Thursday, May 11, 2006

Blintz & Babka

I've had a lot of fun lately raiding the library shelves and learning about Jewish cuisine. Here's my attempt at a bissel lunch (a little lunch). First, a veganized potato- cheese blintz. I made tofu crêpes (another masterpiece from Bryanna Clark Grogan) and filled them with mashed potatoes and crumbled "Betta Feta" from Ultimate Uncheese,to replace the farmer's/cottage cheese called for in the recipe (I've always thought "Betta Feta" tasted more like "Betta Cottage Cheese" to me). I was told no blintz would be complete without a serving of applesauce, so I packed some in the large lidded container.

Tzimmes reminded me of compote; it's a sweet, spiced mixture of vegetables and dried fruit. I made mine with sweet potato, carrot, raisins, and prunes, but I had to make sure shmoo's portion only contained carrots and raisins (more prunes for me!).

And for dessert I couldn't resist making chocolate babka -- yeasted sweet dough rolled with a chocolate-cinnamon filling and topped with streusel. Normally it's baked in a loaf, but when I read that "Barney Greengrass on Manhattan's Upper West Side" serves individual babkas baked in muffin tins, I had to give it a try for the lunch box. Hey, it's as close to Manhattan as I'll ever get (but if you try it at home remember to spray the muffin liners with nonstick spray, or the chocolate filling will stick).

Verdict: Such a production? The tofu crêpes were absolutely amazing -- so easy to make and work with, so tasty, and so, so crêpey! And excellent served cold -- shmoo practically inhaled it. The tzimmes, not so much. But, oh, the babka! Somebody stop me before I babka again! 5 stars.

29 comments:

Twilight said...

omigodiva do i love babka...i haven't had that in years! i've never attempted to make it myself, though. i'm too impatient for baked goods usually. i need a full weekend off before i can bake! silly, huh?

again, as always, little schmoo's lunch sounds 100x better than mine :)

chava said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
chava said...

Wow, I used to work at a little bread store that made chocolate babka in both loaf and indiviual muffin form. It was definitely hard working there on Sunday mornings when they were hot out of the oven and I had recently become vegan. The muffins were much better than the loaf (maybe a better chocolate to bread ratio - I'm not sure) and yours looks just like them! It's exciting to know I could potentially create a vegan version!

Lori said...

Oh, Jennifer, can you PRETTY PLEASE post the recipe for the babka? And which book of Bryanna's is the tofu crepes in?

Laura Faye said...

Hearing about babka always reminds me of Seinfeld. :-) "You can't beat a babka!"

The blintzes look awesome--I definitely want to try that. I'm ordering the uncheese cookbook soon. Does the "betta fetta' taste enough like cottage cheese that you can eat it on its own, or is it better in recipes?

Comma said...

That lunch looks utterly delicious, as usual.

I was wondering, do Shmoo's classmates have lunches as diverse as his, but just not vegan? When I was at school pretty much everyone had exactly the same thing (a sandwich of meat or cheese, a bag of crisps, a chocolate biscuit and a piece of fruit).
If I'd had lunches as interesting as Shmoo's, I would have enjoyed school a lot more!

Suzanne MacNeil said...

ooo babka...

alright, this is the final straw, lol.

As inspired by the wonderful Jenn, I've decided to make the leap into vegan baking. :)

I've survived 2+ of veganism quite well with minimal vegan baked goods (bread isn't too hard to get and I'll find the occasional organic veg-friendly treat at the farmer's market) and it's not something I really *need*...but better to indulge in those than be unable to resist the lure of non-vegan chocolate chip cookies or croissants, which is what tends to happen now. haha.

This is quite the big "next step" for me, and sites like this make it make it much easier. :)

peas n onions said...

my dad, who was (and is) an EXTREMELY picky eater, used to ask his grandmother if he could have the blinzes without the cheese or applesauce, and she used to say "but then its not a blintz!"

just a funny story that kinda goes a long with this. :)

Great lunch!!!

Shananigans said...

Yes, please do share the babka recipe! I’ve never seen it in anything other than loaf form, that little individual one is so cute. I’ve never heard of Tzimmes, not sure if I would like it, sounds a bit too sweet and syrupy for me.

Belladonna said...

Ahaha, finally something I can relate to as a Jew! Blintzes are also pretty great with cherry or blueberry preserves inside, or just cheese or just potato. And on the side, some vegan sour cream is excellent. Babka is perhaps one of my favorite desserts, whenever I go home I make sure my mother gets one. Delicious! Now I'm really happy I'm going home from college tomorrow morning!

Belladonna said...

Oh and I just wanted to add, I've never been a huge fan of tzimmes either, it seems to always pop up on the table during the Jewish holidays but no one eats it. I rather prefer kugel or steamed vegetables.

Ro said...

mmm sounds interesting. I'm with Belladonna on this one as a Jew it's fun to see something I can relate to.

I like blueberry blintzs myself. I like Tzmines but don't care for kugel much.

Laura Faye said...

Yeah! I wonder if that betta feta could be used to make noodle kugel. Of course, it usually uses those wide egg noodles, but I'm sure I could find some regular noodles of a similar shape. That stuff used to be so good, especially as the first thing we would eat when we would break the fast after Yom Kippur. Mmmm

sarchan said...

This is possibly the most amazing lunch I've seen you pack thus far--and that's saying something! Probably my favorite. I've been sort of interested in Jewish cuisine lately myself, but have yet to really try anything other than challah bread (from theppk.com). This is such a great lunch. Gush, gush, gush. . . ;)

Vegan Knitting said...

I grew up a few blocks from Barney Greengrass!

But I've never eaten there.

Too many allergies as a child.

LadyRachelLynn said...

Thank You! Its nice to see my culture represented in such a cute vegan way!

I don't cook much Jewish food either, mainly because I don't really know how. I'm definately gonna have to learn more!

lizzie lou said...

please let us know where we can find bryanna's tofu crepe recipe! i've tried the recipe in "vegan with a vengeance," which is amazing, but it has chickpea flour in it, so the crepes come out tasting a little like indian dosas (really yummy, but not good for sweet fillings).

Beth Miriam said...

I love tzimmes but I don't make it very sweet. Mine is just carrots, sweet potatoes, prunes, water and some oj. IMHO half the veggies need to be mashed and half left whole, some people mash the whole thing but that's too much like baby food for my taste. My Grandmother (of blessed memory) used to put flanken in her's, I wonder how the "steak" strips would do in there?

Blueberry blintzes--yum with sour cream, I prefer applesauce with latkes! Voluptous Vegan has a great vegan latke recipe.

Thanks so much for this meal, feels nice to see a Jewish themed lunch. Kudos to your creativity.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>please let us know where we can find bryanna's tofu crepe recipe! i've tried the recipe in "vegan with a vengeance," which is amazing, but it has chickpea flour in it

The recipe is from "Soyfoods Cooking for a Positive Menopause", although you might be able to get it by subscribing to Bryanna's newsletter and archives.

They do contain a touch of chickpea (or soy) flour, but they don't taste like dosas. The recipe includes a variation for sweet recipes, too. They have the great "eggy" texture of regular crepes, and were so incredibly easy to make. We'll be making sweet ones for Mother's Day!

>>Does the "betta fetta' taste enough like cottage cheese that you can eat it on its own, or is it better in recipes?

Well, I would say better to use it in recipes. It tastes a bit strong on its own, so mixing it with mashed potato was perfect. But maybe if you used very mellow white miso and served it with a squeeze of lemon? It could work!

>>As inspired by the wonderful Jenn, I've decided to make the leap into vegan baking. :)

All right, Double Helix! Just for you and your new life as a vegan baker, I'll write up the babka recipe next week. :-)

harlemgrrl said...

I'll write up the babka recipe next week.

vegan fans in new york humbly thank you ;0)

vegineer said...

while reading this, i was also reminded of seinfeld. "there's a hair in my babka!" and "cinnamon is NOT second to chocolate!", ha.

i loooove betta feta. haven't made it in awhile, but i'll definitely have to make it again soon.

i made up my own version of mediterranean pasta (ultimate uncheese cookbook): make a sauce by sauteeing in olive oil tomatoes, red and green peppers, kalamata olives, shiitake mushrooms, betta feta, and lots of fresh garlic, dill, and black pepper. use it to top any kind of pasta (goes well with brown rice too). i'm totally salivating just thinking about it!

Nicole said...

So vegans are okay with yeast? I didn't realise that was okay.

the vegan vulcan said...

Yeast is a fungus, not an animal-- so it's a-OK for vegans! A good thing, too, because I love bread. Mm, and babka, too.

This is maybe my favorite lunch I've seen on this blog!

Bethy said...

Re: noodle kugel...

I use linguine or fettucine or other wide pasta broken into thirds to make noodle kugel. Fettucine usually doesn't have eggs in it (unless it is specifically "egg fettucine"...I always check the package at any rate). Then I use a "betta feta"-style concoction with the addition of some vanilla extract and a little almond extract for a sweet-cheesy flavor.

Cyndi with a G said...

Can anyone email me the link for the babka recipe please?

appifanie said...

mmm! blintzy goodness!! it looks like a great meal - warmth and textures . . . yum!

and i'm pregnant and i easily crave dosas. please stop talking about them!!! ;D

Cyndi said...

Shavuot is coming up and I'm looking for vegan blintz recipes (I'll convert them to gluten-free too). Yours looks great but could you please pass along the tofu pancake recipe? The link goes to a website that is being revamped and the author says to find recipes on her blog, but that one isn't there.

Many thanks,
Cyndi

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi Cyndi! Bryanna's website says she is in the middle of revamping, so the recipes will probably be back soon. In the meantime, the best way to get the recipe is to do a Google search for "recipe Bryanna Clark Grogan tofu crepes". The very first link, click on "Cached" to bring up a Google cached version of the page. Scroll down quite a ways to get to the crepe recipe.

Here's the link to the cached page, not sure if it will work from here:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:QY4fgi5JIJwJ:www.bryannaclarkgrogan.com/page/page/1466680.htm+recipe+bryanna+clark+grogan+tofu+crepes&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Cyndi said...

The link worked, thanks!