The Shabbat Table: Take it easy

Mindy Rafalowitz's cookbook

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! It’s Shabbat once again and Purim is in a few weeks, so I guess that means Passover must be just around the corner! Oy! Between thinking about what to make for Purim for your seuda and shalach mones, plus all the sweet treats that friends and family will be sending to you, who even wants to think about preparing for Pesach?

Mindy Rafalowitz, the author of Take It Easy: & Simple Gluten-Free Recipes for Passover & Year Round (Mosaica Press), suggests that you ‘take it easy’ and do a practice run by trying out Pesach recipes beforehand for Shabbat, so you won’t feel so overwhelmed when you have to prepare for Passover.

Mindy Rafalowitz was born in New York and now lives in Hatzor, Israel. She is a freelance writer and recipe developer, whose articles have appeared in various publications, including The Jewish Press, Hamodia, Binah, Mishpacha Jr., and Ami Magazine. Mindy has been a food columnist for the Hebrew Hamodia for over 20 years and gives health-related cooking classes in Israel, United States and England.


Delicious, easy-to-make Pesach recipes (without gluten, potato starch, or processed foods), fill the pages of Take It Easy. The English edition of her book has been adapted from a bestseller originally written in Hebrew: Mitbashel Poh Mashehu, now in its 4th printing. Mindy’s creative, gluten-free cookbook is packed with quick recipes and practical tips, and her recipes use basic, easily available ingredients. Your friends and family will be able to enjoy scrumptious, appetizing, and healthy dishes, whether they usually eat gluten or not.

Take It Easy is not just a Pesach cookbook. It’s a collection of gluten-free, non-gebrokts and no potato starch recipes that are relatively inexpensive. You’ll find recipes for soups, salads, meat, poultry and fish dishes, a variety of vegetables, plus innovative Pesach goodies, including kid-friendly treats (see below). At the beginning of her cookbook, you’ll find a useful section of Pesach preparations. At the end of the book, there is a chapter entitled Pesach Basics that covers how to make mayonnaise, charoses, chrein (homemade horseradish), sauces, and jams.

For her free newsletter, or if you have cooking questions, contact Mindy Rafalowitz at [email protected]

Enjoy the following scrumptious, kid-friendly goodies for Shabbat, Purim…or even Pesach, whether you and your guests are eating gluten-free or not!


Mindy writes: “These cookies are not only delightfully delicious, they’re also easy to make. I let my kids do them themselves, giving them fun time in the kitchen and giving me more time for other tasks!

Yields about 30 cookies

4 egg yolks

3⁄4 cup sugar (or less)

2 cups ground almonds

1/2 cup strawberry jam

  1. In a mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until they turn a light yellow.
  2. Add the almonds and mix until dough is formed. Refrigerate for half an hour.
  3. Preheat oven at 350°F (175°C).
  4. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper.
  5. Roll small balls of dough and place them on the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each ball.
  6. Make an indentation in the middle of each ball with your thumb.
  7. Fill each indentation with strawberry jam using a teaspoon.
  8. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 10 minutes or until golden.
  9. Cool before transferring the cookies from the baking paper, since they harden as they cool off.

Easy Tip:

  • Instead of filling with jam, decorate the cookies with the tines of a fork by pressing down once on the dough ball to form stripes, or twice from two different directions to create a checkered or diamond design. Or press half a blanched almond or pecan in the center of each dough ball.


Mindy shares: ”This mousse has been in my repertoire since my friend Toltzy gave me the recipe years ago. It’ll make a delightful presentation, sliced into square portions. Any way you serve it, either chilled or frozen, you’ll be happy to see that it’s a “piece of cake” to make. The two layers are actually made from one batter — half is baked while the other half is frozen on top. The coffee flavored cream on top is my own addition, which adds flair when piped in star or flower shapes. Oh, and since there’s no flour in the “cake” batter, its brachah is Shehakol.”

Yield: 1 loaf pan

6 eggs

1⁄3 cup sugar

7 ounces (200 grams) dark chocolate

4 ounces (100 grams) ground walnuts

For Top Layer:

9 ounces (250 grams) Rich Whip (non-dairy topping)

1 teaspoon instant coffee

  1. Beat eggs whole with sugar for about 15 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow-colored.
  2. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and fold into the beaten eggs.
  3. Fold in the ground nuts.
  4. Pour half the batter into a loaf pan and bake at 350°F (175°C) for exactly 25 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  6. Pour the second half of batter on top of the baked layer and freeze for about 5 hours.
  7. Beat the Rich Whip with the coffee until stiff; pipe onto the frozen mousse.
  8. For mousse, serve at room temp.
  9. For ice cream, serve frozen


This idea is a great one for your kids and anyone else you know that has a sweet tooth. Since it’s homemade and made with pure fruit only, there’s no guilty feelings attached to making these sweets. So have fun with your kids and enjoy!

1 cup pureed fruit (using one of the following)(see tip below):

Cooked applesauce

Cooked strawberries

Canned peaches (not including the syrup)

Canned pineapple (not including the syrup)

  1. To prepare sheets of fruit rolls: Line a large baking pan with baking paper.
  2. Spread a thin layer of the pureed fruit of your choice and put in the oven at 250°F (120°C) to “dry” for 2–4 hours, depending on how wet the fruit is and how well your oven bakes.
  3. Check on it from time to time to make sure that it doesn’t dry out too much and become brittle.
  4. If there are still “wet spots” after most of it is dry, leave the pan with the fruit on your counter, uncovered, for a day or so to air dry.
  5. To prepare the pops: Roll three different colored sheets of fruit rolls tightly.
  6. Slice 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices and push a lollypop stick into each slice.

Easy Tips:

  • About 2 cups of pureed fruit will be enough to spread out on a baking pan. Instead of fruit, make these fruit rolls with any flavored jam of your choice. Just spread a thin layer as described above and keep an extra watchful eye on it while in the oven — because of its high sugar content, it can burn if it reaches too high a temperature. 

Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of twelve cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at or email her at [email protected].