Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Kislev 5760 - December 8, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Home and Family
What's Cooking?
What's for eating? What's for reading?

To those of us who date back some twenty years when the Jewish Women's Outlook was in its heyday, Sara Finkel needs no introduction. It was her scrumptious and/or elegant and exotic dishes that made our mouths water and sent us scurrying into the kitchen to attempt to imitate her culinary successes.

Since then, Mrs. Finkel has produced a very popular cookbook of her own, "Classic Kosher Cooking -- the Ultimate Cookbook," published by Targum Press. She has the credentials, as one who has been cooking, entertaining and preparing various dishes for many years, and gleaning interesting recipes from a very broad intercontinental circle of friends. Thus you will find recipes like Beef Wellington, Italian blintzes, Scandanavian vegetable bake: the basic alongside the exotic, the classic leading to the gourmet-specials. And she will lead the novice from the initial steps to the grand finale with clear instructions anyone can follow.

When I went to visit Mrs. Finkel in her home to pick up my promised copy of her cookbook for review, I was in a serious dilemma. Which to take? The forerunner in English, or the translated edition in Hebrew. The Hebrew, naturally, won out. By the time she was ready for this cookbook, which followed the very popular English edition, Mrs. Finkel had accumulated and tried/tested many dozens of new recipes! And since her fame now preceded her, the publishers wanted this cookbook to compete with general cookbooks on the market -- and, if you've ever visited Jewish Book Week stalls, you'll admit that Israelis are very big on brashy cookbooks. I think these books are the second best sellers (don't know after what).

The Hebrew version, Mehamitbach Hayehudi Haklassi, is another story! It has doubled in actual dimensions, not to say in content, has glossy pages and gorgeous, mouthwatering photographs, and adorable cartoon illustrations on every page. The chapter on fish has four little boys fishing out of a bowl. And graphics do say a lot, especially for a cookbook. You've sometimes got to be tempted to dare try something new. But this book is easy enough even for hesitant beginners.

Naturally, there is a chapter on microwave cooking, table decoration, freezing, menu suggestions, a brief resume on the culinary aspects of the yomim tovim, with tips for variations accompanying most recipes.

I opted for the Hebrew, seeing how easy and pleasant it was to follow the instructions, besides which I imagine the married children will want to beg or borrow it. But we leave the choice up to you. Either way, the book is a treasurehouse of cooking information, to be referred to time and again, with and without repeats. And it makes for an excellent gift for a daughter/in-law, young bride or even, or shall we say, especially, for an experienced cook!

We turn to the chapter on blintzes, prefaced with a be-kerchiefed young cook looking for her glasses. Only the audience knows that they have been neatly esconced into a blintz. WATCH OUT!


Blintzes, Mrs. Finkel informs us in her introduction to this chapter, are an international food, whether they are fried as Chinese egg rolls (filled with grated cabbage, celery, sprouts and liberally doused with soy sauce), or served flaming as crepes suzettes with grated orange peel, liquer and brandy. Russians make blini from a yeast dough and fill theirs with lox! On to Hungarian pancakes and Mexican enchilladas. But discover these for yourself.

Using 2 eggs such as in this recipe will result in thin and firm but flexible pancakes. Refrigerate the batter for two hours before use to avoid toughness, and mix lightly before frying.


2 eggs

1 1/4 cup sifted flour

1 1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients well with food processor, blender or mixer for one minute to get a smooth batter. Scrape residue from side with rubber scraper. Mix for another 10 seconds. Cool for 2 hours. Mix slightly before frying. Batter should have the consistency of sour cream.

Oil and warm your frying pan (18 cm. diameter). Pour in 2-3 tablespoons and tilt pan to distribute and pour off remainder back into batter. Fry on medium-high flame until pancake is dry. Flip unto a plate and pat off excess oil with paper towel. And now for our dairy Chanuka Specialty:


FILLING for 14 blintzes:

750 gram cottage cheese (3 containers)

100 gram smooth white cheese

2 beaten eggs

pinch salt and pepper

1 tablespoon melted margarine

3 tablespoons chopped scallion

1/2 cup shredded hard yellow cheese


250 gram tomato paste

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons sugar

pinch pepper, salt to taste


Mix all the FILLING ingredients except for yellow cheese.

Mix separately all the SAUCE ingredients.

Place 1-2 spoonfuls of filling on each pancake, roll and place in oiled baking dish 32 x 22 cm.

Pour sauce over middle of each pancake and sprinkle yellow cheese on top. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20 minutes.



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