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April 11, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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April 11, 2014

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PAGE 18A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, APRIL 11, 2014 Don't pass over the post.seder meals By Helen Nash NEW YORK (JTA) Planning Passover meals is always a wonderful challenge. For the seders, most of us focus on traditional family recipes because they are tried and proven. and because everyone likes them (and often asks for these favorites dishes). But what about the remaining six days of meals? They must be considered. Once the big seder meals are done, it's nice to be able to eat healthy, simple and flavorful meals for the rest of the week. An abundance of vegetables, fruits, poultry, meat, fish and fresh herbs can be incorporated into cooking on Passover. Here are some recipes that I make on Passover because they are easy to prepare and provide flexibility as to when they can be served -- not to mention they are quite delicious. Carrot-ginger soup Makes 8 servings The apple and the ginger give this creamy st)up, which is made without any cream, a bit of a bite. The ingredients are always available, so you can serve it in any season at any tem- perature-hot, cold or room. I must confess, though, that I love it best when the weather is warm. Ingredients: 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, sliced 2 garlic cloves, quartered 1 3/4 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced, plus I extra carrot for garnish I small Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced I-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced 5 1/2 cups vegetable broth I tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Preparation: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, apple and ginger, and saute for 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and cook, covered, about 30 minutes, until the carrots are tender. Cool a little. Puree the soup in a blender, in batches, until smooth. Return it to the saucepan. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. To prepare the garnish: Steam the remaining carrot until just tender and grate. Before serving, sprinkle each bowl with the grated carrot. Halibut Ceviche Makes 4 servings Ceviche is a refreshing appetizer that, I make with fresh fish marinated in lime juice. The juice "cooks" the fish in a very short time, allowing it to turn opaque and firm. It can be served on a bed of butter lettuce with slices of avocado. It's a wonderful alternative to gefiite fish for an appetizer or makes a nice, light lunch. Ingredients: I poundskinless halibut cut into 1/4 inch cubes I teaspoon kosher salt 1/3 cup lime juice, plus 2 tablespoons 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded, finely chopped 2 scallions, including the green part, thinly sliced 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves Freshly ground black pepper Butter lettuce Slices of avocado Preparation: Place fish in a nonreactive bowl and season with Salt. Pour juice over fish and press down so the fish is submerged in the juice. Cover and refrigerate for i hour or until fish is opaque and firm. Drain off and discard the lime juice. Add peppers, scallions and cilantro to the fish. Just before serving add the remain ing 2 tablespoons lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Chicken with potatoes and olives Makes 4 servings I am always pleased to come up with a dish that is a meal in itself, one that combines either chicken or meatwith vegetables. This is one of my favorites. I bake it in an attractive casserole so it can go directly from the oven to the table. Ingredients: 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 9 garlic cloves Kosher salt 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice Leaves from 10 thyme sprigs Freshly ground black pepper 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts about 6 ounces each) 5plum tomatoes I pound Yukon goldpotatoes, unpeeled, quartered 1/2 cup pitted black olives, quartered Preparation: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. With 1 tablespoon of the oil, grease a glass, ceramic or enamel-lined baking pan that can hold all the vegetables in a single layer. Coarsely chop 4 of the garlic cloves on a cutting board. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and, using a knife, crush them into a paste. Place the paste in a small bowl and combine it with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the oil, half of the thyme leaves and pepper to taste. Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels and season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken with the mixture and set aside. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water; bring the water back to a boil and drain. Core the tomatoes and slip off the skin. Cut the tomatoes in half widthwise and squeeze gently to remove the seeds. (Some seeds will remain.) Cut the tomatoes in quarters. Thickly slice the remaining 5 garlic cloves and spread them in the prepared baking pan along with the tomatoes, potatoes, olives, the rest of the thyme leaves and the remaining 2 table- spoons of oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until almost tender. Place the chicken breasts on top of the vegetables and bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Turn them over, spoon on some pa n juices and bake for another 5 minutes, or until the chicken is slightly pink on the inside. Cover with foil for 1 mifiute. Roasted cauliflower Makes 4 servings Roasting is an easy and delicious way to transform this reliable standby into a wonderful dish. Ingredients: 1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds) 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper Helen Nash Halibut Ceviche serves as an alternative to gefilte fish for an appetizer or light lunch. Preparation: Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking pan with foil. Cut the stalk and leaves off the cauliflower and discard. Cut the head into small florets. Place the garlic in the baking pan. Arrange the florets on top; drizzle with the oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender. Chocolate meringue squares Makes 3 1/2 dozen squares These meringue sqoares are like cookies, but they are light, chocolaty and surprisingly low in calories. They can be presented as cookies or cut into individual squares and served with either sorbet or fresh fruit on the side. Ingredients: I tablespoon unsalted margarine, for greasing the pan 1/2 pound blanched almonds 6 ounces good-quality imported semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces 8 large egg whites (see note below) I cup sugar Preparation: Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan with wax paper and grease the paper with the margarine. Chop the almonds in a food processor, in 2 batches, until medium-fine. Transfer to a bowl. Chop the chocolate in the processor until fine and combine with the almonds. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the balloon whisk attachment, beat at high speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the chocolate,almon. mixture into the egg whites, making a motion like a figure eight with the spatula. Do not overmix. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan andsmooth the top. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out almost dry. Cool on a wire rack. Invert onto a cutting board and peel off the paper. Cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Notes: It is easier to separate the eggs straight from the refrigerator, when they are cold. Make sure the whites have come to room temperature before beating. To freeze the squares, place them side by side in an air-tight plastic container, with wax paper between the layers. April 1944: A Jewish exodus from the Polish army By Rafael Medoff A faded black-and-white photograph from 1943 shows Private Max Wald enjoying the Passover seder together with hundreds of his Polish army comrades. But a tattered diary entry from the following year describes the "dampness and cold" of the prison cell where Wald spent Seder night in 1944, after he and hundreds of other Polish Jewish soldiers deserted en masse because of rampant anti-Semitism in the Polish army. The photo and the diary provide bookends to a trou- bling and little-known chap- ter in Polish-Jewish relations during the Holocaust. After the Germans over- ran Poland, many units of the Polish armed forces, known as the Polish Home Army, were based in Great Britain. Later, a second Polish force, under the command of General Wladyslaw Anders, was created in the Soviet Union, consisting of Polish ex-prisoners of war. Jewish soldiers in the Pol- ish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice. Dan Adler of New York City, whose father, Kazimierz (Ron) Adler, served under Anders, told that "the Polish soldiers in my father's unit often made remarks accus- ing Jews of being cowards or weaklings." They even had a saying in which a soldier confirmed he was holding something tightly by com- paring it to strangling a Jew. The elder Adler recalled at least one instance in which he got into a fistfight with a fellow soldier who had made an anti-Jewish remark. Adler emphasized, how- ever, that these were the attitudes among ordinary soldiers, not among the 'army's top brass, and official policy was non-discrimina- tory. Thus, when the army transferred to the Middle East, it arranged for Ron Adler's parents and brother to be transported to Pales- tine. There, as the family of a Polish soldier, they received ongoing assistance from the Polish Consulate in Tel Aviv. There were also frequent reports of anti-Semitic in- cidents among Polish forces in Scotland. (They were stationed there because of fears of a German invasion of Britain via nearby Nor- way.) In January 1943, an investigation by the Polish Ministry of Information confirmed that anti-Semitic leaflets had been distributed among Polish officers and soldiers stationed there. A local organization, the Glasgow Jewish Council, carried out an inquiry of its own and concluded that anti-Semitism was "rife ' in the Polish army. According to Private Max Wald, the problem of anti- Semitism in the Polish forces increased significantly in 1943 with the induction of ethnic Poles who had served in the German army and then were captured by the Allies. "They would say things to us like 'Hitler will solve our Jewish problem for us,' and 'Every Pole has two bullets--the first for a Jew and the second for a German,'" Wald told his son, Professor James Wald of Massachusetts-based Hampshire College. According to some ac- counts, these former Ger- man soldiers openly sang 'Nazi Songs in the Polish army barracks and circulated copies of the notorious Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer. "As the Passover holiday approached in 1944, the Jewish soldiers were asking themselves if they escaped from the slavery of Egypt only to perish in the wilder- ness," Prof. Wald told JNS. org. "They couldn't stand the constant anti-Semitic taunts, threats, and harass- ment any longer--so they staged a mass exodus from the Polish army." The first two groups of Jewish deserters, number- ing about 200 in total, were granted their request to be transferred to the British army. But when Private Wald organized a third group to leave, the British Foreign Of- rice and Polish government- in-exile decided to make an example of them, in order to deter further desertions. Wald and 20 comrades were imprisoned, which is where they found themselves on Passover. Their lonely prison cells were a far cry from the previous year's seder, where the celebrants had been joined by representatives of the Polish High Command, and had concluded the meal with hearty renditions of both the Israeli national anthem "Hatikvah" and the Polish national anthem. As the date of the court- martial neared, sympathiz- ers in the British Parliament and the press spoke out. MP Tom Driberg announced that he had "a whole drawerful of personal testimonies to the kind of [anti-Semitism] they are experiencing, written out laboriously in Polish, or, pathetically, in broken Eng- lish." MP William Gallacher asked, "Supposing the [U.S.] Government gave a bunch of Engtishmen power over a mixed bunch of Englishmen and Scotsmen, and the Eng- lishinen started ill-treating the Scotsmen, would not the Scotsmen be entitled to go to Washington and say, 'You have given the power to the wrong people? .... An editorial in the Bir- mingham Gazette declared, "It is clear that not only Germany will have to be re-educated after the war, but we may be faced with an anti-Semitic Poland almost as urgently in need of re-education as Germany itself." After a trial behind closed doors, the 21 Jewish soldiers were convicted of desertion. But under the pressure of public protests, the Polish authorities meted out sus- pended sentences to some of them and pardoned the others. By the time Passover came the following year, Max Wald was serving in the British army. So was Ron Adler, who volunteered for training in England with the Polish navy-in-formation, and then was granted a transfer to the British army. As they sat down at their seder tables in April 1945, World War II, was finally drawing to a close--as was the tragic story of Jewish soldiers who put their lives on the line for the Polish army, only to find themselves victimized by their fellow soldiers. Dr. Rafael Medoff is direc- tor of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Stud- ies, in Washington, D.C. His latest book is "FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith."