Issa Cooks: Hamentaschen (Again!)

It's hard to believe that it's already been a year since last Purim, but a series of invitations to Saturday night parties to celebrate the holiday inspired me to bake hamentaschen again!


I used the same recipe as last year, but in my efforts not to eat processed foods in 2013, I made my own blueberry filling.


2 tbs corn starch 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup water 1 pint blueberries 1 tsp lemon juice

Mix the dry ingredients together. Add water and bring to a boil in a saucepan. Add the blueberries, reduce heat, and stir for 5 minutes or until the filling has achieved a gelled consistency.  Remove from flame and stir in lemon juice.

Make while the dough is chilling and let cool before assembling the cookies.

A Parisian Fairy Tale

Sunday morning I had an itinerary. Realizing I had less than a week left in Paris, I was determined to do everything I had planned but hadn’t gotten around to. I planned to visit the Rococo Museum, Jacquemart-Andre, and convinced two friends to come along. Ever since learning about the Rococo period in my AP Art History class, it’s been my favorite period of art. Everything is so whimsical, enchanting, and just pretty. In an alternate world I’d live in a Rococo painting.

We walked through the Luxembourg Gardens to watch the little kids sail boats in the pond, a traditional Parisian Sunday activity. Unlike the motorized boats in Central Park, these wooden boats are pushed by kids holding sticks and move wherever the wind decides to take them.  This results in more than a few tears.

We walked across the river and down the Champs Elysee. We walked and walked and walked and finally found the museum.

While the Jacquemart-Andre may not have the prestige of the Louvre, it’s absolutely worth visiting. Originally a mansion for some wealthy people I will forever be jealous of, the house was converted into a museum to exhibit their private collection as well as visiting exhibitions.

The museum is stunning. While the art collection is impressive, the true gem of the museum is the mansion itself, with gilded furniture and canopy beds and elaborate frescos. I plan to decorate my twenty square foot bedroom similarly upon my return to NYC.

After exhausting the museum (although I’d be more than happy to spend the rest of my life inside), we headed back across the river to Sugarplum Cake Shop, a bakery we’d discussed visiting but had yet to see. Sugarplum is the Magnolia of the Left Bank. Owned by three Americans, this may be the only place in Paris to purchase cupcakes and refillable coffee. Over the next week, it became my preferred writing location. The chocolate cake with raspberry frosting was unlike anything I’ve ever had: rich and light simultaneously, sugary but not to sweet. Yes, Parisian pastries are incredible, but the Sugarplum cakes are reason enough to return to Paris.

That evening, we went to the local Chinese restaurant for a feast—easily the cheapest food (and wine!) we’d had. Chinese food in Paris, like everything else, is extraordinary.

The stunning museum, the cake shop, and the endless amounts of noodles and crevettes and rose made the day pretty close to a Parisian fairy tale. Oh, and we ended our night with waffle topped with gelato...