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    Manischewitz Cook-Off: And the winner is....



    A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending the annual The Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off event in New York City where Amy Siegal of Clifton, New Jersey was proclaimed the winner for her Mediterranean Falafel Sliders. (Not to brag or anything, but we knew once we tasted them that she had the winning recipe. Her falafel sliders were SOOOO good!)

    Well, we got a hold of the winning recipe and wanted to share it with you. Manischewitz has also agreed to give away their Manischewitz Falafel Mix (the secret ingredient!) and a bunch of other great Manischewitz products to one lucky Chosen Blog reader. All you have to do is leave the name of your favorite Manischewitz product in the comments section below by Midnight 3/16/09.
    And without further a do, here is the winning recipe:

    Marvelous Mediterranean Falafel Sliders

    1 envelope Manischewitz falafel mix
    2 lb.Ground turkey*
    1 cup Mint leaves, chopped
    1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive oil
    1 Large Bermuda onion, thinly sliced
    1 can Ready to serve Tehina
    12 3-inch rolls
    1 head Bibb lettuce, washed and patted dry
    Manischewitz non-stick cooking spray
    Ground black pepper Water

    1.In a large mixing bowl, combine falafel mix, turkey, mint leaves, black pepper to taste and 3-4 tablespoons cold water to moisten. Shape mixture into 12 small patties. Heat a grill pan or large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Grill patties for 3-5 minutes per side, until no longer pink in center. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and Bermuda onion. Sauté for 10-12 minutes, until softened and golden. In a small bowl, stir together tehina with ¼ cup water. Add more water to make a thinner sauce, if desired, set aside. Heat rolls in a 250 degree F oven for 5 minutes or until warm.

    2. To assemble slider; on a plate, place bottom of roll, lettuce leaf, cooked patty, onions, 1 tbsp tehina, and top of roll. Garnish with additional chopped mint leaves. Serve remaining tehina sauce on the side for dipping.
    *You can use regular and light varieties of ground turkey however the regular variety works best in this recipe.

    Enjoy!

    Mishloach Manot Twitter Exchange



    The conversation on Twitter turned to mischloach manot (aka Purim Baskets) today and we thought it would be fun to start a mishloach manot exchange with our Twitter friends! (Kind of like a chain mail letter)

    Here's how it works: Leave your Twitter handle in the comments section below by Midnight, Tuesday, March 3rd. PopJudaica.com will send mishloach manot to the first person who leaves their twitter handle in the comments section. Everyone else will send mishloach manot to the person whose handle is directly below them on the list. Be sure to follow the person on Twitter who appears above and below your handle, so that you can exchange addresses via DM. Please make sure that the mishloach manot that you send to your Twitter recipient is certified kosher.

    Read more about the tradition of Mishloach Manot here.

    You must have a Twitter account to participate in this exchange. Sign up for Twitter here.

    Have fun!

    The Chicken Soup Challenge!



    The weather outside is frightful. Isn't the thought of chicken soup so delightful?!

    PopJudaica.com is proud to be a sponsor of NJOP'S Better Than Your Bubbie's Chicken Soup Challenge - a search for the best chicken soup recipe in America!

    The National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) is looking for both traditional and unusual formulas of this famous elixir. So whether it is your grandmother’s famous recipe or your version of chicken soup fusion, NJOP wants to taste your Jewish penicillin!

    Cooks across America are invited to submit their original recipes for a chance to win great prizes including a $100 gift certificate to PopJudaica.com, a FREE trip to Israel, a kitchen décor consultation with Art de Triomphe interior design and other great prizes. Five finalists will be selected under the direction of celebrity chef Jeff Nathan, the executive chef of New York-based Abigael’s and their soups will be tasted and judged by a prestigious panel of judges!

    For more information and to enter, visit the contest's official website.

    Trick or Treif?

    After a month of three-day weeks, festive meals, and thoughtful fasts, the holidays are over and those of us at PopJudaica.com are recovering. We have nearly two months until the next Jewish holiday -- Chanukah -- and Thanksgiving is nearly a month away, so that means we're in the clear. No more thinking about what to wear or what to eat, visiting family or taking part in festive parties that knock us out for days, right?

    Wrong! Thankfully (or not?) a JTA news story has reminded us that today, Halloween, is a whole different sort of enigma for the Jewish community, especially this year when the holiday falls on Shabbat. It's a debate of great proportion between traditions: "challah vs. candy, the Sabbath Queen vs. the Pumpkin King, blue homes vs. orange."

    The bonuses to the holiday are the sales on candy the next day, which -- kosher or not -- can benefit us all. But trying to convince your kids or friends to do Shabbat instead of Halloween can prove difficult. So a Halloween-themed Shabbat dinner? For some of us, we'll just buy our Purim costumes at post-Halloween sales and anticipate the distant dressed-up holiday.

    So whether you're staying in tonight for Shabbat dinner, going to synagogue, dressing up as your favorite politician or television personality, or if you're indifferent all around, there is an option outside toiling over the Great Pumpkin/Great Big Meal debate. The activity? Making a Pumpkin Challah! Martha Stewart, the Queen of "Good Things" has this recipe on her website, and we'd like to share it with you for this occasion:

    PUMPKIN CHALLAH RECIPE

    Makes 2 loaves

    * 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast, (1 1/2 packages)
    * 1 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
    * 3/4 cup egg yolks, (11 to 12 large eggs), plus 1 large egg yolk for glaze
    * 1 tablespoon salt
    * 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for bowl
    * 1/4 cup honey
    * 2 cups homemade Pumpkin Puree, or one 15-ounce can
    * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    * 1/4 teaspoon allspice
    * 8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

    Directions

    1. Proof the yeast: Place 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl, and sprinkle yeast over it. Stir to combine, and let sit until mixture becomes foamy, about 10 minutes.
    2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine egg yolks with remaining 1/2 cup warm water. In a medium bowl, combine salt, canola oil, honey, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Replace paddle attachment with dough-hook attachment, and add the pumpkin mixture to the mixer bowl; combine. Add the yeast mixture, stirring until combined.
    3. Slowly add flour, 1 cup at a time, until all the flour is incorporated into dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
    4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, punch down the dough, and then form it into two 8-inch loaves. Place the loaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
    5. While the dough is rising, heat the oven to 350º. Mix remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the loaves with the egg glaze, and bake until golden brown, about 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, and serve.