Susie Answers Your Cooking Questions

Kosher by Design - Teens and 20-Somethings


As part of our Fabulous Random Giveaway for an autographed copy of Susie Fishbein's newest cookook, Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Something, Susie graciously agreed to answer three reader submitted questions.

In addition to the randomly picked winner's question, we read through the many interesting entries received, selected the following questions and sent them to Susie.

Is there a way to increase the hot pretzel challah recipe in order to make enough to make a bracha? Submitted by Amy Jacobs, winner of the random drawing.
S.F. There are 20 cups of flour in a 5-pound bag, so you could  quadruple the recipe, using a whole bag plus some extra – but I wouldn't on this one.  Unlike regular challahs, which freeze beautifully, these do not. They become soggy and lose the whole "hot-pretzel" appeal, so unless you need 8 challahs, I would keep this a small batch.

I read in one of Susie's cookbooks about cutting butternut squash by rocking a big knife back & forth, but it doesn't work for me. I'm seeing great recipes this time of year for pumpkin and squash, but I have great difficulty cutting them open. (Last week I hammered a cheap knife through a butternut squash with a rubber mallet out of desperation.) Any other advice for opening these tough squash? Submitted by D Schwab.
S.F. If you are in a kosher market, have the produce guys cut them for you, they are always willing and it is free. At home, use a strong chef's knife or cleaver.  A small steak knife will not get the job done.  Lay the squash on a cutting board,  and raising your knife, make an initial hard cut into the squash.  The knife will get stuck in the squash.  Bang the squash, with the knife  still stuck in it, against the cutting board, the knife will work its way through with each bang.

Is there a 'rule of thumb' for knowing which foods freeze well after they're prepared? Submitted by Jasmine.
S.F.  I don't freeze much, but the rule of thumb is that things with egg whites do not freeze well. You can freeze most soups, but if the recipe calls for cream to be added at the end, don't.  After the soup is frozen and defrosted and ready for use, then add the cream or else it will separate.  Water expands when frozen, so make sure you leave enough room in your containers to allow for that expanse or your containers will explode. Breads freeze well. Pastry dough freezes well.  Instead of freezing cookies, which then may contract an odor, freeze cookie dough.  Then you can slice and serve hot, fresh cookies whenever you need..

Observant Jews serve chicken at least once a week (for the most part), and it is really hard to keep coming up with chicken recipes which are different, and which appeal to family members. Susie, what are your top three (3) (i.e., the ones that you serve most frequently) chicken recipes? Submitted by Cheryl E.
S.F. I think the Kosher by Design series currently has over 100 poultry recipes, which should keep you busy for quite a few chicken dinners. Try the Mexican Chicken  from the new Kosher by Design Teens & Twenty Somethings for a sure crowd pleaser. I also love the Zaa'tar chicken made in a slow cooker in the Short on Time book,  and for this Fall season the Chicken Provence with Cider Roasted Vegetables is always a hit. (original KBD.).

We thank Susie for answering the questions and the many readers who sent in fabulous questions! We had such fun going through the questions – all of them were great!

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