Archive for the 'jewish' Category

Etsy Kitchen Histories: The Bimuelo Pan

familyAt the Lower East Side Tenement Museum with a photo of the historic character I portray (far right). Photo by Will Heath.

Happy Passover, everyone!  Tonight, millions of Jews are sitting down to a sumptuous meal of religious significance–and then a week of yeast-free food.

Even if you’re not Jewish, you’ll enjoy my most recent Etsy article about Bimuelos, a Pesach-friendly dessert made by Sephardic Jews, who are descended from Jews of Spain.  You’ll also get a behind the scenes look at my life as an educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum playing a Sephardic Jewish character. Read all about it here.

And if you are Jewish, you’re probably going to be sick of matzo by Thursday or Friday.  So allow me to recommend Manishevitts’ 1944 cookbook,
Ba’ṭam’ṭe Yidishe maykholim (Tempting Kosher Dishes).  Don’t worry, it’s in Yiddish AND English.  Need to liven up your matzo meal regime this week?  Try Pumpkin PancakesMatzo Meal Polenta, or Boston Pie.

Going Kosher Day 3: Babka and Shabbos


Fresh Fruit
Bread & Butter


Roast Meat


Beans (Baked by Mrs. Paley)

Mrs. Paley, if you’re curious, was the head of the Ellis Island Kosher Kitchen, although I was unable to find her original baked beans recipe.

Getting out the breakfast dishes on my last day made me a little bit sad.  I had quickly grown used to ritual and the relaxed breakfast my boyfriend and I shared over the kitchen table.  It was somehow different over hurried bowls of cereal.

However, if you think I was excited to have sardines for breakfast, you are wrong.  I must admit, they tasted better than they smelled: the flavor was much like a very mild tuna.  However, I’m also not accustomed to having tuna for breakfast.

For lunch and supper, I wanted to change the menu up a little bit.  This menu is actually for a Wednesday in the Ellis Island Kosher Kitchen and I wanted to keep closer to tradition.  Friday is a special day–sundown marks the start of shabbat.

For lunch, we had Streit’s Mushroom Barley Soup, a kosher, dry soup mix.   It was easy to make, incredibly cheap ($1 a serving) and really delicious.  Who knew?  I am definitely going to make it again.

I needed to measure four cups of water to add to the soup mix.  My metal, two-cup measuring cup was treif, meaning I had used it with both meat and dairy, so I dunked it in boiling water.  Certain materials can be cleaned for kosher: glass needs a thorough scrub with good hot water; a metal fork or knife that has become treif can be cleaned in boiling water.  More porous materials, like porcelain, enamel, and wood, cannot be cleaned if kitchen mistakes are made.  And kitchen mistakes are made: today, while cleaning the lid to my meat pot, I carelessly grabbed the everyday kitchen sponge, not the meat sponge.  One touch to the pot lid and it was ruined.  Luckily, it’s made of glass and metal: a dunk in boiling water, and we’re in good shape again.

For dessert, I busted out our only real sweet treat of the past three days: Babka. I bought a slice of cake from a kosher bakery on a stretch of Grand street that is an island of Jewish tradition.  I walked into the shop, cakes behind glass displays calling my name.  A round woman with jet black hair wrapped in a hair net asked if she could help me.

“What’s this one?” I asked, pointing to a glossy brown cake covered in walnuts.

Babka! Walnuts, raisins, cinnamon.”

I thought it over. “Hm.  I need a couple of slices of something delicious.”

“This is very delicious!” She responded.  And it was.


Friday night supper is very important.  When the sun sets tonight, I’m lighting the candles and keeping shabbos: the day of rest that lasts from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.  Sunset is at 7:28; so the candles will be lit at 7:10.  Before the candles are lit, dinner must be ready.  And what is more appropriate for the Sabbath then a hot bowl of chicken soup?  The recipe I’ll be cooking from comes from the first kosher Jewish cookbook published in America, Jewish Cookery Book by Mrs. Esther Levy (1871), “A cookery book properly explained, and in accordance with the rules of the Jewish religion.”

There’s 39 categories of things I am not allowed to do on shabbat (although I may employ Roommate Jeff as a shabbes goy).  The list includes cooking, tidying, plowing, weaving, writing two or more letters, building, demolishing, extinguishing a fire, kindling a fire, putting the finishing touch on an object and transporting an object between the private domain and the public domain.  It’s all based around preventing one from doing work and encouraging one to rest.

Tonight, we will turn off the lights, the computers, the cellphones and the tv.  We’ll read by candlelight, rest, and attend to certain other encouraged activities.

Tomorrow, I’ll break sabbath by getting up, getting on the train, and going to work.  When I step out the door, I’m shedding the rituals a life that is not mine; but I’m leaving with a much better understanding of what it entails.

Going Kosher: Day 2

Breakfast: Bread & Butter, Cheese, Fruit, Coffee


Fresh Fruit
American Cheese
Bread & Butter


Vegetable Soup
Pot Roast


Dill Pickles
Stewed Fruit

While Boyfriend Brian made the coffee, I carefully got out the dairy dishes and silverware for breakfast.  I realized that I had begun to like the ritual of choosing the dishes and setting them on the table; there was something very orderly and satisfying about it.  We dug in to oranges, buttered bread, and hunks of cheddar cheese.

The cheese was more difficult to find than one would expect.  We spent a solid fifteen minutes in the dairy aisle examing packages of American single slices.  I don’t actually know what “American Cheese” would entail in 1914; was it the packaged cheese product that we know today? (I think I’ll be expanding this question into a full post on the origins of the grilled cheese sandwich).  Most American cheese seems to be made with Rennet, an animal enzyme that makes Kraft Singles decidedly not kosher.  In a fit of frustration, I grabbed a log of McCadam’s Cheddar Cheese and checked the back of the package:  both Kosher and Hallal, and prominently marked.  It was a suitable substitution.

Chicken Fricassee: Tastes less beige than it looks.

Lunch was vegetable soup from a can, both Kosher and Parve.  I heated it and served it with half a bialy while I worked on the meat dish.   I couldn’t find kosher beef at the store; instead, I had a sectioned chicken.  To find a good recipe, I decided to turn to one of my standby cookbooks: The Settlement Cookbook: The Way to a Man’s Heart.

The Settlement Cookbook was published by a settlement house in Milwaukee, an organization run by the children and grandchildren of German Jewish immigrants who arrived in the mid-19th century.  The turn of the century wave of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe struck these now “American” Jews as too foriegn, too orthodox, too strange; as a result, there was a huge movement to “Americanize” them.  This book, a mix of midwestern American cuisine and traditional German Jewish fare, is one of the by-products.

I looked up the recipe for Chicken Fricasee, an American dinner table staple since sometime in the 18th century:

I didn’t have a red pepper on hand, so I threw a teaspoon of paprika in with the simmering onion, celery stalk and garlic clove.  I salted and peppered two bone-in chicken breasts, and placed them skin side down in the hot pot.  I let them brown, then covered the whole thing over with water.  I added two bay leaves and a large, cubed potato before I covered the pot and let it simmer.

When the potatoes were tender, the chicken was done, too.  It was really easy to throw together.  In fact, everything I’ve cooked for lunch has been super simple but flavorful.  I did *not* make the cream sauce the recipe suggests serving the chicken with.

Both Brian and I wanted juice to drink instead of water; while trying to determine if our carton of Tropicana was kosher, Brian came across OK Kosher Certification, a website that lets you search retail products to see if they have a kosher certification.  This discovery is going to simplify this entire process.

The day came to an end with rolls of all-beef Hebrew National bologna, dill pickles from The Pickle Guys, and a bowl of hot stewed apples: Gala apples sliced and cooked slowly with water, raw sugar, and cinnamon.

Supper: Beef Bologna, Pickles, Stewed Fruit, Bread.

Going Kosher: Eating Day 1

Breakfast: Two Boiled Eggs, Bread & Butter, and Coffee.

My day began with breakfast at the kitchen table with my boyfriend.  We had hard boiled eggs, which he hates; and coffee, which I hate.  I smeared a slice of bread with butter; my boyfriend paused, looked at me and said: “Is that butter kosher?”

I sighed. “I don’t…it’s fine…arrrgh, let me check.”

I grabbed the Breakstone’s box out of the fridge.  We had spent a better part of the previous evening in the grocery store, having to scrutinize every box for the Kosher symbol.  Breakstone’s made my day:

Usually, the kosher symbol is not so obvious.

I left my boyfriend with a list of what to eat and headed into work.  At lunch, I dazzled my coworkers with my multiple Tupperwares, my bialy from Kossar’s and my bag of pickled vegetables from The Pickles Guys: cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and celery.  The Pickle Guys are the last pickle purveyors on the Lower East Side, a community that long ago had a barrel of pickles for sale on every street corner.  The day I went, I saw another ghost from the past: a horseradish grinder, filling orders for the upcoming Passover holiday.  I had heard a story (from Jane Ziegelman) that the horseradish grinders of the last century were easily recognizable even after their daily toil was done: the fumes from the pungent root would cause their eyes to inflame and water all day.  This modern-day grinder donned a gas mask to avoid that unpleasant side affect.

The horseradish grinder.

The potato soup was perfect, the sweet-and-sour goulash was delicious.  Lunch was filling and satisfying.

Hungarian goulash, served with noodles; how I remember it from my childhood.

Dinner was late: at the end of the long day, I sat at the kitchen table again.  I split a buttered bialy with my man and we cracked open a take-out container from Russ & Daughters, one of those unstoppable Lower East Side institutions that started as a pushcart a century ago.  The first store to use “& Daughters,” it’s motto is “Appetizing since 1914.”

When I stopped in the other day, their candy counter was stocked with tempting towers of nuts and macaroons for Passover.  I needed pickled herring for dinner and I choose one with a modern twist: a herring done up in a delicious curry sauce, topped off with a stack of pickled onions.

Neither my boyfriend or I eat much fish,  but we both agreed that this herring was probably really good herring.  Mostly, we piled our bread high with onions and delicious curry sauce.  We finished with a few pieces of fresh fruit and cups of hot, black tea.

Pickled herring in curry sauce, from Russ & Daughters; a bialy from Kossar’s.

Going Kosher: Day 1


Boiled Eggs (2)
Bread and Butter

Dinner (Lunch):

Potato Soup
Hungarian Goulash


Pickled Herring
Fresh Fruit
Bread & Butter

I worked yesterday, so I did all of my meal prep the night before, carefully labeling Tupperware “M” and “D”  to take with me, organizing food in the fridge for my boyfriend.

As I cooked dishes for lunch, I kept encountering problems. I went for the vegetable peeler, then remembered that it was not kosher: it had been washed 100 times with sponges that had touched both meat and dairy.  My good knives and my cutting board were in the same boat, so I mangled vegetables with a butter knife over paper towels.

I only had one pot I could use for meat, so I could only cook one dish at a time:  the eggs for breakfast first, then the potato soup with chicken stock, then noodles for the Hungarian goulash, then the meat.

The potato soup recipe was a simple one I knew by heart: one stalk celery, one carrot, one onion.  Softened in Canola Oil, although I wished I had schmaltz, the more period appropriate, tastier cooking oil.  Then, salt and pepper, two large potatoes, and chicken stock bought from the kosher aisle at Gristede’s. Simmered until the potatoes are done; delicious.

For the Hungarian Goulash, I referenced an historic recipe from The Neighborhood Cook Book (1912):

I had difficulty finding kosher beef.  I wandered the Lower East Side, caught in a freezing rainstorm with a broken umbrella.  I searched for kosher butcher shops Google said still existed, but were either long closed or somehow hidden from my goy eyes.  I began to find myself on streets where the only writing was in Yiddish, on some forgotten corner that didn’t know the Jewish population had moved on fifty years ago.  I asked around.  I was told to go to Brooklyn.  But something stopped me from crossing the bridge in to Williamsburg: there, you can find the Lower East Side of 100 years ago.  There I was too different, too foreign.  I was too scared to find what I needed there.

So, shivering and soaked with rain, I ducked into a grocery store that I knew would have a kosher section in the back.  Next to a shelf of Hebrew National salamis were a few rows of chicken and turkey labeled “kosher.”  I settled on ground turkey for my goulash instead of beef.

I followed the recipe, tasting it after it has been simmering a time with the tomato.  It was bland and terrible and lacking the deep red color that I know goulash should have.  I have attachments and memories of this dish from my childhood: the Catholics that ended up in my hometown of Cleveland came from the same parts of the word as the Jews that stayed in New York.  I tripled the paprika.  Then, I remembered a common theme of eastern-European cooking: sweet and sour.  I threw in a tablespoon of vinegar and a packet of Sugar in the Raw, and let it simmer over low.

Stirring my pot of goulash, I felt like a jewish housewife.  All the steps, the careful cleaning.  Meat sponge for the knife that cut the onion for the soup.  Dairy sponge for the knife that buttered the Bialy for dinner. So careful. So thoughtful.

How did it all taste?  More on that later today.

Diets: Going Kosher

I work three days a week at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum as an educator.  I guide visitors through tiny, dark apartments.  Small spaces that 100 years ago housed families of eight or more.

Standing in the kitchen (the one with no running water, no refrigeration, and limited storage space), someone always asks with a sense of awe: “How did they do it?”

Not just how did they raise a family, do the laundry, run a business or the myriad of tasks that took up a tenement dweller’s day.  What they’re really asking is “How did they keep Kosher?”  How did the millions of Jewish immigrants that poured into the Lower East Side around the turn of the century manage to preserve the traditions of their faith in the airless kitchens of a five floor walk up?

“I have no idea,” I answer. “But I’m going to find out.”

This week, I’m following kashruth.  In my four floor walk up in Queens; in my modern kitchen; and only for three days.  A drop in the bucket compared to the daily ins and outs of the Jewish housewife 100 years ago (or the contemporary Orthodox housewife in Williamsburg, Brooklyn).

The menu I’ll be following is a 1914 daily menu from the Kosher Kitchen at Ellis Island.  I came across the menu in Jane Ziegelman’s book 97 Orchard, but the original can be found in the Ellis Island Archives.  The Kosher Kitchen was opened in 1911 after advocacy by the Jewish aid organization HIAS.  Imagine spending eighteen days on a steamship from Russia, where you may or may not have been provided with Kosher food, or may have had to prepare it yourself.  You arrive in America to another plate of unkosher food.  Exhausted, malnourished, and vulnerable to disease, you were at risk for deportation on medical grounds.  The Kosher Kitchen, free to immigrants beings detained at Ellis Island, was a huge step.

Why is kosher kept?  The basis of kosher is derived from Exodus 23:19: “Thou shalt not boil a kid in it mother’s milk.”  Meat and dairy must never come together.  Everything else is referred to as “parve,” and can be eaten with with meat or dairy.  Utensils and dishes must be kept separate for each, as well as dish rags, cutting boards, etc.  If one touches the other, the utensils are “traif”, meaning they can’t be used for either.  There are laws regarding how long you must wait to eat dairy after meat (anywhere from 4-12 hours depending on your rabbi) and vice versa.  There are laws regarding what animals you can eat and what cuts of meat: chickens, cows, fishes.  No rabbits. No Shellfish.  They must be slaughtered in a certain way and all the blood must be drained before consumption.

100 years ago, Jewish immigrants were divided into two categories: those attempting to preserve their traditions in America, and “Oyster Eaters,” those becoming more liberal and more “American” in their observances.

There’s more to it than that.  Nuances and laws I’ll cover over the next few days (or you can brush up at jewfaq).

As the daughter of a Catholic, I viewed kosher like a Catholic would: this is a thing you do and if you don’t do it, you’ll burn in hell.  Not so.  As my colleague Judy explained it: “This is the thing you do to show your are different than your neighbors.  It’s the thing you do to show you are Jewish.”

So for the next three days, my dairy will not touch my meat.

The History Dish: Matzo Meal Pie Crust

Apple pie with a matzo meal crust.

Back in September, I was asked to represent the Lower East Side Tenement Museum at Apple Day.  Apple Day pays tribute history of the Lower East Side, which in the 1700s was  part of Mr. Delancy’s farm and  included a sizable apple orchard.  My assignment was to feature apple dishes that reflected the neighborhood’s immigrant history.

I was immediately put in mind of a cookbook I’ve talked about beforeBa’ṭam’ṭe Yidishe maykholim; or, Tempting Kosher Dishes.  The book is now online thanks to the Steven Spielberg digital Yiddish library.

Ba’ṭam’ṭe Yidishe maykholim is a perfect example of Americanization and assimilation through the dinner table.  Released by the Manischewitz company in 1944, the slender cookbook is written in both Yiddish and English and features Kosher for Passover recipes for classic American dishes like Boston Cream Pie.

Someday soon, I will cook many more recipes from the book. But on the morning of Apple Day, I decided to tackle Matzo Meal Pie Crust.

This recipe starts wierd and gets weirder.  I put my matzos in a bowl and covered them with water until they got squishy; then, with my hands, I tried to squeeze out as much water was possible.  The result was a pile of moosh.  Why I had to do this, I’m not sure, because the next step is to dry the matzos back out.

I toasted the matzos in a skillet.  The recipe requested I use “fat” which means “schmaltz” which means “chicken fat,” which sadly I didn’t have.  So I used a tablespoon of Crisco instead.  Crisco is also kosher and released their own bi-lingual cookbook.

I toasted the matzo crumbles until they  looked dry:

Matzos wet, then dried again, in a skillet with Crisco.

The next step in the recipe is where things took a turn for the worse.  I mixed the toasted matzo crumbles with all the other ingredients which turned it back into moosh. Really runny moosh.  There was no way I could “press it into a pie plate with hands” because it was just liquid.  A mess.  It occurred to me I was using large eggs and perhaps medium eggs were a more appropriate size.  So I decided to scrap my messy disaster and start all over, from the top, with new matzos soaked in water.

I made you puke pie.

The second time around I used one egg instead of two and it was still a runny, goopy mess.  Usually, when something I make looks that much like puke, I call it quits.  But the fact of the matter was I had to be at Apple Day in about two hours.  So I poured my goop into two pie plates and slide it in the oven to pre-bake it before the filling went in.

I put it in at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  In the meantime, I prepared a basic apple filling.

When I took the crust out of the oven, it looked better, but still suspect.  It had, a least, formed into something crust-like.

I poured in the apple filling and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  This time, when it came out, it looked rather glamorous.  I wrapped it up and carted it off to Apple Day.

In the end, this crust was a real surprise.  At the event, I cut the pie and scooped out a serving to taste test.  The crust was almost meringue-like: sweet and crunchy, but a little chewy, too.  Like apple pie over macaroon cookies.  Really, really good.

To be honest, I’d make this crust again, although I’d try to figure out if I could cut out some of the mush to dry to mush to dry steps.  It was a real shocker that something that looked so much like a throw-up could end up tasting so delicious.

History Dish Mondays: Featherballs

You are gonna love these balls.

This week, in my ongoing Jewish-American cooking project, Ilana and I are attempting Featherballs:

Featherballs are essentially matzo balls, but are unique in the fact that they are flavored with nutmeg or ginger. My friend and cohort Ilana pointed out that ordinarily in matzo ball soup, it’s the broth that is the most flavorful, and the matzo balls added as filler. In this recipe, the flavor of the matzo balls are brought to the forefront. Additionally, these balls do have a light and fluffy texture–but we’ll get to that in moment.
I journeyed to Brooklyn to meet with Ilana and her boyfriend Jed, for a lesson in Matzo balls. They filled me in on some matzo ball facts: That they were normally made with butter or margarine, so they anticipated this recipe to be much richer, and possibly heavier. Additionally,
most New York matzo balls are fist-size, like the ones you’ll find at Katz’s or the 4th Ave. Deli. These featherballs were to be rolled the size of walnuts. Their are also two types of matzo balls–the light “floaters” and the dense “sinkers.” Neither are wrong, just a personal preference.
We whipped the eggs and the schmaltz until each were fluffy, then combined them and added the dry ingredients. We split the dough between two bowls, and flavored half with nutmeg, and half with ginger. The dry ingredients were added, and mixed by hand until just combined. Jed warned us that over mixing the ingredients would result in a matzo ball as hard as rock.
Jed also said that with most matzo ball recipe, you let the batter chill first, and then roll the balls. In the recipe, you roll first and then chill. We shrugged and followed the recipe.
While the matzo balls chilled in the fridge, Jed cooked some carrot slices in chicken broth. We used boxed broth, but one of the cool things about this recipe is it written for a home cooked soup: you would make you soup, skim the chicken fat off the top, add the fat to the matzo balls, and cook the balls in the soup. Jed also noted that the carrots are essential; they help to break up the saltiness of the broth and the matzo, and gives your palette a rest.
The featherballs are dropped into boiling chicken broth.
When the broth came to a rolling boil, we dropped the featherballs in and covered the pot. 18 minutes later they were done. Be careful not to cook them too long–they begin to fall apart in the water. Some may be a little underdone in the middle, which is fine. We turned off the burner and served us up a bowl of featherballs.
I have to admit, I have no basis of comparison, these being perhaps the second matzo balls I’ve had in my life. But I did think they were really good. Jed and Ilana have grown up on matzo. The three of us agreed the texture was great–Jed and Ilana said much less dense than an ordinary matzo ball. It was light, but also very hearty. After eating four, we were full.
We couldn’y taste the ginger in the featherballs, although they were still salty and good. The nutmeg taste was present, and they were deigned the favorites by Jed and Ilana. For me, it was hard. I associate the taste of nutmeg with dense cakes of the 1850s, and it was difficult to get out of the mindset. We speculate that mace (the spicy out shell of a nutmeg) might also make a good featherball.
The featherballs were really perfect. Ilana hit the nail on the head: “These are the best matzo balls I’ve ever had. I think we’ve really rediscovered something.”
In the coming weeks, we plan on doing one more Jewish cooking day based on our Manischewitz cookbook. Ilana and Jef will handle savory dishes (pumpkin pancakes, tamales, asparagus wheel) and I’ll attack sweets (boston pie, orient cake, farfelroons). I will keep you updated as to our progress.

History Dish Mondays: Cooking with Schmaltz, Part One

Chicken cookies triumphant.

I’m embarking on a new project with my friend Ilana. While at her bubbe‘s for Passover, Ilana came across a Manischewitz Matzo Meal cookbook from 1930. It was printed both in Yiddish and in English, and the recipes were in a similar vein, featuring Kosher preparations for America classics such as Boston Cream Pie.

I had remembered reading about these duel-language cookbooks in Laura Schenone’s book 1,000 Years Over a Hot Stove. Schenone writes:
“As the 20th century marched on, many Jewish women felt comfortable assimilating through the table, partaking in the fruits of American technology and convenience and all its symbols of progress. It was possible to do this, they proved, and still remain Jewish in identity, soul, and even according to religious law, if they wished.”
The assimilation of Jewish immigrants through food seemed to be happening largely from 1900-1935 and it resulted in an unique cuisine that was simultaneously traditionally Jewish and modern American. Product cook books, like the one printed by Manischewitz, seemed especially intent on creating this modern, hybrid woman.
So we got curious what these recipes tasted like. Ilana and I perused Tempting Kosher Dishes, and selected a few recipes that seemed like the best examples of the hybrid cuisine. This week, I’m cooking up a batch of Mock Oatmeal Cookies:

Yes, these cookies are made with “melted chicken fat.” Chicken cookies.
Mock Oatmeal Cookies
From Tempting Kosher Dishes, B. Manischewitz Co., 1930
2 cups matzo meal
2 cups matzo farfel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup walnuts
2/3 cup schmaltz
4 eggs
1 tsp. cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together the schmaltz and the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together cinnamon and matzo meal. With the mixer on low, slowly add the matzo meal. Mix until combined.
4. Stir in the walnuts and matzo farfel. Drop teaspoon sized lumps onto a greased or silicon cookie sheet.
5. Bake 15 minutes, or until bottoms are golden brown. Cool and enjoy.
**note: I would recommend doubling the amount of walnuts (or raisins) and adding 3/4 salt to the matzo meal.
My lips had never touched schmaltz until I moved to New York. Traditionally Jewish, it’s chicken fat, used to replace butter when necessary according to Kosher laws. It’s commercially available, but traditionally skimmed off the top of stock. I was having a hard time getting my hands on it in my largely Greek and Hispanic neighborhood. But fortune smiled, and while out on a video shoot, I brought up my search for schmaltz to food journalist (and schmaltz advocate) Josh Ozersky and chef Marco Canora of Hearth and Insieme. We were on our way to Insieme, when Marco mentioned he had just cooked up a pot of chicken stock, and would be more than happy to skim me some schmaltz from the top. I was beyond thrilled–looks like I owe Marco some Mock Oatmeal Cookies.
Marco skims for schmaltz. What a great guy.

Matzo Meal is ground Matzo; while Matzo Farfel is crushed or crumble Matzo. It’s worth it buying it in canisters as opposed to breaking up Matzo crackers. It’s cheaper and saves time.
I mixed this recipe as I would a normal cookie dough, although this batter was definitely thinner. By mixing in the Matzo Farfel at the very end, it stayed crispier, and added more texture. I left out the raisins, because I hate fruit in my cookies. I sampled some of the dough before popping it in the oven: It had a disturbing chicken aftertaste.
Left: Matzo farfel. Right: Mock Oatmeal Dough.

A half hour was far too long a bake time for these cookies, and I burned my first batch. The second batch I baked 15 minutes, and they came out perfectly brown on the bottom. I offered one to my roommate without telling him what was in it.
The verdict? Well, we both ate two. The chicken aftertaste had somehow baked away. They had a great texture, similar to a scone: crisp on the outside, and surprising soft and cake like on the inside, despite the lack of leavening. The matzo farfel really crunched and popped in you mouth. It would be a good cookie with a cup of coffee.
I did find the cookies needed a bit of salt; I would probably add 3/4 tsp the next time I made them. Adding more walnuts wouldn’t have hurt either.
In fact, I would make these cookies again. I think they’re made even more appealing because of their unique origins. Not bad for a cookie that started off smelling like chicken soup.
Next week, Featherballs: a matzo ball seasoned with ginger or nutmeg, fried in schmaltz.