Jewish Penicillin for Pesach

Nathan Matza Ball Soup

I love chicken soup and I may be a bit bold to say this, but I think my chicken soup is very good. I have been tweaking this recipe for about twenty years and I think I have just right. This is not a clear broth soup; it is a rich broth. My husband says, “This broth is rich enough to be a hedge fund.” Forgive me, he has a one track mind because of his startup company.

I won my husband’s heart with my soup and matza balls. I am going to be making a big pot for the seder next week. I always make the soup a day ahead so that the flavours will have time to develop.

I have to tell you that you should be very honoured that I am parting with my soup and family matza ball recipe :-). I hope you will make them with as much love as I do.

Chag Sameach everyone! Next Year in Jerusalem!

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Mama K's World Famous Matza Balls
This recipe has been handed down from generation to generation in my family. It is Westphalian and Alsatian. If you are afraid of using chicken fat, try half chicken fat and half olive oil.
Servings: 45 matza balls
Ingredients
  • 14 matzos
  • 2 medium white onions chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 cup melted chicken fat and/or goose fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt you made want to add more
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 7 eggs lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1/8 cup matza meal
  • Additional matza meal for rolling
Instructions
  1. Step 2 Wet Matza
  2. Wet Matza
  3. Break the matzas into chunks and put into a colander placed in sink. Run water over the colander until the matza is moist, but not water logged. Let the water drain and let stand for one to two minutes. (Can be put into plastic bag and kept overnight in the refrigerator.)
  4. Onions Browning
  5. Brown the onions in melted fat in large heavy frying pan over medium heat until "real brown".
  6. Step 4 Add Matza
  7. Add the matzas and stir gently frequently. Most of the moisture has to evaporate. If mixture sticks to bottom, put lid on the pan for a few minutes to soften. Add the salt, pepper, parsley and nutmeg.
  8. Cooked Mixture
  9. Cool until no more steam comes off the mixture because it must be cool enough so the eggs won't cook.
  10. Mixture with Eggs
  11. Add the eggs and gently stir in the matza meal.
  12. Test the first matza ball by placing it in boiling water. Test that it maintains it shape and taste to check if more salt, pepper and nutmeg should be added.
  13. Finished product
  14. Place a thick layer of matza meal on foil-lined cookie sheet. Use spoons or scoop to make balls, rolling very carefully into the size of a large walnut, using as little pressure as possible. Place on cookie sheet and roll in meal. If you prefer, wet your hands and roll in palm, but this requires scraping off hands and re-wetting frequently. Discard the excess matza meal. Leave on the cookie sheet in the refrigerator, covered with wax paper, or freeze on the sheet before packing in bags for freezer. They can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.
  15. Bring chicken soup to a boil and add Matzo Balls (after they have been brought to room temperature) a few at a time. When they rise to the top, put the lid on the soup for 5 minutes. Serve and say AAHHHH loudly with each bite.

I always make the matza balls ahead of time and freeze them. Since my matza balls are a little different from most, I thought I would give you a step-by-step instruction in case you would like to try to make them.

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Mama K's World Famous Matza Balls
This recipe has been handed down from generation to generation in my family. It is Westphalian and Alsatian. If you are afraid of using chicken fat, try half chicken fat and half olive oil.
Servings: 45 matza balls
Ingredients
  • 14 matzos
  • 2 medium white onions chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 cup melted chicken fat and/or goose fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt you made want to add more
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 7 eggs lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1/8 cup matza meal
  • Additional matza meal for rolling
Instructions
  1. Step 2 Wet Matza
  2. Wet Matza
  3. Break the matzas into chunks and put into a colander placed in sink. Run water over the colander until the matza is moist, but not water logged. Let the water drain and let stand for one to two minutes. (Can be put into plastic bag and kept overnight in the refrigerator.)
  4. Onions Browning
  5. Brown the onions in melted fat in large heavy frying pan over medium heat until "real brown".
  6. Step 4 Add Matza
  7. Add the matzas and stir gently frequently. Most of the moisture has to evaporate. If mixture sticks to bottom, put lid on the pan for a few minutes to soften. Add the salt, pepper, parsley and nutmeg.
  8. Cooked Mixture
  9. Cool until no more steam comes off the mixture because it must be cool enough so the eggs won't cook.
  10. Mixture with Eggs
  11. Add the eggs and gently stir in the matza meal.
  12. Test the first matza ball by placing it in boiling water. Test that it maintains it shape and taste to check if more salt, pepper and nutmeg should be added.
  13. Finished product
  14. Place a thick layer of matza meal on foil-lined cookie sheet. Use spoons or scoop to make balls, rolling very carefully into the size of a large walnut, using as little pressure as possible. Place on cookie sheet and roll in meal. If you prefer, wet your hands and roll in palm, but this requires scraping off hands and re-wetting frequently. Discard the excess matza meal. Leave on the cookie sheet in the refrigerator, covered with wax paper, or freeze on the sheet before packing in bags for freezer. They can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.
  15. Bring chicken soup to a boil and add Matzo Balls (after they have been brought to room temperature) a few at a time. When they rise to the top, put the lid on the soup for 5 minutes. Serve and say AAHHHH loudly with each bite.

Yafo, Yafa, Jaffa, Joppa

Whatever you choose to call Yafo, it will always be that magical place on the sea. I love the Arab architecture, the amazing sea views and cultural mix.

Don’t get me wrong, Yafo is not a perfect place, but there is something that draws me to the old city of Yafo. Maybe because it reminds me of some of the villages David and I visited in Provence.

I would love to buy an old house there and fix it up.

David’s uncle and aunt lived in the middle of the old city of Yafo. His uncle was a painter, potter and stained glass maker. The menorah outside in the courtyard of the Ihud Shivat Zion Synagogue in Tel Aviv was made by his late uncle, Peter Rozsa, and the stained glass windows in the synagogue were designed by his aunt, Claire Szilard and built by his uncle.

Yafo also has some very nice art galleries, restaurants and a Yafo institution, Abulafiya.

Abulafia is open 24 hours a day. There is always a line to buy fresh pita and other wood fired bread straight from the oven, some sprinkled with za’atar or kashkaval cheese.

I try not to do this very often, but I love to go to the Arab pastry shoppes and look at all the beautiful pastries. Okay, sometimes I buy one or two pieces. The best Arab pastries come from a shop in Nazareth. My boss is from there and sometimes she brings us treats when she goes to visit her family. They are not as sickeningly sweet as you find at Greek restaurants in the States.

The best baklava that I ever had was in Istanbul. However, the best baklava is suppose to be from Lebanon. Maybe one day I will be able to cross the border and try some.

Since we are on the subject of baklava, I found a savory baklava recipe some years ago that I would love to try, but the main ingredient, duck, is just a little too expensive here to play with. This definitely is a special occasion dish. Perhaps for an anniversary…..

I finally made the Ducklava and it is delicous. However, I have to call it Clucklava, because I made it with boneless chicken thighs instead of duck and I also made it with very large dried cranberries (I thought they were cherries) instead of the dried cherries. I also used round warka leaves, fried the cigars in a frying pan instead of baking them, and drizzled chestnut honey on the outside of the cigar instead of adding it to the filling. It was a perfect first course and I will definitely make it again.

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Ducklava
Ingredients
  • 2 c 500g cooked duck meat
  • 1/2 c 113g almonds, pecans, pistachios or walnuts
  • 1/4 c bourbon
  • 1/2 c 113g dried sour cherries
  • 2 T minced shallot
  • 1 T honey optional
  • 1/2 pkg phyllo thawed
  • 1/2 c melted butter or olive oil
  • Chestnut honey or similar strong honey such as Greek Fir for drizzling
Instructions
  1. Soak cherries in bourbon for 30 minutes. Grind the nuts and duck meat in a food processor or chop by hand until combined. Add cherries to duck mixture, reserving the bourbon. Briefly pulse to combine. Add shallots and three tablespoons of bourbon, pulsing to incorporate. Add more bourbon by the tablespoon until the mixture is thick and chunky. Season with salt as needed and add honey, if desired.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
  3. Warka
  4. With a pastry brush, brush butter or oil on the top layer of two sheets of phyllo. Fold in half to form a long rectangle. Brush top lightly with more butter or oil.
  5. Making Ducklava
  6. With your hands, use 1/2 cup of duck mixture to form a log to place at the short side of the phyllo dough, leaving about 1/2-inch on either side. Roll the short end with the duck mixture into a thick cigar.
  7. Rolled up Ducklava
  8. Place the cigar, seam-side down on baking sheet, tucking in the phyllo on either end. Brush lightly with butter or oil. Repeat this five more times.
  9. You can refrigerate the ducklava for up to 6 hours by wrapping the cigars in plastic wrap. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until golden, or according to the phyllo package directions. Remove from oven and slice cigars diagonally into two-inch sections, if desired. Drizzle with honey. Serve hot.
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