Jewish Journal

Judy Zeidler

  • Tu B’Shevat: Celebrate with festive cookies

    3 weeks ago

    Tu B’Shevat, known as the Jewish celebration of trees, falls on Jan. 25 this year, in the middle of winter, and marks the time when barren fruit trees begin to spring back to life.

    It is customary to eat several kinds of fruits and nuts during the holiday, and over the years it...

  • From savory to sweet, latkes for all

    December 2, 2015 | 11:35 am

    Chanukah, which begins the night of Dec. 6, has always been a joyous holiday celebrated more in the home than in the synagogue. Every year, we invite a minimum of 25 family members and friends to our celebration, and it is always a festive occasion. 

    When our guests arrive, we...

  • Thanksgiving: Vegan and vegetarian dishes

    November 24, 2015 | 12:26 pm

    In some ways, I’m pretty traditional when it comes to my family’s Thanksgiving Day meal: I like to plan a lot of old-fashioned farmhouse food for the holiday. 

    Who doesn’t enjoy a handsome bronzed turkey with lots of stuffing, an appealing array of relishes and a lavish dessert...

  • Recipe: Chopped liver with wine aspic

    October 14, 2015 | 3:10 pm

    Jewish cuisine has always gotten a bad rap, and very often I hear the expression that “heavy Jewish food” is not healthy, but we have been cooking nutritious Jewish food for our family for as long as I can remember.

    Students in my cooking class always ask me for a healthy recipe...

  • Fresh takes on classic entrees and dessert for the High Holy Days

    September 2, 2015 | 2:59 pm

    Celebrated close together, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the High Holy Days, but each offers its own special food customs.   

    Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown Sept. 13, celebrates the Jewish New Year. It is a joyous occasion enlivened with a variety of delicious...

  • Cooking 101: A practical lesson for college students

    August 27, 2015 | 12:00 pm

    Spending a lovely summer back home in the Los Angeles area, Morgan Lieberman was doing what she enjoys most: using her camera to shoot photos. From time to time during those warm days, she found her way into my kitchen — and my heart — shooting photos of food for the Journal and...

  • Pack your kid’s lunch with a side of fun

    August 12, 2015 | 2:39 pm

    If you have children in school, you know that making a lunch that pleases both you and your kids is not an easy assignment. Think of it as the school-lunch challenge. To help, get them involved with planning a meal, because they’re more likely to eat it if they were part of packing...

  • Inspiring salads for today’s health-conscious boomers

    June 30, 2015 | 11:06 am

    When I think of baby boomers, I begin to realize how instrumental they are in the way people eat today. They have made us more aware of nutrition, healthful food and time-saving recipes. They are setting a trend of eating more organic foods and demanding products that support...

  • Blintzes and beyond for Shavuot

    May 21, 2015 | 1:06 pm

    The holiday of Shavuot marks the receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, but it’s also a kind of Jewish Thanksgiving, when farm bounty and grains — “first fruits” — were brought to the temple. These often included wheat, barley, grapes, figs and dates.

    In modern times,...

  • 65 Years of favorite Passover desserts

    March 25, 2015 | 1:11 pm

    This year, I gathered together all of the Passover dessert recipes I have made, dating back to our first seder in 1950 — more than 125. This was in anticipation of compiling them into my new project, a Passover dessert cookbook.

    I thought it would be fun to share some of my...

  • Make your Chanukah party one for the ages with these recipes

    December 5, 2014 | 1:48 pm

    Chanukah is not just for children, but usually they have most of the fun. They open presents, light candles during the eight days of the holiday and get more than their share of cookies and potato latkes. Our Chanukah party will be shared by four generations this year because our...

  • Thanksgiving by mom, updated

    November 19, 2014 | 2:44 pm

    The Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time to invite family and friends to celebrate an American tradition with a home-cooked feast. The essential elements are turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and yams. And, of course, everyone looks forward to several delicious desserts....

  • Recipe: The time of year to get your fill of kreplach

    September 17, 2014 | 1:08 pm

    I am always impressed by the fact that food plays such an important role during the holiest of Jewish holidays, and kreplach — dough wrapped around meat and boiled, fried or baked — is certainly one of these dishes. Traditionally, it is served between Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New...

  • Packing kid-friendly lunches

    August 6, 2014 | 3:52 pm

    When you feel like you are always packing the children’s lunch boxes with the same old boring foods, it is time to branch out with new ideas and ingredients.

    I am sure that school lunches can be more creative and exciting than when my kids went to school. In those days, it was...

  • Cooking with wine: A spirited menu

    July 16, 2014 | 11:19 am

    The addition of wine to your favorite recipes can impart wonderful flavor, but too much or the wrong style can potentially ruin a delicious dish. 

    Example: Fish is usually better with the addition of white wine — except when using a pinot noir with a salmon recipe. Red wine can...

  • Recipes: Smoked salmon sandwiches, chocolate paninis and more

    June 25, 2014 | 2:53 pm

    Baby boomers have childhood memories of eating all sorts of comfort foods: meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, french toast and tuna sandwiches.

    Over the years, though, Julia Child and the Food Network did a lot to change these food habits, and...

  • Recipes: Summer flavors, savory pastries and rich cheese tarts

    June 18, 2014 | 2:16 pm

    Let’s have an outdoor summer party! 

    Whether you have a tennis court, a swimming pool or a great lawn for playing croquet, now is the time to invite friends over for a fun-in-the-sun celebration and an alfresco meal. Or you can take your party to the park.

    At our annual summer...

  • Going green for Passover

    April 10, 2014 | 7:34 pm

    The mainstays of a traditional Passover seder, celebrating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, tend to be a carnivore’s dream: gefilte fish, chicken soup with matzah balls, stuffed turkey and lamb shanks.

    Today, though, more and more families are planning a vegetarian...

  • Cooking with wine for Passover

    April 2, 2014 | 2:19 pm

    Wine is an important part of the observance of Passover — at least four cups are poured during the seder service. I’m sure we all have noticed how our wine tastes have changed since childhood, when only the sweet, syrupy wines were available.

    But these days, our family and...

  • Celebrate Queen Esther with chocolate

    March 12, 2014 | 11:50 am

    Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim tale, was quite a woman. Not only did she outwit the evil Haman and save the entire Jewish population of Persia, she did it all as a vegetarian. According to tradition, when she moved into the palace, she became quite a party girl but limited...

  • Eight chefs’ new Chanukah delights, one for each night

    November 21, 2013 | 1:13 pm

    This year, Chanukah and Thanksgiving coincide: Chanukah is celebrated for eight days by candle-lighting, gift exchanges and eating foods fried in oil, an ancient custom, commemorating a miraculous event at the Temple in Jerusalem, while the Thanksgiving meal reminds us of our...

  • High Holy Days food: How sweet it is

    September 4, 2013 | 4:06 pm

    Honey adds special touch to Jewish New Year


    Honey Chocolate Fudge Bars. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler

    The use of honey for Rosh Hashanah symbolizes a sweet year and dates back to biblical times, when refined sugar was unknown. Its sweetness adds a...

  • Let them dat (honey) cake

    August 28, 2013 | 12:40 pm

    Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is considered a High Holy Day, but it’s also a happy holiday, full of hope and optimism.

    I am always impressed by the fact that food plays such an important part during one of the most sacred of Jewish holidays. The traditional foods — apples,...

  • Empty nest, full fridge

    July 19, 2013 | 2:00 pm

    My son Paul and his wife, Amber, were the original baby boomers, graduating from college in the ’80s, getting married and raising four children. 
    They both love to cook, and when their kids were growing up, they always ate family dinners together, every night.  The only rule...
  • Shavuot inspires dairy recipes

    May 8, 2013 | 11:50 am

    Shavuot celebrates the receiving of the Ten Commandments and the arrival of the spring harvest. But, for food lovers, it is noted for the array of dairy foods that are served — delicious combinations of cheese, sour cream, milk and eggs. Also in abundance are “stuffed” foods, such...

  • The art of Passover baking [RECIPES]

    March 13, 2013 | 6:38 am

    Passover, the Festival of Freedom — also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread — is celebrated for eight days. Over the centuries, Jewish cooks have produced a rich array of foods for the Passover holiday, and desserts are an especially important course of the meal. 


  • A vegetarian buffet to celebrate Queen Esther [RECIPES]

    February 13, 2013 | 8:40 am

    What makes Purim so special? Maybe it’s the heroic story of Queen Esther. Whatever you decide, it is still one of the happiest of all Jewish holidays. Filled with accounts of bravery, it tells the story of Queen Esther and how she helped defeat the wicked minister Haman in ancient...

  • A Brentwood Country Club Chanukah [RECIPES]

    November 29, 2012 | 2:34 pm

    Chef Brett Swartzman is a chef with passion. The Chicago native started working in his parents’ Jewish bakery when he was 10 years old, making bagels, muffins, cookies, challah and sandwiches.

    Chanukah was always a big celebration at his grandparents’ home. Coming from a big...

  • Saluting side dishes

    November 16, 2012 | 2:07 pm

    Thanksgiving is a holiday when American-Jewish families can enjoy the best of both heritages — hearty American food and an occasion to give thanks for their blessings. Food has always been the center of the holiday celebration, and I like to plan an old-fashioned farmhouse menu for...

  • Feasting after fasting

    September 19, 2012 | 11:46 am

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for serious fasting — no food or drink for 25 hours. At the end of the day, our thoughts inevitably turn to what we want to eat at sundown to break the fast.          

    When I spoke with several friends about Yom Kippur foods they...

  • All you knead for a bounty of challah

    September 5, 2012 | 11:10 am

    Dipping freshly baked challah in honey is a tradition observed during the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This act combines the Shabbat bread with hopes for a sweet New Year.

    The custom is to serve a round or spiral-shaped challah, one of the symbolic foods eaten...

  • Position yourself for Passover’s traditions

    March 29, 2012 | 3:01 pm

    After many years of reciting the Passover story around our dining room table, we made a major change. My family decided to re-create the seders held long ago. According to the haggadah, when people live in freedom, they can eat in a reclining or relaxed manner.

    We asked our guests...

  • Poppy seed pleasures

    February 29, 2012 | 12:16 pm

    It all began with Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, who became a vegan when she married King Ahasuerus and moved into the palace. She favored fruits, beans and grains in her diet, and legend has it that poppy seed pastries were her favorite.

    Over time, I have developed...

  • Chanukah fare with international flair

    December 7, 2011 | 12:36 pm

    Around this time of year, I think of my grandmother and the stories she told me about making beef brisket and potato latkes for her first Chanukah dinner in America. She loved to cook, and sharing her recipes from Russia brought her such delight.

    Chanukah, often called the festival...

  • Delizioso: Chanukah with an Italian flair

    November 18, 2011 | 12:09 pm

    While enjoying my favorite foods on a recent trip to Italy, I began to think about Chanukah, even though it was only October. This was a natural association, because the Italians love to prepare foods with olive oil, and the traditional dishes served during Chanukah are fried in oil...

  • Giving thanks deliciously

    October 21, 2011 | 11:39 am

    Whether you call it Thanksgiving or Turkey Day, the holiday is a festive time for American Jewish families to enjoy the best of both heritages — hearty American food and an occasion to give thanks for blessings.

    When it comes to the Thanksgiving menu, I like to plan a lot of...

  • How sweet it is

    September 21, 2011 | 12:20 pm

    Apples, honey and a freshly baked round challah are traditionally served at the beginning of our Rosh Hashanah dinner. The shape of the challah represents unending happiness, and foods sweetened with honey symbolize a sweet and happy new year ahead.

    Just before Rosh Hashanah, I...

  • Break the fast with a buffet

    September 16, 2011 | 3:52 pm

    As the sound of the shofar officially closes the long day of Yom Kippur prayer, people head home a little weary but spiritually uplifted. It has been a tradition for our family to gather upon returning from synagogue for a break-the-fast meal. It began when our children were growing...

  • A honeyed new year

    August 19, 2011 | 2:21 pm

    Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a holiday full of hope and optimism as well as apples, honey and round challahs.

    Many of the traditional dishes that are served feature honey and apples to assure “a sweet new year.” It is said the custom of eating apples, a fruit whose...

  • Summertime picnic

    July 21, 2011 | 6:33 pm

    Summer is a perfect time to share a picnic meal with friends. There is something exciting about eating outdoors, even if you are only heading to the local park.

    We have had season tickets for the Hollywood Bowl for as long as I can remember. Friends meet up with us there and we...

  • Say Cheese: Recipes for Shavuot

    May 31, 2011 | 6:43 pm

    During Shavuot, it’s a custom to serve dairy foods, such as cheese blintzes, cheese noodle kugels, cheesecake and even ice cream. But have you wondered where this tradition comes from?

    There are many explanations, but I like the theory that, at this time of the year, sheep and...

  • Italian cheeses inspire a unique holiday menu

    May 19, 2011 | 4:27 pm

    It all started with Signora Grazia, an elderly cheese maker in Panzano, Italy. While vacationing in this Tuscan village, just 30 minutes south of Florence, we walked by her farm early one morning and saw the sign that read “Pecorino and Fresh Ricotta for Sale.”

    We hiked up the...

  • Flavors of Israel

    April 25, 2011 | 11:42 am

    My fascination with Israeli food started the first time I tasted a falafel laced with tahini at a little sidewalk cafe in Westwood, near UCLA. Inspired by this simple Israeli dish, I began developing a list of Middle Eastern recipes that grew with each trip to Israel.

    When visiting...

  • More cluck for your passover buck

    April 5, 2011 | 6:16 pm

    I have always enjoyed researching and developing new dishes to serve during Passover, but have you ever heard of Mock Gefilte Fish? Because everyone loves chicken, I am constantly looking for new and different chicken dishes to prepare, and I find that each recipe has a story all its...

  • Passover Argentina style

    March 16, 2011 | 12:06 pm

    In Argentina, although Passover comes in the fall, the celebration is much like that observed by Jews in the United States, and the food is similar to Eastern European dishes, but with a South American flair.

    Argentina has a Jewish population of more than 250,000, making it the...

  • Market fresh soups

    February 15, 2011 | 10:36 am

    Fresh ingredients for a soup are a chef’s dream, and the best place to find them is at your local farmers market — fresh fennel, squash, mushrooms, ripe tomatoes of all shapes as well as root vegetables.

    Our first experience with open-air markets was on a trip to Italy in the...

  • Appetizing oscar night

    January 27, 2011 | 1:56 pm

    It will be a night of glitz and glamour, surprises and speeches. From red carpet hits and misses to backstage interviews with the winners, the Academy Awards is Hollywood’s biggest night. Celebrate the 83rd Oscars on Feb. 27 with an award-worthy viewing party.

    Whether you invite...

  • O, Chanukah! Looking beyond latkes

    November 23, 2010 | 1:20 pm

    When I was growing up in Los Angeles, the highlights of our Chanukah celebration included visiting with extended family — uncles, aunts and cousins — lighting the Chanukah candles and eagerly awaiting the platters of fried potato latkes. In our home, the potato latkes were served...

  • Chanukah’s the time for lots of latkes

    November 19, 2010 | 2:13 pm

    There is something special about Chanukah, a time when all of our children and grandchildren gather from across the country to celebrate the holiday, which begins this year at sundown on Dec. 1. Lighting the candles, followed by family meals, singing songs, exchanging gifts and...

  • Thanksgiving: Let the next generation take over [RECIPES]

    October 25, 2010 | 7:01 pm

    After 55 years of celebrating Thanksgiving in our home with family and friends, our son Zeke and son-in-law Jay announced that they wanted to take over the responsibility for Thanksgiving dinner.

    Our first reaction was to say no, but we reconsidered. Maybe it was time for a change....

  • Celebrate with Simchat Torah favorites [RECIPES]

    September 23, 2010 | 5:15 pm

    Simchat Torah translates as “rejoicing with/of the Torah,” and it is one of the most joyful of all the holidays.

    Congregants sing and dance in synagogues as the Torah is carried around the bimah seven times, and children are encouraged to join in the festivities by waving flags...

  • Dip into honey for new year inspiration [RECIPES]

    August 24, 2010 | 10:00 pm

    Rosh Hashanah, literally translated as head of the year, begins this year at sundown on Sept. 8, ushering in a 10-day period for reflection on the past year and making resolutions for the new one. It is a time when families come together for festive meals and where sweet foods are...

  • Easy cooking for the holidays [RECIPES]

    August 20, 2010 | 5:43 pm

    If you are in a dilemma about what to serve your family for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, expand your menu options to include dishes that can be served in both the dining room and the sukkah.

    Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 8-10) usually occurs during the warmest days of the year, so I...

  • The Joys of Summer Fruit [RECIPES]

    July 28, 2010 | 7:15 pm

    Whether you are taking a picnic to the beach, a local park or the Hollywood Bowl, desserts made from fresh fruits — peaches, apricots, plums, cherries and all kinds of berries — are a refreshing complement to your summer menu.

    One of the places to find the best summer fruit is...

  • Topanga Days [RECIPE]

    May 26, 2010 | 2:21 pm

    In the early 1960s, we bought a 45-acre ranch with a big, sprawling house in Topanga Canyon, not far from Pacific Coast Highway. The lush panorama seemed to stretch for miles into Malibu. Our rambling ranch house was a dream come true. From our living room, we had a view of the...

  • Celebrate Shavuot with the flavors of spring

    April 28, 2010 | 5:13 pm

    Shavuot marks an important religious event — the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.

    In ancient times, Shavuot was also celebrated as a spring harvest holiday, featuring foods gathered from the fields. Today, the traditional dishes we serve combine dairy products,...

  • From Israel with love

    March 24, 2010 | 11:11 am

    Arriving at the crowded restaurant Itzik Hagadol Grill in Encino is like entering the hustle and bustle of Israel. Large groups of happy, noisy people talk at once while consuming platters of wonderful salad dishes and grilled meats that overflow tables.

    Itzik Hagadol Grill opened...

  • Passover prep, unbound [RECIPES]

    February 24, 2010 | 7:24 pm

    Food plays an important role during Passover — from the six symbolic items on the seder plate to those foods avoided during the eight-day holiday, like chametz (leavened grains) and kitniyot (legumes). But the dinner that follows the seder on the first two nights, when family and...

  • It’s a wrap

    January 29, 2010 | 5:10 pm

    While growing up in Jewish Los Angeles, I was exposed to many traditional Ashkenazic dishes — kreplach, cheese blintzes and strudel, to name a few. But it wasn’t until I developed an interest in cooking that I realized most other cultures have similar dishes. Kreplach reminds me...

  • Chanukah in Tuscany

    December 3, 2009 | 4:19 pm

    When we were invited for a Tuscan Chanukah dinner at the home of our friends chef Jeff Thickman and musician Igor Polesitsky, who live in a wonderful villa in the wooded hills of Roveta, just outside Florence, the menu included Italian Potato Latkes, Vegetarian Borshch and Stuffed...

  • Sukkot Sweets, With Etrog’s Cousin

    September 30, 2009 | 3:27 am

    Sukkot, one of the happiest of all Jewish festivals, is a home-centered holiday that actually takes place outside of the home. The festival’s main symbol is the decorated sukkah, a temporary outdoor booth or hut, where Jewish law requires Jews sleep and eat all their meals for...

  • Home for Rosh Hashanah With Chef Todd Aarons [RECIPES]

    September 16, 2009 | 5:10 pm

    What does the chef of Oxnard’s Tierra Sur cook for Rosh Hashanah? Since his kosher restaurant — located at Herzog Wine Cellars — is closed during the holiday, Todd Aarons has the opportunity to create a family meal at home.

    “Rosh Hashanah has lots of foods that are symbolic...

  • Judy and Julia

    September 2, 2009 | 8:27 pm

    The movie “Julie and Julia” brought back great memories of how I met Julia Child in 1978 and how it resulted in adapting her bouillabaisse recipe for a kosher kitchen.

    I had just finished writing my first group of paperback cookbooks for Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and The...

  • Thinking Outside the Lunch Box

    August 26, 2009 | 3:40 pm

    Coming up with lunch ideas can be more challenging today than in years past. Some schools may elect to forbid peanut butter on campus if a student has a peanut allergy, which removes the old standby of peanut butter and jelly. And almond, cashew or other nut butters don’t always...

  • Celebrate With First Fruits, Italian-Style

    May 20, 2009 | 7:03 pm

    Shavuot, which begins exactly seven weeks after Passover, is a holiday that has a special association with two kinds of foods.

    The first group is a combination of dairy dishes, such as noodle kugels, strudels, cheesecake and, of course, blintzes. Most of us remember these from our...

  • RECIPE: Yemenite Charoset/Charoset Truffles

    March 25, 2009 | 7:53 pm

    Yemenite Charoset/Charoset Truffles
    (Click here for the full article)

    1 cup pitted, chopped dates

    1/2 cup chopped dried figs

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    Pinch of coriander

    1 small red chili pepper, seeded and minced,

    or pinch of cayenne

    2 tablespoons matzah meal

    1/3 cup sweet...

  • RECIPE: Passover Baked Vegetable Stuffing

    March 25, 2009 | 7:48 pm

    Passover Baked Vegetable Stuffing
    (Click here for the full article)

    1/4 cup olive oil

    3 onions, finely chopped

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    4 ribs celery, finely chopped

    1 bunch carrots, peeled and grated

    1 parsnip, peeled and grated

    2 large zucchini, unpeeled and grated

    1/2 cup...

  • RECIPE: Judy’s Passover Roasted Chicken

    March 25, 2009 | 7:45 pm

    Judy’s Passover Roasted Chickens
    (Click here for the full article)

    3 tablespoons safflower or olive oil

    2 onions, thinly sliced

    2 carrots, thinly sliced

    2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

    3 garlic cloves, sliced

    2 16-ounce cans of tomatoes (diced or chopped)

    2 cups dry white or...

  • RECIPE: The Fluffiest Matzah Balls

    March 25, 2009 | 7:41 pm

    The Fluffiest Matzah Balls
    (Click here for the full article)

    I’ve been tweaking this matzah ball recipe over the years, and I’m now satisfied that it produces the lightest matzah balls you’ve ever tasted. If you don’t want to take the time to make them, boil some Passover...

  • RECIPE: Judy’s Passover Chicken Soup

    March 25, 2009 | 7:38 pm

    Judy’s Passover Chicken Soup
    (Click here for the full article)

    3 5-pound chickens or 2 3-pound chickens, trussed

    2 pounds chicken necks and gizzards, tied in cheesecloth

    4 large onions, diced

    1 medium leek, sliced into 1-inch pieces

    2 to 3 cups thinly sliced carrots (16 small...

  • One-Pot Passover Dinner: Just the Recipe to Cut Costs

    March 25, 2009 | 7:28 pm

    During these difficult times, whether you are trying to make Passover a little less costly this year or looking for a way to spend less time in the kitchen, there’s a simple solution: a one-pot Passover dinner.

    All the traditional Passover ceremonial foods remain the same:...

  • Latkes and farinata: Something familiar, something new

    December 18, 2008 | 2:55 am

    These days, my family has spread out, but as always, we will all be coming together for Chanukah, because no one wants to miss the Chanukah reunion dinner, our favorite family get-together.

    It is a time to catch up on family gossip and enjoy each other's company, a time to sit...
  • Chef Akasha adds fresh twist to holiday traditions

    April 10, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    Akasha Richmond is a self-trained chef and artisan-style baker who has been catering events in the Los Angeles area for the past 20 years.

    A tall woman with dark hair and blue eyes, she bears a striking resemblance to Barbra Streisand, for whom she worked as a private chef.
  • Top tastes of Purim wrapped up together

    March 20, 2008 | 6:00 pm

    The theme for our family Purim dinner this year will be blintzes, but the preparation will be a little different and will include ingredients that are symbolic for the holiday.

    The inspiration for the menu began when my daughter, Susan, her husband, Leo, and our granddaughters were...

  • Chanukah menu dishes up a travelogue of treats

    November 22, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    Just back from Italy, I was inspired by the foods served at our favorite restaurants. My Chanukah menu this year is a travelogue of those culinary experiences.

    We devote Chanukah to our children and grandchildren, and many of the dishes are easy to prepare and perfect for the whole...
  • A sukkah by the sea where produce is on the menu

    September 20, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Ellen Hoffman and Neal Castleman live in a contemporary two-story home that covers a narrow lot in Malibu. We have been guests for several years at one of the dinners the couple host during Sukkot, which are held in a sukkah Castleman built on the only space available -- their...
  • Is the pomegranate the perfect fruit?

    September 8, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    While most Jews associate apples and bread dipped in honey with the New Year, pomegranates are considered one of the most spiritual fruits of the holiday. In addition to its many culinary delights, the pomegranate is reported to have many health benefits. Called pomum granatum by the...
  • Say ‘grazie’ for ricotta-filled Italian delights

    May 17, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    Shavuot begins exactly seven weeks after Passover and brings with it centuries of food traditions.

    Because some say milk and cheese symbolize the purity of the Torah, it is the festival when dairy foods are normally served. The holiday also celebrates the spring harvest, a time...

  • A sweet gefilte fish like his Polish grandma used to make

    March 22, 2007 | 8:00 pm

    I've bought meat from the same kosher butcher shop on Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles for many years. But it wasn't until recently that I asked G&K Kosher Meat owner Herschel Berengut, 58, about the Passover dishes he prepares at his to-go deli next door, Charlie's. His eyes lit...
  • Try these vegetarian delights— fit for a Persian queen

    March 1, 2007 | 7:00 pm

    During our first trip to Israel many years ago we bought a humorous silver Purim grogger that depicts a man holding a goblet of wine, almost tipsy, dancing while being bucked by a frisky goat as a young boy looks on. We assumed it was made in Israel, but later we discovered it was...
  • Make a festive meal fit for your Maccabees

    December 14, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Chanukah has always been a festive holiday -- a time when our family exchanges gifts, lights candles and enjoys traditional foods fried in oil. Since the holiday is mostly focused around children, this menu is designed with them in mind.

    It's important during Chanukah to teach...

  • Easy smorgasbord to break the Yom Kippur fast

    September 28, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    During Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a strict fast is observed -- no food or drink for 24 hours. So, it is always important to remember that the Yom Kippur Eve menu has special requirements.
    The prefast dinner should be quite light, ending with a delectable dessert to help the...
  • Mark the New Year with late summer harvest menu

    September 14, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    A recent trip to Italy made me aware of the wonderful possibilities of growing your own lush, flavorful garden-fresh food. The villa where we stayed was entirely self-sufficient, with magnificent varieties of produce, eggs gathered from the hen house and the proprietors even making...
  • PASSOVER FOOD: Treats to Leaven Desire for Dessert

    April 6, 2006 | 8:00 pm

    Passover desserts are a challenge to the cook because so many ingredients are forbidden, among them flour, grain, cornstarch, baking powder or baking soda. So we substitute matzah meal, potato starch and versatile fresh egg whites to bake all of those traditional favorites -- and...

  • A Yummy Hat Trick of Triangle Treats

    March 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    The traditional shape of the quintessential Purim dessert, the hamantaschen, is a three-cornered filled pastry. Some say it even looks like George Washington's hat, but I'm certain he wasn't around in those early days. But, what about the shape? What does it represent? Is it the...

  • Italy’s Top Chefs Join to Spice Up Wedding

    February 9, 2006 | 7:00 pm

    Famous chefs gathered from all over Italy to cook for the wedding of Max Willinger, son of Faith Willinger, a well-known wine and food journalist who has lived in Florence for almost 40 years. She was overwhelmed by the culinary community who volunteered to cook the wedding feast.

  • Holiday Celebration of Arts and Eats

    December 15, 2005 | 7:00 pm

    The year-to-year tradition of celebrating Chanukah doesn't change at our home. It always includes lighting candles, playing dreidel, eating latkes and having the children open gifts. But, the highlight of Chanukah for me is having all of our family together at the same time. It is...

  • Sephardic Dinner Spices Up Holiday

    September 22, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    As Rosh Hashanah approaches, I am reminded of our trip to Italy a few years ago. We arrived in Milan in the early afternoon and checked into our hotel, planning to attend Rosh Hashanah services that evening at the Sephardic Synagogue.

    We were relaxing in our room, and were surprised...

  • Shavuot Food : Turn Torah Fest into a Veggie Feast

    June 9, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    Shavuot, which marks the receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, was often referred to as the Jewish Thanksgiving or the "Feast of the First Fruits," a time when farm bounty and grains were brought to the ancient Temple. The harvest often included wheat, barley, grapes, figs,...

  • ‘Homemade’ Mandelbrot Fit for a Seder

    April 14, 2005 | 8:00 pm


    When I recently attended Kosher World at the L.A. Convention Center, I saw a wide selection of Passover foods. They presented many interesting new food products: sausages, nondairy ice cream, frozen pizza, burritos, pasta of all shapes and sizes, and large selection of kosher wines...

  • Make Menu Shine With Splash of Wine

    March 17, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    Purim is always a special celebration for the children -- they dress up in costumes, sing and dance. The grown-ups have their rewards, too, because it is the only holiday when everyone is encouraged to drink a generous amount of wine.

    This year, the theme of our dinner is foods...

  • Challah Lesson a Huge Slice of Simcha

    March 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    For the past 50 years, I have given cooking classes that include recipes for contemporary and traditional dishes, as well as menus for all the Jewish holidays. It is always very rewarding when I receive calls from students telling me that they loved the class and prepared all the...

  • Avoid Shower Cliche With Salad Buffet

    February 10, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    A bridal shower is one of the most joyous parties you can possibly give, and the occasion calls for light, delicious festive foods. This menu offers four of my personal favorite chicken salad recipes. (For a smaller shower, you could serve just two or three.) The French often serve...

  • Fritter Away Your Time for Chanukah

    December 2, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    We just returned from a trip to Italy, concentrating on the provinces of Puglia and Campania close to Naples. It is a region that we enjoy because of the diversity of the foods and wines available.

    We visited several new places but returned to one of our favorites, La Caveja, a...

  • Soup for the Sukkah

    September 30, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Sukkot is called the Jewish Thanksgiving. It offers thanks for the bountiful harvest of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Jewish families begin building their sukkah the day after Yom Kippur. These outside shelters -- decorated with Jewish New Year greeting cards, fruit and...

  • A Hearty Meal to

    September 16, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    This year Yom Kippur begins on Friday night and continues until sundown on Saturday. Since many families do not cook on Shabbat, I planned a menu that will solve the problem.

    The meal has to be hearty to prepare for the 24-hour fast ahead, but it should not be heavy. Fried, highly...

  • Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Meal

    September 9, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The apple, even more than the bibical pomegranate, has become the symbolic first fruit to be eaten during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which will be observed at sundown, Wednesday, Sept. 15.

    During Rosh Hashanah, tradition calls for a perfect apple to be pared and cut into as...

  • Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Meal

    September 2, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    The apple, even more than the bibical pomegranate, has become the symbolic first fruit to be eaten during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which will be observed at sundown, Wednesday, Sept. 15.

    During Rosh Hashanah, tradition calls for a perfect apple to be pared and cut into...

  • Give Matzah a Hand

    March 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    I still remember the first year we served shemurah matzah at our seder.... It was in the early 1960s and we were living on a ranch in Topanga Canyon. We received a letter from Chabad offering us a box of shemurah matzah for our seder, no charge, all we had to do was pick it up in...

  • Charoset to Please Any Palate

    March 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    On the table at every Passover seder is a plate arranged with foods symbolic of the holiday. Of these, the only one that requires a recipe is charoset.

    A mixture of fruits, nuts and spices, charoset represents the mortar the Jewish people made while laboring as slaves in Egypt....

  • A Buffet Fit for Your Kings and Queens

    March 4, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    My family loves Purim. It is a time when our grandchildren dress up in biblical costumes to act out the story of Esther and attend Purim carnivals, just as our children did when they were young. As in most holidays, we all look forward to the traditional foods that are part of the...

  • A Glazed Miracle Happened Here

    December 11, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    During the festival of Chanukah, Jews around the world will prepare the traditional foods that represent their individual cultural backgrounds. Families with Eastern European ties will serve fried potato latkes. In Germany, jelly doughnuts called Berliner pfannkuchen are prepared....

  • Ease Out of the Yom Kippur Fast With Salmon and Potatoes

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is a time when Jews are required to fast for 24 hours. At the end of this period, family and friends gather for the traditional break-the-fast meal.

    This year at the conclusion of services our family and friends will arrive at our home at...

  • Rosh Hashanah Made Easy With Chicken

    September 18, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins this year at sundown on Friday, Sept. 26. It is a time to gather with family and friends and enjoy special holiday foods.

    Traditionally, foods sweetened with honey are eaten to symbolize a sweet and happy year ahead. Apples and honey, eaten...

  • Celebrate Shavuot With Spring Harvest

    May 29, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    When I was growing up, two types of food were usually associated with the holiday of Shavuot. There were the dairy dishes -- blintzes, knishes, noodle kugels and, of course, cheesecake. Most of us remember them from our childhood, but they were always laden with cream, butter and...

  • Seder Yummies From Chicken to Chocolate

    April 3, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, and although cooking for Passover requires a lot of preparation, I look forward to it each year. It is a time when our family and close friends join together to share thoughts and exchange ideas as we participate in the seder.

    I have a regular...

  • Seder Yummies

    March 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, and although cooking for Passover requires a lot of preparation, I look forward to it each year. It is a time when our family and close friends join together to share thoughts and exchange ideas as we participate in the seder.

    I have a regular...

  • De-Stress the Simcha

    March 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    On Monday evening, we will celebrate Purim, the holiday that commemorates the liberation of the Jews in ancient Persia, and reminds us of the triumph of Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordecai, over Haman, the wicked prime minister.

    Purim is traditionally a time when families come...

  • A Culinary Surprise

    February 20, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Recently, my husband and I traveled extensively throughout Vietnam, where we took several cooking classes and met talented chefs in Saigon, Hoi An and Hanoi. We ate everything from fresh Spring Rolls to Banana Blossom Salad. But the chef that surprised us the most was Donald Berger...

  • Another Oil Miracle

    December 5, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a time to recall the miracle that occurred more than 2,000 years ago, and celebrate the discovery of the small amount of oil that burned for eight days, the amount of time needed to prepare pure oil from the local olive trees to rekindle the...

  • Another Oil Miracle

    November 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a time to recall the miracle that occurred more than 2,000 years ago, and celebrate the discovery of the small amount of oil that burned for eight days, the amount of time needed to prepare pure oil from the local olive trees to rekindle the...

  • The Grape Taste of Sukkot

    September 19, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    As a child, I loved the bunches of grapes that hung from the palm leaves covering the roof of the sukkah. These small outdoor huts were built for Sukkot, the Jewish holiday that gives thanks for a fruitful harvest. They symbolize the huts used by harvest workers during biblical...

  • A Tuna After Atonement

    September 12, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for serious fasting -- no food or drink for 24 hours. At the end of the day, thoughts inevitably turn to what to eat at sundown, and breaking the fast with family and friends.

    Our family tradition has been to serve dairy and seafood...

  • Comfort Food for Rosh Hashana

    August 29, 2002 | 8:00 pm

    For Rosh Hashana this year, I am sharing three chicken dishes that you can prepare for your family holiday meal. Every family has their own recipe for roast chicken, but if you're looking for something new and different to serve on Rosh Hashana, try one of these.

    Two of the recipes...

  • Gramma Gene’s Gefilte Fish

    March 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Passover is a special holiday for me and brings back many wonderful food memories. One of my favorites occurred many years ago, when I was invited to a Passover seder at the home of my husband-to-be. I still remember that evening, and especially the taste of the gefilte fish my...

  • Noshin’ Beyond Hamantashen

    February 21, 2002 | 7:00 pm

    Our family celebrates all of the Jewish holidays together, but Purim seems to be everyone's favorite. How can you not love a holiday that tells you to dress up in costume, forget your troubles, enjoy delicious food and drink a lot of wine?

    Several of our children spend days making...

  • Olive Oil Treats

    December 6, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Chanukah is a time to recall the miracle that occurred more than 2,000 years ago when the flame in the Holy Temple was relit with a one-day supply of oil that lasted for eight days. This was the amount of time needed to prepare pure oil from the local olive trees to rekindle the...

  • Celebrate with Cheesecake

    November 29, 2001 | 6:59 pm

    On the first night of Chanukah, the family always gets together at our home for a special evening. We enjoy lighting the Chanukah candles, eating traditional foods and exchanging gifts.

    Dessert is always a highlight of the evening, and this year for Chanukah, I am going to surprise...

  • A Festival Feast of Fowl

    September 13, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    The festival of Rosh Hashana celebrates the beginning of the Jewish New Year, and family meals are an important part of this holiday. Traditions include serving a round challah and apples dipped in honey symbolizing a sweet and well-rounded new year.

    I recently taught a Rosh Hashana...

  • Cheese Blintzes for Shavuot

    May 24, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    Shavuot celebrates the receiving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai and brings with it centuries of food traditions. It is the time when dairy foods are traditionally served, and cheese blintzes are one of the most popular dishes of the holiday.

    I may not serve blintzes during...

  • Cooking with Chocolate

    April 5, 2001 | 8:00 pm

    I absolutely love preparing chocolate desserts for Passover, and now that chocolate is considered a health food, it will give you all the more reason to include it in your Passover recipes. Chocolate desserts are easy to make, and you can create a variety of non-dairy chocolate...

  • A Purim SOS

    March 8, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Two weeks ago I got an actual SOS from a ship. Tova and Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz, en route to the Philippines on the Holland America cruise ship M.S. Rotterdam, were requesting a Persian Purim menu and recipes for the ship's executive chef.

    Queen Esther was a vegetarian, so the foods...

  • Purim Pastries

    March 1, 2001 | 7:00 pm

    Purim, sometimes called the Feast of Esther, is one of the happiest of all Jewish holidays. It marks the liberation of the Jews from the cruel prime minister, Haman, through the heroism of the beautiful and good Queen Esther. The story states that she was a vegetarian while in the...

  • Breaking the Fast

    October 5, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown on Sunday, Oct. 8, during which time a strict fast is observed

    Prior to the fast, it is customary to serve a family dinner consisting of simple foods prepared with a minimum of salt and spices.

    After the fast, dairy foods are...

  • Perfect Apple-Honey Tarts for Rosh Hashanah

    September 7, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a happy holiday, full of hope and optimism.The traditional foods - apples, honey, pomegranates and the traditional round challah - all have a special meaning. Both at home and in the synagogue, hopes are expressed for a "sweet" new year, which...

  • Passover in Cuba

    April 20, 2000 | 8:00 pm

    My husband and I just returned from a trip to Cuba. We were on a cultural-art mission with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and one of the highlights was a visit to Cuba's largest Conservative synagogue, the Casa De La Comunidad Hebrea De Cuba, also known as Patronato.

    I met...