During Passover week, tables in Memphis (and around the world) are 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 Temple community of Israel. Each of the 100+ recipes is a time-tested family favorite for the person who shared it for the book.
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“Judaism and food go hand in hand,” says the introduction to Temple Israel’s Communal Cookbook.
For Cara Greenstein, the cookbook’s editor, most of her memories of her Jewish upbringing happened around the dinner table, especially around the holidays.
“Food is such an integral part of Jewish tradition as a whole. This food that we’re eating during the Seder this week literally serves as a 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 in bulk every Passover, likes to call this version of the recipe ‘Southern’ charoset because we substitute pecans for walnuts—which is the traditional choice,” Greenstein said. “This recipe represents what Jewish cuisine is all about – taking a tradition and adapting it in a meaningful way with your family.”
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Julie Klein Boshwit shared several recipes in the book, including her mother’s brisket recipe
“In our family and most people, so much of Judaism revolves around food. Every holiday has foods associated with it. In our family, no Passover Seder is complete without Mama’s brisket,” Boshwit said. “It’s our family’s favorite for Passover and any other time of the year.”
The recipe was actually created on Passover.
“Mom’s oven broke on Passover morning while she was getting ready to cook for the Seder. Nobody could come to fix the oven on such short notice that day, so she had to find a way to cook the brisket,” Boshwit said. “The result was the Dutch Oven and her brisket recipe was born! She had to cook the whole thing on the stove but is now finishing it in the oven.”
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About the book
Temple Israel President Laurie Meskin said the book is a project she wanted to spearhead because the last cookbook Temple published was 20 years ago.
“I think it’s so important and fun for families to have special recipes that they make and share every year. It creates memories,” Meskin said. “I put the toffee and mazzo recipe in there. Every year my daughter and I make it when she’s in town and everyone always loves it. It is a special memory and a recipe to pass on to the next generation.”
“This book is a great resource for the Jewish holidays and for traditional Jewish family meals to be enjoyed year-round,” Greenstein said.
Greenstein said what makes this book unique is that it contains both traditional and contemporary recipes.
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“We have six brisket recipes to choose from… and seven pasta balls,” she explained, adding that the book has something for everyone.
The book also gives an insight into the Temple Israel community.
“We asked people to share an anecdote about their recipe, where it came from, and what it means to your family,” Greenstein said. “In addition to the delicious recipes, there is really great storytelling.”
Work on the book began in the fall of 2020. Calls for recipes were made to the community. The final recipe list was finalized by January 2021. Then Greenstein went to work editing the recipes and taking photos.
“It was really a team effort,” Greenstein said of the months-long process.
The book, which is a fundraiser for the community, was officially released in September. All proceeds support Temple Israel’s work to serve as a source of hospitality and community.
“There’s nothing like finding a new recipe, and we hope that at Temple we’ve helped people find many new recipes to share with their families for years to come,” Meskin said.
The Shalom Y’all cookbook ($36) is available online at timemphis.org/cookbook for shipping nationwide. It is available locally from Novel and the Temple Israel Judaica Shop.
Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining Reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.
Roast Lamb by Leigh Baim Mansberg
8 pounds lamb shank (boneless, rolled and tied)
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
2 lemons, juiced
¼ cup olive oil
The day before preparation, marinate the roast by tossing together the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, lemon juice, and olive oil. Rub the roast with marinade; Place in a bowl and leave to rest 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 skillet sauce: While the lamb is resting, place the skillet on the stovetop and turn on the heat. When the bottom of the pan starts to sizzle, extinguish the pan by slowly adding water and scraping the burnt bits off the bottom. Use enough water to prepare 1½ cups of sauce. Stir until the sauce is nicely browned and turn off the heat. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a measuring cup.
Carve the lamb and place on a serving platter. Pour the pan sauce on top to keep your meat from getting dry and you’re good to go.
Passover Matzo Toffee by 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)
Streusel, mini M&Ms or powdered sugar for decoration
Preheat oven to 450F. Melt two sticks of butter in a saucepan. Mix in 1 cup dark brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Once the mixture boils, cook on medium for 2 minutes. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Cover the bottom of the parchment paper with matzah. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the matzah, making sure to coat. Bake 5 minutes. Let cool until it hardens. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Once the chocolate has melted, spread the matzo on top and sprinkle with decorations. Refrigerate for an hour or more to harden. Break into pieces and enjoy.
5-ingredient Southern Charoset by Cara Greenstein
3 medium Fuji apples, peeled
½ cup finely chopped pecans
2 dashes of Manischewitz red wine
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of honey
Finely chop the apples and place in a large bowl. Add pecans and toss. Stir in cinnamon next, followed by honey and wine. Taste and season accordingly. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day to marinate.
Sisterhood Spinach Bake by Melissa Faber
2 pounds frozen chopped spinach
½ cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cans of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 can chopped water chestnuts, drained
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons lemon pepper spice
Preheat oven to 350F. Defrost the spinach and squeeze very dry. Sauté onions in butter until soft. Add water chestnuts and sauté for another two minutes. Combine with artichoke hearts. Place in a greased casserole dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes, until very hot.
Recipes printed with permission from Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Cookbook for Every Generation.