Memphis’ Temple Israel releases new cookbook

Memphis' Temple Israel releases new cookbook

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During Passover week, tables in Memphis (and the world) will be filled with dishes like Gefilte Fish, Carrot Souffle, Charoset, Brisket and Matze Ball Soup.

Temple Israel in Memphis has a new cookbook full of recipes that are perfect for your Passover celebration.

“Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Cookbook for Every Generation” is a compilation of classic and contemporary recipes from the Temple Israel congregation. Each of the 100+ recipes is a tried and true family favorite for the person who shared it for the book.

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Sharing traditions

“Judaism and food go hand in hand” is the introduction to the Temple Israel community cookbook.

For the cookbook editor Cara Greenstein, most of her memories of her Jewish upbringing took place at the dinner table, especially during the holiday season.

“Food is such an integral part of Jewish tradition as a whole. This food we eat during the Seder this week literally serves as a metaphor for the Passover story,” Greenstein said.

Greenstein shared several recipes in the book, including her family’s “southern twist” on charoset (a sweet flavor traditionally served as part of a Passover Seder).

“My mom Sheril Greenstein, who makes this in bulk every Passover, likes to call this recipe version ‘Southern’ charoset because of our substitution of pecans instead of walnuts — which is the traditional choice,” Greenstein said. “This recipe represents what Jewish cooking is all about — taking a tradition and adapting it to your family in a meaningful way.”

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Julie Klein Boshwit shared several recipes in the book, including her mother’s breast recipe

“In our family and most of them, so much of Judaism revolves around food. Every holiday has foods associated with it. No Passover Seder in our family is complete without a mother’s breast,” Boshwit said. “It’s our families’ favorite for Passover and any other time of the year.”

The recipe is actually made on Passover.

“Mama’s oven broke the Passover morning when she was getting ready to cook for the Seder. No one could come out on such short notice that day to fix the oven, so she had to figure out a way to make the brisket,” Boshwit said. “The Dutch Oven came out and her recipe for brisket was born! She had to cook everything on the stove, but now she finishes it in the oven.”

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About the book

Temple Israel President Laurie Meskin said the book was a project she’d wanted to lead because the last cookbook Temple created was 20 years ago.

“I think it’s so important and fun for families to have special recipes that they make and share every year. It creates memories,” Meskin said. “I put the toffee matzo recipe in it. Every year my daughter, when she’s in town, and I make it and everyone always loves it. It’s a special memory and a recipe that she can pass on to the next generation.”

“This book is a great resource for the Jewish holidays and for family meals in the Jewish tradition to enjoy year round,” Greenstein said.

Greenstein said what makes this book unique is the fact that it contains both traditional and contemporary recipes.

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“We have six brisket recipes for you to choose from… and seven noodle kugels,” she explained, adding that the book offers something for everyone.

The book also gives a glimpse into the temple community of Israel.

“We asked people to share an anecdote with their recipe, where it came from and what it means to your family,” Greenstein said. “There are really great stories in addition to the delicious recipes.”

Work on the book started in the fall of 2020. Calls for recipes went to the municipality. The final recipe list was ready in January 2021. Then Greenstein got to work editing the recipes and taking photos.

“It was really a team effort,” Greenstein said of the months-long process.

The book, which is a fundraiser for the municipality, was officially released in September. All proceeds support Temple Israel’s work to serve as a resource for hospitality and community.

“There’s nothing better than finding a new recipe, and we hope at Temple we’ve helped people find many new recipes to share with their families for years to come,” Meskin said.

“Shalom Y’all” Cookbook ($36) is available online at for nationwide shipping. It is available locally at Novel and the Temple Israel Judaica Shop.

Jennifer Chandler is the Food & Dining reporter at The Commercial Appeal. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.

Roasted Lamb from Leigh Baim Mansberg

Serves 8

8 pounds leg of lamb (boned, rolled and tied)

2 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

2 lemons, squeezed

¼ cup olive oil

Marinate the roast the day before you plan to cook it by mixing together the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, lemon juice and olive oil. Rub marinade over the roast; put in a bowl and let stand for 24 hours.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes per pound. When you’re done, remove the lamb from the oven, place it on a cutting board, cover with foil and let it rest for half an hour.

Make the pan sauce: While the lamb is resting, place the casserole on the stovetop and turn on the heat. When the bottom of the pan starts to sizzle, deglaze the pan by slowly adding water and scraping the burnt bits off the bottom. Use enough water to make 1½ cups of sauce. Stir until the sauce is nicely browned and turn off the heat. Strain the sauce by pouring it through a sieve into a measuring cup.

Cut the lamb into pieces and place on a serving platter. Pour the pan sauce over it so that your meat does not dry out and you can get started.

Passover Matze Toffee by Laurie Meskin

Serves 24

2 knobs of butter

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla


12-ounce bag chocolate chips (can also use white chocolate)

Sprinkles, mini M&M’s or powdered sugar for decoration

Preheat the oven to 450F. Melt two knobs of butter in a pan. Mix 1 cup of dark brown sugar. Bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Once the mixture boils, let it cook on medium for 2 minutes. Take a baking tray and line it with baking paper. Cover the bottom of the parchment paper with matzo. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the matzah, making sure it is submerged. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool until it hardens. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Once melted, spread the chocolate over the matzo and garnish. Place in the fridge for an hour or more to harden. Break into pieces and enjoy.

Southern Charoset with 5 ingredients by Cara Greenstein

Serves 8-12

3 medium Fuji apples, peeled

½ cup finely chopped pecans

2 dashes of Manischewitz red wine

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon honey

Finely chop the apples and place in a large bowl. Add pecans and toss. Then stir in cinnamon, followed by honey and wine. Taste and adjust the spices accordingly. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to a day to marinate.

Sisterhood Spinach Bake by Melissa Faber

Serves 12

2 pounds frozen chopped spinach

½ cup mayonnaise

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 can sliced ​​water chestnuts, drained

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350F. Thaw and squeeze the spinach dry. Saute the onions in butter until soft. Add water chestnuts and cook for two more minutes. Combine with artichoke hearts. Place in a greased baking dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes until very hot.

Recipes printed with permission from “Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Cookbook for Every Generation.”