Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Food, Family and Tradition - Hungarian Kosher Family Recipes and Remembrances" Review with Marble Cake & Prunes With Rice Recipes

Recently, my buddy, pal, all around awesome gal, and favorite publicist Trina Kaye sent me an email asking if I was interested in reviewing a brand new cookbook “Food, Family and Tradition- Hungarian Kosher Family Recipes and Remembrances” written by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro.  I think I shouted YES so loudly that Trina actually heard me all the way in California!  Let me explain, Hungarian Kosher is in CHICAGO (OK, technically Skokie but for all intents and purposes it’s the same difference).  I have a longtime history and relationship with the store and its owners and this review is a very personal one.

As you all know by now I was born and raised in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.  As a child the area between the north/south streets of California and Western along the main east/west street of Devon avenue was heavily Jewish and very gentrified.   There were many kosher bakeries, a few butchers, department stores (Crawfords, Cover Girl, Gap) and the famous Cut Rate Toys (don't touch the toys!).  One of the best small kosher grocery stores on Devon Avenue was Hungarian Kosher run by Mr. Sandor Kirsch. He was the nicest man, and I remember going into the store as a kid with my mom to buy the kosher products that we needed.  It was close enough that if the weather was good I could walk there myself.

Sadly that part of Devon avenue began to change (you can buy fabulous sari's there now), and in the interest of maintaining and growing the business Hungarian moved to Skokie.  Truthfully, not that far away - just not walking distance.  Impressively the store grew into the premier Kosher full service grocery store in the Midwest, carrying a wide assortment such that you didn't even need to shop anywhere else.  No matter how large or busy the store got Mr. Kirsch was still the same kind, calm, sweet man he always was.  He was always willing patiently to answer any question you might have (and I'm sure some of mine were really annoying), I remember having one particular conversation with him about chicken feathers.  Yes, chicken feathers. 

Mr. Kirsche passed away several years ago, and now the store is run by his son Ira.  The cookbook “Food, Family and Tradition” is written by Mr. Kirsche’s daughter Lynn.   The book is really a fascinating historical cookbook with an in depth documentary of the Kirsche family’s experiences dating back from World War II.  The recipes are typical Hungarian family recipes including favorites like Gefilte Fish, Sweet and Sour Gizzards (Pupiks), Schmaltz, Kindle, Sponge and Honey cakes.  It’s the real “Hungarian” deal. 

I chose two recipes from the book to make for my family to review, Rice with Prunes and Marble Cake.  My family was a little hesitant about the Rice with Prunes...particularly the prune part.  The rice was relatively easy to make, and was really sweet and delicious.  Even the doubters were pleasantly surprised.  The marble cake was a huge hit! Light, fluffy and flavorful everyone wanted seconds, and thirds! 

This is a great cookbook for those that are looking for a super traditional book with the something more of a fascinating historical account.  You can find "Food, Family and Tradition" at Hungarian Kosher foods, your local bookstore, and online and at my house...but I'm not giving up my signed copy!

Rice With Prunes
Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups water
8 to10 pitted prunes
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar, optional
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a 2 quart pot over medium heat, add the oil and the rice and cook, stirring, until rice is opaque, about 3 minutes.   Add 2 cups of water. Add the prunes, sugar if using, and salt.  Bring to a boil, cover, decrease heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve as an entree or a side to meat, poultry, or fish.

Marble Cake
Makes 1 cake

1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
7 eggs separated
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a small bowl, mix cocoa and baking soda in the 1/4 cup hot water until it is a thick paste.  Reserve.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Reserve.

In the work bowl of stand mixer, pour oil, egg yolks, the 3/4 cup water, and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.  Add dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until white and fluffy, and soft peaks form when beaters are lifted.  Donot beat stiff or dry.  Carefully fold the whites into the cake batter.  Divide the batter in half. Fold the cocoa paste into half the batter, mixing well so no streaks remain.

In an ungreased tube pan, pour half the white batter on the bottom, then half the cocoa batter, and repeat, first the white batter and then the cocoa batter.

Bake at 375°F for 55 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the cake cool.  Cut out and serve.

 Marble Cake

 All the super simple ingredients!
 Make the cocoa paste...
 Mix the dry ingredients...
 Blend the batter...
 The light and dark side of things...
 So cool!!!
Looks just like the picture!!!!

Rice With Prunes
  All the super simple ingredients!
 Brown the rice... 
 Add the water and the prunes, cover & cook. It
doesn't get easier than that!!! 
 Close up YUM!!

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father

Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Purim, Wedding & Green Garlic

Yes!  I made it!!!
Mazel Tov!  We have a new daughter!  No, I didn’t have to go through nine months of pregnancy for our addition. Baruch Hashem we were blessed with the simcha of our son’s marriage to our beautiful new daughter-in-law a few weeks ago!  This is the first wedding in our family and boy was it fun!  We danced and danced and danced some more until the band finished playing with overtime. The shtick our friends and family came up with was magical!  I even made the wedding cake, which was definitely a labor of love.

With the wedding feasting over, I really wanted to do a reset to healthier eating.  I was also a little worried that things would be too slow, too quiet, too boring!  Then I realized - in the Matten home life is never boring!!  There are always things happening between the usual chaos in our home and my work, plus with Purim around the corner there is lots of planning and baking to be done. 

To embrace the healthier eating goal, I made a trip to my favorite mega produce store - Jerry's.  Trips to Jerry's are always inspirational as there are regularly new and interesting fruits and vegetables to be found.  I drive the workers there a little crazy asking about how to cook some of the wackier produce I’ve discovered.  This time one of the new items I came across was Green Garlic.  It looks a lot like scallions, has the smell and zesty flavor of garlic, but with a milder garlicky taste.  Healthy and delicious.  In addition to the recipes below, I used it in roasted vegetables which gave them a rich, but not too strong, garlic flavor.  You could probably use it in any salad or side dish that requires crushed garlic.

Fresh Green Garlic-looks like scallions right?
With my healthy eating plan in place it’s time to plan for Purim.  Our family loves embracing the fun of having goofy costumes and a silly theme for our mishloach manot.  Last year our theme was Good “Purim” Humor, and we all dressed up with an Ice Cream Truck theme with our kids as Ice Cream Bars, Ice Cream Cones, Ice cream Sandwiches and Ice Cream Truck men.  Our mishloach manot contained types of mock ice cream treats.  It was chillingly good.  We even dressed up our minivan like an Ice Cream Truck and loudly played the Ice Cream Truck song out of our open windows while making our Purim deliveries!  Clues about this years Purim theme are: our family loves sci-fi, blue boxes, and things that are bigger on the inside. 

Here are some of our Purim (and everyday!) favorites that you can make for family and friends for your Purim seudah . I’d love to hear about your own creative Mishloach Manot Themes.  Chag Sameach & Healthy Eating!

Green Garlic Asian Green Bean Salad      (6-8 servings)
Ask your local produce seller for green garlic.  I had to ask a manager who knew where to find it.  If you can’t find it at your local produce store you can substitute a clove of regular garlic for 2 stalks of Green Garlic.  Also, make sure you use toasted sesame oil.  It give a stronger “sesame” flavor and allows you to use less oil than the untoasted variety.
3 pounds fresh green beans trimmed
2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoon (gluten-free) soy sauce
2-3 stalks Green Garlic, thinly sliced diagonally
¼ cup sliced almonds

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Working in two batches, add the green beans and boil for 3 minutes.  Immediately remove the beans from the pot to a strainer and rinse with cold water.  Transfer the beans to a large bowl.  Using the same boiling water that was used for the first batch, boil the second batch of green beans for 3 minutes, rinsing with cold water when done.  Transfer to the large bowl of beans.  Add the toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, green garlic, sliced almonds and toss until combined. Serve cold as a salad or warm as a side dish.

Green Garlic Spinach Penne (serves 4-6)
This is a particularly pretty dish with the bright green of the garlic, scallions and spinach bursting through the penne.  If you can't find green garlic locally you can substitute a clove or two of regular  garlic.  You can make this dish gluten free by using gluten free penne.  To make this dish lighter use two tablespoons of butter instead of four.
1 pound (gluten free) penne, cooked & drained
3 green garlic stems, thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons butter
10 ounces fresh spinach
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Melt butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the green garlic and spinach, then sauté until the spinach is wilted.  Toss in the scallions and salt.  Serve warm topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Puff Pastry Hamentashen Two Ways (makes 3-4 dozen each recipe)
4 sheets puff pastry, defrosted

Filling Options:
1 14.75 ounce cans salmon (pink or red)
1 ¼ cups bread crumbs, or more if necessary
2 large eggs
1 small onion, finely diced
½ cup ketchup
Place the cans of salmon in a large bowl. Do not drain. Crumble the salmon with your hands (I wear kitchen gloves) to make sure there are no lumps or hard pieces. Add the bread crumbs, eggs, onion, and ketchup. Mix until smooth. If the mixture seems too moist add more bread crumbs – but make sure that the mixture isn’t too dry.

Cucumber Dill Sauce
2 medium cucumbers, peeled
1 ½ cups lowfat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
Process the cucumbers in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add mayonnaise and dill and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer to a container with a lid and refrigerate until ready to serve with the Puff Pastry Salmon Hamentashen.

2 pounds Idaho Potatoes (around 6 medium)
1 large Vidalia or Sweet onion, finely diced (around 2 ½ cups)
1 garlic clove, minced (or one frozen garlic cube)
¼ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover pot and reduce burner temperature to low. Cook the potatoes covered for 45 minutes until tender when pricked with a fork. Remove the potatoes from the water and allow them to cool completely. This step can be done a day in advance, just keep the potatoes in the refrigerator until ready to use. Peel the cooled potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large (preferably non-stick) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and sugar and sauté until the onion is golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally, around 20 minutes. You may need to reduce the temperature of the flame if the onion starts to burn rather than caramelize.
Using a fork or potato masher, mash the potatoes until there are no large lumps. Add the caramelized onions. Reserve the skillet from the onions – you will use it to caramelize the sliced onions. Mix the onions and potatoes until thoroughly combined. Add the salt and eggs. Stir until smooth with a fork, removing any remaining lumps.
To make the Hamentashen:
Preheat oven to 400˚F or 375˚F if using a convection oven. Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
Roll a sheet of puff pastry dough to 9x11 inches. Use a round (fluted if possible) cookie cutter to cut circles from the puff pastry dough. Using a scooper or tablespoon to scoop the salmon mixture or potato mixtureonto the puff pastry circles. Pinch into triangle hamentashen. Bake for 15 minutes until browned. Serve warm or cold with topping the salmon filled ones with Cucumber Dill Sauce. 

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!