Saluting side dishes


Thanksgiving is a holiday when American-Jewish families can enjoy the best of both heritages — hearty American food and an occasion to give thanks for their blessings. Food has always been the center of the holiday celebration, and I like to plan an old-fashioned farmhouse menu for the holiday. 

Everyone has a favorite turkey recipe, usually handed down from their parents — roasted, smoked or brined with lots of stuffing — but what about the side dishes? There are so many choices. My focus this year will be to create a variety of side dishes that will accompany the turkey and enhance the dinner.   

A beautifully browned noodle kugel adds a homey, old-fashioned accent to any holiday menu. This dish does not need sugar, because the raisins and apples add natural sweetness. My technique is to use a large casserole and spread the mixture, because the thinner the kugel, the crisper the crust.

Tzimmes, another traditional dish, is a delicious mixture of sweet potatoes, prunes, carrots and assorted dried fruits. Often sweetened and sometimes cooked with meat, it makes a wonderful treat to go with the meal.

The recipe for Kosher Mashed Potatoes that I am sharing is perfect to go with the Thanksgiving turkey. Butter and milk are replaced with nondairy margarine and soy milk, making it a delicious accompaniment that everyone will enjoy.   

For a simple yet elegant dish to go with dinner, nothing surpasses a delicate and flavorful purée. Whether roasted, boiled or steamed, vegetables can easily be blended in a food processor or blender with a little olive oil or chicken stock. My favorite is a Parsnip Garlic Purée made with roasted garlic that will add spice to your holiday menu. Its velvety texture is a nice alternative to mashed potatoes, and it pairs well with poultry or meat.

And at our home, Thanksgiving would not be the same without freshly baked biscuits. Served as a savory treat, they are best when heated and topped with honey or preserves.

Don’t forget to decorate your holiday table. Our daughter Kathy has created several small ceramic turkeys that are placed at the center of the Thanksgiving table to make the dinner more festive. Pour apple juice for the children and a young, fruity red wine for the grown-ups, then catch up on all the family news while enjoying the holiday. 

 

Noodle Kugel With Raisins

12 ounces flat wide egg noodles (about 7 cups)

8 cups lightly salted boiling water

1/2 cup unsalted margarine or oil

2 apples, peeled, cored and diced

1/2 cup plumped raisins

4 eggs, beaten

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Cinnamon-sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Cook the noodles in lighted salted boiling water until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Place the noodles, margarine, apples and drained plumped raisins in a large bowl. Add the eggs and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well. 

Spoon the mixture into a well-greased 8-by-10-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is brown and crisp. Cut into squares. Serve hot or cold.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

 

Tzimmes

3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and cut in chunks

2 pounds medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 (12-ounce) package pitted dried plums, halved

1 cup fresh orange juice

1 cup water

1/4 cup honey 

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted margarine, diced 

 

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  

Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Combine the sweet potatoes, carrots and plums in a large bowl and then arrange in the greased baking dish. Combine the orange juice, water, honey, brown sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl; pour over vegetables. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 1 hour. Uncover; dot with margarine and bake 45 to 60 minutes longer, stirring gently every 15 minutes, until tender and sauce is thickened.  

Makes 12 servings.

 

Red Cabbage With Apples 

1 red cabbage (2 1/2 pounds)

2/3 cup wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons unsalted margarine

2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 whole onion, peeled and pierced with 2 cloves

1 bay leaf, crushed

5 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons dry red wine

3 tablespoons red currant jelly

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Wash the cabbage under cold water, and cut into quarters. Cut into 1/8-inch shreds. Drop into a large bowl and sprinkle with vinegar, sugar and salt. Toss with a wooden spoon.

 

In a large, 5-quart saucepan, melt the margarine; sauté the apple slices and chopped onion for 5 minutes or until the apples are lightly browned. Add the cabbage, whole onion and bay leaf. Stir thoroughly, and pour in the boiling water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook, covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until the cabbage is tender, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Remove the whole onion and bay leaf. Stir in the wine and currant jelly, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Makes 6 to  8 servings.

 

Apple-Cranberry Compote 

1/2 cup raspberry preserves

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cranberry juice

Juice and peel of 1 lemon

6 large tart Pippin or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

 

Combine preserves, sugar and cranberry juice in a large, heavy saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until preserves and sugar are dissolved. Bring syrup to a boil and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. 

Place lemon juice and peel in a large bowl; add apple slices and toss gently. Add apples with lemon juice to preserve mixture; toss to coat evenly. Simmer until apples are soft, mixing occasionally. Cool. Transfer glazed apples with sauce to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve.  

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Kosher Mashed Potatoes 

5 pounds potatoes

1/4 pound unsalted margarine

3/4 cup soy milk

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

Peel and dice potatoes. Add potatoes to a large pot with enough water to cover; bring to a boil until tender. Drain, then add margarine, soy milk, salt, pepper and garlic. Mash by hand or with a potato masher to desired consistency.  

Makes 10 servings. 

 

VARIATION: A nice combination is unpeeled redskin potatoes and peeled Yukon Golds. Add redskin potatoes by washing them well and leaving the skins on, boiling and following directions above.
 

 

Parsnip-Garlic Purée

8 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Olive oil

1 whole head of garlic, roasted (recipe below)

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

1 cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Preheat the oven to 300 F.

Toss the parsnips with olive oil and arrange them on a baking sheet. Roast the parsnips until they are caramelized and soft, about 45, minutes depending on thickness. Lightly coat bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil, and sauté the onions over medium heat until they are very soft and translucent, about 20 minutes. 

In a food processor, add the parsnips and onions and squeeze out the individual cloves of garlic from the roasted head. Add enough chicken stock to moisten, and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Spoon mixture into a saucepan and, over low heat, stir gently with a wooden spoon until heated through.  

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 

Roasted Whole Garlic

1 or 2 heads garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Peel away outer layers of the garlic bulk skin, leaving the skin of the cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 inch of the top of the cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the garlic cloves on a sheet of aluminum foil, brush generously with olive oil, and pinch foil to seal.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the cloves feel soft when pressed. Cool garlic enough so you can touch it, then use a small knife to cut the skin slightly around each clove and squeeze out the purée.

 

Baking Powder Biscuits

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening or unsalted margarine

2/3 to 3/4 cup water

 

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the shortening and cut it into the flour until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal. Add water gradually, mixing lightly with a fork, until a ball forms that separates from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, and knead gently for 30 seconds. Roll out or pat out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 1- or 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter.

Transfer onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Arrange the biscuits on a large platter and top with honey or preserves.  

Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch or 3 dozen 1-inch biscuits.


Judy Zeidler is a food consultant and author of “Italy Cooks.” Her Web site is judyzeidler.com.

Seders: Not Just for Pesach Anymore


Every holiday has its aura. Pesach has a scrubbed cleanliness; Purim, a cookie-dough indulgence, Sukkot, a back-to-nature thankfulness. Rosh Hashanah has its aura, too. For most of us, it’s one that begins a season of awe, judgment and repentance.

For me, the start of a new year is a time of blessing and renewal, a different focus than what often feels like a lofty liturgical solemnity. I’m not suggesting party hats and confetti, just a little more optimism and joyfulness. Except for dipping apples in honey and sharing a holiday dinner, home rituals that create memory are largely missing from Rosh Hashanah.

In this respect, families of Sephardic and Mizrahi origin have a secret to share with the rest of the Jewish world. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, we hold a special ceremony at home, during which we recite blessings over a variety of foods that symbolize our wishes for the new year. The ritual is called a seder yehi ratzon (may it be God’s will) because we ask God to guide us and provide us with bounty, strength and peace in the year ahead. Many of the foods are blessed with puns on their Hebrew names that turn into wishes that our enemies will be destroyed.

The Talmudic origins of the seder dates back to a discussion by Rabbi Abaye about omens that carry significance (Horayot 12a). He suggested that at the beginning of each new year, people should make a habit of eating the following foods that grow in profusion and so symbolize prosperity: pumpkin, a bean-like vegetable called rubia, leeks, beets and dates. Jewish communities throughout the world have adapted this practice, creating seders of their own.

So my shopping list for Rosh Hashanah includes fat, juicy, red-skinned pomegranates; glossy, sticky-sweet dates; apples that will blush spicy pink when they are cooked into preserves with a drop of red food coloring and whole cloves; savory pumpkin; pungent leeks or scallions, foot-long string beans (available in Indian shops), and deep-green spinach. Often, my parents and my children prepare the foods together. It’s an art to separate the jewel-like pomegranate seeds without splattering their scarlet juice all over the kitchen counter; to split the dates, stuff them with walnut halves and arrange them in concentric ovals on a newly polished silver dish.

The foods become vessels for meaning, effective because of their tangibility.

“The physicality of the seder is what makes it special,” says Rabbi Karyn Kedar, author of “Dance of the Dolphin: Finding Prayer, Perspective and Meaning in the Stories of Our Lives” (Jewish Lights, 2001), who has adopted the practice through her Sephardic husband. “It’s not just cerebral. It’s ‘getting dirty’ with Judaism. It starts with cutting onions in the kitchen and ends with blessing. Both converge in being Jewish.”

We begin the seder itself with a series of biblical verses that carry mystical significance, followed by a declaration that always sends shivers down my spine: Tahel shanah u’virkhoteha! Let the year begin and all its blessings!

Then come the blessings: First, the dates. “May it be your will, God, that all enmity will end. May we date this new year with peace and happiness. (The word for end, yitamu, sounds like tamar, the Hebrew word for date.)

Second, the pomegranate: May we be as full of mitzvot as the pomegranate is full of seeds.

Apples: May it be Your will, God, to renew for us a year as good and sweet as honey.

String beans (rubia or lubia): May it be Your will, God, to increase our merits. (The word for increase, irbu, resembles the word rubia, bean.)

Pumpkin or gourd (k’ra): As we eat this gourd, may it be your will, God, to guard us. Tear away all evil decrees against as our merits are called before you. (K’ra resembles the words “tear” and “called.”)

Spinach or beetroot leaves (selek): May it be your will, God, to banish all the enemies who might beat us. (Selek resembles the word for banish, yistalku.)

Leeks or scallions (karti): May it be your will, God, to cut off our enemies. (karti resembles yikartu, the word for “cut off.”)

Originally, the seder called for a fish head to represent fertility, and a sheep’s head to symbolize our wish to be heads, not tails — leaders, not stragglers. The sheep’s head (the brains were removed and cooked) also served as a reminder of the ram that saved Isaac’s life. We recite the story of the binding of Isaac on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. In my family, we discontinued using these last two items: the fish because its Hebrew name, dag, sounds like the Hebrew word for worry, d’agah; the sheep’s head, for obvious reasons.

What does it mean to ask for a good, sweet year? What constitutes sweetness? What shapes goodness?

I think it’s harmony and wholeness we are asking for — the ability to take the parts of our lives that may satisfy us disparately and put them together so that they create contentment. Through these simple foods, we ask for the ability to appreciate the basic goodness of our lives.

Rabbi Kedar, who lived in Israel for 10 years, recalls that after a terrorist attack, mothers who picked their children up from school let them pick any candy or ice cream they wanted from the corner grocery store.

“We wanted to bring sweetness and comfort to their lives in the guise of chocolate,” she said. “Blessings, like chocolate, sometimes seem like a luxury.”

Because the seder doesn’t focus exclusively on sweet symbols, it mirrors the realities of our lives. The bitter truths, fears and enmities we live with mix with the sweetness. Life is not just beginnings; it is also endings. It’s not just honeyed dates, it’s also the sting of scallions. It is about uncovering blessings despite the elusiveness of peace.

After I take the tiniest bit of scallion possible for the blessing, I wash away the unpleasant taste with sweet apples and dates. Maybe it’s just my aversion to scallions, but through this small act, I can increase the positive while asking to be shielded from the negative.

Finding direction and beauty in our lives through the basic fruits of the earth allows us to push aside the chaos that clutters our days and uncover the goodness and sweetness of time. Often, said Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, we use up so much energy deflecting the onslaught of the world that we become numb to its beauty.

“It’s like being in a bakery too long,” Cardin explains in her book, “The Tapestry of Jewish Time: A Spiritual Guide to Holidays and Life-Cycle Events” (Behrman House, 2000). “The smell is still there, but we no longer notice.”

She recommends trying to move through our days as if we always had a 5-year-old at our sides to point out all the important things we usually miss: the bugs on the sidewalk, whose turn it is to sit in the front seat, the color of the M&M that tastes best.

The seder points to a specific direction by which to achieve sweetness: the blessing of the pomegranate asks that our lives be filled with mitzvot. Some mitzvot — like lighting Shabbat candles and blowing the shofar — are a language of action that marks us as Jews, Cardin writes. A second type of mitzvah includes acts of fairness, justice and lovingkindness that we do for each other, from honoring parents to visiting the sick. “Our lives are lived in the details of the everyday,” she says. “Taking a co-worker to lunch for a job well done, writing to praise a company for its stance on the environment, thanking a teacher for an inspiring lecture, showing good humor and patience with those around us while waiting in line — each of these brings a bit more goodness into the world. They are the keys to the storehouse of holiness. It is in the performance of these humble deeds that we become more.”

While it is up to each of us to take responsibility to “become more,” we ask for God’s partnership in the process. That’s how our Rosh Hashanah blessings differ from secular New Year’s resolutions. God’s guidance enables us to rely on our own strengths.

“The Jewish new year isn’t about losing 10 pounds or quitting smoking,” Kedar said. “Nor does ‘shanah tovah’ translate as ‘Happy New Year.’ The word ‘tov’ — good — is not ‘Was the movie good?’ It resonates back to Rosh Hashanah as the time God created the world and saw that it was good. Shanah tovah means that we hope the foundations of our lives should have a goodness to them.”

Tahel shanah u’virkhoteha! Let the new year begin with all its goodness and all its blessings.

Rahel Musleah wrote “Apples and Pomegranates: A Family Seder for Rosh Hashanah” (Lerner/Kar-Ben, 2004). Her Web site is www.rahelsjewishindia.com.

 

Kids Page


The Dairy Queen

Do you like ice cream? Cheesecake? Blintzes?

Well, Shavuot is the holiday for you. That’s when the dairy queen grants us our wish: to eat all the sweetest, milkiest foods we want. The rabbis tell us one reason for this custom: The Jews did not eat kosher meat until they learned about it in the Torah. Once the Torah was given, they realized that their dishes and pots were still non-kosher from previous use. Until they could get new ones, the Jewish people ate only dairy.

Piece of Cake

No-Bake Cheese Cake

Ingredients:

1 large package of graham crackers

3 containers of soft cream cheese

1 cup of milk

1 package of vanilla pudding

1. Combine the cream cheese, milk and vanilla pudding together in a mixing bowl.

2. Use a mixer to combine the ingredients (make sure to have an adult help you).

3. While the mixer is mixing, take the graham crackers and line the bottom of a large tray so that they completely cover the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the mix on top of the graham crackers and refrigerate. It will thicken in the refrigerator overnight and be ready in the morning.

You can use different flavored puddings and add any topping you like: fruit, nuts, chocolate sauce — mmmmm.

Enjoy!

 

Blintzes, Cupcakes and Pasta — Oh My!


 

Back in the day, Passover meant meat, matzah and potatoes for eight days of the Passover. But in the last decade, the market for special kosher for Passover food has exploded, and manufacturers and supermarkets are providing a variety of products to almost make you forget it’s even Passover. (Unless otherwise stated, all products listed have been certified by the Orthodox Union [OU].)

The Pasta/Pizza Craving

Many people like to at least simulate foods that contain chametz (leavened goods that contain either wheat, oats, barley, rye or spelt), even if they’re not allowed to eat the real thing on Passover. So for those with a hankering for noodles, Passover noodles made from matzah-meal cake are available from Kedem with the Savion label, while Gefen and Flaum Appetizing also have noodles, but made from potato starch.

Frankel’s has produced frozen potato starch noodles but has also branched out this year with a whole array of kosher for Passover frozen foods including blintzes, waffles and the all-important pizza.

Also selling frozen pizza for the first time this year is Maccabee Pizza, whose product is made from potato starch. Dayenu is also jumping on the frozen food bandwagon with pierogies, pizza ravioli and pizzaroggies made with matzah meal.

In the blintz department, Kineret blintzes made from potato starch will be available, and King Kold of Chicago will be selling blintzes, matzah balls and potato pancakes under the Ratner’s label. All are matzah-meal based. In addition, King Kold has also introduced frozen potato kugel batter, potato pancake batter and matzah ball batter. And Dr. Praeger’s is producing both frozen potato and vegetable pancakes.

Matzah, Matzah, Matzah

While the standard Manischewitz matzah has always been available, the Orthodox Union (OU) this year has certified Aviv, Osem, Yehuda and Rishon matzahs from Israel as long as the OU-P symbol appears on them. Yanovsky matzah, which is baked in Argentina, is also being made available this year.

In addition to its traditional egg matzah, Manischewitz will also make available matzah ashira made from flour and grape juice — for those Ashkenazim who are not permitted to eat regular matzah, and for Sephardim who are allowed to eat kitniyot (legumes).

New on the shmura matzah list (handmade matzah) are those from Gefen, Rokeach and Mishpacha.

Kedem is introducing a new matzah product called Matzah Sticks under the Savion label.

And because Passover begins this year when Shabbat ends, for the first timeHadar manufacturers will be producing an egg matzah under the Star-K label, so that people will be able to eat them with their Shabbat meal, as challah will not be able to be eaten.

For the Munchies

Savion is introducing cupcakes and cookies made with matzah meal. VIP will have macaroons and cookies available as bulk items that contain no matzah meal. Manischewitz is introducing a new sugar-free biscotti and sugar-free macaroons, as well as sugar-free cookies made from matzah meal. Mishpacha is introducing macaroons and kichel made without matzah meal. And Yehuda Passover marble cake, honey cake and chocolate cake made from potato starch will be available from Israel with an OU-P. Gefen will have a line of cake mixes all made without matzah meal. Similarly, the Le Tova OU-P line of baking mixes made from potato starch will be available. Savion will be selling cake mixes and muffin mixes made with matzah meal. And this year Manischewitz is expanding its potato chip line to potato sticks and sweet potato chips.

Dairy Cravings

This year the OU-P will appear on various Cholov Yisroel dairy products. These include milk from Ahava with the Best Moo label as well as yogurt from Ahava with the Slim U label. A new OU company, Dairy Delight, will be selling sour cream and yogurt under the Norman’s label. In addition, Norman’s will also sell Cholov Yisroel ready to eat puddings with the OU-P label. Cholov Yisroel OU-P hard cheese will appear for the first time this year under both the Norman’s label and the Kirkeby label. The Kirkeby cheeses are imported from Europe and also carry the London Beth Din hechsher.

Something Fishy

Manischewitz’s Season line has introduced a number of new sardine items in various sauces for Pesach. Bumble Bee has made a large OU-P production of tuna under its own label. Aside from this, tuna is available with an OU-P from Rokeach, Gefen and Mishpacha. And Dr. Praeger’s has breaded fish fillets and fish sticks made without matzah meal.

The Real Thing

Coca-Cola will again be available with an OU-P for Pesach. Look for the distinctive yellow cap in addition to the OU-P symbol to ensure that the regular corn syrup has been replaced with sugar. The secret Coke recipe, however, has still not been disclosed.

 

‘Homemade’ Mandelbrot Fit for a Seder


 

When I recently attended Kosher World at the L.A. Convention Center, I saw a wide selection of Passover foods. They presented many interesting new food products: sausages, nondairy ice cream, frozen pizza, burritos, pasta of all shapes and sizes, and large selection of kosher wines from all over the world.

One of the stands that caught my interest was Debbie & Sandy’s Homemade, stocked with well-designed bags of Mandel Bread, Sliced Almond Cookies and Granola. The two women that were handing out samples, Sandy Calin and Debbie Fischl, started this successful business only three years ago, and told me that the Passover Granola was their most popular item — a blend of almonds, pistachios, cranberries, raisins, honey and crunchy matzah farfel.

Calin and Fischl are both attorneys — they met in law school, became instant friends and still practice law. Both single parents, Fischl handles primarily appellate work and mediations, and Calin does litigation for several firms.

They soon discovered that they both shared a passion for cooking and baking, and they often cooked together for their family events.

These two busy women, who worked full time while raising a family, dreamed of opening their own catering company. Their homemade desserts became a favorite at the parties they catered, and everyone asked for the recipes. They talked about producing several commercial products made from their family recipes and thought that they could be sold successfully.

That’s when they finally decided to open their own specialty company, and of course, named it Debbie & Sandy’s Homemade. They could now sell their tasty treats directly to their catering clients as well as the public. All of their products are made kosher, and they make a special package for Passover.

When asked if I could include one of their recipes for this article, they did have some hesitation, saying that they were family secrets that had been handed down from generation to generation. But, after a long philosophical discussion they decided to share their recipe for the Passover Mandel Bread.

Passover Mandlebrot With Chocolate Chips

3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces sugar
4 fluid ounces cottonseed oil
7 ounces matzah cake meal
3/4 ounces potato starch
2 ounces sliced almonds
4 ounces chocolate chips
Sugar mixed with cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Add the oil and blend well. Add about 1/2 of the cake meal and potato starch. Mix well. Mix in almonds and chocolate chips. Add the remaining cake meal and potato starch and mix until incorporated.

Shape into loaves about 1/2 inch high and 3 inches wide. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch-wide pieces at an angle. Return to oven and bake another 15 minutes.

Makes about four dozen.

Their kosher-for-Passover products can be purchased locally and are available at www.debbiesandy.com or by calling (818) 224-2967.

Judy Zeidler is the author of “The Gourmet Jewish Cook” (Cookbooks, 1988) and “The 30-Minute Kosher Cook” (Morrow, 1999) Her Web site is members.aol.com/jzkitchen.

 

Make Menu Shine With Splash of Wine


 

Purim is always a special celebration for the children — they dress up in costumes, sing and dance. The grown-ups have their rewards, too, because it is the only holiday when everyone is encouraged to drink a generous amount of wine.

This year, the theme of our dinner is foods prepared and cooked with wine, and we ask our guests to bring a bottle of their favorite wine to share during the evening.

The menu includes a Celery Root Slaw with a Balsamic-Mayonnaise Sauce, served on a mixed green salad, and for dessert there is my Aunt Betty’s Orange Juice-Wine Syrup Bundt Cake.

Celery Root Slaw on a Mixed Salad
Balsamic-Mayonnaise Sauce (recipe follows)

2 cups salad greens
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste
1 celery root (about 1 1/2 pounds)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Prepare the Balsamic-Mayonnaise Sauce, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

In a medium bowl, toss the salad greens with olive oil and salt and set aside.

Peel the celery root, wash in cold water and, using food processor or sharp knife, cut into thin julienne strips. Transfer to a large bowl, add lemon juice and toss. Add enough sauce to moisten and toss gently.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (until ready to serve) for at least two hours.

To serve, arrange the salad greens on serving plates, and spoon the slaw in the center. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or pomegranate seeds and serve.

Serves four to six.

Balsamic-Mayonnaise Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons Homemade Balsamic Vinegar (recipe follows)
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Prepare the Homemade Balsamic Vinegar and set aside. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and balsamic vinegar and blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add additional sugar or balsamic vinegar to taste.

Homemade Balsamic Vinegar

1 cup sweet Concord Grape Wine
Juice of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon honey

In a heavy saucepan, combine the wine, lemon juice, sugar, and honey. Bring to a boil. Boil until reduce by half. Transfer to a glass jar. Serve on salads.

Makes about 1/2 cup.

Aunt Betty’s Orange Juice-Wine Syrup Bundt Cake

1/4 cup ground walnuts or pecans
1/4 pound unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sweet white or red wine (Concord Grape Wine)
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans
Orange Juice-Wine Syrup (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 10-inch bundt or fluted tube pan. Sprinkle with the ground walnuts. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, until well blended. Add the zest, juice and wine and blend well.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream until completely blended. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry and the cake begins to shrink away from the sides of the pan. Spoon the hot syrup over the cake as soon as you remove it from the oven and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (optional).

Orange Juice-Wine Syrup

3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Concord Grape Wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

In a saucepan, combine the orange juice, wine, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and simmer for five minutes. Set aside.

Judy Zeidler is the author of “The Gourmet Jewish Cook” (Cookbooks, 1988) and “The 30-Minute Kosher Cook” (Morrow, 1999) Her Web site is members.aol.com/jzkitchen.