Renowned cookbook author and blogger, Chanie Apfelbaum brought her Millennial foodie passion and culinary expertise to the women of Chicago on February 12. Her more than 56K followers on Instagram followed her on a tour of the Chicago kosher scene, stopping at Emmas, Shallot’s, Jewel, The Sandwich Club. And of course, since her niche is Millennial, she was sure to stop at Romanian for a hipster photo shot and a taste of the famed salami.

In the evening, we welcomed over 225 women and girls from the community to ICJA for a fantastic (and delicious!) cooking demo with Chanie. The program was an initiative of Ida Crown Girls Club (ICGC), a new initiative at ICJA this year to provide monthly program exclusively for girls. Young Academy alumni lead creative and fun activities throughout the year, including a dance party and baking program.

The Busy in Brooklyn event, named after Chanie’s blog, included an opening program for ICJA girls and 7th and 8th grade prospective students. Chanie demonstrated board making, where she created a beautiful and easy dessert display on a wooden serving board. The girls then worked together in groups to create their own boards with fruit, desserts and nuts. Chanie focused on each group’s creation to offer tips for improving the style of the display. Guests who joined the main cooking demo were able to enjoy treats from the boards at the end of the evening.

At Chanie’s main demonstration, she prepared a full meal in front of the audience, including two main dishes, a side dish and dessert. As she prepared the dishes, she also offered tips like how to choose and handle ground beef and how to properly chop vegetables with a chef’s knife–a safer and more efficient option than the paring knives so ubiquitous in kosher kitchens. Attendees all got to taste a sample of each dish, deliciously prepared by Danziger, according to Chanie’s recipes. Click here to see photos on Facebook.

The program was a tremendous success, and we are grateful to the sponsors who made it possible. Thank you, Anonymous (3), Lisa Glass, Dani Krule, Wendy Margolin, Suzy Nussbaum, Jennie Rothner, Miki Schreiber, Keryn Schreiber. Thank you, also to Jewel, Shallots Bistro, Danziger Caterers, Aviva Appelbaum, Rosenblums World of Judaica, Deja Views, Emmas, The Sandwich Club, Evita, ICGC volunteers and Alissa Zeffren.

Following are the recipes Chanie demonstrated. Happy cooking!

Kofta Stuffed Dates
YIELD: 24
1 lb. ground chuck
2 Tbsp grated shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1⁄2 tsp cumin
1⁄2 tsp allspice
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
1⁄8 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp pine nuts
24 Medjool dates
12 slices beef fry, sliced in half lengthwise

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. In a large bowl, combine meat, shallot, garlic, parsley, spices, and pine nuts. Form the mixture into torpedo- shaped logs, each about 1 heaping tablespoon.
3. Slice open dates lengthwise, making sure not to cut all the way through. Discard pits.
4. Stuff dates with meat mixture. Wrap each date with a strip of beef fry; place on a rack set over a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Honey Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Dried Fruit
Meat YIELD: 4-6 servings

10 oz. dried apricots (scant 2 cups)
10 oz. pitted dried prunes  (scant 2 cups)
3 Tbsp za’atar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 chicken bottoms, skin-on
½ cup dry red wine
kosher salt, to taste
⅓ cup honey

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread dried fruit into a 9×13-inch pan.
2. In a bowl, combine za’atar and olive oil to create a paste. Rub the za’atar paste over chicken; place chicken on dried fruit. Pour wine around the chicken; sprinkle with salt.
3. Cover tightly with foil; bake for 1 hour.
4. Raise oven temperature t0 400 degrees. Drizzle the chicken with honey. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 20-25 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices.

Parsnip Puree
Pareve YIELD: 6 servings

2 lb. parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
kosher salt, to taste
2 Tbsp refined coconut oil
¼ cup unsweetened coconut milk from a carton (not vanilla)
⅛ tsp nutmeg

1. Add parsnips to a medium saucepan; cover with water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes, until the parsnips are soft and tender. Drain.
2. Place parsnips into a food processor fitted with the “S” blade or to a blender; add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Season, to taste, with salt.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake with Poached Pears
Poached Pears
3 cups merlot
1⁄2 cup honey
5 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
3 strips orange zest
juice of 1 orange
4 firm, ripe Bosc pears, peeled, stems attached

1. Prepare the poached pears: Press cloves into orange zest strips. In a large saucepan, combine merlot, honey, cloves, cinnamon sticks, clove-studded orange zest, and orange juice. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve honey.
2. Add pears, reduce heat to a simmer; cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, turning the pears after 10 minutes, until tender. Remove pears from the pan; set aside. Discard cinnamon sticks and clove-studded orange zest.
3. Simmer remaining spiced wine until it has reduced to a syrup and coats the back of a spoon, 10-12 minutes.

Red Wine Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
13⁄4 cups flour
3⁄4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
11⁄2 tsp baking powder
11⁄2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1⁄2 cup canola oil
11⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup spiced wine from the poached pears

1. Prepare the red wine chocolate cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves. Whisk to incorporated.
3. In a second bowl, combine eggs, almond milk, oil, and vanilla; whisk until creamy. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; mix well to incorporate. Add 1 cup spiced wine to the batter; stir to incorporate. Batter will be thin.
4. Pour batter into Bundt pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes; unmold onto a cake stand. Cool completely before adding ganache.

Ganache Topping
1⁄4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (3⁄4 cup)
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp wine syrup from poached pears
pinch sea salt

1. Prepare the ganache topping: In a small saucepan, bring coconut milk to a simmer. Place chocolate chips into a heatproof bowl; pour hot coconut milk over them. Let it stand for one minute.
2. Stir the chocolate until creamy; add vanilla, 1 tablespoon wine syrup, and sea salt.
3. Pour ganache over the cake.

For serving
reserved poached pears
toasted hazelnuts, chopped, for optional garnish
wine syrup

1. For an elegant presentation, place poached pears into the center of the cake; garnish with chopped hazelnuts.
2. To serve, cut the pears into quarters and core them. Cut each quarter into thin slices, being careful not to cut all the way through so that the quarters are attached at the top (see photo, following page). Spread the slices to create a “fan”; serve with sliced chocolate cake and remaining wine syrup.

For more fun & exciting recipes, visit Busy In Brooklyn on the web at http:www.busyinbrooklyn.comor follow @busyinbrooklyn. Purchase MILLENNIAL Kosher on Amazon.

Recipes reprinted from MILLENNIAL KOSHER ©Chanie Apfelbaum, Artscroll/Mesorah Publications.