Hamentaschen Drawing

(Courtesy of Kosher.com)

(Courtesy of Kosher.com)

 
Purim is almost upon us, and the nice folks at Kosher.com have offered to send a tin of gourmet Hamentaschen to one of my blog readers or Twitter followers.
 
I highly recommend the holiday of Purim to those of you who are unfamiliar with it. It may well be the most joyous holiday in the Jewish calendar.
 
It celebrates one of the relatively few heroines in the Bible—Queen Esther of Persia. Here’s a brief rundown of her story:
 
A young Jewish girl in the fourth century B.C.E., Esther won a beauty pageant held by King Ahasuerus (a.k.a. Xerxes), who was looking for a new wife. He had executed the previous one in a fit of pique. He replaced her with Esther.
 
Esther’s cousin and former guardian, Mordecai, warned her not to reveal to the king that she was Jewish. Living in exile in Persia, the Jews were often subjected to anti-Semitism.
 
The king’s evil counselor, Haman, took offense when Mordecai refused to bow down to him and arranged to have all the Jews in the country killed. Esther went to the king and revealed her identity. This act took great courage, given the fate of her predecessor. Esther pulled it off, however.
 
In the end, the horrible Haman was hanged at the gallows he had erected for Mordecai. Esther and the Jewish people were given permission to defend themselves against their enemies. Jews in Persia held a HUGE party to celebrate their brave, beautiful queen and their enhanced status.
 
To commemorate Esther’s resourcefulness Jewish people party on Purim. It’s a time for dressing up in costumes and playing pranks. It’s also a time for giving to the needy and for exchanging gifts of food. And it’s a time for getting drunk—or at least for seeing the world from a new, youthful perspective. 
 
"Esther" by John Everett Millais (Courtesy of the Tate Online)

"Esther" by John Everett Millais (Courtesy of the Tate Online)

Hamentaschen are a sweet Purim treat. I’ve loved them all my life. They rank somewhere between a cookie and a small cake in bakeries. They are triangular (some say to mimic the shape of nasty Haman’s tricorn hat). And they’re enhanced with poppy seed or fruit filling.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, Hamentaschen are occasionally filled with and/or covered with chocolate in our chocoholic culture!
 
I’ll be posting a traditional Hamentaschen recipe soon. Meanwhile, I encourage you to enter the drawing from Kosher.com. Here’s what you have to do:
 
Leave a comment on this blog or post a tweet from now through this coming Friday, February 12. I’ll cut off entries at midnight EST.
 
The comment or tweet should contain two pieces of information.
 
First, it should tell me what YOUR favorite food holiday—religious or non-religious—is.
 
Second, it should provide a link to the Kosher.com web site. Find something on the site that intrigues you—a recipe, a product (they have tasty foods available year round, not just for Purim!), a piece of information about a Jewish holiday.
 
If you choose to tweet rather than post a comment here, please send a tweet to me (remember, my Twitter name is LaTinque) so I won’t miss your contribution!
 
Next Monday, February 15, I will randomly select a winner from the comments and tweets. Kosher.com will send that lucky person the tin of Hamentaschen. It should arrive in plenty of time to help you usher in Purim on February 28.
 
As they said of Levy’s rye bread, you don’t have to be Jewish to love Hamentaschen!
 
While you’re thinking about your comment and/or tweet, you might like to try this recipe from Kosher.com’s Chef Jamie Geller.
 
Jamie has provided several recipes that enable readers to consume alcohol during Purim without getting drunk. She calls them her “saucy” selections. This soup will enable you to celebrate this holiday without going overboard.
 
I look forward to reading your comments……
Jamie's Soup (Courtesy of Kosher.com)

Jamie's Soup (Courtesy of Kosher.com)

 
 
Kosher Italian Bean Soup
(Courtesy of Kosher.com and Jamie Geller)
 
Ingredients:
 
1 medium onion, quartered
6 cups water
3 cups Imagine Organic No-Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
10 baby carrots
10 baby zucchini
1 frozen crushed garlic cube
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
 
Instructions:
 
Place all ingredients in a 6-quart stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil.
 
Reduce the soup to a simmer and cook it uncovered for 18 to 20 minutes.
 
Ladle into bowls and serve. Serves 8. 
 
Jamie Geller (Courtesy of Kosher.com)

Jamie Geller (Courtesy of Kosher.com)

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18 Responses to “Hamentaschen Drawing”

  1. Let me be the first. Although it isn’t an actual holiday, my own favorite food holiday is the first day in spring that I can pick a salad from my garden.

    In looking at the http://www.kosher.com site, I zoomed right in on Zomick’s bread, the rye and the pumpernikel, because “Jewish bakery” to me was Zeisler’s in Bridgeport, CT. During my childhood during the 1940s, every Sunday evening from my baby years on, my Irish-Catholic father would bundle me up, put me in the Packard, and drive to Zeisler’s, where we would stand and wait for the loaves to come out of the ovens.

    I would watch in awe as the doors opened and the breads were slid onto cooling racks. We waited a few minutes while my dad visited with the bakers, then we were off with our prizes.

    My favorite treat was a salt stick. I would bite off the end, and all the way home dig out the delicate, soft dough until I had only a crunchy shell left. And then, like an ice cream cone, I ate that too.

  2. OK – I’ll have to say for SWEETS it’s Christmas all the way, because of the sugar-free chocolates I love. But for regular food, it has to be Thanksgiving. Some happy Thanksgiving memories include a trip to New York and a stop at an Indian restaurant.

    Now for kosher.com: I will have to say Herring in Cream Sauce is one of my absolute fave’s. Here is the link to that:
    http://www.kosher.com/KosherFishSeafood/Appetizers/Herring/

    And second place will go to Smoked Salmon or Lox. Here is the link to that:
    http://www.kosher.com/KosherFishSeafood/Appetizers/LoxNovaSmokedSalmon/

    This site is neat.

    Oh – and here is your Twitter for today: Hamentaschen Drawing! Story and contest rules are at Tinky’s cooking blog: http://bit.ly/9vn4Lo

    Later!

  3. commonweeder says:

    To choose a favorite holiday or favorite holiday food is impossible. All holidays are just great reasons for making a seasonal treat. I will say that ONE of my favorite kosher treats is from the Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews by Edda Servi Machlin. Ginetti di Sukkot is billed as an ancient recipe and therefore not lovely to look at. It is VERY crunchy, and most people like to dip it as they do biscotti. It is simple with sugar, olive oil, egss, ground almonds, anise seeds, cinnamon, grated orange or lemon rind, vanilla, almond extract and flour. http://www.kosher.com/Articles/NutritiousDeliciousTipsforHealthyKosherLivingEating/GroggersHammentashenCandy.html

    Can’t wait for the drawing. I love hammentaschen.

  4. Anu says:

    My favorite holiday is really the one you make yourself where you just take a day off from life and have fun doing whatever you like – read, hike, park, picnic, matinee movie. I call it – taking a mental health day 🙂

    I’ve never had babka and this looks yummy:
    http://www.kosher.com/KosherBakery/FreshBakedGoods/Cakes/Pies/ChocolateBabka.html

  5. Flaneur says:

    So… with the introduction of Hamentaschen, Queen Esther led us down the slippery slope of fruit-filled pastries that eventually begat fruit cake. Thanks, Esther. On the other hand, the Kosher bean soup from http://www.kosher.com would be a blessing at any February meal. And a happy Chinese New Year’s, too – it’s the Year of the Tiger, but let’s hope our grandmothers have handed down no recipes. My favorite holiday? My birthday, if only because Tinky, for years, made a glorious cake which I either called an spice cake or a walnut cake or a pumpkin cake. I never really grasped what the ingredients were but apparently wasn’t interested either. It always tasted sublime, rich and complex, and the frosting was deliriously addicting. wise readers will quickly understand that the cake is brilliantly adaptable and should be included in the culinary festivities of whatever holiday they hold dearest. And Tinky, I have a birthday coming up…

  6. Erin says:

    Without a doubt my favorite food holiday is the autumn celebration of Halloween. Pumpkin everything, warm spices, mulled drinks, the very end of the gardens bounty for the year. Fantastic!

    As far as http://www.kosher.com goes, I was lucky enough to grow up in a primarily Jewish area, so was able to sample many many foods– I have always been a sucker for matzoh crackers dipped in kosher chocolate and sprinkled with chopped dried apricots!

  7. Grad says:

    Oh, Tink! Another wonderful holiday for me to celebrate! I’m going to pull out Feast by Nigella Lawson. She has a whole chapter on Purim. I went to Catholic schools all my life, but the nuns in my grade school, especially my 7th grade teacher, loved Jewish culture, Jewish religious traditions, and the courage of the Jews as a people (not to mention Jewish cooking!). It was an admiration passed on to their students. When we were planning our Christmas celebration that year, Sr. Wilbert also asked us to form into groups and come up with a Hannukah celebration as well. My group decided to make Haroset. (I’m not even sure if that is considered a Hannukah dish). What fun! Growing up my Mom (Shorty) always reminded me that Isreal and I shared a birthday (even though, in reality, I am 3 days older). So, was it any wonder that my first attempt at baking my own bread was Challah? I didn’t get the braiding quite correct, but it was so delicious that I have continued to make it for decades (and I still don’t get the braiding right). But, apparently the folks at http://www.kosher.com do. Just look at the lovely picture at http://usa.kosher.com/KosherBakery. I’m not sure how to post a link, so I may not qualify for the drawing, but I love this post, and your blog, and wanted to let you know. (Also love the kosher website, which I will definitely put on my Favorites to visit often.)

  8. Grad says:

    Ooops. Forgot to tell you my favorite food holiday…Halloween. It reminds me of coming home and finding Shorty had spent the day making spooky treats – my favorite being Hoot Owl Cookies.

  9. tinkyweisblat says:

    What wonderful holidays we have had so far–AND products! We also had smoked fish (my father’s favorite) on Twitter.

    Grad, of course you qualify (and I don’t get the braiding right, either).

    And Flaneur, mais oui, I know you have a big birthday approaching.

    Today (February 9) is National Bagel Day so keep up the good work, my friends……. let’s get lots of people thinking hamentaschen!

  10. Cathy Cosby says:

    Favorite food holiday? Aww – cmon! Any day with homemade food is a holiday! I love food and my waistline shows it!!

    And as for something from their website – this chocolate quick bread looks and sounds delicious!!

    http://www.kosher.com/Recipes/Desserts/MiniTripleChocolateQuickBreads.html

  11. Anne says:

    Hi Tinky – I don’t think I can choose my favourite food — my answer would just be …. food!! I haven’t put a link in to http://www.kosher.com. – I’m assuming the giveaway is just for the States. Although we in the UK now live in a ‘multicultural’ society, Jewish festivals don’t get much publicity, so I enjoyed your story!! Love, Anne

  12. tinkyweisblat says:

    Hi, Anne–I have a feeling you’re right about the UK; I’m sorry! But thanks for joining in the discussion anyway…….

  13. White horseradish schmeared on matzah for Passover … the most important thing about consuming this treat is to nibble cautiously and not take a big bite.

    http://www.kosher.com/KosherBakery/ButterflakeBakeryFreshNutFreeBakedGoods/LargeChallah.html

    I love Challah, but it has to be very fresh, baked that day, so let me give you another link … ahhhh, how about a knish?

    http://www.kosher.com/KosherDelicatessen/KosherPreparedFood/ChapaNoshPreparedFoods/TraditionalSideDishes/PotatoKnish.html

  14. grad says:

    The chapter on Purim is in Jean Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen, not Nigella Lawson’s Feast.

  15. Raoul Montchoux says:

    Hmmm. Well, my favorite holiday has to be Thanksgiving not only because I pretty much like every food served, but primarily because it is so clear that it’s a holiday where any and everyone is welcome at the table. I like its inclusiveness. I enjoyed my visit to kosher.com and was reminded of an abundance of things I liked (something that I might say about almost any food-related web site) but what caught my eye, perhaps because I’ve been subconsciously craving it, was nova lox. And kosher.com had plenty of appealing offerings. So my next cocktail party will consist of martinis, prune hamentaschen and smoked salmon [http://www.kosher.com/KosherFishSeafood/Appetizers/LoxNovaSmokedSalmon/] It may strike some as odd (or revolting) but it’s a menu that seems to me to be nutritious, fortifying and… Kosher. Surely there’s Kosher gin?

  16. Suzanne Gallagher says:

    My favorite holiday food is Dim Sum. This is more of a Chinese brunch served from 11AM to 2PM. There are lots of sweet goodies that Chinese people usually only eat on special occasions like Chinese New Year. Dim Sum is dumplings, steamed buns filled with meat and vegetables, small bite size portions of meat such as duck and pastries such as egg custard. My favorite item is called a sesame ball. It is a soft, sweet ball made with rice flour, stuffed inside with sweet red bean paste and rolled in sesame seeds. It is fried so that just the sesame seeds are crunchy. These are best eaten right when they are made. My mom is Chinese and we always have Dim Sum with our entire family (mostly non Chinese) and lots of friends on Christmas morning (11AM). We have been going to the same Chinese restaurant for this for over 25 years. They join a bunch of tables together and we all sit down together. It’s great because no one has to cook or clean up. After Dim Sum we all go to my mom’s house and continue to celebrate American style! We have traditional American holiday food on Thanksgiving.

    The organic kosher beef looks good, but I love receiving baskets with food in them! The basket I picked out from Kosher.com has chocolate covered pistachios in it!!! Yum! It is the Bread and Oil basket.

    http://www.kosher.com/KosherGiftBasketsGiftTraysGiftCollections/GiftBaskets/BreadOilBasket.html

  17. tinkyweisblat says:

    Suzanne–That sounds awesome! I’m jealous. We used to do something similar on Christmas when I was a girl, having all of our Christian neighbors (plus a few Jewish folks) in for a brunch of bagels, lox, and whitefish. I love combining cultures….

  18. Laurie says:

    I am going to have to go with Erin and agree on the pumpkin goodies! Although, I do love all cajun and creole food for Mardi Gras! Thank you Tinky

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