Author Archives: Tamar Ansh

About Tamar Ansh

Tamar Ansh is an author, editor and food columnist, among many other things. Her newest book, Em>Let My Children Cook!, is a Passover cookbook for kids aged 8-108 with easy to follow recipes, safety tips and hilarious illustrations, that will help any kid (and their families!) enjoy a delicious and fun Passover for years to come. Some of Tamar Ansh's other books include: A Taste of Challah; Let's Say Amen!, & Pesach – Anything's Possible!, an adult Pesach cookbook with over 350 non gebrochs & gluten free no-fail recipes. Everything can be viewed via her website at www.TamarAnsh.com. Mrs. Ansh also does live cooking and challah shows, and has been published in a wide variety of both print and online publications.

Make Passover Cooking a Family Affair

let-my-children-cookFollowing the release of my newest cookbook, Let My Children Cook! A Passover Cookbook for Kids, people often ask me whether it’s REALLY possible to get the kids to be helpful in the kitchen with all the holiday food prep. The answer is: Yes!! While it may take longer to peel those potatoes or to whisk the eggs, it’s well worth it. Kids love to be helpful (though it may not always seem that way!) and little jobs keep them entertained during the pre-Passover hustle and bustle. Besides, they’ll always remember it as special quality time and will even learn along the way.

Over the years, my kids have spent many enjoyable hours in the kitchen with me. I find it’s all about expectations. I try to set out a certain amount of time we will spend together and try not to push it. Cooking with kids is wonderful but best if done in increments rather than a marathon of kitchen time. If there’s more to be done, I finish it myself after they’ve gone to bed. For the younger ones, I make sure to designate very specific, simple jobs. Once they finish, say, rolling out dough for cookies or chopping veggies for a salad, I make sure to thank them and let them know they’ve been very helpful. This has proven to have gone over well in my family, as my bigger kids are now great cooks. They truly love to prepare anything – but they do have a preference for desserts. (Who doesn’t?!) My son is excellent at braiding challah (not for Passover, of course) and baking apple crisps. Last year, my girls made delicious potato blintzes and Passover egg noodles.

Besides for keeping my kids involved, our time spent in the kitchen together also serves as bonding time. Everyone says they grow up too fast…and it’s true! Soon they’ll be busy with friends and other interests. I like to make cooking time an enjoyable activity for the family, even if it may take longer than doing on my own. Memories that will last a lifetime are being formed. We even have some funny stories involving a few kitchen flops that certainly won’t be forgotten. I once made a beautiful cake with my children and it slipped out of the pan right onto the counter. Of course, they were thrilled since they got to eat it right then and there.

So, I say, instead of dreading the hours of cooking and baking you are planning, embrace it. Get the kids some cute aprons, put on some music, enjoy the quality time. When you sense they’ve had enough, do some crafts together (that is why I included some crafts in Let My Children Cook!) and sit the kids down with some art supplies. The atmosphere will be pleasant and you will be able to check some things off that pre-Passover “to do” list while creating positive memories.

The Visiting Scribes series was produced by the Jewish Book Council‘s blog, The Prosen People.

The Jewish world is full of debates. Get the latest in MyJewishLearning’s weekly blogs newsletter.

Posted on April 11, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Recipe: Moroccan-Style Gefilte Fish For Passover

let-my-children-cookI recently presented a cooking demo based on my new Passover kids’ cookbook Let My Children Cook, in Jerusalem. During the time the women and I had together we talked about some of the recipes (of course), watched some of them being made and baked right there, and tasted every one of them (was this in doubt?). I don’t know who had the better time – the ladies or myself. I really enjoy meeting new people this way and hearing their experiences, their feedback, and, of course, their own recipes.

After writing a number of cookbooks, you’d think I’ve heard it all when it comes to gefilte fish. Then, a participant speaks up and tells me her favorite version of what to do with an average gefilte fish roll – something I’d never even considered. So, if I am smart, I run and get a scrap of paper and write it down because these kinds of ideas are gold nuggets when it comes to creativity! Or, someone tells me that her grandmother from (name that country) used to tell her what her mother made for Passovers when she was a child, and I get introduced to yet another facet of Jewish history and food. Sometimes I think I ought to record my shows since I don’t always remember every single thing by the time I get home and that’s a shame, since every memory is precious.

I also find that with every demo, I learn something to help me in the kitchen. Whether it’s a good tip or a recipe, there’s always novel wisdom I gain from the participants. This demo was no exception.

I was in the middle of demonstrating and explaining how I came up with the unlikely “Moroccan-Style Gefilte Fish” recipe in my new cookbook. I was explaining the way I developed the recipe and what I’d done to get the taste just right. Then one participant asked me if I defrost the roll first. I explained that it is best to defrost for about a half hour, so the paper on the roll removes easily. Someone else chimed in explaining a very easy way to avoid the wait: Simply take the wrapped, frozen loaf out of the plastic. Unwrap the two ends, run it under a stream of water, and…voilà! The paper then slides right off. I just shaved half an hour off this recipe. What a great tip! I’m certainly going to remember that for next time.

Since I mentioned my new gefilte fish recipe and the wonderful time-saving tip I learned, I’d like to share the recipe with you:

Moroccan-Style Gefilte Fish

Okay, so maybe this one is messing around with two different customs of fish — “gefilte fish” is mostly Eastern European, and Moroccan-style is mostly, well, Sefardi, but it comes out so good that I just had to share it.

Pareve; Serves 10

Let’s get to it!

  • 1 frozen, ready-made gefilte fish roll
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot paprika (cayenne pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into round slices

And here’s how you do it!

1.Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Peel off the wrapper and parchment paper from the frozen fish loaf and place it in the lined loaf pan.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste, olive oil and all the spices.
4. Smear this all over the fish loaf and add in any leftover tomato paste.
5. Place the cut onions and carrots all over the fish loaf and in any spaces you find in the pan.
6. Cover the loaf with the parchment paper and then again with a piece of foil. Seal the edges well.
7. Bake for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and let cool; refrigerate until serving.

Serve sliced, with the cooked veggies on the side. Really delish and quite different, too! And the aroma it emits while baking in your oven makes the whole kitchen smell inviting and amazing.

The Visiting Scribes series was produced by the Jewish Book Council‘s blog, The Prosen People.

The Jewish world is full of debates. Get the latest in MyJewishLearning’s weekly blogs newsletter.

Posted on April 8, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy