NEW WEBSITE!!!

23 May

Exciting News!!

After testing this site for a few months, I have merged this blog with my own site at www.yumkosher.com

Be sure to stop by!

Rivky

of cheese blintzes and kreplach

16 May

 

coating the pan with batter to make the blintzes

In my home growing up, my mother and grandmother would prepare and serve dairy delicacies for our milchig meal on Shavuos.  These included Cheese Blintzes, Cheese Kreplach and Cheese Knaidlach to name a few, and an old-fashioned style cheesecake which I did not appreciate at the time.  Being the first in my family to get married, I continued the tradition of making these specialties to serve in my home on Shavuos morning.  Subsequently, two of my brother’s got married, and since my mother wanted them to enjoy these foods and could not expect their wives to make them, she started the tradition of making the blintzes and kreplach for all of us for Yom Tov.  And the cheesecake!  Being in the cheesecake business does not exclude me from getting my own pan of unbaked cheesecake, made with the traditional dough on the bottom and dough on top with a farmer’s cheese filling.  Yum!

In the past several years, my mother has been preparing these items with my help in my home, so I can appreciate how much time it takes to cook it and pack it up for the individual families.  Yesterday my mother came over and single-handedly made 80 crepes (still not enough!) and filled them.  With the help of my daughter-in-law and 10-year-old son, dough was rolled out, filled and sealed for approx 180 kreplach, after which my mother cooked them in gently boiling water, drained them and bathed them in breadcrumbs toasted in butter.  Serve with a sprinkling of confectionary sugar either as a dessert or as an entrée, perhaps accompanied by a blintz, a dollop of sour cream and a fresh strawberry.  Ahhh…..

Are you wondering what I did yesterday as everyone around me was put to work?  As a matter of fact, I was taking pictures for this blog post and I made the blintze filling, kreplach filling, and the dough for the cheesecakes.  All in all, we spent hours in the kitchen together, bonding – mothers, grandmothers, daughter and daughter-in-law, and lets not forget the sons and son-in-law – some helping and some watching and tasting.  What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

CHEESE BLINTZES

This recipe is from The Haimishe Kitchen, volume 1.  It makes approximately 16-18 small crepes.

Ingredients

CREPES

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil

 

stack of crepes

FILLING:

  • 1.5 lb farmer cheese
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoon vanilla sugar

    blintz filling

 

Directions

For crepes, mix together flour and eggs.  Stir until no lumps remain.  Add remaining ingredients slowly.  You may need an immersion blender to make it smooth.  Heat frying pan, brush with oil or butter.  With a ladle, pour some batter into the pan while tilting and swirling it to make a thin layer.  When the underside is brown, turn to brown the other side.  Crepes should be soft and pliable.  Pile them one of top of the other until you are done and are ready to fill them.

For the filling, mix all ingredients together.  Fill and roll blintzes.  Serve warm by reheating covered in an oven or in a single layer in a  pan with melted butter.

blintz heaven

CHEESE KREPLACH

This recipe was given to me by a customer that asked me to make them for her.  They are soft and delicious.  Do not reroll the extra dough, as it will be tough.  This recipe will yield approximately 60 kreplach.

Ingredients

DOUGH:

  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 1 whipped cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • dash of salt
  • 4 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

FILLING:

  • 2 lbs farmer cheese
  • 1/2 tub whipped cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla sugar & sugar to taste*

TOPPING:

  • breadcrumbs
  • butter
  • drop of sugar

 *note: sugar makes the cheese soft causing a loose texture, so put in the smallest amount that it needs to taste good.  Then a bit of confectionary sugar on top should put on the finishing touch of sweetness.

Directions

Mix all ingredients together for the dough.  Let stand at room temp for 2 hours.  If  it is too soft to roll, refrigerate for 1/2 hour or more.  Heat a pot of water to a gentle boil.  Add a bit of salt to the water.  In a frying pan, melt 1/2 stick of butter.  Add breadcrumbs and a bit of sugar and toast till it’s a nice light brown color.  My mother likes to make her own breadcrumbs, so the pieces are not too fine.  I bought the panko crumbs (not the orange ones), but you can use any unflavored, store-bought breadcrumbs. 

Roll out dough to 1/16″ thickness.  Cut dough into 2 -3″ rounds with a cookie cutter.  Spoon a bit of filling in the center of each round.  Fold in half and seal with a fork or with your fingers. 

When you have several of them ready, gently drop into pot of water.  Cook for a few minutes.  Remove kreplach from the water and place in a strainer or colander. 

When drained, toss in the breadcrumb mixture.  Serve warm with a bit of conf. sugar on top.

six and counting

11 Apr

Freezers, that is.  I actually have 7, but one is not occupied with anything for my business or family at this time (don’t think it’s empty!).  Having this much freezer space may be a dream for some people and I do appreciate it, but it’s hard to keep track and know what you have.

Usually, the freezers get done very close to Pesach and ultimately, I have to throw out lots of food that would have made anyone happy.  This year, I got to the freezers soon after Purim.  I went through each one (of 5) and made a list of what was in there with regard to prepared food and raw meats.  Then I made a calendar and wrote down waht I would use when.   I was so happy to use the raw chicken and meat from the freezer when I would otherwise have bought fresh. Nothing last forever in the freezer, not even chicken and meat.

And, I must say, we have eaten quite well these past couple of weeks.  Gourmet meals on the run up before Pesach, makes me feel so good about myself.  I served chopped meat in eggplant sandwiches, tongue with apricot sauce, shlishkes with prune filling, meat knishes with mushroom sauce, peanut butter mousse dessert, and a host of other delicacies that have been waiting for an opportune moment which never arrived.  Why? because when it comes down to it, I like to make everything fresh.  I leave the delicacies in the freezer for another time, when I will be desperate.  The good part is, I didn’t make it special for the freezer.  I made it for an occassion and had leftovers or made an extra pan.

One faux pas that I made was that last Friday, I cooked a fresh pickled tongue to go with the sauce I found in the freezer labeled “apricot sauce for tongue”.  I sliced the meat and when the sauce was defrosted, I removed the cover and immediately suspected that the container did not contain apricot sauce.  Smelling it confirmed my suspicion; it was chicken soup, put away with a cover that fit the container and had a previous label on it.  I guess I wasn’t all that organized because this week Friday, I found a cooked tongue in the freezer and proceeded to make an apricot sauce to accompany it!

The one freezer I had not cleaned was a small, under the counter size one, that I keep at the end of my hallway.  It basically holds breads, ice cream, frozen vegetables and anything small that doesn’t fit into my kitchen freezer.  At the end of last week, my housekeeper decided to take it in her hands and in fact, I saw a garbage bag full of leftover challah (which I sometimes use to make chicken stuffing).  Then, before Shabbos, I went to the big freezer in the garage to take out what I had planned to serve and saw a 9×13 pan with a plastic garbage bag over it that did not look familiar.  I untied the knot and found an entire pan full of cheese kreplach which had been sitting in that small freezer! 

So this week, as I am trying to turn my kitchen from Pesach to Chometz, my family will be enjoying delicious homemade cheese kreplach made with love many months ago.

homemade pickles

10 Apr

Just about 2 weeks before Pesach each year, my grandmother would come over,  and together with my mother, start the yearly pickling process.  They covered the basement kitchen counters with sheets, and lined up the large square glass jars.  Some jars would be filled with beets for borscht and others with curbies for pickles.  The jars would then sit on the floor of the boiler room for a couple of weeks until they were ready. 

For some odd reason, the only person that liked the pickles was my mother.  Sometimes, we’d eat them because there were no alternative ones bought.  In retrospect, I think they kinda spoiled sitting in the boiler room.  They got overdone and were a little fizzy, if you know what I mean.  When I started making Pesach, pickles were not on my radar.  I buy them ready from the store, and although they are not as good as the all year round ones, it’s better than homemade.  Or so I thought.

Just the other day, I walked into my brothers’ house and peeked into his Pesach kitchen.  It didn’t look like the cooking had begun but there were 3 jars of beautiful looking pickles fermenting on the counter.  “Oooh, you make pickles?”, I asked him.  He said “yes, and they are wonderful”! 

Since these take about 2 weeks to be ready, if you put them up now, they will be ready for the second days of Yom Tov.

HOMEMADE PICKLES

Ingredients

  • Curbies
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • water to fill
  • jalapeno peppers
  • fresh dill

Directions

Use a glass jar with a 2 piece screw on cover.  Fill the jar with unpeeled curbies.  Add salt, jalapenos (some whole and some cut) and cover with water.  Put the fresh dill on top of the curbies.  Dip the rubber (flat) part of the cover into hot or boiling water to expand it.  Then put it on top of the pickle jar and screw on the cover.  This should make a tight seal.  Keep in a cool place for a couple of weeks until done.

a remarkable birthday gathering

30 Mar

In addition to some of the hats I wear, I help to arrange a retreat for women, to benefit Keser Kavod, an organization that provides hairpieces for men and children with illness and hair conditions.  Our Winter retreat is an event that many women look forward to.  A good part of the camaraderie that unites these women of different ages and diverse backgrounds can be attributed to our star speaker, Mrs. Miryam Swerdlov.  In her very real way, with immense depth and witty delivery, she captures the essence of who we are and gives us the encouragement to accept and appreciate what we have, and to move on with our lives. “Look at life through the windshield, not through the rear view mirror”, is a typical Miryam phrase. 

So, we had our retreat February 22nd of this year, at which time Miryam invited us to her home for her upcoming Yom Holedes (birthday) on the 22nd of Adar. About 20 women showed up at her Crown Heights home yesterday afternoon, coming from Lakewood :), Boro Park, Flatbush, Williamsburg, Monsey & Monroe.  We can always count on our nucleus, the core of our group – the women that come with us year after year, to show up.  Miryam, single-handedly, set a beautiful dining room table, and transformed her kitchen island into an elegant buffet of food, even as dessert eyed us from the kitchen table.

We served ourselves from the wide array of food in the kitchen, which we carried to and ate in the dining room.  There were beautiful salads, sushi, bagels, lox, tuna & egg salad, roasted potatoes, hot soup, cabbage & noodles, and several types of crackers and breadsticks.  While we ate, we heard inspiring music from Morah Music, interspersed with words of wisdom and chizuk from Miryam, and spontaneous dancing.

After lunch, we sat or stood around the kitchen table drinking coffee and eating cheesecake, but mostly savoring these moments of friendship until the next time this wondrous group reunites, hopefully soon, with the coming of Moshiach, bimhaia b’yameinu, Amein.  (I guess my surroundings rubbed off on me!)

ikra

22 Mar

Ever since I can remember, my long time childhood friend has been talking about her grandmothers ikra.  I had never heard of it before (or since) from anyone other than members of this prominent family.  It is essentially a caviar spread made with carp roe and whipped into a mayonnaise consistency.  It is awesome on fresh challah and equally good with matzoh on Pesach.  My friends’ mother and aunts would make it, and the tradition is continuing in the ensuing generations.  One member of the family, living in Lakewood, makes a large batch of this on a weekly basis, puts it in containers, and then into a cooler on her porch for some of her favorite cousins to pick up on Fridays.  This family is so close, that she makes it, not for her own siblings, but for first and second cousins.  So long as she does, this dish will be a part of their family tradition. 

Here is the recipe, as I received it from my friend.  The measurements for the flavoring is not exact and requires some tasting and adjusting for each batch.

IKRA

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw carp roe (from summer carp – dark green only) (roe can be frozen and thawed)
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups oil
  • 1 raw onion, finely grated
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Rinse roe and pat dry. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.  Start the mixer on medium.  Slowly add oil, then onion, lemon juice and salt.  Increase mixer speed to high.  Whip for a while until the mixture becomes thick and white.  Taste to see if it needs additional salt, lemon or onion.  I find that I keep making adjustments until I am satisfied that the flavor is perfect.  First I add a little salt, then onion, then lemon, then salt, then onion, then lemon…..whatever it needs, until I love it!  Pour into containers and refrigerate.

a super burger

22 Mar

I had this grand idea to order a bread in the shape of a large bagel to fill with deli meat and serve at the Purim Seuda.  Somehow, the bakery misunderstood and made me a large 12″ round bread without a hole!  Well, it was no longer suitable for a deli sandwich so yours truly got out some chopped meat and made a super huge, fabulous, hamburger!!  I fried it in a frying pan while I cut and filled the bread with lots of ketchup pickles and lettuce.  The massive burger was cut into wedges and was the talk of the table!

yitzy’s adventure in the kitchen

22 Mar

Since this story is about me, my Mom said I should write it.  I am 9 years old. I found a recipe in a book, and thought I would try it out. It is a no bake recipe, called Chocolate Nests. It contains marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. I liked working by myself (even though my mother helped me a lot) . the best part is you don’t even have to bake it, and it’s great! I already packaged them to give to my friends for shalach manos.

Here’s where Mom takes over.  Since Yitzy has read all 7 Harry Potter books, and many other book series’ appropriate for his age, he is embarrassed to tell you that he found this recipe in the back of a Curious George Visits the Chocolate Factory Book.  We were at a neighbors’, and it was lying around and he chanced upon the recipe on the back page where he was checking out the Word Find.  He had a copy made and put it aside to make at this appropriate time.

CRISPY CHOCO-NESTS

Ingredients

  • 1      7oz. jar of marshmallow cream (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2      tablespoons butter or margarin, melted
  • 1      5oz. can chow mein noodles (about 3 cups ), use the thinnest you can find
  • 1      cup chocolate candies or pieces
  • 25-30 round or oval chocolates
  •      powdered sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix marshmallow cream, peanut butter, and butter until well blended. 
  2. Add noodles and chooped chocolate candies.
  3. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookies sheets; shape with greased fingers to form nests.  Let stand until firm.
  4. Dust bottoms of nests lightly with powdered sugar, if desired.
  5. Fill with round chocolate candies (to look like eggs) before serving.
  6. Makes 10-12 nests

the fast of esther and the feast that follows

17 Mar

I was quite organized this week so I got all my baking orders for Purim and deliveries out of the way.  Today, Tannis Esther is a nidcheh (pushed off) as it is usually a day before Purim (Shabbos this year), and we do not fast on Shabbos unless it is Yom Kippur.  So that leaves me with a free day to make what I’d like for the breaking of the fast tonight, and for Purim.  My plan today is to make hamantashen, which I have only made once in my life when I tried it in a dairy variety, dairy chocolate bobka and rugelach and Aranygaluska.  Wikipedia defines Aranygaluska as Hungarian sweet dumplings.  In actuality, it is balls of a rich yeast dough dipped in oil and rolled in ground walnuts.  It is then layered and baked in a tube pan and traditionally served (at least in homes of Hungarian background) on Purim.   We always had a (slightly overbaked ;)) Aranygaluska straight out of the oven on Purim.  It is similar to monkey bread which is a pull apart type of round shaped bread.  When I googled Aranygaluska, I saw a picture of one which had lekvar (prune jam) filling in each ball.  Although not authentic in my mother’s home, I think I will make it that way today since I love the lekvar filling and look for opportunities to use it.  I think the best option would be to freeze it raw and then thaw and bake it fresh on Purim morning.

This is a recipe that was printed in the Family First Magazine in March 5, 2008.  I tried it that year and must have been in one of my organized moments, because I found it just where I thought it would be and in a protective plastic sleeve. I am glad I was able to find it now.

 

ARANYGALUSKA

Ingredients

  • 6 1/2 cups (2lbs + 4 oz) or 1 Kilo flour
  • 1 cup margarine or butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice (use milk if making it dairy)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

TOPPING:

  • oil
  • 3 cups choppped/ground walnuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla sugar

Directions

Place the flour, margarine, and sugars into a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, pour the lukewarm water over the yeast and wait 2-3 minutes.  Add this to the flour, along with the apple juice, egg yolks, and salt.  Mix together until it forms a dough.  The dough should be soft and pliable.  Tranfer the dough to a bowl sprinkled generously with flour.  Cover and let the dough rise for 45 minutes.

After the dough is risen, transfer it to a work surface and roll it out gently to a 1/2-inch thickness.  Use a glass with a 3-inch rim and cut out circle.  Cover the circles and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Prepare two bowls.  Pour some oil into the first; in the second one, combine the walnuts with the sugar and vanilla sugar.

Lightly grease two tube pans with removable bottoms.  Working quickly, dip the dough circles into oil and then coat them with the nut/sugar mixture. Put the coated balls inside the pan to form layers.  Sprinkle additional nut mixture on top of each completed layer, until you have three layers in all.  The cake should reach about 3/4 of the height of the pan.  Repeat the same process with the second pan.  If using lekvar filling, put a teaspoon or two of the jam in the center of each round.  form into a ball, enclosing the filling.  Then dip in oil and nuts and described above.  Rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 45 minutes.  Let cool.  Use both hands to carefully remove the cake from around the tube.  Serve whole on a cake plate, and expect the balls to be pulled apart for eating.

yield: 2 cakes

coconut meringues

15 Mar

Yesterday, I received a really nice phone call from a woman who used to read my column in the Esra Magazine.  She said she was going through her stuff and had come across some of her favorite recipes, the ones that she uses repeatedly, and called to tell me that she misses my column.  

“What would Rosh Hashana be”, she said, “without your honey cake recipe? The chocolate thumbprint cookies have become a staple in my house!  And what about the delicious caramel apple tart?   Granted some of  the recipes you printed were too complicated for me, but most of them were so doable and I’ve made them over and over again!”  Where are you???

So thank you, Mrs. K., for your kind words, and I promised you a recipe on the blog, so here goes.  This ones a keeper!

COCONUT MERINGUES

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 6 cups corn flakes, crushed by hand or with a rolling-pin
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

 

  • chocolate for decoration

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 

Beat egg whites with electric beaters on high-speed.  Add a pinch of salt as it starts to froth.  Slowly add all of the sugar until it is thick and glossy.  Reduce speed to med-low and add the rest of the ingredients.  Use a tablespoon or melon ball size scoop to drop cookies onto the cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Drizzle with melted chocolate.

*note:  Shehakol is said on these cookies