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Cooking at ChezAlon

Posted on April 6th, 2020 by

A blog post by Director of Learning and Visitor Engagement Ilene Dackman-Alon. To read more posts by Ilene click HERE.

I must say that this is the first time I have ever written a blog post during a pandemic!  I also must say that I am very grateful for so many things – my family and friends, health, shelter – my list could go on and on.

I miss going to work to the JMM daily. I have started to settle into the ZOOM meetings- like many of us- I have upgraded my home office –but more importantly- I am trying to get myself into a routine that makes sense for me.  In the beginning we were taking the dogs out for long walks 2-3 times a day at the school across the street.  Unfortunately, that stopped when the “Stay at Home” order was announced; the school restricted access to the campus only to the staff and residents that live at the school.

Limiting our trips to the outside has forced my husband and I to cook at home using only the ingredients we have in the house.  My husband (the chef at ChezAlon) has been making some creative and delicious dinners.

Shakshuka from ChezAlon

I like to bake at ChezAlon and have been making sweets.  Being that it is close to Passover, I thought we should try and use up the flour in the house – I made my first challah – in a ZIPLOC BAG!

Challah in a Ziploc Bag!

Yesterday, I started really getting ready for Passover. The flour is all gone, and I can start to bake for the holiday.  I went to the cupboard where I keep my recipes and I found the plastic envelope that holds the recipes that I treasure – the recipes that my mother (a blessed memory) used to make on the holidays.  These recipes are all handwritten on papers that are yellowed and stained.  They are some of the most important papers that I own.

My mom’s recipe pages

I took out the recipe for Passover Mondel Bread- a favorite of mine.  I can see my mother mixing the ingredients together, placing the mixing bowl covered with a tea towel in the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning she formed the dough into loaves and baked them.

Mondel Bread loaves

Afterwards, she would pull out the loaves and cut them into slices, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar and toast them in the oven.  The smell is heavenly – in fact I can still smell them in the kitchen the day after baking.

Sliced Up and Ready to Eat!

In closing, we all know that Passover this year will be a little different from the previous years.  Whether you are having a seder in your home or you are attending a virtual one-this year’s Passover will be one to be remembered for quite some time.  Hag Sameach!  Happy Pesach!

Barbara’s Mondel Bread

2 eggs
¾ sugar
½ c oil
½ c chocolate chips or nuts
1 C Passover cake flour
3 T potato starch
Cinnamon and sugar mixture


Mix eggs and sugar.  Add cake four and potato starch and other ingredients.

Chill in refrigerator for 1.5 hours or overnight.  350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes.

Cut into slices and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Toast for an additional 10-15 minutes.



Happy Passover!


Posted in jewish museum of maryland

The 2019 Great Jewish Bake Off Master Post!

Posted on March 22nd, 2020 by

Once again, we can’t begin to express our gratitude for all our bakers who shared their delicious cookie creations with us.

And thank you to our amazing judges, Amy Simon, of Eddie’s of Roland Park, local food maven Martine Richards of the Baltimore Deviled Egg Pageant and WTMD radio personality Sam Gallant for their time and taste buds!

Bake Off Champion: Shari Donato with her Cinnamon and Walnut Rugellah

More Delicious Creations from the 2019 Great Jewish Bake Off!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

Most Impressive: The Geeky Housewife’s French Macarons

Posted on January 7th, 2020 by

Most Impressive: The Geeky Housewife’s French Macarons


Macaron Ingredients:

70 grams of almond flour

120 grams of powdered sugar

65 grams of egg whites

50 grams of granulated sugar

Gel food coloring

Buttercream Ingredients:

6 tbsp butter, room temperature

1 ½ cups of powdered sugar

½ tsp of salt



In the bowl of a food processor, add almond flour and powdered sugar. Pulse twice then process 1 ½ min. Sift

Put 2 egg whites in large clean/dry mixing bowl and beat until foamy, then gradually add granulated sugar and beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Add gel food coloring and fold with spatula just until incorporated.

Add all sifted almond flour/sugar mixture and fold with a spatula. Scrape batter around the bowl, then press the flat side of the spatula firmly through the center. Repeat until batter flows like lava and thick ribbon forms as it flows off spatula.

Transfer batter to large piping bag fitted with 3/8” round tip. Pipe circles onto parchment paper.

Firmly tap baking sheets over counter 15-20 times to release air bubbles.

Let cookies sit at room temp 30 min or until no longer sticky to the touch-they should form a thin film on top. Meanwhile preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Bake one sheet at a time for 12-15 min at 300 degrees F until cookies are set. Let cookies cool to room temp before removing them from baking sheet. Once cool, they should slide off easily.

To assemble, flip over half your cookies and pipe generous amounts of frosting onto the flat sides. Find a well-matched unfrosted second half and sandwich cookies together.

Enjoy your delicious and oh-so-fancy cookie!

Posted in jewish museum of maryland

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