Cranberry-Orange Chutney

This has a magnificent color and is best served in a clear bowl. The lace-work beneath the bowl is a piano scarf made by my great-grandmother, Dora Ann, for whom I am named. Dora made the lace by hand.

From the Colorado Cache cookbook, this is our favorite thing to make with cranberries. The ingredients are bizarre but the complex flavor is extraordinary. This has become the only cranberry “relish” we serve at the holidays. It makes quite a bit, and will keep in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

Cranberry Orange Chutney

  • 4 oranges, peeled, segmented and cut into 1/2″ pieces; and 1/4 c. thinly slivered orange rind
  • 1 lb. cranberries
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. orange juice
  • 1/4 c. crystalized ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. Tabasco
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole clove garlic
  • 3/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 3/4 c. raisins

In a saucepan, heat everything except for the orange segments. Cook until the berries pop. Remove from heat. Discard the cinnamon and garlic. Stir in the oranges. Serve warm or chilled. Will keep for 6 weeks in the ‘fridge.

Mandel Bread

Mandel bread is the most basic of Jewish cookies, and has always been a staple on our holiday cookie platter. They look like biscotti, but are as delicate and crumbly as a butter cookie. Crisp, browned, and crunchy, these cookies are not for soft-cookie lovers. The secret is that they are baked three times, slicing and rotating the cookies for even browning. For my husband, who happens to be a soft-cookie lover, I take out  some of the ends (which we lovingly refer to as the mandel butts) after the first bake so he can enjoy the goodness. Traditionally made with almonds (mandel=almond), feel free to substitute your favorite nut, to add mini chocolate chips or chopped, dried fruit.



  • ½ lb butter
  • 2 Tbs. Crisco
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • ½ c. chopped pecans
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips


  1. Cream butter, Crisco and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla, and then the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in the nuts and/or chips.
  4. Refrigerate dough for about 2 hours (or spread the dough thin along the edges of a metal bowl and freeze for 20 minutes).
  5. Hand roll into eight 1″ rolls, placed about 4 inches apart onto greased cookie sheets, then flatten using the palm of your hand.
  6. Bake at 350° for 20–25 mins, or until very slightly browned.
  7. Remove from oven and cut into ¾” diagonal slices, turn each cookie 90° onto a cut edge and return to oven to bake for another 8–10 mins.
  8. Remove from oven and flip each cookie over onto the other cut edge, return to oven for another 8–10 mins.
*makes a bit flakier cookie

After the first baking, the mandel bread is sliced. Use a very sharp knife (or one that is serrated) so that you are slicing through the dough without pushing it down.

Turn each cookie onto a cut edge, return to oven, repeat.

Members of our temple got together to bake on Sunday.


Short-cut Chicken Soup with Rice

This rich and flavorful broth cured my cold.

I know I’m supposed to make chicken stock from scratch, but at the tail end of a cold, who wants to fuss with that? I wanted some chicken soup, and I wanted it in an hour.

Spicey, Ricey Chicken Soup

  • 3 qts. prepared chicken stock (I like College Inn brand)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2/3 c. uncooked brown rice
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 c. parsley, chopped
  • 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, sliced thick
  • 2 cloved garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb. chicken tenders (boneless, skinless chicken breast)
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste

Saute the onion in 2 Tbs. olive oil. When onion is soft, stir in the rice. After a minute or two, add 2 cups water along with all other ingredients except for the chicken and remaining olive oil. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into small, bite-sized chunks and brown in the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the chicken to the soup and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Season to taste.

What to do with the leftovers: Brisket Soup

A meal in a bowl.

Jewish meat staple or not, moist and flavorful or not—my kids don’t like brisket. This is a small problem after I have just roasted six pounds of meat. Necessity being this mother’s nudge to invent, I developed Brisket Soup. It might look like vegetable beef soup to the kids, but I know better. Yesterday’s dinner: “I don’t care for brisket;” tonight’s soup, “thumbs up.”

Brisket Soup (Vegetable-Beef Soup)

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 6 c. roasted, chopped brisket
  • 2 c. chopped cabbage (optional)
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped
  • 1 c. green beans, cut
  • 1/4 c. parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • pepper
  • 2/3 c. macaroni
  • 2/3-1 c. meat gravy
  • small can of chopped tomatoes (optional, if you want a tomato base)

Saute the onion in olive oil, add all ingredients except for the macaroni, Cover with 3-4″ of water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1-2 hours. Fifteen minutes before serving add the macaroni.

    Beer-roasted Brisket—sublime?

    An electric knife is ideal for cutting this into the thinnest possible slices.

    Brisket is the easy-to-prepare, default, Jewish meat course, served at holiday meals, not uncommonly with the obligatory kugel side dish. We eat it because it’s tradition. Honestly, it’s usually neither here-nor-there, only made palatable by eating it with a generous dollop of apple sauce. This recipe, however, from my mom, results in a juicy and flavorful piece of meat.

    Doug and I were part of an interfaith group in Albuquerque, with whom we shared holiday meals. It was there that a writer friend labeled this brisket “sublime.” We’ve never quite figured out how a piece of beef could merit praise like “sublime,” but our friend clearly loved this recipe. Unlike other favorite recipes which can be made at the last minute, this is best cooked the day before. After the meat cools, it is easy to lift the cooled fat off from the meat juices; also the chilled meat slices beautifully into lovely, thin strips.

    Ruth’s Beer-roasted Brisket (best if prepared one day in advance)

    • 5 lb. brisket
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 2 onions, sliced
    • 4 stalks celery, sliced
    • 1 bottle chili sauce (look for Heinz or Del Monte brands, near the ketchup)
    • 1 beer

    Season beef with salt and pepper and put in a large roasting pan. Place onion, celery, and chili sauce on the meat, and add 1/4 c. water to bottom of pan. Roast uncovered at 325 degrees, basting often for 2-1/2 hours. Pour on the beer, cover and roast for an additional 1-1/2 hours.

    (If desired, at this point you may eat the meat. It will not slice very well, however it will be moist and tender like a delicious roast.)

    Let meat come to room temperature and refrigerate overnight. Lift off fat and slice meat as thinly as possible. Place the meat back into the juices and reheat either on the stove top, or in the microwave.