January 23, 2015
At Home with Friends

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Knishes, Rugelach, Poppy Seed Strudel and Deli Delights

Canter’s Deli is an institution in Los Angeles. Opened in 1931, it is a Jewish style delicatessen in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles. It’s famous for its corned beef and pastrami but also for the fact that it is open 24 hours a day, except for Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Over the years it’s been a favorite of rock starts and major celebrities. Its varied patrons have included Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Elvis Presley, Brad Pitt, Gene Simmons of KISS, Johnny Depp; and even more importantly, on Sunday mornings, my mom, my dad and my eccentric uncle Sammy.

I knew New Year’s Day brunch would have to include bagels and cream cheese, rugelach and poppy seed strudel from Canter’s. I remembered a party catered by Canter’s which included mini knishes and hoped they still made them. The knish recipe at Canter’s has remained the same for at least 30 years. The minis are delectable and the perfect antidote for a hangover. I had to order the mini knishes in advance and pick them up the day before the party.

A knish is traditionally an Eastern European snack food consisting of a filling covered with dough. In 2000, there was a knish Renaissance with specialty bakeries popping up in various locations including Maryland, Washington, DC, and California. I guess knishes are back in fashion.

The smell of the freshly baked knishes was intoxicating and it was hard not to sneak one during the drive home. I resisted and waited until New Year’s Day.

Here is a great party planning tip:

Check out your local deli or ethic market and see what you can buy readymade to enhance your menu. Of course, you need to sample everything before you buy it. No hostess would serve anything she hadn’t tasted, especially if it included rugelach, mini knishes, and poppy seed strudel; and maybe she’d even have to sample it several times just to be sure it was really good. Oh, the sacrifices I make for my guests!

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