Luscious Latkes

When I was making potato latkes for Hanukkah, I added a bit of orange juice to my shredded potatoes to keep them from turning brown. I mixed in raisins and walnuts, then fried the potato patties. The hint of orange was delicious. —Anna Victoria Reich of Albuquerque, New Mexico


What is Rugalach?

Rugalach (ruhg-uh-lukh) is a traditional Jewish cookie normally prepared for Hanukkah. The dough for these bite-size, crescent-shaped cookies is prepared with cream cheese, which results in a dense texture and rich flavor. Rugalach can be made with a variety of fillings, including fruit, raisins, nuts, jam and poppy seeds.


Help for Challah

I make a braided challah yeast bread. In the baking process, the braids always pull apart at the top. Do you have a solution? —C.R., Valparaiso, Indiana

When making braided breads, use your fingertips to gently roll the dough into ropes. If the dough springs back, cover and let it rest for a few minutes before trying again. Be sure the ropes of dough do not have excess flour on them. It can keep them from holding together. Lay the ropes side by side on a well-greased baking sheet. Beginning at the center of the loaf, place the right rope over the center rope. Then put the left rope over the center, the right over the center, left over the center, and so on until the ropes are too short to braid. Pinch ends together; tuck under the loaf. To braid the other end, turn the baking sheet around so the unbraided ropes face you. Place the center rope over the right rope, then the center rope over the left, then the center rope over the right, and so on. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under.


The Meaning of Matzah

It's said that when Moses led the Jews to freedom, they left so quickly they didn't wait for their bread to rise. That's why the crunchy, flat bread called Matzah is eaten during Passover. Matzo meal is finely ground from matzah. It's used as the main ingredient in matzo balls, in baking, as a breading for fried foods and as a thickening agent.


Beef Brisket Sandwiches

One of our favorite sandwiches is created with leftover beef brisket. I layer the meat, sauteed onion and green pepper on a toasted sandwich roll and top with Swiss cheese. Then I pop it under the broiler to melt the cheese for a tasty Philly-style sandwich. —Donna H., Willard, Missouri