In Baltimore, MD, High Holidays, Maryland State, Montgomery County, MD, Washington, DC

My grandmother, Ruth Glauber Dworkin z”l, was many things. She was a fierce union activist, a devoted teacher, a talented writer, an avid tennis player, a music lover, and a wonderful grandmother. She was not a cook.

My grandmother’s teiglach were terrible.

Teiglach, for those who aren’t familiar, are small dough balls mixed with nuts and boiled in honey and ginger. And in my family, they were always disgustingly burned.

One year, my parents scoured Jewish cookbooks to figure out what Grandma Ruth was doing wrong. They found a recipe that almost matched hers, but with one difference: while the teiglach were simmering, you had to occasionally stir the pot. They asked Grandma Ruth about it, and she simply responded, “Oh, my mother never liked stirring.”

Now, when I make teiglach, I stir. Sometimes a sweet result takes extra work.

Shanah tovah u’metukah, a sweet and fruitful new year.

Enjoy these holiday recipes from JUFJ staff, our families, and our favorite cooking blogs, over the next few weeks (or all year round).

Dworkin Family teiglach

3 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
About 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup honey
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet.
  2. To make the dough: Combine the eggs, baking powder, and salt. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft, workable dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and, using floured hands, knead until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Cut the dough into 1/3-inch thick strips and roll into ropes. Cut into 1/3-inch pieces and roll each piece into a ball. (The dough will still be a little sticky at this point but simply roll the dough in a little bit of flour. It is okay that the dough pieces are not smooth, as this will allow the honey to seep inside.)
  4. Arrange the dough pieces in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet. Bake, until very lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
  5. To make the syrup: Stir the honey, sugar, and ginger in a large saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the dough pieces and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, for 10 minutes. Add the nuts, and cook until the syrup is a deep brown and the dough pieces sound hollow when tapped, about 10 additional minutes.
  7. Pour onto a baking sheet and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  8. Using wet hands, shape into 1 large mound. Let cool completely.

Apparently, this version is adapted from Gil Marks’ The World of Jewish Cooking.

Mendelson-Richman Family’s Yummy Dairy Kugel

16 oz. package of broad egg noodles
16 oz. cottage cheese
8-16 oz. sour cream, depending on your taste/calorie/fat preferences
*Don’t use light or nonfat sour cream. I’ve never tested this, but my mom says if you don’t want to use sour cream at all, just up the number of eggs to 4 or 5.
2 onions chopped small
2-3 eggs (use more if using less or no sour cream)
butter for sauteing
salt & pepper
**If you’re my mom, you use white pepper so it blends in with the rest of the ingredients. If you’re me, you use black pepper because that’s what you have and you think the black specks are kind of fun anyway.

Chop the onions in a substantial amount of butter until they’re soft and sweet, but try not to brown them.

While you’re doing this, boil the noodles as usual. When they’re just a little firmer than you would normally cook them for immediate eating, drain them and throw them back into the pot.

Mix in the onions, cottage cheese, and sour cream, then season with salt and lots of pepper to taste.

Lightly whisk eggs in a separate bowl, add to the pot, and mix thoroughly.

Pour the noodle mixture into a lasagne pan (Pyrex, foil, or otherwise) and bake at 375 until the top is golden brown and crunchy, about 45 minutes.

Aunt Lil’s Sweet Potatoes

8 sweet potatoes (1 per person)

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 ½ cups orange juice

1 ½ cups water

½ cup (1 stick) of butter or margarine

Grease a large casserole dish with butter or margarine.  Preheat the oven to 350°.

Peel the potatoes.  Place them in a large pot and cover them with cold water.  Bring the water to a boil. Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes or until a fork goes through them.  Drain the cooking water and cover the potatoes in cold water to help them cool. Once the potatoes have cooled, slice them lengthwise into even slices about 1/8” thick.  Place the potatoes in the prepared casserole dish in rows, with the potatoes overlapping.

Bring the dark brown sugar, orange juice, water and stick of butter or margarine to a boil.  Pour the liquid over the potatoes.

Bake the potatoes at 350° until they are brown (at least 2 hours), then turn the heat down to 200°-250° and continue baking for a couple more hours.  While the potatoes are baking, baste them about every 30 minutes. When all of the liquid all cooks off, add some water and continue basting.

These sweet potatoes are even better the second day.  Bake them for about an hour at 250°.

Tofu Marbella (Very Un-Traditional, Very Good)

Chicken Marbella is an iconic 80s gourmet dish from the Silver Palate cookbook, with wonderful layered salty-sweet-herby flavors… and this is the highly un-traditional vegan/vegetarian version. Reheats well.

Serves 6 as a substantial main dish, 8+ if you have tons of sides

2 packages extra firm tofu

Cut each block of tofu into 3-4 wide slabs (the longest/largest side) and drain/press between clean dishtowels. Then cut these slabs on the bias into 4 triangles each.

Lay the triangles on a foil- covered baking sheet, drizzle generously with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 30-40 minutes at350°F, flipping them over halfway through. If you have nutritional yeast on hand, give the slabs a heavy sprinkle of that after flipping. They should get golden brown and lightly crispy.

Meanwhile… saute together in a large pan over medium heat:

a generous glug/2 tablespoons-ish olive oil
2 shallots or 1/2 large onion, sliced into thin rounds or half-moons
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped

…until soft and starting to brown. Lower heat and add:

generous pinch red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed off (optional, or more if you love capers)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
⅓ cup pitted green olives, sliced in half
⅓ cup dried figs (un-traditional!) or prunes (traditional!), roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil or butter
⅓ cup dry white
or red wine
1 tablespoon Braggs amino acids
or soy sauce or miso paste
⅓ cup broth/bouillon/stock
1 teaspoon red wine
or apple cider vinegar

Stir all together over a low flame and gently simmer to meld flavors. Taste and add salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Arrange the lightly crisped tofu in a 9×13 lasagne/casserole dish. Pour the warmed sauce over the tofu – there should be a messy, yummy mix of capers, olives, figs, and caramelized shallots draped all over the place, and a pool of sauce in the bottom of the dish.

The dish can be made ahead to this point and held in the fridge, or fully cooked, stored, and reheated after the following final bake.

Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, spooning up the sauce to baste the tofu twice or three times. Garnish with parsley.

Grandma Hazel’s Honey Cake

1 lb jar of honey
2 cup sugar
3 T vegetable oil
Cold, strong, black coffee
2 tsp baking soda
1 /4 tsp each of nutmeg and allspice
4 eggs
4 cup flour
Blond raisins & slivered almonds

Make about 2 cups’ worth of black coffee and set aside to cool completely, refrigerate if necessary.

Beat eggs and sugar well. Add whole lb. of honey, oil, & spices.

Add cold coffee to empty honey jar, add the 2 tsp. of baking soda and mix well. Add this to egg and honey mixture.

Add flour last, in small batches until completely blended.

Using standard loaf pans, oil pans with vegetable oil or use baking spray. (NOTE – batter will rise substantially, so make sure pan is not completely full). You can also line pan with wax paper cut into strips to fit pan completely. This will make 2 loafs.

Pour batter into pans, sprinkle almonds and raisins on top, and gently mix in slightly.

Bake 350 degrees for 1 hour until completely firm and knife comes out clean when checked.

Cool about 30 minutes and gently run a knife blade around the pan to help loosen the cake. Peel off wax paper if used while still warm.

Enjoy.

Mom’s Apple Cake by Smitten Kitchen

For the apples
6 apples, Mom uses McIntosh apples, I use a mix of whatever looks good
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons (65 grams) granulated sugar

For the cake
2 3/4 cups (360 grams) flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil (safflower, sunflower, olive and coconut oil also work, as does melted butter)
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
2 1/2 (13 ml) teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup (130 grams) walnuts, chopped (optional and to be honest, we never use them)

Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a tube pan. (I use this one or an equivalent one-piece tube.) Peel, core and chop apples into 1-inch chunks.Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.*

Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter.

Do ahead: This cake is awesome on the first day but absolutely glorious and pudding-like on the days that follow, so feel free to get an early start on it. I keep it at room temperature covered with foil.

* Tip: The apples love to hide uncooked pockets of batter, especially near the top. Make sure your testing skewer or toothpick goes not just all the way down to the bottom, but does a shallow dip below the top layer of apples to make sure it comes out batter-free. Should your cake be browning too fast, before the center is baked through, cover it with foil for all but the last few minutes in the oven.

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