Turkey Meatloaf. Photo by Cyndi Bemel

Key to a great break-fast: Prepare a simple menu in advance


Yom Kippur, one of the holiest and most important days of the Jewish year, is observed by prayer and fasting all day. The 24-hour fast begins at sundown, and since no cooking traditionally is permitted during the holiday, all food that will be served for the break-the-fast meal must be prepared prior to the holiday.

 When planning a break-the-fast gathering at your home, a buffet of dishes that can be prepared in advance is the perfect answer. Your menu should offer something for everyone — from those who wish only a snack to the hearty eaters who crave lots of well-seasoned food to make up for their fasting. 

 In our home, after the shofar has sounded to mark the close of Yom Kippur, we begin the evening with apples dipped in honey, served with my special holiday challah — baked with apples and raisins — and our favorite honey cake.

 This year, I hope to make the preparation of the rest of the holiday meal less stressful with a delicious menu that can be ready to serve when we all gather for the break-fast. Consider this Turkey Meatloaf. It can be made in advance, stored in the freezer and served with Potato Salad, Carrot Slaw or Coleslaw. Include a Cauliflower-Anchovy Salad — the color and zippy flavor of its Parsley-Anchovy Dressing give the understated vegetable a dynamic boost. Add some surprise to the meal by serving candied apple slices with the meatloaf. 

 For dessert, a large platter of Crisp Almond Butter Cookies is the perfect end to the evening. My son-in-law, Jay, has been making delicious homemade almond butter that he always shares with me. It is the cookies’ secret ingredient. The cookie dough can be made in advance, kept in the freezer and baked before serving.  

TURKEY MEATLOAF

2 pounds ground turkey
2 eggs
1 medium onion, grated
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
1 can (15-ounces) crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup dry red wine
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, and 2 tablespoons of the minced garlic cloves; mix well. Add cumin, salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a skillet and sauté remaining 2 garlic cloves, sliced onions, tomatoes and wine until soft.

Place garlic mixture in a large roaster. Shape 1/2 of the meat mixture into a flat loaf and place on top of the onion mixture in the roaster. Place hard-boiled eggs lengthwise along center of molded turkey loaf. Mold remaining turkey mixture on top of the eggs, pressing to make a firm loaf. Spread ketchup on top of the loaf, frosting the loaf like a cake.

Bake in preheated oven, covered, for 1 1/4 hours, until baked through.

Makes about 8 servings.

POTATO SALAD

8 to 10 medium potatoes, cooked and diced
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced fresh fennel
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup finely sliced green onions (scallions)
1/2 cup minced parsley, optional
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Garnish with diced red bell pepper

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, celery, fennel and red bell pepper. Add enough mayonnaise to moisten and toss gently. Add the green onions and parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper; toss gently again. Garnish with diced red bell pepper.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

COLESLAW 

1 head cabbage
1 large carrot, peeled and grated (optional)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cut cabbage lengthwise into wedges small enough to fit in feed tube of food processor. Remove core. With slicing disk in place, slice cabbage using moderate pressure on pusher. Or, using a sharp knife, slice the cabbage as thin as possible. Transfer sliced cabbage to a large bowl. Add carrot and toss. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and lemon and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional sugar or lemon juice to taste. Toss with cabbage mixture to moisten completely.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

CARROT SLAW

6 medium carrots, peeled and grated
3/4 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced apples
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste 

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, celery, apples and raisins. Mix in the mayonnaise; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on a lettuce leaf.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

CAULIFLOWER-ANCHOVY SALAD

1 cup Parsley Anchovy Dressing (recipe below)
1 head cauliflower, rinsed and separated into florets

Prepare Parsley-Anchovy Dressing, cover with plastic wrap and chill.

In a large saucepan, using a vegetable rack, steam cauliflower until tender when pierced with a fork — about 10 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes. To serve, spoon just enough dressing over cauliflower to moisten and toss. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings. 

PARSLEY-ANCHOVY DRESSING

1/4 small onion, diced
1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups tightly packed parsley sprigs, stems removed (about 1 bunch)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade, blend onion, anchovies, olive oil and vinegar. Add parsley, a little at a time, and puree until the dressing is a bright green color. Season with pepper to taste.

Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill. If dressing thickens after chilling, add additional olive oil and mix well. Dressing will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

CRISP ALMOND BUTTER COOKIES

1/2 cup unsalted nondairy margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup almond butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Additional sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

 In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the margarine and sugars. Add almond butter, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and baking powder; add to creamed mixture and mix well. For easier shaping, chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Shape cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Place them 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten each ball by crisscrossing with the tines of a fork dipped in sugar. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned and cookies are set.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies.


JUDY ZEIDLER is a food consultant, cooking teacher and author of 10 cookbooks, including “Italy Cooks” (Mostarda Press, 2011). Her website is judyzeidler.com.

Feasting after fasting: Recipes for breaking the fast after Yom Kippur


Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for serious fasting — no food or drink for 25 hours. At the end of the day, our thoughts inevitably turn to what we want to eat at sundown to break the fast.          

When I spoke with several friends about Yom Kippur foods they remember from growing up, many said their favorite break-the-fast meal was a variety of spicy, ready-to-eat deli foods. Some dishes were homemade and could be prepared several days in advance, while others were picked up at the local deli.

A deli buffet enables you to serve a combination of deli specialties to satisfy everyone. But you don’t have to buy deli food — the recipes that I am suggesting are easy to prepare. My menu is based on our family favorites that are prepared in advance. 

Early in the morning, a buffet table is made ready with plates, cutlery and an assortment of bowls and platters. 

When the hungry guests arrive, they are met with welcoming cups of Shiitake Mushroom and Barley Soup. The soup is accompanied by slices of raisin-filled challah

Several homemade salads, including a Scandinavian Herring Potato Salad and a Cauliflower Anchovy Salad, a cheese platter, pickles, olives and more of your deli selections will reward the dedicated fasters.  

Instead of the smoked fish that is usually served for the-break-the-fast meal, I have included a recipe for a Pickled Salmon. The fish is poached with pickling spices and served with homemade fresh Tartar Sauce or Tuna Sauce. What I find particularly appealing about this dish is that it can be prepared the day before and served chilled.

Desserts are my specialty, and I plan to do my own baking. Serve Rugelach and a delicious high-rise Coffee and Spice Honey Cake. 

Shiitake Mushroom and Barley Soup

Sautéing all the ingredients before adding the stock brings out the intense mushroom flavor of this robust soup.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups vegetable or pareve chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons pearl barley

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

1 tablespoon dry sherry

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery and carrots, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add shiitake mushrooms (other fresh mushrooms may be substituted) and garlic; cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.


Add vegetable stock, soy sauce, barley, thyme and sherry. Reduce heat to low, cover partially, and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, ladle into heated soup bowls.  

Makes 4 to 6 servings. 


Cauliflower Anchovy Salad

Cauliflower’s taste and color are subdued, so the zippy flavor of this salad’s anchovy dressing gives the understated vegetable a dynamic flavor boost.

1 cup Parsley-Anchovy Dressing
(recipe follows)

1 head cauliflower, rinsed
and separated into florets

Prepare Parsley-Anchovy Dressing, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.

In a large saucepan, using a vegetable rack, steam cauliflower until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Spoon just enough dressing over cauliflower to moisten and toss. Serve immediately.  

Makes 4 servings.


Parsley-Anchovy Dressing

1/4 small onion, diced

1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained

3/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 cups tightly packed parsley sprigs, stems removed (about 1 bunch)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Blend onion, anchovies, olive oil and vinegar in a blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add parsley, a little at a time, and puree until the dressing is a bright green color. Season with pepper to taste.  

Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill.  If dressing thickens after chilling, add additional olive oil and mix well.  This will keep for several days in the refrigerator.  

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.



Pickled Salmon With Two Sauces

3 pounds salmon fillets

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

3 tablespoons pickling spices

6 cups cold water

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

2 large carrots thinly sliced 

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Tuna Sauce (recipe follows)

Tarter Sauce (recipe follows)

1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish

 

Wrap salmon fillets in cheesecloth and tie ends of cloth with string. 

Place bay leaves, peppercorns and pickling spices in a separate square of cheesecloth, tying ends with string to form a pouch.

Add water, onion, carrots, celery, vinegar, salt, sugar and bay leaf mixture in pouch to a heavy pot; bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes; remove pouch from broth. 

Gently lower the cheesecloth-wrapped salmon into the simmering broth and cook 3 minutes. Cool fish in broth. When cool, remove fish from broth, unwrap, and transfer to serving plate with large spatula. Serve with Tuna Sauce and/or Tartar Sauce, garnished with lemon slices. 

Makes 8 to 10 servings.


Tuna Sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in olive oil,       drained

5 flat anchovy fillets

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons capers, soaked and rinsed

3/4 cup olive oil

 

Blend the tuna, anchovies, lemon juice and capers in a food processor or blender, with the metal blade in place, until smooth. Continue processing and pour the olive oil in a steady, thin stream through the feeder tube until it’s the consistency of a thick sauce. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill. 

Makes about 1 cup.

Letters to the Editor: Milk, languages, kindergarten, breakfast, philanthropy


More on Milk

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz is restirring a tempest in a glass of milk (“How Kosher Is Your Milk,” June 22). This issue was addressed in great detail in the fall 2007 issue of the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society in the article “The Kashrut of Commercially Sold Milk” by Rabbi Michoel Zylberman. The conclusion of the article:

“In the contemporary situation, there appears to be no credible evidence that a majority of dairy cows harbor adhesions. It is, however, quite likely that a prevalent minority (mi’ut hamatzui) of cows have terefot, such that more than 1.6% of milk that gets mixed together comes from such cows. To date, while a few individuals have stopped drinking commercially sold milk, major kashrut organizations have endorsed the continued consumption of milk, following the implication in Shulchan Aruch that we may assume that every individual cow comes from the majority of cows that are kosher, even if such an assumption contradicts a statistical reality.”

Rabbi Israel Hirsch
Valley Village

A Lesson in Languages

In your June 22 issue’s Letter From Egypt by Al-Qotb (“Egypt’s Election: An Argument Without Resolution”), you identified Al-Qotb (“The Writer”) as a pseudonym for The Jewish Journal’s Egyptian correspondent. Al-Qotb (correctly Al-Kotb or Al-Kootb) means “The Books,” and the Arabic name for anyone who writes is Al-Kaatb or Al-Kaateb, depending on one’s dialect. The proper letter (binyan in Hebrew) to use in this instance is “K-T-B” not “Q-T-B”. There is no equivalence in the English language nor in modern Hebrew for the Arabic letter “Q.” The best illustration would be in pronouncing the Hebrew letter “kaf” gutturally as in the case of the letter “khaf.” Quick pronunciation illustration is in the name of the leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and ’60s, Sayyid Qutb — Qutb could mean pole or region, as in the North Pole or the South Pole, but Kutb signifies books.

Ed Elhaderi
Los Angeles

Kindergartens of Hate

Micah Halpern’s piece is profoundly disturbing (“Finishing School,” June 22). It states that Arab children in Gaza and the West Bank are taught to hate Jews and to aspire only to slaughter them as a duty of their Islamic faith. This despite 20 years of a “peace process” that earned Nobel Peace Prizes for its originators. I suppose the indoctrination of Jew-hatred, not to mention the suicide bombings, rockets and turning children into murderous robots described by Halpern only proves, as then-President Clinton said in late 2000, that “the peace process hasn’t gone far enough.”

Chaim Sisman
Los Angeles

Synagogue Breakfast

Last week’s calendar section mentioned a dog-walking tour for June 24. It did not mention the 20th anniversary breakfast of Congregation Bais Naftoli honoring Zvi Hollander and Dr. A. Richard Grossman. At this breakfast, not only will the Israeli and Hungarian consuls general attend, but also two members of Congress, Sheriff Lee Baca, Supervisor Mike Antonovich, the city attorney and controller, four members of the City Council and two members of the state Assembly.

Why does the canine event take precedence?

Andrew Friedman
President
Congregation Bais Naftoli

Editor’s note: The Jewish Journal calendar desk did not receive notice about the Congregation Bais Naftoli breakfast. Please send all event notifications at least three weeks in advance to calendar@jewishjournal.com

Philanthropic Teens

It came as no surprise to me that a cross-section of community schools participated in National Conference of Synagogue Youth’s (NCSY) philanthropy project (“Philanthropy Project Puts Teens in Charge,” June 8). NCSY has been breaking down barriers to Jewish involvement for quite some time with creative programs geared to young people from all spheres. 

My wife, Sara, and I [spent] a magical Shabbat with NCSYers at their regional Shabbaton in Woodland Hills recently. The diversity of the participants was amazing. There were kids from public schools, Jewish schools, Yachad for special needs, all singing, clapping, standing on chairs with a thunderous spirit that was inspirational and meaningful.

The philanthropy project was a good chance to bring to light the creativity NCSY displays in reaching out to all kids with the goal of bringing them closer to Judaism.

Ron Solomon
Executive Director
American Friends of Bar-Ilan University, Western Region

CORRECTIONS
An article on a project exploring Los Angeles history (“UCLA Mapping Project Goes Back to the Future,” June 22) did not mention that the “Mapping Jewish L.A.” display of the digital project at the Autry National Center of the American West will be part of the larger exhibition “Jews in the Los Angeles Mosaic,” scheduled to open at the museum in May 2013.

Temple B’nai Hayim’s Rabbi Beryl Padorr is not retiring (“Ner Maarav to Merge With Ramat Zion,” June 15).

We plan, Sherre laughs


The conversation was joyful and funny, but something was bothering me. I couldn’t stop thinking about the poached eggs.

We had all ordered our breakfasts at the same time. I got my Irish oatmeal, my daughter got her bagel and cream cheese, but the poached eggs? It seemed like they would never come. Every time a server would come near our table, I would arch my neck to see if they were carrying the poached eggs. Waiter after waiter walked by, only to deliver food to other patrons.

The poached eggs weren’t for me, they were for Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, and the fact that they took forever to show up bothered me a lot more than it bothered her.

That’s a good thing, too, because Hirsch has been talking a lot these days about the importance of learning how to handle the curve balls that life throws at us.

What do we do when things don’t turn out the way we expected? When the great marriage we always dreamed about has turned into a nightmare? When our dream career has become tedious and repetitive? When our kids are not the Ivy League geniuses we wished they would be? When good friends disappoint us? When siblings, parents, bosses or rabbis let us down? When a tragedy turns our lives upside down?

Or when the poached eggs we ordered for breakfast take forever to show up?

When she wrote her new book, “We Plan, God Laughs,” Hirsch knew there were no easy answers, and that the subject of how to handle — and transform — life’s disappointments was as enormous and complicated as the subject of how to handle life itself. So she faced a dilemma, a common one in today’s publishing world: Go too deep and no one buys the book, but make it too simple and you trivialize the subject.

And while she certainly didn’t want to trivialize the subject, when you see the subtitle of the book — “10 Steps to Finding Your Divine Path When Life is Not Turning Out Like You Wanted” — you can’t help but wonder whether she did in fact make too many concessions to the marketing dictates of modern publishing.

Each chapter has a convenient opening that summarizes each “step” to finding your divine path. The chapters themselves read like a who’s who of spiritual self-help: “Ending the Excuses,” “Getting Present,” “Celebrating the Divine You,” “Partnering with God,” “Re-creating your Creator,” “Finding Your Divine Spark,” “Engaging Up,” “Finding Meaning” and “Questioning.”

It all feels really neat and user-friendly — perfectly tailored for today’s harried consumers who have little time to read but still crave anything that can improve their lives.

So what saves the book from being another exercise in predictable self-help?

For one thing, the author herself.

Once you get past the paint-by-numbers packaging, it’s her personality and generosity that dominate the page.

Sherre Hirsch wants to help you. That is clear. She will do whatever it takes to touch you and help you. Even if it means dredging up the saga of her parents’ divorce, or the time a baby boy died on the day of a bris she was supposed to officiate, or the loving couple who were looking forward to a beautiful retirement but were rudely interrupted by the husband’s heart attack.

Hirsch doesn’t hold back. She will cajole, entertain, surprise, slow down, speed up, get somber, tell stories, go biblical, play best friend, big sister, stern teacher or philosopher; she’ll get sappy, passionate, reflective and a little raw; and, if she has to, she’ll even stoop to corny metaphors (“Lemons do not always become lemonade. Sometimes they become lemon pie or the base of some weird jam.”)

She does all this in the service of helping you turn your life around — like she did hers.

It doesn’t matter that you might have heard or read some of these concepts before. Hirsch doesn’t pretend that she has written the “Guide to the Perplexed”; she understands that 800 years after the era of Maimonides, the trick in today’s world is not to obsess with philosophical novelty but rather to fuse disparate elements into an engaging and personal message.

She’s savvy enough to be herself and allow her infectious personality to shine through. Like one of my advertising clients used to say, “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.” Well, from the first line of her book, you know that Hirsch cares. If she were a therapist, you’d want to get better just to not let her down.

The deeper ideas in the book have a way of sneaking up on you. The rabbi takes you on these little journeys where, for example, a 10th grade science class on the subject of inertia will gently morph into the notion that the opposite of faith is not skepticism or cynicism, but fear. Or a discussion of leaky roofs will evolve into a challenge to become “the owner of your own life plan” where “fine” and “settling down” are just not good enough. Or a moment in New York’s Central Park will become an epiphany on the deadening effect of routine.

The book ambushes you throughout with these personal challenges to see life differently. Maybe that’s the rabbi’s secret weapon: camouflage. You expect, when you see the pretty cover of the book, that you’ll be getting soul candy, and then you’re taken on a little whirlwind that makes your soul taste all the food groups — even the bitter herbs.

There’s a delicious irony in the notion that if after all the efforts to plan an easy-to-read book on navigating life, God decided to laugh … and instead of an easy book, out came a mash-up of ideas that shakes you up and doesn’t let go.

Just like the poached eggs that took forever, Rabbi Sherre Hirsch would have no problem with such an unexpected turn of events.

David Suissa, an advertising executive, is founder of OLAM magazine and Meals4Israel.com. He can be reached at dsuissa@olam.org.

Sweet Memories of Broken Matzah


My great-grandmother, Gouda, escaped Germany by boat at
night when she was in her 60s. My grandfather, Opa, fled with her and his wife
and two small children when he was 42. Both lived long, energetic, brave lives
in their adopted country: she, chasing her great grandchildren around in a
playful hide-and-seek when she was 95 years old; he, establishing a synagogue
in the Bronx after abandoning one in Grebenaou, Germany. Both also had
elaborate Passover breakfast rituals involving broken pieces of matzah.

“Gouda lined her half-full coffee cup, with thin strips of
matzah,” my mother told me. Then, in the order they went in, she lifted each
piece out, sprinkled it with sugar and ate it.

“She had to work quickly, otherwise the matzah would become
too soft and drop off,” my mother said, “and when I was a young girl, I
watched, waiting to see if even one would break.”

When I was young, I watched Opa gather the small, leftover
pieces of matzah, and pour them in his half-full coffee cup.

“Nothing should go to waste,” he would say. Then he took one
big piece of matzah in his hands and crumbled it over the cup until it was
filled to the brim. When he was satisfied with the matzah-to-coffee ratio, he
pushed down with a big spoon, crunching the pieces closer and closer together,
allowing the warm coffee to soak through. Then he waited, for a minute or two,
before he carefully placed the saucer over the cup. Flipped. Jiggled. Lifted.
Voila! A matzah mountain.

With a small silver spoon, he sprinkled a layer of sugar,
like new snow, over his mountain and, working gently from the top down,Â
spoonful by spoonful in silence, he ate until the mountain was gone. According
to “The Jewish Holidays, A Guide and Commentary” by Michael Strassfeld
(HarperCollins Publishers, 1985), matzah symbolizes freedom. But broken matzah,
an integral part of the Passover seder, symbolizes the struggle for freedom and
the reality that no one is totally free.

So maybe it is no coincidence that my biggest moves to new
cities happened around Passover. And that the foods from those first seders
stand out for me, some dry and strange, some smooth and magically sweet.

When my daughter was 2, we left our home in Atlanta, Ga.,
for a fresh start in Portland, Ore. In Atlanta, we lived in a ranch house,
within easy driving distance of five brothers and sisters, their spouses and
children, my parents and a thick group of old and new friends. In Portland, I
rented an apartment about 20 minutes away from one college friend, and his dog.

The emptiness was palpable as was the excitement in
arranging our furniture in a new place that overlooked a park with an orange
climbing gym and a swimming pool surrounded by plump bushes and flowering
trees.

But when the holidays rolled around, I wondered who would
share our table. Our liberated family of two felt small. According to
Strassfeld, the core meaning of Passover is the liberation of the Israelites
from Egyptian slavery, but it is also referred to as the “Holiday of Spring.”

“The watchwords of both spring and Pesach are rebirth and
hope,” Strassfeld says.

And I clung to both ends of that spectrum.

Eventually, I found a cozy Jewish preschool for my daughter
to attend, and we met some new people and got invited to a big family seder.
The faces were new as was the relentless black rain filling the windows, but
the food was warm and plentiful; matzah ball soup, brisket, matzah kugels,
warmed fruits and more I can’t remember.

But what I can never forget is the dessert. A cousin of the
host bought a plastic sandwich bag full of broken matzah pieces half-covered in
a chunky chocolate coating. I was stuffed from the long meal, but with my last
sip of wine, I took a bite of the sweetened matzah. Magic! The chocolate
covered a buttery toffee layer in between, and it tasted like a gift. I got up
from the table and joined the group of woman at the kitchen counter eating
straight from the bag. We all agreed it was dangerously good. We laughed. We
ate more. After a while, I looked over my shoulder. My daughter was playing on
the floor with a new friend. I looked out the window; the rains no longer
seemed as dark. With each chocolate bite, my move far away from home lost some
of its bitterness. And I learned what Gouda and Opa surely understood, that
magic can be made from broken pieces, sweetened just right.

Chocolate Toffee Matzah

This is a very adaptable recipe. The quantity of the
ingredients depends on how much chocolate and butter you want covering the
matzah. My daughter and I make it every year, and she covers the pieces with
indulgent quantities of chocolate, both milk and semi-sweet. But we always
leave part of the matzah uncovered for ease of handling and visual variety.

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 box matzah

3 cups chocolate (semisweet morsels, dark or milk chocolate
bars chopped with serrated knife, or any other chocolate you like)

Chopped nuts (optional)

Line two cookie sheets with foil. Arrange matzah, broken in
half, on lined cookie sheets (some overlapping is fine). Melt butter and sugar
in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Pour over matzah parts and
spread with spatula. (It will not cover completely, which is fine, but you can
alter to taste.)

Sprinkle chocolate morsels, chocolate shavings over matzah.

Bake in oven at 300 F, approximately 5-10 minutes, or until
chocolate melts. (Hint, the morsels may not look melted but take out and spread
with spatula or knife to test. Bake a few more minutes if still solid.)

Remove from oven, spread chocolate over matzah while still
warm. Sprinkle with nuts (optional). Put trays, uncovered, in freezer until
hardened. About two hours. Break matzah in smaller, uneven pieces and store in
sealed bags in freezer until you are ready to eat.

Betty Goodfriend’s Matzah Kugel

This recipe is an adaptation of Betty Goodfriend’s wondrous
lokshen (noodle) kugel. If you ever tasted her noodle kugel, you wouldn’t
hesitate to create this Passover version.

6-8 tablespoons margarine (approximately 1 stick)Â Â Â Â Â Â

2¼3 cup dark brown sugar           Â

4 large eggs                  Â

1¼3 cup Sabra liqueur              Â

1¼2 cup pineapple juice(from can)           Â

8 Matzahs, broken in 1 1¼2 inch

 by 2 inch pieces   Â

1¼2 cup white sugar

1¼3 cup vegetable oil plus 2 tablespoons

1¼2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon (to taste)

Topping (optional)

1 can pineapple slices or chunks

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Chopped walnuts or almond slivers (optional)

Margarine

Melt margarine and pour into 9 x 13 glass pan. Make sure all
sides are greased. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over bottom. Arrange pineapple
slices in a layer.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Put broken matzah pieces (not too small or they will become
mushy) in medium bowl and pour warm water over to soften. Soak approximately
3-4 minutes. Drain. Squeeze out liquid completely. Put raisins in small bowl
and pour hot water over to plump. Drain.

In large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, oil, pineapple juice and
liqueur together. Add cinnamon. With wooden spoon mix in matzah and raisins
into egg mixture. (At this point, Mrs. Goodfriend said to taste for salt, and
add if needed).

Pour matzah mixture over pineapples in baking pan.

Topping

Mix sugar, cinnamon, and nuts together and sprinkle over
noodles. (Dot with extra margarine if desired.)

Bake for one hour. Test at 45 minutes to see if bottom is
dark. If so, move pan to higher rack in oven and bake 15 minutes longer.

Obst und Gloessien (Fruit and Dumplings)

This traditional German recipe belonged to my grandmother
(Oma) who passed it down to my mother. Both made it every year for Passover.
When it was my turn to break the hard matzah, forming something round and soft,
creating the steaming fragrance of warmed fruits, then, at last, tasting the
cinnamon sweet dumplings, my own kitchen filled with the richness of time.

4 matzahs crushed or 3 cups matzah farfel

2 tablespoons matzah meal (heaping)

3 eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1¼2 lemon, juiced

12 ounce package mixed dried fruit

Pinch salt

Pinch cinnamon

In medium bowl, soak matzah in warm water until soft. Drain
and squeeze out liquid. (It is important to drain well, as dumplings will not
hold with too much moisture.)

In small bowl soak fruit in lemon juice.

In medium pan, sauté matzah in vegetable oil. Set aside.

Put fruit in large pot and add water to cover well above
fruit. Simmer covered for 30 minutes.

In large bowl, mix beaten eggs, matzah meal, sugar, salt,
cinnamon. Add matzah. Mix until moist enough hold together. Form into
matzah-ball size dumplings. Set aside.

Bring fruit to a slow boil and add dumplings. Add more water
if necessary. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Test with knife, dumplings should
be cooked through and not soggy in the center. Serve warm. Â

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