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In the kitchen cooking for our family seder and listening to some of my favorite Ladino music. I think it connects me to the generations past and touches my ethnic soul! Amongst my favorites is an album of Pesah songs in the Ladino tradition by Yehoram Gaon. You can download it on iTunes. (Go to iTunes; click on search box in upper right section of page ‘search store'; type in ‘Yehoram Gaon’ and look for the album ‘Shirim Lepesach’).

Included in the album are two from our family ‘hit parade’……’un kavritico’ ( chad gadya – an only kid) and ‘kien su piense’ (echad mi yodea – who knows one).

In our family, singing theses songs at the end of the seder is one of the highlights for all generations. Everyone know the melodies, and year by year, they learn the lyrics. Even first time guests quickly get into the spirit and sing with us. It truly is something that connects us – as a family, as part of a tradition.

Check out the lyrics. Listen to the song as recorded by Yehoram Gaon. If you have not yet made it part of your family tradition, consider adding it.

Enjoy your seder – and the love of being with family and friends. May it be a holiday of meaning and joy to all.

~Bendichas Manos

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AN ONLY KID

LADINO VERSION: UN KAVRETIKO

Un kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vi no el gato, y komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre, por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vino el perro, y modrio al gato, ke komio el kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vino el palo, y aharvo el perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vino el fuego, y kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vino la agua, y amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim. por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vino el buey, y bebio a la agua, ke amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vino el shochet, y degoyo al buey, ke bebio a la agua, ke amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko, ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vino el Malach Hamavet, y degoyo al shochet, ke degoyo al buey, ke bebio a la agua, ke amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

Y vino el Santo Bendicho, y degoyo al Malach Hamavet, ke degoyo al shochet, ke degoyo al buey, ke bebio a la agua, ke amato al fuego, ke kemo al palo, ke aharvo al perro, ke modrio al gato, ke komio al kavretiko ke lo merko mi padre por dos levanim, por dos levanim.
HAD GADYA, HAD GADYA!

*******

WHO KNOWS ONE?
LADINO VERSION: KIEN SU PIENSE?

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo es el uno?
UNO es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los dos?
DOS Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los tres?
TRES muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los kuatro?
KUATRO madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los cinko?
CINKO livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los sesh?
SESH dias de la semana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los siete?
SIETE dias kon el Shabbat, sesh dias de la semana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Kien su piense y entendiense alavar al Dio kriense, Kualo son los ocho?
OCHO dias de la millah, siete dias kon el Shabbat, sesh dias de la semana, cinko livros de la Ley, kuatro madres de Yisrael, tres muestros padres son, dos Moshe y Aharon, uno es el Kriador, baruch Hu uvaruch shemo!

Passover is fast approaching — a time for family gatherings and the retelling of our seminal story of peoplehood as Jews, the Exodus from Egypt. In telling this story, we use several symbolic foods as reminders, including the matzah – the unleavened bread, symbolizing the haste in which the Jews left Egypt, with no time for their bread to rise; a roasted egg — representing the festival offering; a roasted lamb shank bone — representing the Passover sacrifice; karpas — a green vegetable – we use celery (many Ashkenazim use parsley) representing hope and renewal; maror — we use romaine lettuce (many Ashkenazim use horseradish) — representing the bitterness of slavery and persecution; we use vinegar, although some use saltwater, into which we dip our karpas (celery) to recall the tears that the Israelis shed in Egypt. And haroset, a mixture of nuts and fruits made to resemble the mortar used to make bricks when the Jews were forced to build the cities of Ramses and Pithom.

Haroset – It is something we make only in conjunction with the Passover holiday. Different ethnic communities used different ingredients, depending, one suspects, on ingredients available in their particular areas. In the Sephardic and Mizrahi world, there is a tremendous variation in the recipes for haroset. Recently, the Cook Book group of Sepahrdic Temple Tifereth Israel, as part of its effort to produce a new cookbook in the next few years, had a tasting of haroset from a variety of backgrounds. Several variations from Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Rhodes and different parts of Iran were lovingly prepared and shared with the group. Each version was uniquely delicious.
In a previous post, I highlighted our family haroset prepared by my cousin Sarita Hasson Fields in the tradition of the Sephardim of the Island of Rhodes. This post will highlight a recipe from Iran which I just made today to add to our family table this year, made by Neda Mehdizadeh, based on her mother’s recipe from Iran.
The texture and taste are delicious for both — something new to add to your Seder table. As always, we would love to hear from you about your traditions and some of your special foods.
Cook with love – and enjoy this special time of year.
Pesah Alegre!
~Bendichas Manos

Neda Mehdizadeh is one of the dynamic young leaders of the Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel Sisterhood, Or Chadash. She is a wonderful cook and gracious hostess. For our haroset tasting, Neda used the recipe of her mother, Nahid Jahanbin Khazai. This recipe is delicious, and the cardamom and cinnamon adds a distinct and delightful taste treat.

Neda’s Haroset

· 1 cup Concord seedless raisins
· 1 cup dried pitted prunes
· 1 cup pitted dates
· 1 cup Manischewitz kosher wine
· ½ cup raw almonds
· ½ cup walnuts
· ½ cup raw hazelnuts
· ½ cup raw cashews
· ½ cup fresh orange juice
· ½ cup pomegranate juice
· 2 chopped fresh apples
· 2 bananas
· 2 chopped fresh pears
· 2 cups fresh seedless concord grapes
· 2 tbsp ground cardamom
· 1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 – Soak the raisins, prunes and dates in the wine for a few hours or overnight
2 – Ground the almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, and cashews in food processor, set aside
3 – Process the dried fruit and wine mixture in the processor
4 – Add and process the fresh fruits into the processor
5 – Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl (the dried & fresh fruit mixture, ground nuts, orange and pomegranate juices, and spices)
6. You can adjust the spices and wine to suit your taste
7. Haroset will keep well in the refrigerator for at least two weeks

“Bulicunio” – “Susam” – a wonderful confection that combines the rich nutty flavor of sesame seeds with a honey syrup creating a taste and texture treat for the palate. My Mother has made boulicunio for both our sons’ brit milot – and it has been a favorite of my husband’s. Usually around Passover, it becomes available in stores in pre made, individually wrapped pieces and I buy them for him.

Inspired by a post from Stella Hanan Cohen ( “Stella’s Sephardic Table”), I asked my mom to make some. Starting with a recipe from Aunt Rosha Benveniste Solam (z’l) we tweaked it somewhat, adapted for Passover, and set out to make Boulicunio.

Boulicunio ( Susam Candy)

3 C Sesame Seeds
1 C Sugar
1 C Honey
1/4 C Hot Water
1 tsp Lemon
3/4 C Toasted Almonds
2 Tblsp Matzh Flour

Susam

Toast sesame seeds in frying pan over medium flame until golden brown.
Add flour toward end.
toasting susam

Toast the almonds and add them to the sesame mixture.

Toasted Almonds

In a separate pot, mix sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Stir to keep from burning. It will foam and begin to bubble. Add honey and keep stirring. Syrup is ready when….well, when a small amount dropped into a cup of cold water forms a ball.
Syrup
Add syrup to the sesame mixture.
IMG_2407
Pour mixture onto a lightly greased work table or cutting board.

When cool, roll small batches into 1 inch ropes.
IMG_2410
Cut at a diagonal.
IMG_2414

IMG_2415

Can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container.

A taste and texture treat! Give them a try and let us know what you think.

Enjoy this time of preparing for the holiday and sharing special foods with family and friends. Pass along family traditions – create new ones. Always cook with love!

~Bendichas Manos!

You asked – here it is! Re-posting recipe for Passover Megina
Enjoy!!

One of the staples of our seder meal is a Megina, sometmes refered to as “mina”, or a “meat quajado”. My mom’s is made with crumbled matzah mixed in giving it a quajado like consistency once cooked, and able to be cut into and served in squares. The “mina” version is often made with layers of soaked and softened matzahs and constructed more like a meat lasagna. I am sharing the recipe as my mom makes it for our family and as she has taught it in community cooking classes. This is one of those dishes you can customize to your liking, adding different spices for a differnt flair ( think cumin or ‘ras el hanut’ or even cilantro instead of parsley, to name a few). This version is made with ground beef, although ground turkey could be substituted. Let us know what you think!

My Mom’s (Kaye Israel) Recipe for Passover “Megina” (meat casserole) {sometimes called Quajado de Carne or Mina}

2 C chopped onions
2 lbs ground meat
2 tblsp oil
1/2 tsp pepper (to taste)
1 tblsp salt
1/4 c parsley, chopped
10 eggs
1 C farfel (soaked in warm water, and squeezed dry) or 4 sheets matzah (soaked in warm water, squeezed dry and crumbled)
touch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Brown meat with onions in oil; transfer to bowl and allow to cool. Add salt, pepper, parsley and farfel (or matzah). Add 2 beaten eggs at a time until 8 eggs are mixed in.

Grease 9 x 13 inch pan (pyrex type) and heat in oven for 2 – 3 minutes. Pour mixture into pan. Spread remaining 2 beaten eggs to top of mix. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool. Cut into squares and serve. Delish!!!!

As with all things Passover…..enjoy the opportunity to be with family and friends. Document your family recipes and traditions, cook together, enjoy the time. With each dish we serve and each traditional song we sing, we recall lovingly those family members who are no longer with us, whose recipes and memories are present at our table, and whose names we mention at various time throughout the evening (and throughout our many family gatherings).

As we retell the Passover story, so too, we retell our family stories. I love the fact that our sons, aged 19 and 23, “know” and talk about family members, several who passed away years before the boys were born…..but whose life lessons and stories are still very much a part of our family gatherings. Memories live on!

We would love to share some of your family stories with “Bendichas Manos” readers…..please feel free to send them on to us! Most important, share them at your seders. This keeps our histories and our stories alive!

~”Bendichas Manos”

Reprinting a family favorite…

There are several foods that my mom prepares especially and only for Pesah.  Keftes di Prassa (leek patties) is one of those specialities.

In our family, these are vegetarian – others make them with ground meat. (these are one of my husband’s very favorite Sephardic treats!!) Continue Reading »

Purim is here, Pesah is right around the corner!!!   So some Purim “allegre” for now…and Pesah recipes coming!

I remember when my boys were young, my mother would make “Folares”, or “Haman in Jail” as the boys called them, for Purim.  The Folare was made of Bureka dough wrapped around a hard boiled egg.  The strips of dough form a “cage” or “jail” around the egg. The egg represented the evil Haman from the Purim story, who is ultimately punished for his plot to harm the Jews. Continue Reading »

Burmuelos di Hanukkah

We are busy getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving here in the States AND Hanukkah! We’ll light the first candle on Wednesday night and have the family together for a Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. With blessings and gratitude we continue to celebrate all week. And our unique and special Hanukkah favorite: burmuelos – delightful, light, fried dough pillows bathed in a light, sweet syrup.

Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Jewsih victory over the Greeks in 165 BCE.

A favorite story is the Miracle of the Oil. The Jews went to reclaim and restore the Temple in Jerusalem after it had been defiled and left in ruins by the Greeks. There was only enough oil left to rekindle the candelabra that was to burn throughout the night each and every night. It would be several days before more oil be be procured and prepared. By virtue of a Miracle, the oil burned for 8 days and nights, until more oil was available.

To commemorate the Miracle, we prepare foods cooked in oil for the holiday of Hanukkah. Favorites are latkes (potato pancakes), sufganiyot (filled donuts), and in our family, burmuelos (fried dough).

Growing up, I had never had latkes. Our Hannukah treat was always burmuelos – light, fried dough pillows bathed in a light, sweet syrup that is absolutely devine!

This year we will gather for Thanksgiving and sharing the second night of Hanukkah ….. Turkey with all the trimmings AND my mom will make fresh burmuelos!!!

Made from a yeast dough, it takes some time for the dough to rise and be ready to fry. My mom will make the dough ahead of time and after dinner, drop the dough by spoonfuls into hot oil, watch them puff and turn a golden brown as she prepares the honey syrup. Once the burmuelos are ready, she will bathe them in syrup and we’ll eat them, warm and fresh! Divine, indeed!

Below is the recipe. Give them a try…..and enjoy!

My Mom uses the recipe from the cookbook,

    The Sephardic Cooks – Come Con Gana

compiled by the Sisterhood of Congregation Or Ve Shalom in Atlanta, GA.

1 tsp yeast
1/2 C and 1 1/2 C warm water
pinch of salt
3 C flour
1 egg
oil (for frying)

Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. In mixing bowl add dry ingredients. Add yeast mixture, egg and remaining warm water. MIx well. Allow to rise in covered bowl in warm place for 2 hours.

Fill a quart pot with 3 inches of cooking oil. Allow to get very hot.

Drop a teaspoon of soft dough into the hot oil.

Remove with slotted spoon when golden brown. Bathe in syrup.

Syrup

1 C sugar
3 Tblsps honey
1/2 C water

Boil together until sticky. Pour over burmuelos.

A wonderful message about the Miracle of Hanukkah shared by Craig Taubman this morning:

“The miracle of Hanukka is not that the oil burned for 8 days. The true miracle? That someone was inspired to light the light in the first place!”

Let us be inspired!!

Bendichas Manos!!!!

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