Edith’s Chicken, The Recipe

I wanted this recipe to appear alongside the photograph but for some reason WordPress wouldnt let me , Ah the woes of being untech savvy in 2014.

This is a wonderful and extremely  easy recipe which I used to make all the time forgot about and rediscovered. The reason it is called Edith’s chicken is that I learned it from Edith Fuchs of Sydney Australia, my mothers lager shvester, her concentration camp buddy, a wonderful woman and wonderful cook who taught it to us while visiting  New York almost a decade ago. It’s so amazingly easy that I wonder how I didnt think of it myself. Chicken, red peppers, paprika , garlic and  potatoes? How could you possibly go wrong with those ingredients? Its a one pot supper that looks and tastes elegant enough to serve company. I’ve been making it every Shabbos for the past few weeks and don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. If this has whetted your taste buds, here’s the recipe


1 medium roaster, whole, excess fat and pin feathers removed

4-5 medium size potatoes, peeled and diced

2 red peppers sliced into strips

3 tomatoes , cubed

Lay vegetables   on the bottom of a roaster under the chicken

Spice Rub

1 and 1/2 tablespoons best quality Hungarian paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1-2 garlic cloves minced or crushed

Combine into a paste and rub on the chicken

Preheat oven to 450

When the oven is really hot (this could take 15 minutes of preheating) put in chicken and vegies. Bake covered for 50 minutes. Then remove cover and bake another 10 minutes

Eat right away. Serves four. Don’t freeze



Onion Pletzl

IMG_1976own square. Onion Pletzl as a superannuated onion roll, a  sandwich bread fit for Gulliver the Giant.  Pletzl means square in Yiddish as in town square and this bread is square, albeit imperfectly so. Think of it as Sicilian pizza with the sauce and cheese replaced by raw  onions. According to Arthur Schwartz, the author of Jewish Home Cooking,which inspired this recipe, Onion Pletzl is still produced at  Jewish bakeries in New York where it is called  “Onion Board.” .  I lived in New York for twenty five years and , I never heard of it  until I stumbled upon Schwartz’s recipe .That was my loss because Onion Pletzl is not just delicious, it’s  easy to make.    It’s basically a variation on challah    but instead of braiding the dough you roll it out , dot it with fresh onion pieces and seeds and bake it that way..

During the summer, I serve this loaf  for Seuda Shlishit , the third Shabbat meal together  with salads, dips and cheeses. My family loves it and so do my guests.   Aside from uncorking  a rare vintage, there’s almost nothing that impresses guests more than home made bread It always get eaten, but if there is some left over, it’s also excellent toasted.

Note: your guests make confuse this recipe with it’s close cousin foccacia. This loaf does resemble a foccaccia but it’s sweeter and richer.

Onion Pletzl

1/2 tablespoon of  instant yeast

2 and 1/4 cups of  tepid water

3 tablespoons of sugar

3 tablespoons oil

1 egg yolk

3 and 1/2 cups of flour, unbleached white or whole wheat pastry flour (in Israel Rubinfeld 80 %)

1/2 tablespoon salt

Topping: I medium sized white onion diced , 1 teaspoon olive oil. 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds, black sesame seeds or a combination and  pinch of kosher salt

Knead  using a stand mixer with a dough hook until it forms a ball. Use a slow speed. It could take up to five minutes.

Oil the ball , that is pour one tablespoon of oil on the surface and rotate so that it forms a thin film over the entire dough ball. This prevents the dough from drying out.

Cover with a kitchen towel and set the down in a warm place to rise

Punch down and roll out into a big circle or oblong–the shape doesnt matter large enough to cover the entire surface of your baking tray. It’s best to roll it out on the tray.  Let the dough rest for 15 minutes–it needs to relax after all that kneading and rolling. Then sprinkle on the  topping.

Prick holes in dough with a fork

Bake in preheated oven at 375 F or 180 C until brown on both sides (about 40 minutes, give or take some depending on the strength of your oven)

Freezes well

Creamiest Homemade Humous

IMG_1963 IMG_1968

Humous, the Arabic name for chickpea pate  along with it’s close cousins tehina and matboucha has become a Jewish food. In Jerusalem , in Bnai Brak, in Boro Park ,in Monsey, all over the Jewish world Shabbos doesnt seem quite right without the  so called dips course, a Jewish variation on the Middle Eastern mezze, in which numerous dips and salads are presented in tiny bowls.

According to Jewish mystical teachings  starting the Sabbath meal with the dips course is a no no. . The  fish symbolizing fertility and renewal is meant to be eaten immediately following kiddush and hamotzi. A good compromise is to serve the dips alongside the fish. You’ll be surprised to discover how humous complements the flavors of gefilte fish and chrain.

No matter when and how you serve it,  humous is good to have around, particularly when it is home made–the commercial stuff is awful, hardly worth it’s name but DIY is remarkably easy.  Using and improving on Mark Bittman’s wonderful recipe in  ” How to Cook Everything,” I humbly  offer the Creamiest Homemade Humous Ever.


2 and 1/2 cups of chickpeas

1/2 cup tehina (raw)

1/4 cup of olive oil

Juice of one lemon (or more to taste)

1 or more cloves of fresh garlic

2 tablespoons of cumin

Salt and pepper to taste.

One cup or more of cooking  water from the humous

Fill a large soup pot 2/3 full of water. Add 2 and 1/2 cups chickpeas. Boil for three hours until chickpeas are soft. (if you are in a rush add a teaspoon of baking powder and cook for 40 minutes but if you do this rinse the chickpeas and discard the cooking water and use tap water instead)

When chickpeas are soft remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and add to the bowl of a food processor fitted with blade attachment along with a half cup of the cooking water. This is best when the water is hot.

Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup of raw tehina , garlic , cumin and lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Process gradually adding more cooking water  (one quarter cup at a time) until the mixture is smooth.(gradually add one quarter cup of water at a time–you will end up adding 3/4 to one full cup of water)

If the mixture seems lumpy add more cooking water and adjust seasonings

Eat right away or refrigerate. Yields one liter (quart) and keeps for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Humous is wonderful when smeared inside a wrap with diced cucumber, pepper, tomato and kohlrabi on top and its great for dieters.


Quick, easy, delicious but not low cal Chocolate Mocha Passover Brownies

The batter

Very low tech. You mix everything with a large spoon.


I have mixed feelings about posting this recipe, not that it isn’t yummy–these brownies deliver in the taste department and they are easy; you can put them together in less time than it would take to drive to a bakery, find parking and stand in line to pay. Baking your own Passover brownies will save you lots money and you’ll  enjoy a better brownie than store bought. If you’re looking to occupy the kids over Hol HaMoed, baking is a great project. This recipe is so easy that even a five year old could put it together , with minimal  supervision–but they are “F.” not naughty but FATTENING.
I wish I could fix that  . For now, that is until the Messiah arrives and/or the geniuses in food technology discover how to zap the calories out of   oil and walnuts. eat these in small doses–one small square at a time.
Chocolate Mocha Passover Brownies
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup best quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup matzo meal or potato starch (depending on whether you are Hassidic or not)
2/3 cup ground walnuts
2/3 cup Passover oil (not olive)
1 tablespoon freeze dried coffee (also optional but nice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Oil a 9-11 or 8 by 10 baking tray. (regular sized foil tray is fine)
Bake in medium oven for 20-25 minutes
Freezes well

Ready to eat

My Mother’s Egg Salad Guacamole

holy moly guacamole
The other day I discovered two left over hard boiled eggs and two soft avocadoes. When I looked at them together the proverbial light switch went off in my brain– avocado plus eggs equals guacamole. I learned that math from my mother. No, it isn’t Hungarian–they didnt have avocadoes in pre War Hungary. My mother discovered this recipe in Mexico where she lived after the Second World War, waiting for a visa to enter the US. It’s a keeper, easy to make and if you use light mayonaisse not even terribly fattening . Spread it inside a tortilla wrap add chunks of fresh tomato and cucumber slices and you’ve got a wonderful light meal.
My mother’s Egg Salad Guacamole
TWo hard boiled eggs
Two medium sized soft avocadoes
One tablespoon mayonaisse
One to two tablespoons finely minced raw onion
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Peel the hard boiled eggs and cut into chunks. Peel the avocado and cut into chunks.
Mash together or combine using the blade attachment of your food processor. Pulse slowly, otherwise you’ll end up with a smooth baby food like puree. The goal here is to preserve texture. Add the minced onion. Adjust seasonings. Serve with fresh vegies, crackers or as a sandwich spread
Do not freeze
Serves four to six

My husbands’ favorite Ice cream

I’m loathe to post a recipe made with Rich’s whip, the pareve ersatz cream that has become such a great favorite among the kosher set. That’s because Rich’s is a pseudo food. Read the label– HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COCONUT OIL, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL. Those aren’t things I stock in my pantry. But Rich’s whip has one great advantage—-it works. It is a very accurate non dairy imitation of heavy cream.and if you beat in the right amounts of sugar and eggs you can create a a pretty good stand in for ice cream.
On line (not online but standing on an actual line in a mortar and brick retail establishment) , I overheard a woman describing a dessert she was particularly proud of. It was a runny centered chocolate cake served in tiny individual pans, topped with a scoop of pareve vanilla ice cream.
“Oh how do you do the ice cream? ” I asked. I’m not shy about picking the brains of perfect strangers for cooking wisdom. I tried the recipe as I remembered it and tweaked it a bit and everyone, loved it, especially my husband who says it is as good as the ice cream that his mother used to make–that’s as superlative a compliment as I can ever expect from him. And it you’ve been following this blog, the ice cream is a wonderful use for home made vanilla (see previous post)
Here it is for posterity. Note: if you don’t have a good stand mixer, then don’t bother but if you do this is quick and easy and fun and it’s a great one to know if you need to feed a crowd!
Vanilla Pareve Ice Cream.
One double sized container of Rich’s whip
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs, separate yolks and whites
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, homemade is best
Whip the egg whites until stiff. Set aside
Whip the Rich’s until still, set aside
Add the yolks, sugar and vanilla to the beaten Rich’s whip (beat together very briefly; a few seconds is enough)The carefully fold in the beaten egg whites. Do this by hand using a large metal or plastic spoon–you want to gently incorporate the whites.
Freeze. After an hour in the freezer remove and stir. Then freeze again
Add ins for extra flavor.
You can improvise. I like to mix in a package of sugar coated nuts–pecans or almonds. Chocolate chips are nice too.
Serves 10-12. Fattening! I scream you scream

Home Made Vanilla Extract

The last time I was in New York I stared hard at a bottle vanilla beans.I’d never seen them in Israel and I’d heard that they were amazing and I wanted to buy the bottle but…..my sensible self kicked in.
“that bottle is glass. What if it shatters in the suitcase.
My spontaneous impulsive self fought back. I’ll take my chances or use bubble wrap it.
“But you are leaving today and bubble wrapping is such a pain,” my sensible self replied, and the bottle was left behind. But G-d smiled on me and
Two weeks after I got home I discovered loosevanilla beans on sale at Yom Tov’s gourmet market in Jerusalem.(I am told that you can find them in Mahane Yehuda also) at six shekels.Pricey for something that looks like tree bark , (a bit less than two bucks)but I was elated and I bought two.
The next question was what to do with them. Scraping out the insides of the pods adding them directly to cake batter was one option but my sensible self nixed it. It seemed too decadent and two uneconomical a use for something relatively pricey. The next idea was to them whole in a bag of sugar but my senible self pointed out an that ants crawl into my sugar bags with some regularity.Would I really want my precious vanilla beans to end up in the garbage? So I opted for the most sensible choice-making a bottle of vanilla extract.
Until I acquired those two vanilla beans, I didnt realize that vanilla extract could be make at home but thanks to the internet I learned that vanilla extract is a snap to make. It’s a two ingredient recipe. My favorite kind of cooking!
Until Yair Lapid raised liquor prices–to curb underaged drinking, he’s not my favorite politician but on this he has my support–alchohol used to be cheap in Israel. Now it’s not. I paid NIS 26 (about $7) for a miniscule tiny airplane sized bottle of unflavored Absolut vodka but never mind. I was so excited to be able to make my own vanilla.
There is really nothing to it. I split the beans with the tip of a sharp paring knife but you don’t even need to do that. It’s enough to break them into a few randomly sized pieces and scatter them hither and tither in the bottle. . For this, it’s wisest to first empty out the booze, using a funnel, add the broken pods and then funnel the booze back in on top of the broken pods.
After that store in a cool, dark place (not the fridge, but a closed cabinet is fine) and wait about six weeks. Open and voila, homemade vanilla. If you want to be fancy you can strain out the pods, but you don’t have to.
1/3 cup absolut or other unflavored Vodka
Two whole vanilla beans cut into small pieces
Combine and store for six weeks. Use as you would any other vanilla.

Here is what it looks like IMG_0876IMG_0878vanilla

Home Made Sahlab

Until my son Aryeh showed me how I didn’t believe that Sahlab was something I could made at home. Let me correct that. I know that there are sahlab mixes on the market. I’ve used them to make the classic Middle Eastern sweet milk pudding, but how could I make sahlab without a mix? 

“It’s easy and it costs a fraction of the price of that garbage mix, ” Aryeh said. He showed me and he was right.

 Hanukah is the perfect time for sahlab. It’s a sweet dairy treat . Dairy products are eaten on Hanukah to recall the Yehudit the daughter of a High Priest whose bravery was instrumental in the Maccabean victory. Of all of their decrees the the harshest and most hated was the requirement for Jewish brides to cohabit with Greek soldiers before they could wed.  Judaism considers human sexuality  a vehicle for transcendence  and this decree of forced rape was an abomination. To get around it, Jews took to marrying in secrecy  but Yehudit was too well known to slip under the radar. Instead she devised a plan. Carrying a basket of wines and her own home made salty cheeses she  visited the general Holofernes at the Greek army camp. He invited her to his tent where she fed him the cheeses and then slaked his thirst with plenty of wine. When he finally passed out dead drunk, Yehudit ,took out a knife and cut off his head. When the Greeks saw the head roll through their camp they  ran away and this helped lead the Maccabees to victory.

Back to Sahlab here’s Aryeh’s recipe for one cup.

Pour one cup of milk into a small pan. Add  three teaspoons of sugar and one and one half tablespoons of cornstarch (in the UK it’s called cornflour) . Stir every so often until the mixture thickens. Don’t let it boil over. When it’s thick garnish with a pinch of cinnamon, ground nuts and if you like dried coconut flakes. Our you can garnish with a tablespoon of granola.  Eat right away. Delicious.ImageImageImageImage