I’ve heard about Eli’s Cheesecake for years, and not because I live in Chicago. When I knew Shavout was coming up I thought it would be the perfect time to see if I could get an interview with Marc Schulman, President of Eli’s Cheesecake. It turned into a great conversation with Marc, learning more about this company and their cheesecakes. I even had the opportunity to talk with Maureen, his wife and co-creator of their amazing cookbook: Eli’s Cheesecake Cookbook- Remarkable Recipes from a Chicago Legend. Warning: you might want to have some cheesecake handy, it will be difficult to listen to the episode and not have some at the ready … just saying.
Check out the giant cheesecake below- it was made in Chicago and traveled all the way to Washington DC for President Obama’s Inauguration in 2013.
Passover is here and what better way to get into the season of matzo than time to talk with writer and cookbook author, chef and inventor of Matzo Crack, Marcy Goldman! Marcy is my first Big Schmearguest from Canada. We had a great time talking about Jewish food in Montreal and of course learning more about Marcy and her new cookbook: The Newish Jewish Cookbook. Be sure to listen to the end of the episode so you can hear about the many things Marcy does that are food related (she has a lot more cookbooks you’ll want to check out) and some other interests she has that you might find quite interesting. I love discovering new people with a passion for Jewish food and it’s great fun to share it with all of you.
Whenever I’m in the Boston area to visit with family one of my new favorite restaurant stops is Mamaleh’s Deli in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I made a promise to myself after my visit in December that whenever my next trip to Boston would take place I would find a way to be more than a diner at Mamahleh’s. My goal was to manage to get an interview with one of the co-owners so I could get the inside story on this wonderful place. I managed to do just that in March. I had the opportunity to talk with Alon Munzer and it was great fun. Alon was generous with his time and was a wonderful host and even better we had a great conversation about Mamaleh’s. I hope you enjoy the episode and if you get a chance to stop in let them know you heard about their deli from The Big Schmear! I also encourage you to try out his family recipe for Chopped Liver.
Clean livers, always making sure to keep them cold. Toss with schmaltz (or canola oil) and salt & pepper. Sauté until just barely cooked through (a little bit pink in the center) remove and cool in refrigerator. 2) Cook onions in same pan, caramelize them until soft. (A little burnt edges are encouraged by Alon) 3) Once onions and livers are cold mix together and run through a meat grinder (or hand chop until desired consistency) mix in mayo and salt & pepper until proper taste and texture. Eat with challah, bagel chips or crackers.
If you are a fan of chopped liver in any way — you have to try this recipe. Alon and I talked about the importance of the putting together a deli menu. It’s clear that you need to consider the choices that are always available and those that come and go depending on the Jewish holiday celebration calendar. I asked him what some of the first items were that appeared on the menu and he said that it was important to him to include something from his own family background to the restaurant. We felt it only made sense to include that recipe here for you to try. It’s the chopped liver recipe that originated with his grandmother, Shoshana Munzer (Sapta). So that tells you a few things – it is a family traditional food, it was made with love and it’s withstood the test of time and flavor – so give it a try. And a big thank you to Alon for sharing his story and this recipe. Please let me know what you think.
I had a great time talking with Sarah Klegman, co-founder of Challah Hub. This is another virtual challah story taking place in Los Angeles. Sarah and I talked a lot about challah and about Sarah’s life outside of baking. At the very least you owe it to yourself to check out Challah Hub’s website for amazing photos of what’s possible with Challah. They are so generous with recipes, baking and braiding instructions and innovative ideas of what makes a great challah. Give the show a listen and check out their amazing vegan challah recipe they’ve shared with me.
The photo above is Sara Klegman and co-founder Elina Tilipman. Photo by Sally Claire.
1. Empty your yeast packet into a small bowl. Add a pinch of sugar and pour 1 cup warm water over top and stir lightly. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes or so until bubbly and creamy. After that, add 2 tablespoons of veggie or coconut oil to the yeast mix in the same small bowl.2. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of flour, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, ½ cup sugar. Whisk well.3. Egg replacement time: In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons veggie or coconut oil, 3 tablespoons warm water and 2 teaspoons baking powder (it will fizz). Then, pour into your yeast bowl.4. Add the yeast and egg replacement mixtures to your bowl of dry ingredients, stirring as you pour.5. Mix dough with a spatula or wooden spoon, then get in there with your hands and knead until smooth.6. Add up to 1 cup additional flour until dough leaves the side of the bowl7. Coat the inside of a big bowl lightly with oil and drop your ball of dough inside.8. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise on your counter for 2 hours.9. After your dough has doubled in size, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface.10. Gently knead the dough to get out any big air bubbles, then braid as desired.11. Place your braided dough onto a lightly greased and foil - lined baking sheet.12. Cover with damp cloth and let rise 1 more hour.13. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees, and toss that bad boy inside for 26-32 minutes.14. Once it is evenly golden brown on top, take your challah out of the oven, place on a cooling rack.15. Do not cover. Allow to cool, then put it in your face.
Challah Baking Schedule
30 Min prep
2 Hours first rise
20 Min braiding
1 Hour second rise
25-35 Minutes oven time
Straight from the folks at Challah Hub: Bringing your challah to a dinner party? Never cover a hot challah! It’ll get soggy and sad. Transport uncovered on someone’s lap (we call this person the Guardian of the Challah), or wait until it totally cools, then wrap in foil.