I’ve always loved the idea of eating caviar. It just sounds so elegant. “Tonight, for dinner: Caviar and champagne!” And then, off in a carriage to the theatre. I’m wearing my favorite red lipstick and I smell of Vol De Nuit, Marlene Dietrich’s favorite perfume. It’s dark, romantic, a bit mysterious. I imagine it’s snowing lightly, and the air is so clear you can taste its bright blue color. “How lucky am I!” I am almost singing.
I don’t actually like fish; I don’t like anything with a sea taste, so I’m certainly not going to be enjoying caviar. Unless, maybe, it’s this one below. I found a recipe for something called “zucchini caviar,” and my youngest daughter developed this version. It’s so yummy, not in the least fishy but still, maybe, exciting enough to leave you with romantic notions about riding in a carriage to the theatre.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 pounds thinly sliced zucchini
1 chopped carrot
1-1/2 Tbsp. fresh dill, or 1 Tbsp. dried dill
Cook onion and zucchini in oil, over medium heat, until onion is soft and trasnlucent. Add carrot, then season with salt, to taste. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 45 minutes, until zucchini and carrot are very soft. Add dill. Serve with bread or crackers.
Did you know that archaeologists found honey while excavating pyramids in Egypt – honey that was more than 3,000 years old and still edible? (I would absolutely have tasted that honey had I been there…)
Here’s a delicious recipe from my lovely daughter Adina. It’s SO yummy! Just combine these ingredients and serve atop your favorite salad:
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
I love vintage children’s books with ideas of things to do. When my kids were little, we would actually make all these crafts, and they were adorable.
Recently I came across directions to make a “Walnut Fleet,” with walnut shells serving as a boat, a toothpick with a small sign as the sail, and “cute little passengers” made from matches. The instructions are charming: “Any child would love to play with these bathtub boats,” it says.
Doesn’t that make you want to sit down and make them, even if you have no tiny children in your home?
What’s not to love about Hank Greenberg?
Here was a guy who stood up to anti-Semitism and racism, was one of the first major leaguers to enlist in WWII, and who wouldn’t play baseball on Yom Kippur.
Recently I came across a vintage Jewish cookbook with a recipe for his mother’s stew:
3 pounds stew beef, cut in large pieces
1 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste
3 medium onions, chopped
2 leeks (white part only), cut up
2 Tbsp. oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. thyme
2 oz. brandy
2 cans beef broth
1 cup Burgundy wine
2 carrots, sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Season beef with salt and pepper. In a heavy pan, sauté chopped onions and leaks in oil, until onions are golden brown. Add seasoned meat, garlic, bay leaf and thyme. Toss to combine, and brown meat. Add brandy and set aflame. Spoon until flame subsides. Add beef broth, wine and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until meat is tender, about 2 hours. Remove bay leaf. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
I’m a vegetarian, but I want to try this, so I’m going to give it a shot with tofu! I’ll let you know how it goes.
After a bit of a hiatus, I’m glad to be back to my Vintage Kosher Kitchen. I’ll be posting regularly from now on; thank you for your patience.
That’s me in the middle, with my husband and three of our children (my eldest was taking the photo).
Please check back for more recipes, nostalgia and happy thoughts.
I have a colleague named Erika, who has a dog named Bubu, who lives the life of a king. Bubu gets home-cooked meals and homemade treats (recipe below). Whoever said “It’s a dog’s life,” clearly has not met Bubu.
I have a dog named Teddy. We rescued him from a shelter, and he has been grateful to us ever since. I like to think we treat Teddy pretty well – he’s now dining on Rachael Ray’s “Delish” and he gets walked every day, has his own comfy bed and gets plenty of love. But he certainly doesn’t live like Bubu, and he has to put up with a lot, like my teen daughter calling him “Princess” for reasons unknown, and putting socks on him and painting his toenails. When these happen he often looks at me as though thinking, “I just can’t believe I have to put up with this,” but he remains calm and gracious.
One of my favorite memories is bringing Teddy home, when my youngest daughter Shoshana was just a few years old. She liked to play hide-and-seek with him. First she would hide and let him find her, then she would tell him to hide. If he moved at all, she would say, “Good job finding a hiding place, Teddy!” and pretend to go look for him.
Bubu’s Favorite Peanut Treats
In large bowl mix the following:
2.5 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup yellow corn meal, 1 cup milk, 2/3 cup peanut butter (I use organic, creamy, no sugar), 2 slightly beaten eggs, 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup real bacon bits (optional).
Best to use your hands for mixing. When the dough is done, roll it to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes with your favorite cookie cutter. It will fill about three big cookie sheets.
Bake in pre-warmed oven at 375 degrees until the cookies are golden brown. It takes about 30-35 minutes. I turn them over after 15 minutes.
Cool the treats on a rack. DO NOT leave unattended! (Unless you have a tiny dog that cannot reach the counter top.)
Store in the bottom drawer of the fridge in a sealed bag or box.
For the health-conscious or chubby doggies, the peanut butter may be replaced with 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce and low-fat cheese can be used.
Bubu’s Second Favorite
The basic ingredients are the same as above. Replace the cheese and the peanut butter with 1-1.5 cup of liver-pasta:
Drain a 12-16-oz box of chicken liver, and saute it over 1 tablespoon of oil with a clove of shredded garlic or a teaspoon of garlic powder. You may need a tablespoon of water. Keep stirring on medium heat.
When it is fully cooked (about 5-6 minutes), let it cool down and puree it in a food processor. (If you don’t have one, just break it up with a fork.)
Mix it with the dough and prepare as above.
No doggy can resist this!
I know that Greek Yogurt is supposed to be very healthy, but the only one who likes it in our home is my husband. The rest of us are really creeped out by the texture. I don’t even want to linger on the thought of it for too long; it’s like something out of a Steven King novel.
But I love Kefir (especially in Birthday Cake flavor, which is ridiculously difficult to find) and regular yogurt.
Have you ever made your own yogurt? It’s so yummy, and easy. Give it a try!
1-1/3 cups whole milk
¼ cup plain yogurt with active cultures
2/3 cup heavy cream
Heat the milk and cream until they just boil. Then remove from heat and let cool to about 115-degrees (slightly cooler than tap water). Whisk in yogurt then strain (I used a dishcloth). Pour mixture into a 2-cup container and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and leave for 8-10 hours.
I know I shouldn’t admit this, but I add sugar (what my health-conscious sister used to call “white poison”) to mine. I just sprinkle it on top and dive in. Delicious!
I live in Michigan, and this past winter it seemed to have snowed every day for eight consecutive months. Truly, it was endless.
When my children were little, we built snowmen and painted our snow creations with water made beautiful with food coloring.
My daughter Talya, now 17, absolutely adored the snow. Every morning after her big brother and sister went off to school, she would put on her snowsuit and run outside in the front yard. She was just a tiny girl, a few years old, and she would play by herself, making sort-of snowmen and catching snowflakes and spinning around and around in the falling snow.
Across the street there lived and older woman and her husband, Arnold, a nice man who had Multiple Sclerosis. They had many workers who came to help clean and run errands and assist Arnold with daily living. One was a thoughtful, middle-aged African-American woman who once told me, “I love watching your daughter play in the snow.”
This past winter we expanded our menu, usually reserved only for snow ice cream, to include these snow fritters. They’re delicious!
1 cup milk
½ tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cup flour
2 cups snow
Beat egg, then add milk. Slowly mix in flour and beat for a few minutes. Add vanilla and snow, carefully stirring until everything is mixed. Fry by spoonfuls in hot oil, cooking until golden.
Many years ago, while I was still working as a journalist, I did a story about the favorite Jewish foods of celebrities. What fun that was! I remember that golf great Jack Nicklaus wrote to tell me how much he liked bagels, and TV legend Aaron Spelling told me he loved blintzes. I also heard from Dick Clark, Mr. “American Bandstand,” who sent me his recipe for brisket.
I’m a vegetarian, but everyone for whom I prepare this absolutely adores it. I use the same recipe for tofu, and it works well, too.
Dick Clark’s Brisket
2 packets onion soup mix
2 Tbsp. each oil (any kind), red vinegar, sugar, dry mustard and paprika
4 cloves garlic, minced
Mix all ingredients and spread on both sides of the meat. Wrap meat in foil so that it is thoroughly covered on all sides.
The next day:
Slice four onions. Add to the meat, then reseal foil, making certain it’s tight.
Place in a 350-degree oven for four-five hours. Meat will be very tender!
Note: You should check on the meat about halfway into the cooking time. If necessary, add a bit of water, though probably the meat will be doing just fine in its own juices.
So Pesach (Passover) ended last week. It’s a pretty demanding holiday if you do it right (which is why I haven’t been posting anything). Clean, cook, eat – that was basically my schedule for eight days.
But I loved the seders, held the first two nights, when we tell the story of the exodus from Egypt. All my children were here, and we stayed up talking late into the night. (Well, they stayed up, anyway; I’m always the first to fall asleep.)
Most people know about matzah and Pesach, but for me, the potato is the most important food of the holiday. It substitutes for everything (like pizza crust), there are a zillion ways to prepare those babies, and who doesn’t like potatoes?
Potato kugel is one of my favorite fool-proof Pesach recipes. We also often enjoy this on Friday night, for Shabbat.
The Best Potato Kugel You Will Ever Eat
½ cup oil (we like olive, but you can use just about any kind)
8 medium potatoes, peeled
1 small onion
2 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
3 Tbs. sugar
5 large eggs, beaten (or you can whip them up in a food processor, which is what I like to do)
Preheat oven to 425-degrees.
Place oil in a 9×13” baking pan and set in the oven.
Meanwhile, puree onions and potatoes in a food processor, then add other ingredients and mix until just combined.
Once the oil is sizzling hot, carefully remove from the oven.
THIS IS THE CRITICAL STEP: Carefully (I can’t say that enough, obviously) pour potatoes into the hot oil (yes, oil MUST be hot) and gently stir until oil is absorbed into mixture. This hot oil is what makes the kugel soft and fluffy.
Cook uncovered for one hour.