Friday, February 18, 2022




A. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of proper cooking techniques by preparing sufganiyot; thereby demonstrating that they know how to:
  1. Measure and combine ingredients.
  2. Use a deep fat thermometer.
  3. Safely drop batter into hot oil.
  4. Fry the sufganiyot to the proper stage and flip them over.
  5. Remove and drain them from the oil onto absorbent paper towels.
  6. Handle carefully to coat with cinnamon sugar.
B. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of the background of sufganiyot by completing the final Sample Test.


  1. Preparing the batter takes very little time and can be done in class. No advance preparation is necessary.
  2. Begin heating the oil as soon as the class arrives. It is essential that you use a thermometer to meter the temperature and begin dropping in the batter before it becomes overheated and not before it is ready. Overheated oil can catch fire, so if you are easily distracted, immediately assign a reliable student to do nothing but watch the thermometer and let you know when the correct temperature has been reached. If the batter is not ready, remove the heat source until it is and then reapply heat until the correct temperature is reached.
  3. Give the donuts a little time to drain off and cool down before dipping in the cinnamon sugar.
  1. Sometimes the batter becomes slightly thickened on standing. Stir in a little milk if the batter is not coming down properly out of the donut maker.
  2. Make sure to add a little at a time until the correct consistency is reached. It is difficult to correct if you add too much.
  3. The most important aspect of this lesson is to make sure a responsible person is watching the oil and the individual student making the donut at all times to avoid accidents. If that person is you, the teacher, you will have to ignore practically everything else going on in the room.
  4. If you have two donut makers, one can be refilled while the other is being used.
  5. Let the donuts drain back into the hot oil before putting on paper towels so as not to waste the oil or the paper towels and to remove as much oil as possible so that the donuts will not be greasy.
  6. Separate newly removed donuts from ones that have been resting so that a student dipping them into cinnamon sugar does not burn themselves reaching for one that has just come out of the hot oil.

A. Additional points that can be discussed with the students are:

1. Why are sufganiyot traditional in Israel whereas in the United States we associate latkes with Hanukkah?

Answer: Latkes, and specifically potato latkes are common in the Askenazic or Eastern European tradition because in the cold weather climate of Eastern Europe prevalent when the 25th of Kislev arrives, potatoes were one of the few foodstuffs available cheaply and in abundance for the Jews to fry. It was more common to fry them in chicken or goose fat because oil was very scarce and expensive at the time.

2. How is the celebration of Hanukkah different in Israel?

Answer: The emphasis is not so much on gift-giving, but on the celebration of the rededication of the Holy Temple. It is the first true celebration of religious freedom in history.

B. In what ways does the circumstance of Christmas and Hanukkah falling at the same time of year in this country affect our perception of the holiday and the celebration of the holiday here. Does the fact that Jews are in the minority here and in the majority in Israel affect the quality and nature of the celebration?

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • oil for deep-fat frying
  • more granulated sugar for coating donuts
  • cinnamon
  • large mixing bowl
  • small mixing bowl
  • large wooden spoon
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • large mixing spoons
  • slotted spoons or spider spoons for removing donuts from oil
  • silicone spatula
  • absorbent paper towels
  • baking trays
  • large frying pans, skillets, or woks
  • drop donut maker gadgets
  • deep-fat thermometer



The holiday of Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev and is celebrated for eight days. The event in Jewish history that it commemorates is the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after it had been desecrated for three years by the Syrian army under the rule of King Antiochus. Antiochus was tyrannical in his insistence that the Jews give up their religion and customs and accept a Hellenistic lifestyle that included bowing down to idols. This practice, which goes against the very nature of Judaism, was so distasteful to many families that they fled into the hills surrounding Judea and formed a small army led by Judah the Hasmonean. Judah later became known as Judah the Maccabee (the hammer) because of his persistence in battling the overwhelmingly larger Syrian army. Because Judah was such a brilliant strategist, he eventually succeeded in routing the Syrians from Judea, considered a miraculous feat. 

When the Jews succeeded in liberating the Temple, they cleaned and purified everything, but could only find enough undefiled oil to light the Ner Tamid (eternal light) for one day. Because they had been prevented from celebrating the holiday of Sukkot, they belatedly began this celebration. It is said that the oil lasted for the entire eight days of the Sukkot celebration until more purified oil could be obtained. Although the original liberators of the Temple were belatedly celebrating Sukkot, we now celebrate this victory over religious oppression by celebrating the re-dedication of the Temple. The word Hanukkah means dedication. It also can be broken into two portions. The part “Hanu” means “they rested” and the last two letters—kaf and hey equal twenty five (kaf equals twenty and hey equals five). The rabbis drew an inference from this that they rested on the 25th day from the fighting for and the cleaning of the Temple.

Oil plays a very important part in the celebration of this holiday because over the years a legend grew about the miracle of the oil. Oil was also used to light the menorah in the Temple, and, in recent times, to commemorate the eight-day celebration, a candle or oil lamp is lit in progression for each night of the holiday until eight candles or lamps are burning. Foods fried in oil have therefore
become the tradition during this holiday. 

In Israel, sufganiyot are as traditional for Hanukkah as potato latkes are for Ashkenazic Jews in the United States because they are fried in oil. There are many variations and recipes in Israel for yeast batters, jelly or cream-filled doughnuts, baking soda batters, rolled out doughnuts, and dropped doughnuts. All of these, however, are fried in oil. In schools in Israel, the circumstances surrounding the story are enacted in plays. The students enjoy dressing up in costumes and the most coveted role is that of Judah the Maccabee. After these plays, a Hanukiah (special menorah for Hanukkah) is lighted and students enjoy all kinds of delicacies that are fried. In addition to sufganiyot are fruit fritters, cottage cheese latkes, potato latkes, and batter-dipped vegetables, to name a few.

Dairy dishes that are fried are particularly traditional because of the story of Judith. Judith was a widow who entertained an enemy general of the Syrian army. She induced him to drink too much by feeding him quantities of cheese which made him thirsty. When he fell into a drunken sleep, she beheaded him. When his soldiers found out what had happened to their general, they fled. The battle was won and the town where she lived was saved.

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • oil for deep-fat frying (peanut oil works well for high-temperature frying)
  • sugar and cinnamon for coating

  1. In large bowl, place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and stir to mix.
  2. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add 1/4 c. oil, milk, sour cream and egg.
  3. Mix with wooden spoon until smooth.
  4. Pour frying oil about 2-inches deep in the skillet and heat to 375-degrees on a deep fat thermometer.
  5. Fill donut-makers with batter and drop mixture in rings into the hot oil so that they do not touch each other. (Do not crowd the pan.)
  6. Fry until golden brown (3-4 minutes on each side).
  7. Drain on paper towels.
  8. Dip each side in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon combined.
  9. Recipe makes about 25 doughnuts. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021




A. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of proper cooking techniques by preparing rafrefet tapoozim; thereby demonstrating that they know how to:

  1. Separate eggs.
  2. Use a wire whisk to beat ingredients.
  3. Measure and combine ingredients.
  4. Use an electric mixer.
  5. Add ingredients gradually to others in an electric mixer.
  6. Ladle pudding into cups neatly, avoiding drips.

B. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of the background of rafrefet tapoozim by completing the Final Sample Test.



  1. This recipe requires a good deal of time for one student or another to be standing over a pot and stirring. Since this activity gets very boring very fast, it is a good idea to rotate the students who are performing this task.
  2. You may or may not wish to prepare a batch of this pudding ahead of time. It is supposed to be chilled before being eaten, but it can be sampled warm by the students. Depending on your timing and number of classes, a batch prepared by the first group of students can be sampled by the second and so on.
  3. Make sure orange juice is thawed before class.
  4. Have a student lay out the serving dishes while the pudding is being prepared.


  1. It is advisable to provide other activities for students who may become disruptive when not directly participating in the preparation at every moment.
  2. Note the division of the measurement of the sugar. Keep an eye on the students to make sure they are aware that sugar is added in two places so that the total measurement is correct.
  3. Egg whites will not beat properly if even a speck of yolk gets into them. Have the students separate each egg white separately and if it is okay, it can be added to the other whites. If not correctly separated, add yolk and set aside for another use as a whole egg.
  4. Bowls and beaters must be meticulously clean for egg whites to beat properly as even a slight haze of oily or foreign substances will prevent the whites from becoming stiff.
  5. If drips occur while ladling, the correct technique for cleaning the edge is to dampen a paper towel or edge of a kitchen towel and wipe carefully until clean.


A. Additional points that can be discussed with the students are:

1. Why is it necessary to use potato starch instead of cornstarch during Passover?


Answer: Corn is classified as a legume and is forbidden in the Ashkenazic Orthodox tradition along with other legumes, such as peas and beans. The Sephardim allow these vegetables, and cornstarch would be acceptable in a Sephardic household. As far as flavor, cornstarch and potato starch are indistinguishable from one another in taste as well as the way they behave chemically in the recipe. In recent years, the Conservative Ashkenazic movement has reversed many of the prohibitions about this sort of kitniyot and are now allowing the use of legumes.

2. Why is vanilla not permitted for Passover?

Answer: Vanilla flavor comes from a bean that grows on a vining member of the orchid family. As a bean, it is likewise not permitted among the Ashkenazic Orthodox. Many of these families would use vanillin or vanilla sugar (sugar which is flavored with vanillin) as a substitute. This substance is a chemical substitute for real vanilla and contains none of the real thing.


There are many neglected orange orchards in Israel. A fruit-bearing tree may not be cut down according to Jewish law. Where real estate has become valuable for building, orchards have been neglected so that the trees will eventually die or cease to bear fruit and can then legally be cleared away to make room for new construction. Ask the students how they feel about this law and what would happen in the United States if the law were to be enacted here. Did the ancient Israelis foresee a conflict in the allocation of land for food as opposed to shelter? Is the legislature in this country acting to prevent farms from being swallowed up by housing developments?


  • 1 doz. large eggs
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2/3 c. cornstarch
  • 1 12-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 lemon
  • vanilla extract
  • 1 package sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
  • small bowls for separating eggs
  • electric mixer
  • wire whisk
  • 4-qt. saucepan
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • large ladle
  • 15 individual serving dishes (these can be little plastic cups or plastic drinking glasses)
  • plastic spoons





Oranges grow in great abundance in Israel and are one of the relatively few food items that 
are sometimes exported by Israel to the United States. The variety most often found in U.S. supermarkets is the Jaffa orange, which rivals our navel orange in sweetness and seedless-ness. It is also beautiful to behold and usually has a very thick skin. Like all Israeli fruits, though, it is only eaten fresh in season, so if you are in Israel in the summertime, as I was, you probably won't be able to find a decent orange anywhere.

The following recipe makes use of frozen orange juice concentrate, so it can be enjoyed at any time of the year. The fluffy orange pudding it produces is pareve and so can be eaten after a meat meal. While relatively simple to make, it can be dressed up and made very elegant by spooning it into beautiful stemmed glasses and topping with whatever you like. One suggestion would be to top off with a thin layer of Sabra, an Israeli liqueur made from oranges and chocolate. The Israelis often top it off with sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut. At any rate, whether served in a plain custard cup or an elegant glass, it is equally delicious.

The egg white in this dessert is not completely cooked, so it is a good idea to take care in the selection of eggs to make sure there are no hairline cracks and that they have been properly refrigerated to insure against the salmonella bacteria. Each egg should be separated individually and examined for blood spots (which would render the egg not kosher) before being added to the rest of the separated.

It is always challenging to find interesting desserts that are appropriate after a Passover
seder. If you substitute potato starch for the cornstarch in this recipe and eliminate the vanilla extract, you will find you have a lovely, light, and pareve Passover dessert.

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 c. sugar, divided
  • 2/3 c. cornstarch
  • 1 12-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 4-2/3 c. boiling water
  • 2 t. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • Sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut to taste (optional)

  1. Separate the eggs.
  2. In a 4-qt. saucepan, use a wire whisk to beat together the egg yolks and 3/4 c. of the sugar until well mixed.
  3. Whisk in the cornstarch and orange juice concentrate until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Gradually add the boiling water while whisking.
  5. Place the pot over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and just begins to boil under the surface.
  6. Remove the custard from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla.
  7. Meanwhile, in electric mixer bowl, use clean beaters to beat the egg whites until just foamy.
  8. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 c. of sugar and beat just until stiff peaks form.
  9. Whisk about a third of the beaten whites into the hot custard to lighten it.
  10. Immediately add all of the custard to the whites in the mixing bowl and whisk just a few seconds longer, just until the pudding is smooth.
  11. Use a thermometer to make sure the temperature of the mixture reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure that any harmful bacteria in the eggs has been dispatched. (If this temperature has not been reached, it may be necessary to whisk the mixture over boiling water until the correct temperature is reached.
  12. Using a ladle, the bottom of which is wiped against the edge of the mixing bowl to prevent drips, ladle the pudding into individual serving dishes, sprinkle the top with coconut if desired, and chill in the refrigerator before serving.
  13. Makes approximately 15 individual size servings.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

FALAFEL (Fried Chickpea Patties)


My sabra (native born Israeli) husband Saul and I have known each other since I was eleven and he was fourteen. My first encounter with falafel was in the late sixties when Saul noticed that a falafel restaurant had opened on Bustleton Avenue near his home in northeast Philadelphia. He was so excited and enthusiastic about the availability of this dish, of which I had never heard before, that I could not wait to try it. I could not understand why his mother, who was an excellent cook of Hungarian extraction, had never made it if he missed it so much from his childhood in Israel. I liked it very much when I first tried it at that restaurant, although my first encounter with “s’chug” the fiery pepper sauce that is a common accompaniment was not so pleasant.

While we were in college, a food truck opened up on Temple University’s campus, which provided our fix. Shortly after we were first married in the 1970s, supermarkets began to carry packets of dry falafel mix. I used to add water, let the mixture sit for a few minutes and then drop small hand-rolled balls into hot oil to fry. These were acceptable, but not as good as the falafel we began to get at the festival following the Israel Day Parade in Philadelphia.

My ultimate falafel experience was in Israel in the small town of Afula where the preparation of this beloved street food is high art, both culinary and performance. Israelis have a special gadget that they use to shape the patties, rather than rolling them into balls. When Saul and Ari visited Israel three years ago, I asked them to bring one back for me. It was one of the only kitchen gadgets I didn’t already own. I could not take the trip with them then because I was taking care of my mother, who was on hospice. They brought me two of the spring-loaded gadgets which, until recently, have been languishing in a kitchen drawer. Several of my attempts to make falafel from scratch ended in frustrated failure when, despite my best efforts, the balls dissolved into oily crumbs. The pre-packaged mixture has become very costly for such modest ingredients as chick peas and dried herbs. Consequently, I decided to try again recently, especially as I had a surfeit of fresh herbs over the summer, such as coriander, parsley, basil and dill.

I took to the internet this time, reading dozens of recipes and the reviews of them that people who tried the recipe had posted. Apparently, having them fall apart in the hot oil is a common problem. My research taught me two tricks. One is that the dough should be extremely cold before frying. The other, is that the oil temperature is critical and ideally should be at 360°F, so using a thermometer was also a critical necessity. After reviewing all those recipes on the net, I decided to go back to my favorite cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene, The Jewish Holiday Cookbook. I was very glad that I did. Saul and I were very pleased with the results. I modified the recipe in minor ways. I used more fresh herbs and in a greater variety than called for in the book, and I used three slices of of multi-grain bread in a doubled batch. I also did not precook the dried chickpeas. Using the Israeli gadget (Saul removed the spring which made it very hard to handle), together we made 92 perfect falafel patties that tasted authentic and delicious.

The only problem I have with them is that I am a very spontaneous person. Planning a day ahead that I am going to make falafel so that I have time to soak dry chickpeas overnight is problematic for me. Falafel can be made from canned chickpeas, which I have tried, but the texture is not as it should be. Anyway, if you can plan ahead, and follow all these tips, you, too, can have lots of wonderful falafel at a pittance. Stash them away in the freezer, and then you can bake them a few at a time, as needed, to satisfy the craving.

Falafel (Fried Chickpea Patties)
(makes approximately 7 dozen)
  • 1 lb. bag dry chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans)
  • 2/3 cup bulgur wheat
  • grated rind and juice of 2 large lemons (approximately 6 Tbsp. lemon juice)
  • 4 large or extra-large eggs
  • 6 Tbsp. cold water
  • 2 large cloves elephant garlic, or 4 regular garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tightly packed cup of assorted chopped fresh herbs, which should include parsley and coriander, and which may include dill, basil, sage, thyme, and/or marjoram
  • 1 tsp. hot sauce, such as s’chug, or Sriracha, or cayenne pepper, smoked chipotle pepper, or whatever floats your boat
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 slices fresh, pareve, multi-grain bread, processed into crumbs in a food processor
  • several cups of oil for frying, preferably, peanut oil
Sort and wash the dry chick peas well. Put in a container with ample space for them to swell and cover with cool water. Soak overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

Put the bulgur wheat into a mesh sieve and lower until covered into a bowl of warm water. Soak about 20 minutes, lift out of the water and allow to drain well.

Chop the garlic in a food processor until fine. Add the herbs and chop fine.

Add the drained chickpeas, lemon juice and peel, eggs, and water to the processor bowl and pulse process until the chick-peas are very finely chopped, but not puréed.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix in the rest of the seasonings, the drained bulgur, and the multi-grain breadcrumbs. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to eight hours.

Heat about two inches of oil to 360°F. being careful not to overheat. I do this in a wok. Form mixture into one-inch balls and flatten slightly into tiny croquettes, or use a falafel gadget made for the purpose, and carefully slide each patty into the hot oil, frying a few at a time. Do not crowd them.

Fry them for a few minutes, turning once, until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towels. Repeat until the mixture is finished.

The traditional way to serve falafel is to slice open a pita pocket, stuff several warm patties inside the pocket, and then top with salad. On top of that goes tahina dressing and s’chug  to taste. Back in the days when my kids were little, before it was possible to find tahina widely available, we used to top the falafel with ranch dressing. My daughter tells me that, even after residing for two years of schooling in Israel, she still prefers it that way.

Leftover falafel patties freeze well and can be rewarmed in the oven, at 350°F, uncovered, until just heated through.


Click here for additional photos. LESSON OBJECTIVES AND OUTLINE FOR TEACHERS I. LESSON OBJECTIVES A. The students will demonstrate their kno...