I recently met with Lori Adler and Liz Karp, the women behind Congregation Beth David’s new “Generations of Cooks” cookbook. Lori is married to Beth David’s rabbi, Ethan Adler, and has been a member of the Narragansett congregation for 34 years. Liz has been a member for four years, having moved to the area from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to be closer to her grandchildren.
What inspired the creation of this cookbook?
Lori: Over the years, the women of the congregation have gotten together for “girls’ nights out” and potlucks. They’re all great cooks, each with their own specialties. Liz once brought her apple cake to a shivah call, and that got us started about putting together a cookbook.
Liz: The temple has never done a cookbook before. We put the word out in our e-bulletin and got an amazing response.
How long did it take to complete this project?
Lori: We started collecting recipes in November. It took about two months for us to edit, and we rolled it out in February.
Liz: We did it as a community event, to bring people together. We didn’t do it as a fundraiser, but it’s turned into that. People have been giving the cookbooks as gifts.
Lori: We’ve been getting great feedback, and we have multigenerational contributions from our older and younger members.
Liz: Some of our recipes are new, but many came from our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. It’s very much in the spirit of l’dor v’dor [generation to generation] and continuity.
Would you do it again? Was it fun?
Liz: Oh, yeah, we can do that again.
Lori: I think so. Some of the women were unable to contribute the first time; we hope they’ll be able to contribute to the next one.
Liz: People are proud to have their recipes in the cookbook, and I hope that will encourage others to contribute to the next one. It was fun, but also more work than I thought it would be, with editing and re-editing.
Lori: It was fun. Liz and I have a way of complementing how we work, so it was easier than it could have been.
What sort of feedback have you received about the cookbook?
Lori: People have enjoyed the recipes.
Liz: We forgot to mention, we encouraged people attending dinners and potlucks to bring dishes from the cookbook.
Lori: One of our members was saying that she really appreciated that.
How many recipes are in the book?
Liz: Eighty? Did we say 80?
Lori: We have 93 pages, so there are probably about 85 recipes.
Do you have a favorite recipe from the cookbook?
Liz: I have to say that the matzoh crunch is just amazing.
Lori: I want to try that chicken dish from Beth Casagrande.
Liz: I want to try that chocolate torte! So many people I’ve talked to have tried so many of the recipes. Every time I go to my daughter’s house, the book is open next to the stove.
Lori: Oh, you know what’s good is the chicken Marbella.
Liz: Oh, I love that.
What are your favorite Jewish foods?
Liz: Charoset. I eat it by the bowlful; I just adore it.
Lori: Roast chicken. Oh, and babka!
What about your favorite Jewish holiday?
Liz: I’m going to say Passover. I love Passover because we get the family together. It’s always just such a fun holiday.
Lori: Rosh Hashanah. Part of it’s the family – we get together, have a big meal, hang out for a few days. It’s also the sense of renewal, and it’s a brisket holiday!
Do you have a favorite Hebrew or Yiddish word or phrase?
Lori: Ongepotchket [overly elaborate, fussy]. That’s my favorite Jewish word.
Liz: Oh, shpilkes [restless, agitated]. My entire life, I’ve been accused of shpilkes, and I have two daughters that share that with me.
Lori: I have a son like that.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Liz: Be true to yourself. Just don’t ask me to say it in Yiddish!
Lori: Mine’s similar: Be a mensch.
Do you have anything else to tell our readers about the cookbook?
Liz: It was a multi-leveled concept. First and foremost it was creating continuity between people and their mothers and grandmothers, and a mitzvah for the temple, and as a result, I became closer with Lori.
Lori: It was rewarding to ask for recipes and see who sent them back, and it was great to see that many people we don’t see often are still involved with the congregation.
Liz: Every recipe has a credit, and many have stories or notes at the bottom; it serves to connect people.
Lori: If we know that someone here is ill, we call and offer food and groceries.
Liz: Before we even offer a ride, because that’s how we were raised. You need food before you need anything.
Lori: For any occasion, the first thing you do is bring food.
How can our readers order copies of the cookbook?
Liz: Oh, we’d be so excited to have that happen!
Lori: They can email me, at email@example.com. The cookbook is $18, or $30 with a wooden spoon and matching apron.
Apple Bundt Cake
Submitted by Liz Karp
Adapted from epicurious.com.
4 medium Golden Delicious apples (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/3-inch pieces.
2 1/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (325 degrees F for a dark pan). Oil and flour 12-cup Bundt pan (or use baking spray). Mix apple pieces, 5 tablespoons sugar, and ground cinnamon in medium bowl.
Combine 2½ cups sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, orange juice, orange peel, vanilla in large bowl. Whisk to blend.
Stir flour, baking powder and salt into egg mixture.
Spoon 1 1/2 cups batter into prepared Bundt pan.
Top with half of apple mixture. Cover with 1 1/2 cups batter. Top with remaining apples, then batter.
Bake cake until top is brown and tester inserted near center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Cool cake in pan on rack, 15 minutes. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen. Turn cake out onto rack. Cool at least 45 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Freezes well.
Grandma’s Shabbos Chicken
Submitted by Lori Adler
8 pieces of chicken (legs, thighs, breasts)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
2 celery stalks, sliced into
3 carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 cups cut-up potatoes (optional)
Water to cover 1 inch in roasting pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large roasting pan, add chicken. Sprinkle chicken with half the garlic powder and paprika.
Add water, remaining garlic powder and paprika to the water. Add celery, carrots, and potatoes (if using).
Bake for 1 hour or until thoroughly cooked and almost falling off the bone. If water gets low, add more. Makes a great gravy.
My maternal grandmother, Ethel Siegel, was a wonderful cook. She made this dish every Friday night, and it was delicious every time. Great with mashed potatoes, rice or kasha.
Chocolate Caramel Matzoh Crunch
Submitted by Bev Schneider
4-6 unsalted matzohs
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter or unsalted Passover margarine
6 ounces coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips)
1/2 - 3/4 cup Heath Bar Crunch* (or crushed Heath Bars)
* Heath Bar Crunch is sold near chocolate chips on most grocery shelves; may not be Kosher for Passover. Substitute other Passover candy or chopped toasted almonds.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet completely with aluminum foil. Lay baking parchment on top of the foil. Line the bottom of baking sheet with matzohs, cutting extra pieces to fit any spaces.
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil, and boil for three minutes.
Pour sauce over matzohs and spread evenly.
Place baking sheet of matzoh into the oven and immediately reduce heat to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to be sure mixture isn’t burning. (If it is, remove from oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees, then return baking sheet to the oven.)
Remove from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over hot matzohs. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread melted chocolate over matzoh.
Sprinkle Heath Bar Crunch over warm chocolate.
Place baking sheet in refrigerator until chocolate hardens. Once cold and hard, break into pieces and serve. Store in airtight container.
MICHAEL SCHEMAILLE (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes for Jewish Rhode Island and the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.