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October 19, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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October 19, 2012

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, OCTOBER, 19, 2012 PAGE 15A BySuzanne Pollak FAIRFAX, Va. (JTA)mProm- inent Jewish surrogates for President Obama and Repub- lican nominee Mitt Romney tackled domestic issues and foreign affairs during a cordial debate in Northern Virginia. By Ron Kaplan New Jersey J~wish News Mama Doni is branching out. The poPular children's en- tertainer is about to publish her first book, "Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook & Rockin' Mama Doni Celebration," written with Rachel Harkham (Beh- rman House). "This is so much more than a cookbook," Doni Zasloff Thomas told the Jewisfi News in a phone interview. "It's a guide for ways to spice up family celebrations." The book includes reci- pes, family activities, jokes, cartoons and holiday stories. "It's for the Jewish-American family, so I like to say it cov- ers from Sukkot to the Super Bowl. It's for the family that celebrates Thanksgiving and Chanukkah, Shabbat, and the Jewish New Year and the regular New Year," she said. Zasloff Thomas admits her hectic recording and touring schedule limits her time in the kitchen. "I cook as much as I can," she said. "I am busy, but I feel like no matterwhat's going on in my life, I can al- ways have Shabbat and that's a message I want to share with other families." As a kid, Zasloff fondly recalls"very eclectic Shabbat dinners" with her parents-- both doctors .and their guests. "We had very fun Shabbats with lots of crazy conversations and jokes," said Zasloff, who resides in Montclair, N.J and attends Bnai Keshet with her family. For the new literary project, Zasloff Thomas said she tried to rake"the essence of the big, traditional Shabbats I grew up with and try to find a new vibe. The goal is to help Jewish families of all different backgrounds from Reform to Orthodox to everything in between." "Get Cooking!" takes read- Former Rep. Robert Wex- ler (D-Fla.), representing audience members at the Obama, faced off against Northern Virginia Jewish Dov Zakheim, an under Community Center Oct. secretary of defense under 10 appeared evenly divided President George W. Bush, in their support of the two on topics such as Israeli candidates. At one point, national security, jobs and many in the audience women's issues, broke into applause when The" approximately 150 " Zakheim criticized Obama for not having visited Israel as.president. "Why hasn't he visited it in three:and-a-quarter years? I just don't get it," Zakheim said. Wexler countered that it was rare for U.S. presi- ers through a year of holidays with fun, "menschy" activities for every season and recipes that give American cuisine a Jewish twist, such as "Sweet Potato Knish" for Thanksgiv- ing and "Judah Mac 'n Cheese Squa.res," "Fill-in-the-Blank Latkes," and "KFC: Kosher Fried Chicken" for Chanuk- kah. Harkham is a food writer and cooking teacher known as"Recipe Rachel" (recipera-"What's cool about working with Rachel is that what she does with food, I do with music, which is fusing different flavors together and taking the Jewish-American experience and making it really fun," Zasloff Thomas said. "Rachel's food is very sophisticated yet fun. She's very thoughtful about ev- erything." When it comes to the music, Zasloff Thomas said she tries "to write [what] the kids are going to like but also sophisticated enough for par- ents and fun." The Mama Doni sound includes a mish-mash of reggae, rock, disco, Latin, klezmer and "Jewgrass." Her band received a 2011 Parents' Choice Award for their CD Shabbat Shaboom. Theywere also honored with a Simcha Award at the 2008 Interna- tional JewishMusic Festival in Amsterdam for "inspiring joy through music." The singer/songwriter/ author/cook said her favorite recipe in her new book is "Uncle Milton's Mandlebread." "That alone is worth it," Zasloff Thomas said. "Every time I see my Uncle Milton. he gives me a big Tupperware filledwith mandlebread. Since I was little, that just equaled love." Ron Kaplan is features editor at the New Jersey Jewish News, from which this article was reprinted by permission. Read the Jewish News online at www. Andres Valenzuela Doni Zasloff Thomas ctannels the "fusion" of her cross- genre Jewish music into ~ new family cookbook. A Ic: vi h Family Cookbook Behrman House "Get Cooking! A Jewi~ American Family Cookbook & Rockin' Mama Doni Celeation" dents to travel to Israel during their, first terms, noting that while George W. Bush visited Israel twice, both trips took place in the last year of his second term. Throughout the evening, Wexler portrayed Obama as a strong supporter of Israel who continually provides that country with weapons and financial assistance and is there when Israel- needs help. He specifically noted Obama's efforts to stop the Palestinian Au- thority from unilaterally declaring statehood and his call to the Egyptian gov- ernment when the Israeli Embassy was being stormed by rioters. But Zakheim countered that Israel needed an Amer- ican president who would chart a different course in the Middle East. "You've got to think of the whole Middle East, nor just Israel," he said, noting that if elected, Romney's approach would be peace through strength. "You can't have credibil- ity unless you are strong, and Mr. Romney knows that." his surrogate said. The two surrogates spelled out the different positions of their candi- dates on many issues. Rom- ney would arm the Syrian rebels and set the same red line as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netan- yahu on Iran's efforts to obtain nuclear weapons, Zakheim said. On social issues, We xler noted Obama's support for abortion rights, same-sex marriage and a more liberal approach to immigration. Zakheim replied that Romney would be more fo- cusedon creating jobs than dealing with social issues. "I agree the economy is the No. I issue on most peo- ple's minds. I am not sure Roe v. Wade is," Zakheim said. "Roe v. Wade is not going to solve the deficit problem." Zakheim said that it was time to stop blaming the Bush administration for the state of the economy and instead to work to stimulate job growth. Wexler defined Obama's position on budget issues as a balanced approach in which there are "reductions and income enhancements." The. two surrogates dif- fered on the defense budget. with Zakheim saying, "I don't think defense should be held hostage to any- thing." Wexler countered that cuts were needed to help balance the budget. The event was sponsored by The Israel Project and the Jewish Community Re- lations Council of Greater Washington. Virginia is considered a key swing state. Ja SERVICES I[ Edward & Sandi Adapted from ~Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook," by Rachel Harkham with Doni Zasloff Thomas (Berman HOuse) Ingredients For the dough: 1 cup butter, softened 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 1 egg yolk (save the white for the egg wash) 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2~ cups all-purpose flour For the filling: 1 14-ounce can condensed milk cup lemon juice (juice of 2 lemons) I tsp. vanilla extract 2 egg yolks Preparation: In a lal:ge mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar, then the yolk and vanilla. Sift in the flour until just blended. Collect and flatten into ;disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or ntil firm enough to work with. Mix all filling ingredientm a small bowl until well combined. Let stand for five minuteso thicken. Preheat the oven to 39 degrees. Divide dough in half (beware, it will be sticky).~eturn one half to refrigerator to keep firm. Place other halbetween two sheets of floured wax paper or on a well-flourecsurface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out from the cnter out into a large circle, about one-quarter-inch thick. Cut circles with a floured ookie cutter or the rim of a drinking glass. Spoon one heaping taspoon of the filling into the center of each circle. Pinch or fol the edges to form three corners. Arrange the filled hamataschen on greased baking sheets two inches apart. Continu with the remaining dough from the refrigerator, reroll the;craps, cut them out. and fill. Mix the reserved egg white wih a tablespoon of water and use a pastry brush to brush it mer the hamantaschen. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom. 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