March 08, 2009

4th Annual Malka and Elimelech Kugelov Kugel-off Recap

Shmooze Nation,

The big question today was, "what is a kugel?"

I can tell you that this debate is far from over and if anyone has any definitions that they want to submit (or stand behind) to Joan Nathan, we will discuss them at the next meeting. (TBD, but soon). Thought for food:
- Ruby and I decided that a kugel could probably be boiled down to a simple question: "Would your Bubbe approve?"
- I understand that the Chudnow family has had a long history of kugels and kugel standards, which may now be changing. David would love to enlighten you at the next Shmooze meeting.

And on that note, I would like to congratulate David Chudnow on being voted first place in the non-existent Banana Bread category. I propose that we put his title to the test at the Relay For Life Shmooze Cookoff (or Bakeoff). We will be discussing this, among other things, at our next group meeting. (Still, TBD)

4th Annual Malka & Elimelech Kugelov Kugel-off results:
1. Orange You Glad it's a Potato Kugel - Yael Mendelson's interpretation of a classic
2. Apple Cobblering Kugel - Brett Siegal's groundbreaking layer kugel
3. Easy Like Sunday Morning a.k.a. The "Snuggies" of Kugel - Avery Robinson and David Chudnow's unprecedented Challah Kugel

Because some of the stickers may have fallen off during transportation, I am not exactly sure of the order for the following kugels, but does it matter? They were still mostly delicious.
• Pineapple Expression - Dena Cohen's tropical take on the classic noodle
• The Perfect Squash Kugel - David Chudnow's boldly-titled winter squash kugel
• A Really Korny Kugel - Amy Steinway's corn Kugel, and to think, it had the potential to power a car, or make Hillel's cutlery…Kugel is the preferred use
• Hadassah's Kugel - Avery Robinson's timely (Queen Esther) take on a classic Hadassah recipe
• Directive: Kugel - Laura Shefner and Madeline O'Campo's nutmeg-infused variation on a classic dairy, noodle kugel
• We're Not in Jerusalem Anymore Kugel - Avery Robinson's crack at a Yerushalmie in a rectangular pan
• This is a Kugel? - David Chudnow's banana bread

Malka and Elimelech Kugelov want to thank everyone who braved the rain to eat and and cast their vote. We value your civic ... err, cultural duty very highly here at Shmooze. I want to congratulate and thank everyone who baked a kugel.

More Shmoozing recap:
- There was a long and lengthy discussion involving Rich, Tilly, Chudnow, and a few others on the evolution of kugel and the influence of progressive society on what is commonly seen as a traditional dish: traditional v. post-modern/progressive interpretations of kugel.
- Thanks to Avi Sunshine who came all the way from Pitt just for the Kugel-off (and maybe Rich's performance in EOS) and to Shira Jacobson for driving all the way from Washington, D.C. (I hear she wanted to get a taste of the competition so she could enter next year in the alum category.)
- Andrew Dickson likes Kugel. Everyone likes Andrew Dickson.
- Props to Hillel (and its dedicated staff) for their continued commitment to "the greatest event of the year." —said by anonymous…not me, but it was said.
- Shmooze misses its alumni who are currently spread across the globe: Nepal, Singapore, Ecuador, Costa Rica, France, Israel, all over the US from Washington and California to Georgia and New York, and even Hawaii. I hear we have alums in Ann Arbor. Funny, I didn't see any today...

Posted by averyr at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)

April 08, 2008

Couch... Couch...Cow.. C. O. R.... Are you going to the mall later?

At its very essence what is the Shmooze Club about (besides the whole Jewish culture thing)?

Eating and shmoozing.

That is what makes Relay for Life the perfect Shmooze event. For 24 hours, we hang out on Palmer Field, shpatzirning (Yiddish for "to go for a walk"), sitting around, munching, nibbling, shesh-beshing, kibbutzing, and shmoozing.

More importantly, we raised $3,000 to support cancer research.

I don't want to say that we had the best setup of any team on the track because it would seem as if I'm not being modest. But it's the truth.

The couch that typically resides on my porch was transplanted track-side at Palmer Field.

Each year, we have a food competition the night of Relay for Life. In year's past, we held the Erasing Stereotypes: Passover Dessert Competition and a Cheesecake competition. This year's event was "Cook anything you want as long as it is contains zucchini and is pareve or milchig." We received five entries to the event: sauteed zucchini by Ari, zucchini pizza by Chud, zucchini ratatouille by Rachel, zucchini bread by David and Nate, and zucchini hash by Ian.

For our in-Relay fundraiser, we decided to open up the Shmooze Hotdog cart Saturday night. It was awesome, and the crowd reacted well to it. We sold over 100 dogs.

For the second year in a row, the Parrotheads team ran the Relay for Life jail. You pay the Parrotheads a certain amount of money to arrest your friend. The Parrotheats arreast your friend and put them in their prison. While in jail, your friend must raise bail equal to how much money was put up to get you in jail. We put Rachel in jail, and she made a friend.

Posted by irobi at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

February 02, 2008

Kugel-off results

Now, the kugel-off is an event that has been riddled with controversy over its three-year existence. Now, we could employ UN Election Observers to maintain the integrity of the competition, I have realized that the event isn't about winning (that's just something losers say). People come to the kugel-off to enjoy kugel and have their own personal journey through kugel, not to see who wins or loses.

But, if you do care about winning and losing, though, here are the results. I just want to point out that, for the second-straight year, I have won the kosher for passover division.

1. Oh, Kugel — Dina
2. Special K (ugel) — Jacobson girls
3. Back to the Basics — David and Nate
4. For Cereal.... With Melk — Tani and Adam
4. Potato Explosion — Naomi
6. Challah Kugel — Shana
7. Squgel — Shira
8. We (heart symbol) Raisins — Madeline and Lauren
9. Grandma's Kugel — Pamela
9. Choc' ful of Kugel — Shoshana and Hannah
9. We were slaves, now we're kugel — Ian
12. Holy Crapple — Yael
12. First Try — Aaron W.
12. Sasquash — Aaron P.
15. Kugel Ha-mishmishim — Ian
16. Bugs Bunny Kugel — Ian

Now, let me explain why I lost this year. When my carrot and noodle kugels came out of the over, they were perfect. I was even told my an objective housemate, "Ian, this kugel is going to win" when he scrape the remains off my bundt pan. The problem lies in the reheating of the kugels.

Using an oven and a blech, I tried to reheat the 17 kugels. In this reheating process, my kugels were left on the blech too long and developed a charcoal blackness on the bottom. Luckily, nobody had these same issues. If you want to read two more pages of why I didn't win this year, let me know because I could write a dissertation about these excuses.

Posted by irobi at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

Kugel, the food of the people.

Today's kugel-off wasn't about winning and losing. It wasn't about a voting controversy.It wasn't even about my kugels' greatness.

It was about the people. More than 100 — that is.

We had about 100 people for today's glorious kugel-off (Malka and Elimelech Kugelov are proud). I don't really know how that worked (physically, given the space constraints of our house), but it was pretty great. In fact, it doubled last year's attendance.

While Dina made the championship kugel (I believe it was of the Yerushalmi variety), there was tremendous parity across the 16-kugel field. In years past, the noodle kugel would dominate the field. Not this year. We had representatives from all members of the kugel family (noodle, potato, squash, matzah, carrot, etc.) And all performed well.

The only married woman to enter a kugel in the competition came out victorious (That means, I need to find a wife).

On a personal note, I will now reflect on my experiences in three years of organizing this kugel-cooking competition. While I walk away with just one asterisked victory in three attempts, I do so with knowledge that I have put every drop of ruach into this event and my kugels that I could. Maybe I don't have the bundt pans to show for my efforts, but I don't need the hardware to prove the effort I gave to make these events successful. Or maybe I'm just trying to justify my poor performances. (Kugel, I would never quit on you.)

For the second straight year, I have taken top honors in the kosher for passover division.

I used this joke last year, but I liked it a lot. So, I will repeat it. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Kugel Stadium PA announcer said (he yelled. we don't have a PA system on Shabbat): You are part of the largest crowd participating in a kugeloff anywhere in America today.

Posted by irobi at 09:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2007

Shmooze's Daily Double

Shmooze events in the 2007-08 school year: One
Shmooze mentions in the Daily: Two

In its list of things to do in Ann Arbor this weekend, the Daily Arts' B-Side section listed the Shmorzefest alongside Ellen Lupton and The Bad Plus as things to do on Thursday night.

Shmorzefest also landed as one of the day's feature photos on page 7.

Engineering senior Ilana Riback plays guitar at a backyard campfire on Elm Street while LSA freshman Joey Eisman shows LSA senior Heather Goldstein how to play the didjbox, a box-shaped didgeridoo last night. Others were roasting shmorze over the fire, which are s'mores made with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The event was the Second Annual Shmorze Fest held by the Shmooze Club, a Jewish cultural club that emphasizes good food, good times and good conversation.

Posted by irobi at 12:24 AM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2007

Shmooze and diversity

For a year and half, the Shmooze Club has been exploring the diversity within the Jewish people — namely their food — and searching for common links between them.

Last month, a University group sent an e-mail to all student groups, asking them to participate in a mural that would show what student groups brings to campus. Each group was given a piece of the puzzle, and in the end, the puzzle will be displayed permanently and prominently somewhere on campuse.

So obviously, the Shmooze Club jumped at the chance. Some of our first ideas fells through. If you have limited artistic talent, painting cholents and kugels just isn't the best idea. So we went back to the drawing board and came out with this gem.

Don't mind the blue tape. It will be unpeeled to reveal a block M.

I would like to thank everybody who helped put this together, namely Avie, Lizzy, Deb, and Ari. You can tell the parts that look like a four-old painted them because those are the parts that I did.

Posted by irobi at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2007

Springtime for Kugel

Unlike last year's controversy-marred Kugel-off, there was a clear winner in this year's competition. Entering their first Shmooze cooking competition, the culinary tandem of Brad Stulberg and Michael Passman smoked the competition with a Passman family noddle kugel which had a great consistency and a sweet aftertaste that connected the generations.

Its heritage can be traced from 516 Walnut (their home kitchen), to Village Corner (where some ingredients were purchased) to Farmington Hills (their hometown) to Eastern Europe (where Michael believes the recipe originated). And from this centuries-long chain of events, the deliciousness found its way to the stomachs of the 40+ Shmoozeniks in attendance at the Second Annual Malka and Elimelech Kugeloff Kugel-off.

While some might contend that Stulberg spent most of the event lobbying for votes for his kugel, the author of this post can attest that lobbying for extra votes does not translate to a kugel championship. There is actually something to making a good kugel that the masses enjoy.

The story of the afternoon might have been Naomi's "You say potato, I say kugel" kugel, which finished in second place. For a specialty kugel like a potato kugel to capture the hearts and tastebuds of kugel samplers like the Ohio native's creation is really a testament to how good her kugel was. (On behalf of the Shmooze Club, I would like to thank Naomi and the rest of her housemates for hosting this year's competition).

One of Naomi's housemates, Pamela, came in second with a cheese kugel she named "Deliciousness." Many people in attendance described her work as a springtime kugel, which matched the sunny and above-freezing temperatures outside.

A few other storylines to follow from the afternoon:

Here are the official results from this year's event:

1. Ekhad Khamesh Shesh: Ha-kugel (Hebrew: 516: The Kugel) noodle - Brad and Michael
2. "You Say Potato, I say kugel" Kugel - Naomi
3. "Deliciousness" Kugel (cheese) - Pamela
4. Walter "Sweetness" Payton Kugel - Avery
4. Ima's Kugel - Shira
4. Zuchugel - Frayda
7. A Zitsen Kugel - Ian
7. Saucy Kugel - Avery
9. Vegetable Surprise Kugel - Naomi
10. The Joker
10. What's Made Ian Bitter Kugel
12. Aloha Kugel
13. Comfort Kugel
14. Kugel of Gold (Yerushalmi Kugel)*

Note to self: Next time you want to enter a Jerusalem kugel in a competition, don't overcook it.

Posted by irobi at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2007

The Champagne of Cholents

Once again, the Shmooze contingent exited the O-Minyan's Iron Blech competition Saturday afternoon without an apron on (the apron being this year's trophy). Normally, I feel slightly effeminate by donning an apron, but if I would have won that coveted smock, I would still be wearing it now.

"I guess the tastebuds didn't respond the way we hoped," Shmooze cholentier Ian Robinson said following the competition. "I also don't think the barley mixed the way we were planning."

After debuting in the top five of last year's competition, the Shmooze Club found itself in a similar spot this year. Although some of the more experienced judges in the competition gave Shmoze their spoon, this year's cholent couldn't gather the popular support needed to win. The consistency in this year's batch was a little, I don't want to say soupy because it wasn't, but it was a little looser than a championship cholent should be.

Shmooze came in the top five behind the champion Allen Weiss' Buffalo-sytle Cholent (champion), Aaron Potek's Average Shmoes: An Underdog Story and Naomi Zaslow's Gangsta Cholent.

Since most of the competitors are in college, the Shmooze Club decided to explore how adult beverages could be used to enhance the cholent with his Chai Life cholent (we won the unofficial context for best name for a cholent). The final ingredient added to this year's batch was 12 oz. of Miller High Life. In his explanation of the cholent, Ian explained that after a night of hanging out with friends, there is the one beer that no one else wants to drink. So, you put it in the cholent.

"Normally, I put the High Life in at about 10 a.m. on Saturday," Ian said. "But since I couldn't tamper with the cholent after Friday afternoon, I had to let it cook overnight. That might have hurt the consistency."

On the whole, the Shmooze Club was pleased with how smoothly this year's event ran and even noticed that some of the reforms we lobbied for were instituted. Namely that they held to the stated starting time and every table got enough of every cholent for each person to make an informed decision. I must say that I went into the event anticipating that I would be hungry upon exitting. But much to my surprise, I was satisfied and ready to start studying.

One suggestion for next year: Have every body present their cholent at the beginning of the event. I understand the need for anonymity but there were a few cholents that might have needed an explanation so people knew what they were getting into. The one that comes to mind is Mr. Weiss' vegan cholent that didn't have potatoes. If people would've have known this going in, they would have been able to judge on a different scale.

One other reform that will never be implemented but we be complained about at every Iron Blech: separate meat and veggie divisions.
I want to congratulate all the competitors on the entries. I hope to update this post with a quote from the champion and the titles of all this year's entries.

Shmooze will capture that elusive blech. I promise you that.

Posted by irobi at 12:48 AM | Comments (1)

November 06, 2006

Liders and Best

No I'm not. Yes, you are. Nope. Uh-huh. I don't think so. Do it. Uhhh, fine. Good.

Sorry about that. The two voices in my head have been arguing for the past twenty minutes about how best to start this entry. To appease Larry and Moe, I've decided to include that brief snippet of their conversation. Thus, before they begin arguing again, I'll give you a quick recap of the weekend's events—highlighting the shabbos dinner and concert and marginalizing the movie night.

[Note to self: Save frequently when writing blog posts]

I want to start of this post by doing a pinch-and-pick-up-the-cloth-over-my-shoulder-so-as-to-flaunt-my-superiority move after hearing reviews of my kugels from Friday's dinner. After my performance over the weekend, I think I'm in a good shape to earn my second Golden 9x13 award (given to the Kugel-off champion)[I don't want to hear anything about voter fraud. Those toothpicks were placed legitimately and counted correctly]. I made three kugels, and almost all of them were gone by the end of the night.

Is there anything else I need to mention about Shmooze's second shabbat dinner?


Oh, wait. I might want to thank our hosts at 517 Elm for putting up with my crap, cooking ineptitude, and lack of kitchen etiquette. Another group of people that I would want to thank for the smashing success that was Friday's dinner is Eden, Shira, Marina, Susan, Josh, Shira, Rachel, Lizzy, Ruby, Shira, Avery, Karen, and Rachel for preparing the not undelicious dinner. Finally, I want to thank the 30+ people who came for the free food and stayed for the great company.

Don't woryy. With my schedule opening up a little bit next semester, I plan to have a couple of these events next semester.

Shmooze was placed in charge of publicity for the concert and, considering the turnout, I think we did a pretty good job. Walking through the crowd was like taking a tangible tour of the Shmooze e-mail list. The highlite of the evening occurred after Amazin' Blue's intro when someone from another publicity committee thanked the student groups who helped organize this event, including Shmooze. I nearly peed my pants. Really. My one regret was that we didn't stock our would-be table (sorry, I missed the e-mail) with the hot dogs and head bands that have been discussed ad nauseum in this forum.

We were also placed in charge of publicity for the Shmozoe movie event and, considering the turnout, we might want to consider co-sponsoring more events in the future (maybe with the Dept. of Screen Arts and Cultures).

On the plus side, we helped supply Erick's kitchen with solid foods, a state of matter that it desperately needed.

Posted by irobi at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2006

Chestnuts Marshmallows roasting on an open fire

Camp Shmooze was in session on Thursday, September 28 @ 517 Elm with Sh'morze Fest 5767 (I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of 517 Elm for hosting the event). Whether the name of the summer camp you attended has its roots in/with Hebrew, Native Americana (ie. Pottawatomie, Algonquin, or Ojibwa), or a pond in Massachusetts, everybody feels at home at Camp Shmooze.

About forty shmoozers gathered around the fire to indulge in sh'mores, shmoozing, shome roasted root vegetables, and shweet tunes on the guitar (I really tried for the shibilance). It was the first co-educational Shmooze event of the year dedicated solely to shmoozing (I don't consider the shvitz to be an educational experience).

More than any of the foods, this Shmooze event was about providing shmoozers with a relaxed environment where they could chill out and have a good time.

Things got underway at about 8:30ish with our tripper-in-residence, Rachel, building a roaring fire. As the clock hit the bottom of the hour, shmoozers began to meander down Elm Street, led by their noses to the scent of crisp walnut wood burning in the not-so-far distance.

Once the fire heated up (I would like to thank the former programming director for providing the fire pit, and I promise to return it soon), the first marshmallows started roasting on the open fire.

Earlier in the afternoon, I went on an adventure to the One Stop Kosher Marketin Oak Park, MI, the only place in the area that I know sells kosher marshmallows all year round (even though they may have been sitting around since Erasing Stereotypes: Passover Dessert Competition). Check out the four varieties of marshmallow that I picked up. They look different than your treif marshmallows; and they roast differently as well!

Here is the official Shmooze sh'more recipe. It was, hands-down, the most popular item of the night. However, there were some debates about the proper construction and preferred level of well-doneness on the marshmallow.

As you can tell from Deb and Ari’s demonstration, proper sh’more consumption definitely involves closing one’s eyes.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is the new Hershey's. After eating a sh'more with peanut buttery and chocolatey goodness, Frayda said "This is the greatest thing that I have every had." (This is high praise from someone who thought that last year's Erasing Stereotypes: Passover Dessert Challenge-winning cheesecake should’ve been disqualified for being “too delicious.?)

In addition to the traditional camp fire foods, we had some traditional camp fire tunes. Deb brought her guitar and rocked out all night long! (Can you call it rocking out if the pace is a little slower than rock and roll, the mood is a little mellower, but the intensity still there?). She took requests from the crowd and played some of her favorites. If you want to hire her for your next camp fire activity, wedding, or Quinceañera, she charges a reasonable rate.

As the night wore on, Rachel busted out some root vegetables to throw in the fire. They were truly not undelicious.

As the walnut turned to embers, the night was capped off by Ari’s first trip to the Arb. That’s right in just over a year at Michigan, Ari had never been to the Arb.

Here are some pictures from the event. Make up your own captions.

Stay tuned for registration information for Camp Shmooze ‘06 Session II. Details to follow at an upcoming (semi-productive) meeting.

Posted by irobi at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

April 11, 2006

Making a difference

BY THE TENNIS COURTS—For twenty-four hours, Shmoozniks dizzied themselves walking around the Palmer Field track to raise money for and awareness of the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life. Beginning Saturday, April 8 @ 10 AM and concluding Sunday, April 9 @ 10 AM, Team Shmooze had well over forty members (and parents of members) join the excitement that was brimming in and around Palmer Field. Over the course of these twenty-four hours, team members kibitzed, noshed, shpatsired, shluffed, and "ehh ... we shmoozed" in and around the tent site on the south end of Palmer Field; but never did members kvetch, well at least not until mid-morning when the temperature plummeted to freezing.

The Relay planning committee did an excellent job of engaging its 150+ teams with ceremonies, events, activities, performances, contests, and foods over the weekend. The luminaria ceremony, commencing a little after 9 PM, touched the hearts of all present. Lining the track on both sides, hundreds of decorated white bags with the names of family members and friends who have been affected by cancer, were lit (by candles) as part of a ceremony to commemorate and remember their individual stories, struggles, and lives. The luminaria remained lit until the wee hours of the morning, giving inspiration to those still walking and reminding the walkers that hope remains even when the conditions seem most dark or cold.

Near the end of the ceremony, still on the opposite end of the field, Shmoozniks from around campus assembled around a table overflowing with delectable pesadikhe delicacies. The reason: "Erasing Stereotypes" Passover Dessert Shindig.

Over fifteen dishes were entered by Shmoozers in an attempt to reverse the negative attitude generally associated with Passover desserts. Some entries were familiar to many of the thirty-plus judges who turned out to indulge themselves. Other entries were new and innovative, bordering on creative. Regardless, these judges walked off their indulgences for a good cause—ACS.

"Is this thing kosher for Passover because I don't think it should be here," remarked Frayda. This bewildered feeling, so aptly worded by one Shmooznik, was shared by many who were present.

"This is what we were looking to accomplish with the event," said Ian. "Our goal was to prove to all those naysayers that kosher for passover desserts can be delicious and leaven-free."

Similar to its culinary predecessor, the judging for "Erasing Stereotypes" was slightly contentious, though the best dessert did win. While some desserts didn't receive high praise from the judges, that doesn't mean that they were necessarily bad. One judge even remarked, "Ian, you're thing is not that bad."

The Shmooze leadership would like to thank everyone who came out and walked with us during the 24-hour event. We completely understand that RFL didn't fit in everyone's schedules. But we would like to personally thank the following mensches:

  • The Brothers Robinson
  • The Sisters Heisler
  • Orly
  • Adam M.
  • Aaron
  • David
  • Rachel J.
  • Sandra
  • Fallon
  • Frayda
  • Erick
  • Stefanie
  • Sarah
  • Alyssa
  • Rachel L.
  • Adam S.
  • Jon G.
  • Tedi
  • Jed
  • Jon L.
  • Deb
  • Zack
  • Arica
  • Josh
  • Ari
  • Noah L.
  • Jon Z.
  • Elan
  • Sam L.
  • Sam W.
  • Amira
  • Naomi
  • Scott
  • and you (I'm so sorry. You're still a mensch. E-mail me right now so I can add you before anyone notices my ommission. Though mensches should be more humble.)

We've just received word that the donation site will still be operational for at least a few more weeks. Now's as good a time as ever to donate!

Here are the official results from "Erasing Stereotypes." And in the words of Ian, "I believe those stereotypes were successfully erased. I even saw one participant pick up their cheesecake from the ground and eat it."

1. David's Macaroon Marble Cheesecake - 14

2. Adam and Daphna's Ice Cream Cake - 12

3. Greg's Meringue - 11

4. Sandra's Chocolate-Covered Fruit - 9

5. Ruby's Flourless Chocolate Cake - 6
6. Elan's Mandel Brodt - 5

7. Greg's Fruit Tart - 3
8. David's Extra Cheesecake Pile - 2

8. Aunt Shira's Apple Dealie - 2
10. Ruby's Macaroons - 1
10. Aaron's Chocolate- and Caramel-Covered Matzot - 1

10. Weiss' Matzlava - 1
10. Ian's Apple Surprise (no longer a surprise) - 1

Read on for some delicious recipes...

David's Macaroon Marble Cheesecake

5 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. matzo meal
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
1 oz. (or more) semi-sweet chocolate
Macaroon Crust
1 cup macaroon crumbs
3 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
  1. Mix crumbs, sugar, and butter.
  2. Press firmly onto bottom of a 9" springform pan.
  3. Bake @ 350°F for ten minutes. [Bake @ 300°F for ten minutes if using dark, non-stick springform pan.]
  4. Mix cream cheese, sugar, matzo meal, and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream, mix well.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition until blended. Reserve 1/4 of batter.
  6. Melt chocolate and add to reserved batter.
  7. Pour white batter over crust and dot chocolate batter on top. Use knife to swirl.
  8. Bake @ 325°F for one hour and ten minutes or until center is almost set if using a silver springform pan. [Bake @ 300°F for same time if using nonstick pan.]
  9. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake. Cool before removing rim of pan.
  10. Refrigerate four hours or overnight.

Sandra's Chocolate-Covered Fruit: "Simply delicious: Fruit is a valid passover dessert."

fruit: any. Sandra used kiwi and blackberries.
chocolate: any. Sandra used semi sweet.
  1. Heat up the chocolate.
  2. Dip.
  3. Enjoy!

Adam and Daphna's Ice Cream Cake

1 carton Ray's vanilla bean ice cream
1 carton Homemade brand coffee ice cream
1 carton Breyers chocolate ice cream
1 20 oz. jar Saunders swiss dark fudge dessert topping
1 20 oz. jar Saunders milk chocolate hot fudge dessert topping (cold)
1 10 oz. jar Saunders butterscotch caramel dessert topping
1 8 oz. bag Heath toffee bits
  1. In a 9" springform pan, make a layer of ice cream using all three flavors.
  2. Cover with all three dessert toppings.
  3. Place in freezer until set.
  4. Repeat step one.
  5. Repeat step two.
  6. Cover with Heath toffee bits.
  7. Repeat step three.
  8. When complete, eat remaining ice cream.

Ian's Apple Surprise

1 box Manischewitz Kosher for Passover Cake Mix (includes pan)
1 sliced apple
  1. Follow directions on box.
  2. Add apples and cinnamon.
  3. Bake.
More recipes to follow later in the week. Good Yontov.

Posted by gluckman at 09:56 PM | Comments (1)

April 09, 2006

A whirlwind 24 hours

Right now, in dorm rooms, apartments, homes, and Fishbowls across campus, Shmoozim are recovering from a wildly successful day's worth of fundraising, community-building, bonding, eating, not sleeping, and shivering. Thanks again to all involved in this year's Relay effort, those who came to support us, and those who came to share some wonderful Passover-friendly desserts with us.

As of 10:00 this morning the University of Michigan's Relay for Life event managed to raise a record-breaking $224,500+ with more money yet to be counted. This beats last year's total of $138,000 by a mile (or four laps around Palmer Field).

At the time of writing, our own Team Shmooze has raised over $2,900, putting us well within the top 20 of 150+ teams involved. The online donation page is still open for those of you who want to do some last-minute raising of funds and help send that total even higher. Relay was a real success for Shmooze and the University, and we look forward to being involved in years to come.

Please stay tuned (is that saying no longer appropriate in the age of the 'net?) for an extensive recap of our participation in this year's Relay for Life as well as the first annual Erasing Stereotypes: Passover Dessert Competition.There'll be pictures, recipes, and commentary aplenty.

Posted by gluckman at 09:06 PM | Comments (1)

March 18, 2006

What's your beef?

KITCHEN STADIUM—Members of Shmooze left the O-Minyan's Iron Blech competition hungry and slightly perturbed, though satisfied with a top-five finish. Head Coach Daphna "Moshe Moto" Heisler remained cheerful following her debut performance.
  LSA Students Rob Weisenfeld and Allen Weiss placed at the competition with their wing sauce-inspired, kishka-infused culinary concoction—Number Four. Eastern Michigan student Yedida Schramm, sister of LSA senior Chaim Schramm, however took home this year's Iron Blech Iron Blech (well ... she carried it home after shabbos)—Number Two. Actually, Schramm wore her cholent-winning apron home following the competition. She couldn't be reached for comment, though she seemed quite pleased immediately after the announcement.
  "I've never made a meat cholent before," Schramm said in her victory speech.
  Team Wing Sauce, the real O-Minyan winners of the competition, was pleased with their finish. The combination of spices and cow intestines (read: kishka), according to one commentator, are the keys to a successful cholent. Other competitors used spice liberally as well. In fact, Shmooze received much praise for the "explosion of flavor" in each bite. Though critics of the Shmooze cholent, Shmooze Shtew, pointed to the insufficient amount of liquid in its base as a detriment to its success in the competition.

Event Analysis: Beefs & Reforms
  1. [Beef:] Insufficient distribution of cholent. [Solution:] Two Crock Pots per cholent. Sarah remembers stations (wo)manned by their respective cholentier (pronounced: cho•lent•EE•ay), though Tali still did a great job.
  2. [Beef:] Start time. [Solution:] Give a time, stick to it. If it means delaying the competition for five or ten minutes, please do it. ~ish times are always later. So, 12:30ish would imply some time following 12:30, not before.
  3. [Beef:] Hunger. [Solution:] Eat before you arrive. Prepare a fleishig-friendly snack for later. Don't plan on being filled up by ten (if you're lucky!) small dollops of cholenty goodness and some pita with hummus.
  4. [Beef:] Lack of a cholent presentation. [Solution:] Give each cholentier one or two minutes to speak about their cholent before the compeition begins.

Moment of humor: "Here's the problem with Orthodox people, they're not too keen on reforms!" (Anonymous, 3/18)

Posted by rubyr at 02:14 PM | Comments (2)

February 21, 2006

Malka and Elimelech Kugelov present the results

TORONTO—This Saturday afternoon, over thirty-five Shmoozers shpatsired over to a little house on Church Street, 1023 to be exact, to warm up, but more importantly, to participate in the first, hopefully-annual, Malka and Elimelech Kugelov Kugel-off. Kugel recipes, anecdotes, and stories abounded. Shmoozing dominated. And all enjoyed.

On an afternoon where the biting wind and unseasonable cold made all the participants shiver in their coats, the atmosphere inside the house and the abundance of kugel reversed these effects creating a feeling of warmth, an aroma of the familiar, and a satisfied grin on all of their punim.

Kugel entries ranged from the standard potatoes and egg noodles to the more exotic and creative squash, lasagna, and matzah. Amidst the thirty-something judges, a wide discrepancy of palate sensitivities, salt-tolerances, sweet-tooths, and kugeling savvy existed as well.

After much debate by the Kugel Officiating Committee (KOC for future reference), a standardized system of toothpicks was decided upon for ranking purposes. Each participant was given three toothpicks to place in the kugel(s) of their liking. After the judges sampled the delectables, the KOC counted the toothpicks and released their results:

  1. Ian's Bundt Noodle Kugel Part 1*
  2. Jacobson Girls' "The Crumbler"
  3. Orly's "Min's Noodle Kugel"
  4. Sandra's "Piping Hot Potato Kugel"
  5. In four-way tie for fifth place:
    • David & Aaron's "Seven Layer Kugel"
    • Ruby's "Jerusalem Kugel"
    • Daphna's "Squash Kugel"
    • Fallon & Shira's "Alice's Kugel"
  6. Avery's "Fruity Israeli Kugel"
  7. Ruby's Kosher for Passover "Apple & Matza Kugel"

"The competition was fierce, the abdominal space was limited, but I feel that we all won, even though the Jacobson's (and Ian) took home that joy that only my Bubbe experiences on the holidays when we all come over for dinner," said Zack Weiss.

*The French judge is under investigation for unfair toothpick practices. We will notify you of any changes to the official results once they become available.