2 Accidental Desserts

I struggle with finding the right dessert to end a meal. The baked apples were a nice option but I needed something new. With summer fruits in abundance I decided to try what I have coined: Summer Betty. This is a variation of apple betty-one of my standard winter dessert. I went through my refrigerator this week. I pitted and chopped some cherries, plums, peaches and added a few apple. I sprinkled the mixture with sugar and cinnamon and poured it into a greased pie plate.

The topping ingredients:

  • 100 grams of margarine
  • flour
  • sugar
  • vanilla

I know there are no measurements. I create a cumble by mixing all of the ingredients judging by the texture.   Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling. Top this with some refreshing sorbet and it is a real hit.


I was fascinated by a cake recipe that popped up on my facebook feed this week. A chocolate cake with no eggs or oil. I was intrigued and decided to give it a try. The batter can be made directly in the baking dish. No mess and no kitchenaid to drag out. I thought it was too good to be true but decided to give it a try. The cake was DELICIOUS! It was so unbelievably moist and fluffy.

It is definitely worth a try. Click here for the recipe.





Not Another Brisket!

I just couldn’t help myself. It was just before the Passover holiday and I had planned to make Joan Nathan’s delicious brisket recipe but lo and behold the recipe calls for soy sauce and mustard-2 ingredients that an Ashkenazi Jew cannot eat on Passover as they are considered kitniyot. I was in a panic-I had my heart set on making THIS brisket for seder night. Well there is nothing like Google to save the day. I found this wonderful adapted recipe from The Spruce.  As suggested, I substituted garlic for the mustard powder. I marinated the brisket overnight and put it in the oven at 5:30 AM on Passover eve. The brisket was ready by 10:30 AM. I sliced it cold-put it back in the oven before serving.

What can I say it tasted like BUTTA (pareve of course)!



Another Brisket

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may get the feeling that I am “brisket obsessed”-well I am. I don’t have a large repertoire of  recipes I make. I am not that adventurous when it comes to my cooking. I always feel safe staying with my “tried and true”recipes, using the cookbooks that I feel comfortable with like my dear friend Rachelle’s which features many of the comfort foods of my youth.

But, my son Yehuda, the total opposite of me when it comes to cooking is always looking for a finding new ways to make our comfort foods. This time he introduced me to a new spin on my favorite-brisket. This Joan Nathan recipe is just spectacular and sumptuous-only some of the adjectives I can best use to describe how indescribably delicious the meat was. I admit that I was a bit skeptical about the coke/red wine mix but it worked. Since I made it before Shabbat I don’t have a photo but you will have to take my word for it.

Click here for this absolutely amazing recipe.Image result for brisket with red wine and coke

The Accidental Turkey

I have not written in a while. It’s not because I havent been cooking-life gets in the way; new grandchild, a move-the usual.

The Jewish holidays are over and just as we are settling into a routine, with my winter shabbat menu (more on that in a later blog) Thanksgiving comes along. We have been living in Israel for 24 years and really no longer celebrate this holiday. Thanksgiving was a most favorite time both growing up and later in my own home in Boston. But it is truly an American holiday. It is hard to translate the feeling in Israel when Thursday is a regular workday, there is no Plymouth Plantation to visit (even though it isnt celebrated there on the 3rd Thursday of the month) and my children have not idea what the holiday is all about. For many years one could not even get a fresh or frozen whole Turkey here.

But, times have changed. Turkeys can easily be found here and many “anglos” enjoy celebrating, most deciding to serve the traditional meal on Friday night.

This year we had visitors from the States and at the last minute, without consulting me, a Turkey appeared in the fridg. Now what! It is late Thursday with a short Friday looming ahead-tons of company company and an oven that will be tied up for hours-if we can get it into our small European oven at all.

So, Google came to the rescue and we happened upon Mark Bitman’s 45 minute Turkey. It was hard to believe but certainly worth a try.

Needless to say the Turkey roasting took almost 3 hours-but in all fairness to Mark Bitman-our Turkey was 14 lbs and his recipe calls for an 8-12 lb Turkey-not that I have ever met an 8 lb Turkey. We did follow the directions, took out the backbone and spread the Turkey. That provided the next challenge of fitting it into the oven. With a bit of improv we did-wish I had photos but use your imagination.

I must admit the Turkey was delicious and I am not even a Turkey lover.

So give it a try.


Trying to get Dessert Right

Living in Israel exposes us to many different types of people from various cultures. Over the past few years the French have moved to the neighborhood. Where my other sons had many Anglo friends, my youngest hangs with the French. He recently returned from ah shabbat meal at one of his friends and remarked that they really invest in the desserts. He said the meal was ok but the desserts were just AMAZING. I realize that I invest so much time in cooking the shabbat meal that my desserts do fall flat. One night I was on the phone with a friend from Boston. She described the baked apples she had just put in the oven. My mother in law used to make baked apples but I had never tried it.

Remembering all of the maple syrup I have, I googled baked apples with maple syrup and a few recipes popped up.

I decided to just try my own thing and here is what I did:

I tried both red apples and granny smiths. Core the apples and cut the bottom a bit so that they can stand flat. I filled the core with raisins. Place the apples in a pyrex dish. I then drizzled them with maple syrup. Into a preheated oven 375 F for 45 min (check the apples and if they are not soft may need a few more minutes)

The apples were divine. The granny smiths were a bit more tart than the red apples so keep that in mind.

You can always top the baked apples with whipped cream, ice cream etc and a perfect dessert! So I have now taken my shabbat meal to the next level-ending with a great dessert!

Baked apples

An Accidental Shabbat

I was looking forward to a Shabbat off-invited out for both meals. For those of you who may not understand how liberating this is let me explain. This changes your grocery shopping, it means that Thursday night can be a relaxing evening and I can enjoy my Friday-which in Israel is supposed to be like Sunday (NOT!). As I am enjoying coffee at a local Jerusalem coffee shop with a friend visiting from the States, my phone rings. It is my son who is currently serving in the IDF and his wife is 9 months pregnant. They live in a community about an hour away from the nearest hospital and they do not own a car. So there I was enjoying my coffee, and telling them that of course they could come for shabbat. He told me he would let me know. At 12:30-while celebrating my granddaughter’s 2nd birthday-he calls to confirm that they will be coming. Great, that solves the problem for my almost 17 year old who really would not enjoy either of our invitations. And at that point other family members joined in to say that they would love to have dinner at my apartment with the brother and sister in law they rarely see.

At this point is is 1 PM and Shabbat begins at 4:17. Quickly run to the local supermarket and pick up 2 whole chickens and meat for Cholent. I had my Orange Soup on hand and happened to have done some baking the night before.

So in less than hour here is the menu:

My made up pumpkin soup

Jamie Olivers whole chicken

Kasha and Varnishkes  I grew up with this side dish and it is still a favorite in our household-easy, quick and delicious

Cholent  This is a fabulous easy and delicious meal in one for Shabbat lunch. I use a crock pot.     Spray the pot with an oil spray so as to decrease the sticking on the side. I dont like to use the liners although my sister swears by it. I throw in some onions and the meat-sprinkling with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add 3/4 cup of barley and another 1/4 cup of mixed beans. (I recently discovered a cholent bean mix at the supermarket). Cover with water. I also add a can of baked beans and some bbq sauce to give it a bit of a kick.  Add potatoes-I keep the skin on the white potatoes and also add a sweet potato. You can add pareve kishke as well. Add seasoning and a bay leaf. I start on high and then lower it right before shabbat.

I received rave reviews for the meal and it took an hour to prepare. The siblings enjoyed eating without us around. I can only imagine the conversation.

Shabbat meal


Non stuffed cabbage

The Jewish holiday season has ended. Stuffed cabbage has always been a traditional dish during sukkot-warms the soul and really a meal in one. The problem is that it is as we say in Yiddish-” a puchke”  and I really don’t do anything that requires a great deal of time and many steps.

Thanks to our fabulous chef at Pardes- Daivd Berman, I am now the master of the stuffless stuffed cabbage.

Here is his recipe along with his witty comments (no extra charge)

ome would say that not many, if any foods, are associated with Succot, while so many other festivals have foods that are so obviously related to them (think Kneidelach on Pessach, Dairy foods on Shavuot, Tsimmes on Rosh Hashanah…). Many, however, do have the tradition to eat stuffed cabbage on Succot, the reason most often given is that Succot is a harvest festival and the stuffed cabbage represents the bountiful harvest. Be that as it may, Succot is a time when we sit outside, in our Succah, and not in the comfort of our homes, and in Israel it can be quite cool at this time of the year. It thus seems to be appropriate that we have a comforting, warming and deliciously filling dish on Succot – and of course, stuffed cabbage fits the bill!

Following please find a really easy recipe for a Meat/Besari Stuffed Cabbage Casserole that offers all the deliciousness of stuffed cabbage without all the hard work.

Please note that you can prepare a non-meat/Parev version of this dish, replacing the minced meat with a bought vegetarian meat replacement (such as the Israeli make Tivol), or with a home-made substitute from sautéed onions and cooked red beans and/or brown lentils and/or mushrooms.

I’d be happy to answer any questions that you might have…

With best wishes for a wonderful Shabbat Chol HaMoed and Yomtov!

DSB – David S. Berman, Pardes Catering Manager
Stuffed Cabbage Casserole

500g ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
¾ cup uncooked rice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup vinegar

¼ cup water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 medium head of white cabbage, chopped coarsely

Brown meat, onion and garlic. Drain well, add rice, salt and pepper.

In small bowl mix together tomato sauce, vinegar, water, brown sugar and mustard.

Layer 1/3 of the cabbage in a deep oiled casserole dish. Arrange ½ of beef mixture on top, cover with another 1/3 of cabbage. Top with remaining beef mixture and remaining cabbage. Pour tomato sauce mixture over the top, do not stir. Casserole will be quite full. Let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

Bake in 350°F/180°C oven for 1½ – 2 hours without stirring, until the cabbage and rice are cooked and the top is nicely browned. If towards the end of the cooking time the casserole looks dry, you can add a small amount water to the dish.

Delicious served piping hot accompanied with roasted potatoes, cooked vegetables and salad, and a glass of good Israeli red wine!.

 Stuffed cabbage