Cheesecake Time with the Iconic Eli’s Cheesecake (#36)

Cheesecake Time with the Iconic Eli’s Cheesecake (#36)

Guest: Marc & Maureen Schulman

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.

Time for Matzo – Already? Happy Passover! (#35)

Time for Matzo – Already? Happy Passover! (#35)

Guest: Marcy Goldman

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 Schmear guest 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.Newish Jewish Cookbook

Extra Crispy Passover Chicken Cutlets

Extra Crispy Passover Chicken Cutlets


Extra Crispy Passover Chicken Cutlets

Servings 5


  • 2 lbs skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 1 cup potato starch aprox
  • 3 cups matzo meal
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 4 eggs
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to dust the chicken strips


  • Lay out a large sheet of wax or parchment paper to work on.
    Put the prepared chicken strips on one side of this work surface, then a shallow bowl with the potato starch in it.
    In a larger bowl, mix the matzo meal, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder together and have this nearby. 
    In a medium bowl, prepare the eggs (beating just to blend as the egg coating). What is required is an assembly line to work with the chicken, potato starch, eggs, and last the seasoned matzo meal.
    Dust the chicken strips lightly with salt & pepper. Dredge the strips lightly and shake off in the potato starch. Then lower the chicken strips into the beaten eggs, then dip and press in seasoned matzo meal.
    Using a large skillet, heat oil (up to 1/4 of sides) to 350 F. Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time, turning once, until well browned on each side - adjust heat as required. Drain well. Serve warm or cold.

Here’s what Marcy has to say about this great Passover dish: Don’t you love when a substitution become better than your original method or  ingredients? Matzo meal makes a terrific coating mix for chicken cutlets (or turkey fillets or fish). Together with the potato starch( Instead of flour as one would usually use when it’s not Passover) this coating results in crunchy, golden chicken cutlets or fillets that are as good as a snack or appetizer as they are a main dish.


It’s Always Deli Time at Mamaleh’s in Cambridge, MA (#34)

It’s Always Deli Time at Mamaleh’s in Cambridge, MA (#34)

Guest: Alon Munzer, Co-Owner of Mamaleh’s Delicatessen & Restaurant

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.


More on Dough with Challah Hub (#33)

More on Dough with Challah Hub (#33)

Guest: Sarah Klegman of Challah Hub

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.



The Original Vegan Challah – Challah Hub Style

The Original Vegan Challah – Challah Hub Style

The Original Vegan Challah

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 pkt rapid rise yeast
  • 3-4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
  • flour (extra flour for kneading and braiding)

Egg Replacement Mixture

  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
  1. 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 bowl

    7. 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.