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23 May

Exciting News!!

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

Be sure to stop by!


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.

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!)

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!

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.




  • 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



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


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

a trip to the city

7 Mar

To a Brooklyn girl like me, Manhattan will always be known as “the city”.  How I love the city!  I love the noise, the excitement, the hustle and bustle, the shopping and the shops.  I had to be in Manhattan briefly today and found a parking spot within a block of my destination.  I struggled with the muni meter and noticed I had parked in front of a bake shop called “Crumbs” on Amsterdam and 77th Street.  This area is traditionally known as the West Side.  I made a mental note to check out the shop before heading back to New Jersey.  The sign in the window said <strong>CUPCAKES, Made by hand, baked with love</strong>.  Little did I know that this was one of close to 20 stores bearing the Crumbs name!  An hour later, as I stepped into the store to view the selection, I noticed an orthodox kashrus certificate in the window.  I called my friend Y. who lives on the West Side to ask her about it and she said “some people eat there, and some don’t – just so you know, they are open on Shabbos”.  I thought, ‘Ok, not for me, but at least I can walk in!’ .  There was a nice long counter filled with the most appetizing looking pastries, each accompanied by signs with enticing sounding flavors, and the number of calories per serving!  Now that is daring, but it doesn’t seem as though it affects business.  the shop had a steady stream of customers some staying to sit and have a cup of coffee and others on the run.  Some of the cake flavors included, Rainbow Sprinkle, Squiggle, Red Velvet, Black-out (one of my favorites), Carrot Cake, and the most adorable 4″ birthday cake with chocolate frosting and 6 deflated icing balloons on top.  They had whoopie pies in Chocolate and Red Velvet, and cupcakes in innovative flavors and in 4 sizes ranging from the mini to the colossal.  Naturally, I didn’t try any of these delicacies and although I was able to see their kitchen through the door, I learned that the pastries were not made on the premises but came from a wholesale outfit in the Bronx.  Nevertheless, the store’s clean look and updated ambiance created a nice coffee shop atmosphere and I am pretty sure that the pastries were equally good.

restaurant review

7 Mar

Tonight being Rosh Chodesh Adar II, we took some of our children out to Rimon Steakhouse in Lakewood.  It is generally an American steakhouse with some of the appetizers having a Mediterranean accent.  We had reserved a table for 6  and were given a round table which was conducive to nice table conversation.   There were sliced Israeli pickles on the table which we munched on hungrily.  My husband and I had arrived before the kids so we took the initiative to order appetizers for the table so they wouldn’t have to wait to eat.  We ordered Moroccan cigars with tahini, a portion of sliders (3 mini hamburgers and french fries), a meal on its’ own, BBQ chicken wings, and a beef chummus platter.  We washed on warm mini pita rounds and small warm dinner rolls.  The appetizers arrived just as our crew got there, and they were happy to dive in.  The cigars were good but likely not made in-house and the tahini was a bit too watery for my liking.   The sliders were great!  Each one had 2 mini hamburgers on one of their small round dinner rolls smeared with Russian dressing and held together with a toothpick.  A half of a slider was more than enough for each of us as we all wanted to sample a bit of everything.  The chicken wings were decent but there are two parts to a wing.  There’s the mini pulka and “the other” part.  Most of us prefer the mini drumstick part since it is easier to eat and more fleshy.  This portion only had the “other” part.  The beef chummus platter is a winner!  This is a large portion of delicious, smooth chummus with tasty, cooked ground beef in the center.  You want to get it all when dipping your piece of ripped pita into the chummus, and top it off with pickles for super flavor!  Again, chances are the chummus is not made in-house but so long as they know where to buy one of good quality, who cares?

Now for the mains:  Truthfully, I only tasted my own but the restaurant was very accommodating with regard to switching side dishes and sharing a dish.  They happily brought an extra plate and steak knife for the shared portion.  I ordered the Entricote Steak Au Poivre, which means black pepper encrusted.  It came covered in freshly fried thin rings of onion, with sides of  halved mini red potatoes and grilled vegetables.  The dish was plentiful with a mediocre presentation.  I ordered the steak medium-rare and it was done to perfection.   The potatoes were also cooked to my liking – baked to a crisp on the outside and soft on the inside – yet they were small enough that there wasn’t too much soft potato on the inside.  A bit more attention could have been paid to the grilled vegetables.  The peppers and onions were on the large side,  the zucchini ok.  The other 2 portions of steak ordered at the table were a bone-in Rib Steak, and a London Broil.  They were equally done to perfection and as ordered , medium-rare.  My daughter and SIL ordered salad with grilled chicken strips and grilled dark chicken respectively.  They were likewise happy with their choices.

There’s more to restaurant dinners than the fare.  Service, likewise, plays a big part and it is here that Rimon Steakhouse fell a bit short.  When we arrived, we were brought glasses with ice cubes, however, the waiter never came around with water or asked us what we’d like to drink.  Also the dirty appetizer plates stayed on the table for longer than I would have liked, and in fact were not even removed before the main dish arrived!  Suddenly the waiter appeared with our steaks and was scrambling for room to put it down.  We ended up rounding up the dirty plates on our own and giving them to him the next time he came by.

All in all, our experience was good and I would definitely go back.  The entrees range from the low $20’s to the high $30’s and our meal for six cost a little over $200.  Although we didn’t have wine or dessert (we were pressed for time!), we did enjoy 5 appetizers and 5 main dishes.  Located on Route 9 and Chestnut Street, Rimon’s ambiance is decent, with a Mediterranean accent.  I would recommend this restaurant for a casual dinner and I am confident that you will not be disappointed.

sunday musings

6 Mar

Our living room is usually not used during the week for casual entertaining.  But I do like to sit on my couch to say tehillim and to daven.  Today, my mother knocked on the door as I was saying tehillim and joined me on the living room couch.  I offered her something to drink – a coffee or perhaps some carrot juice?  She said she can’t “afford” (to drink) carrot juice.  We shmoozed for a bit, when my sister-in-law E. happened by and joined us.  After a few minutes she went to “the cabinet” where unsellable baked items are placed for family enjoyment.  You never know what you may find in “the cabinet”.  It usually has biscotti, but today she found butter cookies.  These are traditional Hungarian butter cookies or vajas pogasca.  They are round cookies, about 1/2 inch thick, with a grid design on top, traditionally baked on a high shelf in the oven so it can bake through without burning the bottoms.  They are dry with a rich buttery flavor, perfect with a coffee.  Mom’s eyes lit up.  “Now we’re talking”, she said and asked for a coffee to go with it.  Isn’t it interesting that the carrot juice is “unaffordable”, but the butter cookies and coffee are fine!  I guess the cookie just didn’t do it for E. or she had her mind on something else because she asked if I had any chocolate chip cookies.  “Sure” I said.  “In the last freezer on the left, on the second shelf , there’s a box  which has an opening on top that will fit a hand.  Please bring me one while you’re at it!”  And that is how it happened, that on a random Sunday morning I entertained my Mother and SIL with cookies and coffee in the Living Room.


4 Mar

Apparently, my friends and family have more faith in me than I do! They’ve been encouraging me to start a blog to share my vast knowledge of culinary skills with the world. Yes, my passion is cooking, baking, and serving food to loved ones, yet I still have much to learn and that’s where YOU come in. I hope that we can share ideas, recipes, menu & dessert planning, and all that goes with it, such as table setting and plating.