Tag Archives: jewish holiday food

Grandma Millie’s Cauliflower

I originally posted this recipe 2 years ago. My Father recently passed away so when I came across this photo of my parents on the recipe it was bittersweet . We will miss my Dad during this Holiday season.

Firstly, you should know that this dish is sort of famous around the Kolen/Topper household. My mother doesn’t cook a lot anymore, but for the holidays, she will still rally to make some of her signature dishes. I never even had this recipe in my possession before. Almost everyone loves this dish—even the cauliflower haters (although we can’t get Joel to even try it…his loss.) It is very tasty and a perfect side dish for meat. It is also perfect for the holidays. We always have it on our Thanksgiving table and usually for the Jewish holidays too. It will work anythime you need another vegetable side.  I always thought my mother used fresh cauliflower but as it turns out she’s been using frozen because it’s easier to handle, takes no time and works just as well. If you want to use fresh, just follow the recipe as it is but first cook the cauliflower in boiling water, as usual. Thanks, G’ma Mil. This recipe is a keeper.


1 jumbo onion (or 2 large onions)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup vegetable oil–I know this is a lot of oil so you can try and start out with a little less. I am not arguing with my Mother about the amount of oil!!!! in her recipe

4 boxes frozen cauliflower

Kosher salt (start with 1 tsp.)

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

A few shakes of paprika (for color)

Panko seasoned crumbs (3/4 to 1 cup) you’ll probably use the full cup for 4 boxes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice onions and add to a large frying pan with the 1 cup of oil (heated). Add paprika, salt, pepper and garlic. Sauté onions until translucent and then let stand off the heat for about 15 minutes. Take frozen cauliflower out of boxes, put in microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 2 – 2 1/2 minutes, you want to get it defrosted and soft but not overly soft, should be firm, just to defrost and get all the water out of it. Drain and put cauliflower on paper towels. Trick is to get all water out, you want to start with cauliflower as dry as possible. That’s why frozen is easier to work with, you will be cooking it in the oven.  Next, add Panko crumbs (when adding the crumbs start with 3/4 cup and if it looks like you need more add a bit,  we used almost a full cup for the 4 boxes), mix well and then add the cauliflower. Bake for approx. 45 minutes, until heated through. (I place in one layer in a glass Pyrex until it gets very hot and a little crispy.) Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish.

*I usually taste for salt and pepper during the baking phase, remove from oven and take a taste, then season accordingly. Also, I know this is a lot of oil, so start out with 3/4 cup and add as you need it, for it to get crispy you will need a good amount of oil, the panko will absorb a good amount of it.

*You can prep this dish in advance and refrigerate in a container for up to 2 days prior to serving. Just take it out of the fridge, bring to room temp. and cook in oven until heated through (same as above.)

I hope you love this as much as we do.

Honey Roasted Chicken – Holiday Chicken

DSCN4234DSCN4234this recipe was actually given to me by my daughter Jennifer.  She has made it numerous times. always to raves from the family. I am going to make it this year for Rosh Hashana and it is so perfect for Passover.  It is a delicious chicken dish made with honey so it so appropriate for the jewish new year! sweet and savory as our new year should be! enjoy it.  if anyone out there has some holiday ideas i’d love to hear about them. pay attention to cooking directions as you will not be preheating oven!!!!!!


1 stick butter or margarine

1/2 cup minced yellow onion

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup mild honey

1 teaspoon kosher salt

a rounded teaspoon curry powder

2 tablespoons peach or mango chutney ( available in most supermarkets)

small handful of dried currants or chopped dark raisins

2 roasting chickens  cut up in 8’s or you can cut recipe in 1/2 and use 1 chicken and 1 roasting pan


you will need 2 shallow baking sheets with 1 inch rims ( you may be able to get it on 1 large sheet)Spray baking sheets well with cooking spray.

to make sauce:

Melt butter/margarine in a heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium heat. while it is bubbling, saute onion and garlic until softened, about 3 – 5 minutes. add remaining ingredients except for chicken and stir until well combined. heat until warm throughout and set aside to cool slightly.

to prepeare chicken:

I would spray each baking sheet with pam cooking spray first

Rinse and pat chicken dry . (each piece) dip each piece in honey mixture, coating chicken completely. lay chicken pieces ( skin side up) on baking sheets. spoon any remaining sauce over chicken.

To Bake Chicken:

place chicken in a cold oven, turn heat to 400 degrees and bake for one hour. if you are using 2 baking sheets , roast in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and switch shelf positions 1/2 way through the cooking time.

to serve:

Transfer chicken to a warmed serving platter and serve . this chicken is good hot, at room temp. and cold out of fridge the next day.

*if you cannot find peach or mango chutney ( I found it at Whole Foods) Stonewall Kitchen Brand , you can use Peach Jam, Apricot Jam, etc. Probably Saucy Susan would work. Use your imagination and don’t kill yourself trying to find the chutney. I think the chutney would give it a bit more kick, and cut the sweet, but either one will be fine.

Happy Holiday from my Kitchen to Yours

Noodle Pudding with Apricot Nectar

I’ve tried so many noodle puddings, but keep coming back to the same old , same old. they’ve been passed down in so many different incarnations. i don’t even know what the original one is anymore. this is my most favorite. also a perfect break fast food. can and should be made ahead of time, they hold together better.  we used to add apricot jam, but it really was overkill. we omitted it, and it is perfect just the way it is. thanks to karyn r. for this noodle pudding and for being such a great cooking buddy for as far back as i can remember.

1 lb. noodles ( i use extra wide egg noodles, you’ll need a bag and 1/4 app. just eyeball it)

1 cup sugar

6 eggs ( I use extra large and at room temp. just make sure they are not right out of fridge) they work much better when they are not right out of fridge in baking.

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 stick unsalted sweet butter(melted)

6 oz. cream cheese (softened at room temp)

1 1/2 cups milk ( I use skim plus) would not use regular skim milk

2 cups apricot nectar (available in most supermarkets)


1 1/2 cups cornflake crumbs

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup sugar

1 stick butter (melted)

app. 1/2 jar of apricot jam


 cook noodles. mix 6 beaten eggs with the tablespoon of vanilla in one bowl. in another bowl melt 1 stick sweet butter(unsalted)softened cream cheese, and milk. add the apricot nectar and sugar. mix all ingredients together and put in large pyrex type baking dish. mix topping ingredients together, put on top of noodle pudding. cook at 350 degrees for one hour.   i usually cook this ahead of time, cook for 1/2 hour and then freeze it till i am ready to use, take out of fridge bring to room temperature and bake it for another hour till brown on top and cooked through. noodle puddings are best if you let it sit a while (at least 15 minutes before serving) they hold together better that way. can be served at room temperature.

*serves about 12 – 15 people doubled

Blintz Souffle–Break Fast Food

I originally posted this on October 5, 2011. Now that’s a more civilized time to be celebrating the Jewish New Year, but what can I say? It’s here and here we go again. This is probably one of the oldest recipes on my blog. I remember my Mother making it and always loving it. Along with the baked French toast this is a wonderful breakfast and brunch staple. This dish can be assembled ahead of time, kept in the refrigerator and baked right before eating. This is a keeper and a tradition in our house. Always delicious and the ultimate in comfort food. You can buy almost any of the frozen blintzes, homemade ones are great but it doesn’t really make that big of a difference with this recipe. This is super easy with excellent results.


6 blintzes ( you can use cheese or fruit filled, whichever you like) . Depending on how many people I’m feeding, I usually make 1 fruit and 1 cheese tray. Blintzes can be found frozen in many supermarkets or specialty stores.

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine

3/4 cup sour cream (lite is fine)

1 tsp. vanilla

Dash of cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter or margarine in saucepan. Spray baking dish with Pam Spray. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl together. Place frozen blintzes in baking dish. I usually use 9×13 size baking dish but anything close to that will work. You can double the recipe, in which case you’ll obviously need a larger baking dish. You need room for the blintzes to expand a little and for the egg mixture (custard)  to rise around it. Don’t spread it too thin.

Pour the melted butter on top of the frozen blintzes, followed by the sour cream mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes out of the oven before cutting into it.

Happy Healthy Sweet New Year!

Kasha Varnishkes–Jewish Comfort Food

This is truly traditional Jewish comfort food made with buckwheat grains and bowtie noodles. I love it and grew up eating it and  try to make it a few times a year. What better time to make it than the Jewish New Year? it’s super easy and super tasty. If you’ve never made it why not start now. It’s a wonderful side dish to any meal and it can be vegetarian for all of those who need some extra vegetarian dishes on their tables.

Kasha comes in a box. There are different types of Kasha and almost all will work. I use medium or coarse granulation.  Wolff’s brand is really wonderful so look for it.

If you’re looking for an easy side dish to put together now is the time to look at this great recipe. This is also our go to the night before Yom Kippur. It’s tradition and delicious and comforting all at the same time.


1 package bowtie ( farfalle ) noodles (app. 3/4 lb.)

1 white/yellow onion thinly sliced or you can use chopped onions , entirely up to you.

app. 2 tablespoons olive oil, you may need a  little more and may want a bit more to drizzle at the end. You can also use vegetable oil. I do use vegetable oil with this recipe.

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper–to taste

1 box button mushrooms sliced 8 ounce box

1 cup kasha, medium or coarse granulation.

1 egg

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock ( obviously if you’re making vegetarian you’ll use vegetable )


Cook the pasta according to directions on box for al dente.

Saute’ the onions in olive oil, salt and pepper until they just start to soften, about 5 minutes. I use a medium size frying pan large enough to add in the pasta, and make sure you have a tight fitting lid.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until they start to soften as well, a few more minutes , set aside. Place mushrooms and onions in a bowl and you’ll use same frying pan to cook kasha.

Coat the kasha in a slightly beaten egg. You’ll just place kasha in a bowl and put beaten egg on grains. This will help the grains not to stick to themselves while you are cooking them. Make sure the grains are completely coated with egg.  Put the kasha in the same frying pan, set over a fairly high heat. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a fork or wooden spoon for a few minutes till toasted and the egg has dried on the kasha and kernels are brown and mostly separate. Kasha instructions for cooking are usually on the box as well.

Add back in the mushrooms and onions and combine with chicken broth. Cook box of Bow Tie Pasta according to directions on box al dente.

Bring to a boil and cook over low heat covered tightly. Check on it after 10 minutes or so to make sure the kernels are tender and the liquid has absorbed. If not, cover and continue steaming for another few minutes till all liquid is absorbed.

Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if you’d like, mix in cooked pasta, and if you’d like drizzle a little more oil on it. I like to do it all in a large enough frying pan to hold pasta . You can always mix in pasta in a large bowl separately. I like it in frying pan on stove top till I serve it. You can always make ahead and heat up in oven at 350 degrees in a pyrex dish,  you’ll most likely need to add a little oil if you do so.

*Wolff’s Kasha has directions for cooking kasha on the box. It’s pretty much the same , I just add in the mushrooms and onions for more flavor.

*should serve 8 people

A noodle pudding from Ellen – Cottage Cheese and Craisons

Always on the hunt for new ways to invent the wheel, I sent out a plea for help to some friends for some new recipes for noodle pudding. Now mind you they are never new but sometimes people come at it from a different angle. This one sounds delicious, and simple. It contains milk , if you’re looking for a good one to serve with meat that isn’t dairy check out Marcy’s noodle pudding. Again, enjoy and Happy Healthy New Year. This will help sweeten your New Year for sure and according to Ellen it stays on the table for dessert. Thanks to Ellen for her support and input. This one will be perfect for Breakfast Table at Yom Kippur.


1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 lb butter ( melted)

8 eggs ( room temp. best always) beaten

1 lb. medium size egg noodles

1 cup craisins

1 lb. small curd cottage cheese

box graham cracker crumbs – 3 cups for * crust , save the rest of the box for sprinkling the top . ( see *crust)

Mix all together and pour on top of * crust. Sprinkle more crumbs on top. Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees.


1 stick butter (melted)

3 cups graham cracker crumbs

Mix together butter and graham cracker crumbs and press into bottom of pan and cook for 8 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Plum Torte

photoDSCN4225 DSCN4214 DSCN4216My friend Ellen sent me this recipe in the spring of last year and I couldn’t find these plums anywhere. She re-sent it to me and I think it’s a most perfect dessert, and I was thinking it would be so perfect for Jewish Holidays but the plums will no longer be available soon.  You can make two and freeze one or freeze both of them for the holidays.  Ellen is an awesome cook so I totally trust her on this.  So here you go. It’s best made with the small italian plums that are out end of August and early September and you know how much I love using seasonal fruits and veggies. Thanks Ellen.

These plums can be called Italian Prunes as well, and try and use them because they are beyond delish!

Perfect for freezing.


1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sweet butter softened (room temp. or I soften for a few seconds in microwave , but don’t melt)

1 cup flour, sifted

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch salt

2 eggs ( always bake with room temp. eggs unless otherwise stated)

12  pitted purple italian plums, halved*  ( often called Italian Prunes) If you can’t find the Italian Prune type you can use regular plums, but try and make this now while they are in the store and freeze this.

lemon juice and sugar for topping


cream sugar and butter, add flour , baking powder, salt and eggs, beat well. Cut a round piece of parchment paper and line a 9 inch springform pan. Spoon the batter into pan ( it will be thick so you’ll need to spread it a bit). Place plum halves skin side up. Sprinkle plums lightly with lemon juice and then sprinkle sugar all over. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cool, invert and gently peel off paper then invert again – plum side up.

This is a keeper.