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                                                     Photo: June Hersh

by June Hersh, Reprinted from Recipes Remembered, a Celebration of Survival

There are dishes that transport all of us back in time. Maybe an aroma that fires up a memory or a taste so singular that you know exactly the time and place you first experienced it.  For me, one of those immutable memories is cabbage soup.  I remember how my grandmother would chop the cabbage, hand select the meat, crush the tomatoes or make it oh so sour with lemon after lemon.

I prepared this recipe as a homecoming dinner for my dad, the ultimate wandering Jew.  I figured it might be fun to take you along on my trip back to Minsk and show you step by step how to prepare this hearty winter soup.  I do warn you, the cabbage can be pungent, but the results are delicious. This recipe reminds me of an H.L. Mencken quote:

An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than cabbage, concludes that it will also make a better soup.


1 large head of green cabbage, cored and shredded
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, with 1/2 cup of its juice
3 to 4  pounds of flanken/short ribs, cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces
1 (15-ounce) can sauerkraut, drained
2 quarts beef broth
8 jumbo hotdogs
The juice of 1 to 2 lemons
Kosher salt and pepper


Place the shredded cabbage in a very large soup pot. Add the tomatoes, crushing them over the pot with your hands, allowing the juices to stream in.  Add 1/2 cup of the juice from the can. Tuck the ribs into the cabbage and top with the sauerkraut.  Pour the broth into the pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  If the meat is not falling off the bone, cook an additional 30 minutes.  When the meat is cooked, remove it from the pot, so you can trim the meat from the bones to make serving easier.  Cut the meat into large chunks and reserve. Add the hotdogs and the juice from one lemon and cook for 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If time allows, refrigerate the soup overnight so the fat rises to the top and solidifies.  Remove this layer of fat, reheat and serve. Serve the soup with a piece of short rib in each bowl and extra lemon to squeeze for a more sour taste.


Step through the recipe with June


img_02601. My first ingredient is cabbage. After all, it is in the name of the recipe. No mandolin or food processor for me.  What I like about hand chopping is the lack of uniformity in the shredded cabbage.  It gives the soup a more interesting texture, so cut away the core and chop in any direction you choose. Toss that cabbage into the pot, I used a Dutch oven this time, but a good sturdy stockpot works well too.

img_02592. The next ingredient is the beef.  I have used everything from oxtails to short ribs, neck or shin meat. That’s the beauty of making soup; you can easily substitute or customize the dish. My daughter likes a beefier broth, so I sometimes add more beef than the recipe suggests. It’s all about keeping your customer happy!  For this brew I used a mixture of short ribs and neck meat. Neck meat can be a bit sweeter, but my dad loves to suck on those bones!


img_026113. I got the meat right into the pot along with the tomatoes, which I crushed as I added them, the sauerkraut and the stock.  Toss in a few bay leaves and make sure everything is nicely covered.




img_02724. After the soup comes to a strong simmer, put a lid on it and walk away.  The soup needs at least 1 ½ to 2 hours for the flavor to really develop and the meat to fall off the bone.  Once the meat is fork tender, I remove the pot from the stove and allow it to cool before transferring everything to a container.

I generally refrigerate the soup overnight so that I can skim off the fat; it also allows the flavors to mingle better.  I guess in the cold fridge the ingredients huddle together for warmth.  As you can see, these containers had barely any fat on top, the meat I selected was very lean and therefore, the soup was too.

img_02735. After skimming off any fat, if you like, remove the meat and cut it into smaller pieces. My family likes the meat left whole.  They feel if you need a fork and knife to eat your soup, it’s a meal. When you reheat the soup, toss in the hotdogs- the sauerkraut had been whining for them to join the party.  My sister is happy with just the hotdogs and very sour cabbage, so if your family is like mine, don’t skimp on the dogs or that extra squeeze of lemon.  On a low fire, heat through and serve.

6. All you need now is a big bowl, some crusty bread and a shot of good ole Russian vodka to clean your palate after you’re done.  It’s nice to know you don’t need to travel to Belarus to enjoy this authentic soup.  Enjoy! It would make my grandmother very happy.


Yields: 10 servings

Recipes: Soups, Cabbage, Beef, Kosher

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by Paula Shoyer, The Kosher Baker

This is the most popular dessert I teach in my classes, and it is the dessert for which I am most famous. I bring this to people when they have babies, when someone dies, or when I just need to put a smile on someone’s face. The recipe on which the following is based came from my friend Limor’s mom, Aliza Cohen, who used to bake them for me when I was in high school.


1/2 cup warm water
1/2 ounce (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups (6 sticks) parve margarine, softened, divided
2 large eggs plus 1 white (reserve yolk for glazing)
1/2 cup parve unsweetened cocoa
Spray oil, for greasing pans
1/2 cup parve mini or regular chocolate chips


Place the 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar in a large mixing bowl and let sit 10 minutes, until the mixture bubbles. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, the flour, 2 sticks of the margarine, and the 2 whole eggs and egg white. Combine by hand with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer until all the ingredients are mixed in. Cover the bowl with plastic and let rise 2 to 4 hours, until the dough has increased in size at least 50 percent.

Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups of the sugar with the cocoa. Add the remaining 4 sticks margarine and mix well with a hand-held or stand mixer or by hand with a whisk. You can let the filling sit out covered while the dough is rising.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two 12-inch-long loaf pans with spray oil.

 howtotwistbabka-001Divide the dough into four pieces. On a large piece of parchment, roll each piece into a 10 x 7-inch rectangle. Spread 1/4 of the filling on one of the rectangles and then sprinkle on 1/4 of the chocolate chips. Roll the dough up working with the long side of the rectangle. Repeat with the next dough rectangle. When you have the two rolls, twist them around each other, trying to keep the seam on the bottom. Tuck the ends under and place into one of the loaf pans. Do the same with the other two pieces of dough. Brush the tops of the loaves with the reserved egg yolk mixed with a little water.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the babka and then remove from the pans and let cool.


Yield: Makes two 12-inch loaves, 25 servings

Storage: Store wrapped in foil at room temperature. If you will not eat it within 24 hours, freeze it for up to three months. Thaw at room temperature for 4 hours before serving.

Recipes: Desserts, Babka, Yeast, Chocolate, Parve, Kosher

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by Hadassah Milner, blog InThePink

This chicken soup will heal you, body and soul. Perfect for Shabbat, a holiday meal or just anytime you need comfort.


4 large chicken breasts
4 ribs of celery, sliced
8 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 large onions – diced
1 large zucchini - diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tbs fresh chopped dill
3 bay leaves

Optional: Chicken / turkey necks, giblets


Put all the ingredients into a 10 Qt pot, cover with plenty of water. Boil to a rolling boil, and then simmer for a few hours.

If you want, remove the chicken and bay leaves and use your immersion blender to blend the soup. Use the chicken for chicken salad or chicken pot pie.Serve with Matzah Balls.

Matzah Balls

1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cold water
2 eggs
Pinch of salt
Approx one cup of Matzah Meal

Mix all the ingredients together till you get a consistency of wet cement. Refrigerate for an hour. Boil up the soup to a rolling boil, form mixture into balls and drop in to soup gently. They will fluff up as they cook. Simmer for at least an hour.

Alternatively, you can boil up a pot of water to cook the matzah balls.


Serves: Approximately 15-18 servings

Recipes: Soup, Chicken, Matzah Balls, Kosher

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By Reyna Simnegar. Persian Food from the Non-Persian Bride

I like using dry active yeast because it is very easy to find and store. I keep it in the freezer to make it last longer. Also, there is one gadget that I could not do without when making challah: my beloved Bosch mixer. It can handle huge amounts of dough and, while I agree that making challah by hand can be therapeutic, I find that keeping my sanity can be therapeutic too.


3 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (3/4 cup boiling water mixed with 3/4 cup cold water)

For the dough
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil, plus additional for spraying on the dough
1-tablespoon salt
3 cups warm water, divided
1 (5–lb.) bag flour (approximately 15 to 15 1/4 cups flour)

For the glaze
1 egg, beaten
1-Tablespoon oil


In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the yeast mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a large mixer, place the sugar, oil, salt, 2 cups water, and 7 cups flour. Mix until a smooth paste forms.

Add the yeast mixture, which should be bubbling, to the dough. Then, add the remaining 1 cup water and 8 cups flour until a consistency like that of play dough is reached.

Spray the dough with canola oil and cover with plastic wrap.

Let dough rise 1 hour and then punch down. Then shape the challah. You can make braids or just big balls of dough. Several small balls of dough placed together in a round baking pan that has been sprayed with oil make a pretty “pull-apart” challah. Remember that challah grows; so don’t make the balls too big. I shape 12 balls the size of limes and place them next to each other in a 9-inch baking pan. Spray the dough with canola oil and cover with plastic wrap. Mix the egg and the oil and paint challot with the glaze. Let it rise another 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Place into oven preheated to 350 °F for approximately 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size. The challot should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Wait until the challot cool before putting into plastic bags. At this point you can use them, freeze them, or give them away. You can also wrap them in foil and warm them in the oven right before “Hamotzi.”

Enjoy Reyna’s videos on challah making in her beloved Bosch. 

Part 1 – Making the dough

Part 2 – Challah braiding

Recipes: Bread, Challah, Parve, Kosher

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by Tina Wasserman, Cooking & More

I developed this recipe based on the old country recipe but using modern science to avoid the usual pitfalls of either having the dough be underdone or the honey mixture being hard as a rock when it cools down.  Instead of "cooking" the dough in the boiling syrup, I bake the dough in advance and then boil the syrup for the right amount of time to create a soft honey coating for the Teiglach tower.


3 eggs
3 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons water
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4-teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound wildflower honey (any honey is O.K. but wildflower is the best)
1/2  cup sugar
1/2  teaspoon ginger
1 piece of orange zest 2-inches  long 1/2 inch wide
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup candied cherries or raisins


Preheat the oven to 375F.

In a small bowl combine the eggs, oil, water, and vanilla and beat with a fork or whisk until light and combined.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, ginger, and baking powder.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until well combined.  Knead with your hands for a few minutes until dough is smooth and shiny.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out small balls of dough into long 1/2-inch wide snakes and cut into 1/3 inch pieces.  Roll dough pieces briefly in your hands to make balls and place them on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 20 - 22 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely or freeze until later use.

When you are ready to complete recipe, combine the honey, sugar, orange zest and ginger in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and bring slowly to a boil.  Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the teiglach balls, nuts and cherries or raisins to the honey mixture and stir to coat well.  Place in a pie plate or individual tart tins mounded to form a pyramid.


Recipes: Desserts, Holiday, Parve, Kosher

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