Colder weather calls for recipes that warm the body and soul

Soup (Wikimedia Commons/Katrin Morenz/

Shabbat Shalom! The days are getting shorter and colder and sadly winter is on its way, perhaps sooner than later. As I write this week’s blog post, I can see the snow falling in my backyard. It’s definitely time to get the winter gear in order – hats, mitts, boots and snow tires. I already got a reminder from my mechanic.

As the season changes, we need to eat warming foods like stick-to-your-ribs Ashkenazi -style soups and kugels.

The recipes this week come from two vintage kosher cookbooks as well as two very modern Jewish cookbooks that were just published this fall.

I found the Vegetable Soup recipe in The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook by Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo. This book was originally published in 1955 and went through seven printings.

The recipe for Gehackta Beef di Mama Mia is from The Italian Kosher Cookbook (circa 1964) by Ruth and Bob Grossman.

Cookbook author and food columnist, Amy Rosen, will be doing a cooking demo at Nosh Fest on Dec. 1. She has kindly provided her recipe for Sour Cream Pecan Coffee Cake Muffins from her new book, Kosher Style: Over 100 Jewish Recipes for the Modern Cook.

Sharon Matten, a food writer and kosher food blogger from Chicago, just released her new book, Shabbos Under Pressure. Matten has created many traditional kosher recipes that can be prepared in the new modernized pressure cooker. She has sent her recipe for Fruity Noodle Kugel.



The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook by Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo

Last year I acquired some vintage kosher cookbooks. I enjoy looking at the old recipes and I love to see the dog-eared pages and the food stains in a well used book. Food maven Norene Gilletz gave me her spare copy of The Molly Goldberg Jewish Cookbook (hers is the 1968 edition). In fact, you can still buy second-hand copies of the book on Amazon.

Apparently Molly Goldberg was a role created by Gertrude Berg, the co-author of this cookbook. She played the character of Molly Goldberg in a sitcom called The Goldbergs, a popular radio show that started in the ’30s and continued on through the ’40s. The show later became a TV series that ran until the mid ’50s.


VEGETABLE SOUP (Gertrude Berg and Myra Waldo)

60 ml (4 tbsp) shortening**

2 onions, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

250 ml (1 cup) shredded cabbage

2 stalks celery

230 g (½ lb) green peas, shelled (or use frozen)

115 g (¼ lb) string beans, halved

115 g (¼ lb) lima beans, shelled

1 3/4 L (l7 cups) water (or vegetable stock)

10 ml (2 tsp) salt

1½ ml (¼ tsp) freshly ground black pepper

2½ ml (½ tsp) sugar

2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

113 g (¼ lb) fine noodles, cooked and drained

15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh parsley

**NB margarine, olive oil or canola oil can be substituted for shortening


Melt the shortening in a saucepan. Add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the carrots, cabbage, celery, green peas, string beans, and lima beans. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the broth, salt, pepper, sugar, tomatoes, and potatoes. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Add noodles and parsley. Cook an additional 15 minutes.



My friend Lucy Somer loaned me this book. She said the Yiddishisms are a hoot, and some of the jokes are dated while others would be considered politically incorrect these days.

The Italian Kosher Cookbook is part of a larger volume called The Kosher Cookbook Trilogy, which also includes Chinese and French sections. Apparently Ruth Grossman’s grandmother had collected recipes for classic Chinese and French dishes as well as Italian ones. She also figured out how to make them kosher.

The Grossmans use humorous names for the various Italian dishes combining the Italian with Yiddish expressions. At the bottom of each page they give definition for the Yiddishism or they provide a Jewish joke. For instance, for Meat Sauce Mona Lisenbaum they say: “Mona Lisenbaum was the name of Mona Lisa before the family left Poland.”

There’s a dish called Ravioli Galitziana. The book’s definition for Galitziana is “the Jewish equivalent of a Sicilian.”

I chose a recipe called Gehackta Beef Di Mama Mia because it’s a hearty meat dish with a twist and it would appeal to my husband. He loves ground beef as well as salami.

As for the Grossmans’ definition of Mama Mia: “Her name is Giacobbi instead of Jacobs; she makes minestrone instead of chicken soup; and she cooks with olive oil instead of schmaltz.”


GEHACKTA BEEF DI MAMA MIA (Ruth and Bob Grossman)

450 g (1 lb) ground beef

6 thin strips pimento

6 slices salami, shredded

1 egg, beaten

few pinches of salt

few pinches of pepper

15 ml (1 tbsp) flour

60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil

900 g (16 oz) tomato sauce

30 ml (2 tbsp) chopped parsley

5 ml (1 tsp) dry oregano

5 ml (1 tsp) dry garlic powder

5 ml (1 tsp) sugar


Spread the beef on a floured board and turn it into a rectangular shape about 2 cm (1/2 inch) thick.

Sprinkle the pimento and salami over the meat. Pour the egg on top of the salami and pimento. Add salt and pepper. Roll one edge of the meat toward the middle of the board and continue rolling to create a log, like a strudel. Dust the strudel with the flour.

In a large casserole dish or deep pot add the oil. On medium heat, brown the meat in the oil on all sides. Move the meat gently to prevent the log from falling apart.

Pour the tomato sauce into the pan and add the parsley, oregano, garlic powder and sugar.

Simmer the meat uncovered for half an hour. If the sauce gets too thick, thin it with water or wine.

Before serving, skim off the fat.

Makes 4 servings.



Rosen said working on her fifth cookbook, Kosher Style, was literally a labour of love. “It’s a passion project I wanted to do for a decade after my Bubby and my Bubbe passed away.”

Rosen said many of the recipes in Kosher Style are based on her “taste memories” of her grandmothers’ cooking, but she has recreated those cherished recipes using fewer packaged goods. “I’m good at figuring things out.”

Rosen has essentially updated a host of classic traditional Jewish recipes. “Ashkenazi Jewish food is brown. It’s delicious, but not gorgeous. I’m trying to change that in this book,” she said, adding that she uses fresh ingredients in the recipes in order to modernize the taste and the look of those dishes.

Sour cream pecan coffee cake muffins



250 ml (1 cup) finely chopped pecans, toasted

60 ml (¼ cup) packed brown sugar

30 ml (2 Tbsp) sugar

5 ml (1 tsp) ground cinnamon


250 ml (1 cup) butter, softened

120 ml (½ cup) sugar

2 eggs

120 ml (½ cup) full fat sour cream

5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

375 (1½) cups flour

5 ml (1tsp) baking powder

2½ ml (½ tsp) baking soda

2½ ml (½ tsp ) sea salt


Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) and line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.

To make the topping: combine the pecans, both sugars and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

For the batter, using a stand mixer, beat the butter with sugar until fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, scraping down the sides occasionally and making sure that everything is combined and fluffy.

Spoon 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the batter into the bottom of each paper liner, then sprinkle each with 5 ml (1 tsp) of the pecan topping. Add another spoonful of batter to each liner, then sprinkle with the remaining topping.

Bake the muffins on the middle rack of the preheated oven for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Store at room temperature in your best airtight container for up to 2 days.



The pressure cooker has become the go-to kitchen appliance. It’s safer and more efficient than the old-style pressure cookers. They save time, conserve energy and they enhance flavour.

“Today’s Jewish home cooks want to feed their families with delicious, yet traditional recipes that are more contemporary and faster,” Matten says. “Today’s safer pressure cookers remove the fear of disaster and gives us a fabulous way to cook family meals quickly and easily.”

“If you can boil it, steam it, or braise it, you can pressure cook it!,” she says.

Matten has created recipes that work for every brand of electric pressure cooker, whether it’s an Instant Pot, Crock Pot, Express Cooker or any other brand of pressure cooker. Many of the dishes can also be prepared in a slow cooker.

The following recipe is reproduced with permission from the publisher, First Impression, November 2019.

Fruity noodle kugel


Nonstick vegetable spray

340 g (12 oz) wide egg noodles, uncooked

1 900 g (30 ounce) can fruit mix with cherries in syrup

1 560 g (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

125 ml (½ cup) granulated sugar

125 ml (¼ cup) pure maple syrup

125 ml (¼ cup) canola oil

4 large eggs

125 ml (¼ cup) all-purpose flour

For Finishing

125 ml (¼ cup) light brown sugar


125 ml (½ cup)


Spray a 18 cm x 8 cm (7-inch x 3-inch) round pan and lid with non-stick, vegetable spray. Set aside.

Mix the egg noodles, canned fruit (with the liquid), crushed pineapple (with the liquid), sugar, maple syrup, canola oil and large eggs together in a large bowl. Fold in the flour.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover with the tightly fitted lid.

Place a rack/trivet with handles on the bottom of the EPC (Electric Pressure Cooker) pot. Add the 125 ml (½ cup) water to the bottom. Carefully set the kugel on the rack. Lock the lid and close the pressure valve.

Cook for 10 minutes using manual high-pressure mode. Naturally release the pressure for 30 minutes, then manually release the pressure.

Remove the kugel from the EPC pot and remove the kugel pan lid.

For Finishing: Sprinkle the top of the kugel with the 60 ml (¼ cup) brown sugar.

Place the kugel in the centre of the oven and broil using medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. The top of the kugel will turn a little brown and the sugar will become slightly bubbly. Serve warm or cold.


Removing the kugel: Taking this kugel out of the pan can be a little tricky. When the kugel has cooled, run a knife around the edge of the kugel to loosen. Place a dinner plate on top of the kugel. Place one hand under the kugel pan and one hand on top of the dinner plate. In one fluid motion, flip the kugel onto the dinner plate. To get the kugel on the serving plate, repeat with a serving plate upside down on top of the inverted kugel.

The added water is the water that is used to facilitate the pressurizing of the Electric Pressure Cooker. It is not part of the actual recipe.

Each brand of pressure cooker has its own method for setting the mode to manual high-pressure mode. Please see your EPC brand’s instruction manual for directions.

For more information about Sharon go to or follow her on Instagram @SharonMatten.



Nov. 29  Let’s Do Brunch: Fundraiser to bring awareness to Crohn’s and Colitis

Dec. 1 NoshFest: Taking place at Artscape Wychwood Wood Barns

Dec 1-2 Ezer Mizion Toronto: Shuk Machane Yehuda Promenade Mall