Springtime's holiday table

Those festive traditions make return


As we eagerly step forward into spring, Passover and Easter beckon. It’s a moment to cherish age-old traditions and create new ones with family and friends, as we greet the season.

Welcome the flavors of spring and bring some sunshine to your table.

Classic Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls

  •  6 quarts of wate
  • 1 whole chicken + extra package of wings (optional)
  •  2-3 large carrots, chopped
  •  3 ribs of celery, chopped
  •  1 onion, cut in half
  •  1 medium turnip or 2 small turnips, chopped
  •  2 parsnips, chopped
  •  1 bunch of dill
  •  1 bunch of flat leaf parsley
  •  1/2 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  •  Few sprigs of thyme
  •  Salt and pepper to taste
  •  1/2 teaspoon turmeric for color (optional)

Place chicken and vegetables in a 16 or 20 quart pot and cover with 6 quarts of water.

Make a bouquet garni with the fresh dill, parsley, peppercorns and thyme. Add bouquet garni to pot.

Bring pot to boil and let simmer for 1 hour. Skim the foamy stuff off the top several times while soup is cooking.

Remove chicken and veggies from pot. Allow soup to simmer additional hour with the cover on.

Shred chicken while still warm. Save about half to put into the soup, use the rest for chicken salad or sandwiches.

Allow soup to cool, and place in fridge. Skim any remaining fat off the top.

Reheat to serve. Add chicken, matzah balls and desired vegetables.


Matzah Balls

  •  2 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable oil
  •  1/2 cup seltzer
  •  2 teaspoons grated onion
  •  2 teaspoons parsley (optional)
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  Pinch white pepper
  •  1 cup matzah meal
  •  4 jumbo eggs

Mix the eggs well. Add the fat or oil, seltzer, herbs, spices, onion, and matzah meal. Mix thoroughly. Cover and chill for several hours, even overnight.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Dip your hands in cold water and make about 12 matzah balls. Drop them into the boiling water, cover, and simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon.


Bird’s Nest Chocolate Cupcakes

  •  24 pastel-colored paper baking cups
  •  1-1/2 cups cake flour
  •  1-1/2 cups sugar
  •  3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  •  1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
  •  3/4 cup buttermilk
  •  2 large eggs
  •  2/3 cup freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  •  Chocolate Pudding Frosting, recipe follows
  •  Pastel-colored candy-coated chocolate pieces
  •  Chocolate decorating decors

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners and set aside.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter, buttermilk and eggs and beat on low until moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the coffee and beat until fully incorporated. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and allow the cupcakes to cool completely.

Remove the cupcakes from the muffin pans and spread each with frosting, setting aside 1/2-cup of frosting. Place 3 candy-coated chocolate pieces on center of each to resemble eggs.

In small re-sealable food-storage plastic bag (or piping bag), place remaining 1/2-cup frosting; seal bag. Cut small hole in one bottom corner of bag; pipe frosting around chocolate pieces to create ridge on each cupcake.

Carefully spoon chocolate decors onto frosting ridge and around chocolate pieces to resemble nest.


Chocolate Pudding Frosting:

  •  1 pint heavy whipping cream, very cold
  •  1/4 cup sugar
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  One 3.9-ounce box dry pudding mix, chocolate fudge flavor

In a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, whip the cream at high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar, vanilla extract and pudding mix and whip until smooth.