Monday, April 27, 2009

Something decadent to make for Shavuos + two blog recommendations + new cookbook. Whew!

The next big Jewish holiday coming in up just a few weeks is Shavuos, where we celebrate the anniversary of receiving the Torah at Har (Mount) Sinai.

During Shavuos, we celebrate by eating dairy foods. There are a number of explanations given for this custom; Rabbi Shraga Simmons provides a number of explanations for eating dairy on Shavuos on This is one of the few times a year that I make a festive dairy meal, and actually bake something dairy. I usually make one somewhat low-fat cheese cake (Heh! Like that exists!), and one incredibly decadent cheesecake. I've been wanting to make something else really decadent this year, and may have found my target recipe.

One of my favorite culinary authors, Michael Ruhlman, has published a new cookbook that I can't wait to get my hands on, called Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking. Hmm. I got a Barnes & Noble 20% off coupon yesterday in my inbox...maybe this would be a good use for it. (Sorry, Amazon, but I do love you too. You just don't send me coupons like B&N does.)

Ratio is a cookbook that explains, basically, the ratio between ingredients in order to make a recipe. It's something that I knew existed and that is taught in cooking schools, but needed a good, inexpensive guide to the details, particularly since my math skills are horrible.

Anyways, this Vanilla Sauce from Michael's cookbook sounds fantastic. I buy cream exactly one time a year (for this holiday only) in a 32 oz container (not sure it's 32 oz, but it might be*), but don't use all of it and hate wasting it. This recipe will be fabulous for using up the container. I'm not sure what preparation I'll use, but I'll figure it out before the holiday. If I'm really ambitious, maybe it'll be a flourless chocolate torte or some decadent chocolate-y dessert, with the regular vanilla sauce preparation. Yummy!

I must give a hat tip to Jaden of Smitten Kitchen who mentioned Michael's book in this post. She has a podcast up that I haven't listened to yet, but I'm sure it's fantastic. Jaden's blog is one of my favorite cooking blogs because she's entertaining, has great pictures, and focuses on Asian cooking, which is one of my current interests. Jaden has a giveaway of a kitchen scale featured on her site right now, but since I don't need more competition, please don't enter, 'kay? But you can sign up for her newsletter - it's a fun, informative read.

Hey, if you're thinking of buying the cookbook, please buy it thru this link...maybe I'll be able to feed my cookbook habit with your help:

* I only cook with Chalav Yisrael products. Chalav Yisrael is milk produced and packaged under constant Jewish supervision. Heavy cream is not a high demand product in the Chalav Yisrael industry, so I've only seen it in large containers. They don't come in the little 1 or 2 cup containers like the general cream market.

P.S. Michael's blog looks really interesting. It's been added to my Bloglines list. Enjoy!