Family Table: Recipes from our families to yours
Our favorite memories of the High Holy Days often come from food — especially the food we ate growing up at our family tables. Some of the following recipes have been handed down through the generations, others are borrowed from friends, neighbors, friends of friends. All have stories of origin, and most draw on the Rosh Hashanah tradition of sweetness, in hopes for a sweet New Year. However they got on our tables, they are here to stay for generations to come. Our writers share some of their favorites.
by Jane Ulman, Contributing Editor
“Carrot pudding was in the family when I got there,” my mother said.
Norma Waxenberg Brecher was first introduced to carrot pudding in 1947 as a new bride. It was a staple in my father’s large family, with Grandma May or Great-Aunts Millicent or Adeline serving it at every holiday gathering. “We never made it for anything else,” my mom recalls.
It was also a staple of the Jewish community in the Tri-Cities (Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline, Ill.) and always a favorite at the annual Temple Emanuel Sisterhood Interfaith Dinner.
My sister, Ellen, and I have continued the tradition. And like our mother, we always double the recipe. After all, as mom says, “There’s no sense in making a single carrot pudding.”
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream together vegetable shortening and brown sugar. Add carrots, water, lemon juice and well-beaten egg yolks (save whites).
Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a separate bowl. Add to mixture.
Beat egg whites and fold into mixture.
Grease ring mold or bundt pan (must have hole in middle) well with vegetable shortening. Bake at 325 degrees about 1 hour in pan of hot water. For double recipe, bake about 1 1/2 hours.
Makes eight servings.
by Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor
Orlee Raymond, my daughter, says she first encountered patata chops when her mother-in-law, Rachel, and Rachel’s mother, Rivkah — both of whom were born in India and made aliyah — came from Israel for her wedding to Dani.
“The first thing they did was to sit me down and tell me that I had to learn how to make it because it was Dani’s absolute favorite. They sat on both sides of me trying to teach me how to make it and I wound up crying,” she says.
Eventually Orlee learned how to make it, but it was a really involved process — it can take a day or a half a day, even for experienced patata-chop makers like Rachel, who lives in Ashdod and who can make 100 chops in one sitting.
“For our recent family party she made 50 one day and 50 the next because it was so important to Dani,” Orlee says.
She makes it for every family occasion — including the High Holy Days.
“When she knows that we are coming to Israel, she starts freezing them in advance,” she says.
8 red potatoes
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 hot chili pepper, chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 small bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
1 teaspoon garam masala
salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
breadcrumbs, as needed
oil, as needed
Boil potatoes until soft, about 45 minutes.
While potatoes are boiling, sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic, chili pepper and ground meat, cook together until meat is browned. Drain off excess fat. Add garam masala to mixture and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Remove potatoes from heat, peel and mash while still hot. Add 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and oil. Mix well until dough is formed (it should not be sticky). Let dough cool for about l5 minutes.
Reserve beaten eggs and breadcrumbs in separate bowls for dredging.
When potatoes are cooled and meat is ready, form potato dough into small ball. Take each ball into palm of your hand and with your fingers form it into basket. Take a spoonful of meat and put in the center of the basket and then roll the potato mixture around the meat so that the meat does not show.
Coat each chop in beaten egg and then roll in breadcrumbs. Sauté chops in oil until brown and crispy.
Makes about 20 servings.
by Dikla Kadosh, Contributing Writer
In my house, the food is prepared by two strapping young Israeli men — my boyfriend and his brother — so it makes sense that the following recipe does not come from my own mother’s Rosh Hashanah table, but rather from their mom’s.
Irit Mashiah lives in Holon, Israel, and is an incredible cook. Her passion for good food (and the need to feed four growing boys) has led her over the years to gather recipes from the many different cultures around her: Turkish, Kurdish, Persian, Yemenite, Israeli and Bukharian. Irit got this rice dish from a Bukharian friend who played basketball with her.
Bukharian Jews are from Central Asia. Their name derives from the ancient Uzbek city of Bukhara, where there once was a thriving Jewish community. Cut off from the rest of the Jewish world for more than 2,000 years, they developed their own distinct culture. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the vast majority has moved to the United States and Israel.
Having tasted this delicious dish at her friend’s home, Irit asked for the recipe and has been serving Bukharian Rice at the start of the New Year for six years now.
“As soon as I put this dish down on the table, it’s snatched right up,” she said in Hebrew. “No one ever gets a second helping of Bukharian rice. You get one shot, and that’s it.”