During the week of Passover, tables across Memphis (and the world) will be filled with dishes like Gefilte Fish, Carrot Souffle, Charoset, Brisket and Matzo Ball Soup.
Temple Israel in Memphis has a new cookbook full of recipes perfect for your Passover celebration.
“Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Cookbook for Every Generation” is a compilation of classic and contemporary recipes from the congregation of Temple Israel. Each of the more than 100 recipes is a tried-and-true family favorite for the person who shared it for the book.
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“Judaism and food go hand in hand” reads the introduction to Temple Israel’s community cookbook.
For Cara Greenstein, the cookbook’s editor, the majority of her memories of her Jewish upbringing took place at the dinner table, especially during the holidays.
“Food is such an integral part of the Jewish tradition as a whole. This food we eat this week during the Seder literally serves as the metaphor for the Passover story,” Greenstein said.
Greenstein shared several recipes in the book, including her family’s “Southern spin” on charoset (a sweet relish traditionally served as part of a Passover Seder).
“My mom Sheril Greenstein, who makes this every Passover in bulk, loves to call this recipe version ‘Southern’ charoset because of our substitution of pecans in place of walnuts — which are the traditional choice,” Greenstein said. “This recipe represents what Jewish cooking is all about — taking a tradition and adapting it with your family in a meaningful way.”
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Julie Klein Boshwit shared several recipes in the book, including her mother’s brisket recipe
“In our family and most, so much about Judaism revolves around food. Each holiday has foods that are associated with it. In our family, no Passover Seder is complete without Mom’s brisket,” Boshwit said. “It is our families favorite for Passover and any other time of the year.”
The recipe was actually created on Passover.
“Mom’s oven broke Passover morning as she was getting ready to cook for the Seder. No one could come out that day, on such short notice to repair the oven, so she had to figure out a way to make the brisket,” Boshwit said. “Out comes the Dutch oven and her brisket recipe was born! She had to cook the whole thing on the stove top, but now finishes it in the oven.”
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About the book
Temple Israel President Laurie Meskin said the book was a project she had wanted to spearhead because the last cookbook the Temple had done was 20 years ago.
“I think it’s so important and fun for families to have special recipes that they make every year and share. It creates memories,” Meskin said. “I put the toffee matzo recipe in there. Every year my daughter, when she’s in town, and I make it and everyone always loves it. It’s a special memory, and a recipe she can pass on to the next generation.”
“This book is a great resource for the Jewish holidays and for family meals in the Jewish tradition to be enjoyed year-round,” Greenstein said.
Greenstein said what makes this book unique is the fact that it contains both traditional and contemporary recipes.
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“We have six brisket recipes from which to choose … and seven noodle kugels,” she explained, adding the book offers something for everyone.
The book also shares a look inside the Temple Israel community.
“We asked for people to share an anecdote with their recipe, where it came from and what it means to your family,” Greenstein said. “There really is some great storytelling in addition to the delicious recipes.”
Work began on the book in fall 2020. Calls for recipes went out to the congregation. The final recipe list was finalized by January 2021. Then Greenstein got to work editing the recipes and taking photos.
“It really was a team effort,” said Greenstein of the months-long process.
The book, which is a fundraiser for the congregation, was officially released in September. All proceeds support Temple Israel’s work to serve as a source for hospitality and community.
“There’s nothing better than finding a new recipe, and we hope at Temple we have helped people find many new recipes that they can share with their families for years to come,” Meskin said.
“Shalom Y’all” cookbook ($36) is available online at timemphis.org/cookbook for nationwide shipping. It is available locally at Novel and the Temple Israel Judaica Shop.
Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.
Roasted Lamb from Leigh Baim Mansberg
8 pound leg of lamb (boned, rolled and tied)
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 oregano teaspoon
2 lemons, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
Marinate the roast the day before you want to cook it by mixing the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, lemon juice and olive oil. Rub marinade all over the roast; put in bowl and let sit for 24 hours.
Bake at 350F for 30 minutes per pound. When done, remove the lamb from the oven, place on a carving board, cover with foil, and let rest for half an hour.
Make the pan sauce: While the lamb is resting, put the roasting pan on top of the cooktop and turn on the heat. When the bottom of the pan begins to sizzle, deglaze the pan by slowly adding water and scrapping the burned bits off the bottom. Use enough water to make 1½ cups of sauce. Stir until the sauce is nice and brown and turn the heat off. Strain the sauce by pouring it through a sieve into a measuring cup.
Carve the lamb and put on a serving dish. Pour the pan sauce over it so that your meat won’t get dry and you are good to go.
Passover Matzo Toffee from Laurie Meskin
2 sticks of butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
12-ounce bag of chocolate chips (can use white chocolate too)
Sprinkles, mini M&Ms or powdered sugar for decoration
Preheat oven to 450F. In a saucepan, melt two sticks of butter. Mix in 1 cup of dark brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Once the mixture boils, let boil for 2 minutes on medium. Take a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. On the bottom, cover the parchment paper with matzah. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the matzah and make sure it’s covered. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool until it hardens. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Once melted, spread chocolate over matzo and sprinkle decoration. Refrigerate for one hour or longer to harden. Break into pieces and enjoy.
5-Ingredient Southern Charoset from Cara Greenstein
3 medium Fuji apples, peeled
½ cup finely chopped pecans
2 Manischewitz red wine splashes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
Finely chop apples and place into a large bowl. Add pecans and toss. Next, stir in cinnamon, followed by honey and wine. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to one day to marinate.
Sisterhood Spinach Bake from Melissa Faber
2 pounds frozen chopped spinach
½ cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
Preheat oven to 350F. Thaw and squeeze spinach very dry. Sauté onions in butter until soft. Add water chestnuts and sauté two minutes more. Combine with artichoke hearts. Put in a greased casserole dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more until very hot.
Recipes printed with permission from “Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Cookbook for Every Generation.”