Our Best Passover Menu and Tips For Serving

Our Best Passover Menu

Our Best Passover Menu and Tips For Serving

We’ll be hosting our 16th Annual Passover Seder and dinner on April 10th at sundown. I’ve been flying back to Chicago for the past 16 years to cook Passover dinner for family and friends at the lovely home of my brother and sister-in-law.  When they married in 2001, the honor of hosting the First Night of Passover for our family was passed to them from our cousins.

OUR BEST PASSOVER MENU
Welcome

Kosher Wines

Olives & Nuts

Starter Course

Kristy’s Haroset

Geri’s Gefilte Fish

Vicki’s Beet Salad, Fresh Horseradish, Matzohs

Davida’s Chopped Liver with Pistachios

Hard Boiled Eggs

Soup Course

Homemade Chicken Soup

Herbed Matzoh Balls

Main Course

Super-Tender Traditional Beef Brisket with Red Wine Tomato Sauce

Chicken Adobo with Scallion, Cilantro, Sesame Seeds

Horseradish Potato Cakes with Chives

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Balsamic Glaze

Dessert

Karen’s Chocolate Matzoh Crisp

Flourless Apple Almond Cake

Chocolate Souffle Cake

Chocolate Hazelnut Brownie Bars

Pistachio Ganache Tart

Macarons

Fresh Fruit Skewers

(Click on Menu Links For Recipes)

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Chicken Soup with Exotic Saffron Matzoh Balls

Chicken Soup with Exotic Saffron Matzoh Balls
Chicken Soup with Exotic Saffron Matzoh Balls

I’m preparing Chicken Soup in memory of my Nana and in celebration of the Jewish New Year. And of course, my chicken soup for the High Holy Days will include matzoh balls. These saffron matzoh balls are richly-colored and exotic-tasting. The bright metallic flavor of saffron conjures up memories of foods from far away places. Their striking golden hue brings an element of surprise and beauty to the holiday table. The heady spice derived from the dried stigmas of a crocus, evokes interest and is powerfully irresistible.

I wish all of you, my family, and friends a New Year that is sweet and good. May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a healthy, peaceful, and fulfilling year. And may this new year bring satisfaction, achievement, and happiness. L’Shana Tova!

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A Rejuvenating Chicken Soup for Summer’s Sweltering Days

Samgyetang 삼계탕 - Korean Stuffed Chicken Soup with Ginseng
Samgyetang 삼계탕

A Rejuvenating Korean Soup
Whole Chicken Stuffed with Sweet Rice, Pine Nuts, and Garlic

In a Broth Simmered with Ginseng, Ginger, Red Dates, and Gingko Nuts

At first it might seem counter-intuitive to serve a pot of hot steaming soup on summer’s most sweltering days. But if one considers the ingredients in samgyetang, the popular Korean ginseng chicken soup, the choice starts to make sense.

Ginseng’s properties are said to be rejuvenating and revitalizing, a booster for the libido as well as the immune system. Hot soup is said to help regulate body temperature in oppressively hot weather. The energy promoting quality of ginseng plus the soup’s rich nutrients help to regain the loss of stamina on super sultry days.

Medicinal attributes aside, I instantly fell in love with this soup. I adore the presentation, where a whole chicken fits snugly into a pot surrounded with mysterious-looking vegetables, fruit, and nuts. Sweet short-grain rice with pine nuts and garlic cooks inside the chicken, a technique I had never seen before.

After an hour of simmering, an intriguing chicken soup is served in its own pot. The sweetness of the jujubes, the earthy slightly-bitter ginseng, and the glutinous rice produce a uniquely flavored somewhat cloudy soup. Diners can place pieces of chicken, rice, and all the accompaniments into their own bowls, then ladle the hot broth over the top. Salt, pepper, and scallions are served on the side so each diner may season the soup to his liking.

Samgyetang – Korean Ginseng Chicken Soup Recipe

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Tuscan Kale Soup with Artichoke & Chicken Sausage

tuscan kale soup
Tuscan Kale Soup
Artichoke Hearts & Chicken Sausage
Chicken Broth with Flavored with Fennel Seed & Red Chile Flakes
Served with Toasted Ciabatta

Back in January, a recipe for “Italian Chicken Sausage and Artichoke Soup with Chard” in Sunset magazine caught my interest. Over the past months I’ve added onion, garlic, fennel seed, and red chile flake to the original recipe. And sometimes substitute kale for chard. My procedure is quick and easy, and the synergistic result far exceeds the expectation of boxed chicken broth and canned artichoke hearts.

In less than a half hour, this soup is on the table. I’ve served it as an everyday meal, as a starter to a rustic dinner topped with ricotta salata, and as an elegant first course. This year my Thanksgiving menu has a lighter aura, so this Tuscan Kale Soup will replace the heavier puréed soups of the past.

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What makes this the best Chicken Noodle Soup?

best matzoh ball soup

Homemade Chicken Soup with Herbed Matzoh Balls
Garlic-Scented Lima Beans, Micro-Thin Carrot Slices
Fine Egg Noodles, Hand-Shredded Roasted Chicken Breast
Fresh Parsley and Dill Garnish

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Saffron Matzoh Balls

saffron matzo balls recipe

Saffron Matzoh Balls

Paella, Risotto alla Milanese, Bouillabaisse, Persian Pilafs, Indian Biryani dishes… make room! We can now add Matzoh Balls to the list of international foods flavored with that mysterious orange-hued spice with the bright exotic metallic flavor – SAFFRON.

Some chefs – including one of my favorites – Michel Richard, say that with saffron’s sweet power, the minute you can taste the saffron in the dish, then there is too much. I have to respectfully disagree with the Chef here, and wish I could make these Saffron Matzoh Balls for him. They are unique, intriguing, conjuring memories of foods from far away places…the saffron is assertive and compelling.

With Passover around the corner, I’m experimenting with different ways to prepare Matzoh Balls. I recently read about a recipe for Matzoh Balls Wrapped in Bacon which sounds oh so delicious but clearly, that one wouldn’t fly at our Seder…

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How to Make the Fluffiest, Most Delicious Matzoh Balls


Matzoh Balls

Over the last decade, I have made in excess of one thousand Matzoh Balls. We make about one hundred every Passover and enjoy them throughout the year as well. As the self-proclaimed Queen of The Matzoh Ball, with Passover around the corner, I’m sharing my tips on preparing the fluffiest and tastiest of matzoh balls!

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