Vegan kreplach and the secret to tender and delicious hamantaschen – Marin Independent Journal
As a trained chef and registered dietitian, Micah Siva has already helped thousands of people eat healthier through his vegan-centric food blog, Nosh with Micah, nutrition workshops and recipe development for adults. businesses (Nestle) and small (Oaktown Spice Shop) .
But there is one mission in particular on the San Franciscan’s mind this month.
“I want to make hamantaschen fun again,” says Siva, a Canadian Jewish transplant who started her blog five years ago after graduating from the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York.
Sweet or savory, triangular cookies are traditionally eaten on Purim, the carnival celebration that begins on March 16. To celebrate, Siva is launching a 10-day countdown on Instagram with modern hamantaschen recipes that are nothing like the prune-stuffed hockey pucks of your childhood.
The cookies, symbolic of the villain wearing a three-pointed hat, Haman, from the story of Queen Esther, are made with everything from goat cheese and s’mores to funfetti and apple pie filling. Siva even makes a family-sized hamantaschen pizza.
“There are so many combinations and so much creativity that can go into hamantaschen,” she says. “We may be more used to the jam-filled secs we get at the neighborhood deli, but there’s no reason they should be so boring.”
These hamantaschen not only look and taste different. They have more of a dessert feel, thanks to the addition of key ingredients. Like her all-Hamantaschen Bagel, Siva’s Honey-Infused Sesame Goat Cheese Hamantaschen recipe calls for not oil but butter — a whole stick — and another pastry chef favorite: cornstarch.
“Both give the cookies a tender, crumbly texture,” says Siva.
Siva has developed a plethora of updated Jewish and non-Jewish recipes for the modern palate, from Golden Milk Challah to Spinach Feta Matzo Brei. She says she wants to bring classic Jewish dishes to Gen Z, but present them in a way that’s more authentic to their current lifestyle.
“A lot of the foods my grandmother used to make, I wouldn’t necessarily eat them every day,” says Siva, whose culinary upbringing leaned heavily on alternative diets. But shredded mushroom breast, veggie noodle soup, and grain-free black and white cookies? The ones she would like, fortunately.
Siva started cooking at the age of six, when she and her older sister flew from Calgary to Vancouver to learn from Eva, their grandmother. During Purim, dressed in her Queen Esther rhinestone bib, Siva put prune or poppy seeds in happy triangular cookies. She also remembers a white bun version of poppyseed hamantaschen brushed with an egg wash.
“They were really the best,” she says.
But it’s the kreplach she made with Eva that makes the most sense. The original recipe for the dumplings actually comes from Eva’s mother, Bubbe Freda, who was just a teenager when she escaped the pogroms of the Russian Empire in the early 1900s. in eastern Canada and made a career in the fur trade, buying furs from Native Americans and selling them to the Hudson’s Bay Company.
“There are so many memories in the folds of Bubbe Freda’s kreplach,” Siva says. “It’s probably the most special food memory I have.”
Both Freda and Eva stuffed the savory dumplings with leftover roast chicken, mashed potatoes with carrots or whatever they had on hand. Siva’s current favorite is a vegan kreplach of sweet potatoes with caramelized onions and garlic. But she also experimented with ground tofu, impossible meat, and other vegetarian toppings.
She says there are no rules when it comes to kreplach. Just knead and seal your dough tightly to prevent these Bubbe-approved toppings from seeping through. They can be boiled or fried.
“That’s pretty forgiving,” she said. “As long as you fill it with what you think is delicious, that’s all you need for kreplach.”
Where to buy hamantaschen
Izzy’s Brooklyn Bagels: This Palo Alto kosher bakery offers raspberry, prune and apricot hamantaschen (and Nutella on request). Details: 477 California Ave., Palo Alto; www.izzysbrooklynbagels.com
Hall Bakery: The food hall bakery sells apricot and raspberry flavored hamantaschen at its two East Bay locations. Details: 5655 College Ave., Oakland, and 1786 Fourth St., Berkeley; https://rockridgemarkethall.com
Large Bakery: This kosher Oakland deli offers cherry, prune, poppy and apricot hamantaschen by the dozen, 1/2 dozen or as part of a Purim box with challah, bagels and schmear. Details: 3033 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. Grand Bakery products are also available at Draeger’s, Lunardi’s, Andronico’s and Piazza Fine Foods stores. https://grandbakeryoakland.com
Saul’s Restaurant & Charcuterie: The iconic Berkeley restaurant is selling berry, poppy and apricot hamantaschen for $2.25 each. It will also host a free outdoor Purim and St. Patrick’s Day party from 5-7:30 p.m. on March 17. Details: 1475 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley; www.saulsdeli.com