Preserved Lemons

  • Every winter when my grocer sells Meyer lemons, I get a half dozen or so and make a new batch of preserved lemons. Fermentation preserves the lemons, which will keep at least six to twelve months. I use the preserved lemons in entrées, side dishes and salads; see Cooking with Preserved Lemons below.
  • Any variety of lemon will work, but Meyer lemons are favored because of their thin skins and fruity flavor.

  • Glass jars with lids. I prefer wide-mouth half-pint jars with plastic lids; over time, lemon juice and salt can corrode a metal lid. One jar can hold about 4 lemons.
  • Optional: Wide-mouth glass pickling pebbles (1 per jar) keep the lemons submerged.

4 Meyer or conventional lemons
2 conventional lemons (for juicing)
1/3 cup kosher salt (or maybe a little more)
  • Wash and dry all the lemons. Pop off the stem/blossom from each lemon.
  • Quarter the 4 Meyer lemons. NOTE: Some cooks almost quarter the lemons leaving the four pieces joined at the base. This makes a pretty presentation, but quartering the lemons makes it easier to pack the jars. 
  • Dredge the quarters generously in kosher salt. They should be heavily coated. Add more salt if the 1/3 cup is not enough.
  • Pack the lemon quarters tightly into one or two glass jars. Press down to release juice.
  • Optional: Add a glass pickling pebble to keep the lemons from floating.
  • Juice the conventional lemons. Add the juice until the lemon quarters are completely covered. 
  • Cover the jar with a plastic lid.
  • Invert the jar to mix the salt...and then tip it back.
  • Let stand at room temperature for seven days, inverting at least once a day.
  • After a week, chill in fridge.
  • The lemon juice will take on an oily texture.
  • Preserved lemon will keep six to twelve months -- or longer. 
Note glass pebble to left.
Cooking with Preserved Lemon
  • Except for the stem/blossom and seeds, all of the lemon is edible, however some do not like the pulp. Decide for yourself.
  • The liquor and pulp can be added to salad dressing.
  • The liquor and rind can be added to salads, side dishes, pasta and entrées for flavor or a garnish.
  • Remove a lemon quarter. Rinse briefly to remove excess salt. Scrape away the pulp. If you like to use the pulp, return it to the jar. Chop the rind and add to your recipes.
  • If minced rind is cooked into an entrée, the rind will cook away to nothing. The flavor will remain, but you may not see the rind.
  • Because it's salty, it’s best to taste your food before adding salt to any recipe that uses preserved lemons. 
  • Indian restaurants often serve spiced preserved lemons as a condiment.
  • Here are more ideas!

Coconut Milk

  • Homemade coconut milk is a great way to avoid the additives often found in commercial coconut milk.
  • Coconut milk makes a nice soup garnish.
  • This recipe was adapted from The Heal Your Gut Cookbook by Hilary Boynton and Mary G. Brackett.
  • This recipe makes about 2 cups coconut milk.

2½ cups just-boiled water
1½ cups dehydrated coconut flakes

  • The Set Up: To get the most milk out of your coconut, make sure the water is as hot as possible -- set up your equipment and coconut in advance.
    • Set up your blender and find the 2½ cup measuring line -- or use a liquid measuring cup.
    • Place a large wire strainer on top of a large bowl. Line the strainer with two layers of cheesecloth.
    • Measure 1½ cups dehydrated coconut flakes and set aside. Do not place coconut in blender.
  • Bring the water to a boil and immediately pour 2½ cups boiling water into the blender. Be sure to add the boiling water to the blender before the coconut or the blender may jam up.
  • Now, add the coconut. It will float on top of the water.
  • Right away, cover the blender and puree the mixture for at least 2 minutes. 
  • Pour the mixture into the lined strainer. Allow the coconut milk to drain into the bowl.
  • After it cools, gather the cheesecloth around the coconut, and twist the cheesecloth to extract more of the milk.
  • This recipe makes about 2 cups coconut milk, which can be used right away or stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. If it separates, give it a stir or a shake.
  • The leftover coconut pulp can be used in other recipes or made into coconut flour.

Carrot Soup - Low FODMAP

  • This is a large recipe and can easily be frozen -- or cut in half.
  • I make my own coconut milk for this recipe.

2 pounds carrots, peeled, chopped into small chunks
1 pound parsnips, peeled, chopped into small chunks
2 inches ginger, peeled, diced
4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried savory (or other herb)
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 to 2 cups coconut milk (homemade or commercial)
  • Place carrots, parsnips, ginger, water, turmeric, paprika, savory, salt and pepper in a pan. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
  • Allow mixture to cool.
  • If you make your own coconut milk, this is a good time to do so.
  • Add coconut milk.
  • Whirl in blender until smooth. Add water as needed to get everything to move in the blender. I added 3 to 4 cups of water to get the consistency right...maybe more.
  • Serve hot in bowls.


Oat Groats on the Stove

Oat Groats with Kale and Carrots
1 cup oat groats
3 cups water

  • Put groats and water in a pot and bring to a boil. 
  • Lower heat and cover pot. Simmer 1 hour.
  • Add seasonings and cooked vegetables to make a side dish or tasty snack. Sometimes cheese is also a nice addition.

Carrot Charoset - Low FODMAP

Carrot Charoset on Lundberg Thin Stacker
  • I adapted my Sephardic charoset recipe to make it a low-FODMAP recipe. Like it’s predecessor, the cayenne pepper gently sneaks up on you. 
  • You can use ground cumin, or for extra flavor, toast whole cumin seeds as directed below.
  • The directions use a food processor but a meat grinder will work equally well.
1 cup cashews or walnuts (as is or toasted)
½ pound finely-shredded carrots
2 navel oranges
½ pound red seedless grapes (weigh without stems)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cumin (For extra flavor, substitute whole cumin seeds as directed below.)
1/16 to ¼ teaspoon of cayenne (Start with 1/16 teaspoon. Add more if you wish.)
  • This first step is optional. If you want to use ground cumin, skip this step. Put 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds in a dry skillet (no oil) for just a minute or two. Watch carefully so they do not burn. When the time is up, get the seeds out of the skillet or they will continue to cook and may burn. Grind the cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  • Whirl the nuts in food processor (or through a meat grinder) until finely chopped. It will make approximately one cup or less. Place in large mixing bowl. Don't bother washing the food processor until you are all done. The fruit juices will "clean off" the nut powder. 
  • Add the shredded carrots to the mixing bowl. 
  • Wash and rinse the navel oranges very well. Remove the blossoms. Slice the orange (rind and all). Whirl it in the food processor to fully chop. Add to mixing bowl. 
  • Whirl the grapes in food processor until very finely chopped. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cumin. Add 1/16 teaspoon of cayenne. Whirl to mix. Add to mixing bowl. 
  • Mix all the ingredients by hand until well blended. Check flavor. Add more cayenne if desired. 
  • Place in a covered container and chill. 


Baked Chicken Wings

  • See Wing Tips at the end of this recipe for flavor options, and ideas for serving and reheating.
  • I prefer wings cut in half. They seem to have a better flavor. Shop around to find a place that sells the wings already cut in half.

¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons savory (or marjoram or basil or oregano or a mixture of dried herbs)
2 teaspoons sea salt
3-5 pounds chicken wings
  • Use a large bowl or plastic bag to marinate the wings. A covered bowl works well and is good for the environment. 
  • Mix together everything but the wings.
  • Add the chicken wings and mix until all the wings are well coated with the marinade.
  • Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Wings can marinate for 3 days or more as long as you do not exceed the butcher's expiration date.
  • When you are ready to bake the wings:
    • Preheat oven to 425°.
    • Bake in a jelly roll pan.
    • Optional: For easy clean-up, cover the jelly roll pan with parchment paper. The paper should hang over the edges to prevent the juices from getting onto the pan.
    • Place the wings in the jelly roll pan. Leave some marinade on the wings.
    • I put most all of the marinade into the baking dish to build more flavor.
  • After about 20 minutes, when the wings begin to turn golden, flip them over. Watch carefully! Sometimes the wings cook faster than expected! All together, they will cook 40-50 minutes. They seems to cook more slowly when there is more marinade on the wings. After another 15-20 minutes, flip them again. Check the wings every 5 minutes to be sure they do not overcook and they are golden brown on both sides.

Wing Tips
  • If you have a big crowd, the wings will go further if you cut whole wings in half. Kitchen shears are helpful for this task. It's easiest to cut up the wings after they are cooked.
  • Other seasonings to add to the basic marinade (alone or all at once). (*If you are going for a gut-friendly recipe skip the tamari, soy sauce and honey.)
    • Soy sauce* or tamari* 
    • Grated gingerroot
    • Black pepper or cayenne
    • Minced jalapeno
    • ¼ cup honey*
  • Serving options – serve your wings as is, or with one or more of these:
    • Chopped cilantro
    • Chopped scallions
    • White or black sesame seeds
    • Pesto sauce
  • Before reheating the wings in the microwave, smear them with pesto sauce.


Roasted Mushrooms

Before Roasting

This method renders lots of flavor and firm mushroom. No slippery soggy mushrooms for me, thank you very much! In fact, if you cook the tiny ones too long, they will become crunchy.

White vinegar (optional)
Olive oil
Sea salt or salt of your choice
Savory, thyme, or herb of your choice

  • For those who do not wash their mushrooms, this step is optional. Fill a bowl with cool water. Add a splash of white vinegar. Add mushrooms. Swish with your hands a few seconds. Pick off dirt. Rinse. Drain on a tea towel. 
  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Line a jellyroll pan (or other pan) with parchment paper. You need a pan with sides, so the juices do not end up on your oven floor.
  • Preparation varies by mushroom variety:
    • Baby Bellas: Pop-off the stems. Trim bottoms of stems and set aside. Cut caps in quarters, halves, or keep them whole.
    • After 15 minutes roasting
    • Bunashimeji (Beech Mushrooms): Trim off the bottom of the mushrooms. I like to trim the whole bundle minimally so the entire clump remains intact, but that's not required. If you cut them apart, they will need less cooking time, or they will become crunchy.
  • Gently toss mushrooms with oil, sea salt, pepper, and herb of your choice. Savory adds a rustic flavor. One "glug" olive oil (1-2 tablespoons) is enough for 8 ounces of mushrooms. Mushrooms shrink a lot, so go lightly on the salt, pepper and herbs or they will be too salty. 
  • Spoon the mushrooms onto a parchment-lined pan. When I roast mushroom stems, I keep them in a corner by themselves, so I can easily pull them out and chop them before adding to other recipes.
  • Roast the mushrooms at 375° for 15 minutes.
  • Pour off any juices. Eight ounces of Baby Bellas, will render less than ¼ cup juice. It's a small amount
    but this is the way to avoid slippery slimy mushrooms. Save the liquid for a soup or other recipe, or treat yourself to a shot of this heavenly liqueur!
  • Return pan to oven and roast another 30 minutes. 
  • The finished mushrooms can be served with a steak, added to your favorite recipe, or served as is. I often chop the stems before adding them to a soup or an egg, vegetable or meat dish. I'm thinking, they would  be delicious on a pizza or in risotto or grits or a grilled cheese sandwich or savory muffins!



  • In 1979 our dear family friend Nell Simala taught me how to make potica (po-teet-sa), a well-known commodity in my hometown, Pueblo Colorado, thanks to the local Solvenian community where potica is served at Christmas and other special occasions. Often, it was served with kolbasi. I remember enjoying the contrast of the savory kolbasi and the sweet potica. Back to the story about Nell. She told me to make the dough the night before, let it rise in the fridge overnight, and she would come over the next day to show me how to roll, stretch and fill the dough. Since then, I've made it alone...until November  2015 when my brother, Bob, invited our brother David and friends Lu (my high school chemistry lab partner) and Dave for a New York City potica-a-thon! This was altogether better than any of our chemistry adventures!
  • When Nell arrived at our home all those years ago, I realized I had made a mistake: I doubled the butter in the dough and the filling. We used it anyway, and it was the best potica ever. Since then, we always double the butter! The butter in the recipe below is already doubled.
  • The original recipe was in From an Adobe Oven to a Microwave Range, published by the Service League of Pueblo. 
    Rolling potica with Nell. This one had poppy seed filling
  • Today you can find potica sold online. In fact, potica was featured on the Advanced Dough episode of The Great British Baking Show even if they call it povitica. Their recipe has a chocolate filling and considerably less butter in the dough.
  • Speaking of filling, we always run out. In 2015, we used canned poppy seed filling for the last third of the dough (2 cans, I believe). In this recipe I increased the filling so I would not run out.
  • The original filling called for sugar and honey; we use only sugar. The original recipe called for condensed milk; per Nell's instructions, I use evaporated milk.
  • It's a good idea to have a clean sheet dedicated to this project.
  • Potica is one of those foods that takes on a new and wonderful flavor on the second day. In other words, try to not eat it all the first day. It's worth waiting for that flavor to develop even if that's what makes it addictive!
Spreading the filling with Lu and Dave.
½ cup warm water
3 packages dry yeast
8-10 cups sifted flour (my notes say I used 8.5 cups)
¾ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1 pint warm milk
1½ cups butter, melted (salted or unsalted)
3 well-beaten eggs

Rolling with Lu.
3 pounds ground nuts
4½ cups sugar
13-ounce can of evaporated milk
½ cup milk
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
5 eggs, well-beaten

1 egg, beaten

Mix Dough
  • Mix the water and yeast in a small bowl.
  • Mix the sugar, salt and flour in a big bowl. My notes say I used 8.5 cups flour.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the milk, eggs, yeast, and half the butter. Add the dry ingredients.
  • Knead the dough dipping your hands in the other half of the butter until it's all added. That will be 10 or more minutes of kneading.
  • Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
Spreading the filling with Bob.
Mix Filling
  • Mix all the filling ingredients except for the eggs.
  • Warm the filling. Set aside to cool while you shape the dough.
  • After the filling cools, add the eggs.
Paper-Thin Dough
  • If you can, expand your table and cover it with a clean sheet. Flour the sheet lightly.
  • Cut the dough into thirds. Begin rolling one-third of the dough with a rolling pin.
  • Next stretch the dough by pulling it across the back of your hands. This is easier to do with two people on opposite sides of the table. The idea is to get the dough as thin as possible without tearing it, although most tears will never show. Some people never pull the dough; they prefer to only roll the dough.
Fill and Shape
  • Remember to add the eggs to the filling.
  • Spread one-third of the filling onto the dough. Roll from one end. Lu taught me to roll tightly to avoid air gaps. 
  • Place on a greased pan with the open seam underneath. 
  • The potica can be straight like a strudel or curled into a circle or backwards "e." This time we made a modified backwards "s" and it worked! 
  • Some people bake potica in a loaf pan. I've never used a loaf pan, but if you do, line the pan with greased parchment paper. I would use extra long sheets of parchment paper so you have something to grab when you lift the potica out of the pan.
  • Roll, fill, and shape the rest of the dough.
Glaze and Bake
  • Brush the glaze over the dough.
  • Let rise 30 minutes.
  • Bake 1 hour at 350°.


Whole Grain Mustard

  • This is my favorite mustard recipe. It's great as a condiment or in salad dressing or sauces. Like the other lacto-fermented recipes, it comes from The Heal Your Gut Cookbook and uses pickle juice or whey for the starter. Use pickle juice that is not made with vinegar.
  • Bubbie’s Kosher Dill, my favorite pickle, is spicy. That means the pickle juice adds an extra kick to this mustard. The honey helps subdue the heat.
  • The hardest part of this recipe was locating brown mustard seeds. Thanks to my older brother, I had a big supply . . . which I now need to replenish! Brown mustard seeds are hotter than yellow ones, so if you are worried about heat, you might try substituting yellow seeds for brown.
Day 1
¾ cup pickle juice or whey
¼ cup whole yellow mustard seeds
¼ cup whole brown mustard seeds
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced

Day 2
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon honey

  • Mix together the pickle juice (or whey), mustard seeds, shallot and garlic.
  • Let sit overnight.
  • The next day, add the sea salt and honey. (The latter is optional). Blend in food processor until you reach a consistency you like.
  • Transfer into a jar. Cap the jar.
  • Leave at room temperature for 3 days, then move to the fridge.
  • This mustard will keep for several months.


Yellow Mustard

  • I was pleasantly surprised to learn how easy it is to make my own ketchup and mustard.
  • This is another lacto-fermented recipe from The Heal Your Gut Cookbook using pickle juice or whey for the starter. Use pickle juice that is not made with vinegar.
  • Bubbie’s Kosher Dill, my favorite fermented pickles, are spicy, so this mustard has almost too much kick but it works nicely in salad dressing and sauces.
¾ cup mustard powder
½ cup raw apple cider vinegar or coconut vinegar
2 tablespoons fermented pickle juice or whey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon tumeric
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon paprika
  • Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Transfer into a jar. Cap the jar.
  • Leave at room temperature for 3 days, then move to the fridge.
  • This mustard will keep for several months.



  •  I was never keen on ketchup, until I discovered this recipe in The Heal Your Gut Cookbook
  • This is a lacto-fermented ketchup. That means it’s good for you. The fermentation comes from either pickle juice or whey.
  • Fermented pickles are made without vinegar. My favorites are Bubbie’s Kosher Dill Pickles. They are on the spicy side, so that gives my ketchup an extra punch.
  • I wonder if this ketchup counts as a vegetable?
12-14 ounces organic tomato paste
1/3 cup fermented pickle juice or whey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon sea salt
2-4 tablespoons honey
  • Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl.
  • Transfer  the ketchup to a jar. Cap the jar.
  • Leave at room temperature for 2 days, then move to the fridge.
  • The ketchup will keep for several months.


Sephardic Charoset #2

Sephardic Charoset #2 in a tiny bowl (1.75" diameter)
  • Recipe updated April 2, 2015.
  • Recipes for Sephardic charoset number in the dozens . . . probably the hundreds. I put together this combo after looking at many other recipes. I especially like the way the cayenne pepper gently sneaks up on you.
  • You can use ground cumin. For extra flavor, toast whole cumin seeds using directions below.
  • This recipe can be doubled, although the mixture may be too much for your food processor when you get to the last mixing step. Just do that last mixing by hand.


DIY Whole Wheat Matzo Meal and Cake Meal

Homemade WW cake meal (left) and WW matzo meal (right)
Why Bother?
Years ago, I needed just a little more matzo meal for a brownie recipe but I was all out. In desperation, I ground up a matzo in my food processor or maybe it was a blender since I may not have owned a processor back in those days. At any rate, the processor works better for me and I've stopped using a blender.

I like to eat as much fiber during Pesach as I do the rest of the year, so I gradually switched to eating whole wheat matzos and using only whole wheat for all my Passover recipes everything from matzo balls to latkes to cakes and brownies.

Sometimes I'm lucky enough to find whole wheat matzo meal at the store, others not. Forget about whole wheat cake flour; no one makes it. So, I started to experiment. Now that I know what I'm doing this recipe is quick and simple.

Works with All My Recipes
Thus far, none of my Passover recipes require any adjustment for this ingredient change. I suspect matzo is so dry it behaves the same no matter which flour is used to make it. By the way, I was most concerned my matzo balls would look dingy, but they look just fine.


Spicy Maple Walnuts

  • Candied nuts are a nice addition to salads. Try them on top of a salad made with greens and beets. They are also great on ice cream or with a piece of fruit or just by themselves.
  • This recipe has no butter and less maple syrup per nut compared with other recipes.
  • I wanted a recipe that used maple syrup and the oven (not a skillet). I also wanted to make a big batch (one pound of walnuts -- that's about 6 cups). For most recipes that meant using a cup or more of maple syrup which would be quite expensive.
  • Walnut halves make a great presentation but these are so yummy no one will complain it you use chopped nuts.
  • I'm pretty sure this recipe could also be made with pecans or mixed nuts.
  • I've made this recipe twice and I'm still playing with the flavorings. Have fun experimenting with you favorite flavors.


Sephardic Charoset #1

  • Charoset is one of the foods on the Passover sedar plate. This is the simplest form of Sephardic charoset. 
  • It also makes a great spread for bread any time of the year!
  • I prefer medjool dates, but any type will do. I avoid dates coated in sugar because some people have food sensitivities or allergies to sugar. Dates are plenty sweet without sugar.
  • Steps #1 and #4 make 2 cups date puree. If you want to buy date puree already made, you can skip those steps.
  • The toasted and ground almonds (steps #2 and #3) can be made as much as a week in advance and stored in a jar.
3 cups chopped dates
3 ounces almonds
1½ teaspoons cinnamon

  • To make the date puree, put the 3 cups of dates in a saucepan with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until the dates are tender. If a lot of the water cooks off, add more.
  • To toast the almonds, use one of the methods found here. This can be done as much as a week in advance or while the dates are cooking. I like to preheat my oven to 400°, line a jelly roll pan with foil, spread out the almonds, and toast them for about 10-15 minutes. Every 5 minutes, I turn them with a spatula so they are toasted on all sides. Watch them carefully as they brown quickly. 
  • Whirl the toasted almonds in the food processor until they are pretty fine. Take the nuts out of the processor. If it is a week ahead, store the nuts in a jar.
  • Put the dates and any leftover cooking water in the food processor and whirl until the puree is smooth. Add more water, if needed.
  • Add the cinnamon to the date puree and whirl again.
  • Add the nuts and whirl again..
  • Store in the fridge.


Watermelon Gazpacho

  • Since it requires no cooking, gazpacho is perfect for a hot summer day. Chilled gazpacho is refreshing. The complex flavor is a delight.
  • Some will find the olive oil too oily, so start with the smaller amount and decide how much you like. 


Falafel Chicken

  • I would have posted this recipe a few weeks ago when I first made it, but it tasted so good I forgot to take a picture. Last night, I did the same thing all over again. Luckily, I had a piece left over so I took the picture this afternoon.
  • With only three ingredients, it's very simple.
  • A friend gave me this recipe idea. Looking online, I see that some serve the chicken inside warm pita bread with hummus and slaw.
  • Warning: This chicken is addictive! I could not stop eating it! If you're counting calories, serve a large salad or a bowl of a broth-based soup first and maybe a glass of water before you serve the chicken. Serve it with one or two vegetables to help you fill up on more than chicken.
  • I used chicken thighs but you can use any chicken part. In fact, I suspect one could use this recipe with a fish filet or turkey meatballs or bison meatballs . . . you get the idea!
  • I prefer the skinned and boned chicken because that way you get more seasoning on the meat.
  • I used Telma brand falafel mix. I'm pretty sure any brand would work.


Cucumber Salad

  • This recipe comes from The Art of Jewish Cooking by Jennie Grossinger.
  • My mom used to make this salad most every summer. Momma often served it with fried fish. I believe she used white vinegar, so I wonder if she used a similar recipe from another cookbook.
  • I changed a few things: switched the pepper to cayenne, and left out the scallions. The vinegar seems too strong to me; I might increase the water from 2 tablespoons to 3 next time. I used salad cucumbers, which were not waxed, so I did not peel them. I prefer the milder flavor of kosher salt for this recipe.
  • Serves 4-6. 


Baba Ghanoush

Hand-chopped baba ghanoush
  • How do you like your baba ghanoush? Pureed or hand-chopped? This recipe has directions for both.
  • Once you roast the eggplant, this is a quick recipe -- especially if you use your food processor; hand chopping will take a little longer.
  • Baba ghanoush can be used as an appetizer or a sandwich filling. 
  • For more flavor, start with whole cumin seeds. Toast them in a dry skillet, and then grind them in a mortar and pestle.


Passover Chocolate Cake 2013 -- à la Robyn

Chocolate cake without chips
  • For the last three Passovers, I've adapted a chocolate cake recipe. This year's is the best ever! The batter is similar to last year's Passover chocolate cake recipe with a few changes including doubling the cocoa from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup. The addition of chopped dates was inspired by a cake my mom used to make and the topping comes from my cousin Robyn's Famous Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Walnut Cake.
  • It fell a little bit. Maybe I did not bake it long enough, but I'm telling you, after you taste it, you won't care what it looks like!
  • I used pistachios instead of walnuts thinking they would add color to the topping but they browned so much you cannot tell the difference. I recommend ground walnuts or pecans -- or sliced almonds.
  • I ground the nuts fine to prevent them from sinking into the center of the cake, however, I also thickened the batter with more cake meal (than last year) and the addition of potato starch this year. Who knows; maybe with the new thicker batter, the nuts could be chopped rather than ground.
  • Knowing that making your own whole-wheat cake meal might be a deal breaker, I'm betting you could replace the whole-wheat cake meal with regular cake meal. The two products behave the same when I use them in other recipes including cakes.
  • Here's the thing: I used two different pans. Both cakes fell but the one in the wider pan fell more. The cake that fell more was in a traditional loaf pan: 4.5" x 9.75" with tapered sides (and nearly 3" tall); it had chocolate chips on top. The cake that did  not fall was in a pan with straight sides; it is 3.5" x 10.25" (and nearly 2.5" tall); it had no chips. Perhaps the chips made a difference but I really think it had more to do with the width of the pans.
  • Getting the cakes out of the pans was a mess. I recommend making some parchment paper handles. See directions below.


Pumpkin Pudding

  • It's pumpkin pie minus the fuss and calories of the crust!
  • This is an amalgam of several recipes.
  • This recipe calls for a can of pumpkin puree but you can easily substitute yams, sweet potatoes, or some other winter squash. You can use store-bought puree or make your own.


Apple Sauce

Chunky pink applesauce
My father had a Jonathan apple tree in the backyard. (See below.) I remember sitting outside with my dad peeling apples with the juice running down our arms and the flies buzzing around. We would try to peel it in one continuous strip . . . just to say that we did!

We gave away bags and bags of apples, but we still had lots for us. Every fall, the whole family would pitch in and make applesauce. This went on for days . . . maybe weeks. My mom would can dozens of jars of applesauce. And, through the winter, we would eat it all! By the time I was in junior high school, I could peel and slice apples blindfolded.

I make applesauce different ways. Different apple varieties give different results. Sometimes I peel the apples, other times not. Sometimes I use only white sugar, other times I use brown, or a mix of the two, or honey or maple syrup. I've even made applesauce without cinnamon. See the Slicing Details below for tips on how to vary the texture (and color!) of your applesauce.

Applesauce can be eaten hot, lukewarm, or cold. It's great as a snack or as dessert. I love to pile hot steamed Macintosh apples over waffles and top them with a shake of cinnamon and a splash of maple syrup!


Turkey Mushroom Barley Soup

  • Turkey soup can be a meal in itself. 
  • Start with the Turkey Broth recipe. That includes the carrots, turkey meat, and bay leaves reserved from that recipe.
  • Adjust the amount of potatoes depending on how much stock you have, and how much barley you use.
  • Barley has gluten in it. To make this recipe gluten free, leave out the barley and use rice, wild rice, millet, or quinoa instead.


Turkey Broth

Thanksgiving 1957
  • I adapted this recipe from my brother's recipe for turkey barley and lima bean soup.
  • This is a great recipe for the day after Thanksgiving. Certainly, the amount of meat left on the bones will vary but either way this makes a rich turkey stock that can easily be turned into a tasty turkey soup. 
1 turkey carcass
2 large onions, cut in half
6 peeled carrots
6 stalks of celery
2 bay leaves
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Place the carcass on a jellyroll pan with the onions, carrots, and celery. Do not grease the pan. Do not line the pan with foil or parchment paper. The turkey will render some drippings that will brown on the bottom of the pan and you want to use these later. That's easier to do with a bare pan.
  • From time to time, turn the bones and vegetables as they brown. When I made this it took 1½ hours.
  • Transfer the bones and vegetables to a stock pot, breaking the rib cage if it doesn’t fit in your stock pot. 
  • Usually, drippings from the turkey and vegetables will gather and brown on the bottom of the pan. This will add a lot of flavor and color to your turkey stock. To retrieve it, soak a little water in the pan for a while and then you can scrape all of it into the stock pot.
  • Add just enough water to cover the bones and vegetables. 
  • Add salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves. 
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for at least an hour. 
  • When the stock tastes good, remove the bones and vegetables to a colander. Reserve the carrots for a soup or other use. Discard the other vegetables.
  • Pour the stock through a fine strainer. 
  • Pick the meat from the bones and reserve. Discard the bones.

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