Chopped Liver

YIELDS | 8-10 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 30 MINS

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Chopped Liver is the Jewish version of pate just a little less refined but with all the flavor. This recipe is very easy and the hint of cognac gives it a nice richness. I love to serve this spread on Matzo, warm challah bread or with rye crackers, dijon mustard and little pickles also called cornichons. It makes a nice appetizer for any holiday. Be sure to cook the livers to medium or medium rare so the spread stays moist.

INGREDIENTS

• 5 organic eggs, grated, reserve 1/4 cup to serve alongside
• 2 lbs chicken livers, trimmed (remove any green spots carefully) and coarsely chop
• 2 large onions, chopped fine, set aside 3/4 cup to garnish liver
• 2 tablespoon olive oil or schmaltz
• 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish
• 4 tablespoons Kosher wine if using for passover or cognac, brandy or chicken stock
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• Challah, assorted crackers and or rye bread to serve alongside
•. Cornichon, optional to serve alongside

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Hard-boil the eggs . Place eggs in cold water, bring to rapid boll, cover and remove from heat and let sit for 14 minutes. Plunge into ice bath and peel.

2. Grate the eggs, into a large bowl, using a box grater, set a side of the chopped egg for garnish.

3. Finely chop the onions, set aside about a 3/4 cup to garnish the liver, and add to a large frying pan, over medium heat, gently cook the onions in the oil (or schmaltz) until soft and slightly caramelized, about 12-15 minutes.

4. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the livers, and stir for a few minutes or until medium-rare or medium. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Be sure not to over cook the liver because it will not mix well.

5. Pour the the mixture into a food processor and process to a coarse or smooth paste or mix with your hands and put the liver into a medium bowl. Add the grated egg to the bowl.

6. Add the parsley and fold it in gently using your hands. Moisten the mixture with the wine, cognac, brandy, or chicken stock, and season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

7. Roll the mixture into a ball and then press the reserved chopped onion into the surface of the ball, optional, cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.

8. When ready to serve, sprinkle with the reserved parsley, serve the grated egg, cornichon, optional, and a variety of crackers, rye bread and or challah.

NOTES

One Giant Latke (potato pancake)

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 25 MINS

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I’ve been making one form or another of this recipe for many years. I recently converted the recipe to make one giant latke because it’s less mess, takes less time to make and is just as delicious. The secret is using a cast-iron pan and finishing it off under the broiler. It creates a crunchy, golden brown crust and a tender, fluffy inside. Serve with creamy sour cream and chopped scallions for a savory dish or with apple sauce and lemon zest for a sweet version.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 lb. russet potatoes, about 3 medium and 4 cups, peeled, coarsely shredded on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor
* 1 small onion, peeled, shredded on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor
* 2 Tbsp. matzo meal
* 1 large egg
* 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. vegetable, canola, or avocado oil,
* 1/4 cup scallions, chopped, to serve alongside
* 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, optional, to serve alongside
* Sour cream and or applesauce to serve alongside, Optional but not really.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. After shredding the potatoes, dry them with a clean dish towel or with paper towels. Dry potatoes equal crispy latkes.
2. Wash, peel and grate potatoes and the onion using the large holes of a box grater and transfer grated potatoes and onion to a large bowl.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the matzo meal, pinch salt, and pepper and then add the egg and whisk to combine.
4. Add the egg mixture to the potatoes and onion and mix until just combined. Do not over mix.
5. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 10-12”ovenproof (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium about 5 minutes.
6. Carefully pour the potato mixture into hot oil in skillet, away from you so not to burn yourself, and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer, pressing to flatten as much as possible.
7. Cook until edges are just starting to brown and lift away from the pan, about 5-7 minutes. Do not lift the edges as you want to keep the latke in tact when it gets flipped. Remove from heat.
8. Preheat broiler to medium or about 450°
9. Brush 2 tablespoons oil over the latke and transfer the pan to the broiler. Broil for 5-10 minutes, checking often to make sure latke isn’t burning, until top is crisped and deeply golden brown.
10. Serve with sour cream, apple sauce, lemon zest snd scallions.

NOTES

If you are pinched for time, why not consider buying a bag of shredded potatoes in the refrigerated section at your local grocer. Saves time and clean up is a snap!

Happy Eating!

Lox & Bagels Tower

STORY

I share this tip with you because every time I serve lox and bagels in this way, I receive compliments. A friend of mine was giving away this display piece which I get gladly took off her hands. You can find two tiered serving pieces like this at almost any home goods seller or even at your local thrift shop. Look for a serving piece that comes apart for easy cleaning and storage if possible. You can always duplicate this design by using a smaller plate on top of a larger plate and separating the two with a ramekin or a small jar. Use your imagination to create all sorts of displays for your entertaining adventures.

Lox Breakfast Board

STORY

There are some traditional elements to this lox breakfast board and some not so much. I swapped out the bagel with a crunchy, toasted sourdough bread and used crème fraîche mixed with fresh herbs instead of cream cheese. The lox are complemented with the traditional caper but I added a little extra crunch by way of cornichon aka little pickles. I like to pre-make these open faced sandwiches for brunch and cut in half for guests to enjoy. I serve a simple green salad and fresh fruit on the side to create a simple get elegant meal.

Simple Smoked Fish Platter

STORY

Here is a quick, healthy easy to assemble breakfast and brunch idea that is sure to please. This idea works for a cozy breakfast for two or can be whipped up in no time to serve a crowd.

Purchase enough smoked whitefish or trout for the number of people you plan to serve. If you are feeling adventurous, check out the recipe for smoked trout found in Fish.

Place the fish on a large platter to one side and sprinkle with capers, to the other side place savory crackers or thin slices of baguette along with fresh cherry tomatoes. Place a block of cream cheese in the center of the platter, sprinkled with chives. I like to keep the chives separate in the case I have a one-off-anti-onion guest. 

Grandma Charlotte’s Matzo Ball Soup

YIELDS | 8-10 balls SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 45 MINS

COOK TIME | 35-40 MINS

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Charlotte was one of the best mother-in-laws a young women could ever know. She was loving, kind, beyond smart and highly opinionated. She was the consummate jewish-mamma and cook. Grandma Charlotte produced scrumptious kugel, cherry cake and tzimmes, a stew made with prunes and root vegetables, but it is her matzo ball soup that made her a legend in these parts. These matzo balls float like clouds and melt in your mouth.
I hope you enjoy this quintessential holiday soup as much as me and may family have over the years.

INGREDIENTS

Broth, yields approximately 10-12 cups:
• 1 whole chicken or cut up chicken pieces with skin-on
• 6 or 7 medium carrots peeled and cut in half
• 2 large yellow onions peeled and cut in half, do not remove skin this gives the broth its rich color
• 1 small bunch parsley, washed and coarsely chopped plus extra for garnish, optional
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• Kosher Salt to taste

Matzo Balls:
• 1-1/4 cup matzo-meal
• 4 eggs, separated
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/3 tsp pepper
• 3 tbsp melted schmaltz (chicken fat) or vegetable oil
• 1 tsp or more minced fresh dill or 1 tsp dried dill

INSTRUCTIONS

Broth:
1. Make the broth a day in advance and up to 3 days ahead of time or use store bought chicken broth.
2. To a very large pot, add the chicken and vegetables and enough filtered water to cover the chicken and vegetables, about 12 cups. Be sure there is enough water to cover everything but not so much that it will make a watery broth.
Simmer for 2-3 hours, the longer the better if you have time.
3. When the broth is finished let it cool and pour it into a colander over another large pot or bowl to catch the broth. Discard the chicken and vegetables.
4. Put the broth in the fridge overnight.
5. When ready to use, take the broth out of the fridge and carefully pull off the hard layer of fat and any remaining fat chunks of fat and discard. Warm the broth to a simmer/slight boil.
6. While the broth heats up, make the matzo balls.

Matzo Balls:
1. Put a medium to large glass bowl in the fridge or freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes.
2. While the bowl chills, gently mix all the other ingredients, accept for the egg whites, together.
3. In the chilled bowl, using an electric beater on high, whip the egg whites into stiff peeks and then gently fold the egg whites into the matzo mixture.Do not over mix. This process is what produces the fluffy texture.
4. Once the broth is simmering, using your hands, gently roll the matzo mixture into equal, golf ball size balls (no larger as the expand a great deal). Drop the balls into the simmering broth using a spoon. Be sure not to crowd the matzoh balls and gently move them around in the broth until they are finished, approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
5. Taste the broth and add additional salt to taste. Pour the broth into individual bowls and add one matzo ball to each bowl. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and serve.

NOTES

Over mixing the ingredients will give you hard matzo balls instead of fluffy yummy matzo balls.
Don’t make them too big otherwise you’ll have giant matzoh balls on your hands.
Matzo ball making is a fun project for little hands. Let your children help make the matzo balls and then watch as you add them to the broth. They will be delighted by how the matzo balls grow in size.
Recipe Tip: Double the broth and freeze half in individual containers to use later. There is nothing better than home made broth.