Iron Chef: Sukkot

Posted on October 15th, 2012 by

A blog post by Visitor Services Coordinator Abby Krolik.

Sukkot may have been over for the rest of the world last Thursday night, but at the JMM, it was still in full swing! As part of our Brooze & Schmooze event series for young adults, we held the second of what I hope will be many more Iron Chef competitions. The first Iron Chef competition here was held during Passover and featured horseradish as the secret ingredient; this time around, our secret ingredient was whatever seasonal produce Kayam Farms had on hand, which I thought fit nicely with the Sukkot, the harvest festival, theme.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the food channel competition show “Iron Chef,” a little explanation is in order. The original series involves two teams, each headed by a celebrity chef, who compete for the ultimate title of “Iron Chef” by cooking a three course meal in one hour that utilizes, in each course, a surprise ingredient that is only revealed at the last minute.

In our version, we had four teams: Team “BIYA” (B’nai Israel Young Adult); Team “Kayam” (they swear they didn’t know the secret ingredient beforehand!); Team “Honey Jew Jew”; and, the defending champions from Iron Chef: Passover, Team “The Still Very Last Minute Goyim.”  We provided all of them with all the equipment and food materials they were allowed to use (which included a very heavy pumpkin), and we required that they cook only two dishes–one savory, one sweet–with the secret ingredient.

One minute before their time began, Elena announced the secret ingredient of the night: Winter Greens! (Collard green, kale, mustard greens, etc.)  And the race was on!

All four teams came up with some very creative dishes–though a couple of them were more creative than tasty. These dishes ran the gamut of mustard greens falafel (one of my personal favorites from the night); a mixed vegetables salad served on large kale leaves; and sweet “dolma” made with nuts, date syrup, and wrapped in collard leaves.

By the time our three judges were ready to make their rounds to all the teams’ tables, there was a lot of built up suspense, anticipation, and hunger! The teams were judged according to creativity, aesthetics, and, of course, taste. Once the judges had each had their tastes, all of the spectators were allowed to try the dishes as well.

In the end, though it was a close call, Team “Kayam” won first place, with Team “The Still Very Last Minute Goyim” in second; Team “Honey Jew Jew” in third, and Team “BIYA” in fourth.

We all had a great time putting on this event, and it looked like our participants had as much fun as we did!

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Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippour and….Kreplach?

Posted on August 28th, 2012 by

A blog post by Gift Shop Manager Esther Weiner.

Did I say kreplach? In the same breath as the High Holidays? Yes, I did…and since you asked, I’ll tell you why. Since I was a child my mother, Pearl Printz, served her delicious golden chicken soup every Friday night, always with her home-made noodles. Of course for the high holidays, kreplach floated in the soup, hiding between the noodles. It was kind of a tradition that kreplach and Rosh Hashanah were a team. When I got married and moved to Baltimore, my mother-in-law, Fannie Weiner, made kreplach, they too were delicious, and I was hooked on learning how to put them together.

Well, after trial and error I came up with my own recipe and now my family will not sit down to the table unless they know that kreplach will come with the chicken soup! So my friends who follow blogs, I am stuck…but, I must admit, happily so.  Even though it’s a big job, I love making kreplach. I make what seems like tons of them so that they last through the holidays, the extras hidden in my freezer, to surface on Shabbat dinners with friends and family (…”what, kreplach?”) and the bounty continues to be enjoyed through the year, as long as they last.

Definition of kreplach:  Small dough squares, filled with a mixture of seasoned cooked meat, served with a soup, usually chicken soup, although they have been known to float in vegetable soup as well.



(dough squares filled with meat), makes approximately 150 pieces


Use a food processor, it’s easier. Into the processor bowl put:

3 cups regular flour

3 eggs

1 tsp salt

Scant ¼ cup warm water

PROCESS all of the above until dough forms a ball. If necessary add a bit more water to the machine as it processes. Stopping the motor to push down the dough.

REMOVE the dough, knead on a board or clean countertop until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.



Any combination of cooked chicken and beef, or chicken and veal or beef and veal. Meat can be cooked in a soup, removing the cooked meat when cool and cut into small pieces. There should be about 1 ½ lbs of cooked meat. Saute a large onion (or 2 medium size onions) in oil together with minced 4-5 pieces garlic until golden. Grind the meat together with the onions (they should be ground twice otherwise the meat could be chunky). To the ground meat mixture add 2 or 3 eggs (depending on your amount of meat), about 3 tblsp fine bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste.



Cut off a small piece of dough, roll out as fine as possible, dough should be quite thin. Cut into strips then into 2” squares, fill with a half tsp. of meat mixture, fold to form a triangle, close the ends by pressing them tight. Drop the filled triangles into a pot of simmering lightly salted water, cook for 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl, lightly sprinkle with oil. Continue until all the meat is used.

NOTE:  kreplach will freeze well in strong plastic bags.



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Posted on January 25th, 2011 by

A Blog by Esther Weiner

So you thought that because we are coming to the end of January 2011, Chanukah would not resurface until December 8, 2011?  Think again, my friends…oh yes, we still have wonderful Chanukiot in our Museum Shop, we still feature dreidles, amazing dreidles, from hand painted small wood dreidles, that spin amazingly well, to stone and crystal dreidles, with holograph designs inset in the crystal, to sterling silver dreidles in the Yemenite design, with intricate designs and set with semi-precious stones. I believe we still have a box or two of bags of chocolate gelt, still delicious, still yummy to eat. Do plan to visit us, or our on-line shop.

Its part of my job as Museum Shop Manager to make sure that our merchandise is fresh, up to the minute, and draw the visitor in to the magic of the museum shop at the JMM. But I digress, this is about Chanukah Re-Visited…

As a part of the JMM Speakers Bureau, I speak to audiences on a topic that is very special and near and dear to my heart, The Jewish Kitchen: A Link to the Generations.  When I speak, I often give a demonstration of a favorite recipe of mine, one that is fairly easy to transport to a room with no kitchen, no oven, no utensils, nothing. I enjoy speaking to my audiences, and hopefully, they enjoy listening and sharing their Jewish Kitchen with mine.  Again, I digress.

Okay, so how, you may ask, does this relate to Chanukah Re-Visited?

Well, the museum is host to many, many school groups. High school groups, middle school children, children as young as 7 or 8, many have never been to a museum, and many have never been to a synagogue.  It is wonderful to see them and know that they are being shown the exhibits by our talented education department and docents. They visit the new exhibition in the downstairs area of the newly renovated Lloyd Street Synagogue, Synagogue Speaks. I have seen the wonder in the eyes as they walk in with their teachers; I know they are absorbing everything. When they come into the museum shop, we explain what certain items mean, and their interest is amazing.

So, now here it comes–normally in December, when the children come to visit the museum, we have a program where I make latkes for some of the school groups. I set up a couple of tables, put out two little gas stoves, I bring my food processor, two frying pans, potatoes, flour, eggs, oil, apple sauce and sour cream!  I work quickly since their appetites are quite amazing. The room is full of the scent of oil and fried latkes, smothered in apple sauce or sour cream. This December, Chanukah was so early, we never got to make latkes for the school kids….and they tell me that these children are ready for latkes!

Well, we will have Chanukah, again, next week…we will have a latke demonstration, a talk about Chanukah and a sing-a-long…the kids will have fun, and we get to re-visit Chanukah in January.  Hey, we might even spin dreidles…why not?

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