Baked Jelly Donuts

Yup, these babies are baked -- not fried.
Yup, these babies are baked — not fried.

Who doesn’t love a fresh, warm jelly donut?

But making them at home can seem like way more trouble than they’re worth. Better to just buy a bunch at your favorite donut shop, right?

Wrong.

Leave it to San Jose’s Beth A. Lee, founder of the OMG! Yummy blog to devise a recipe for a baked version that’s really not much more difficult than making biscuits.

The recipe is from her new cookbook, “The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook: 50 Traditional Recipes for Every Occasion” (Rockridge Press), of which I received a review copy.

The book includes 50 recipes, each of which are handily labeled as to whether they are dairy-free, nut-free, gluten-free, pareve, or vegan, too.

Enjoy everything from “Deli-Style No-Knead Rye Bread” and “Ready-For-Lox Homemade Bagels” to “Blintz Casserole” and “Pecan and Raisin Schnecken.”

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Scrumptious Holiday Gifts

A fresh-baked batch of madeleines made with and finished with Adagio Teas Whipped Cinnamon Honey.
A fresh-baked batch of madeleines made with and finished with Adagio Teas Whipped Cinnamon Honey. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Flavored Whipped Honeys From Adagio

Add a unique punch of sweetness to a cup of tea or favorite baking recipes with Adagio Teas’ flavored whipped honeys in Cinnamon, Chocolate or Matcha.

I had a chance to try samples recently of these thick, spreadable honeys. The Matcha is sweet with a slightly astringent and grassy note that lingers. The Chocolate is quite floral from the honey, which dominates, with the chocolate, itself, more a background player. Ooh, the Cinnamon is like a Red Hot, spicy on the palate with a pronounced cinnamon warmth.

The Matcha is a fun way to sweeten a matcha latte. The Chocolate can be drizzled over pancakes, waffles or marble pound cake. The cinnamon is delicious in any black tea. Or heavenly in a batch of these Honey Madeleines by Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming. The cinnamon taste in the madeleines will end up fairly subtle unless you add more oomph with a pinch or two of ground cinnamon to the batter. For a final touch, enjoy the warm madeleines dribbled with more of the Cinnamon Whipped Honey.

Thick and spreadable, whipped flavored honeys.
Thick and spreadable, whipped flavored honeys. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

A 4-ounce jar of any of the flavors is $10; a 12-ounce jar is $19.

Onsuri Extra-Virgin Olive Oils From Jordan

When you think of quality extra-virgin olive oils, the countries of Spain, Italy, and Greece readily spring to mind, along with the Golden State of California.

But Ziad Bilbeisi wants you to get to know olive oil from his native Jordan.

Starting from scratch in a desolate, high-desert area of his native Jordan, he has created the largest family-owned olive estate in that country that includes a state-of-the-art, solar-powered boutique olive oil company, Onsuri.

Onsuri's Discovery Set includes four small bottles of different extra-virgin olive oils.
Onsuri’s Discovery Set includes four small bottles of different extra-virgin olive oils. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

All the olive oils are graded “extra-premium,” a distinction few olive oils in the world have, according to Bilbeisi. It means they contain less than a 0.3 percent level of unstable fatty acids, and are extremely high in polyphenol compounds, which are powerful antioxidants.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 38

Shrimp sate from Warung Siska.
Shrimp sate from Warung Siska.

Warung Siska, Redwood City

One of the few Indonesian restaurants in the Bay Area, Warung Siska opened with a splash this year in downtown Redwood City, providing a real pop of joy in this dismal pandemic.

The space was formerly Nam Vietnamese Brasserie, which was opened by restaurateur Anne Le Ziblatt just weeks before the pandemic hit. Rather than reopen as is, Le Ziblatt decided to team with Chef Siska Silitonga and Ervan Lim, managing partner of Napa’s Live Fire Pizza, to start anew with an entirely different concept.

Perhaps it was kismet that the Indonesia-born Silitonga and Lim would join forces with Le Ziblatt, who fled Vietnam with her family and wound up in a Jakarta refugee camp, where local Indonesian families would help sustain them with homemade food.

Warung Siska is a tribute to the warmth and vivacity of the culture and cuisine, serving up Indonesian dishes full of big, bold, unforgettable flavors you’ll find yourself craving time and again.

The restaurant has no outdoor seating, and requires proof of vaccination to dine indoors. However, if your preference is takeout instead, you’ll be glad to know that the food travels quite well, which I discovered when the restaurant invited me to sample a to-go order recently.

Corn fritters that are to die for.
Corn fritters that are to die for.
Musubi-like sticky rice cakes with shredded chicken.
Musubi-like sticky rice cakes with shredded chicken.

When I interviewed Le Ziblatt for a story in the Nob Hill Gazette earlier this year, she told me one of Silitonga’s dishes that absolutely blew her away from the get-go was the bakwan (corn fritters, $13). I heartily agree. These golden, crisp and lacy fritters, each the size of my entire hand, are chock full of corn kernels, okra, and green onions. Makrut lime leaves give them an irresistible perfume and floral-citrus note. Best yet, they actually stayed crisp until I drove home with them nearly 40 minutes later.

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Dining Outside At La Bande At The Proper Hotel

House-made rabbit terrine shines in this charcuterie sampler at La Bande.
House-made rabbit terrine shines in this charcuterie sampler at La Bande.

I’m sure I’m not alone in mourning the 2019 closure of Michelin-starred Commonwealth in San Francisco due to a rent dispute. With its laid-back vibe, skillful ingredient-driven cooking, and a tasting menu with a price that didn’t leave you shell-shocked, Commonwealth was the kind of place every city would be glad to have.

Its chef-owner Jason Fox moved on — in a big way. He went from overseeing one restaurant to three when he was scooped up by The Proper Hotel in downtown San Francisco. As its executive chef, he now oversees Villon restaurant, the trendy Charmaine’s rooftop bar, and La Bande, formerly a coffee shop that he’s since turned into a tapas place.

The "Do Not Disturb'' sign at The Proper.
The “Do Not Disturb” sign at The Proper.

Fox’s arrival was to have been heralded with a big splash. But because it occurred in January 2020 — two months before all restaurants would be forced to shut down due to a worldwide pandemic — that never really came to fruition. Instead, he was left to deal with navigating an ever-changing roster of health mandates.

With the Bay Area in a much better place than it was last year, Fox has now been able to roll out the plans he had all along.

Executive Chef Jason Fox.
Executive Chef Jason Fox.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest to enjoy an overnight stay at the hotel, as well as dinner at the newly revamped La Bande, a compact yet cozy space resembling a Spanish mercado with a few indoor seats, as well as tables outside, which is where my husband and I dined.

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New Mole Sauces From Chef Susana Trilling

Big, beefy ribs get a big hit of spiciness and earthiness from ¡Ya Oaxaca! Mole Rojo.
Big, beefy ribs get a big hit of spiciness and earthiness from ¡Ya Oaxaca! Mole Rojo.

Mexican moles can be an intimidating and time-consuming affair to make from scratch at home, what with upwards of 40 ingredients that need to be prepared and cooked for hours.

But that laborious process can be bypassed easily with new ready-made jarred moles from an impeccable source.

¡Ya Oaxaca! moles are by Chef Susana Trilling, a renowned expert and ambassador for Oaxacan cooking. She started cooking at age 10 alongside her grandmother, a chef from Tampico, Mexico, who ran a small cafe in San Antonio, TX. In 1999, she founded her Seasons of My Heart Cooking School on her ranch in Oaxaca, and has since taught countless lessons both in-person and online.

Her children have inherited her culinary passions. Son Kaelin Ulrich Trilling is the chef de cuisine at Thomas Keller’s La Calenda in Yountville. He’s also involved in ¡Ya Oaxaca! moles, along with his brother Jesse Ulrich Trilling, who is the company’s head of operations, and his half-brother Azul Couzens, who is in charge of marketing, sales and distributions.

Acclaimed chef and cooking teacher Susana Trilling has teamed with her sons on this new mole sauce venture.
Acclaimed chef and cooking teacher Susana Trilling has teamed with her sons on this new mole sauce venture.

The moles, sold in shelf-stable 12-ounce jars, come in three varieties: Mole Rojo, Mole Coloradito, and Mole Negro. They are based on recipes handed down for generations.

Recently, I had a chance to try samples. The ¡Ya Oaxaca! web site includes recipes online, while the jar labels are printed with recommendations for what types of protein or vegetables best go with each mole.

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