Oldies, but Goodies

Curious, I dragged a long-forgotten, red plastic recipe box from the top shelf in my office. The recipes are relics from the 1960s, on food-stained cards. Some of the writing is faded, but I can still decipher measurements and methods. Memories of boisterous family gatherings and casual suppers with friends come flooding back with a vengeance.

In the mid-60s, for most young couples, dining out was strictly for special occasions. We cooked dinners at home, on a budget and with little children underfoot. Recipes were fussless and ingredients basic.

Tucked in-between the cards for blintz casserole and barley soup, I find my mother's recipe for "Chremslach" written in pencil on a folded piece of her blue vellum notepaper. These were mostly made for Chanukah, but for Rosh Hashanah, she stirred a handful of dried currants into the batter "for a sweet year."

Others were favorites I had exchanged with young mothers decades ago. Sure, we had the traditional chicken soup and knaidlach, brisket and tzimmes, though I was intrigued by the wide variety of recipes that have slipped away from our culinary repertoire.

There are cool soups, such as schav and beet borscht, perfect for the lingering warm-weather days of Rosh Hashanah. From the meat section comes cholent and casseroles with a melange of simple ingredients and seasonings to be simmered in the oven, filling the house with mouthwatering aromas. And, of course, there are the cakes and kugels, without which no holiday meal would ever be complete.

Plan on including some of these homemade recipes to serve on Rosh Hashanah, and consider a cholent or chicken fricassee for a Shabbat dinner. With enthusiastic requests for seconds, we may bring these shelved, wholesome recipes back to our tables.

Chicken-and-Meatball Fricassee


This tastes best made ahead and reheated.

3/4 lb. ground turkey
3 Tbsps. onion-soup mix
2 Tbsps. snipped parsley or 2 tsps. dried
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup matzah meal
1 chicken (31/2–4 lbs.), cut in 8 pieces
salt and pepper to taste
12 baby carrots
2 bay leaves
1 large onion, cut in 1/4-inch wedges
11/2 tsps. minced garlic
1/2 cup low-sodium catsup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, soup mix, parsley, egg and enough matzah meal to make a stiff, workable mixture.

With wet hands, form into balls about 1-inch in diameter.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes to firm. Set aside.

Arrange chicken in a Dutch oven or large heavy casserole with a tight-fitting lid. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Tuck in the carrots and bay leaves.

Scatter the onions over top. Arrange the meatballs on top.

In a bowl, mix the garlic, catsup and about 21/2 cups water. Pour over the chicken. The liquid should come about halfway up the chicken and vegetables. Add more water if needed.

Cover, and bake in 350° oven for 11/2 hours or until chicken is tender. Serve hot.

Serves 6 to 6.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 489; protein, 41 g; carbohydrate, 12 g; fat, 30 g; cholesterol, 188 mg; sodium, 374 mg.


Potato 'Chremslach'


3 cups mashed potatoes (no milk or butter added)
2 tsps. dried dill
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil, plus oil for frying
1 medium onion, diced
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsps. dried currants
salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, mix the potatoes with the dill. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion. Fry until nicely browned and softened.

Stir into the potato mixture, along with the eggs and the currants. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix well.

In a large nonstick, skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat. Slide rounded tablespoons of the potato mixture into the hot oil. Press to flatten slightly.

Fry until golden-brown and crisp on each side, about 8 minutes total. You may need to fry in two batches. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 184; protein, 4 g; carbohydrates, 19 g; fat, 10 g; cholesterol, 80 mg; sodium, 247 mg.


Salmon Croquettes


1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 can (15.5 oz.) red or pink salmon, drained
2 Tbsps. snipped chives
3 eggs, divided
1 cup matzah meal, divided
salt and pepper to taste

In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook until softened but not browned. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Add the salmon, chives, two eggs and enough matzah meal to make a stiff, workable mixture. Shape into six oval patties.

Beat the remaining egg in a small shallow dish. Place the remaining matzah meal (about 1/2 cup) in a separate small, shallow dish.

Dip each croquette into the beaten egg, and then into matzah meal to cover. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Fry the croquettes until nicely browned on each side, about 8 minutes total.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes 6 croquettes.

Approximate nutrients per croquette: calories, 318; protein, 18 g; carbohydrates, 18 g; fat, 18 g; cholesterol, 130 mg; sodium, 331 mg.


Minnie's Pineapple Noodle Pudding


This was given to me by my friend Mona Doyle, who in turn found it in the Beth Israel Sisterhood Cookbook of Camden, N.J., published back in 1947. It's sinfully rich, but worth indulging in just a small piece.

1/2 lb. medium noodles
4 Tbsps. unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
3 Tbsps. sugar
6 eggs
1/2 lb. cottage cheese
1/2 lb. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 11×13-inch baking dish or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain well and place in a large bowl. Add the butter, sugar and 3 eggs. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, cream the cottage cheese and cream cheese with remaining eggs.

Add to noodle mixture.

Stir in the sour cream, vanilla and pineapple.

Pour into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Bake for 1 hour, or until golden-brown and set in center.

Serves 12 to 15.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 224; protein, 8 g; carbohydrates, 18 g; fat, 13 g; cholesterol, 130 mg; sodium, 140 mg.


Josie's Bishop's Bread

[Pareve or Dairy)

The late Josie Pollack, a fellow dietitian and sensational baker, came from Vienna. She made this for my bridal shower. Ever since, I've served this at Rosh Hashanah with Viennese-flavored coffee.

3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsps. unsalted margarine or butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsps. raisins
2 Tbsps. chocolate chips
2 Tbsps. candied citrus peel, chopped
2 Tbsps. honey, warmed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Add the melted margarine. Mix well. Gradually stir in the flour and baking powder.

Add the nuts, raisins, chocolate chips and citrus peel. Lastly, fold in the egg whites.

Spoon into the prepared loaf pan.

Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Turn onto a wire rack. While still hot, brush with honey.

Cool completely before slicing.

Makes 12 slices.

Approximate nutrients per slice: calories, 170; protein, 4 g; carbohydrates, 22 g; fat, 8 g; cholesterol, 61 mg; sodium, 48 mg.


'Zwechen Kuchen' (Plum Cake)


This raised, spongy crust is crowned with the little blue black Italian plums that are plentiful in late August and September.

1/4 lb. (1 stick) unsalted margarine, softened
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
15 to 18 Italian plums, stones removed and halved
2 Tbsps. cinnamon-sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-inch ovenproof pie dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, beat the margarine until smooth.

Add the sugar and eggs alternately, beating well between each addition.

Add the flour and baking powder, about 1/2 cup at a time. Press into the prepared pie dish to cover bottom of dish.

Arrange the plums attractively on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown at edges.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: For a dairy meal, pass a pitcher of heavy cream to pour over top.

Serves 8.

Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 326; protein, 5 g; carbohydrates, 48 g; fat, 13 g; cholesterol, 53 mg; sodium, 78 mg.


Mrs. Burger's One-Bowl Honey Cake


This is my favorite honey cake — the recipe from Polish friends when we were students in Boston. Any leftovers may be wrapped in wax paper and foil and frozen. May be refrigerated.

1 orange
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. powdered nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey, warmed
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup strong black coffee
1 oz. (1 square) semi-sweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cups chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray an 11×14-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Grate orange peel on the fine side of a grater. Remove white pith and discard.

Coarsely chop the pulp and set aside. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and nutmeg.

Make a well in center. Add the oil, honey, eggs, coffee, chocolate, orange peel and pulp. Mix well.

Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the nuts over top.

Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Do not overbake. Cool. Cut into squares to serve.

Makes 20 pieces.

Approximate nutrients per piece: calories, 222; protein, 4 g; carbohydrates, 31 g; fat, 10 g; cholesterol, 32 mg; sodium, 79 mg.

Ethel G. Hofman, the author of Mackerel at Midnight, is a past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.



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