If you’re reading this on an empty stomach, go get a snack. Prepare to salivate!
My friend Gloria Kremer is a divine cook who loves to try new recipes while maintaining family traditions. And from the sound of her menu…well, talk about a groaning board!
“For Thanksgiving I like abundance,” she said when I called to ask what’s cooking. “Our Thanksgiving menu is very traditional. Many of the recipes are from my Italian mother’s wonderful cooking.”
Planned so far are mashed potatoes, herb stuffing, corn, glazed sweet potatoes, carrots with caramelized pearl onions, Brussels sprouts with Hollandaise sauce, green salad with mesclun mix, thin apple slices, caramelized walnuts, feta cheese and raspberry dressing, another salad she calls “simple” Caesar salad… “and for good measure a frozen fruit salad the little ones love with banana slices, fresh pineapple, cherries, sour cream, sugar and lemon juice that I freeze in paper-lined muffin tins.”
And let’s not forget the appetizers. Daughter-in-law Amy’s sister will make a wonderful layered spread with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts. “I’ll probably do a hot artichoke dip or maybe caponata, plus crudités and dip,” Gloria added.
Then of course there’s the turkey. “I always use a big Butterball,” she told me, “although my mother preferred a hen. I think years ago the Toms really were tough, but I don’t think that’s true anymore. And besides, hens are smaller, which means I’d have to get two, and I don’t want to tie up two ovens.”
My friend Eileen Cohen knows her chocolate. In a blind taste test she can tell Tobleron from Godiva with her hands tied behind her back.
That’s why, when she raved about the chocolate mousse that nutrition expert and cookbook author Jennifer Flynn had served, I was intrigued. A healthy chocolate mousse? What was the secret? Would you believe avocado?
“Nobody believes me when I tell them they are eating avocado,” said Flynn, author of “The Super Food Generation: 14 Foods That Get You Glowing.”
“It’s amazing how well the other ingredients mask the flavor of this buttery fruit. The heart-healthy fat of the avocado is a perfect replacement for the dairy cream used in traditional mousse.”
Flynn became a vegetarian when a friend brought her an article about the conditions in slaughterhouses.
“I’m a really big animal lover, and I thought, I don’t want to be a part of this. My family didn’t think it would last, but I started paying attention to ingredients and noticing the hidden animal byproducts and ingredients you can’t even pronounce the names of.”
“The Super Food Generation” is not a diet book. “I wanted to get back to basics and promote healthy foods and ingredients rather than a particular diet,” she explained. “I want people be open-minded and not think so much about having to stick to a diet, but become more familiar with the healthy foods out there and adapt them to their own particular diet.”
Besides the avocado, pumpkin – along with carrots, sweet potatoes and its relatives in the squash family – is another of the 14 super foods that work “synergistically with the human body to unlock vitality, strengthen immunity and literally slow down the aging process,” Flynn writes.
Excuse me? Pumpkin Pie a health food? We’re talking about a healthy Thanksgiving feast now?
A delightful Internet urban legend concerns a diner who supposedly tasted this scrumptious cookie at the Neiman-Marcus Cafe and asked for the recipe. When her request was denied, she asked if she could purchase it, and the waitress quoted her two-fifty. When she got her monthly statement, the store had charged her $250! She tried to return it, but was again denied, so she vowed to get even by faxing and emailing this recipe to everyone she knew and asking them to pass it on to others. (A lovely hoax, but at least this one isn’t scaring the bejeebies out of us about carjackings and exploding cell phones.)
Years ago I saw the same recipe touted as Mrs. Fields' classic, although Mrs. Fields too has denied it. But everyone I've ever served them to says who cares if it's the original. It's just as good or better!
5 cups rolled oats
4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
24 ounces chocolate chips
1 Hershey chocolate bar (8 ounces), grated
3 cups chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Have ready several ungreased baking sheets.
2. Process the oatmeal in a blender to a fine powder and place in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
3. Cream the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 90 seconds. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until combined, about 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and blend in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips, grated chocolate, and walnuts.
Tradition! Tradition! Got kugel? Got Kugel with farfel? Now you do!
My favorite Passover recipes from Cooking Jewish are now available in a short, handy, digestible e-book: The Perfect Passover Cookbook (Workman Publishing), for your e-reader, available on amazon, barnes and noble or wherever e-books are sold.
These 54 recipes are gathered from five generations of my food-obsessed family into a celebratory saga of Passover feasts.
You'll just go mashuga for:
Some people – even great cooks – spend their entire lives with only one brisket recipe in their repertoires. Sure, they’ll try the newest crostini or cloufuti, but their brisket is somehow sacrosanct, unchanged through the decades (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
Me, I flit merrily from brisket to brisket as the mood hits. My current brisket du jour – or I perhaps I should say du anne, as I’ve been making it all year – was inspired by a recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Sara Moulton. (And her husband is Jewish, so she should know!)
Here are my modifications (besides some slight changes in amounts of ingredients): I roast the garlic and then add it to the gravy. I use a whole can of tomato paste and have added the onion mix and Saucy Susan. The blender thing is my idea – you get a thicker gravy while still
leaving plenty of onion bits for that homemade look and feel.
I also find with this and other braised dishes that they always taste better the next day. Another advantage is it is much easier to skim off the fat when cold. And while we’re on the subject, don’t hack off all the fat before cooking. It adds so much to the flavor and you’ll get it all later.
Sara evaporates the wine; I don’t do this. I get a ton of gravy, just the ticket, because no matter what brisket recipe I’m making, I’d better do my mother-in-law’s potatoes and carrots or face that close-but-no-cigar look on my husband’s face.
My Passover story in the Orange County Register is a tribute to my mom. This is my first Passover without her! You'll find recipes for Salmon Gefilte Fish, My New Favorite Brisket and Passover Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot. Click here or go to OCRegister.com and then click Food.
My column on OU's website, Shabbat Shalom includes recipes for My Chicken Marbella from "Cooking Jewish," Orange Beets with Almonds from "The Healthy Jewish Cookbook by Michael van Straten and Apricot Jelly Roll from Joan Kekst's "Passover Cookery"
Passover is the most observed Jewish holiday of the year. Even those who never step inside a synagogue pull out all the stops for this one. With our celebratory meal, the Seder, we retell the 3500-year-old story of our ancestors' flight to freedom from the land of Egypt. And everything on the table is laden with meaning.
The centerpiece is the Seder plate, holding the traditional symbols. On every Seder plate sits karpas (a green vegetable), the symbol of spring, which we dip into salt water as we remember the tears shed by our ancestors. Actually for Jews in the shtetls (little villages) in Eastern Europe, spring arrived late, and greens were rare at Passover time. "My father's family always used potato," suggested my friend Yiddish songstress Lori Cahan-Simon, "but added parsley as karpas in the new country, so we have, in effect, parsley potatoes!" Read the whole story.
The Orange County Register, April 17, 2008
Two new cookbooks offer traditional and fresh looks at the holiday menu.
by JUDY BART KANCIGOR
When Sarine and Murad Kattan left Aleppo, Syria, in 1947 for their honeymoon in Italy, their thoughts were of love and their future in their beloved homeland, where their family and the larger Jewish community had lived and flourished for centuries.
Back in Aleppo, the announcement of the United Nations partition of Palestine fueled the already smoldering atmosphere of anti-Semitism, setting off pogroms (organized massacres) that virtually extinguished all Jewish life, erasing centuries of this rich, thriving culture.
Find recipes for Chicken Soup With Asparagus and Shiitakes, Served With Roasted Fennel Matzo Balls and Braised Brisket With Thirty-Six Cloves of Garlic from Jewish Holiday Cooking when you read the whole story. For Stuffed Eggplant with Quince recipe from Aromas of Aleppo click here and for Candied Coconut with Pistachios click here.
Canadian Jewish News April 2008
by Judy Bart Kancigor
Happy New Year! No, I haven't forgotten how to read a calendar (and can still find my way home and hardly ever drool on my sweater.) For Jews preparing for Passover (beginning Saturday evening, April 19) the spring holiday is another way to mark the beginning of the Jewish year.
While Rosh Hashanah, literally translated “head of the year,” is the spiritual new year, Nissan, the month of Passover, is sometimes considered the first month, because it denotes the beginning of our liberation from slavery and the exodus of our ancestors from Egypt.
And just in time for Passover, the culinary crescendo of the year for Jewish cooks, comes the long-awaited “Passover by Design” (Artscroll) from Susie Fishbein, with over 130 Passover-adjusted recipes, plus 30 brand-new ones, and the leap-off-the-page, glorious photos and clever décor ideas we have come to expect from this wildly popular author of the Kosher by Design series.
“Passover by Design” contains many of the recipes we love in Fishbein’s previous books, conveniently reformulated for the holiday, plus some enticing additions, including Teriyaki Chicken Satés, Beef Roulade on Creamy Parsnips, Sliced Beef with Shiitakes and Cherry Brandy Sauce, Steamed Sea Bass in Savoy Cabbage, Cranberry Chicken, Quinoa Timbales with Grapefruit Vinaigrette and Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.
Celebrating Passover with her large, lively family brings back vivid memories, said Fishbein by phone from her home in New Jersey. “It was just a frenzy, people of all ages celebrating together. The women tended to live into their nineties. That was always so beautiful, so many generations sitting at the table. There were so many people, so much to do. It was just a really happy, busy time.”