Taste of the Week: Hamantaschen, challah, and rugelach @ Boulder

Rugelach at Rosenberg's

This year Thanksgiving Day dovetails with Hanukkah, November 28 to December 6. Since the Festival of Lights involves eight days of gatherings, appropriate treats to serve family and guests are essential. While the recently opened Rosenberg’s Bagels & Delicatessen, 1262 College Ave., is becoming known for its classic sandwiches, it also quietly provides access to the goods from one of the better bakeries in Denver. 

For starters, there are hamantashen, buttery cookies topped with jams including apricot and raspberry. My favorite is the sweet poppy seed version. Rugelach are like little rolls of flaky pastry dough wrapped around fillings with a crunchy sugar coating. At Rosenberg’s, that means cinnamon walnut, chocolate, raspberry walnut, and apricot fillings. The New York City deli favorite, black and white cookies, are cake-like rounds perfectly glazed with vanilla and chocolate sweetness. 

Other Boulder sources of pastries in Boulder include the Village Nosh online (thevillagenosh.com) which delivers challah, plum rugelach, fig hamentashen, vegan babka, and poppy seed makowiec (potica). Rye Society Deli in the Avanti food hall offers rugelach and black and white cookies. 

Besides Rosenberg’s, other local sources of challah bread loaves include Moe’s Bagels and Breadworks in Boulder and Longmont’s Babette’s Bakery and Whistling Boar catering. 

Another roadfood attraction

Zaidy’s chicken matzo ball noodle soup. Photo: Zaidy’s Deli

One of the first places where I was introduced to the joys of Jewish deli cuisine was the original Zaidy Deli where generations of Denverites gathered to satisfy their craving for pastrami sandwiches, blintzes, chopped liver and knishes.

The heavy sigh that erupted when the eatery closed several years ago turned to joy when Zaidy’s Deli recently reopened at 600 S. Holly Street in Denver. On my return, it was great to see Zaidy’s near-perfect chicken matzo ball soup was still on the menu. Clear chicken broth (no murky stock here!) is packed with only the necessities: noodles, celery, onion, carrot rounds, and chicken pieces with a tender matzo ball so big half of it sits above the soup. The steaming broth has that chicken fat sheen. Big eaters go for an extra ball and extra broth. 

Meals here still come with classic half-sour deli pickles.  

Zaidy’s Deli is also a bakery and market offering everything from raspberry chocolate rugelach and black and white cookies to challah and bialys.

What to do with too many carrots

Once you sample one of the heirloom carrots grown and sold at the Black Cat Farm stand at 4975 Jay Road, you have one of those lightbulb moments. All carrots are not the same, and most supermarket carrots are truly tasteless. Besides varieties of carrots like like Chantenay, Jaune du Doubs, and Shin Kuroda, the year-round stand also offers winter produce, meats, breads, grains, and prepared foods. 

Here’s a popular recipe from chef Eric Skokan’s Black Cat Bistro menu.

Black Cat Farms

Roasted Carrots with Tarator Sauce

1 two-pound bunch of carrots

1 cup sunflower oil


Tarator Sauce

Remove the tops from the carrots. Steam tops as greens or use in pesto. Trim and peel the carrots if necessary. Wash the carrots and dry. Cut the carrots into finger-size pieces, each about 4 inches long. Mix carrots in a mixing bowl with sunflower oil and salt. Spread carrots on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until carrots until tender and just beginning to brown. Transfer quickly to a bowl, top with sauce and serve immediately.

Tarator Sauce

1 cup toasted whole almonds

About 2 tablespoons roasted garlic

¼ cup sunflower oil

sea salt

Fresh lemon juice

In a food processor, combine the nuts, garlic, and 2 tablespoons water. Process on high speed until very smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until fully incorporated. Season with salt and lemon juice. Store in a tightly covered container in the fridge for up to four days.

Culinary calendar 

Meals on Wheels in Boulder has a slew of volunteer positions available. Jobs include drivers, packers, kitchen assistants, Eat Well Café lunch cashiers, and Niche Market cashiers. mowboulder.org/volunteer