Purim’s Hand Over

This is an old story from 12 years ago when I used to write in Mishpacha.  Sounds like today….

Until the different families got too large and extended, we used to get together every year for the Purim seuda.  Julie had made her homemade borekas and mushroom sauce, Chana made the freshly baked rolls; Libby made good old American apple pie with strawberry ice cream.  Since it was Batya’s house we all joyfully used and abused, her main job was to prepare her kitchen for the onslaught. Together, we made a turkey stuffed (well not really stuffed, but I’ll tell you about that later) with all sorts of goodies.  Sweet potato apple boats and garlic green beans lightly covered with fried sesame seeds, and of course 3 cans of cranberry sauce.


Why 3?  Well one for those who like berry style, the other for those who like jellied and the 3rd for my husband.  He claims its the only way to carve a turkey is with a can of cranberry jelly and a good carving knife.  And believe me his slices of white meat are paper-thin.


One year after the meal was well on its way, the wine and schnapps shared by all those who were invited and those who weren’t, Daniel Eisener spoke. Daniel has dedicated his life to finding Israel’s MIA’s.  Rabbi Eisener travels to unknown places and speaks to people who know only evil. He battles for these precious soldiers of Israel. That Purim had been ushered in by 5 terrorist attacks. Daniel told over a vort with tears in his eyes as he remembered the reporter’s description of “a little Queen Esther without hands or legs.”  .


“The first battle against Amalek, Moshe Rabbeinu had supported the troops from the top of the hill by lifting his hands. As long as his hands were raised the Jews prevailed. By this he demonstrated that the hands are the highest part of the body – but not naturally so – they have to be lifted. We know that Hashem rewards us for even a mere good thought, but the actions of the righteous is like a dance before ones beloved.  And that can only come from a refastening of our heads to our hearts.” And Daniel, then said slowly lifting his hands up high like his ancestor so many years ago,” you may think that Hashem created our heads high to show which has dominance, but the deeds of our hands are more powerful than the most lofty thoughts, since we can lift them above our heads.”


May Hashem grant Daniel’s hands and all those who seek our soldier’s freedom the power to unleash their chains and hand them back over to their rightful places.

Purim Roasted Turkey

(Note for whole turkey eaters in Israel: Even though Israel may be the highest capital of Turkey eaters in the world, butchers don’t sell whole turkeys unless asked in advanced. Better yet find someone else who also wants turkey, because they sell them in pairs) Israeli birds usually come at 6 – 7 kilos, much smaller than their American cousins. This is enough for about 25 – 30 portions.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: about 3 hours

Serving Portions: 25-30

Preheat oven to 200*C or 450*F first.  Wash and clean the turkey inside and out with cold water and drain well.  With peeled garlic clove rub over the entire turkey and sprinkle sweet paprika.


If roasting in an Israeli oven put the whole turkey in an oven’s tray covered with baking paper. Put the dark side (bottom) up first. Reduce the heat to160*C or 325*F and roast uncovered. After an hour turn the turkey around so the white side is up. You may at this point want to cover the tips of the turkey wings and the neck with tinfoil, so they don’t dry out. Always according to American recipes, it recommends about 4 hours of cooking.  I think this is usually exaggerated.  It always seems to be done in 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Elaine’s Onion Stuffing

I prefer actually not stuffing the turkey but lay the stuffing underneath the turkey to baste in its juices for 2 reasons 1. Stuffing causes slower cooking time. And the second reason is for health.  Any stuffing left inside the bird can cause dangerous bacteria.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: by itself 45 minutes if under the turkey same amount as the turkey Serving Portions: 15-20

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 sleeves of parve “Ritz” type crackers
2 cups of chicken broth
2 onions, diced small

Crush the crackers, not too fine, into a bowl.  Heat the oil in a frying pan. Sauté the onions in the heated oil until brown. Add the onions to the crackers and add the broth. Stir until mixture is a good consistency (moist and smooth) Bake, covered, at 350 *F (180*C) for 30 minutes by itself or place it underneath the turkey and let the juices bake in.


Apple filled sweet potatoes boats

Need a medium sweet potato per person


Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: almost 1 hour

Serving Portions: 6

6 med sweet potatoes (or yams)

¼ cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup of margarine

½ tsp grated orange peel (optional)

¼ tsp of cinnamon

1 cup of peeled, cored, chopped apple

¼ cup of chopped sweeten toasted pecans



Heat oven to 190*C (375*F).  Prick sweet potatoes with fork to allow steam to escape.  Bake for 35 minutes until tender. Cut the sweet potato in ½ lengthwise.  Scoop out the meat of the sweet potato and mix it with a blender with the brown sugar, margarine, orange peel and cinnamon.  By hand mix in the nuts and apples. Place mixture back into the shells and place on a baking sheet for another 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Garlic Green beans lightly covered with fried Sesame Seeds

Not only is this dish loved by everyone, you can literally make it at the last minute.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes best just to heat not cook

Serving Portions: 6- 8.


1 package of frozen French style cut green beans

1 tsp salt

1 clove garlic

2 tsp of sesame seeds

1 Tbls of oil or margarine

Sauté the garlic with oil in a frying pan.  After they release their pungent smell add salt and sesame seeds.  Just before the seeds turn brown (just a few minutes – make sure to watch and stir the mixture), turn off the fire.  Add it to the defrosted but still cold green beans.  Stir.  Set mixture on top of whatever you are planning to serve that meal covered.  In 20 – 30 minutes not directly on the fire it will be perfect, hot but not overdone.  If you want to cook it directly, heat it on a fire for 5 minutes stirring so seeds won’t burn.


Double Chocolate Cream Pie

Preparation Time: ½ hour

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Serving Portions: 8-10


1 ½ cup flour

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/3-cup oil or margarine

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbls cocoa



1 Tbls wine

1 Tbls flour

¼ cup water

1 package parve chocolate chips (400 grams)

1 package vanilla pudding

4 eggs separated Egg yolks beaten and the whites whipped



1 container parve dessert whip

1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven 350* F (180* C).

Mix the dough ingredients in a mixer.  Line a 9“ pie pan with baking paper. Roll out the dough to fit the bottom of the pie pan and prick holes in it.  Bake for 25 minutes.


In a pot over a low fire, add 2/3’s of the chocolate, the wine, egg yolks and the flour.  Stir constantly until melted. Remove from the fire.  Add the pudding and mix thoroughly.  Fold in the egg whites. Place the filing in the warm shell.


Whip the parve whip and add the vanilla.  Mix again. Smear the whip on top of the filing and decorate with the leftover chocolate chips.  Serve either immediately or chilled.



Tip: The best way to tell if a turkey is done uses a standard meat thermometer. Insert the tip into the thigh muscle next to body, not touching bone. The turkey is done when it reads 185*F or 85*C.  Or you can use a toothpick. Stick it into the meaty part of the turkey. If the juice runs out clear, your bird is done.


Tip: The apple sweet potato dish can be made into a casserole.  Don’t return the mixture into the skins, but put it together in a baking dish.  Drop 2 Tbls of margarine in small bits on top and bake.


Tip: In the green bean dish; strips of red pepper can be cooked with the garlic, to give the dish a different flavor and more color.


Tip: Other variations of the pie; make the crust with out chocolate. Fro toppings melt 100 grams of chocolate with ¼ cup margarine together and pour it on top after the pie filling has cooled a bit.  Then sprinkle the tops with nuts and coconut in diagonal lines across the pie.










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