Tuscan Mashed Chickpeas

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa; Foolproof, 2012. Ina says it’s even  better when you make this in advance.

  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (I use Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for serving
  • 2 ripe medium-size tomatoes, seeded and small diced (I used a package of grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped, not seeded)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Grilled country brad for serving (I sliced French bread and toasted it under the broiler.)

Pour the chickpeas into a colander and rinse them under cold running water. Drain well. Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the chicken stock and pulse until the chickpeas are coarsely chopped, but not pureed.

In a medium (10-inch) sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, until the tomatoes are softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the chickpeas, stirring to combine with the tomatoes and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper and taste for seasonings. Pile in a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve warm or at room temperature with shards of grilled (or toasted) bread.

Serves 6-8.

Creamy Slow Cooker Chicken Stew

  • 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, halved and sliced
  • 1 ½ pounds , boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 packages (5.2 ounces each) Boursin cheese with garlic and herbs, quartered

Put first 7 ingredients in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 5 ½ hours.

Raise heat to high. Add peas and spinach. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes.

Turn off heat, add cheese and stir until melted.

Easy Brisket

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! copyright 2001 by Ina Garten.

  • 5  pounds (or so) beef brisket, very well trimmed of fat
  • 6 medium yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 8 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 6 dried bay leaves
  • 1 (46-ounce) can tomato juice or low-sodium V8 juice.

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Place half of the sliced onions in the bottom of a heavy roasting pan.  Place the brisket on top of the onions. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Rub the mixture on the brisket. Pile the carrots, celery, remaining onions, and bay leaves on the brisket and pour in enough juice to come about 3/4 of the way up the meat and vegetables (in my roasting pan, that’s the whole can). Cover the top of the pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, then with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.  Seal the edges well.

Bake for 4 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove the meat from the pan and slice it against the grain. Remove the bay leaves and discard.  Put the vegetables, with sauce into a food processor with a steel blade.  Process until you get a chunky sauce.  Place the sliced meat in a 13×9 pan.  Pour in enough sauce to cover the meat.  There will be sauce left over that can be used for pasta or for use in other recipes.

At this point, you can refrigerate or freeze the brisket until ready to use.  (If you freeze it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.) When ready to serve, heat the brisket in a 325° oven for 30 – 45 minutes, until the meat is heated through and the sauce is bubbly.

Serves 6 people, with leftovers.

NOTE: We think this is even better when prepared ahead and frozen for future use.

Six Strand Braided Challah

While browsing the web for Thanksgivukkah recipes, I came across this video of the great Joan Nathan demonstrating how to braid a six-strand Challah.  So cool.



Team Chiswitz Award-Winning Latkes

Want to cook latkes like the reigning champions of  the Congregation Shir Tikvah Latke Cookoff (2012)?  Just follow these instructions an amaze yourself!

  • 10 medium russet potatoes (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 3 large or extra large eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • plenty of vegetable oil

First things first: If you have never fried latkes before, you need to know that, while they are delicious to eat, cooking them can make your house smell like oil and onions. For days. Take a few minutes before you start to make sure that nobody’s coat is hanging in the kitchen (unless you want to wash it), that closet doors are closed, and that you are wearing clothes that can be easily laundered. Also, be prepared for a thorough clean-up afterward.

OK, now you’re ready: Wash potatoes thoroughly.

Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Line a medium-sized mixing bowl with cheesecloth.

Using the grating blade of a food processor or a hand grater, grate potatoes and onions. It’s helpful to alternate them for easier mixing later. After you have grated a food-processor-bowlful, transfer grated potatoes/onions to the cheesecloth-lined bowl. Gather the cheesecloth up into a bundle. Twist the top to form a ball.  Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the potato/onion mixture.


When no more liquid comes out, remove from cheesecloth and transfer to large bowl with eggs. Repeat with remaining onions and potatoes until all have been grated and squeezed. You may need to replace the cheesecloth.

Combine eggs with potato/onion mixture. It may be easiest to use your  hands here.

Sprinkle flour, salt and pepper over egg/potato mixture. Mix thoroughly to combine all ingredients.

Heat 1/2 – 3/4” of vegetable oil in a large skillet. We use an electric skillet set at 350 degrees, but a good skillet on the stove will do as well.  Our standard electric skillet uses about 22 ounces of oil per recipe. Drop a piece of potato into the oil. When it sizzles, the oil is ready.

Form potato mixture into patties and carefully place in oil. Fry to desired brownness, turn over and fry the other side. If you are going to be freezing the latkes, it’s a good idea to under-cook them a little, as they will get browner when they are reheated later.

Repeat until all of the batter is used up. No need to change oil between batches.

Transfer cooked latkes onto a plate lined with several layers of paper towel to drain. If serving right away, transfer to a serving plate and enjoy! They are delicious served with applesauce and/or sour cream on the side.

Freezing instructions:  Line two cookie sheets with paper towel. Set a cooling rack over each cookie sheet. When the latkes on the plate are cool enough to handle, transfer them to one of the racks. When they have cooled completely, transfer them to parchment-lined cookie sheets. It is OK to place two layers on a sheet, with parchment in between the layers. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place them in the freezer. If you do not wish to store them on cookie sheets, they can be transferred to freezer bags or other containers once they are frozen solid. When it’s time to reheat, remove the foil, place latkes on a cookie sheet (if they aren’t already on one), let them sit out while you heat the oven to 450 degrees, then bake  for 8 minutes or so until hot and brown.

NOTE: Latkes do not keep very well in the refrigerator. If you are going to hang on to them, it’s best to freeze them.

IMG_0843Here are some latkes getting ready for the freezer. Note that they are slightly under-cooked.

Makes about 25 latkes.

I don’t recommend doubling the recipe, as it becomes difficult to handle and keep the potatoes in good shape. If you need more than 25 latkes, make additional recipes from the beginning, starting with fresh oil each time.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons seasoned salt

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C).

Rinse the pumpkin seeds and pat dry. Place them in a bowl. Add the Worcestershire sauce, melted butter and seasoned salt; stir until evenly coated. Spread out in an even layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for about 1 hour in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until crisp, dry and golden brown.

Rehfwitz Chicken Soup

  • 4-5 pounds chicken parts
  • Leaves and small stalks from the inside of 2 bunches of celery, plus 2-3 big celery stalks cut into 2” pieces
  • 6-8 carrots, (peeled if you will be using in soup, otherwise just washed well) and cut into 2” pieces
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
  • 2-3 onions peeled and quartered
  • 8 sprigs parsley
  • Some fresh dill (optional)
  • 1 Tbs. peppercorns
  • Kosher salt to taste

Cover chicken pieces with about 3 inches of water in large stock pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. As the water boils, scum will form. Skim it off and discard. This may take a while. Keep cooking until scum stops forming. The scum will not affect the flavor of the soup, but if not removed, it will make the broth cloudy. Add remaining ingredients; reduce heat and simmer, with the lid partially open, for 2 hours or so.

Remove chicken and vegetables and cool.

Strain stock using cheesecloth and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Skim fat from the top of broth and discard or save to use in other recipes like matzo balls.

Separate chicken from veggies, bones and skin. Chicken can be shredded and added back to soup or saved for another purpose. You may want to slice carrots and add them back to the soup if you will be reheating it right away. If the carrots are too mushy, or if you are planning to freeze the broth before using, discard them with the rest of the veggies, bones and skin.

When ready to reheat the soup, add salt to taste. You may also want to add fresh carrots and/or celery, noodles, kreplach, or matzo balls.