Confessions of a Jewish Bride

 

My Grandfather’s Latke Recipe **Chanukah...

 

Contributed by:

 

87 comments | Leave Comment

 

You know my grandparents really knew how to cook. It seems to me that everyone born in “the Old Country” (in this case, Transylvania) was born with built-in cooking intuition. Somehow, they could create the most scrumptious meals using no fancy equipment, nor even measuring spoons. I recall that they hosted every holiday humbly, turning out the expected delicacies with what seemed like the simplest, most relaxed effort. No exotic flavor profiles, nor food combos or wine pairings; no attempts at reinventing the wheel, because when the food is that good – no, make that superb – there’s no need to find a “twist” on the recipe.

On Chanukah, we were treated to their potato pancakes, “latkes” that were classic and simple. My grandfather, a professional chef, wore a manly white waist apron that suited him perfectly. His latkes were made of eggs, onions, potatoes, oil, salt, pepper, and a little matzo meal to make them crunchy. “Corn meal, that’s also good, if you don’t have any matzo meal,” he would say reassuringly, though you knew that he secretly wondered what kind of kitchen would not have a handful of matzo meal somewhere. The potatoes were hand-grated so fine –almost to a pudding-like consistency – then lightly fried in a pan that looked as though it, too, had just come over from the Old Country. Applesauce and sour cream traditionally accompany latkes, but who needed them? Crispy on the edges, with a fluffy, buttery smooth center, Grandpa’s version of this Chanukah delicacy could stand alone.


 

Jamie Geller and the 3 Bears!

 

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

Wild & crazy.

As I write this in my Rockland County home, there are bears on the loose in my neighborhood. Not 1, not 2, but 3 bears, and they are not cuddly and they are not going for a harmless stroll while their porridge cools. They’re big, black, and one was just spotted digging into my neighbor’s garbage just 3 blocks away. AHHHH! Check out this video.


 

What I Really Cook for Shabbos…

 

Contributed by:

 

11 comments | Leave Comment

 

Nothing juicy about this confession.

Just an honest answer to a common question.


 

Today’s Confession: The Old Dishes in the Oven...

 

Contributed by:

 

96 comments | Leave Comment

 

People have actually said to me that they envy how organized and clean my kitchen looks. And they figure that I’m naturally neat and proper, always putting everything in its place.

It’s an illusion, people. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a camera trick – my kitchen really does look that way, most of the time – I have decided to come clean. This will make us both feel a whole lot better.


 

Father’s Day Confessions ***GIVEAWAY***

 

Contributed by:

 

109 comments | Leave Comment

 

When I was growing up, we didn’t make a big deal about Father’s Day. We would have a cake or dinner out, but we generally adhered to Dad’s annual admonition, “please don’t spend my money to get me a gift.” In fact, he was always of the mind to get my mom and sister and me to stop spending money.

This year, I was thinking of buying him a Father’s Day gift I saw in a Jewish catalogue: It’s a money clip that says “GELT.” I know he would like it more if it said “Don’t Spend This Gelt.” Then I thought the wiser and decided he wouldn’t want me to spend my gelt on shtus (nonsense) like that. So I turned the page.


 

The Wonder of Wontons

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

It was my second Rosh Hashanah as a married woman, and I decided that I actually wanted to cook something. If you know my history as Queen of Take-Out, you understand the magnitude of such a decision. At that stage, I was beginning to fill the cooking void in my soul, and I wanted to try something fancy. I made wontons filled with ground meat and dropped them into my chicken soup. So beyond the traditional matzo ball, I thought happily. And I had a good measure of beginner’s luck too, because it actually worked. everyone oohed and ahhed as though I had produced something truly exotic.

Vegetarian Wonton Soup


 

Awesome Asian Noodles

 

Contributed by:

 

4 comments | Leave Comment

 

I confess that up to this point in life I have been making lo mein with thin linguine noodles. Well, no more! I now have Gefen Lo-Mein Noodles and another cool new Gefen product, Japanese style noodles. Getting just the right taste and authentic texture in lo mein just became a whole lot easier. Why use Italian pasta for an Asian dish?


 

Lessons I learned from Mom **GIVEAWAY**

 

Contributed by:

 

141 comments | Leave Comment

 

Picture me and my mom baking brownies together in her cozy kitchen. I am about five years old, with long pigtails, smiling ecstatically as I smear frosting over the brownies, my clothes and my face. Mom is wearing her favorite baking apron – the one with the little pictures of mixing spoons and bowls — and beaming at her little pastry chef. She’s proud to pass on the secret family recipe for perfect brownies to a daughter who will treasure it.

Got that firmly in your mind? Good. It’s the only way you’ll see such a picture because it doesn’t exist and that sweet little scene never happened. That’s because my mother (who is a fantastic mom in just about every way) is kitchen-phobic to the point that she tried to build our house without That Room. She settled for placing it off to the side of the house by the garage so she would never have to walk through it. And she succeeded in passing on her aversion to all things culinary (except take-out food) to Yours Truly. Neither of us was likely to win a Domestic Diva of the Year award.


 

Pesach Recipes that Were Winners

 

Contributed by:

 

1 comment | Leave Comment

 

I usually tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and this time I did not disappoint. I stayed true to my promise and 99% of what I made for the 8-day kitchen yuntif known as Passover were not actually Pesach recipes. Of course they were K for P, but they didn’t require any major Passoverish ingredient tweaks. These recipes were developed with Pesach in mind and they were featured in the Pesach issue of my new magazine, Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller. But you can bet they’ll be staples in my year round repertoire ‘cuz they were super easy and got the most oohs and ahhs. Ok, real gourmet chefs don’t keep a tally of how many people flipped over this or that dish, but I really need to know. The winners on my menu get to come back and try for eternal stardom. This year, they are… drum roll, please…

Salmon Croquettes with Tropical Fruit Salsa
You can make this even easier by skipping the fresh salmon and using good quality canned salmon.


 

The Ultimate Seder Checklist

 

Contributed by:

 

5 comments | Leave Comment

 

So picture this…

I am married for three years and had yet to make a Pesach Seder. Each year, we had been able to go to a relative or a hotel, where someone else did all the cooking and Passover prep. I was living in a fool’s paradise, but I didn’t know it.


 

Purim Confessions – Win an “Oh Nuts&...

 

Contributed by:

 

121 comments | Leave Comment

 

So I don’t really like hamantashen – but don’t worry, that’s not my confession of the week. My real secret is that …drum roll… I have yet to master making hamantashen. In fact, I have almost given up on it.

I am not sure which came first – my dislike of this particular pastry, or my failure to bake a decent batch. I have been delicately and creatively avoiding the need to make them all these years after my one failed attempt. Yet, if you can believe it, I only tried once. One Purim I tried a recipe from a very reputable cookbook that shall remain nameless. It was not a very good dough, even after two tries, and the taste was worse than the stuff from the bakery, so I just gave up.


 

1500 NEW RECIPES!!!!

 

Contributed by:

 

3 comments | Leave Comment

 

Crazy, major, recipe news flash!!

Yesterday we put up FIFTEEN HUNDRED new recipes on our website. That’s 1500 new ideas for you – main dishes, side dishes, desserts and appetizers and everything in between. You name it, we have it.


 

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to FOX 5

 

Contributed by:

 

9 comments | Leave Comment

 

Sometimes it takes me a while to write my confessions. That shouldn’t be surprising, of course. How long would it take you to publicly ‘fess up to devastating moments and inconceivable blunders? So this story is not exactly as fresh as tomorrow’s news – but I must admit it lives in my memory as a perpetual prod for humility.

So I’m in a taxi on my way to FOX 5 for an appearance on a morning show. It’s a cold, rainy morning in December. On a good day with no traffic, it should take about 45 minutes to get to the FOX 5 studios in midtown Manhattan.


 

Stay Tuned for Some Exciting News

 

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

I have to confess, I have so much to tell you all and so little time to put my thoughts into words. I have been travelling a lot lately and am so behind with my blogging. The funniest (craziest most laughable) thing happened to me on the way to FOX 5 which I hope to share with you next week along with an amazing post packed with tons of recipes for cooking with your kids – including cuisines from around the world.

We are all working around the clock on various site enhancements and we have a great big announcement coming soon. So stay tuned and in the meantime enjoy this round-up of my new favorite winter comfort foods.


 

My Snowman Cake Disaster Has A Happy Ending

 

Contributed by:

 

6 comments | Leave Comment

 

In my first cookbook, I confess to a lot of beginner goofs, and in my second I am still not ashamed to admit that I don’t know it all, in fact far from it. The most poignant example of which was the snowman birthday cake I attempted to bake for my husband. Oh , we can laugh now, but at the time it was the Queen of All Disasters. Picture this: Hubby is hopelessly nostalgic for a snowman-shaped birthday cake that his Grandma used to bake for him. He recalls every detail and subtly hints that he would love to relive that experience. As a loving wife –with more guts than brains – I decide to surprise him with this custom cake. But inexperience spells failure, and I’m forced to serve him a monstrous, ill-shaped, under-baked Snowthing, clumsily decorated with potato chips and candy sprinkles. It was my worst nightmare, and his best laugh, in years. You can read about the entire sordid affair, details and all in my new book. And for those of you, who think I make up these adventures, take a gander at this photo. Hubby captured it all in living color, and he never even tasted a bite of the mess. Not that I blame him. It was inedible.

But you know me. I don’t give up. So I tried again the next year and take 2 was — how should I say it? Sad. Not as pathetic as my first attempt because this time I used a real cake pan about a 1/4 of the size of the first cake I tried to “build” for him.