A Kugels & Collards Thanksgiving

With contributions by Katharine Allen, Rachel Gordin Barnett and Lyssa Kligman Harvey

Thanksgiving at the Parlor Restaurant

By Katharine Allen

Advertisement promoting Thanksgiving at Ben David’s Parlor Restaurant, 1910. Reprinted from  The State , November 22, 1910.

Advertisement promoting Thanksgiving at Ben David’s Parlor Restaurant, 1910. Reprinted from The State, November 22, 1910.

On November 22, 1910, The State ran an advertisement touting the Thanksgiving menu offered by Ben David, the proprietor of the Parlor Restaurant. The food included American staples like crème of celery soup, “prime ribs of western beef,” “mashed and whole boiled potatoes,” and of course, turkey, albeit with “chesnut dressing.” By then, the Parlor Restaurant’s reputation for providing excellent food and service at reasonable prices had helped Columbia become “the square meal town.” For 18 years, David served legislators, businessmen, students, and tourists a plethora of foodstuffs – particularly oysters and wild game – that were likely at odds with the kosher upbringing of his parents, if not himself.

“The best caterer in town.”

Benjamin “Ben” David was born in Poland in 1853 and immigrated to the United States as a toddler with his parents and siblings. He spent the 1870s through 1890s operating liquor stores and saloons before opening the Parlor Restaurant in 1896. Initially located in the Kendall Building on Washington Street, the Parlor Restaurant raised its profile through print advertising and elaborate storefront displays

Advertisement for Parlor Restaurant, which featured “Fresh Norfolk Oysters” daily. Reprinted from  The State , January 26, 1897.

Advertisement for Parlor Restaurant, which featured “Fresh Norfolk Oysters” daily. Reprinted from The State, January 26, 1897.

Description of the “Fenestral Art” displayed in and around the Parlor Restaurant’s storefront. Reprinted from  The State , January 26, 1897.

Description of the “Fenestral Art” displayed in and around the Parlor Restaurant’s storefront. Reprinted from The State, January 26, 1897.

In 1900, David moved his restaurant to 1336 Main Street, where he remained open night and day for more than 10 years.

Advertisements for the Parlor Restaurant frequently used Ben David’s likeness. Reprinted from the University of South Carolina’s 1902  Garnet and Black  yearbook.

Advertisements for the Parlor Restaurant frequently used Ben David’s likeness. Reprinted from the University of South Carolina’s 1902 Garnet and Black yearbook.

The planned construction of the Arcade Mall at 1332 Main Street forced the Parlor Restaurant to relocated across the street, where it remained until 1913. Upon his death in 1920, “Uncle Ben” was eulogized in The State. Edward N. Carpenter, a friend from his youth, summed up his life thusly: “one of the best men [I] had ever known. In charitable causes he was generous, too much so it is said. His life was one of usefulness.” David, along with his siblings, is buried at the Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery in Columbia.

Thanksgiving Memories: Cranberry Relish and Corn Pie

 Rachel Gordin Barnett and Lyssa Kligman Harvey

Like many Southern Jewish families, our families gathered together each year with extended family to enjoy both religious and secular holidays. Of course, the dinner table was the epicenter these happy celebrations. Menus were well-established with family-designated cooks knowing exactly what their contribution to the menu was for any given meal.

Thanksgiving was one of those celebrations. When our children were young, we would all gather—the Levinsons, Kligmans, and Dickmans—to enjoy the festivities. Selma and Max Dickman hosted for years, first at their home on Lake Murray and then when Max passed away, Selma would host Thanksgiving in her beautiful home in Spring Valley. There was an annual photo taken of the children – each year the photo added a couple of “newcomers” until we had a good 16 or so!

The Thanksgiving meal was a wonderful combination of traditional Thanksgiving dishes, combined with several Jewish contributions (the omnipresent kugel and brisket for instance!) Everyone was assigned a dish and over the years that became their traditional annual contribution for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Relish

By Lyssa Kligman Harvey

My contribution is a cranberry relish made from fresh cranberries and citrus fruit. It has graced the family Thanksgiving table over the last 20 years. The cranberry relish is not only good with turkey, but also on sandwiches and served with cheese platters. I make a big batch to give away for the holidays, wrap it jelly jars, and with friends and neighbors.

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  • 16-oz. bag of cranberries

  • 2  medium-sized oranges

  • 2 lemons

  • 3 Granny Smith apples

  • 1 jar of raspberry preserves 

Rinse off cranberries and place in food processor with chopping blade. Chop cranberries into very small pieces and place in a large bowl. Quarter and seed oranges, lemons, and apples and place in food processor. Chop these fruits into very small pieces and add to the cranberries. Add the jar of raspberry preserves. Mix well. If the cranberry relish is a little too tangy add a little sugar to taste.

Serve in a bowl, or can be canned in jars. Relish must be refrigerated. It will last for about 6 months in a tightly sealed jar. Good with turkey, ham, on sandwiches, or on brie cheese or cream cheese.

Corn Pie

By Rachel Gordin Barrett

My contribution is a recipe that I found in an old Southern Living cookbook that, with a few tweaks, is almost as good as the corn pie Ethel Glover used to make me when I was a child in Summerton, South Carolina. She has always been a cooking inspiration for me and many of my recipes today are from her kitchen.

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  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 4 tablespoons flour

  • 1 ½ tablespoon sugar

  • 1 cup milk (I use 2%)

  • 3 cans cream style corn (17 oz.)

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • 4 eggs

Melt butter in saucepan. Add flour. Stir well to make a roux. Add sugar and salt. Stir constantly 1 minute until smooth. Slowly add milk, stirring until thick. Add corn to the mixture. Crack and beat eggs in a separate bowl. Slowly add eggs to corn mixture. Pour into a greased 9 x 12 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour.

Hanukkah Memories

Submitted by Emily Levinson

Mom's latkes

Mom's latkes

I’ve never had a Christmas tree. This is something that my non-Jewish friends often find very odd. Quite possibly something even stranger is when I tell my Jewish friends about our Hanukkah bush, stockings, and when Santa would occasionally make a stop at our dark, un-festive house – much to my confusion growing up. 

So no, I never had a Christmas tree, but my father’s family would get together and decorate a bush with silver and blue ornaments (side note – where did we even get a bush?).  My grandmother, Faye Levinson, knitted us blue and white Hanukkah stockings, which I still hang up. When I was little, I was sad our dogs didn’t have stockings, so I drew Stars of David on my tiny running socks and hung one for Moxie and one for Sunshine next to ours. My parents would fill them with small gifts, which we could open on the first night of Hanukkah along with our “big” present, (our tradition was to choose one “big” gift.)  Through the years, I was the proud recipient of a portable DVD player (a road trip necessity in the early 2000s); a video camera (that I NEVER thought my parents were going to get me and freaked out over – I never used it); a keyboard (that I never learned to play correctly, and “mysteriously” disappeared one day); and an aquarium which I shared with my brother (my aunt and uncle gave it to us – my parents were not pleased). 

Hanukkah at the Levinson's

Hanukkah at the Levinson's

Although I never had a tree, I was always invited to a friend’s house for Christmas tree festivities. When I was very young, we would visit our neighbor’s house for latkes (although the neighbor wasn’t Jewish, she was raised in a Jewish neighborhood in NJ and made great latkes) and Christmas tree decorating. As I grew up, I was invited on trips to a local tree farm, Harmon Farms, for cider and tree cutting.  In return, we always invited our friends over for a night of Hanukkah. My mom, Rachel Barnett, would cook latkes and make brisket, we’d light the candles, and play dreidel. Our friends begged to come over for Hanukkah each year. I suppose it was the only time they were ever graced with the deliciousness of fried potato pancakes. I don’t mean to speak ill of any of my grandmothers or restaurants or people who have made me latkes in my life, but my mom still makes the best. I know she hates it – spending hours grating potatoes and making the entire house smell like the back of a McDonalds, but I haven’t found any that are better (recipe below).  

The author revels in her Hanukkah gift during a Hanukkah party. (Emily Levinson and her brother, Chase - 1990's)

The author revels in her Hanukkah gift during a Hanukkah party. (Emily Levinson and her brother, Chase - 1990's)

I have many great memories celebrating Hanukkah with my family growing up, but there is always one tradition that stands out from the others. I grew up in Columbia, South Carolina and attended a public school where we were usually only one of very few Jewish families. Even though Satchel Ford Elementary was decked out in Christmas décor, each year they invited my family to decorate a Hanukkah window display in the front lobby. We would spend a Saturday at school taking much pride in our Hanukkah themed window. My mom would then spend a day at school and read a Hanukkah book and hand out dreidels and gelt (chocolate gold foiled coins) to everyone in my class – which definitely contributed to my popularity (because who doesn’t like chocolate and gambling). 

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It’s a little bittersweet reflecting on my Hanukkah memories because sadly, we don’t do many of them anymore. As the baby of the family at 24 years old, our family has grown up and can’t find the eight nights to get together anymore. One thing that stays the same each year is that I still have never had a Christmas tree. I think this year, my non-Jewish roommate will be providing the tree, and I guess it’s my turn to learn how to make latkes. 

Emily Levinson (on right) with friends - Aly (on left), Bella and Abby (the furry ones) - celebrate a "golden" Chanukah!

Emily Levinson (on right) with friends - Aly (on left), Bella and Abby (the furry ones) - celebrate a "golden" Chanukah!

Mom’s Latkes

  • 5 lbs. Russet potatoes 
  • 1 medium sweet onion 
  • 2 eggs - beaten 
  • ½ cup flour  
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • vegetable oil 

Peel and place potatoes in pot of cold water. Using a box grater, grate all of the potatoes. Peel and grate onion. Drain thoroughly in colander.  Place grated potatoes and onion in bowl, add beaten eggs, salt, pepper and sprinkle flour. Mix well. (The flour should be just enough to bind.) 

Heat oil in large frying pan. Once hot, place tablespoons of potato mixture into pan (careful not to splatter). Should be the size of medium size pancakes. 

Flip once when crispy on edges. (May take a couple of flips before ready to remove.)  

Drain on paper towels.   

Serve warm with sour cream and applesauce. 

Rosh Hashanah 5778

Submitted by Lyssa Kligman Harvey

Traditional Jewish Recipes for a Sweet & Happy New Year

For as long as I can remember, celebrating the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah has been a joyous occasion. It celebrates the birth of the world! It brings family and friends together to eat traditional foods passed down by our grandmothers; as well as new recipes created by new generations of Southern Jewish cooks.  

Image courtesy of Lyssa Kligman Harvey

Image courtesy of Lyssa Kligman Harvey

The first day of Rosh Hashanah this year is Thursday, September 21st in the Hebrew Year 5778. My husband, Jonathan, and I host about 40 guests in our home in the Forest Acres neighborhood in Columbia, SC, at a seated luncheon after synagogue services. The traditional menu has been planned and assigned, my mother’s linens, china and crystal have been taken out, and the special table extensions are in place. The table décor will be fall flowers and ancient symbols of the Jewish New Year. Pomegranates are often used for table decorations as well as to eat, because it is referenced in the Old Testament, and it is a symbol of fertility. There are 613 seeds in a pomegranate, which is referred to the number of good deeds that are commanded by God. The menu is a combination of traditional Eastern European recipes handed down from grandmothers, aunts and family friends, several of which are featured below, along with newly created recipes from the four corners of the diaspora. For example, I have included hummus in our meal, which originates from the Middle East and is served as an appetizer. My special recipes are Chopped Liver and my mother’s Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage. You will notice that the contemporary recipes use short cuts and ingredients that our ancestors didn’t use, such as the Savory Brisket made by Sandra Poliakoff.  Rosh Hashanah is a festive and happy holiday that brings together our family and friends to initiate another year of a sweet and good life. Rosh Hashanah is my favorite holiday of the year that savors the traditions and happy memories of my family. 

My parents, Helene & Melton Kligman, hosted many guests for the Jewish New Year in their beautiful home at 1618 Graeme Drive in Forest Acres neighborhood beginning around 1965.  When I was growing up we celebrated two days of Rosh Hashanah, and had different sets of guests each day. The dining room table had special extensions that were created for these large family holiday meals at Rosh Hashanah & Passover. With the extensions in place, the table reached into the sunroom and into the living room so that every adult had a seat at the table. Of course, there was a children’s table. There were plenty of children, including the five Kligman children, and cousins. The table was always set with exquisite linens, special Yantaff (a yiddish word for holiday) china and crystal, and place cards. My mother was a Bulaboosta (yiddish word for kitchen maven) and seemed to pull hosting this big holiday meal off effortlessly. I now understand, she planned and organized everything to a T. She was a wonderful cook but did have special help in the kitchen for that day. Some of the guests contributed their specialty dish, but it was my mother that really set the tone for the year by hosting an elaborate and memorable meal.  Prayers and holiday blessings were said over the children, candles, wine, a special round challah, and apples and honey.  My father always made a toast and welcomed all the guests.  I still remember his happy smile having everyone in his home. 

The foods were delicious heavy European recipes: Chopped Liver, Kugel, Brisket, Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Kasha VarnishkesYantaff (Holiday) Chicken and Rice and for dessert Honey cake. Everyone left very full and happy. Click the links above for Rosh Hashanah recipes and memories provided by Pat Lovit, Mindy Kligman Odle, Shirley Levine, myself and my mother, Helene Firetag Kligman. 

After 40 years of hosting, my mother blew the whistle and changed the game…it was our turn as adults to take on the responsibility of hosting the Jewish Holidays. Being one of five children, my sisters and I took on the role of sharing the holidays. I knew I wanted to host Rosh Hashanah, but honestly, I was overwhelmed at the thought of hosting this important holiday meal and pulling it off as smoothly as my mother did all those years. I now realize how much our present Rosh Hashanah luncheons have replicated the ones I experienced growing up. Of course, my mother was the perfect role model and created the feeling of warmth and love that comes from sharing a special meal together. Today we open our home to family and close friends, as well as newcomers to the Jewish community, students from USC and military at Fort Jackson. My hope is that this tradition will continue to transcend and the recipes new and old will be passed to the next generations. La Shana Tovah! (Hebrew New Year’s Greeting “To a Good Year!”) 

Savory Brisket

Yantaff (Holiday) Chicken & Rice

Chopped Liver

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage

Kasha Varnishkes

Tsimmes

Honey Cake

Dedicated to the blessed memory of Helene Firetag Kligman, who passed away only a day before Erev Rosh Hashanah. -Rachel Barnett, co-creator of Kugels & Collards

Savory Brisket

Submitted by Sandra Altman Poliakoff

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My mother, Annette Altman, always made her brisket this way, and my mother-in-law Rosa Poliakoff made hers with carrots, celery, and onions and beef broth. Brisket is a no-brainer. The longer it cooks (on a low oven), the more tender it gets, as long as there is liquid for the meat to absorb. Just the smell of brisket cooking in the oven evokes memories of family, holidays and warmth. It is one of the threads that binds one generation to the next.

  • 1 beef brisket, 3-4 lbs, fat trimmed

  • 1 1/2 cups Ketchup

  • 1 package of onion soup mix

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup of red wine

Mix ketchup, onion soup mix, brown sugar and red wine. 

Put brisket in a pyrex dish lined with foil. Pour sauce over meat, cover with foil.

Bake on 350 for 4 hours.

Meat is done when fork inserted in meat sinks in easily.

When the meat is done, put on cutting board and slice against the grain. Serve with sauce in the pan.

Sandra and her mother, Annette Altman.

Sandra and her mother, Annette Altman.

Yantaff (Holiday) Chicken and Rice

Submitted by Lyssa Kligman Harvey

My grandmother, Ida Lomansky Kligman, used to cook a chicken for Shabbat dinner in a particular pot every Friday. I have given this chicken pot to my daughter, Jordane Harvey Lotts, since she is such a good cook. Grandma Ida’s chicken would be the same delicious roasted chicken with rice. The chicken would be “fall off the bone” tender or the Yiddish term fatempt. This holiday yantaff chicken and rice recipe is not my grandmother’s. It is combination of many delicious chicken recipes that I have put together. I wanted a crispy but tender sweet chicken. Using the dried fruit and lemon gives it a special flavor for any holiday. I usually make this recipe for Passover as well.

  • 2 cut-up chickens (do not use the backs, if the breasts are large cut in half)

  • 2 cups of instant brown rice or wild rice

  • 4 cups of chicken broth

  • 1 onion, chopped up

  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed

  • 1 jar of apricot preserves

  • ½ cup of dried apricots

  • ½ cup of dried pitted prunes

  • ½ cup of lemon slices

  • Fresh oregano

  • Olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

Salt and pepper the chicken. Brown the chicken in olive oil in a Dutch oven or large sauce pan and set aside. Brown the onions and garlic in the chicken juice and olive oil that is left in the pan. Oil the bottom of a large baking pan or Pyrex dish or aluminum pan and put the 2 cups of wild rice or brown rice in the pan. Place the chicken on top of the rice. Pour in the 4 cups of chicken broth. Put the onions and garlic and oregano on top of the chicken. Spread the apricot preserves on top of chicken. Sprinkle the apricots, prunes and lemon slices on top of chicken.

Bake the chicken covered for 1 ½ hours at 350 degrees.

Serve with the apricots and prunes and lemon slices on top of the chicken.

Tsimmes

Submitted by Mindy Kligman Odle

Tsimmes..jpg
  • 1 bag of carrots, chopped into large pieces

  • 3 sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into large pieces

  • ½ box of pitted prunes

  • 1 can of cut up pineapple

  • ¼ cup of brown sugar

  • 1 onion cut up

  • A small piece of chuck roast or brisket cut into large pieces

In a Dutch oven or a stew pot; brown the cut up onions and add the cut up meat and cover with water. Cook the meat slowly until it softens and the water is absorbed.

Par boil the carrots, the sweet potatoes, drain and add to the meat.

Add the prunes, brown sugar and the can of cut up pineapple.

Put this mixture in a buttered Pyrex dish.

The traditional way is to mash the vegetables or the more recent way is to leave it in large pieces tossed together and cooked.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350.

Chopped Liver

Submitted by Lyssa Kligman Harvey

Chopped Liver.JPG

It’s hard to believe that I now am the designated preparer of Chopped Liver in my family. Then again…no one else really wants to make it. It is a difficult and time consuming recipe. Cooking the liver and hard boiled eggs will certainly give the house a distinct aroma, so I always make sure and prepare it at least 24 hours before serving it. Chopped Liver is akin to liver pate that is usually served as an appetizer or as a side dish…hence the popular saying, “What am I…chopped liver.” It isn’t the centerpiece in a meal, even though it is a heavy meat dish high in protein and cholesterol. Chopped Liver is a dish of Eastern European / Ashkenazi origin that was commonly served in delicatessens. The first time I tasted chopped liver was in a sandwich with my parents in a New York delicatessen called the Carnegie Deli. It was huge. My father, Melton Kligman, happened to love liver. As a child, we would go out to eat at Morrison’s Cafeteria on Thursday nights just so he could order Liver and Onions. On Rosh Hashanah my mother, Helene Firetag Kligman, would make chopped liver and Dad would always make sure that there would be leftovers, so he could make a challah and chopped liver sandwich.

  • 1 lb. chicken liver

  • 1 large sweet onion

  • ¼ cup of sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • Gribenes frozen chicken fat (shmaltz)

  • Mayonnaise

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Boil eggs until hard boiled. Peel shells and set aside to cool.

Wash off liver and set aside.

Chop up frozen chicken fat (schmaltz).

Chop up onion into small pieces

In a large deep skillet, brown chicken fat (schmaltz) until very crispy, put on a paper towel to drain. The fried chicken fat (schmaltz) is now called Gribenes.

Brown the chopped onions using the remaining fat in the skillet.

Add the liver and ¼ cup of sugar and stir until the liver begins to turn brown.

Drain off the liquid from time to time and cook on medium heat until all liver is brown.

Let the liver cool.

Put the liver and eggs in a large bowl and hand chop until chunky or smooth, depending on taste.

Add mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a platter with crackers, raw celery and carrots.

After it is made, it will last in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. I like to make it a couple of days before as the flavor seems better.

Honey Cake

Submitted by Shirley Levine

Honey cake.jpg
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup Wesson oil
  • 2 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ cup maraschino cherry juice
  • ¼ cup black coffee
  • 1 cup raisins (optional) 
  • ½ cup sliced/ slivered/ almonds (optional) 

In a medium bowl, beat together the honey, sugar, eggs and oil. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, allspice, and cinnamon and set aside. In a small pot, heat the cherry juice and the coffee and add the baking soda and the vanilla. Combine this mixture with the honey, sugar, egg and oil. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Add raisins (optional). Pour the batter into two greased and floured (4x8) loaf pans or one tube pan. Top with almonds, if desired. Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees. Test for doneness. Cake should spring back when gently pressed in the center. Allow the cake to sit for 5 minutes and remove from the pan to a wire rack to cool. 

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage

Submitted by Helene Firetag Kligman 

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  • 1 large head of cabbage

  • 1 lb. of ground round or chuck  

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup of instant rice

  • 1 6-8 oz. jar of grape jelly

  • 1-2 jars of chili sauce

  • A handful of Golden raisins

  • Salt and pepper

  • Large Dutch oven or Stew Pot with a Top 

 

Prepare the Cabbage

Take the head of the cabbage and cut out the stem and put in a pot and cover the cabbage with water. Bring the water to boil turn off and let cabbage sit for 10-15 minutes. Drain the cabbage and peel off the cabbage leaves. They should be soft, wilted and easy to manage. Let sit on a paper towel until meat mixture is ready.  

Prepare the Meat mixture

Make the instant rice. And put in a bowl with the two eggs and the ground beef. Add salt and pepper. Mix with a wooden spoon or your hands.  Make golf ball size meatballs with all of the mixture.  Put the Dutch oven on the stove and pour a little bit of chili sauce to cover the bottom of the pot. 

Prepare the Stuffed Cabbage

Take the cabbage leaf and place the meatball at the thickest part of the cabbage leaf and roll the cabbage leaf around the meatball, taking the thinnest part of the leaf and tucking it under the whole ball. It should be a nice wrapped meatball.  Take two of the smaller leafs and make it into a makeshift roll, which will stay together while cooking.  When you finish a meatball wrapped in cabbage, place it fold down in the bottom of the pot. Stack each stuffed cabbage until you finish the meatballs and cabbage. It should work out nicely. 

Prepare the Sauce and Stuffed Cabbage

Pour the rest of the chili sauce over all the stacked stuffed cabbages. Pour the Grape Jelly over the Stuffed Cabbage. Sprinkle the handful of golden raisins on top.  Cover and cook on low for about 2 hours. The sauce will cover all the stuffed cabbage. It’s best to make this at least 48 to 24 hours before serving and refrigerate. You can also freeze and reheat.  

To Serve

Use a large spoon and put stuffed cabbage in a shallow bowl or deep platter. Serve the stuffed cabbage with plenty of sauce and the raisins on top.

Kasha Varnishkes

Submitted by Lyssa Kligman Harvey 

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Kasha Varnishkes is a traditional Ashkenazi Eastern European dish. The word Varnishkes is a Yiddish word for a Russian small stuffed dumpling called Varenichki. Kasha is a buckwheat grain that is originally from Asia. It is a creative dish that has a distinct flavor but can be also thought of as a Jewish comfort food.  I can’t remember the first time I tasted Kasha Varnishkes, but it must have been as an adult. The Kasha grain has a strong, toasted flavor and that seems to be the secret when preparing the dish.  I remember only eating this dish at Rosh Hashanah, but it is also served at the Sabbath meal. It is an excellent grain and pasta dish to accompany a brisket or chicken that has lots of sauce or gravy. I started adding it to my Rosh Hashanah meal to add a traditional recipe to the meal. I took several recipes and combined what I liked to make the one I use. I think it would be fun to ask people who have no idea what this dish is…what they think Kasha Varnishkes is! 

 

  • 1 box of Kasha / Buckwheat groats

  • 1 large onion chopped small

  • A dollop of chicken fat/ schmaltz or butter

  • 1 box of small bowtie noodles/ farfalle

  • 4 cups of chicken broth

  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Cook the box of bowtie noodles and drain. 

Fry the chopped onions in the chicken fat or butter until they are caramelized.  

Put the Kasha on an aluminum foil-covered cookie sheet sprayed with Pam and toast the Kasha grain, being careful not to let it burn. 

Bring the 4 cups of chicken broth to boil and put in the Kasha grain. Cook on medium until all the liquid is absorbed about 25-30 minutes. The Kasha should absorb all the water. Mix in the caramelized onions. 

Mix the cooked Kasha, onions and boiled noodles together in a large baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes. It will be dry.   

Serve with brisket or chicken - The Kasha Varnishkes will be a good base for the gravy. 

Heidi's Challah

Submitted by Heidi Lovit

Challah, braided yeast bread, is traditional to have for weekly Shabbat and High Holiday meals.  Many years ago I took on the responsibility for being the bread maker for my family.  I have to admit, I changed recipes several times since my original recipe called for 9 eggs.  Challah is considered an egg bread so I thought that was normal until I became conscious of increased cholesterol from that many eggs in one recipe. Several recipes called for more yeast and less eggs and I finally found the perfect combination for my recipe.  I do think one of the secrets is adding an extra tablespoon of honey to give it a sweet taste and it also makes the texture slightly more moist. 

Growing up in Columbia, my family would come together every Friday night for a Shabbat dinner.  At that time we probably had challah made from a bakery because I don’t remember my mother baking bread.  I learned how to make brisket and meatballs with cabbage and other Jewish foods from my mom, but not bread. My mother’s sister, Phyllis Firetag Hyman, shared her recipe with me when I was in high school and I started baking challahs for the High Holidays.  From then on, no more bakery challahs for our family.  I would always make sure we had challah for Shabbats and every holiday.  I even made extra round challahs with raisins for Rosh Hashanah to share with our family friends, the Levinsons, Polinskys and Levines and a few others.  I even remember one time going over to Gloria Rittenberg’s home to teach her how to make Challah.  When my children were younger I would get them involved in the mixing, kneading and braiding.  When the kids moved away, I always made it a point to send them each a fresh challah for the holidays if they could not make it home.  I am happy to say that my daughter, Morgan, still follows my recipe and bakes challah today.  Every time she does, I get a beautiful photo of her fresh baked bread.  She loves to share with her friends and coworkers.  Sharing recipes with friends is always fun, but when you share a traditional Jewish recipe with others of different faiths it helps to teach about our culture.  Sally Patterson, a Presbyterian and a friend for over 40 years, now makes challah for her family.  

Beth Shalom Synagogue has a fundraiser every fall, called Bubbie’s Food Extravaganza. The very first year in 2009, it was Bubbie’s Bake-Off, a competition for the best recipes of brisket, kugels, chicken soup and challah. I entered my challah recipe and won first place.  For the past seven years I have baked hundreds of challahs in the synagogue kitchen for the annual Bubbie’s Food Extravaganza.  This has also given me the opportunity to teach dozens of women in our synagogue this beautiful and traditional food art of kneading dough and braiding bread.  This year the event is scheduled for Sunday, November 12th. Come by and purchase several loaves of bread, they freeze perfectly for months.     

Making Heidi's Challah at the Beth Shalom Synagogue.

Making Heidi's Challah at the Beth Shalom Synagogue.

Makes 7-8 loaves.

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 4 packages yeast (1 ounce total or 3 tbls)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 13-14 cups bread flour
  • 3 eggs (save one for brushing loafs)
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Poppy seeds

Dissolve yeast in water and add sugar and salt. Let stand until bubbly. Put 7 cups flour in large bowl. Combine oil and two beaten eggs, add 2 tablespoons honey to the mixture. Add to flour. Slowly mix in yeast mixture, making sure all flour is mixed in. (This can be done by hand with a wooden spoon or in an extra-large mixer with dough hook attachment.) Add 5 to 6 more cups flour slowly and mix well until slight gooey but easy to manage. (Hand kneading is best.) Transfer ball of dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for 2 hours. Knead and divide into seven balls to make seven challahs. Take each ball, divide it into three or four strands and braid, making sure you pinch and tuck the ends under the loaf. While kneading and braiding, keep flour on counter surface to keep dough from sticking. Place braided challahs on pan that is lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let rise for another 30 minutes to an hour. Brush top with egg wash (one beaten egg should cover all seven challahs). Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes until golden brown.