Dairy dishes, old and new


WEST WARWICK — It’s a rare Jewish cook who espouses “In with the new, out with the old” – a much more typical attitude being, “In with the new, in with the old.”

This was certainly in evidence at Hadassah’s dairy potluck Chai Luncheon, held recently at the Riverfarms Condominium Clubhouse. About 30 women attended the luncheon program, and contributed dairy dishes, from the traditional – noodle kugel, egg salad and cut fruit – to the modern, including arugula with curry dressing, caponata, and chocolate mousse cake.

The blending of old and new was also evident in the preparation of the dishes. Asked to supply a recipe for their dish, many of the women shrugged their shoulders and said they could not.

“There’s no recipe,” Monika Curnett, of Cranston, said of her egg salad dish. “It’s a little of this and a little of that.”

But other women cited the cookbooks and websites where they had found their recipes. Still others pointed to their dish and easily admitted: “It’s from Aldi” or “Stop & Shop made it.”

Whether homemade from “a little of this and a little of that,” store-bought or from a recipe, the women enjoyed dishes that included noodle kugel, cheese kugel, macaroni and cheese, macaroni salad, spinach and strawberry salad, bean salad, zucchini bread, Mexican corn casserole, chocolate babka, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies and carrot cake.

Of course, there was too much food, but by the end of the meal, the serving bowls holding Monika’s Egg Salad and Karen Dannin’s Broccoli Salad were wiped clean.


“It always is,” Dannin, of Middletown, said of her popular Broccoli Salad.

Hadassah’s Chai Luncheon is an annual event that everyone is welcome to attend. Until the luncheon rolls around again next year, here are some of the potluck recipes for you to add to your dairy meal repertoire:  

Arugula with Curry Dressing

Margalit Aharon, of Cranston






2-3 tablespoons olive oil

One can of chick peas, drained 

1/3 cup plain yogurt

1 teaspoon curry powder

One bag of washed arugula

Heat olive oil and sauté all the spices except curry for a minute or so, until they release their aroma.

Add drained chick peas, sauté about 10 minutes, stirring constantly to get the chick peas coated with the spice mixture.

Remove from heat and let cool. Mix yogurt with curry powder. When the chick peas are totally cool, mix with the arugula in a salad bowl, and drizzle the yogurt dressing on top.

Broccoli Salad

Karen Dannin, of Middletown

In blender, blend together:

3 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 egg

2 tablespoons salad oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

Pour mixture over: 

1 bunch broccoli florets

2 tablespoons chopped red onion

1/3 cup raisins

Chill overnight.

Monika’s Egg Salad

Monika Curnett, of Cranston

Hard-boiled eggs


Sweet pepper relish



Mash eggs. Mix mayonnaise, relish, salt and pepper together, to taste. Mix into mashed eggs, stir until evenly blended. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

Mexican Corn Casserole

Judy Schoenfeld, of North Smithfield

1 medium onion, chopped

1 stick butter

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

8 ounces sour cream

1 package corn bread mix

1 can whole kernel corn (do not drain)

1 can cream style corn.

Sauté onion in butter. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together until well-blended and then mix in onion mixture. Pour into pan and bake for one hour, or until set but still a little moist.   

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

From Sue Mayes; reprinted from “A Simcha Every Day,” published by Hadassah Glastonbury (Conn.)

1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

1 bag fresh baby spinach

To make the dressing: combine the first seven ingredients in a food processor or blender.

Combine sliced strawberries and spinach in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss as you serve.

Favorite Easy Apple Cake

Phyllis B. Solod, of Warwick

2 cups diced, peeled apples

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup oil

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix apples and sugar together and let sit for 10 minutes. Add oil and eggs. Combine flour with remaining ingredients and mix into apple mixture.

Pour into greased 8-inch square pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until it tests done. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing.

CYNTHIA BENJAMIN is an editor, writer and chef. She is a member of Congregation B’nai Israel, in Woonsocket.