My Top Three Wintertime Cooking Projects

 

My family has always bonded over food. Whether it be a birthday, Seder dinner, or any small event to celebrate, some of my best childhood memories are sitting around a packed dining room table with friends and family. Now, with the pandemic and being a full-time college student at a school eight hours from home, I have tried to pull from these traditions and share some of my childhood with my friends from college. Granted, it would be impossible to make some of my family's favorite recipes in a sorority house kitchen on a college student budget, but I have been able to replicate (and review) some of these meals. So, without further ado, I present the top three winter recipes I have tried since the new year.

 

  1. Jeremy Scheck’s Hamantaschen Recipe

 

Last Thursday marked the start of Purim, a Jewish holiday marked by feasts and celebrations. To celebrate this, I made multiple batches of Jeremy Sheck’s Hamantaschen recipe. While this recipe did take a fair amount of time and effort, it was definitely worth it. I modified the recipe by adding in some almond milk instead of vanilla extract and used both Nutella and raspberry jam filling, and they were delicious. Getting to share these with my Jewish and non-Jewish friends was another great way to maintain the sense of community I sometimes miss while at school. Although Purim is over, I would recommend that anyone interested checks out the recipe and makes enough to share. 

 

  1. Butternut Squash Pesto Pasta 

 

To be honest, while I am surprised that I am not reviewing the notorious feta cheese pasta, (I did try it and loved it) this butternut squash pasta is worth sharing. As someone that doesn’t eat red meats and tries to avoid dairy, I have a hard time finding sustainable meals in my dining halls. This often leads me to cook at home with friends, which is why I tried this recipe. I was inspired by the New York Times’ “Pasta With Kale Pesto and Roasted Butternut Squash” recipe, but quickly modified it. I used Trader Joes’ pesto and Zhoug sauce instead of making my own pesto, which I found to be both a time and money saver. My friends also added some shredded cheese onto their portion of the pasta, which looked amazing. This was a new recipe for me, but I will definitely add this to my rotating food schedule.

 

  1. Matzo Ball Soup

 

Until recently, I had strayed away from making homemade matzo ball soup due to the fear that it would be too difficult and it wouldn’t taste like how it was made at home. What I realized, though, was this is a recipe that can be easily modified. Instead of using chicken fat to make the matzo balls, I used vegetable oil (which I already had in my house), and bought the chicken broth and cooked chicken instead of making it myself. These quick swaps saved me time and honestly didn’t make a huge difference in the taste of the soup. This especially was a recipe that reminded me of home and helped me recognize that sharing food is still one of my biggest ways to connect with those I care about.