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Good morning, GUShamantaschen!!!  Stopping smoking has many avenues -- thinking about it, planning for it, in the spur of the moment quit, aids, buddies, etc.  Special holidays involving food, however, require advance preparation.  ALWAYS.  What you are going to cook, making a shopping list, planning your time, asking yourself if you are Jewish, asking yourself after you might discover you are not Jewish -- would you love to prepare and eat these foods in solidarity?????  This Irish/mongrel Catholic would.  I love Jewish recipes as maybe you already know.  Purim starts Saturday evening, February 23th and ends Sunday evening, February 24th.  It is definitely not too early to prepare for your Se'udah Purim (celebratory meal).

I just read what I hope is an accurate description of Purim (on the interwebz).  Basically, Esther saves the Jews from massacre by the evil Persian, Haman and then great food and an abundance of wine was the foundation of celebration.  (Too Irish????)  Here's the biblical story:  Purim.  Please tell me that site is ok!!!!

I would like to know why delicious cookies, hamantaschen, are named after the bad guy.  Also, the spelling varies as does mine in this diary.

Besides loving cooking porn (cookbooks, recipes, kitchenware, etc.) one of the main reasons I use recipes as my theme for GUS is that the joy of cooking increases the farther away from the smokes.  I can smell and taste the food in subtle and intense ways which I had lost after years of sucking on cigs.  I have dramatically cut back on salt, even though I love salt.  I can taste it with a light touch now.  Cooking is a major distraction from the urge to smoke.  Even if you only cook a real meal once a week, the search for the right recipe, ingredients, preparation and cooking are distractions.  

GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  

    You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out! GUS library.

    A message to ALL quitters. You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit.  We won't give you a bad time and we consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit.

    Quit Keeper widget which is an outstanding aid for those beginning the difficult path to quitting.  It lets you know how long you haven't smoked, how many cigs you haven't smoked, how much money you've saved.

   Quit Smoking Counter    h/tGDbot.  For those of you who have had a problem with Quit Keeper or want a different counter!

I guess part of the holiday is gifts of food!  Pick me!!!!!  I found a marvelous site, Israeli Kitchen and this link will bring up additional marvelous Purim gift basket recipes.  Even more spectacular is How to Make Mishloach Manot -- the gift baskets that make Easter baskets look pathetic.  Here's a few recipes from Israeli Kitchen:

Chocolate Fruit/Nut Clusters

From The Book of New Israeli Food


200 grams - 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate

60 grams - 2 oz. butter or margarine

300 grams - 10 oz. mixed dried fruit and nuts. Especially nice in the mix are candied citrus peels.

Melt the chocolate and butter (marg is fine too) in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir gently and constantly till the mass is smooth and glossy.

Add the fruit and nut mixture to the melted chocolate. Mix thoroughly.

Spoon the mixture into small paper cupcake cups by tablespoons, or onto a sheet lined with baking paper. There will be some liquid pooling at the bottom of the pot. Spoon it up and drizzle it over the clusters, filling up any empty spaces. It'll get hard again, so use it all up.

Freeze the clusters for 1/2 hour before serving. If making them ahead of time, keep them in the fridge or freezer. They'll stay good a long time, but then again, they'll disappear before long.

Honey Orange Biscotti


2- 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

3 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons orange zest (1 large orange does it)


Preheat oven to 350° F – 180° C

1. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl.

2. In another bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together till the mixture is light and lemon-colored.

3. Add the honey, vanilla, and orange zest; mix well.

4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, gently mixing. Stop as soon as the dough is combined. It will be sticky.

5. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper and oil the paper lightly. Spoon out half the dough onto it, making a rough loaf. Now oil your hands and smooth the loaf, stretching it slightly to make a shape about 13″ by 2″ (33. x 5 cm). Do the same with the second half of the dough, making sure to keep a space of at least 3″ – 7.5 cm. between them. They do rise and spread out some.

6. Bake for about 35 minutes, turning the pan around after the first 15 minutes. The loaves should be a warm brown and their surface beginning to crack.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F – 160° C. in the meantime.

8. Cut each loaf with a serrated knife into diagonal slices about half and inch (1.3 cm.) wide. Place the slices on the pan, cut side up, and return the pan to the oven. Bake 15 minutes, turning the biscotti over 7 minutes into the baking.

9. Place the biscotti on a wire rack to cool down. They will keep up to 1 month in an airtight container, and the flavor improves with time.

Ba’aba Beh Tamur – Iraqi Stuffed Pastries for Purim

Notes: the original recipe calls for butter. Pareve margarine works fine too. Likewise, it assumes that you’ll be mixing the dough in a mixer. I just beat everything up by hand.

Here in Israel, you can get concentrated essences of rose and orange water. They’re much stronger than the “waters” and I prefer to use them.

I substituted 1 teaspoon freshly-smashed cardamom seeds for the fennel in the recipe because I dislike fennel. Lacking either of those, use 2 teaspoons cinnamon or the zest of 1 lemon. The dough must have something aromatic or it will be too bland.

My filling was almond/pecan, the nuts ground up quickly in the food processor. I’ll include the recipe for date filling as well. Finally, the buttery dough does seem to call for cheese. I’ll suggest alternative cheeses to the original version’s.


For Dough:

1 cube fresh yeast

1 cup warm water

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground fennel seed

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons melted butter (or marg)

1 beaten egg for glazing

For Almond Filling:

1 cup ground almonds

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon each rose water and orange water or 1/4 teaspoon edible rose and orange essences.


1. Dissolve yeast in water. Add flour, baking powder, fennel or other spice, and melted butter. Mix until you have a soft dough that forms a ball.

2. Cover with plastic bag or damp cloth; allow to rise 1 hour or until doubled.

3. Preheat oven to 425°F – 200°C.

4. Work with a quarter of the dough at the time for convenience. Roll it out 1/4″ thin. Use a large biscuit cutter or glass to cut into 3″ rounds. Brush the rounds with a little water.

5. Mix filling ingredients in a small bowl. Put 1 teaspoon filling in the center of each round and fold it over. Press your fingers down all around the edges to seal, or use the tines of a fork. Brush beaten egg on pastries.

Bake 25 minutes.

Date Filling for about 30 pastries:

8 oz. – 250 grams pitted, finely chopped dates. Here you can get date paste in blocks and that’s better.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon milk

1 egg white

sesame seeds

Combine ingredients in top of a double boiler and cook 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Allow the mixture to cool and roll it into balls for stuffing the pastry. When forming the pastry, place a small ball at the center of each pastry round and pinch the sides upwards to make a closed bundle. Flip over and flatten slightly with the rolling pin. Pierce with a fork in several places. Paint the pastries with an egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake as directed above.

Cheese Filling:

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup mild yellow cheese, grated

1 teaspoon dried, crumbled za’atar, oregano or rosemary

1 finely chopped scallion

1 egg

Combine cheeses, herbs, and egg. Bake pastries as half-circles as in the almond filling.

By the way, I wonder if the correct name for this pastry is ba’aba beh tanur, no “m.” I don’t speak Arabic, so I can’t tell if someone’s typo may not be going around, as typos do.

From one of my favorite blogs:  The Shiksa in the Kitchen  Here is a link to her Dairy Free Hamentaschen.  Oy!  I'm exhausted from just reading the recipe.  If you need visual help (like you've never been Jewish) then please click her links.  She's amazing re: taking pictures of each step of cooking.
Buttery Hamentaschen


    3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 egg, room temperature
    1 tsp vanilla

    1 tsp grated orange zest
    2 1/4 cups flour
    1/4 tsp salt
    1-5 tsp water (if needed)

Slice room temperature butter into small chunks and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add sugar to the bowl. Use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together for a few minutes till light and fluffy.

Add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest to the bowl. Beat again till creamy and well mixed.

Sift flour and salt into the bowl.

Mix with the electric mixer on low speed till a crumbly dough forms.

Begin to knead dough with hands till a smooth dough ball forms. Try not to overwork the dough, only knead till the dough is the right consistency. If the crumbles are too dry to form a smooth dough, add water slowly, 1 teaspoon at a time, using your hands to knead the liquid into the dough. Knead and add liquid until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky to the touch (not sticky), with a consistency that is right for rolling out. It can easily go from the right consistency to too wet/sticky, so add water very slowly. If the dough seems too wet, knead in a little flour till it reaches the right texture.

Form the dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours to overnight.

Before you begin to assemble the hamantaschen, choose and make your filling and have it on hand to work with. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface. Unwrap the dough disk and place it on the floured surface. The dough will be very firm after chilling.

Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. At the beginning, it will be tough to roll out-- you may need to pound it a bit. A heavy rolling pin works best. As you roll, cracks may form on the edges of the dough. Repair any large cracks with your fingers and continue rolling.

When the dough reaches 1/4 inch thickness, scrape the dough up with a pastry scraper, lightly reflour the surface, and flip the dough over. Continue rolling the dough out very thin (less than 1/8 of an inch thick). The thinner you roll the dough, the more delicate and crisp the cookies will turn out-- just make sure that the dough is still thick enough to hold the filling and its shape! If you prefer a thicker, more doughy texture to your cookies (less delicate), keep the dough closer to 1/4 inch thick. Lightly flour the rolling pin occasionally to prevent sticking.
Use a 3-inch cookie cutter (not smaller) or the 3-inch rim of a glass to cut circles out of the dough, cutting as many as you can from the dough.

Gather the scraps and roll them out again. Cut circles. Repeat process again if needed until you've cut as many circles as you can from the dough. You should end up with around 35 circles (unless you've kept your dough on the thicker side, which will result in less cookies).
Place a teaspoon of filling (whichever filling you choose) into the center of each circle. Do not use more than a teaspoon of filling, or you run the risk of your hamantaschen opening and filling spilling out during baking. Cover unused circles with a lightly damp towel to prevent them from drying out while you are filling.

Assemble the hamantaschen in three steps. First, grasp the left side of the circle and fold it towards the center to make a flap that covers the left third of the circle.

Grasp the right side of the circle and fold it towards the center, overlapping the upper part of the left side flap to create a triangular tip at the top of the circle. A small triangle of filling should still be visible in the center.

Grasp the bottom part of the circle and fold it upward to create a third flap and complete the triangle. When you fold this flap up, be sure to tuck the left side of this new flap underneath the left side of the triangle, while letting the right side of this new flap overlap the right side of the triangle. This way, each side of your triangle has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under-- it creates a "pinwheel" effect. This method if folding is not only pretty-- it will help to keep the cookies from opening while they bake.

Pinch each corner of the triangle gently but firmly to secure the shape. If any cracks have formed at the places where the dough is creased, use the warmth of your fingers to smooth them out.

Repeat this process for the remaining circles.
When all of your hamantaschen have been filled, place them on a lightly greased baking sheet, evenly spaced.

Place them in the oven and let them bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, till the cookies are cooked through and lightly golden.
Cool the cookies on a wire rack. Store them in a tightly sealed plastic bag or Tupperware.


Caramel Apple


    1 1/2 lbs. Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples)
    3/4 cup sugar

    1/3 cup dulce de leche - See below for recipe
    Salt to taste

    Before you begin this recipe, you'll need to make a batch of dulce de leche - . The process is very easy, but it takes about 90 minutes. To save time, you can make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator till you're ready to begin.

    Peel and core the apples. Shred them into fine shreds using a hand grater or food processor shredding attachment.

    In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil.

    Add the shredded apples to the boiling water and return to a boil.

    Reduce heat to medium and let the mixture simmer for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, till most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture resembles a very thick applesauce. When the mixture is ready, it will start to sizzle lightly in the pan and clump together when you stir it. Don't let the mixture burn, but do let it get quite thick.

    Stir in the dulce de leche; add salt to taste. The salt adds depth and gives the flavor of a salted caramel. It also offsets the sweetness a bit.

    Note that the filling is quite sweet on its own (it may initially taste "too sweet"), but it bakes to perfection when used for filling hamantaschen. Let the mixture cool.

    Refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour before using it to fill hamantaschen; this will thicken it and make it easier to manage when filling.

    Use filling with your favorite hamantaschen dough. Use about 1 tsp of filling per cookie. For dough recipe suggestions, see blog above.

Dulce de Leche


    1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)

    1/8 tsp salt (or more to taste)

You will also need

    Pie plate or dish, large roasting pan, whisk

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pour can of sweetened condensed milk into a ceramic pie plate or dish. Sprinkle the milk lightly with about 1/8 tsp of salt (for a more salted caramel flavor, use 1/4 tsp salt).

    Cover tightly with foil. Place the filled pie plate into a large roasting pan and fill the roasting pan with water till it reaches about halfway up the sides of the pie plate.

    Place the roasting pan into the oven. Let the mixture cook slowly for 75-90 minutes, check the water level every half hour to make sure it hasn't dried out too much. Add water as needed.

    At 75 minutes, begin checking the color of the dulce de leche. When it reaches a rich light brown caramel color, you'll know it's ready. The longer you let it cook, the thicker and darker it will become.

    Take the pie plate and roasting pan out of the oven. Carefully remove the pie plate from the hot roasting pan. Take off the foil.

    Whisk the dulce de leche mixture. Use warm, or allow to cool to room temperature depending on your intended use.

    Store in the refrigerator. The sauce will keep for up to 4 weeks when refrigerated.

Mohn - Poppy Seed Filling for Hamantaschen


    1 1/2 cups (8 oz.) poppy seeds
    1/4 cup unsalted butter (see cooking instructions for pareve subs)
    1 cup milk (see cooking instructions for pareve subs)
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup honey
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 eggs, beaten

    Grind the poppy seeds in a coffee grinder in batches for about 15-20 seconds per batch, till they are ground soft and powdery.

    Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the milk, sugar, and honey. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, till the sugar dissolves and the honey melts.

    Pour about 1 cup of the hot liquid into a cup.

    Immediately but gradually being drizzling the hot liquid into the beaten eggs. Whisk briskly and constantly till all of the hot liquid is integrated into the eggs. Do not pour too quickly, or you'll scramble your eggs. It should take about a minute to drizzle all of the liquid.

    Slowly pour the heated, tempered egg mixture back into the hot liquid in the saucepan, whisking constantly.

    Continue to whisk and cook for 3-5 more minutes over medium heat till the mixture thickens and turns light yellow. It is ready when it thickly coats the back of a spoon.

    Remove the saucepan from heat. Whisk the ground poppy seeds into the buttery liquid and stir well to blend all ingredients.

    Allow filling to cool to room temperature before using. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

    To make this filling pareve (dairy free), you will need to use a substitute for the milk and the butter. For the milk, I like SoDelicious coconut creamer, which gives it a creamy, very faint coconut taste (vegan, but produced on dairy equipment for those who are strictly kosher). You can also use regular coconut milk, rice milk, almond milk or soy milk as a sub. For the butter sub, I don't like to use margarine very often, but in this case I'd recommend Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks. They have no hydrogenated fat, and in small amounts they make a passable substitute for butter. They do have salt, so I would recommend cutting the 1/4 tsp of salt in the recipe if using this product. If you are comfortable using unsalted margarine, feel free.

Lekvar Plum Butter - Prune Filling for Hamantaschen


    2 cups pitted prunes
    1 cup water
    1/4 cup orange juice

    1 tsp orange zest
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/3 cup brown sugar

    Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan except for the brown sugar. Stir and bring to a boil for one minute.

    Reduce heat to medium low so the mixture simmers slowly and constantly. Cover the pot. Let the mixture simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

    Remove the lid from the pan. Let the prunes continue to simmer for 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated/absorbed. Keep a close eye on the pan to make sure the prunes don't burn. When there are about 3 tbsp of liquid left in the pan, remove from heat.

    Stir the brown sugar into the prune mixture till brown sugar melts and dissolves.

    Mash the prune mixture with a potato masher till a smooth puree forms. Run a fork through the mixture to break up any pieces the potato masher missed. You can also use an immersion blender for a smoother puree, if you want to.

    Let cool to room temperature before using. Store in a sealed, airtight container in the refrigerator. Refrigerating the filling to chill completely will make it easier to work with when filling hamantaschen.

Lekvar Apricot Butter - Apricot Filling for Hamantaschen


    2 cups dried pitted apricots
    1 cup water
    1/4 cup orange juice

    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tbsp lemon juice
    Pinch of salt

    Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil for one minute.
    Reduce heat to medium low so the mixture simmers slowly and constantly. Cover the pot.

    Let the mixture simmer covered for 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

    Remove the lid from the pan. Let the apricots continue to simmer for 2-3 more minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated/absorbed. Keep a close eye on the pan to make sure the apricots don't burn. When there are about 3 tbsp of liquid left in the pan, remove from heat.

    Mash the apricots with a potato masher till a smooth puree forms. Run a fork through the mixture to break up any pieces the potato masher missed. You can also use an immersion blender for a smoother puree, if desired.

    Let cool to room temperature before using. Store in a sealed, airtight container in the refrigerator. Refrigerating the filling to chill completely will make it easier to work with when filling hamantaschen.

Bubbie Ruth's Mandelbrot (Mandel Bread)


    1 cup vegetable oil
    1 cup sugar
    3 eggs
    1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    3 cups all purpose flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can sub chopped nuts, candied fruits, etc.)
    Ground cinnamon and granulated sugar for dusting

    Mix together oil and sugar until combined, then add eggs one at a time. After the eggs are combined, add vanilla.

    Sift together all the dry ingredients and add them slowly to the sugar/egg mixture.

    Once the dough is smooth and sticky, pour the chocolate chips in and mix.

    Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours (at least 2) or overnight.

    Lightly oil your hands and form 4 long rows with the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I line the cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup). Each strip of dough should be 3-4 inches wide. They will spread out a lot during cooking, so make sure you leave enough space between the rows.

    Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. While mandel bread is baking, in a flat shallow dish, combine ¾ cup of sugar with enough cinnamon to turn the mixture light brown. It’s best to eyeball this – it shouldn’t be too brown or too white.

    Take the mandel bread out and turn the oven down to 250 degrees F. Slice the mandel bread into biscotti sized pieces.

    Roll each cookie into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Put the pieces back on the cookie sheet on their sides.

    Bake for another 15 minutes until they’ve achieved the texture you desire. The longer they stay in the oven, the crisper they will be. If the slices are big or wide, you might need longer than 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and don’t over-bake, as this cookie tends to dry out quickly. Store in an airtight container.

    Soft Mandel Bread Variation: I’ve had a few blog readers ask for a “Soft Mandel Bread” recipe. This is a bit of a contradiction in terms, since mandel bread are traditionally twice-baked to achieve a crispy texture. However, you can use this recipe to make a softer cookie by only baking it for 25 minutes and skipping the second 15 minute baking cycle (which in essence “toasts” the cookies). Just make sure your cookies have baked all the way through after the first baking cycle – if the center of the cookies appear moist, bake for another few minutes until fully cooked. Keep a close eye on the cookies to make sure they don’t over-bake. This will give you a “soft” mandel bread cookie.

From Classic Italian Jewish Cooking
Spinaci all'Ebraica  (Spinach Jewish Style)

    3 pounds small-leaved bulk spinach
    1/2 cup dark seedless raisins
    1 cup lukewarm water
    6 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 small onion, minced
    1/4 cup pignoli (pine nuts)
    Freshly ground black pepper
    Dash nutmeg

Remove the stems and roots from the spinach. Rinse in many changes of cold water until any trace of sand is removed. Place in a large pot with a pinch of salt and no water other than that retained from washing. Cook over moderately high heat, covered, for 5 minutes. Drain.

Soak the raisins in the lukewarm water for a couple of minutes, then drain.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent; add the raisins, pignoli, and small amounts of salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring, 1 minute. Add the spinach and nutmeg and sauté, stirring frequently, until the spinach looks dry and crisp.

From Bon Appetit 2008
Beef Brisket with Merlot and Prunes

    1 4-to 4 1/2-pound flat-cut (also called first-cut) beef brisket, trimmed of most fat
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice (preferably fire-roasted)
    1 cup Merlot or other dry red wine
    2 pounds onions, sliced
    4 medium carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
    16 garlic cloves, peeled
    1 1/2 cups pitted large prunes (about 8 ounces)
    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon prune juice
    3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 325°F. Pat brisket dry; sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy extra-large skillet over high heat. Add brisket and cook until deep brown, about 7 minutes per side. Transfer brisket, fat side up, to large roasting pan. Add tomatoes with juice and wine to skillet. Remove from heat, scrape up any browned bits, and pour mixture over brisket. Distribute onions, carrots, and garlic around brisket. Add prunes and thyme; drizzle with 1/2 cup prune juice and 3 tablespoons vinegar. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place pan over 2 burners and bring to boil. Cover pan with heavy-duty foil; place in oven.

Braise brisket until tender, about 3 hours 15 minutes. Uncover and cool 1 hour at room temperature. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with foil and chill. Bring just to simmer over 2 burners before continuing.

Remove brisket from roasting pan, scraping off juices. Place on work surface;cut across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices.Spoon off fat from top of pan juices. Place 1 cup vegetables (no prunes) and 1 cup braising liquid from pan into processor and puree. Return puree to pan. Add remaining 1 tablespoon prune juice and 1 teaspoon vinegar to pan. Heat sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Overlap brisket slices in 13x9x2- inch glass baking dish. Pour sauce over brisket, separating slices to allow some sauce to flow between. DO AHEAD:Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Rewarm brisket, covered, in 350°F oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle brisket with parsley; serve.

From The Second Avenue Deli Cookbook



    3 cups flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 eggs, beaten
    3 tablespoons cold water
    1 egg, beaten, for binding kreplach
    1 tablespoon salt

Meat filling

    2 tablespoons corn oil
    3/4 cup finely chopped onion
    1/2 pound chopmeat
    1 egg yolk
    2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

Potato filling

    2 tablespoons corn oil
    3/4 cup finely chopped onion
    1 teaspoon finely chopped or crushed fresh garlic
    1 egg yolk
    1 cup cooked, mashed potato
    2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
    1 tablespoon minced scallions
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cheese filling

    1 cup farmer cheese
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 egg, beaten


 Prepare 1 of the 3 fillings and refrigerate before you begin preparing dough:

Meat Filling
1. Heat corn oil in a skillet; sauté onions until nicely browned, remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside. Add meat to the pan and sauté on high heat, stirring frequently until all meat is browned. Put the onions back in, and sauté with meat, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Let cool.

2. In a bowl, thoroughly mix meat-onion mixture with all remaining ingredients.

Potato Filling
1. Heat corn oil in a skillet, and sauté onions until nicely browned. At the last minute, add garlic, which browns quickly.

2. In a large bowl, combine onion-garlic mixture with all other ingredients, and blend thoroughly.

Cheese Filling
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and blend thoroughly.

Make wrappers and cook:
1. Sift flour and 1 teaspoon salt into a large bowl, and create a well in the center.

2. Pour eggs into the well, and, wetting your hands, knead into a dough. Add water, and continue kneading until dough is smooth. Roll dough into a ball, place it in a bowl, cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. On a well-floured board, roll dough as close as possible to paper-thinness with a floured rolling pin. Cut into 2-inch squares. You can roll each individual square a bit thinner before you fill it. Have bowl with beaten egg, a teaspoon, and filling at hand.

4. Place a flatware teaspoon of filling in the center of the square and fold diagonally to create a triangle. Seal sides with egg mixture.

5. Bring a pot of water to a vigorous boil, add 1 tablespoon salt, drop in the kreplach, and cook for 20 minutes. Serve in chicken soup or, for dairy fillings, with sour cream and fried onions.

From Joan Nathan's The Foods of Israel Today  I'm falling in love with Joan Nathan and will be buy one of her cookbooks a month for the next several months.  
Penguin Buffet's Classic Israeli Schnitzel


    6 boneless, skinless turkey or chicken breasts, sliced thin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    3 large eggs
    2 cups fresh bread crumbs
    Vegetable or soybean oil for deep frying
    2 lemons, sliced in wedges


 1. Place one cutlet at a time inside a large plastic bag. With a meat mallet, pound the turkey or chicken slice as thin as possible and season well with salt and pepper.

2. Spread the flour on a flat plate. Break the eggs into a pie plate and beat well. Put the bread crumbs on a third plate.

3. Pour the oil into a heavy skillet to a depth of 1 inch and heat over a medium flame until almost smoking.

4. Dip each turkey or chicken breast in flour, then in egg, and then in bread crumbs.

5. Fry the schnitzels for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

6. Drain the schnitzels on a plate lined with paper towel. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

NOTE: You can also bake the breaded schnitzels in a 350-degree oven for a few minutes ahead of time. Then, just before serving, deep-fry quickly to crisp the outside.

Joan Nathan shares her tips with Epicurious:
• This dish, a variation on veal schnitzel from Central Europe, is a classic example of the transformations common in Israeli cooking. Before Israel's swamps were drained in the 1950s to irrigate the desert, there was not enough grassland to pasture cows. Thus the first Central European Jewish settlers adapted one of their native dishes to use turkey meat, more easily raised in desert conditions. Subsequent immigrants have added twists from their own backgrounds, such as Yemeni Jews adding the Middle Eastern spice blend hawayij.

From Jewish Cooking in America
Chicken Soup with Loads of Vegetables


    4 quarts water
    1 large cut-up chicken, preferably stewing or large roaster
    Marrow bones (optional)
    2 whole onions, unpeeled
    4 parsnips, peeled and left whole
    1/2 cup chopped celery leaves plus 2 stalks celery and their leaves
    1 rutabaga, peeled and quartered
    1 large turnip, peeled and quartered
    1 kohlrabi, quartered (optional)
    6 carrots, peeled and left whole
    6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    6 tablespoons snipped dill
    1 tablespoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 zucchini


 1. Put the water and the chicken in a large pot and bring the water to a boil. Skim off the froth.

2. Add the marrow bones, onions, parsnips, celery, 3/4 of the rutabaga, turnip, kohlrabi, 4 of the carrots, the parsley, 4 tablespoons of the dill, and the salt and pepper. Cover and simmer of 2 1/2 hours, adjusting the seasoning to taste.

3. Strain, remove the chicken, discard the vegetables and refrigerate the liquid to solidify. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and cut the meat into bite-size chunks. Refrigerate. Remove the fat from the soup.

4. Just before serving, reheat the soup. Bring to a boil. Cut the zucchini and the remaining 2 carrots into thin strips and add to the soup along with the remaining rutabaga cut into thin strips as well as a few pieces of chicken. Simmer about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked, but still firm. Serve with the remaining snipped dill. You can also add noodles, marrow, or clos (matzah) balls.

From Jewish Cooking in America
Kasha Varnishkes at Wolff's in New Jersey
In 1925 Wolff Brothers of Paterson, New Jersey, published a Yiddish English cook book with recipes culled from a kasha cooking contest run in all the Jewish newspapers throughout the country. "Recipes of thousands of Jewish dishes were sent us," they wrote modestly, "but we selected only the very best among them and these are listed here." The recipes included buckwheat blintzes, vegetarian buckwheat cutlets, and "a tasteful grits soup" made from their Health Food (merely unroasted buckwheat groats), green peas, and potatoes. The varnishke recipe was basically a kreplach-type noodle stuffed with kasha, buckwheat groats, and gribenes.

Packaged bow-tie noodles,large and small, quickly replaced the flat homemade egg noodles in the American version of kasha varnishkes. The trick to a good kasha varnishke is to toast the whole-grain buckwheat groat well over a high heat for 2 to 4 minutes until you start smelling the aroma of the kasha. This will seal the groats so that there is a nutty, crunchy taste to them, a good foil to the soft taste of the noodles. When I make mine - a favorite in my family - I add fresh parsley and sometimes coriander. Although traditionalists use bow-tie noodles for this, try rigatoni, shells, or any other kind of noodle you like.


    2 large onions, sliced in rounds
    2 to 3 tablespoons margarine or chicken fat
    1 large egg or egg white, slightly beaten
    1 cup medium or coarse kasha
    2 cups water or bouillon
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    3/4 pound large or small bow tie-shaped noodles
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander (optional)


1. Sauté the onions in 2 tablespoons of the margarine or chicken fat in a heavy frying pan with a cover until golden. Remove to a plate.

2. Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl and stir in the kasha. Mix, making sure all the grains are coated. Put the kasha in the same frying pan, set over a high heat. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon for 2 to 4 minutes or until the egg has dried on the kasha and the kernels brown and mostly separate.

3. Add the water or bouillon, salt, and pepper to the frying pan and bring to a boil. Add the onions, cover tightly, and cook over low heat, steaming the kasha for 10 minutes. Remove the cover, stir, and quickly check to see if the kernels are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for 3 to 5 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the bow-tie noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain.

5. When the kasha is ready, combine with the noodles. Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with the parsley and coriander. If desired, add a bit more margarine or chicken fat.

If you are going to suffer in a place -- at least steal a few recipes.
Persian White Fish

Can use: sole, flounder, or salmon

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 Tablespoon curry powder

½ teaspoon of cumin

1 can chick peas

8 portions fish (about 2 sides) filleted

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 gloves garlic, minced or 4 cubes from Gefen frozen package

2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro or 6 cubes from Sabra frozen package

1 Plum tomato, diced

1-cup tomato sauce

Kosher salt to taste


Heat large sauté pan for a minute and then add oil. Add onion and sauté until soft.  Add in the chick peas and stir for a minute.  Add curry powder and cumin and cook for another minute while stirring. Place fish fillets skin side up on top of mixture. Cook for a few minutes and turn to coat other side and cook for another 3 minutes.

In a small bowl mix cayenne pepper, garlic, cilantro, tomato, tomato sauce, garlic and salt.  Pour over fish in sauté pan.  Add enough water to cover fish.  Bring to boil, then lower to simmer for another 20 on low minutes until fish is cooked through.

From Cleveland Jewish News

1 salmon filet, about 1½ lb. (one and one half)

1 onion, sliced

1 carrot sliced

Salt and fresh ground white peppercorns, to taste

1 bay leaf

4C water

2C white wine

Several sprigs of fresh dill

1C red, orange and yellow pepper strips

In a fish poacher or an ovenproof, deep oblong pan, combine onions, carrot, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, water and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Reduce heat until it is just below the simmer, add fish fillet. Add enough water to cover fish completely, add 3 dill sprigs. Cover pan with foil, poach 5 minutes. Drop pepper strips into the hot liquid with fish; poach 3 minutes more. Carefully remove fish with two spatulas to a platter. Scatter pepper strips on the fish.

Strain 1C of fish stock into a small pan, bring to a rapid boil; cook until reduced to ½C, about 4 or 5 minutes. Pour reduced stock over the fish and garnish with remaining dill sprigs. Serve with cheese turnovers and salads.

From Cleveland Jewish News

6 medium zucchini

2 large avocados, chopped

2T lemon juice

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

4T olive oil

2T white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

6-8 mint leaves

Boil zucchini in salted water 3 to 5 minutes, until barely tender. Drain and cool. Trim ends of zucchini, slice lengthwise in half, scoop out pulp, reserve shells. Lightly salt shells, invert on paper towels to drain for 10 minutes. Dry with paper towels. Peel and chop avocados, sprinkle with lemon juice; place in bowl.

Chop zucchini pulp, add to avocado bowl, with onion, celery, garlic and 4 shredded mint leaves. Combine olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, pour over vegetables, gently toss. Adjust seasoning, spoon into zucchini shells, chill. Garnish with remaining mint leaves. Serve at room temperature.

L'Chaim!!!!!  And for our Jewish buddies, have a wonderful, delicious and joyous Se'udah Purim -- and don't drink too much wine!
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