Jam favorites: Blueberry Conserve & Spiced Cherry

These two are the more unusual varieties of jam that I can.

I like to buy these tiny 1/4-pint canning jars. Two or three of these sampler jars, packaged together, make a nice gift.

Leo, my brother-in-law, loves spiced cherry jam and several years ago he asked me to make some. I’m sharing that recipe, developed after some trial and error. The blueberry conserve is a combination of blueberries, lemon and orange slices. Both of these are extra tart, and great on a biscuit with some strong coffee.

For each of these recipes, cook up the ingredients until thick, as in any jam recipe. Then spoon into hot, sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Spiced Cherry Jam

  • 4 c. tart cherries
  • 2-1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Blueberry Conserve

  • 4 c. blueberries
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1 large lemon, peel and all, sliced paper thin, then cut in half
  • 1 medium orange, peel and all, sliced paper thin, then cut in half

Here I am with this year's crop of canned jam. (photo by Max Walker)

Gert’s Yeast Cookies (Rugelach)

These are my mother’s favorite cookie.

This is, by far, the finest pastry in my mother’s recipe book—my Great Aunt Gert’s yeast cookie, which is a traditional rugelach. Some rugelach recipes use cream cheese while others use sour cream and yeast; this one uses them all. They are exquisitely delicate with a meringue filling that melts in your mouth.



For the dough

  • ½ lb. butter (2 sticks)
  • 2/3 of an 8 oz package
    of cream cheese
  • 3 packages of yeast (6¾ tsp.)
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • 4 c. of flour (or a bit less)
  • confectioners sugar

For the meringue filling

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 c. sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • for the filling topping
  • chopped walnuts (or pecans), about 1 c.
  • raisins, about 1 c.


  1. Blend together butter, cream cheese and yeast.
  2. Mix in egg yolks and sour cream, then flour, a little at a time, until the dough is quite stiff and not too sticky. Shape into a ball and set aside.
  3. To make the filling: beat the egg whites until stiff, then slowly mix in the sugar and cinnamon.
  4. To assemble (see photos): cut the dough into 10 equal portions. Make a ball out of each and, on a board dusted with confectioners sugar, roll out into a 9˝ circle. Spread a portion (one-tenth) of the filling over the circle of dough. Sprinkle with nuts. Using a pizza slicer, or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8–10 wedges. Place 3 or 4 raisins on each wedge. Roll up, starting from the outside of the circle. Cover and let rise for 30 mins.
  5. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375° until golden brown (about 20–25 mins).

The temple bakers stocking the freezer with rugalah for upcoming onegs. (Kirsten, Jennie, Rae and Vicki)

Roll them from the outside of the circle into the center.

Beef Stew

This only takes 30 minutes to get started, and then you can put it on the lowest flame on your back burner and forget about it until dinner. Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the ingredients. I made mine today without green pepper, mushrooms or parsley.

Beef Stew (serves 6-8)

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 c. coarsely chopped onion
  • Lawry’s season salt
  • 1 lb. stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 28 oz. canned tomatoes, cut into large pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 1 c. frozen green beans
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbs. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 c. red wine
  • additional salt and pepper to taste

Liberally season the meat with Lawry’s season salt, and brown, along with the onion, in the olive oil. Add everything else and simmer for 3 hours. Serve in a shallow bowl, ladled over a fresh biscuit.

Witches Brew Soup

This soup is packed with a lot of vegetables, and the sweet potato makes it lusciously sweet for the kids.

This was our Halloween brew, served up tonight to friends and neighbors before, during, and after trick-or-treating. I kept the pot hot and ready, along with a loaf of challah and some good butter. Traditionally I serve this to my kids and their friends as a way of infusing their bodies with mega-nutrients prior to trick or treating. This accomplishes three things: 1. They take in some vitamins in addition to all of the candy that they will later eat. 2. They’re full of the good stuff so that they’re not as hungry for so much candy. 3. It gives me the illusion of having some control over their diet on Halloween.

Plus this is such a fun pre- trick or treat activity! Print out the top half of the following recipe for them to refer to as they eat. Ask them to try and identify all of the ingredients while they are eating. (The “real” recipe follows.) Next year, invite the neighborhood kids in.

Witches Brew Soup

  • 3 cups fresh goblin toes, chunked
  • 1 cup diced hippo spleen
  • 1/2 cup lightly shredded eel skin
  • 2 cups abdomen of preying mantis, cut in half
  • 1 cup arachnid bodies
  • 1 cup frog kidneys (canned or fresh)
  • 2 cups irises of owl eyes
  • 1 cup frozen or canned devils teeth
  • 1 cup packed creeping violet leaves
  • 1/2 cup tortoise knee caps
  • 3/4 cup dragon’s dandruff
  • salt and garlic to taste

Saute eel skin in a little extra virgin olive oil. Add all of the ingredients in a big cauldron. Fill cauldron with enough fresh mountain river water (be sure it’s clean) to just cover. Boil for 3 hours. Serve hot. Enjoy!


Witches Brew Soup (serves 8-10)

  • 1 large sweet potato, chunked
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, cut in half
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2  carrots, sliced
  • 1 c. frozen corn, or one can
  • 1 c. packed kale, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 c. sliced cabbage
  • 1/2 c. brown rice
  • 1/4 c. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in a little extra virgin olive oil. Add all of the ingredients in a big pot. Fill cauldron with enough water to just cover. Bring to boil, then simmer for 2 or 3 hours. After the vegetables are soft, use the back of a large spoon to smash some of the sweet potato chunks against the inside of the pot. This will thicken and sweeten the broth.

copyright 2010 Dori Gordon Walker

Greener Greens

I love sauteed greens: kale, chard, bok choy. My children willingly eat broccoli, but that gets tiresome, so tonight I mixed them all together in a lovely green-on-green blend. This is a mixture of broccoli, ribbons of kale and chard, bok choy, sliced green onion and left over green beans. A symphony of green.

Start with a small amount of olive oil, press in a clove of garlic, add all of the vegies and stir them around in the pan until the broccoli and beans are just tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Swedish meatballs with an American accent


We ate our Swedish meatballs with plum jam and a side of Greener Greens.


Meatballs to Swedes are like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are to Americans—a kid’s lunch-time staple. We lived there for two years when Max and Molly were toddlers. They attended a morning preschool, and as we would leave each day the mothers would ask each other what they were fixing for lunch. More often than not, the answer would be kötbullar (shutte boo’-lar), literally, meat balls. They were sold precooked and frozen in plastic bags. Traditionally the meatballs are served with lingonsylt, or lingonberry jam.

Tonight I took some American liberties with the recipe: substituting ground turkey for beef; low-fat milk for cream; olive oil for some of the butter; and plum jam for lingonberry. The tart plum jam tasted remarkably like lingonberry!

Swedish Meatballs (makes about 4 dozen)

  • 1 small onion, very finely chopped
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lbs. ground meat (beef, turkey, pork, or a combination)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1-1/2 c. bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1/2 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1-1/2 c. milk

Saute onion in 1 Tbs. of the olive oil until soft. In a large bowl combine meat, egg, milk, bread crumbs, parsley, spices and sauteed onion. Mix well with your hands and form into small meatballs (about 3/4″). Brown the meatballs in a little more olive oil, turning them to brown 3-4 sides. Either do these in two batches or use two large frying pans and do them all at once.

Remove the meatballs from the pan, and make the gravy. Dissolve the bouillon cube in a little hot water. Melt the butter, stir in the bouillon, coffee and flour. Slowly add the 1-1/2 c. milk to make a gravy. Add all of the meatballs to the gravy, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, basting occasionally. Serve with rice or noodles.

For the description of Greener Greens click here.

Sunset Squash: Roasted Butternut Squash with Beets



Cube up your favorite root vegetables—be sure to get a good blend of colors—toss with a little olive oil, season with coarse salt, pepper and rosemary, and roast.

Roasted Root Vegetables

  • approx. 4 cups vegetables such as butternut or acorn or other hard squash, beets, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, sweet potato or …
  • 2-3 Tbs. olive oil
  • a light sprinkle of coarse salt
  • a few good grinds of coarse pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed/crumbled with your fingers

Pour about a tablespoon of the oil into a shallow roasting pan or cookie sheet. Peel and cube the vegetables (raw squash is not easy to peel) and spread evenly into one layer in the pan. Drizzle on the remaining oil, toss, and spread the vegies out again. Sprinkle on the salt, pepper and rosemary.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until just tender. Check after 25 minutes, and use a metal spatula to scrape them off the bottom and stir them around.

Sunrise Rye with Provolone and Tart Jam

I started eating rye toast this week, which is a sure sign that I am becoming an old person. My sister disagrees, since she has always enjoyed rye toast. Nevertheless, after surprising myself by ordering it at the local diner at breakfast on Monday, I actually purchased an entire loaf at the supermarket. Necessity being the mother of invention, I made today’s breakfast. Startlingly tasty, it’s a very youthful way to enjoy rye.

Sunrise Rye

Toast the rye bread and lightly butter one side. Cut a piece of provolone in half, lay it over the buttered side and place the toast under the broiler until the cheese melts. Top with a tart preserves (I used cherry-blueberry), or marmalade.

Cafe Meat Pie


With its bottom crust, this is a cross between cottage pie and pot pie.



The finished Cafe Meat Pie, with nicely browned potato peaks.


I like the notion of a cottage pie, or shepherds pie, but what I really had a taste for was some flaky crust with my pie. By adding a bottom crust, and keeping the mashed potato top, we enjoyed the best of both. This crust is unusual in that there is no added liquid; it is simply flour and butter, with a dash of salt, and some grated cheese for fun.

1. Start the mashed potatoes.

Slice 3 potatoes into chunks; boil in salted water.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, make the filling:


  • 1/2 pound good quality ground meat (I used ground sirloin), or omit the meat and make it vegetarian by adding an additional cup or so of vegies
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 carrots, chopped small
  • 2 c. chopped or grated vegetables, such as celery, green beans, peas, cabbage, zucchini, kale, green peppers (I used napa cabbage, grated zucchini, frozen peas, chopped parsley and some left over green beans)
  • salt and lots of pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce

Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Add and brown the ground meat. Stir in the carrots and let them cook for a few minutes, then add the remaining vegetables. Season with salt, pepper and a dash or two of Worcestershire. Taste, and season some more. Keep over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.


Our pie had meat, napa cabbage, left over green beans, frozen peas, chopped carrots and grated zucchini.


3. While the filling is heating, prepare the crust:

Pastry bottom crust

Combine all of the ingredients using a pastry cutter or food processor. Press into the bottom of a deep pie-size dish.

  • 2 c. flour (I used 1/2 of whole wheat flour)
  • 2/3 c. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4. c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese


There is no liquid added to this pie crust. Just firmly press it into the pan.


4. Mash the potatoes

Make these as usual, and then stir in a 1/2 cup grated cheddar.

5. Layer the pie

Spoon the filling over the crust; then spread on the potatoes, leaving little peaks so that they’ll brown nicely.


Make little peaks with the top layer of potatoes.


6. Bake

450 degrees for 10 minutes, then 325 degrees for 45 minutes.


Since this wasn't the quickest dinner recipe, I made two at once. One to eat; one to freeze.