Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls

2 cups uncooked rice

5 cups water

1 lb ground meat

1 medium diced onion

4 tablespoons canola oil or margarine

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sweet paprika

3 tbsp ketchup

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp dill powder

1/2 tsp salt

I head cabbage

1 can tomato sauce

Begin by washing and draining rice. Add water and bring to boil. Turn down, cover and simmer on low until rice is cooked. Should be sticky rice. Add all spices and ketchup to sticky rice and stir

Dice onion and sauté with ground meat. Use potato masher to get meat into soft pieces.

Mix meat onions and oil with rice/spice mixture. You can taste the mixture at this point and add spices if you find its missing something. Sometimes I’ve added seasoning salt and it’s amazing. Other times I prefer a bland taste.

Fill a 8 cup soup pot with water. Core cabbage and add it to water, cored end upwards. Boil cabbage until leaves start to fall off. Gently pull off leaves and remove from water, I use two forks to do this. Lay the cabbage in a pan. Over-boiling leaves will make them too soft and they will tear when you make the cabbage rolls.

Take a paring knife and gently remove the ribs of the cabbage leaves by cutting down the sides of the rib. Place those ribs in the bottom of a 9×11 roasting pan

Take a tablespoon and get a large scoop of rice and add mixture to centre of cabbage. Roll while pushing rice into the ends. Make sure roll is tight, or you will end up with deconstructed cabbage mixture. It will take practice. This is probably one of the hardest steps! Lay down into pan, rib side down. Add next cabbage roll tightly to the previously one. Continue until pan is filled. Top with leftover cabbage leaves. Add can of tomato sauce. Use a spatula to move the cabbage away from the edges so that sauce gets to bottom of pan. Cover with foil and place in 350F oven. Bake an hour and a half.

Chicken Filled Bourekas

More brown food for the holidays
Chicken cutlets I use
Before going into oven…I could have been neater 🤷🏻‍♀️

This is one of the simplest recipes to put together, but the work is time consuming. Just turn on a good playlist, and you should be good to go 💕

1 pack of chicken cutlets as seen in picture

Pack of phyllo dough cut into 4”x4” squares

1 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp pepper

Dijon mustard (1/2 tsp per piece)

1 egg, scrambled for egg wash

Sesame seeds for covering

Cut up chicken in small 1” by 2” strips. Chicken cuts better when still a little frozen

Take spices and cover pieces liberally, mixing with your hands

Cut phyllo dough and place chicken in centre of each square

Cover with a dollop of mustard. 1/2 tsp per chicken piece. Not too much, because then the phyllo won’t seal properly

Gather edges of phyllo dough around chicken and squeeze to seal

Place each piece onto greased cookie sheet with sealed side upwards.

Cover each piece with egg wash (can use sesame seeds at this point but this house has food allergy fo them 🤦🏻‍♀️)

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes, or until brown.

Double this recipe because believe me, it disappears!!

Gefilte Fish Ratatouille

1 medium zucchini sliced thinly

1 red pepper diced

1 medium onion diced

2 cloves garlic minced

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup Tuscanini diced tomatoes 

1/2 cup water 

2 tablespoons sugar

1 jar  Manischewitz Gefilte Fish, drained of broth. 

Prepare all vegetables by dicing thinly. Place Gefilte fish in sieve, and drain broth. Place vegetables into warm skillet with oil. Sauté until vegetables are tender, but not done. Add two tablespoons sugar and pepper. Add diced tomatoes and water along with Gefilte fish. Stir gently until everything is incorporated and fish is covered with tomato broth. Cover and let simmer for half an hour. Serve warm, but tastes great cold as well!

In university I used to need to work harder on some subjects and every Thursday night, I’d get together to study Engineering Static’s with a friend. This is where I learned about the amazing flavour of Ratatouille, and it’s a recipe that’s stayed with me forever.

Smoked Turkey and Farfel

This is meant as a side dish. Sort of like a goulash, without the liquid component.

One large smoked turkey thigh or 1 cup chopped smoked meat
1 package farfel

2 tblsp or oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 small stalks of celery, diced

1 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1/4 tsp pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt to taste

1 container farfel

1 package smoked turkey leg or thigh, or 1 cup diced smoked deli meat

Sauté veggies and spices in oil. The spices with incorporate into the veggies if you do this.

Add chopped pieces of meat and stir for three minutes or until meat completely covered with onion mix

Add farfel and stir until it’s coated with oil, onion/ meat mixture

Add 12 ounces of water.

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until farfel is soft

This makes a great side dish and is very easy to prepare. Kids love it.

Gdańsk Chicken

Sauté onions until golden
Place thighs, top down and braise
Turn thighs over and sauté other side
Add spices, potatoes and water and simmer

2 Tbsp oil

1 medium onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 chicken thighs

2 large potatoes halved

4 tsp of sweet paprika

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2-3 cups water or chicken broth

2 tbsp flour for thickening at end

Place oil into skillet and add minced garlic with sliced onion. Sauté until slightly golden. Add chicken bottoms in, top down. Braise until skin is slightly brown, 3-5 minutes

Turn over and do the same to bottom half. Sprinkle each thigh with sweet paprika (1 tsp per thigh). Drop potatoes into pan, keeping everything level. If food is doubled up, it won’t cook evenly. Add salt and pepper to mix. Add 2-3 cups water and cover. Turn down flame, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Take off cover and turn chicken pieces over so tops brown. Add 2 Tbsp flour, stir and simmer for extra 5 minutes until gravy forms. Cover potatoes and chicken with gravy and plate. Sprinkle with paprika before serving. This is basically more “brown food” but it’s soft and a great comfort food for those chilly fall nights.

Serves two but you can double it!

(This recipe is from the Zacharias’ Family who came from Gdańsk. I think it’s “Chicken Paprikash” in Hungarian, but I’ve always called it this and never thought twice about why until recently)

Perogies

Dough recipe:

Filling:

5 medium potatoes

1/2 medium onion, diced

4 tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper for flavour

Stuffing. 5 medium potatoes boiled then drain. Mash with no liquid added. Sauté 1/2 diced onion in canola oil. Add onion to potatoes along with 4 tblsp oil. Stir in 1/2 cp shredded cheddar cheese until melted and fully combined. If mixture seems too dry, add milk one tablespoon at a time until smooth. Make sure you keep the potatoes a smooth consistency, but not as soft as mashed potatoes. You don’t want them too runny, or they wont stick in the centre’s of the dough. Keep the potatoes like a play dough consistency if that makes sense. Add salt and pepper for flavor. Cut dough into circles with glass. Hold dough in palm of one hand. Take tsp of potato mixture and put in middle of circle dough. Moisten edges of circle and fold dough in half keeping, potato mixture in centre. You may have to use thumb to push potato mixture back into dough. Seal by pinching edges. Place perogies on clean tea towel. Cover with another clean tea towel until all perogies are done. Bring large pot of water to boil. Add perogies by gently lowering them down into water. Boil until they raise to top and then let boil for 2 minutes more

Fry chopped onions in butter and serve with sour cream.

Quick and Easy Beet Soup (Borscht)

I love the smell of borscht cooking on a cold day. My grandmother used to make it for me at lunch along with a sandwich, and it was the warmest feeling knowing she put so much work and love into a meal for me. Borscht doesn’t have to be so difficult to make, though. This is my quick borscht recipe. In hard times, it’s easy to make.

2 carrots chopped

1 celery chopped (I peel mine to remove the strings)

1 can sliced beets

1/2 medium onion diced

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 bay leaf

1 tsp dill

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing

6 cups vegetable broth

Sauté vegetables and spices in olive oil until tender. Add bay leaf and liquid. Bring to boil and turn down to simmer. Let simmer for one hour to one and half hours.

Butternut Squash Soup

I wanted a different soup for our celebration of Purim, so I adapted this one. Pinterest inspired, it turned out wonderfully and was so easy to make.

1 diced celery

1 diced carrot

1 bag frozen butternut squash cubes

1 diced apple

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp garlic

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 tbsp canola oil

6 cup water

Place canola oil in soup pot. Sauté vegetables until soft. Add water and spices (except bay leaf). Bring to boil and turn down. Use immersion blender to blend. Add bay leaf and let simmer for 1 – 2 hours. Serve with croutons.

Bubby’s P’tcha (Meat Jelly)

My Bubby alwats made p’tcha (galarita) and kept it in an enamel pan in the basement fridge. I was the only grandchild who enjoyed it, but she used to make it when she knew my Uncle was coming to visit. He LOVED her meat jelly and she loved him. He was the only boy of three girls.

Her recipe was from years of trying different tastes, but she brought it with her from Galicia

Basically you either love this or you hate it. The way of enjoying it (for me) is with a thick piece of toasted challah.

1 package p’tcha bones (cut up cows knees basically. Ask your butcher)

1 package stew meat

1 medium cooking onion

1 large carrot

1 large celery

2 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp salt

Ground pepper

1-2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp garlic powder

Boil the cows feet for about 5 minutes and thoroughly rinse the bones and discard the foamy guck that comes to the surface. Place back in pan with stew meat, other vegetables and spices. Add water to JUST cover bones. (Use a medium saucepan that the bones will cover the bottom completely and not be on top of one another with no room in between). Bring to boil and then turn down to simmer for 4-6 hours.

Take out bones and pull off all meat and cartilage from them then throw away the bones. Dice stew meat and cut up cartilage and meat into fine pieces. Put into Pyrex pan (metal does something weird with this so it has to be Pyrex). Drain broth into pan and refrigerate over night. I cut up the carrot and put it in and discard everything else but if you want plain jelly you don’t have to keep the carrot. Scrape off layer of fat and discard.

Jewish Shabbos Cholent

If you are lucky enough to live in a high rise when you first get married, as you walk up the stairs after going to shul (synagogue) you will invariably smell cholent on each floor. The thing I noted was no two cholents smelled the same. One smelled sweet, one smelled spicy, one smelled of beans, one of barley. As Jews we all shared in the afternoon meal yet no two cholents were ever alike. It seems it’s a lot like us as a people. We all share the same experience yet each of us brings something different to our “table”.

The above picture was taken of my cholent before Shabbos (because on Shabbos I refrain from all work including turning on my phone). The end product is a warm brown colour with soft beans and perfect flavour.

Ingredients:

Package of beef marrow bones

Two strips flanken (fattier the better)

2/3 cup pearl Barley washed and checked

1/2 cup Cholent beans washed and checked (use kidney, pinto and navy beans if you can’t find the mix)

Two large potatoes cut in quarters

One medium whole onion

Half of a sweet potato layered in slices

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic

3 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp pepper

Salt to taste (kosher meat is pretty salty)

Directions:

Add some canola oil to the bottom of your slow cooker recipe sauce pan. Add marrow bones and flanken. Add spices and ketchup directly to meat. Top with beans/barley and finish with potatoes and slices of sweet potato. Fill pot until water JUST covers everything.

If using a slow cooker, turn on high for three hours and reduce heat until Shabbos lunch. For stove top method, bring to boil and then simmer until Erev Shabbos. Before Shabbos place a “blech” (metal separation) between the heat source and pot and leave on the blech on a very low burner until Shabbos lunch. For my oven, the burner is set to 2 ( where 1 on my burner is the lowest) for the blech to have a slow heat.

You can alter the ingredients depending upon the amount of guests you have. More guests, add more potatoes or more barley. It doesn’t have to be expensive. People come for your company, not your meat. Before Shabbos if you find your water has gone down, add more and give it a stir. The water should be sitting at the top of the mixture before Shabbos so it doesn’t dry out.

Note: this is NOT for Pesach (Passover)