Monday, October 26, 2015

Pletzalaj: Un recuerdo de Infancia

La bobe vivía en Buenos Aires, Argentina, en la calle Tucumán entre Ecuador y Jean Jaures. En las vacaciones de invierno mis papas me llevaban a la casa de la bobe, una casa chorizo con muchas habitaciones que daban a un patio largo y central. En el frente de la casa mi tío Carlos, el médico, tenía su consultorio.

Los sábados, usualmente, mi tía Fanny, mi tía soltera, iba a la panadería de la vuelta y compraba pletzalaj, y yo los comía sentadita en uno de los sillones del patio, sin hablar, totalmente concentrada en ese manjar. Eran ENORMES, o yo era chiquita, puede ser también, y tenían mucha cebolla, y aceite, y semillas de amapola y lo que más recuerdo, lo que más me gustaba, granos de sal gruesa por encima. Yo agarraba los granos, uno por uno, y me los comía, con una pasión por la sal que todavía sigo teniendo.

No eran de manteca, eran de aceite, y eran exquisitos, maravillosos, mágicos, como puede ser un pletzalaj a los siete años, una experiencia gastronómica judía inolvidable.

Aquí va mi receta de Pletzalaj, mi rendición personal de aquella receta de la infancia, granos de sal gruesa por encima. Cuanto más grandes los granos, mejor.


• 1 cebolla grande, picada grande o cortada en medias rodajas. Mucha cebolla
• ½ taza de aceite
• 2 tazas de agua
• 1 ½ cucharadita de sal kosher
• ¾ kg de harina
• 1 ½ cucharaditas de polvo de hornear (se acuerdan del Polvo de Hornear Royal?)
• 1 huevo batido (chequear el huevo para descartar los que tienen manchas de sangre adentro)
• semillas de amapola para espolvorear
• Sal Gruesa Kosher


1. Picar la cebolla, agregar un poco de sal y un chorrito de aceite y dejarla reposar por media hora.
2. Mezclar el aceite restante con el agua y la sal.
3. Mientras se revuelve, agregar la harina en forma de lluvia hasta obtener una masa tierna. Se puede hacer a mano o en una procesadora que tenga gancho para amasar.
4. Dejar reposar la masa al menos una hora.
5. Dividir la masa en bollitos y colocarlos sobre la mesa enharinada, dándoles forma redondeada.
6. Pintar con el huevo batido y luego cubrir cada uno con un poco de cebolla. Apretar la cebolla un poco sobre la superficie para que se pegue. Espolvorear con semillas de amapola y sal gruesa
7. Colocar en una asadera aceitada y cocinar en el horno a 450 F o 230 C por 15 minutos o hasta que se doren. Depende del horno.
8. Sacar y poner a enfriar en una rejilla de galletitas. Se pueden comer en el momento (con patrón y pepinos por supuesto) o se pueden congelar, sin ningún problema.

Gracias por compartir con migo este recuerdo de infancia.

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Challah Recipe

Challah is the cornerstone of Jewish cooking. Making Challah it is not only meaningful but also highly rewarding. It connects us with our heritage and our childhood memories. This is my rendition of Challah, one that I have made for family and friends for years.

In this video I explain my recipe for making Challah. I hope you like it and make your own next Friday.

Shabbat Shalom!

Master Challa Recipe from Jamie Geller's Blog Joy of Kosher

Not only Jamie is an amazing cook but also she is funny and engaging, and very, very cool. At least this is my opinion. She made Aliah some years ago so now she is living her dream and cooking for Israelies.

In this video she will show how to cook the most awesome Challah and tell us even what to do with the leftovers (if any). Ladies and Gentlemen, Challah by Jamie Geller:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Carrot, Prune and Potato Tzimmes from Mama's Meichulim by Sadie H. Rivkin

Tzimmes is an eastern European recipe for honey baked carrots. The Yiddish word "meren" means carrots and to increase. Carrots symbolize our hope that we increase our good deeds in the coming year. Some tzimmes recipes add prunes, sweet potatoes or even meat to the sweet carrots. This is a meat recipe. You may leave the meat out for a parve version, substituting the shmaltz (yes, the chicken fat) for oil. If your menu is milchig (dairy) you may indulge in butter (forget the calories).

- 1 lb carrots
- 1 1/2 lb flanken
- 1/2 lb dry prunes
- 3 white potatoes
- 3 sweet potatoes
- 2 tsp chicken fat
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tbs salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 tsp sugar / 2 tsp water for color

Trim meat of all fat. Shred carrots and onions and sauté in chicken fat. Cut potatoes into medium-sized chunks. Put meat at bottom of pot, then arrange layers of potatoes, prunes, sweet potatoes and all other ingredients and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
Put 3 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of water on high flame - get the sugar burned - themn pour 1/2 cup of cold water over the burned sugar and add the liquid to the tzimmes before putting tzimmes into moderate, 375 degrees Farenheit oven for 1 1/2 hours. And this is the final result:

Like the recipe? Any suggestion to improve the blog? Just to say hi? Drop me a line: I would love to hear from you.

Mama's Meichulim: Traditional Jewish Cooking Made Easy by Sadie H. Rivkin

I am happy to make the review of a much beloved book of mine, an old, well-worn, old school pillar of ashkenazy Jewish cooking. This jewell gave me much of my knowledge of what authentic ashkenazy cuisine is all about. It is old, and therefore divided into sections ( Introductions - Thoughts about food - Time Savers - Fish and Appetizers - Soups - Poultry - Beef - Veal - Side Dishes - Chollents and Casseroles - Stuffings - Cakes and Desserts - Salads and Relishes - Food for Holiday Thought - What made Mama Mama - Index).
The book is compiled and edited by the author, printed by Thomas Yoseloff, New York - London.

About the author:
Born in Russia, Sadie H. Rivkin came to the United States when she was eight years old. Although she had to leave high school after one year of work, when her first son was born she attended and graduated cum laude from law school. Having practiced law with her husband for a year, Mrs. Rivkin decided being a full-time mother was more important, and having raised three wonderful children, she has never regretted her decision. During World War II, she served as a volunteer worker at the naval base in Bayonne, New Jersey. Later, at the suggestion of her son-in-law who taught social work at the Hebrew Educational Alliance in New York, Mrs. Rivkin herself started a class at the Educational Alliance in traditional Jewish cooking.

Now that you know Mrs. Rivkin I want to share with you one of my favourite recipes from her little book. It is Carrot, Prune and Potato Tzimmes. You will find it in my next Post. Enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, January 31, 2011

From Israel with Love: Meaty Hummus

This recipe was given to me by my dear friend and teacher of Judaism, who lives in Israel and was so kind to share it with me. I have never seen this combination of hummus and meat; I think it is very creative. Let's call it Meaty Hummus. Ladies and Gentlemen,
Meaty Hummus
"When I make this for 2-4 people, I freeze half.  6 or more people, I use it all.  We like it and can make a meal of the meat and hummus on my challah ... and sometimes we do when it is just the two of us.  We will have soup and this dish.
 Put your hummus on a platter making a well in the center as usual, but instead of adding oil, fill the center full of the meat mixture and when you take the hummus to put on the challah, take the meat mixture with it and smear them both. 
  1/2 kilo (one pound) of ground beef, chicken or turkey or a combination of meats
1/2 Tbsp chicken soup powder (I use Osem, no MSG)
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 to 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 Tbsp honey
1/4 Tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp basil
optional : fresh coriander leaves chopped -one or two branches
optional:  few drops of Tabasco
1 large onion --chopped small (minced)
Fry the onion in a little oil (I always use olive oil). Add the ground beef and cook until done. Stir to keep the pieces small. Add the spices and mix well and cook for another minute or two and you are done.
I make ahead and refrigerate and put on the blech Erev Shabbos. I add it to the hummus before motzei. "
Looks like heaven to me ... :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baba Ghanuge - Recipe from the book Syrian Cooking by Grace Sasson

A very interesting thing happened to me today. While having coffee with my friend Lilly E. We started talking about Syrian food. I was excited about the cook book I received from my husband as a birthday gift (Aromas of Aleppo, which I will feature in this blog soon) and she in turn showed me her Syrian Jewish cook books. The oldest one she owned was given to her by her mother, born in Aleppo, Syria. It is called Syrian Cooking and the author is Grace Sasson. It is an old and beautiful simple book, the phonetic of the recipes a little weird for our modern standards, and I have chosen to feature one of her recipes (page 19), Baba Ghanuge, as I said from her book Syrian Cooking (RGD Publishing). This is the front of the book, followed by the recipe:

Baba Ghanuge
(Eggplant & Tehene Salad)
(Serves 4)


- 1 medium size eggplant - broiled, 5 minutes on each side
- 2 tbs. tehene
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 lemon
- 1 tsp snowbar-pinenuts
- few springs parsley


Wash the eggplant. Then broil on top of stove. Scoop it out from shell in a deep plate. Add salt to taste and crush garlic and add. You can add garlic or onion salt if you prefer. If you do, the ammount I'd say is the tip of a teaspoon.

Now chop it while it is in the plate with tip of knife. Make a paste of the tehene with a tablespoon of water and add it to the eggplant; garnish with the chopped parsley and snowbar.
Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

Note: Eggplant is placed directly on stove, no pot or pan. Skin will burn, but inside of eggplant will be tender and done just right.
Thank you Lilly for share the book with me, and thank you Grace, where ever you are.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jews Cooking Part 2: Pasta Frola

Pasta Frola is a very typical Argentinian dessert, also popular in Uruguay, as far as I know. In the Part 2 of Jews Cooking my friend Silvina Holzman agreed to share her recipe on this blog. She is an awesome cook and I had the opportunity to enjoy her pasta frola so I can vouch for it. With no further ado, 

Pasta Frola
Ingredients :
300 g.  self-raising flour
150 g. sugar
150 g. butter
1 egg (yolk and white)
1 yolk
zest of 1 lemon
dulce de membrillo (quince paste)
white wine


1. In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Make a hole in the middle to add the wet ingredients.
2. In another bowl mix the butter with the eggs and the lemon zest.
3. Mix wet and dry ingredients very well (you can use a tbs or two of tepid water). You can also use an electric mixer or a kitchenaid type of processor.
4. Once the dough is formed, cover with a kitchen towel and let ir rest for an hour.
5. Butter and flour the mold.
6. Use 2/3 of the dough and stretch it thouroughly over the mold. That may take some time but it is crucial
7. Mash the dulce de membrillo with a fork and add to that past a little of white wine (Manischewitz wine would be nice too).
8. Pour it over the dought, carefully
9. You need to make little ropes with the rest of the dough to make the decorative "mesh" that is the trade mark of a true pasta frola. Handle them with care (wet your hands with water from time to time). The design is as shows in the picture (see below)
10. Moderate oven 350 F for around 20 minutes.

This is the Pasta Frola. Thank  you very much, Silvina!

Jews Cooking Part 1: Crêpes Suzette

This section of the blog will be dedicated to feature the achievements of Jews cooking un-Jewish food. We developed our cooking skills while sorrounded by peoples of all nationalities and ethnicities, during our diaspora years. As a result of that marriage between the food we knew and the food the neighbours ate a whole new world of possibilities developed, and at the same time, we imposed our Jewish footprint into everything we cooked.

Today I will introduce to you my dear friend and extraordinary cook Vivian Gutstadt. I had, in several opportunities, the enormous pleasure and honour to be her guest. In one of those opportunities she made Crêpes Suzette and I asked her to share with us the recipe, and also a bit of her life too. She graciously accepted. Here is her in her own voice: 

"When I cook for my children and friends I feel love.
Friday evenings, when Shabbat comes, we gather together around a special table, arranged differently from other nights. For this opportunity, we put in order and clean our house with particular attention because we want to “lekabel bivracha et ha'orchim” (to welcome our guests with a blessing). We say: “Bruchim ha baim”, meaning “welcome, our dear guests!”.
Our food, our table, our moods are special that evening. There is a unique glow within our home; a peaceful flow invades every corner of our souls. We light the Shabbat candles placed into my grandparent’s antique silver candlesticks and we say the brachot (blessings).
This night is so different from the other days of the week!

Not only for me and my children Shabbat represents that moment of reflection, a pause in our quotidian demands and responsibilities, but also, as a Jewish mother, Shabbat has an aggregate value. Through this distinctive evening I am part of a millenary chain of traditions and beliefs transmitted from one generation to another. It is not about empty rituals just mechanically repeated. We feel the traditions as part of us, as part as our undeniable identity. We are proud of our Jewish identity; we embrace and cultivate it, no matter when or where we are. That is why in the international container with which I moved to Canada from Buenos Aires, Argentina, I included my baba’s (bubbe, or grandmother in Yiddish) pan. It is a special casserole where she only cooked her famous Gefilte Fish (notice I capitalized the words, and also I stand up when pronounce them; believe me, her Gefilte Fish recipe is sacred!)   

So, now I am living in Canada, a wonderful country with severe winters. Outside is cold, bleak, snowing... it is freezing out there! I have invited my friends to come over for dinner.
What nice dessert could I prepare to fete my guests, to pamper my children and friends? 

Crêpes Suzette

This recipe is a mix of different famous kitchen queens’ recipes, including Doña Petrona C. De Gandulfo, Julia Child, Blanca Cotta, Anna Olson, and my own creativity.  

Ingredients (yields 8)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups of milk (not less than 2%)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, extremely softened or melted
3 eggs
½ cup of carbonated/sparkling water
Pinch of salt
Butter, for pan greasing 

Orange sauce
2 oranges, zested
1 cup of orange juice
½ lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
4 tablespoon Cointreau or Grand Marnier liqueur

Orange butter
1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature or softened
4 tbsp orange rind
¼ cup orange juice
¼ cup sugar

Cointreu or Grand Marnier liqueur, 50 cc.    
Long kitchen match (or long matches)

Orange zest
Orange segments, white pith removed

This dessert has the advantage that most of the steps can be prepared in advance.
Mix in a bowl the crêpe ingredients: flour, eggs, milk, a pinch of salt, sugar, butter, and sparkling water. Blend with electrical whisker, cover the bowl and leave the preparation rest for 45 minutes.
Heat a non-stick crêpe pan and grease it with a slight amount of butter. Spoon half of a ladle of the crêpe preparation and pour on the pan while moving your hand in circles so as to cover evenly. Put the pan again on the heat and cook the crêpe for a couple of minutes; the borders will start to separate themselves from the bottom of the pan; so then with a spatula flip the crêpe. Cook on the other side half a minute. Repeat the same procedure until finishing the crêpe batter. Always remember the first crepe is not so perfect. Do not get frustrated because the second one will come out flawless!   
Pile the crepes on a plate, cover them with plastic wrap, and place them on the kitchen counter (do not put them in the fridge). They can remain 24 hours until being utilized for the Crêpes Suzette.

Orange sauce
Add the cup of orange juice in a small pan and place it on medium heat. Stir the zest, sugar and lemon juice. Lower the heat to minimum (very low), mix and allow the sauce to reduce. Add the liqueur and continue reducing the sauce at very low heat.
Meanwhile, prepare the orange butter.

Orange butter
Mix with a hand food processor the softened butter together with the orange rind and the juice. The consistency should be smooth as a cream. Place the preparation on a piece of plastic wrap, chill first a little bit, and form a cylinder. Take the salami-shaped butter all wrapped in plastic and freeze it. Before using it, cut it into thick slices.

Crêpes Suzette
Prepare a table where to entertain your guests. Place on it a portable electric range or burner, a plate with the crepes folded in four as triangles, a non-stick sauté pan big enough to allow placing several crepes in it, the orange butter, the orange sauce, a bowl with orange zest and orange segments, Grand Marnier or Cointreau, a long kitchen match, different utensils to help you serve (spatulas, ladles, tongs, etc.), plates and cutlery for serving.     
Turn the electric range to medium heat and place the sauté pan on it. Add two slices of orange butter and melt. Reduce the heat and place 4-6 crepes in it. Pour orange sauce and allow the crepes to get impregnated with the wonderful aroma and flavour. Flip them so they get soaked on both sides. Turn off the burner, very carefully add the liqueur and ignite with long kitchen match. Let the flames burn out completely. Serve a crepe or two in each plate, garnish with orange zest and orange segments, and pour fine drops of orange sauce.      
I feel cooking represents loving, giving, and sharing."

Look at the final product! A real picture of a real beuty. Thank you very much, Vivian!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

El Rincón de la Cocina Judía: La Cocina Judia en la Literatura

Este es el cuento con el que comenzó mi romance literario con Sholem Aleijem. El cuento se llama "La Olla", y hoy quiero compartirlo con ustedes.
Enta, el personaje del cuento, es pobre, y es judía, y es Europa a principios del siglo XX. Vivir es difícil, y mantener casher más difícil aún. Pero Enta hace magia con lo poco que posee: tres ollas que se reducen por obra de las circunstancias, a ninguna.
Gnesie, la inquilina, es la mejor aproximación que encontré en la literatura idishe a lo que se llamaría en inglés "a Jewish swindler” (or a lawyer). Aquí lo tienen:

"Me trae a verle, rabi, un asunto muy serio. Seguramente, no me conocerá usted, aunque quizás me conozca, pues soy Enta, Enta la Recovera. Me gano la vida vendiendo huevos, sabe?, huevos, gallinas, gansos y patos. Tengo una clientela fija, buenas mujeres – Ds les dé mucha salud y bienestar – que me sacan de apuros. Si tuviera que pagar interés, no sacaría ni para un mendrugo de pan. Ando siempre empeñada: aquí pido prestados tres rublos, allí los devuelvo, y así vamos tirando. Dígase lo que se quiera, si viviese el bueno de mi marido no me vería en trances tan amargos. Sin embargo, debo confesarle que antes del morir el pobre mi vida tampoco era de miel, pues se daba poca mana para ganar dinero – no lo tome a mal su alma – y se pasaba el día enfrascado en el Talmud y los breviarios, mientras yo echaba los bofes de tanto trabajar. Cierto que estaba acostumbrada a eso desde chica, mi madre me hizo tomarle cariño al trabajo. Se llamaba mi madre – Ds la tenga en su gloria – Basia, Basia la Velera. Compraba sebo a los carniceros y  hacia velas, ya que entonces la gente no sabía que era el petróleo ni tenía idea de los quinqués con esos tubos de cristal, que estallan a cada dos por tres. Yo, por ejemplo, tengo que comprar uno cada semana.

Si usted me declara “treif” (impura) la olla, me quedo sin nada. Porque tengo una sola olla. En realidad tenía tres, para platos de carne. Gnesie, mi inquilina, que se le hunda la tierra, me pidió prestada una. Le di una olla nuevita, flamante, y me la devolvió toda cachada.
-        Qué olla es esta? – le pregunte.
-        La suya
-        Mía esta olla cachada? Si yo le di una olla flamante!
-        No grite, que no le hace ningún favor a nadie. En primer lugar yo le devolví la olla sana. En segundo lugar, cuando usted me la prestó, ya estaba cachada. Yo tengo mis ollas y déjese de fastidiar!
Me quede, por lo tanto, con dos ollas sanas y una cachada, o sea dos ollas. Pero un pobre no debe tener dos ollas; y un día que volví del mercado con las aves, se soltó una gallina y se asusto por el gato; subió volando justamente al estante superior, y zas! cayo una olla. Se hizo pedazos. Usted cree que se rompió la olla cachada? Cualquier día! Cuando se rompe algo, se rompe lo que está sano. Siempre pasa lo mismo, desde que se fundó el mundo …"