My column on OU's website ezine Shabbat Shalom is a tribute to my wonderful mom - hard to believe she's 90! - and contains recipes for her unbelievable chicken soup, my Shiitake Mushroom Matzoh Balls and her Killer Brisket with Tsimmes. It begins this way:
My mother’s name is Lillian, but everyone calls her Honey. When I was expecting her first grandchild, Mom wanted to be called “Grandma Honey.” Mom had high hopes. My children called her “Honey” and it stuck. Even their friends think that that’s her name.
Canadian Jewish News, May 2, 2008
Manischewitz National Cookoff winner announced
by Judy Bart Kancigor
My Grandma Ruchel was very religious. When I was a child, I would watch her pray facing the cabinet where she kept the Tam Tams – those addictive, “bet you can’t eat one” crackers from Manischewitz – swaying back and forth as her arthritic fingers turned the pages of her prayer book. I had no idea she was facing east. I thought Tam Tam crackers were holy!
So it was with amusement Read the whole story
A delicious Passover recipe from "Cooking Jewish" on Lifetime TV's website. Get the recipe.
Haroset is a fruit and nut mixture that reminds us of the mortar our forefathers used when they were slaves in Egypt. Jews all over the world make it with whatever is local. For Jews of Eastern European extraction, that means walnuts and apples, a little sweet wine, and I add cinnamon and honey. But whatever you do toast the nuts!
For an unusual presentation, try my Yemenite Haroset Truffles from my cookbook, COOKING JEWISH. They are so sweet, spicy, and festive, they really belong on the dessert table, but I like to serve them during the Seder, where they won’t get lost amidst that ostentatious display of sponge cakes, tortes, cookies, and pastries. (Ah yes, poor us. No bread for a week. Thus we remember the sufferings of our ancestors!) Recently I made these truffles on FOX TV in Atlanta. To view the podcast click here.
And now here's the recipe:
The festival of Passover, which begins this year at sundown on Wednesday, commemorates the exodus of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. Because in their haste to depart they could not wait for their bread to rise, the dough was baked in flat cakes. To commemorate our passage to freedom, Jews throughout the world eat matzo for the eight-day holiday (seven in Israel). Strict rabbinical rules govern every aspect of its production.
“Our process with our Passover matzoh,” explained David Rossi, vice-president of marketing for RAB Food Group, owners of the Manischewitz brand, “from the time water touches the flour and gets mixed, then sheeted, made thinner and thinner, to the end of baking in the oven – can be no longer than 18 minutes. If there is a mechanical failure or some issue or error where the matzoh did not get through that run in 18 minutes, then the whole run must be thrown away.”
Before the company can begin production for Passover, the entire facility must be thoroughly cleaned and inspected – a procedure that makes Mama Hinda’s routine seem like a light dusting.
“The process takes four to seven weeks,” Rossi noted. “All the belts, all the lines, all the motors, all the ovens are cleaned and kashered (made kosher) to meet strict rabbinical standards for Passover.”
Turning out hundreds of Passover items, in addition to 10 varieties of matzo – spelt is Manischewitz’s new flavor this year – is no overnighter. “We begin making Passover products in September until early March for the following year,” Rossi noted. “Because the plant is kashered at tremendous expense, we produce Passover products until we’ve run all the requirements for the year. Then in March we start making non-Passover products.”
Passover's coming - we like the traditional with just enough new stuff to keep it interesting. Try Shiitake Mushroom Matzoh Balls for a new twist on an old favorite.
Both my daughters-in-law never liked matzoh balls until I came up with this one. I doctored up plain old matzoh ball mix – and a fine product it is! – with shiitake mushrooms and scallions for a shtetl favorite with an Asian twist. (Not surprising. Jews have had a long love affair with Chinese food!) Go ahead and double or even triple the recipe (and you may have to!), but be careful not to crowd the pot when you are cooking them. For the recipe click here.
Happy Easter to our Christian friends!
What is your most indispensable ingredient, whether you’re preparing an elegant company repast or a humble weekday family dinner? The onion, of course!
“A good onion is always worth the tears,” said Linda Griffith, who with husband Fred wrote “Onions, Onions, Onions: Delicious Recipes for the World’s Favorite Secret Ingredient” (Chapters Publishing, $14.95).
This James Beard award-winning cookbook tells you everything you ever wanted to know and then some about onions in all its colors and forms – from Spanish to Pearl to Walla Walla – and its cousins in the allium family: leeks, ramps, scallions, chives, shallots and garlic. Try cooking without them – I dare you!
As much fun to read as to cook from, this passionate book is filled with onion lore from the tombs of Egyptian mummies – “[Onions] were placed in the thorax or pelvis, or in the ear or near the eyes, perhaps because they were believed to improve breathing” – to the use of onions in language – Yiddish curse: “ You should grow like an onion with your head in the dirt and your feet in the air!”
Mouth-watering recipes ensure that this cookbook will soon become splatter stained: Chive Crêpes with Smoked Salmon; Alsatian Onion Quiche; Chicken Liver Pâté with Applejack, Scallions and Chives; Crisp-Roasted Duck with Leek and Orange Stuffing.
For your Easter feast, try Potatoes and Onions, Alsatian-Style, a rich and creamy casserole that the Griffiths claim is “not for the faint of heart”!
“It gets its inspiration from a traditional potato and Muenster cheese combination that we first encountered in the dining room of a tiny inn high in the Vosges Mountains in Alsace,” they write. You can substitute Pont l’Évêque or Port Salut for the Alsatian Muenster or even Monterey Jack.
Pastor Paul Wirth of a Tampa area church made headlines last week – I swear I’m not making this up! – when he challenged married couples in his congregation to have sex for 30 days in a row as a reaction to the nation's 50-percent divorce rate. (Unmarried couples were encouraged to abstain.)
Note that this pronouncement came after Valentine’s Day and not before, causing me to ponder – why is only one day a year set aside for showing love? A new cookbook proves the old maxim: A couple that cooks together stays together. Okay, that’s not the maxim, but you get the idea.
Meredith Phillips, best known for her starring role in ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” has compiled her favorite couple-friendly recipes in “The Date Night Cookbook: Romantic Recipes for the Busy Couple” (Terrace Publishing, $29.95).
Lamb Vindaloo, Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne, Buffalo Chicken Satay, Rosemary-Orange Cream Brûlée. Think these dishes are only for “company”? Read on.
“Food is about nourishing people, but cooking together is about nourishing your relationship,” she writes. “People today seem so much busier than they were in our parents’ and grandparents’ generations. It’s hard to make time to cook a meal at home.”
Phillips, a classically trained chef, met her live-in boyfriend Fritz in cooking school. Drawn together by their love of food and cooking, they make one day a week date night, but with a twist. On this night they stay home and cook together.
“When we’re cooking we have fun, which is so important in a relationship,” she says. “Our tastes and styles intermingle, especially on date night, because it’s done together and with love.”
Molly O'Neill brings the story of my grandmother's cholent to grandparents.com. Read the story.
It has all the elements of pulp fiction biblical style: the foolish king (Ahasuerus), the spurned wife (Vashti), the wicked first minister (Haman), the brave and beautiful maiden (Esther) and her honorable protector (Mordecai). Add to the mix an assassination plot foiled and a people saved...To celebrate our deliverance, sweets are the order of the day.
To read the complete story, see OU's Shabbat Shalom.