Such a Good Cook

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Lorraine's Specialties

My Mother-in-law, Lorraine Fischer was an amazing woman.  I learned my Jewish culinary skills from her.   I was not raised Jewish but married a Jewish man and found Lorraine a wealth of information when it came to traditional foods.  For my first Passover she sent me the recipes that had been handed down to her from her mother and her mother before her.  She handed down the secrets of Jewish cooking to me and I became a “Gastronomic Jew.”   The world of matzo meal, rendered chicken fat, chopped liver, kugel, brisket and horoset were unknown to me.  Mastering these recipes were key to preparing a successful Jewish holiday meal.  The recipes below our Lorraine’s that I hope to one day pass down to my daughter-in-law to continue the tradition of Jewish cooking.  Enjoy!

Potato Latkes



·       3 large baking potatoes

·       2 eggs, separated

·       1 small onion, grated fine

·       1 tablespoon unbleached flour

·       ¼ teaspoon baking powder

·       ½ cup vegetable oil

·       1 teaspoon kosher salt

·       Black pepper, freshly ground to taste




1.     Peel potatoes and grate fine

2.     Empty potato pulp into a mesh sieve and wash under cold running water until water runs clear. Drain well.

3.     Empty potatoes into a bowl and combine with egg yolk, grated onion, flour and baking powder.

4.     Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

5.     In a large nonstick skillet add the oil to about ½ inch in the pan.  Heat until very hot.

6.     Drop full tablespoon of the potato mixture into oil, flatten each mound slightly and fry on both sides over medium-high heat until golden brown.

7.     Drain on paper towels, changing them frequently as they absorb oil. Add oil, making sure it is hot enough before you drop in more potato mixture.


Helen’s Mandel Bread

Mandel Bread is like a Jewish Biscotti.  It is a traditional pastry served around Jewish holidays and Hanukkah in particular.  Enjoy.



·        1 jar maraschino cherries

·        1 cup chopped walnuts

·        7 ounces chocolate chips

·        3 cups flour

·        3 teaspoons baking powder

·        ½ teaspoon salt

·        ½ cup shortening

·        1 cup sugar

·        3 eggs

·        1 teaspoon lemon juice




1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.     Mix together the cherries, walnuts and chocolate chips put to the side

3.     Cream together the sugar and shortening until well blended

4.     Gradually add the eggs to the sugar mixture until all ingredients are well blended

5.     Stir in flour gradually

6.     Add baking powder, salt and lemon juice.

7.     Fold in the cherries, nuts and chocolate chips

8.     Turn mixture onto a baking sheet (Do not grease cookie sheet) to form a flat rounded log.

9.     Bake 30 – 45 minutes

10. Cut in slices while hot and let cool.


Cheese Latkes



·       4 eggs, separated

·       ½ pound farmers cheese

·       ¼ cup matzo meal

·       ½ teaspoon salt




1.     Whip egg whites to stiff peaks set aside

2.     Mash cheese, add yolks, matzo meal and salt, mix well

3.     Fold in beaten egg whites

4.     Drop mixture from spoon into a greased skillet and cook over medium heat.

5.     Flip to brown both sides

6.     Serve hot.  Great with honey or cinnamon sugar


Makes about 12 latkes 


Chicken Soup



  • 1 Chicken quartered
  • 2 – 3 medium sizes carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 – 3 stacks celery
  • 4 quarts cold water
  • 1 parsnip
  • Salt and pepper to taste




  1. Bring water to a boil
  2. Add chicken and vegetables
  3. Skim and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 2 hours until chicken is tender.
  4. Remove chicken and vegetables.
  5. Strain soup through a fine strainer
  6. Serve with matzo balls

Fluffy Kneidlach (Matzo Balls)



  • 3 eggs separated
  • ¾ cup matzo meal
  • ½ teaspoon salt




  1. Beat Whites until stiff
  2. Fold in beaten egg yolks and salt.
  3. Fold in matzo meal.
  4. Let stand five minutes then form balls with a spoon and drop into boiling soup stock or salt water.
  5. Cover and cook 35 minutes.


Recipe makes 12 large balls


Noodle Kugel


  • 1 pound egg noodles 
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 cups small curd cottage cheese


  1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Toss with butter; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, sour cream and cottage cheese until well blended. Stir in the noodles.
  2. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Combine the cracker crumbs and butter; sprinkle over top.
  3. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Serve warm or cold.  

Nana's Beef Brisket


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (4 pound) beef brisket
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • salt and pepper to taste




  1. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Season the brisket generously with black pepper. Place in the pan and cook until the surface is a rich brown color, not burnt, but dark. Lift the roast and scatter the onions in the pan. Place the uncooked side of the roast down onto the onions. Repeat the browning process.
  2. Add the garlic to the pan, and fill with enough water to almost cover the roast. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid or tight-fitting aluminum foil. Simmer for 4 hours, turning the roast over once halfway through. The roast should be fork tender.
  3. Remove the brisket to a serving platter. Bring the broth in the pan to a simmer, scraping the bottom to loosen any browned bits. Cook until reduced to a thin gravy. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. 

Passover Rolls



  • 2 cups matzo meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs




  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine matzo meal, salt, and sugar. Mix well.
  3. Bring water and oil to a boil. Pour the boiling water over the matzo meal mixture, and stir until blended. Beat one egg at a time into the mixture. Let stand 15 minutes
  4. Shape the dough into rolls with oiled hands. Arrange rolls on the prepared cookie sheet
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 50 minutes

Haroset For Passover



  • 6 apples - peeled, cored and
  • chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/3 cup sweet red wine



  1. Place the apples and walnuts into a large bowl. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the apples. Stir in the honey and sweet wine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving