Grandma Hindes’s Apple, Nectarine or Peach, or Blueberry Fritters

This is another outstanding recipe from my Grandma Hindes.  I never had her apple fritters, but I did have my mother’s.  This dish was one of my mother’s favorites when she was growing up.  My mother always mentions what a great cook her mother was, but for some reason my mother didn’t appreciate most of her mother’s cooking when she was growing up.  But my mother did love my grandmother’s apple fritters – a lot.   I remember hearing my mother explain how my grandfather and my Uncle Nat would come home every noon from the dress factory they owned and worked at in South River, N.J. (The South River Dress Company), to one of these delicious full course lunches.  The apple fritters were one of the delicious side dishes she made for them for lunch.  My mother made these when I was growing up, too.  These are delicious!  When most people think of fritters, they think of something that is roundish in shape and deep fried.  These are neither. They are more like a pancake, with a light and airy batter, with delectable chunks of sweet apple inside.  You have to try them.  Really, I can’t tell you how lucky you are to have the opportunity to make this family, heirloom recipe!  Don’t miss this rare opportunity!

  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1 cup of regular milk
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour 
  • 2 generous pinches baking powder (each one about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 2 pinches Kosher salt (each one about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 large Rome, Winesap, Granny Smith, Yellow Delicious, or other baking apples, cut into thinnish chunks (or blueberries, peaches, nectarines- see note below)
  • oil for frying ( corn or canola)

Peel and slice the apples.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk the milk with the eggs.  Whisk in the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the sugar until the mixture is as lump free as possible.  I usually need to add the 1/4 cup more flour mentioned above if the batter is too thin.  Fold in the apples with a rubber spatula.

Heat corn oil or canola oil in a large frying pan, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch high.  Drop spoonfuls in about the size of silver dollar pancakes.  The batter will get a bit puffy, and when it is nicely browned on the bottom, flip over with a spatula.  Brown on the other side, and drain on paper towels.  I serve them with granulated sugar served on the side, but I guess you could sprinkle them with confectioners sugar.  The taste of the granulated sugar on them is perfect, though! 

Note:  These may be frozen in an aluminum tin.  Lay them so they are not overlapping.  Then put a sheet of aluminum foil over the first layer, and repeat with a second layer of fritters.  You can heat them directly from the freezer.  Put them on a half sheet pan or on a cookie sheet covered with foil into a preheated oven, about 350 degrees until they are hot and bubbly (about 20 min.) 

In the summer, I substitute peaches, nectarines, or blueberries for the apples.  Nectarines, I don’t peel, which is great.

This morning- June 26, 2011, I just made the above batter, divided in half, added about 1 heavy cup of blueberries to the one half of the batter, and 2 or 3 nectarines, cut up, to the other half of the batter.  Now we have some of each!

Judy’s Outstanding Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

The Jewish holiday of Chanukah has always been a wonderful holiday for me.  The special  childhood memories I have of Chanukah always include potato latkes.  When I was a little girl, I would, as usual, be in the kitchen when my mother was cooking.  I loved to stand right next to her as she made her latkes.  She used her mother’s (my Grandma Rose Hindes’s) delicous recipe.  My mother would make a batch of these, and then she would put them in the freezer for a dinner we’d have later in the week.  In other words, these latkes were not meant for immediate consumption.  As I stood next to my mother while she was frying the latkes, I prayed for these words to come out of my mother’s mouth- “Judy, you can have one.”  She always let me have at least one  (She would allow herself to take one too.) She also allowed me to pick off all the little crunchy browned bits around the edges of the latkes.  When I became a mother myself, I was so happy as the holiday of Chanukah approached because that meant it was time for me to start making my mother’s latke recipe.  I loved making them and calling my kids into the kitchen to tell them they could have some hot off the presses.  I also loved making lots and putting them in the freezer, just like my mother did.  There was nothing as gratifying, for me, as watching the expression on my children’s, my husband’s, or especially my mother’s or father’s faces as they put one of these incredible latkes in their mouths.  Please, understand that there is nothing hard about making these.  Once you get the hang of it, you will be making them by the dozens, too!

I usually double this recipe.

  • 3 large sized Idaho or russet potatoes 
  • 2 large eggs or 1 jumbo egg
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 1/4 cup of matzo meal or 1/4 cup flour (you can use flour, but I think the texture and flavor are better if you use matzo meal)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying (for the best taste, use corn oil)
  • Sour cream and applesauce for serving

Peel and quarter the onion.  Then peel potatoes, and pat them dry with paper towels, and quarter them.  Crack egg or eggs into a blender.  Add a few pieces of one potato, and then blend it.  Then add the rest of the potatoes and the onion.  Blend on high until the mixture is the consistency of apple sauce.  The mixture should not be so pureed that it looks like liquid.  It needs to be lumpy.  But there should not be any whole pieces of potato or onion in it.  When the blender is full, dump the mixture out into a large mixing bowl.  If you are doubling the recipe, repeat and dump the mixture a second time into the large mixing bowl.  Then add the matzo meal or flour, the salt, and pepper.  Mix with a rubber spatula. 

Heat oil ,about 1/8 to 1/4 inch high, in large frying pan over a medium to high heat (I use both non-stick and regular).  Drop  spoonfuls of batter into oil, about the size of silver dollar pancakes.  You will be able to see when the latkes are really starting to brown.  Loosen them with a good, sharp spatula from the pan, and if they are really browned on the bottom, flip them over.  Then brown them on the other side.  As they are done, take them out and put them on paper towels to drain.  Flip them over on the paper towels to drain on the other side.  Eat immediately with applesauce or sour cream.  Or, you may freeze them once they have cooled. 

If you are heating up your frozen latkes,  take out as many as you wish right from the freezer, and put them into a preheated 375 to 400 degree oven on a sheet pan covered with aluminum foil, or a disposable cookie sheet with sides, and heat for about 15 minutes or until they are hot and bubbly. 

Note:  If I freeze them, I usually use an aluminum tin, and I make layers without overlapping the latkes, and I put a sheet of aluminum foil in between my layers.    

  

Best Marinara Sauce in the World

For Pasta and Marinara Sauce, Chicken Parmesan, Eggplant Parmesan, Baked Ziti, Ravioli, or Homemade Pizza 

I developed this recipe because I wanted a vegetarian alternative to my meat sauce recipe.  I needed a perfect recipe for marinara sauce, because there are so many uses for a meatless tomato sauce.  This recipe is so delicious!  I like to always have a few quart containers of this marinara sauce on hand in my freezer.  It’s so easy to take a container out, defrost it in the microwave, and voila, I have the ability to put together a fabulous dinner at the drop of a hat.  Of course, the easiest (and healthiest) thing to do is serve this marinara sauce with your favorite pasta. But I also use it to make my chicken or eggplant parmesan, baked ziti, or ravioli.  I especially love to use it when I make my homemade pizza.  This sauce is so easy to make, that there is no reason in the world to ever use a jarred sauce again.  The flavor is so fresh tasting, so pure tasting, and oh so delicious.  When I served it the last time for company, my companion Jim’s 16 year old daughter, Sarah actually drank the sauce off of her plate. She said, “Judy, what do you put in this to make it so delicious?”  I have also received highest compliments from Jim’s brother-in-law, Hank, who is Italian.  he really knows his Italian food.  Of course, my children, Randi, Danny, and Benji are my biggest fans of this recipe.  I know that once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked.  You will be making this marinara sauce over and over again, and your friends and family will be asking you, “Are you sure you’re not Italian?”

This recipe makes about 4-5 quarts of sauce, so if you wish to make less, just halve each ingredient.

  • 4- 28 ounce cans of peeled plum tomatoes in thick puree (orcans of Sclafani crushed tomatoes)
  • 1- 8 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 very large or 2 medium onions
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin, pure, or light olive oil (I use the light)
  • kosher salt
  • crushed red pepper
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • scant teaspoon granulated sugar
  • herbes de provence
  • freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for serving

Peel and quarter the onions.  Put them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Pulse the onions until they are almost pureed; they will have the consistency of apple sauce.  Then peel the garlic cloves, and crush them using a garlic press.  Set the garlic aside. Put a little less than 1/2 cup of olive oil in the bottom of a pretty big pot over a low to medium flame.  Put about 1/2 teaspoon of crushed pepper in the oil. I’ve been using my Le Creuset dutch oven lately, but for years, I made this sauce in my big Farberware pot, and it came out just as good.  After a minute or so, dump the onions in, and saute them until they are really translucent and soft.  Then add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Rinse out the bowl and blade of the food processor, and then put all the whole tomatoes in, reserving all the puree.  Pulse the tomatoes, until they are quite, but not totally smooth.  You want the tomatoes to still have just a little bit of texture to them, but they should not be in large chunks. Dump the tomatoes into the onion and garlic mixture, and add all of the puree from the cans.  Then, add the one can of tomato paste.

Add kosher salt to taste, about 2 teaspoons, and some freshly ground pepper, about 8 grinds, put the top on, and simmer over a low to medium flame for about 30-45 minutes.  Then, taste the sauce.  At this point, I usually add a little less than a teaspoon of sugar, and about 1/4 teaspoon of herbes de provence.  If you can’t find herbes de provence, you can substitute an Italian seasoning blend.  You may also add more salt, and a little more crushed red pepper, if you like your sauce to have a little more heat.  Simmer it (cover on) for another  45 min. or an hour so that all the flavors can meld with the tomatoes.

Note:  When I make this sauce to go with pasta, I cook 1 pound of pasta for 4 people, or 1 1/2 pounds of pasta for 6 people.  I drain the pasta in a collander, and put it back in the same pot I cooked it in.  I then add the marinara sauce back to the pasta, using about 3/4 of a quart of sauce for 1 pound of pasta, or 1 quart of sauce for 1 1/2 pounds of pasta.  I heat the pasta with the sauce for a minute or two to coat the noodles beautifully with the sauce.  This recipe will yield about 4 quarts of sauce, so if you use one quart of your sauce initially,  you will have 3 quarts to put in the freezer.  Refrigerate leftover sauce in the quart containers for at least 1 or 2 hours before putting it in the freezer. 

Judy’s Tangy Orange-Buttered Carrots

My friend Leslie made these carrots when she had company, and I really liked them.  I usually make this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner because my daughter Randi really loves it.  I haven’t changed Leslie’s recipe except that I have proportionally increased the quantity of each ingredient.  This dish looks pretty and tastes delicious. 

  • 1 pound carrots                                 
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup orange juice, not from concentrate (You may use fresh squeezed)
  • 2 pinches of granulated sugar

To make a larger quantity:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of carrots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 1/2  cups orange juice
  • 3 pinches of granulated sugar

Peel carrots.  Then slice them on the bias or diagonal, about 1/4 inch thick.  Then put some water on the bottom of a saucepan, about 1/2 inch high.  Put a steamer insert in the pan.  Put the carrots in the steamer insert.  Put the top on the pan, and over a medium-high flame, steam the carrots until they are soft, but not mushy.  If you can put a fork into the carrots easily, they probably are done.  Set the carrots aside. 

Dump the water out of the pan.  Dry the pan with a paper towel.  Put the butter in, and melt it.  Then add the orange juice and the sugar. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the liquid starts to look less like liquid and more like syrup.  Take the pot off the stove, and add the carrots back in.  Toss the carrots in the sauce and serve.

Note:  You can definitely make these one or two days in advance, store them in a plastic container, and then warm them up in the microwave.  I love to go to my local deli and buy a bunch of plastic quart containers.  I use those containers for storing and freezing many items I cook. 

Judy’s BEST Creamy and Delicious Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Your Family Will Thank You Once You Learn To Make This Creamy And Delicious Macaroni And Cheese!

When my children were little, I needed to come up with the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe. My mother had made macaroni and cheese casserole when I was growing up, and I liked it a lot, but I knew that her recipe was not exactly what I was looking for. If you can picture in your mind the perfect macaroni and cheese, with creamy orange-yellow cheese oozing our of the elbow macaroni noodles, and the cheese on top of the casserole is bubbly and starting to get just a little brown and crusty, then you will be picturing something close to what my ideal recipe for macaroni and cheese is like. So I set out to come up with a perfect recipe for macaroni and cheese. I developed the recipe when my kids were little, and it quickly became a favorite of my children’s and of my father’s. I loved to make this recipe, and then give some of it to my father to take home when my parents left after spending a Friday night with us. My father loved it as a nighttime snack. Even though my kids are older, I still make this regularly, and this year I am adding it to my Thanksgiving menu. Why not? Everyone loves it.

For years I made a single recipe, but then I realized that I should be doubling it. So, the following recipe is actually a double recipe. I make it in a large 9×13 rectangular or oval ceramic or pyrex dish or large square or round casserole. If you make half of the recipe, then halve each ingredient, and bake it in a rectangular or oval 8 x10 or in a round casserole dish.

  • 1 pounds (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher or regular salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • about 2 pounds of thinly, sliced at the deli, good yellow American cheese, (Land o Lakes is the best!)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of your baking dish, and set aside.

Start the water boiling in a pot for your noodles. In another saucepan (4 or 5 quart), put your butter or margarine, and melt it over a low flame. Then add the flour, salt and pepper, and whisk it. It will look like a wet paste. Whisk it for a few minutes to cook the flour a bit. Then pour a little of the milk in. Whisk again. Repeat a few times. Eventually, just pour the rest of the milk in. You need to stand at the stove, and continue stirring or whisking the mixture every minute or two with your pan over a medium flame. When the milk mixture has started to thicken just a little, then add all of your cheese except about 3 or 4 ounces (about 8 slices) that you will reserve for the top. At this point start boiling your noodles. Do not overcook the elbows, (If the instuructions say to cook the noodles for 5-8 minutes, I cook them for around 7 minutes).  As soon as the pasta is done, drain it in a colander and set aside. Keep the heat on medium-low under your sauce mixture, and just move that cheese around until it is basically melted into the milk. It should almost completely be one smooth mixture, when it is ready. Then you have a few choices. If you have enough room in the saucepan, pour your noodles in, and mix the sauce into and around the noodles. Then pour it all into your prepared dish. If you don’t have enough room in your saucepan, that’s fine. Just pour your noodles into your prepared baking dish, and pour the sauce right in with the noodles. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the sauce in and around the elbows.

Bake for about 1 hour or a little more until the top is starting to brown, and the edges are starting to look crusty. Then place your remaining slices of cheese on top, and wait until the cheese on top is melted or browned (it’s up to you). Your baking time will vary depending on whether you like the dish creamy and on the looser side or more firm and well done. I like it somewhere in the middle, but I do like the bottom and sides to be browned and crusty. You may take this out of the oven and serve it immediately.

Note: It’s okay to serve it immediately. You won’t have any choice in the matter because everyone will be standing around and dying to dig in! There usually are no leftovers, but if you’re lucky enough to have any, the microwave does a great job of heating them up.

Note:  You can prepare this the night before, and refrigerate it without baking it.  Then take it out of the fridge when you are ready to bake it.  It may take about 15 minutes more to cook if you are baking it straight from the fridge.

Grandma Fried’s Cucumber Salad

When I was a little girl, my father, my brother, and I  would visit his mother, my Grandma Fried, on the weekend.  My grandmother was a wonderful, wonderful person who had come over from Hungary sometime around 1910.  She was a good European cook, and I loved eating her foods.  Sometimes, she would make one of her specialties, her cucumber salad, and give my father a jar to bring home.  My mother and father loved these.  When I got married, I started making this recipe, because I knew how much my parents, but especially my father appreciated it.  I like to make this recipe instead of salad especially for a big holiday dinner .  People have so many different things to put on their plate, and it’s easy to squeeze some of these cucumbers on their plates.  This dish is refreshing and it’s nice for a change instead of salad. 

  • 5-6 large cucumbers (the greenhouse cucumbers are best)
  • Water
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Peel and slice cucumbers very thinly and place in colander.  Sprinkle them with the Kosher salt and put a heavy plate directly over the cucumbers; press down.  Let sit for about an hour.  Rinse salt off with water, drain well.  Put in serving bowl.  Pour the vinegar and sugar over the cucumbers.  Refrigerate a few hours or overnight.  

Note:  You can make these a few days in advance.  The cucumbers shrink in size, so you will need more than you think.  Besides, they are great to go with holiday leftovers.    

Judy’s Easy Corn Pudding

I concocted this recipe a few Thanksgivings ago because my daughter Randi had told me that she had eaten some corn pudding in a restaurant, and she really liked it.  When I made this the first time, Randi said that is was her favorite side dish in the Thanksgiving dinner.  For something so yummy, it is really a snap to make. It takes about 10 minutes to get it in the oven.   I have prepared it, and let it sit in the refrigerator for a half hour to an hour before I baked it, and that doesn’t hurt it one bit.  You will be amazed at how beautiful this dish looks when it comes out of the oven, puffed and golden!  The consistency is more like a souffle than a pudding.  It does taste best if you can bake it right before you serve it, but you can prepare it, and put it in the refrigerator up to an hour or so before you bake it.  The result will be-perfection!  This dish will impress your guests, so get ready for the compliments and the recipe requests!

  For 8 x 10 rectangular or oval baking dish   For 9 x 13 rectangular or oval dish

  • 3 tablespoons unbleached flour                       4 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder                              2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt                                    2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar                       scant 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 jumbo or extra large eggs                             7 jumbo or extra large eggs
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) light cream                        18 ounces (2 cups + 2 oz. light cream)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine    2 tablespoons melted butter or marg.
  • about 6 cups frozen corn – about 28 ounces   about 6 cups frozen corn-about 28 oz.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease sides and bottom of either your 8 x 10 inch. or 9 x 13 inch oval or rectangular ceramic or glass baking dish well with butter or margarine. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a small bowl.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together by hand the eggs, the light cream, and the 2 tablespoons melted margarine or butter.  Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients until pretty smooth.  Stir in the corn (which you can take right out of the freezer) and mix through, separating the kernels with the whisk as best as you can.  Pour mixture into prepared pan.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and puffed.  Serve immediately. 

My Grandma’s Healthy and Delicious Brown Rice Pudding

My mother made this recipe often.  It was her mother’s, my Grandma Hindes’s recipe.  My grandmother was born in 1908, so if she were alive today, she would be around 100 years old.  My grandmother was an immigrant from Europe.  She immigrated to this country from a place called Galicia, which is now part of Poland.  She was a huge fan of a nutritionist on the radio named Carlton Fredericks.  She learned a lot from him and followed his advice.  My grandmother was way ahead of her time.  My mother and her brother Nat were the ONLY children who brought sandwiches to school made with whole wheat bread.  When my mother talks about her mother’s wisdom in this area, she is still amazed by it.  For that generation, being concerned about nutrition and healthy ingredients was very uncommon.  Well, my grandmother developed this delicious rice pudding recipe because she wanted to create a healthy version of a rather unhealthy dish.  She made it as a side dish that she served along with tuna salad or broiled fish.  My mother made this many times, and my father loved it!  He liked it plain or warm with a little milk in it.  When my father was still alive, I often made this for him so he could take it home and have it as a yummy snack.    I also regularly make this and deliver it to my daughter Randi and my mother as they love it too.  As soon as the cool weather hits, I start making this recipe.  It’s such comfort food!  I like to know it’s in the fridge for a late night healthier than usual snack.  When I put that first bite in my mouth, I’m in heaven.  How many healthy dishes can you say that about?  I know that this is not your traditional rice pudding recipe, but it’s mine.  So please, give this family, heirloom recipe of mine a whirl.  Trust me, once you taste it, you will love knowing that this healthy treat is waiting for you in the refrigerator.

  • 1 cup whole grain brown rice (not instant)- I use Uncle Ben’s or Carolina (I now use Nature’s Promise organic long-grain brown rice!)
  • a nice chunk of butter or Fleischmann’s margarine- about 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I’ve been reducing this to 1/4 cup lately)
  • 1 1/4 cups of whole milk (or half and half or light cream for an even richer pudding)
  • 3 extra large eggs (or 4 for an even richer pudding)
  • cinnamon

Note:  If you wish to make this dish healthier, you may reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup and use lowfat or skim milk in place of the whole milk. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a two quart casserole dish well with butter or margarine.  Crack the eggs in a mixing bowl, and mix them with the milk.

Combine the rice, 2 1/4 cups cold water in a 2 quart saucepan or follow instructions for amount of water on box.  Bring the water to a boil, then put the lid on and lower the flame as low as possible.  Simmer about 30 minutes until the water is completely absorbed.  Recently, I started putting a chunk of margarine in too.

Take the saucepan with the rice off the stove.  Put your greased casserole dish into the oven to heat it up while you are completing the rest of the recipe.  Drop the butter or margarine into the rice and mix it through the rice until it is completely melted through.  Then, dump the sugar in and mix gently with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle some cinnamon in – about 1/2 teaspoon.  Then pour milk and egg mixture into the rice mixture and mix it in well with the rubber spatula.  Take out the casserole dish, and pour the rice mixture in.   Sprinkle the top of the pudding with a nice amount of cinnamon.  Place the casserole dish in the center of the oven.  Bake it for about 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes until the sides and top are brown.  Let the pudding cool a few minutes before serving, or let it cool completely, and then put it in the refrigerator for later.  You can take out a portion any time, and warm it up in the microwave.

Grandma Hindes’s, Nana’s, and Especially My Matzo Brei for Passover

This is a family heirloom recipe.  This was another absolute favorite dish of mine when I was a little girl.  My mother made this Passover dish the way her mother did. I took over the job of making the matzo brei when I was about 15 years old, and I’ve been making it ever since.  I have never seen a recipe like this one for matzo brei; it is unique. What you end up with is something that is similar to French toast, but better.  It does take some effort, but it is so worthwhile.  Your family will love you for it.  Just try it – I know you’ll agree that it’s worth the effort.

  • whole sheets of matzo  (For best results, use Manishewitz regular matzo.  You will need about 2 sheets of matza per person.)

  • lots of extra large or jumbo eggs (about 3 eggs per person)

  • regular milk (about 2- 3 tablespoons for every 4 eggs)

  • margarine for frying (I use Fleischmann’s)

  • granulated sugar and pure maple syrup for serving

For 2 people, beat about 4 eggs to start with in a wide shallow bowl.  Mix in about 2 tablespoons of whole milk.  Gently break 1 matzo into approximate fourths.  Soak it in warm water in a wide shallow bowl , aluminum tin, or other shallow pan until the matzo begins to soften.  Very gently, squeeze as much water out of the pieces as possible without breaking the matzo.  Then place the pieces gently in the bowl with the egg mixture.

Put a big chunk of margarine in a large, preferably non-stick frying pan, over a medium-high  flame.  Transfer pieces of matzo into pan to begin frying. Fry until beautifully browned on the bottom, flip, fry until browned, and serve.

Start soaking process immediately with a new sheet of matzo.  Repeat frying process.

Continue until everyone is full.  Trust me, you will be standing at the stove for a very long time.