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Published: Saturday, 12/13/2008

Synagogues, churches get together to make desserts

The kitchen at Congregation Etz Chayim was filled last week with sweet recipes and volunteers from area synagogues and churches. They have been preparing for a dessert reception to be held at 2:45 p.m. today at Temple Shomer Emunim, 6453 Sylvania Ave., celebrating a performance by the Afro-Semitic Experience that will follow at 3:30 p.m.

Etz Chayim was chosen for baking because "we wanted to make sure everything was Kosher," says Elsa Leveton, administrator of the Orthodox synagogue. "To experience the aspect of Kosher, we hold to the highest standard. For this event we purchased new disposable serving trays and cooking equipment. We don't mix milk and meat recipes. We cooked on one side of the kitchen - these are dairy recipes."

Among the recipes was one for Rugelach from Rabbi Moshe Saks' wife, Meira Saks, of Congregation B'nai Israel. The cream cheese-butter dough is rolled in a circle and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Then, using a pizza cutter, wedges are cut and rolled from the large end to the small end to look like pinwheels. Then the rugelach is baked and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

Rugelach, which means "little horns," is a delicious cookie of Jewish heritage. These bite-size crescent cookies are made with a rich cream-cheese dough that can also be filled with jams, nuts, and fruit.

From Grace Temple's Carolyn Dotson came the recipe for Filled Turnovers. Made with a Crisco or margarine pastry, the turnovers have a cooked filling of figs, raisins or pitted dates, chopped nuts, and sugar.

This sharing of recipes is symbolic of the blending of music from both cultures by the Afro-Semitic Experience, a group of African-American and Jewish musicians.

Other recipes prepared were apricot nut cups, chocolate balls, Joanne Treuhaft's Mandelbrot, Pecan Tea Cookies from Janet Rogolsky's mother, Anne Rogolsky, chocolate chip cookies, macaroons, and seven-layer bars.

Volunteers were from the three synagogues and Grace Temple and Universal New Beginnings churches. Tickets for the performance are $5 and can be purchased at the door. The event is sponsored by the United Jewish Council of Greater Toledo, Congregation B'nai Israel, Congregation Etz Chayim, Congregation Shomer Emunim, and the African-American community.

Tim Tam, an iconic Australian ''biscuit'' that is a favorite of actor Hugh Jackman, is now available in the United States at Target Stores. Pepperidge Farm, a sister company to Arnott's, which has been baking Tim Tam in Australia for 40 years, introduced the favorite cookie in November. It will be available through March.

The chocolate cookie has a smooth layer of chocolate fudge between two layers of crispy biscuit. It comes in two varieties, chocolate creme and caramel.

Jackman and Nichole Kidman star in the film Australia. Arnott's and Pepperidge Farm are subsidiaries of the Campbell Soup Co.

The 20th anniversary Boston Wine Festival 2009 will begin Jan. 10 and continue through April 3 at the Boston Harbor Hotel at Rowes Wharf. Wines from around the world will be paired with fine cuisine prepared by Chef Daniel Bruce. The schedule includes a variety of evening receptions, wine seminars, dinners, and themed Sunday brunches. Among the events is a Battle of the Cabernets dinner on Jan. 14; a Super Tuscans dinner on Feb. 3; a Valentine's Dinner Dance on Feb. 13; a Jazz Brunch on Feb. 22, and an Opus One seminar and dinner March 26. For information go to bostonwinefestival.net or call 888-660-WINE.

The Charleston Food & Wine Festival March 5-8 will offer more than 50 events featuring the flavors of the Lowcountry from noted chefs, authors, and wine professionals. Among the events is Flay Down South Charity Luncheon hosted by Bobby Flay at noon on March 6; cooking demonstrations by Susan Spicer, Sara Moulton, Bruce Aidells, and Marvin Woods; a Restaurant Dine-Around with 19 restaurants participating, and winemaker receptions in private homes. For information visit charlestonfoodandwine.com or call 843-727-9998 ext. 4.



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