Cherished Recipes











Last week I finally did something that I have been wanting to do for years. My sister-in-law, my friend and I trekked out to the suburbs, in a snow storm to learn how to make Challah, rugulah, and stuffed chicken from my husband’s grandmother. Now I know I am a chef and I have made all of these dishes a hundred times, but it is something about learning a family recipe that made this day so special.

2 pkg dry yeast
2 tbsp water
2 tsp sugar
6 cups unsifted flour
1 ½ tsp salt
½ cups sugar
3 eggs lightly beaten
½ cups vegetable oil
¾ cups hot water

Combine yeast, water and sugar and let stand to activate.

In a separate bowl mix flour, salt and sugar.

After yeast activates, mix flour mixture, activated yeast, oil and hot water for about 7 minutes (or until it’s no longer sticky). Knead by hand for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour in bowl and let rise (roughly double) for 1 ½ hours in warm area. Punch down and let rise again for another 1 ½ hours. Then form into round or braided, can also placed in loaf pan. Let rise another hour. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.

Bake for ½ hour at 300 degrees then increase oven temperature to 350 degrees for another 10 minutes. Watch so it doesn’t burn.


Pre-oven picture


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After weeks of my sister-in-law begging me to make these “low-fat” cookies, which I knew she wouldn’t even eat, I finally gave in the other night. While they are low in fat, the sugar content is still high and the way I eat cookies (and dough) there is no such thing as “healthy” cookies in my life. Oh, and I was correct, she ate ONE cookies and wouldn’t take any home.

Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies (from
Parchment paper
2 1/2 cups walnut halves
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven. Heat oven to 350°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Place walnuts on a work surface and finely chop. Transfer to a separate large baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 9 minutes. Let cool. Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a bowl. Stir in walnuts. Add egg whites and vanilla; beat with a fork or electric mixer on medium until batter is just moistened. (Do not overbeat batter or it will stiffen.) Drop batter by the teaspoonful onto baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds. Bake cookies until tops are lightly cracked and glossy, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

Side note: These freeze well, but are not good to eat straight from the freezer, they need to come to room temp first


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Along with all the traditional Hanukkah foods like brisket and latkes, this year i decided to add to the mix and incorporate some more vegetables in the meal. I took a traditional potato latke recipe and replaced the potatoes with zucchini. This was mostly inspired by my friend who doesn’t eat a lot of carbs. However, I did see her sneak a few regular potato latkes as well. They were really good and she said totally worth it!

Zucchini Latkes (yields about 15 pancakes)

6 medium size zucchini

2 small yellow onions, or 1 large

2 eggs

1/3 cup flour

salt and pepper (about 2tsp of each) or more to taste

Canola Oil (enough to create a 1/4 in layer on the bottom of your frying pan)


Using a grater or the grater attachment on the food processor, shred all the zucchini and the onions. Mix in a bowl and squeeze dry in between a few layers of paper towel. Add eggs, flour, salt and pepper and stir to combine.  In a large nonstick pan, placed over high heat, add the canola oil. You want the oil to be pretty hot before you drop in the pancakes. Once oil is hot carefully drop in about 1/4 cup of the zucchini mixture and press lightly to flatten out. Cook for 3-4 minutes until golden brown on one side, flip and continue to to cook another 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to drain. Don’t over crowd the pan. If the oil in the pan gets low, add more and heat before placing in more pancakes.  Serve immediatly.

Side note: These need to be served immediately. Unlike potato latkes that you can freeze and reheat, these do not taste as good reheated, the get soggy and do not crisp back up.



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Chocolate Candy Cake                                                                               Vanilla Cake Stuffed with Chocolate Cookies

A great double birthday celebration for the twins last night. My husband requested a chocolate cake covered in candy, so not only is this cake covered in candy it also has a center layer of M&Ms. The cake for his twin brother is stuffed with Paula Deen’s,  Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies. Both cakes were delicious, hard to say if there was a favorite, but I think they were both loved equally!

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I LOVE the Fall. To me Fall is pumpkin, squash and warm soups . So when we had some people over for dinner last night and  I was starring at this beautiful butternut squash, I knew I had to find a place for it in my fall inspired dinner menu. I couldn’t decide if it belonged in a side dish mixed together with couscous or in a spinach salad. But the more I thought about it, the salad was the obvious winner, mostly because I was tired of the same old green salad I always make, but also because the combination with the spinach just made sense. The mixture seamed to be a hit and I really loved it!

“Fall Style” Spinach Salad (not a true recipe)

Baby Spinach (washed)

Cubed butternut squash, roasted (heat oven to 425, toss squash with olive oil, salt and pepper, roast for 25 minutes)

Pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Balsamic Vinaigrette (whisk equal amount olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste)

Combine all ingredients and serve.


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