Holy Smokes! It’s Shoshi’s Favorite Dessert!

Purim might be over, but Pesach is not for a while yet.

Let’s celebrate life this week with lots of cocoa and a touch of summer berries.

 

Shoshi’s Molten Lava Cake

1 cup unsalted butter or margarine
8oz semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
5 large eggs
½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 teaspoons flour
8 extra large paper muffin cups (or 12 regular)

Garnish:
1 (6oz) container raspberries
moistened slightly
and rolled in about ½ cup sugar right before serving.

1. Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth, beat in flour or matzo meal until just combined. (The batter can be made a day ahead; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.

2. Before serving dinner, adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard size muffin tin with muffin papers. Spray muffin papers with cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups.

3. Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift cakes from tim and set on a qork surface. Pull papers away from cakes and transfer cakes to dessert plates.

4. Top each cake with sugared raspberries and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

I Didn’t (M)Ask for This!

Do you ever look at your life and not recognize it at all?

Do you catch yourself wondering why you live in Minnesota when you always envisioned living in Jerusalem? Who is this little boy I gave birth to? How did I end up with her as my neighbor?

What is this weird stuff, this mask, these unfamiliar surprises, and why are they interfering with my life?

Three weeks before Purim, at the most recent BC retreat, I attended a class about Esther. You know, Esther from the Purim story. After all these years I thought I knew her but boy did I learn a thing or two!

Did you know that Esther lived in the palace with Achashveirosh for nine years before Haman even thought of wiping out the Jews?

Did you know Esther was married to Mordechai at that time?

Did you know that in the end, after the battles were won and the celebration died down Esther remained behind those walls for the rest of her life?

How did a nice Jewish girl from an observant family deal with all that? The woman with a perfect life, married to a Rabbi, an inspiration to her peers… how did she give it all up to live with Achashveirosh; a vile, temperamental lowlife?

What helped Esther keep her sanity?

When Esther was taken to the king’s palace against her will there was nothing she could do to avoid her predicament. The commentaries teach us that during those years, Esther would regularly go back to be with her husband Mordechai. According to Jewish law she was allowed to do this because she never went willingly to Achashveirosh. She was forced.

In fact there is an interesting Zohar explaining that Esther was never actually intimate with Achashveirosh at all. Because of her vast knowledge of Kabbalah, when the king called her she would summon a look-alike spirit to be with him instead of her.

Whether she was actually with the king or sent a spirit in her place, the important thing is that during those long years of isolation in Achaveirosh’s palace, she always had one thing. She had her relationship with her beloved Mordechai.

And suddenly there was a moment when all of that changed forever.

In the ninth year of Esther’s stay at the palace Haman decided he’d had enough of Mordechai the Jew. Killing Mordechai alone would not satisfy him though. Haman wanted all the Jews to go down with him.

Now, in an attempt to save the Jewish people Mordechai turned to Esther. “Go to the king, Esther. Please plead on our behalf and save your people!” (Megillah 4: 14)

Esther’s response was not as expected. After explaining the dangers of approaching the king uninvited Esther added, “But I have not been called to the king for thirty days.” (Megilla 4:11)

What was she trying to say?

With these few words Esther was implying that Achashveirosh would call for her any day now. She’ll be summoned to the king shortly and maybe she should wait and talk to him then. In this way she could maintain her halachik status as a helpless victim and nothing would be lost as far as her personal relationship with Mordechai.

If Esther listened to Mordechai, it would be the first time she approached the king on her own initiative. Her status would instantly change to that of ‘willing participant’ and she would never be allowed to return to Mordechai again. That was simply too painful to imagine.

Mordechai heard her. He knew what she meant. Yet with all of these implications Mordechai responded that “The lives of your people are at stake.” This is not the time to make calculations.

Fully aware that she might bring capital punishment upon herself, both according to halacha and according to Persian law, Esther chose to go. In her own words she responded, “…and if I am lost, I am lost.” (Megillah 4:16)Just as I will be lost from my people, so too I recognize that I will be lost from you, Mordechai.

It was at that moment that Esther gave up everything. She gave up her clean slate, gave up her reputation, went against halacha, and did everything she could possibly do to save her Jewish brothers and sisters. She did it for us.

When Esther went to the king voluntarily it was the first time in nine years that she was a willing and active participant in her own life. She was neither forced nor did she send a replacement. Esther threw herself wholeheartedly into her mission and sacrificed everything for one reason: to save the lives of her people – to make sure that you and I would be here today.

How did Esther have the strength?

The last words Mordechai said to Esther before she went to the king were, “Who knows whether it wasn’t for a time like this that you were brought to royalty?” (Megilla 4:14)

To Esther, hearing these words from Mordechai – her Rebbe – was like hearing, “Who knows whether it wasn’t for a time like this that you were brought to the world? Maybe this is your life mission, your purpose.”

So here was Esther, also known as Hadassah – meaning hidden, whose whole life in the palace was a mask. She looked in the mirror and couldn’t recognize herself. What is that crown? What are these garments? What are these walls I wear around myself? For years she fought against the mask, fought against the foreign circumstances wrapped around her.

Yet when it came time to save her people Esther surrendered fully to her mission. The very circumstances she saw as wrong and ill fitting up until now, she finally embraced as her life’s purpose. What she previously saw as a mask, she chose to wear with confidence.

Certain events in our lives are “masked” – we tend think of them as interfering with the lives that we were meant to live. Painful, difficult moments are like that; their true purpose is so masked that they actually feel foreign. “This shouldn’t be happening to me!”

Embracing these masked moments as ours, as intricately tied up with our unique purpose, puts us more in touch with our true selves.

Do you ever look at your life and not recognize it at all?

Do you catch yourself wondering why you live in Brooklyn when you always envisioned living in Hawaii?

The baby spits up on your sheets, and the doorbell rings at the wrong time of day, your nephew is in the hospital and it seems like life is interfering with the life you envision in your head. But today, can you hear that added little voice?

“I might not have (m)asked for this, but can it be that for this very moment…?”

 

Entry coauthored by Chayale Udkoff and the BC blogger

Happy Purim!! Someone Didn’t Get a Wink of Sleep Owl Week

The results are kind of hill-airy-ice. Take a peek at whoots been flying:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and on THAT note, this little pair was made in the kitchen 3 minutes ago with the dough left over from these:
(Please enjoy the recipe and see what your leftovers add to the punversation 😉

BC Blogger favorite Hamentash recipe:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup (two sticks) margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup orange juice
A pinch of salt.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (adding flour if necessary).
Form little balls of the dough in the palm of your hand and flatten.
Put a small scoop of jam in the center and fold the dough in from three sides.
Pinch the three sides together over the jelly.
Bake on 350 degrees until they look ready.
A bit vague, I know, but you’ll be ok!

Now, to address the penguin in the room, I haven’t put up a single Purim post yet this week. Oops! As they say – it’s been a flying week – cut her some flock. They’ll be up real soon!

In the meanwhile; here’s a beak at what’s coming up:

A:
Shoshi’s Corner #3: From the Pan to the Party
Our all time favorite chef’s all time favorite dessert recipe; Hot Lava Cakes!!!

B:
I Didn’t Mask for This:
Learn from Queen Esther how to react to unexpected circumstances!

 

I hope everyone is still on a high!
You have been on my mind and in my heart in a really HUGE way!
Wishing you a restful Shabbos, and a very hoppy Purim!!
<3 the BC blogger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is HUGE!!

TODAY you have the power to forever change the lives of 180 girls and women, and the families and communities they build!

Every single dollar YOU give to Bais Chana will be matched by 4 extraordinary women to reach our goal of $180,000 in scholarships.

Here’s how the campaign works –

  • This is an online event – you can do this anywhere and everywhere
  • ONLY 24 HOURS FROM START TO FINISH
  • THE CAMPAIGN IS ALL OR NOTHING – we MUST raise the full amount
  • EVERY DOLLAR YOU DONATE IS QUADRUPLED!!!


Watch this video to see how it works:

)

Check back here to find the live link tomorrow at 1:00 pm

or if you have Facebook, then sign up and share this event with your friends.
https://www.facebook.com/events/562566020518051/

Help us share the Bais Chana love right now and tell all your friends and family about our campaign!

Forever and a Friday Ago… (and the world’s best Challa recipe, but who’s judging? ;)

Little secret about Challa baking in Minnesota on Friday, February the 14th –

It was a total improv success story.

Our Challa instructor whom we had planned and booked well in advance – a week to be exact, was stuck in traffic. With under an hour to go it didn’t look like she would make it in time.

What to do? What to do?!?!

Not to worry!
In classic Bais Chana style, someone jumped in to save the day.

With less than a moment’s notice, the adorable, the lovely, the inspirational, the sensational and most splendid Londoner Devorie jumped right in and whipped up a batch of dough before I could say “WHO?”.

From whence to procure a Challa Recipe whilst in the midst of Minnesota?
Thanks to Devorie, some quick thinking and a screen shot from Hinda Leah’s phone, we hereby present you with

The World’s Best Challa You Ever Did See.

15 IMG_2367

Dough
4(.25 ounce) packages quick rise dry yeast
4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons salt
3/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
12 cups bread flour, or as needed

Topping
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sesame seeds divided

In a large bowl combine the yeast, water and a few spoons full of sugar.
Once the yeast bubbles, add the rest of the wet ingredients and mix.

Add the dry ingredients and knead for 10 – 15 minutes.

 

Once the dough is ready:

 

Step #1: Scoop up a handful into your hands*. Recite the Bracha for separating Challa:

 

ברוך אתה “ אלהינו הלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציונו להפריש חלה
“Boruch Atoh Ado-nay Elo-heinu Melech Ha’Olam Asher Kidshanu B’mitzvosav V’tzivanu L’hafrish Challah”
“Blessed are You, Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with his Commandments and commanded us to separate challah (from the dough).”

 

Set aside that piece to be burned.

Step #2: Braid the Challa!!

9 IMG_2371Wow. Nice one Elka!!

 

Once braided, allow the dough to rise about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the egg and vanilla.
Brush the Challas.
Then sprinkle with the sesame seeds or the topping of your choice.
Previously attempted in Bais Chana; cinnamon sugar, colorful sprinkles, chocolate chips, fried onion, zaatar seasonings…
The possibilities are endless!!

 

Send us a photo of your favorite one!

When making your Challa this week remember to keep in mind blessings for all!
I wish you all the health, joy, strength and clarity imaginable. Just kidding – I wish you more than imaginable!
May Hashem bless each of you and all of our brethren and sisters all over the world with immediate and lasting peace, and may our true oneness be revealed once and for all.

Hugs and Happy Shabbos!
<3 the BC Blogger

 

 

 

*

III. The Procedure

After kneading, while standing, one should hold with the right hand a k’zayis (30g) of the dough (without detaching it) and recite the bracha: “…Asher kidshanu b’mitzvosav v’tzivanu l’hafrish Challah” (some add the words min ha’eesa14). One should then pull off the dough.15 At this point, some recite the words “harei zu Challah” (one may not say this until the piece has been pulled off).

The Challah should then be burned17 as soon as possible until it is completely charred. One should not store the Challah for future burning (e.g. freeze it for burning at biur chametz on Erev Pesach), as this undermines one of the reasons we burn the dough, shelo yavo leydai takala, that one will not accidentally mix this dough (which is Challah) with regular dough and inadvertently bake and eat it.