Category: Recipes

My favorite Purim recipe


1 3/4 cups (250 g) flour
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 or 3 drops vanilla flavoring
1 egg yolk
2 – 3 teaspoons of milk if needed

1 egg, beaten, for glazing
(Let dough cool while you make filling)
For Mohn filling (poppy seed)

1 cup (150 g) poppy seeds
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons raisins
Grated zest of 1 lemon (peeling)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Simmer (cook) the seeds and milk 15 minutes or until thick. Add raisins, honey, sugar and butter. Cook 5 more minutes. Add lemon zest and juice.
Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar.
Add butter in small pieces (I grate hard butter) and mix together until it looks like cornmeal. It is much like making pie crust.
Add Egg yolk and vanilla and lightly stir into a ball. Don’t mix it too much.
Add milk if needed to make it stick together.
Don’t handle too much or the dough will be tough.

Cover with plastic and cool in refrigerator.

Make filling. Can use apricot jam or prune filling.

Roll dough fairly thin. Cut with 3 inch cookie cutter. Place on greased cookie sheet.
Put small amount of filling in the center of each cookie and fold up 3 edges, leaving the filling showing in the center. Make sure edges stick together.

Brush beaten egg on tops and sides of each cookie.

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes or until light golden brown.

This recipe comes from “The Book of Jewish Food”, by Claudia Rodin

Copyright 1996, published by Universities International Press, Inc

See you next time! – Purim sameach!
Shalom, Sharaka

How To Prepare for a Festive Meal:

Article from

Author Biography:
Chef Herschel prepares hundreds of meals a day at Aish HaTorah’s World Center in Jerusalem. He caters the five star meals for the Jerusalem Fund missions as well as the daily food for the Yeshiva students. Here are his suggestions for preparing for a dinner. You can use this for any meal, not just for the High Holy Days.

Rosh Hashana is fast approaching. As the chef for the yeshiva, I need to be ready to serve four holiday meals for 200 people and they need to be good. And I don’t mean maybe. Here is how I get ready. (This plan works for any holiday —–)

1. Deadline and commitment.

2. Plan. I take some time and look at what I did last year. Decide what I will keep on the menu and decide what new dishes I’m going to prepare. Only one or two new dishes so preparation doesn’t become unmanageable.

3. Discuss the menu with family or friends. See how they like it, consider their suggestions.

4. Make a list of everything that I will need. Shop early.

5. Make a plan. Do a little bit each day. Make a schedule. Be realistic. Get help. You can’t do it alone. Finish early, allow for the unexpected.

6. Put it into action. Don’t procrastinate.

7. Evaluate. Take a step back. Make adjustments if necessary.

8. Serve it. Tablecloths, china, silverware, crystal and flowers. Take pleasure and enjoy.

You can follow my plan for your own personal preparations for Rosh Hashana — not just for preparing the food, but spiritual preparation — and you’ll be ready for the High Holidays.

This article can also be read at:

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

Dairy Desserts

Shavuot is almost here. If you are following the Hillal II calendar.
We waited a long time, counting each day since Passover. And now, together, we will receive the Torah.

The custom is to eat dairy – so it’s a great opportunity to make all those amazing dairy desserts you’ve been longing to create, in honor of the Yom Tov.

Strawberries or Bananas with Sour Cream

My favorite!

1/2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. sugar (adjust to taste)
1/8 tsp. vanilla (optional)
2 tbsps. molasses or maple syrup (optional)
1 pt. Strawberries or bananas, cut up

In a small bowl, mix together sour cream, sugar, vanilla and 1 tbsp. molasses or maple syrup. Add strawberries or bananas, or both. Drizzle molasses or maple syrup over servings.

Makes 2 servings.

* * *

Strawberries and Grapes with Mint and Vanilla

For the lactose intolerant . This colorful salad is accented with mint.

2 12- or 16-oz. baskets strawberries, hulled, quartered
2 cups seedless green grapes
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps. finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in large bowl; toss to coat fruit. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 and up to 4 hrs. Spoon fruit intow bowls and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

* * *

Chaim’s Dessert

My friend, Chaim, gave me this family favorite of his.

1/2 cup sour cream
1 pt. of fresh ripe peaches cut up or any fruit
1 box any flavor of Kosher Jello

Prepare the Jello according to the instructions on the box. Add fruit and sour cream, then chill and enjoy.

* * *

Fake Napoleons

1 roll puff pastry
1 box of pudding – chocolate or vanilla

Roll out pastry dough to fill a 9 X 11 cake pan. Bake separately 20 minutes at 400°F until brown.

Prepare pudding according to the instructions, using both cream and milk. When dough is cool, place one sheet on the bottom of the pan. Fill with pudding and place the second sheet on top carefully. Push down and freeze. Remove from freezer 5 minutes, cut into individual servings, let thaw and serve.

* * *

A Bowl of Fun – with pudding, cookies and bananas

1 1/2 cups sweet cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2 pkgs vanilla instant pudding
30 vanilla waffles
3 bananas, sliced
1 8-oz. whipped topping

Pour milk and cream into a large bowl. Add dry pudding, mix. Beat 2 minutes until well blended. Arrange half of the wafers on the bottom and up the sides of a 2-qt. serving bowl. Add a layer of half of each banana slices and pudding. Repeat in layers. Spread whipped topping over pudding. Refrigerate 3 hours.

Makes 14 servings.

* * *

Strawberry Shortcake

2 1/2 lbs.strawberries, trimmed and quartered (7 1/2 cups)
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 to 2 tbsps. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 buttermilk biscuits

Toss strawberries with granulate sugar in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently press strawberries with potato masher to help release their juices, being careful not to crush them to a pulp. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

Beat together heavy cream, sour cream, confectioners sugar (to taste), and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer at medium-high speed until it holds a soft shape (not stiff).

Split biscuits horizontally with a fork and arrange 2 halves, split sides up, on each of 6 plates. Top strawberries and juices, then with whipped cream.

Makes 6 servings.
…… and the winner!

Never-Fail Cheesecake

1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 pints sour cream, at room temperature
3 tsps. vanilla, divided


Your choice of cherry pie filling, maraschino cherries, pineapple chunks, half an apricot, etc.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Cream the cheese (easy to do if it’s at room temperature). Add eggs, one at a time, and then beat in 1 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tsps. of vanilla. Using small muffin tins filled with paper liner, fill the tips to 1/8-thick from the top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until tops begin to crack (if tops have not cracked after baking 30 minutes, remove them from the oven anyway, as they are adequately baked by that time).

While cakes are baking, mix sour cream with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla in a bowl.

Remove the cakes from the oven, leaving the oven on, and cool on wire cake racks in tins for 5 minutes, or until the cakes drop. Then cover the tops of the cakes with the sour cream mixture and put them back in the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove the cakes from their tins, use a teaspoon to help get them out, and set them on wire racks to cool. Once they have cooled, put the cakes in the refrigerator. Before serving, add toppings of your choice.

Makes 48 small cakes.

by Chef Herschel of For more see:

Chef Herschel prepares hundreds of meals a day at Aish HaTorah’s World Center in Jerusalem. He caters the five star meals for the Jerusalem Fund missions as well as the daily food for the Yeshiva students. Before arriving at Aish HaTorah Jerusalem, he received his B.A. in Business administration and his M.A. in education. While working at Aish he completed a chef’s course in Jerusalem

See you next time – happy eating!
Shalom, Sharaka

Recipe – Mystery Cake

House-cleaning is fun!!!

I came across a yellowed old half sheet of paper in some boxes I was cleaning out today and found it was one of my mother’s favorite old recipes called Mystery Cake. I remember being fascinated as a child to watch her make this cake. I haven’t tried it yet, as an adult, but I’m going to be brave enough to share it with you and maybe we can make it together!

Set your oven to 350 degrees and get out a 9 X 13 inch baking pan

1 cup margarine
2 cans – are you ready? Tomato Soup
2 cups sugar
4 cups flour
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp soda
2 cups chopped nuts
Raisins, if desired

Cream oleo (that’s what it says! they mean margarine) and sugar
add tomato soup

Sift remaining ingredients and add to mixture, blending in well.

Bake 1 hour & 15 minutes.

Happy baking! See you next time.
Shalom, Sharaka

A Good Weight Loss Plan

After yesterday’s “sweet treat” – it’s time to think about the modern epidemic – American obesity! Here’s what Pat Robertson of CBN has to say. This guy is in his 70s and can bench press 400 pounds!
I think it’s safe to listen to him…. I did this and lost 43 pounds …so far! It’s great for me because I like it simple without a lot of choices. Why not give it a try for a month. See what happens! If you don’t need to diet, read through it anyway to see some healthy food choices. Then skip to the archives and find something else more suited to you!


The fattening of America – it’s been called a crisis and an epidemic. A recent Time Magazine article (June 7, 2004) reported that two-thirds of U.S. adults are officially overweight. The Surgeon General estimates that $117 billion is spent each year on obesity linked illnesses, and that diet and poor exercise rank No. 2 behind tobacco as a preventable cause of death.

The Bible says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” I want to help you gain the knowledge you need to live a full, vibrant, and healthy life. I’m going to show you how you can lose weight and keep it off – and never be hungry. Believe me, it’s possible! In fact, I challenge you to commit to this plan until you reach your weight loss goal — and maintain a new “set point” as your normal weight. You’ll lose fat, gain muscle, and feel more healthy and alive.

I’ve made a great study of nutrition these past years. All of the most popular diets of our time – Atkins, South Beach, The Zone, Perricone, Bill Phillips, and others – have at the core of their message a basic commonality: weight loss is achieved by the management of calories. How you manage those calories, those units of energy, and the foods you choose to supply your body with its caloric need is vitally important.

How you divide those calories, the ratios of fats, carbohydrates and proteins, plus your exercise plan will determine the weight you lose.
On my Weight Loss Challenge plan you’ll lose fat – not muscle because you’ll be eating a healthy amount of protein, essential fatty acids, and low-glycemic carbohydrates. And you will never be hungry on this plan.

Protein is essential for robust health. Protein is the main ingredient in our cells, and next to water, comprises most of our skin, hair, eyes, nails and muscle. On the Weight Loss Challenge you’ll provide your body with a continuing supply of protein, from morning till night.
The object of this program is to force your body to mobilize your stored fat for energy. For this reason, you should not add any supplemental fat – no butter, no cheese, no fatty meat, no sausage, etc. I have added the essential fatty acids that will promote health, lower your fat levels, clear out cholesterol, and be generally beneficial. Even these “good fats” are limited so that your body can be turned into a fat-burning machine.

Under no circumstances should you digest what are called trans-fatty acids – – these are the fats normally used in fried foods in fast-food restaurants.

A landmark study conducted at the University of London in England in the 1950s found that patients who were given a 1,000-calorie diet high in fat (90%) lost significant amounts of weight, while the same patients when given a 1,000-calorie diet high in carbohydrates (90%) lost virtually no weight at all. Eating good fat does not make you fat; it actually helps your body burn fat more efficiently.

It’s in the area of carbohydrates where most confusion occurs concerning healthy eating. Adding to wrong choices is the misleading and inaccurate information regarding the so-called “food pyramid.” We must understand that our bodies have a very small and limited ability to store carbohydrates. Our bodies will use carbohydrates as fuel to burn for energy, but will convert excess carbohydrates into fat and store it as fatty tissue.

But that’s not the whole story. When you eat a high-glycemic carbohydrate food, you raise your blood glucose rapidly. In order to counteract that rapid rise in blood sugar, your pancreas will secrete insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin’s job is to find excess carbohydrate calories and store them as fat. Not only that, but insulin signals your system not to release any stored fat. Basically, think of it this way: insulin stores fat and won’t let it go.

When you continue to stimulate the production of insulin, your adrenal glands will be exhausted, and when this happens, adult-onset diabetes may result. It is the eating of so much sugar, sweets, white bread, and other high-glycemic foods that is believed to be the principle cause of the epidemic of adult-onset diabetes in middle-aged people and even children.

The speed at which carbohydrates enter the bloodstream is called the glycemic index. The more simple the sugar, the faster the entry rate and the higher the glycemic index. Our goal is to avoid high-glycemic carbohydrates. One slice of white bread has a glycemic index of 100. Sugar, honey, jams and jellies exceed that mark, while peanuts and soybeans have a glycemic index of 15. Most fruits and vegetables are low-glycemic carbohydrates and rich in fiber. I recommend that you visit for index listings and a searchable database of food index values. White flours, breads, grains, pasta, rice, starches, and all bakery items are high-glycemic carbohydrates. These foods spike your system with insulin, and those calories are converted to fat that won’t let go.

Now that you have a basic knowledge of the way your body uses calories, let’s look at the Weight Loss Challenge plan.

BREAKFAST: Weight Loss Challenge Health Shake
It is vitally important that your body is loaded with supplies of protein and necessary minerals to fill you with vitality and promote good health.
Here’s how to make the Weight Loss Health Shake that will provide all those good things:

In a standard blender combine the following:
1. 6 – 8 – 10 ounces of distilled water.
(Experiment with the volume of water. It’s a matter of taste, and since water has no calories, you’re able to pick the amount that you want.)

2. Two tablespoons of Natural, Non- Pasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar. I recommend the natural apple cider vinegar distributed by Bragg. Vinegar is very important because it aids digestion. This is especially beneficial for older people who have decreased hydrochloric acid in their stomach. Nutrition Express has a product they call Complete Digestion. It enables seniors to get the most value from the foods they eat. This product is available from Nutrition Express at 1-800-338-7979.

3. One tablespoon Safflower Oil.
This rich source of Omega 6 is able to reduce cholesterol, increase HDL lipids in the body, and lower the bad LDL lipids.

4. One tablespoon Flaxseed or Fish Oil.
A great source of Omega 3, this oil, like Safflower oil, will do wonderful things for your heart and health.

5. One scoop Lindberg “Protein Blend” Powder.
This is an all-natural, four-protein blend of soy protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, milk, egg white, and hydrolyzed whey made by Lindberg Nutrition (Protein Blend may be ordered from Nutrition Express at 1-800-338-7979.) This type of protein has been shown to be a dramatic protector against breast cancer, uterine cancer, and prostate cancer. Some experts believe that soy protein isolate stimulates the thyroid to help your body burn fat.

6. Two Scoops “Optimum Nutrition’s Pro Complex” Protein Powder. This super-powder gives you the highest biological proteins available from egg whites, whey, and BCAAs. These two scoops deliver a power-packed 55 grams of protein. Optimum Nutrition’s Pro Complex is available in 4.4 pound tubs and may be purchased from Nutrition Express.

7. One Teaspoon of Glutamine Powder.
This tasteless, white powder builds up muscle, especially after strenuous workouts. In addition, glutamine speeds healing after surgery and has been shown to raise the production of human growth hormone levels. Glutamine is a pre-cursor to glutathione, which is considered a master antioxidant. This is a great weapon against the ravages of aging.

One Teaspoon of MSM Powder.
This sulfur-based product has tremendous benefits. According to Judy Lindberg McFarland, an expert on vitamins and natural foods, sulfur is “necessary for healing and repair of most tissues in the body, especially our skin…sulfur slows down the aging process…it is called ‘nature’s beauty 1. mineral’ because sulfur keeps hair glossy and smooth, the complexion clear and youthful and the nails strong.”
2. Six to Eight Frozen Strawberries.
Low in calories and rich in antioxidants, strawberries help defend our systems against free-radical damage and disease. They also make your shake taste good!

3. One-Quarter Cup of Blueberries.
Blueberries are delicious and a powerful source of antioxidants, they help protect us from cancer and age-related illnesses.

4. One-Half of a Banana (Optional).
A good source of potassium and flavor.

5. One Packet Non-Caloric Sweetener.
Use Sweet’N Low, Splenda, or Stevia. Avoid the use of aspartame products. Aspartame has been shown to increase cravings, encourage tumor growth and migraines, and cause other harmful effects.

6. If desired add a few ice cubes and blend until smooth and frothy.

This is the recipe for an active adult male. For smaller body frames and appetites drink half the shake and refrigerate the second half for a mid-day snack.

The Weight Loss Health Shake is very filling! That’s the idea, so drink it all. You’ll find it will carry you without hunger throughout the morning. In fact, you’ll feel so full and satisfied, you won’t even think about eating or desire anything more. That’s the power of protein and healthy carbohydrates. To review:

Weight Loss Health Shake
In blender combine:
6 – 10 ounces distilled water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Safflower Oil
1 tablespoon Flaxseed or Fish Oil
1 scoop Lindberg Protein Blend protein powder
2 scoops Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex protein powder
1 teaspoon Glutamine powder
1 teaspoon MSM powder
6 – 8 frozen strawberries
¼ cup blueberries
½ banana
1 packet non-caloric sweetener
If desired add a few ice cubes and blend till smooth.

The market is full of so-called energy and protein bars. Some taste very good and some are horrible. From trial and error, I recommend Doctor’s CarbRite Diet bars. They taste delicious and deliver 21 grams of protein and 22 grams of low-impact carbohydrates, which makes an excellent balance. These bars are available from Nutrition Express at 1-800-338-7979. You may find others that fit your tastes better.

LUNCH: One 4 ounce piece of Chicken Breast or Fish, one slice of Whole Wheat Bread
Four ounces of chicken or fish will deliver between 20 – 30 grams of protein. If some other food will give you the same food value, don’t be afraid to experiment. This will add variety to your daily menu.

In addition to the marvelous protein powders used in the Health Shake, I recommend you use turkey, skinless chicken, eggs, and non-fat cottage cheese as excellent sources of protein for your lunch serving.

The whole wheat bread you eat provides fiber and will help your body’s furnace to burn fat during the day.

(a nice balance of protein and carbohydrates)

DINNER: Weight Loss Health Salad
Now you’re going to feast on a huge salad. Treat yourself to the freshest vegetables the season provides. Experiment with many vegetables and find your own favorites. Remember, most vegetables rank “low” on the glycemic index, so try as many as you like. Here are the ingredients I recommend:

In a large bowl combine:
One cup torn spinach leaves
One cup torn romaine leaves
¼ cup tomatoes
¼ cup green peppers
¼ cup onion
¼ cup broccoli flowerets
¼ cup chick peas
5 – 6 pecans
3 – 4 snap beans
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (make sure it’s extra virgin – this is the best)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

This makes an enormous salad that will fill you up and leave you feeling stuffed without causing you to gain weight. It’s packed with important vitamins and minerals that will build you up and defend you against disease.

MID-EVENING SNACK: Weight Loss Health Shake
The same shake as breakfast, but omit the oil and soy protein powder.
I guarantee you, when you follow the Weight Loss Challenge, you will be full and never hungry. In fact, I’ve joked that we could call this the “Eat Till Your Stuffed Silly Diet.” It’s that filling, satisfying, and delicious. And it’s simple. No complicated menu preparations. Just wonderfully fresh food and powerful nutrients that melt off the fat. The object is to eat a lot – not a little. You eat six meals a day, and never allow yourself to be hungry!

It’s really in the math. In order to maintain your weight, you have to supply 15 calories for each pound of body weight. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, that comes to 3,000 calories, or 15 x 200 = 3,000. Take a moment to calculate your maintenance calorie total. Multiply 15 times your weight. That is your maintenance number of calories. Now aim for 800 – 1,000 calories below that maintenance number each day.

In addition, it is essential that you add exercise to your daily routine. Not only will you receive the benefit of a healthier heart, mood elevation, and greater flexibility, but you’ll also be increasing your calorie deficit.

Wow, that’s a lot of information! But I can tell you it works! I’m still working at it. Let me know if you want to try it. It’s more fun to lose weight together….

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

Sweets for the Sweet!

In the mood for something sweet? It’s a long way from Chanukah, but here’s a great recipe for anytime of the year! I got it from a friend who perfected it and sold it at Farmer’s Market type places and it always does very well. It may seem like a hard recipe but it’s not. It’s fun! Especially if you have someone to help you stir….All you need is a little determination and a candy thermometer. I don’t dare make it but once a year… and then I like to give ONE to all my friends! Here’s a little poem I wrote to go along with it.


The recipe was chosen with care and delight,
A wondrous concoction of sweetness and light.
The ingredients gathered were quite fresh and pure,
Guaranteed to please all, that was for sure!

The day finally came and with a deep sigh,
We entered the workplace, my husband and I.
We found the best pan, our old wooden spoon;
The butter and sugar were there in the room.

“Measure and stir, keep your eye on the dial,
310 degrees – that’s gonna take a while.”
We stirred and we stirred, we could not take a break,
A masterpiece royal, we were determined to make.

The almonds were chopped and toasted just right,
The chocolate slowly melted – what a grand sight!
At last it was finished and we poured out the blend,
A great pan of confection to share with a friend.

Because it’s so tasty, so rich and so sweet,
We’re sending just ONE for you each to eat.
So enjoy our toffee – we made it with love,
A Chanukah Treat – with help from above.

Chanu-Roca – adapted from English Toffee

3 cups sugar
2/3 c cold water
1 lb butter cut into 1 oz pats
2 c toasted coarsely chopped, toasted almonds
1 1/2 bags chocolate chips (16 oz bags – dark, light or mixed)

Spray sides of a large heavy pan with Pam or similar spray or wipe with butter. DO NOT SCRAPE DOWN SIDES OF PAN!

Mix cold water with sugar. Do NOT heat pan until sugar is completely stirred into the water.
Heat on medium heat until it bubbles.
Slowly add butter, one pat at a time until it reaches hard crack stage. 300 – 310 degrees. Takes about an hour and will be very thick and the color of coffee with cream in it.
Pour onto large oiled cookie sheet which has been covered with the almonds.
Sprinkle over the hot mixture, 1 1/2 bags choc chips. May use part white chocolate. As it melts, spread over evenly. Sprinkle more nuts on top if desired. Makes 3 1/2 lbs. candy. (More or less) Rabbitzim Ramelle Richardson

English Toffee from the Rabbi’s Wife 12/03

See you tomorrow!
Shalom, Sharaka

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