In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

By Daniel Neman

JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Passover is a time of joyous celebration and somber remembrance, but mostly it's all about the matzo balls.

The eight-day Jewish holiday begins at sundown on April 14 with a combination religious ceremony and feast called a Seder. The ceremony part of the evening is a description of the purpose of the holiday, a recitation of the biblical story of the Jews' exodus from Egypt, where they had been kept as slaves.

Then comes the dinner. And with the dinner, in most cases, comes the matzo balls.

To remember their ancestors' hurried flight to freedom, Jews during Passover traditionally refrain from eating bread that has risen. In its place, they eat matzo, a cracker-like food made from flour and water and that has been cooked so quickly it has not had a chance to rise.

Matzo balls are one of the unofficial joys of the Passover Seder. There are (almost) as many ways to make them as there are people who eat them, but all the possibilities boil down to one essential question: How did your mother or grandmother make them?

By and large, matzo ball fans are divided into two camps. One prefers the balls to be light and airy, floating on top of the chicken soup in which they are served; they are colloquially known as "floaters." The other group likes the balls to be chewy but dense, lying gracelessly on the bottom of the bowl; these matzo balls are known as "sinkers."

My theory is that people who prefer sinkers had mothers or grandmothers who did not know how to make them light and airy. Or perhaps their mothers and grandmothers had mothers and grandmothers who did not.

There are a couple of tricks to making matzo balls that are light. On is mixing a little bit of soda water into the matzo meal, egg and fat. I was dubious that this method would work — it sounded like a culinary folk tale that would not make any difference — but I tried it and balls that resulted were the biggest and fluffiest that I made.

The other trick comes from Ina Garten, the television cook who calls herself the Barefoot Contessa. She separates her eggs, mixing the yolks in with the other ingredients, and then beating the whites until they are stiff, as with a soufflé or meringue. These she folds into the batter before forming the balls, which retain all the airiness created by the whipped egg whites.

Standard matzo balls are good enough and have satisfied for generations, either with or without a little bit of dill in them. But I wanted to think outside the matzo meal box. I wanted to try a few modern variations.

I first tried a recipe envisioned by Joan Nathan, the maven of Jewish cooking. She takes a standard matzo ball recipe and then packs it full of such good things as ginger, nutmeg and chopped parsley or dill (she also suggests cilantro, but that would be weird).

I made a batch, and they were intriguing in a good way. The flavor of ginger came through most, with an undercurrent of nutmeg; both tastes added a welcome note of complexity to the relatively simple chicken soup. (You can find this recipe, published in 2012, on the New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1fGg6aJ .)

Next up was a matzo ball stuffed with ingredients that would not be out of place on any Eastern European Jewish table: cooked chicken that has been mixed with onion, celery, parsley, garlic, egg, sage and nutmeg. This mixture is placed in the middle of matzo balls; you fold the ball around it and the whole thing is gently boiled.

Here is how you know it is good: The flavor of the filling seamlessly blends into the balls; the filling tastes as if it had always been a part of matzo balls. And that sensation makes sense, when you consider that most of the ingredients in the filling are also found in the soup.

And finally, I made a version that would not be out of place on any Jewish table in . . . Cuba?

A recipe developer named Cara Lyons, who must be something of a mad scientist in the kitchen, came up with an idea so bizarre it had to be great. She decided to stuff matzo balls with picadillo, a meat dish popular in Spain and Latin American countries.

Her version of picadillo, which she got from Eating Well, is closest to the type served typically in Cuba. It begins with ground turkey (the traditional version uses beef) and adds raisins, chopped green olives, onion, scallions, garlic, chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and tomato paste.

The picadillo itself is delicious, but wrapping it in a matzo ball is sheer genius. She first boils it and then — more genius — bakes it. But before she puts it in the oven, she lightly dusts it with cinnamon, which brings out all the flavors of the picadillo. Genius squared.

It isn't what most people think of when they think of matzo balls, and you wouldn't want to put it in soup. But it's a great example of just how delicious a nontraditional take on a traditional dish can be.


Yield: About 12 matzo balls

     4 extra-large eggs, separated

     4 1/2 cups good chicken stock, divided

     1/4 cup rendered chicken fat, melted, or 1/4 cup vegetable oil, see note

     1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

     1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for egg whites

     1 cup matzo meal

     Chicken soup, for serving

Note: Rendered chicken fat, also called "schmaltz," is available in the frozen kosher foods section of some of the larger grocery stores.

1. Whisk together egg yolks, 1/2 cup stock, chicken fat or oil, parsley and salt. Stir in the matzo meal. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff (it is faster to use a mixer with a whisk attachment). Whisk the whites, a cup at a time, into the matzo mixture until it is smooth. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes, or until mixture is stiff.

2. Form balls the size of golf balls by shaping them with 2 spoons, rolling them with your hands (rinse your hands in cold water after every couple of balls to prevent sticking) or scooping them with a small ice cream scoop.

3. Bring remaining 4 cups stock to a simmer. Drop balls into stock and simmer 30 minutes or until fully cooked and puffed, turning once. Remove and serve hot in chicken soup.

Per ball: 135 calories; 7g fat; 2g saturated fat; 75mg cholesterol; 6g protein; 12g carbohydrate; 2g sugar; 0.5g fiber; 320mg sodium; 15mg calcium.


Yield: 12 matzo balls

Matzo balls: 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off

     4 large eggs

     3 tablespoons vegetable oil

     1 cup matzo meal

     1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

     1/3 cup club soda


     1 tablespoon vegetable oil

     1/2 cup finely chopped onion

     1/4 cup finely chopped celery

     1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

     1 large clove garlic, minced

     3/4 cup finely diced cooked chicken, about 3½ ounces

     1 large egg

     1/4 teaspoon sage

     1/4 teaspoon salt

     1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

     1/8 teaspoon ground pepper


1. To make matzo balls, whisk together the eggs and oil in a medium bowl until blended. Mix in matzo meal and salt. Add club soda and blend well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Can be prepared 1 day ahead.

2. To make stuffing: Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery and sauté until vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Add parsley and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Transfer vegetable mixture to a food processor. Add chicken, egg, sage, salt, nutmeg and pepper; grind to a coarse paste. Transfer stuffing to a small bowl. Stuffing can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead if covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated.

3. Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap; lightly coat plastic wrap with oil or nonstick spray. Using moistened hands, roll matzo ball mixture into 12 (1 1/2-inch) balls and place on prepared sheet. Make a deep hole in each ball and place 1 teaspoon filling (or whatever fits) into each hole. Re-form matzo balls, enclosing stuffing.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Drop matzo balls into pot. Cover and cook until matzo balls are tender and cooked through, about 35 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer matzo balls to bowl. Can be prepared 1 day ahead, if covered and refrigerated.

Per ball: 125 calories; 7g fat; 1.5g saturated fat; 85mg cholesterol; 6g protein; 10g carbohydrate; 0.5g sugar; 0.5g fiber; 330mg sodium; 20mg calcium. Recipe from Bon Appetit, via OUkosher.org


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


Yield: 12 matzo balls

For the picadillo:

     1/2 pound lean ground turkey breast

     1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

     1/2 small onion, chopped

     2 tablespoons chopped scallions, divided

     1 clove garlic, minced

     1 teaspoon chili powder

     Scant 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

     Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

     1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

     Pinch cayenne pepper

     2 tablespoons golden raisins

     2 tablespoons chopped pitted green olives

     1 tablespoon tomato paste

     1/2 cup water

     Salt and pepper

For the matzo balls:

     3 eggs

     3 tablespoons vegetable oil

     3 tablespoons chicken broth

     3/4 cup matzo meal

     1 1/2 teaspoons salt


     Cinnamon, for dusting

1. To make filling: Spray a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray (or add 1/2 tablespoon oil) and heat over medium-high heat. Cook the ground turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Reduce heat to medium and add the olive oil. Cook onions, scallions and garlic for about 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add chili powder, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; cook for 1 minute more, until fragrant.

3. Return turkey to the pan along with the raisins, olives, tomato paste and water. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until thickened. Season to taste, if needed, with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool. This filling can be made a day or two in advance, if kept covered and refrigerated.

4. To make matzo balls: Whisk together the eggs, oil and broth. Stir in the matzo meal, salt and pepper. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

5. To assemble: Line a plate or baking sheet with a piece of plastic wrap and spray with nonstick spray (or lightly brush with oil). Scoop the matzo mixture into 12 equal portions. Wet your hands and take 1 portion. Flatten it slightly and press a small indentation into the top. Place 1 teaspoon of the picadillo into the indentation, then carefully roll the matzo ball mixture around the filling. Set aside on the plastic-lined sheet. Repeat with remaining matzo balls, wetting hands between each one. The stuffed matzo balls may be covered and refrigerated overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add matzo balls to the boiling water. Cover pot and cook 20 to 25 minutes. The matzo balls will increase in size.

7. Spray a baking dish or sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Remove matzo balls from the water with a slotted spoon and place on the dish or tray. Spray matzo balls with a little more cooking spray, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. These may be made 1 day ahead of time and reheated before serving.

Per ball: 115 calories; 5.5g fat; 1g saturated fat; 55mg cholesterol; 7g protein; 9g carbohydrate; 2g sugar; 0.5g fiber; 365mg sodium; 15mg calcium.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

© 2014, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Distributed by MCT Information Services