light and fluffy mashed potatoes

For Erev Yom Kippur dinner last night, I made mashed potatoes.  I thought they were good, but my daughter Randi swooned as she ate some and said, “These potatoes are like fluffy clouds, they’re so light!  She asked me if I had done anything different than usual to which I said I didn’t, but I realized I’d better write down what I did do!

5 lbs. organic Idaho potatoes

2 sticks Whole Foods salted butter

about 1/2 cup whole, organic milk

salt (not kosher)

about 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Peel potatoes.  Cut into largish pieces and put in large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil (uncovered), and simmer over low boil till you can put a fork into potatoes easily.  Drain in colander.  Put your sticks of butter back in pot to melt over low flame.  Add potatoes back in, and mash.  Add salt to taste and pepper too.  Then add milk, and mash till nice and fluffy.

Apple, Strawberry, Lettuce, Peppers, Red Onion, Cucumber Salad

This is a light, fresh, citrusy salad that’s great in any season.

  • a combination of romaine, green leaf, and baby spinach
  • peeled cucumber , cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
  • about 2 slices of red onion, cut into small pieces
  • about 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 5-7 sliced strawberries
  • 1 apple cut into bite sized pieces
  • a handful of broken by hand Whole Foods Sea Salt Pita Chips

citrus vinaigrette

  • 1 lemon juiced  (about 2-3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons country Dijon mustard
  • pinch salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Another Pea Soup

I like to keep a  one pound bag of split peas in the house just in case we’re in the mood for pea soup. We just had the big blizzard the day after Christmas, and I was snowed in with my son Benji.  I couldn’t have been happier.  He loves soup, I love him, so I made him a pot of delicious, warming soup.  It was a great day.

1 pound bag of green split peas

1 pound bag of yellow split peas

2 large  onion

4 quarts water

about pound of organic carrots, cut into smallish chunks

kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Rinse the peas.  Put in large saucepan.  Pour the water over.  Peel onions and then pierce with a fork, and place in pot whole.  Put sliced carrots in pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Simmer covered about 2 hours over low flame, adding your salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with thin egg noodles, matzoh balls, cooked Kosher hot dogs pieces, or just plain.

Sweet And Sour Turkey Or Ground Beef Meatballs

My son Danny asked me to make sweet and sour meatballs, so I looked at a few different recipes, and then came up with this.  Both my boys really loved the meatballs, but I still like the texture more of meatballs made with beef.  I’m planning to make them this year for the Jewish Holidays, but I think I’ll use organic chopped meat instead of the turkey.  The sauce was delicious! I served them with baked stuffed potatoes, but they’d go well with mashed potatoes too.

Ingredients:

for the meatballs:

  • two pounds ground beef, or ground turkey (I used Empire Kosher ground turkey)- (I’ll use 3 pounds of organic beef the next time I made them)
  • 2 large or extra large eggs (3 eggs for 3 lbs. of beef or turkey)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (1/2 cup for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (1 1/2 teaspoons for 3 lbs.)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (1 1/2 teaspoons for 3 lbs.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (opt.) (I didn’t use when I used 3 lbs. of beef or turkey)
  • about 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (or matzoh meal for Passover) (one cup for 3 lbs. of beef or turkey)
  • 4 oz. unsweetened apple sauce (I used this to give the turkey some moistness) (I used this same amount when I used 3 lbs. of beef)
  • 1/2  onion, grated (didn’t use for beef)

Mix all ingredients together gently.  Dampen your hands and make into meatballs about 1 1/2  in. in diameter.   Set aside while you make the sauce.

for the sauce:

  • one (14 oz.) can jellied cranberry sauce (2 cans for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • one (12 oz.) jar chili sauce (2 jars for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar about 2/3 cup for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons lemon juice (2 T. for 3 pounds of beef or turkey)
  • 1/2 small 3 oz. can tomato paste (the tomato paste cuts the sweetness and makes the sauce rich) (1 small can for 3 lbs. of beef or turkey)

In largish pot, put all above ingredients.  Stir over low flame until everything is dissolved.  Place meatballs in carefully.  Place over lowest flame, cover, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes without touching the meatballs.  When the meatballs are firm enough, stir very gently.  Cover and cook for about another hour, mixing gently every so often. 

You can serve immediately, refrigerate and heat up later, or freeze in freezer containers when it is cool enough. 

Read on

  1. Pour the whole jar of chili sauce into a 4 quart saucepan. Fill the chili sauce jar with water and add the water to the pan.
  2. Add the can of cranberry sauce and cook over medium-low heat until the cranberry sauce melts.

Directions for Making the Meatballs:

  1. While the sauce is cooking, mix the meat, egg, and onion together.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (bread crumbs through black pepper) to the meat mixture and combine well.
  3. After the cranberry sauce has melted, roll the meat mixture into walnut sized balls and gently drop into the sauce.
  4. Cover the pan and cook the meatballs on medium low for one hour.

This recipe makes around twenty-four meatballs. Serve them with plenty of challah to soak up the delicious sauce.

Sources

Read more at Suite101: Sweet and Sour Cranberry Meatballs http://recipes.suite101.com/article.cfm/sweet-and-sour-cranberry-meatballs#ixzz0wvMfRISf

Vegetarian Pea Soup With Matzah Balls

I have made pea soup for years.  For years, I made it with flanken.  My mother, father, and children loved it.  My in-law Marcia Greenhouse though had the brilliant idea of making the soup without meat and adding matzah balls to the recipe!  Since her son and my daughter were both vegetarians who couldn’t eat chicken soup with matzah balls, she decided, why not make the matzah balls with pea soup?  The consensus in the family is that Marcia’s matza balls are better than mine, and I totally agree.  My daughter Randi always asks me why Marcia’s matzah balls are better than mine, and I just don’t have the answer.   Here is the recipe for my delicious pea soup and my and Marcia’s matzah balls.  Oh, I made a really big pot, and then I freeze the rest in quart containers (with the matza balls).

for the soup: 

  • 6 tubes of Manischewitz split pea soup mix (I throw the seasoning packets away)
  • about 24 cups of cold water (about 5 quarts)
  • kosher salt, about 2 tablespoons or to taste
  • pepper, about 2 – 3 teaspoons or to taste
  • 2 large onions, peeled – but left whole
  • 2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into medium sized chunks
  • optional – 1/2 box of alphabet noodles or barley shaped noodles (only if you are not making matzah balls)

Pour the contents of  6 tubes of Manischewitz pea soup mix into the bottom of a very large pot.  Pour in about 24 cups of water (about 4 cups of water for each soup mix packet).  Pierce the two onions with a fork and place in pot.  Bring to a boil.  Skim scum off top.  Add salt and pepper.  Lower flame to low.  Simmer with top on.  After about one hour, add the cut up carrots.  Continue to simmer with cover on  for at least one more hour until you don’t see any more pieces of dried peas.  Discard onions.  If you are adding the noodles, boil them separately and then add them to the soup when the soup is fully cooked.

for the matzah balls:

  • 1 box (2 packets) Manishewitz matzah ball mix
  • oil and eggs- for quantities, see instructions on box

Follow directions on the box exactly.  Refrigerate batter, according to directions on the box.  Then, form the matzah balls using dampened hands.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and boil the matzah balls to that pot and cook according to package directions.  Add  cooked matzah balls to the soup. 

Note:  Freeze leftover soup and matzah balls in quart containers. 

   

Judy’s Sweet And Sour Meatballs or Stuffed Cabbage

I adapted this recipe from my Aunt Florence Fried’s recipe for the filling of her stuffed cabbage.  When I used to make stuffed cabbage, I would make extra meatballs for my children.  My son Danny was the one who really loved these.  My mother loved when I made this, but my father especially loved when I made the stuffed cabbage.

for the meatballs or the filling of the stuffed cabbage:

  • 4 pounds chop meat (85% or 90% lean)
  • 4 eggs
  • about 1 cup of plain bread crumbs (or matzah meal for Passover)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the sauce for the sweet and sour meatballs or the stuffed cabbage:

  • 4- 8 oz. cans tomato sauce
  • 4- 6 oz. cans tomato paste (I use Contadina)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sour salt (or substitute 1 more lemon for sour salt 9/11)
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar (reduce to 1 1/2 cups)

if you are making stuffed cabbage:

  • 1 large head of new cabbage

for making the sweet and sour meatballs:

Put all the sauce ingredients in a large pot.  Put over low flame and whisk till blended.  Then form meat mixture into meatballs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Gently drop meatballs into pot.  Simmer covered over a low flame about 2 1/2 hours.    Do not stir until your meatballs have set after about 1/2 hour or so.  If you mix while they are still raw, they will not retain their shape.

for stuffed cabbage:

Core and put 1 large head of new cabbage in a very large pot.  Pour cold water in to cover.  Simmer covered until the leaves are soft enough to separate.  Lay out one leaf of cabbage at a time.  Put about one tablespoon of meat mixture in center but towards the bottom of the leaf, then begin to roll up, then fold both sides over, and continue to roll.  Do with each leaf until you have used all the leaves.  Put half of your sauce mixture in bottom of a very large pot.  Then put all of the cabbage rolls, then the rest of the sauce on top.  If you have any leftover meat, make meatballs out of them and add to the top of the pot.  Simmer with the top on about 2 1/2 hours.

Note:  This freezes very well.

Roasted String Beans and Tomatoes

This dish is easy to make, healthy, delicious, and the colors are beautiful.  I made this for my son Danny and myself, and to my shock, Danny loved it, even though he doesn’t usually like string beans. 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of fresh string beans, ends trimmed
  • about 8-10 plum tomatoes or 2 pints of grape or cherry tomatoes
  • kosher salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • about 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves (optional)
  • olive oil (I use light)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil.  Cut plum tomatoes into medium size chunks, each about the size of a half of a cherry tomato.  If using cherry or grape tomatoes, cut them in half.  Place on prepared sheet pan, drizzle about 2 tablespoons oil over, sprinkle with salt and pepper and thyme.  Toss with your hands to coat well with oil.  Roast uncovered in oven for about 45 minutes.  Then take out, and add the string beans.  Drizzle a little more oil over beans and sprinkle beans with salt and pepper.  Then toss gently.  Roast for another 20-30 minutes until the beans start to brown on the ends.  Serve.

Delicious Pot Roast With Velvety Smooth Gravy

The Gravy In This Pot Roast Is Rich And Delicious! 

If you like pot roast, this is a pretty good recipe for it.

  • 3 – 4 pounds of rump or bottom round foast beef
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 large onion, cut into a medium dice
  • 1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock (I used Kitchen Basics)
  • 1/2 cup water

Season the meat on all sides with kosher salt and pepper (I use regular ground pepper for this). Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a dutch oven or pot. Add meat and diced onions to the dutch oven or pot and brown the onions and the meat (on all sides) over a medium to high heat for about 10- 15 minutes. The onions should be really browning along with the meat. You should have lots of browned bits on the bottom and along the sides of the dutch oven or pot. Then take the meat out (temporarily). Add the beef stock and water to the dutch oven or pot. This is called deglazing.  Keep the flame on low, and use a wooden spoon to mix all the browned bits in with the liquid. Those browned bits are what really give flavor to the pot roast and the gravy. Add the tomato sauce, and mix in with the wooden spoon. Put the meat back in. Smoosh the meat around in the gravy. Cover the dutch oven or pot. At this point, you can either cook the pot roast on the top of the stove over the lowest flame if you are using a regular pot. If you are using a dutch oven, then place it in the oven at 325 degrees for 2 1/2-4 hours, depending on the thickness of the roast. If you are cooking the pot roast on top of the stove, turn the meat every 1/2 hour. Even if you are cooking the pot roast in the oven, you can turn it over every half hour, but this is not necessary. Check the meat after 2 1/2 hours to see if it is tender. A fork should go in quite easily when it is done. Thicker pieces of meat will definitely require more time.  When it is done, take the pot roast out of the pot or dutch oven to rest on the counter for a few minutes.

Then make the gravy. You can do two things. You can serve the gravy as is right from the pot, which is basically au jus, or you can make a thicker gravy using about 1 1/2 cups of the pan drippings.  To do this, take about 1 1/2 cups of the au jus out of the pot, and put it through a sieve or strainer. Then pour the liquid into a small saucepan. Whisk in about 2 tablespoons of flour until you can’t see any of the flour. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for about 3-5 minutes until thickened. If the gravy is too thick, add a little water. If you think it’s too thin, turn the heat off, add a little more flour, whisk it in, and then simmer for a few more minutes. (For those who like au jus or the natural gravy, you should still have some of that left in the pot to serve.)

Slice the roast with a sharp knife into about 1/4 inch thick slices. Place on serving platter and either drizzle some of the au jus or gravy over it, or serve it with the au jus or gravy on the side.

Note: You can make this in a crock pot, but you should do the first steps of browning the meat and onions as stated above. Instead of cooking the meat in the oven or on top of the stove, transfer it into a crock pot, and cook on low for about 4-5 hours until tender.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with either baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles.

Aunt Helene’s And Aunt Francine’s Delicious Broiled Chicken And Potatoes

This Chicken Is Wonderful To Make For A Friday Night Shabbat Dinner!

My ex-husband Joe Kahn has two wonderful aunts, his Aunt Francine Shure and his Aunt Helene Caplan.  They were welcoming and loving to me when Joe brought me to their homes in the suburbs outside of Baltimore, Maryland.  I spent the most time at Aunt Francine’s and Uncle Richard’s house.  I loved going there because they were loving, fun, and warm people.  (I really miss those times!)  I also loved going to Frannie’s house because she was (and still is, I’m sure) a fantastic cook.  This recipe for broiled chicken and potatoes was often served when Joe and I were invited over for dinner.  Joe has told me many times about the wonderful Friday night (Shabbat) dinners that were held at his house hosted by his mother Bernice Kahn.  Joe remembers that Aunt Helene was in charge of the chicken.  She prepared it at her house and brought it over because there just wasn’t enough room in Bernice’s oven to cook all the chicken for the 18 or so people who were going to be eating.  Joe has unbelievably wonderful memories of those Friday night dinners.  A memory I have of eating this meal in Richard and Francine’s dining room is how much Richard enjoyed Francine’s cooking, and how complimentary he was about everything she put on the table. It was just fun to be with them!  Please try this recipe – it is a foolproof recipe for delicious chicken!

  • 1 or 2 whole chickens, cut up in eighths
  • kosher salt *(optional- see note below)
  • pepper, garlic powder, and paprika
  • dried onion flakes OR 1-2 onions, minced                 
  • 1 or 2 large cans of whole baby white potatoes
  • light olive oil or schmaltz (chicken fat)

for the chicken:

Preheat oven to broil.  Cover a half sheet pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.

Season the cut up pieces of chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika on both sides.  Place on prepared pan so the bottom of the chicken is facing up.  Broil until the top of chicken is nicely browned, 5-10 minutes.  Then turn and broil until the skin side of the chicken is nicely browned, about 5-10minutes.  Then cover with aluminum foil and cook at 325  degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour more. the cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces.

for the potatoes:

Take the potatoes out of the can and rinse them well in cold water.  Put a little oil or schmaltz in a cast iron skillet or any type of frying pan.  Fry the minced onions, seasoning them with a some paprika and some salt.  When the onions are starting to brown, throw the potatoes in with the onions.  Season the potatoes generously with paprika and a little kosher salt (optional).  Toss the potatoes with the onions as the onions brown.  When the onions are really browned, place the potatoes and onions in a serving bowl.    

OR

Rinse the potatoes with cold water as above.  Pour a few tablespoons of oil  on the bottom of the casserole dish.  Put the potatoes in the dish.  Sprinkle the potatoes generously with paprika, and place the casserole in the oven uncovered while you are broiling and baking the chicken.  Just be sure that you put the casserole underneath the chicken so that the potatoes don’t burn while you are broiling the chicken.  Toss the potatoes and the onions a few times during the cooking.  If the potatoes don’t have enough color, add a little more paprika.  The potatoes will be ready to serve when the chicken is done.

*Note:  The original recipe calls for NOT USING any salt when you season the chicken.  That’s because Kosher chickens were being used, and Kosher chickens are already salted.  So if you are using Kosher chicken, OR if you are trying to cut down on salt, just eliminate the salt from the recipe.

Chippy Linder’s Kasha Varnishkes

Learn To Make This Traditional Eastern European Jewish Dish Right In Your Own Home!

Kasha varnishkes is most definitely a Jewish dish that most non-Jews probably never even heard of …until they saw one of my all-time favorite Seinfeld episodes, the one where a rabbi who lived in Elaine’s building said to Elaine, “Would you like to come up to my apartment for some kasha varnishkes?” Larry David’s masterful and incomparable writing unveiled kasha varnishkes to mainstream America and the world. Well, I’ve been making kasha varnishkes for years, and I have an incredible recipe for it which came from my mother’s close friend, Chippy Linder. The first time I tasted Chippy’s kasha varnishkas, I knew I would have to learn how to make her recipe.  I love to make this dish for my daughter Randi and her husband Dan, and for my mother and my son Benji. What really sets this recipe apart from others is the delicious taste of the fried onions and the texture of the miniature bowtie noodles. You may think this dish is hard to make, but it really is quite easy. Once you make it one time, you won’t need to open up another box of Cohen’s frozen kasha varnishkes or pay a lot of money for it at your local deli. Master this recipe and you will be on your way to becoming a real Jewish cook!

  • 12 ounces (1 box Ronzoni miniature bowtie pasta- egg bows #138)
  • 1- 13 oz. box Wolff’s medium or coarse kasha
  • 2-3 pounds of onions
  • 2 eggs
  • corn, canola, or light olive oil
  •  reserved pasta water (from when you boil the bow ties)
  • kosher salt
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper

Dice onions by hand or using metal blade in food processor. Pour a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan. Pour onions into pan, season with kosher salt and pepper, and fry onions over medium flame until well browned but not burned. Set aside pan with the fried onions.

In medium saucepan, put contents of box of kasha, a few dashes of kosher salt and about 10 grinds of cracked pepper. Crack 2 eggs into a small bowl, and then pour into the pan with the kasha. Turn heat to medium. Mix the kasha with the egg with a fork for a few minutes. The kasha will start to dry out. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until the egg has dried on the kasha and the kasha kernels are separate. Add about 3 cups of boiling or very hot water. Stir, and then cover pot and cook over very low flame for 10 minutes until kasha is tender and the liquid is absorbed.  If you think the kasha looks too dry, add another 1/2 to 1 cup of water.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the miniature bowtie noodles according to package directions until just cooked. Drain in colander. Put the pasta in a very large mixing bowl. Add the cooked kasha and the fried diced onions. Mix, and add more salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add any leftover oil from the pan that you fried the onions in. If you think the kasha varnishkes are too dry, add one tablespoon of oil and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Mix well. Serve hot.

Note 1: This makes about 3 -4 quarts. If you want to make a smaller quantity, just halve all the ingredients.

Note 2: You can make this 1 or 2 days in advance, and then heat in a bowl in the microwave. When you reheat, you may need to add a drop more oil if the kasha seems too dry and some extra salt and pepper to taste. You can also freeze leftovers in quart containers in the freezer.

Note 3:  If your family members are allergic to wheat, then eliminate the noodles from the recipe.  Kasha is wheat and gluten free.