp. chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄4 tsp. cayenne pepper, plus a pinch for sauce
1⁄4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tsp. salt
285 gr. ground chicken (11⁄3 cups)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1⁄2 sweet green pepper, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
225 gr. mushrooms, sliced

Procedure >
Mix bread crumbs with broth, garlic, spices and 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, depending on whether you like food lightly or generously salted. Add to chicken and mix well. Make walnut-size balls, using 1 or 2 tablespoons mixture for each. Put on a plate. Refrigerate 5 minutes. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and brown them on all sides, taking 5 minutes. Reduce heat and cook over medium-low heat, turning them over carefully, until cooked through; cut into a few to be sure color has changed and they are well done. Transfer to paper towels with slotted spoon. Add green pepper to oil and saute 2 minutes over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute 3 minutes. Heat tomato sauce in medium saucepan. If it is very thick, dilute with 2 or 3 tablespoons water. Add meatballs if you like. Add vegetables cover and cook 5 more minutes or until peppers are tender. Season sauce to taste with cayenne pepper. Serve meatballs in sauce; or serve sauce separately. Makes 2 or 3 servings.

Festive food for Hanukkah celebrations

Posted On December 29, 2009

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According to WikipediaLatkes are traditionally eaten by Ashkenazi Jews during the Jewish Hanukkah festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is reminiscent of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle. The word leviva, the Hebrew name for latke, has its origins in the Book of Samuel’s description of the story of Amnon and Tamar. Some interpreters have noted that the homonym levav means “heart,” and the verbal form of l-v-v occurs in the Song of Songs as well.

Festive Food for Hanukkah celebrations > A favorite Hanukkah food is latkes, or potato pancakes. Originally, the pancakes were made of cheese. Eventually, the custom grew to incorporate eating pancakes of all kinds. During the Middle Ages, Jews explained this custom by connecting it with the story of Judith, which they linked with the story of Hanukkah. Judith, according to legend, was a daughter of the Hasmoneans. She fed cheese to the leader of the enemies of the Jews. He was made thirsty by the cheese and began to drink much wine. When he grew quite drunk she cut off his head. For this reason, it was said, Jews eat cheese delicacies on Hanukkah.

Potato Latkes > We eat latkes (potato pancakes) because they are cooked in oil and thus remind us of the miracle of the single cruse [pitcher of oil]. Rabbi Solomon Freehof, a great contemporary Jewish scholar, has hypothesized that the eating of latkes may have grown out of an old custom of eating milchig (dairy) foods on Hanukkah. Milchig foods evolved into milchig pancakes and then into latkes, possibly because the main potato crop became available about the time of Hanukkah. No-one knows for certain how the association began, but for anyone who feasts on latkes at Hanukkah time, a historical rationale is unnecessary.

Ingredients >
12 large potatoes, grated
3 medium onions, grated
4 eggs, beaten lightly
5 tbs. flour
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Oil for deep frying

Procedure >
The secret to great latkes is to remove as much liquid from the potatoes and onions as possible. Put the grated potatoes in a clean tea towel and squeeze the liquid out of the mixture. Do the same for the grated onions. Combine all the ingredients and mix together well by hand. In a heavy skillet, put a 3/4″ deep layer of oil. Heat until sizzling. Form individual pancakes by hand and carefully slide into the pan using a slotted spatula. Fill the pan, but leave room between the pancakes. When the latkes are nicely browned on one side, turn carefully and cook until browned on the other side and crisp on the edges. Remove with a spatula and place on paper towels. Let the excess grease drain onto the paper towel. Serve immediately for the best taste. You can keep the latkes hot in a warm oven. Serve with sour cream or applesauce, or sprinkle with granulated sugar.

Hanukkah Dough Balls

Ingredients >
1 cup apple juice
4 oz. margarine (1 stick)
oil for frying
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Procedure >
Boil apple juice and add margarine stirring until melted. Keeping the pan on the burner, add flour until mixture forms a ball and doesn’t stick to the sides of the pan. Remove from burner and beat in eggs one at a time. Heat the oil in a deep fryer, wok, or large frying pan. Once oil is hot, the dough can be dropped by teaspoons into hot oil. Fry until golden brown making sure that the dough balls puff and are cooked evenly. Remove from oil with strainer and drain on paper towels. Serve hot with assorted dips: cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, heated raspberry preserves, hot chocolate sauce, hot honey and chopped nuts, heated marmalade with shredded coconut.

Marshmallow Dreidels

Ingredients >
1 marshmallow
Icing
1 Hershey’s kiss
1 3″ licorice stick or toothpick

Procedure >
Assemble dreidel by pushing the licorice stick or toothpick through the marshmallow. Attach the chocolate kiss to the marshmallow with some Icing. Use the remainder of the icing to write the letters nun, gimel, hei, and shin on each side of the marshmallow. It may not spin well, but it sure does taste good!

Sufganiyot

Ingredients >
1 package dry yeast
4 tbs. sugar
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 eggs, separated
2 tbs. butter, softened
apricot or strawberry preserves
vegetable oil
sugar

Procedure >
Mix together the yeast, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the milk. Let sit to make sure it bubbles. Sift the flour and mix it with the remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, egg yolks, and the yeast mixture. Knead the dough until it forms a ball. Add the butter or margarine. Knead some more, until the butter is well absorbed. Cover with a towel and let rise overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut the dough into 24 rounds with a juice glass, or any object about 2 inches in diameter. Take 1/2 teaspoon of preserves and place in center of 12 rounds. Top with the other 12. Press down at edges, sealing with egg whites. Crimping with the thumb and second finger is best. Let rise for about 30 minutes. Heat 2 inches of oil to about 375 degrees. Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil, about 5 at a time. Turn to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Roll the doughnuts in sugar.

You may want to mix up your Hanukkah cooking with recipes incorporating the flavors of other traditions.

Indian Sweet Potato Curry Pancakes

Ingredients >
1 large sweet potato, peeled and coarsely grated
1/2 cup white flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs*, beaten
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil (for frying)
For serving >
Apple sauce
2 large mangoes, cubed
Sour cream
Cinnamon

Procedure >
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cayenne pepper, curry powder, cumin, salt and black pepper. Add the eggs* and milk to the dry ingredients to make a stiff batter. Add the potatoes and mix (the batter should be moist but not runny; if too stiff, add a little more milk.) Heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil in a large frying for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Drop two heaping tablespoons of the potato batter into the hot pan and flatten down with the back of a spatula. Continue in this manner so that you are frying 3 to 4 pancakes at a time. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for several minutes until all of the pancakes are golden on each side. Place fried pancake onto a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Serve hot sprinkled with a dash of cinnamon and cubed mango chunks or a dollop of apple sauce and/or sour cream.
Note: If you want to stretch the batter a bit and make more pancakes with less potatoes, add another egg or two.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 (Makes 20 three-inch pancakes).

Source > The Jewish Outreach Institute > http://www.joi.org/celebrate/hanuk/food.shtml

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