Posts in Cooking
Easy As Pie (But Without the Pie)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, making sure to cover the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper.

Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.

In a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula.

Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up.

Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with a spatula.

Let cool completely, the break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week.

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Pearl's Recipe Box

I can't remember how I came to have


this box.

It belonged to my grandmother, Pearl and has been in my possession for years.

Pearl died died in 1986 when I was seventeen. Her husband, my grandfather, Fred, died when I was six. After that she married once and moved to Montréal from New York City for a brief time. When she returned, I remember her as being sad. During my high school years I had dinner with her once a week in her apartment on East 73rd Street. (I think it was Tuesday nights.) She always cooked for me. The meals were basic and delicious. One dish that stands out in my memory was something she called Chicken-in-a-Pot. Her salad bowl was wooden and before loading it up, she was in the habit of rubbing it's inside with a garlic clove. She had embossed green glass goblets that we drank our water out of and velvet upholstered dining chairs. She once showed me the scar from her mastectomy. My mother was furious, but it didn't bother me. I'm told I look like her.

I don't know exactly why I've let this box sit closed for so long or what compelled me to finally open it, but last weekend I did.


I knew it was her recipe box but I was unaware of exactly what treasures lay inside.

The papers were yellowed and musty and almost too brittle to unfold. The writing, familiar and foreign, only partially legible. Niall suggested that perhaps my father (her son) would be able to decipher the codes.

She collected recipes on little bits of clues about her life. One written on notepaper from The Hotel Webster Hall on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. I like to assume that she was visiting my father who went to college there. Another written on a page torn from a date book marked — Thursday, April 30, 1964. The year of my parents' marriage. Still more written on old checks and curious receipts. 


The recipes fall into three major categories: Jewish cooking, recipes passed along from friends and those cut out from newspapers. Some fall into multiple categories.

Among the Jewish recipes I found:

Easiest Potato Kugel
Cauliflower Pudding
Matzo Brie
Charoses For Seder and Kneidlach for a Meat Meal (New York Post Monday, April 1 1968)
Potatoe (this is how she spelled it) Soup
Potatoe Pancake
Sour Cream Pancake
Mother's Matzo Balls

Some of her friend's recipes:

Pot Roast - Miriam
Baked Chicken - Lois
Chocolate Cake - Ruth
Chicken Fricasse - Irma
Goulash - Mrs. Schaer
Veal Cutlet - Jenny
Veal Loaf - Esther
Cold Slaw - Faith (Faith, I suspect, is my mother)
Dip - Ruth
Cake - Edith

There were also multiple recipes for types of 'moulds' (also her spelling) including: Beet and Horseradish Mould, Apple Mould and Strawberry Mould. I vaguely remember these being all the rage in the seventies.

A list of recipes I hope to try one day:

Sunday Morning Coffee Cake
Cheese Cake
Chocolate Bar Cookies
Icebox Cookies
Banana Cake

(Notice a theme?)

Here is something she called

Cookies Charlotte

1/2 pound of butter
1/2 cup cream cheese
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 egg yolks (put whites aside and brush on top of cookies)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Roll into shape of salami (Yes, that is exactly what it says. Salami.) in wax paper and chill for about two hours. Cut cookies. Brush on egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar or chopped nuts.

I never did find the recipe for Chicken-in-a-Pot.

Thanks for visiting.

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Fruited Pumpkin Bread

This recipe comes from Sunset Magazine and is a bit different from most other pumpkin breads I've made. It's a little spicy and includes mashed banana for extra fruity flavor.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground nutmet
3/4 cup (1/4 lb. plus 1/4 cup) butter or margarine, at rooom temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup each canned pumpkin and mashed ripe banana
1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans or dates

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. In another large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition; then stir in pumpkin and banana. Add flour mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Stir in walnuts.

Spread batter evenly in two greased, floured loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven until a wooden skewer inserted in centers of loaves comes out clean (about one hour).

Let bread cool in pans on racks for about five minutes; then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Thanks for playing along with me on Project Quick-Bread. Now the work begins. This weekend my plan is to make many many loaves of the recipes I've posted this month and the gift giving begins. My thought is that each gift will contain three mini loaves. I'm a little stumped about how to present them cleverly. Jessica suggested baking boxes, which I like, but need to locate and don't want to spend too much money on. If anyone has any thoughts, please share them — I'm open.

From the weird files:

This is a blanket with sleeves. It's called a Snuggie and Jake wants one for Hanukkah. No way am I purchasing one of these but since I've never seen one in person I'm having some trouble figuring out how to make it. Anyone?

We're in snow day mode here and this Mama can't wait. My plans involve taking Quinn for his first snow walk and serving hot cocoa to Jake while he sits at the kitchen table in his long johns and wet clothes dry on the heater — pink cheeks all around. I'm heading into the garage now to look for the sled. If I'm not back in a few hours, send in the troops!

Oh, one more thing: happy birthday Niall. I love you.

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