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Season for abundance at the Kremers

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.”

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Sat, 11/23/2013 - 9:42am.


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.

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Thu, 05/23/2013 - 9:32pm.

Passover Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot

Passover Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot

My friend Dede Ginter tested this recipe for me, and her husband Ed’s AK
/(alter kocker)/Poker Club gave these light and crispy cookies sixteen
thumbs up. If a recipe called for chocolate chips, you could always
count on Aunt Estelle to use lots. She should have named these Passover
Downfall. Enough said. Mom says “ditto.”

Parchment paper or vegetable cooking spray, for the baking sheet
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter or nondairy margarine, at room
2 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Passover vanilla
2 1/2 cups matzoh cake meal
3/4 cup potato starch
4 cups (two 12-ounce bags) semisweet chocolate chips

1.Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet, or better yet, line
it with parchment paper.

2.Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed
until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a
time, scraping the bowl several times. Then beat in the vanilla. Reduce
the speed to low, and add the cake meal and potato starch. Scrape the
bowl, and blend just until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate
chips.(If the dough feels too sticky to handle even with floured hands,
cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is stiff, 30 minutes
to several hours.)

3.Divide the dough into 4 portions. Flour your hands with cake meal, and
form each portion into a log the length of the baking sheet. Space the
logs evenly on the prepared baking sheet, and bake on the center oven
rack until they are golden and the tops are firm to the touch, 30 minutes.

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Sat, 03/30/2013 - 8:55pm.

Stirring the pot of holiday memories


Sally Bower - nee Rabinowitz - has celebrated a lot of Passovers. But the one she remembers most fondly happened 70 years ago in Brooklyn. The Seder was at her boyfriend’s house, and it was the first time she would meet his family. When he opened the door, he had a bouquet for her.

During that evening, he put a ring on Bower’s finger in front of his family - even though the couple had been dating only three months.

Although this story is not in "Melting Pot Memories" by Bower’s niece Judy Bart Kancigor, many other exploits of the Rabinowitz family are. What started as a book written as a family heirloom has become popular across the nation with the book in its fifth printing and more than 3,200 copies sold.

It begins with the story of the Rabinowitz family leaving Slonim, in what is now Belarus, for the United States. It includes a history of the area, the family tree and 600 recipes gathered from 159 family members.

"It’s more of a story than a cookbook," Kancigor says by phone from her home in Fullerton, Calif.

But many of the recipes are from Bower, who was one of the tribe’s better cooks. She learned her way around the kitchen from her mother, who made a mean challah, and her mother-in-law, who had prepared meals for bar mitzvahs and weddings in the old country.

She remembers her mother soaking glasses for three days and burying the silver outside with hot coals for purification. The house was cleaned and any remaining crumbs of chometz - leaven - were searched out with a feather and burned.

Then there were the fish. The live ones kept in the bathtub so they’d be fresh when it was time to make the gefilte fish.

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Tue, 03/26/2013 - 3:47pm.

Passover: Celebrating now, remembering then

My Passover story in the Orange County Register features recipes for Rack of Lamb with Fig Marsala Sauce, Honey-Pecan Crusted Chicken, Zucchini Leek Latkes, and Chocolate Drenched Stuffed Fruit. Chag Sameach!!

Aunt Sally's Old-Fashioned Apple Cake for Rosh Hashanah


Rosh Hashanah is coming, apples are in season, and thoughts turn to the familiar. Friends tell me this tried and true, really simple cake reminds them of the one their bubbe or tante used to make.

Aunt Sally's Apple Cake
Serves 9

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Sun, 09/09/2012 - 9:57am.

Thanksgivvukah - a once in a lifetime celebration

My story in this month's Orange County Jewish Life magazine discusses the weird convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this year with lots of suggestions for celebration.


My crunchy crispy latke recipe on Workman's blog

I'm making minis this year for our Hanukkah tapas party! Different latkes with different sauces - one can't have too many! See my blog.


1 large head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 cup all-purpose flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 pounds beef brisket (preferably the 2nd cut also called the point cut)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
3 cups dry red wine (a whole bottle to you and me)
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 jar Saucy Susan (see Note)
3 dried bay leaves (preferably Turkish)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 quart chicken stock (preferably homemade)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Roast the garlic: Slice off the top of the garlic head so that all the cloves are exposed. Place the garlic on a square of aluminum foil, and pour 1 tablespoon oil over the exposed cloves. Twist the foil tight, and roast for 40 minutes. Open the foil and let the garlic cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325°F.

3. Meanwhile, sprinkle brisket on both sides with salt and pepper and liberally with the flour, shaking off any excess.

4. Heat the oil in a large covered casserole or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the brisket and sear, turning often, until well browned, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.

5. Transfer to a plate or platter and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. (I usually have nothing to pour off.) Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium and sauté, stirring often, until golden, about 10

6. Pour in the wine and stir to pick up any browned bits on the bottom of the casserole. Stir in the tomato paste, onion soup mix, Saucy Susan and add the bay leaves and thyme. Squeeze the garlic into the pot.

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Thu, 12/02/2010 - 9:44am.

So much more than a bowl of soup

Weather a little brisk for you these days? My story in today's Orange County Register extolls the virtues of - you guessed it - soup! Enjoy the recipe for Chicken Tortilla Soup. For a kosher version, use nondairy sour cream. Read the story.

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