10 Recipes for a Happy New Year
Sep16

10 Recipes for a Happy New Year

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know that OrnaBakes actually began with my bulkas—traditional cinnamon buns that we broke our fast on each Yom Kippur in South Africa—so it would only be right to kick off this list with my signature bake. Even if you didn’t read any further and just made these, your family would think you were a rock star! But each make-ahead dish has been tried and tested by me, and would be perfect for any holiday or family gathering. If you celebrate the Jewish Holidays, wishing you L’Shanah Tovah, from our family to yours.   Love,     Traditional South African Bulkas http://www.ornabakes.com/2012/09/cinnamon-bulkas-traditional-yeast-buns/ These soft, buttery buns, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, are just sweet enough, but not too rich—so you can enjoy them anytime. My favorite thing to do over the holidays is to make them with my little one. You can check out my YouTube vid for exactly how to make them. (Please give a THUMBS UP if you find it helpful!)   Cinnamon Raisin Challah http://www.ornabakes.com/2013/08/round-challah-for-a-sweet-new-year/ Did you know that Round Challah symbolizes the cycle of life, so what better a way to bring in a sweet New Year than to bake a fresh loaf to share with your loved ones! My cuz, Carla, taught me how to make this wonderful, sweet Cinnamon Sugar loaf, which then gave me the confidence to try other things with yeast… starting my love/hate relationship with yeast. But I will say that there’s nothing more satisfying than baking your own bread!   Chicken Marbella – from The Silver Palate http://www.silverpalate.com/recipe/store-favorites/chicken-marbella Our cousins, Leon & Judy, who live in Northern California, make their wonderful variation of this recipe for the holidays, because it feeds a crowd, you can make it ahead, and well… it’s plain delish! Make sure to marinate the chicken overnight to deepen the flavor and keep it moist. They use skinless breast halves (bone-in) and thighs, but I add some legs too—my personal fav. I love their take of using half prunes & half dried apricots. I just finely minced the garlic, or you could puree it, like in the original recipe. I use my favorite World’s Largest Olives from TJ’s and just leave out the pimentos. It’s a fabulous, easy recipe—you must try it!   Anne Burrell’s Brisket (without the bacon!) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/braised-beef-brisket-with-onions-mushrooms-and-balsamic-recipe.html This is a nice change from the usual, sweet, chutney, ketchup, or cola brisket recipes. Don’t freak out on me about the bacon, just leave it out! Yes, I did find it a little weird in her episode where she says, why would anyone leave out the bacon (hello… Chef Anne, do you not have...

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AjaBakes (and Outtakes)
Feb04

AjaBakes (and Outtakes)

My four-year-old, Aja, was “helping me” make bulkas (traditional South African Cinnamon Buns) the other day, and said, “mommy record me.” So I whipped out my iPhone, and she proceeded to describe how to make bulkas—totally impromptu and with no coaching whatsoever by me. (If it was planned I would’ve cleaned up the messy kitchen!) Introducing AjaBakes (50 second clip)     I wish it would flow out of me so easily!   Please don’t report me for bad parenting when you see the outtakes! I was trying to distract her and make light of it—never dreaming it would happen again. For the third and final take (above), she was on her sturdy, pink, princess step. (The collapsible Bed Bath & Beyond step stool has been banished from the kitchen forever!)   The Outtakes   Take One (12 seconds) The step stool collapsed, and she went flying!     Take Two (36 seconds) Almost made it to the end and then bam… poor kid went down, again!      If you’d like to make these delicious buttery buns with your little ones, click here for my How-To YouTube Clip. (Not nearly as smooth or polished as Aja’s!) Of course hubby has already registered AjaBakes.com 🙂   Click here for the recipe, with pics and step-by-step instructions >>   Hope you had a good chuckle.   xoxo...

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Round Challah for a Sweet New Year
Aug29

Round Challah for a Sweet New Year

Round Challah is a traditional sweet bread, served on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize the cycle of life and a sweet new year. A few years ago, I was blown away by my cousin Carla’s homemade honey and raisin challah at our holiday celebration. Orna and Sam with Cousin Carla September, 2011 You probably already know that I have a thing for bread. I also have a major thing for challah. And topped with cinnamon sugar?! You’ve got to be kidding me! But how could I possibly make this incredible loaf myself?  Carla agreed to come over the next day and show me how it was done—removing the fear factor, and sparking my love for baking any kind of bread. Well, truthfully, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with yeast, which is why I’ve included step-by-step details, so that even if you’ve never used yeast before, you can do this! And most importantly, enjoy the process. The instructions below are for kneading in a stand mixer, or you can just do it the old fashioned way, with some elbow grease. On her next visit from Vancouver, Carla surprised me with my very own copy of The New Food Processor Bible, by Norene Gilletz, where she found this wonderful recipe. Highly Recommend! Both of these kind, generous bakers have inspired and encouraged me, and I hope to do the same for you! A special thank you goes out to Norene and friends in Norene’s Kitchen on Facebook for answering all my questions! Carla’s always getting on my back to be more “relaxed” and just enjoy cooking—but I’m sure that if I have all these questions and issues, someone out there does too, so here’s hoping that I’m making the process a little easier and less daunting. There’s no sweeter way to bring in the New Year than breaking fresh, homemade Challah with your family. Chag Sameach from our family to yours. xoxo      What you will need  Bubbled up yeast Make a well in the flour   Add the oil, eggs, water, salt, honey, and yeast mixture   Mix with the paddle attachment until combined and smooth   Knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky   Place in a large, oiled bowl, turning once to grease the top Cover and place in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 1 – 2 1/2 hours until doubled in size (or refrigerate overnight) Dough has doubled in size when you lightly poke two fingers into it and the indent doesn’t come right back out Roll into a long...

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Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns)
Sep26

Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns)

These soft, buttery buns, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, are just sweet enough, but not too rich—so you can enjoy them anytime! I like that these don’t look like the Cinnabon type cinnamon bun—the more common way to make them—and I love the satisfaction of peeling each layer apart. (Mmm… makes me salivate just thinking about it!) They’re heavenly warmed up for breakfast! Growing up in South Africa, it was our family tradition to break the fast on Yom Kippur with a warm Cinnamon Bulka (a/k/a Boolke). Waiting in anticipation to bite into Auntie Phyllie’s delicious, fresh-baked Bulkas made the fast all-the-more torturous! When I moved to Los Angeles, my friend’s mom, Rita—who took in all the stragglers for the holidays—gave me a taste of home with her mouth-watering Cinnamon Bulkas, passed down from Bobba Skuy, who grew up in little shtetl called Varklan, near Riga, Latvia. Nothing gives you more satisfaction than sitting down with a warm Bulka that you made from scratch! That’s why I went the extra mile to make these easy enough for anyone to enjoy making them. Watch the YouTube clip and see how simple it is. The highlight was making “bilkas” with Aja! It seems that no matter what you do to this dough they are still edible! (Well, to an almost-four-year-old, anyway!) I baked hers off in the toaster oven and she was in heaven! What you will need. Melted butter mixture. Yeast before proofing. Beautiful bubbled up yeast! Kneading the dough (Love this pic!). Smooth ball of dough. Set aside in a warm place to rise. Dough doubled in size. Dough has doubled in size when indentation remains after tips of fingers are pressed lightly and quickly into dough. Work with half the dough; refrigerate the rest. Divide each half into sixteen pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. With the craggy side up, flatten into a round. Keep rounds covered. Butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, and slit from the centre to the edge. Form a triangle. Combine on one baking sheet, about an inch apart. Cover loosely and allow to rise for 20 – 30 minutes. Brush with butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar. Bake until golden brown. Transfer immediately to cooling rack. Sit down and enjoy a warm bulka and cup of tea/coffee/milk! Cool Tools Parchment Sheets Bench Scraper Silicon Pastry Brush Instant Read Thermometer Cuisinart 5 1/2 Quart Stand Mixer Resources The New Food Processor Bible by Norene Gilletz The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum  Cinnamon Bulkas (Traditional Yeast Buns) 2013-08-03 18:26:23 Yields 32 Special Cinnamon Buns that kids and grown-ups will love to make and eat! Write a review...

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