Today we welcome Tzirel Chana to the spotlight. Tzirel has been reaching out to us and offering wonderful recipes and articles that connect to the spiritual side of our religion. She gave us a challah shaped like the ten commandments for Shavuot and the well known Key Challah after Pescah. She also shared Amalek kugel for Purim. Today we are talking to Tzirel to learn more about her and her blog.
Tell us about your blog and how you got started:
Laurie Colwin's 1990 classic "Home Cooking" inspired me to write light-hearted cooking essays. Colwin who died in 1992 was sadly an assimilated intermarried Jew albeit blessed with a wonderful, generous and very Jewish spirit. At first my essays appeared in a local (Jerusalem) newspaper and then I started posting them online as a blog which I named
as a tribute to Laurie Colwin's memory.
What is your earliest cooking memory?
The West Side apartment where I grew up had such a narrow galley kitchen that my mother never invited me to join her when she cooked. There was simply no room for two people. When I became a teenager I started to bake from cookbooks, things like sour cream cake, lemon meringue pie and chocolate chip cookies.
What is your favorite kitchen implement / utensil / gadget?
Two Pesach's ago my daughter, who is a much better cook than I, introduced me to the Global knife which is considered the best knife in the world. Yes, it costs a small fortune but I use it every day and it is makes cutting a pleasure.
What's your favorite kosher dish to cook?
Challah. I've been attempting a six braid because two loaves with six strands each equals 12 strands and there were 12 loaves in the Bais Hamikdash. Challah making is connecting to our foremothers, nurturing our families and reaching out to Hashem.
Who is your cooking inspiration?
My mother. She's a kitchen magician. When ever she'd taste something, at a restaurant or even at a kiddush she'd reverse engineer the dish, to recreate the taste and she was often successful. She also performed culinary
recreating the flavors of her Hungarian childhood home in her NY kitchen. One of the reasons I started my blog was in order to collect her recipes.
Please share a favorite cooking tip or trick with our readers:
Be open. Pirkei Avot the Ethics of the Fathers says that the wise man learns from everyone. The same is true for cooking. Whenever you taste something you like ask for the recipe. Be a collector. Always be willing to try new things.
Which recipes are you sharing with us today?
My mother in law's
. She was born in Bombay. She taught me this recipe just before my wedding and I make it nearly every Shabbos. It also freezes well. I am also sharing my so easy a toddler could do it (almost)
with almonds and dried cranberries.
About Tzirel Chana
I'm a fiftysomething Mom of young adults, teens and tweens. My kitchen is my laboratory. I experiment a lot though, thank G-d nothing has blown up. I also write and take pictures.
Lately, I've been writing a cookbook about interplay between Jewish tradtion and Jewish cooking .
Visit me at http://kosherhomecooking.com