Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 03-27-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER LIVING EDITION | MARCH 27-APRIL 2, 2019 AT HOME 5 Purim and the three-cornered cookie LINCOLN — Every once in a while the weekly deadline sneaks up on me and such was the case last week with this recipe for Hamantaschen. I got a phone call from Rhea Powers, our Valley Breeze columnist of "My Life," and she was all excited to share an idea with me for a cookie recipe for my food column. The problem is that she was doing her story that very week (not the next) and Friday (the day she called me) is my deadline. So here's the backstory. Her granddaughter, Shana, just hap- pened to be born on Purim, a Jewish holiday celebrated this year on March 21. "Do you know what that is?" Rhea asked. And I did not. She began to tell me the story and it piqued my curios- ity. Yes, I had heard of the Book of Esther from the Old Testament in my Sunday school days, but I was hard pressed to recall the details. Fast forward to about an hour later and Rhea was sending me gorgeous pictures of these triangular cook- ies with shiny fruited centers. They looked just right and were shaped like little hats. To make it even harder to resist, The Valley Breeze door flew open shortly thereafter, Rhea placed a brown bag on my desk (I was on the phone) and off she went. Well, the cookies were delicious and it made me want to know more. I will share what I learned with you. Though I'll admit, the more I looked into the stories, the more con- fusing it was to me. The Purim celebration is based on the biblical Book of Esther, which recounts the story of Queen Esther and how she saved the Jewish people from annihilation. The story begins when King Ahasuerus is searching for a new BREEZE PHOTO BY RHEA BOUCHARD POWERS "My Life" columnist Rhea Bouchard Powers made her HAMANTASCHEN cookies with apricot and prune fillings. The Recipe Box RHONDA HANSON queen. His search begins with a royal beauty pageant and Esther, a young Jewish girl who concealed her Jewish heritage, is selected to be the new queen. Esther was an orphan raised by her uncle Mordechai. When she becomes queen, Mordechai offends the grand vizier (a high priest of the pharoah), Haman, by refusing to bow down to him. Haman decides to punish not only Mordechai but all Jews for this slight. When Mordechai learns of the plot he tells Esther that she should beg the king for mercy on behalf of her peo- ple. Ultimately, Haman had prepared to kill Mordechai, but he himself was killed in the gallows instead, thus sav- ing the Jewish people. So Hamantaschen became the word for the three corner pastry because of an old legend that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. The Midrash says that when Haman recognized (the merit of) the three Jewish forefathers, his strength immediately weakened. Because of this, they eat three-cor- nered pastries and call them Haman weakeners or (tashen). There are many more stories about how the hat-shaped pastry is symbolic of the Jewish people being saved from Haman. In any event, the cookies Rhea shared were indeed delicious. The centers were originally filled with poppy seeds and today can be sweet or savory fillings. She used an apricot preserve for one and made a prune filling for the second type. Buttery Hamantaschen Recipe by Tory Avey Ingredients: 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room tempera- ture 2/3 cup sugar 1 large egg, room temperature 1 tsp. vanilla 1 tsp. grated orange zest 2 & 1/4 cups flour 1/4 tsp. salt 1-5 tsp. water (if needed) Note: You will also need: Large mixing bowl, electric mixer, sifter, pastry scraper, rolling pin, 3-inch cookie cutter or drinking glass with 3-inch diameter rim. Instructions: • Slice room temperature butter into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl. • Add sugar to the bowl. Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes till light and fluffy. • Add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest to the bowl. Beat again till creamy and well mixed. • Sift flour and salt into the bowl. • Mix with the electric mixer on low speed till a crumbly dough forms. • Begin to knead dough with hands till a smooth dough ball forms. Try not to overwork the dough, only knead till the dough is the right consistency. If the crumbles are too dry to form a smooth dough, add water slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time, using your hands to knead the liquid into the dough. Knead and add liquid until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch (not sticky), with a consistency that is right for rolling out. It can easily go from the right consistency to too wet/sticky, so add water very slowly. If the dough seems too wet, knead in a little flour till it reaches the right texture. • Form the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours to overnight. • Before you begin to assemble the Hamantaschen, choose and make your filling and have it on hand to work with. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface. Unwrap the dough disk and place it on the floured surface. The dough will be very firm after chilling. • Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. At the beginning, it will be tough to roll out – you may need to pound it a bit. A heavy rolling pin works best. As you roll, cracks may form on the edges of the dough. Repair any large cracks with your fin- See COOKIES, Page 8 Dining Guide 445 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI 410-231-7799 twelveacresbanquet.com Friday, Saturday & Sunday: Clam Cakes and Chowder and Fish & Chips to go! Call 401-231-7799 to reserve your group! Easter Brunch Sunday, April 21st 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Make Your Reservations Soon! 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E-mail your ordEr: pp@paulypEnTasdEli.com Pauly Penta's G o u r m e t I t a l i a n D e l i Easter Menu Check out our Full Easter Menu online! www.paulypentasdeli.com boar's head hams ALL hams come oven ready pre- glazed, decorated with pineapple & cherries & in a foil pan • Whole Sweet Boneless Ham • Half Sweet Boneless Ham • Whole Semi Boneless Sweet Ham • Half Black Forest Ham • Whole Black Forest Ham • Whole Honey Maple Ham • Baby Black Forest & Baby Honey Maple aPPeTIZers • Pizza Rustica • Frittatta's omelets • Antipasto • Stuffed Mushroom Lasagna sTuffed sheLLs or manIcoTTI desserTs • 9" Round Rice Pies • 9" Round Ricotta Pies both available with pineapple VegeTabLes • Red Bliss Mashed Potatoes • Oven Roasted Potatoes • Roasted Carrots • Glazed Carrots • String Bean Almondine •& more chIcKen escaroLe souP sTuffed arTIchoKes

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