Oma’s Compote Recipe

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 01:33 Written by Flax Tuesday, 9 November 2010 11:23

Oma's Compote Maker

My Oma (grandmother) was a very special person. Her birthday and her yahrzeit (anniversary of her death) are both on the same day, the second day of Tevet, the last night of Hanukkah.  Jewish tradition holds that having a birthday and a yahrzeit on the same day is the sign of someone who is a Zadik. My Oma was outspoken, she had a strong and forceful personality, she might have even offended people at times, but she also had an unlimited faith in G-d’s abundance.  My Oma would give a poor person the coat off of her back, saying “They need the coat, I’ll be fine.”
I love that my Oma’s yarzheit is on the last night of Hanukkah, a time when Jews, all over the world are lighting an abundance of candles.  I feel that this way my Oma’s neshama (soul) is drawn to visit with whomever might need her.
Hanukkah’s traditional food is latkes (potato pancakes).  Latkes are usually accompanied by applesauce.  In honor of my Oma’s   birthday and yarzhiet I am sharing her very special compote (applesauce) recipe.
My Oma’s house was the Central Food Station. Every Sunday we would visit with her and within seconds of entering the front door she would have us sitting at the table and eating. My personal favorite was her dessert. Compote, made almost always with apples, but sometimes with apples and pears as well. The leftover compote she would send home with us, bottled up in a Maxwell House Coffee Jar, a piece of wax paper under the lid, to prevent the compote from leaking out on the trip home. To this day, whenever I see an empty Maxwell House coffee jar, my mouth starts watering and I start having compote cravings.
I consider myself to be a very lucky person. While my sister, as the eldest daughter, inherited my grandmothers candlesticks, I merited to inherit the object of “lesser” value, my Oma’s compote maker (commonly known as a food mill). Food mills are an almost obsolete kitchen tool, but they certainly simplify the whole compote making process. With a food mill there is no need to peel and core the apples first. Just dump the apples in a pot and when they are soft, push them through the sieve.  While my compote maker does make things easier, it is still not a big deal to make compote without one, and boy,  people are so impressed to be served home-made applesauce! (As if, what’s the big deal, just most people don’t even think about it. After all, applesauce comes from a jar, no?)


  • 10 golden apples, peeled and cored
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (or to taste)

Put the water in a pot and bring to a boil. Add the apples and simmer for approximately one hour or until the apples are soft. Remove from the flame, add the orange juice and mash.

Refrigerate and serve cold.

Note: If you like, you can add cinnamon, just don’t let Oma know, she hated cinnamon.

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Wakame Pie

Last Updated on Thursday, 4 November 2010 09:57 Written by Flax Thursday, 4 November 2010 01:46

What a title! Total fusion!
American and Japanese cultures blend in one dish. The all American Pie with the Japanese element of wakame, seaweed. A whole new form of globalization. Go teach that Emmanuel! (My husband Emmanuel Navon teaches a class on globalization at TAU)
Plus, check out how many of the Top Ten foods make it into this dish! Seaweed, ginger, turmeric, and flax of course! This might even be a record of how many healthy foods I can sneak into one dish.
The nice part about this dish is that no-one, besides yourself, will even knows that they are eating seaweed, or flax for that matter. Coolest trick in the book. I served this dish for shabbat lunch and I didn’t get a single seaweed comment, and, there is nothing left over. Completely finished, every last drop.
This recipe has two parts but it’s not complicated. If making the crust is too much for you then buy a frozen ready-made whole wheat crust and just enjoy the health benefits of the filling. I promise you, from someone who really can’t bake, thee crust isn’t hard to make, and beginning to end, it adds only 5 minutes extra work plus one extra mixing bowl to wash. If you are up to it, it’s worth the effort because while my recipe calls for olive oil, you know that they are putting margarine (yuck!) in the frozen one.
I also use spelt flour in this dish. Spelt is a grain that is quite similar, both in flavor and in texture to wheat. While wheat is over-used and abused and is now a major allergen, spelt has been largely ignored for the past 100 years or so. This means that our bodies have not developed a resistance to it. In addition, while wheat is a major cause of “dampness” (a Chinese diagnostic term), spelt is not. The major difference that you will see in the baking is that spelt will crumble after 24 hours while wheat will last 3-4 days. The flax-seed will eliminate that problem (no pun intended) and holds the baked goods together , and they will then last longer.
The pie dish is used was oval and quite small. If you are using a 9×11 cake pan you might want to double the crust recipe. If you are left with extra dough, you can use it to make crackers. Just roll it out thin, cut into squares or diamonds, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds or za’atar.



1 cups spelt flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp ground flax-seed
1/2 tsp Atlantic grey sea salt
3 tbsp hot water
1/2 cup water (apx.)

Soak the flax-seed and the salt in the hot water for 5 minutes. Mix together with the remaining ingredients until you have a smooth dough without lumps. Roll out in a thin layer to fit your pie dish or baking tray (any size or shape will work). Prick the dough with a fork and bake at 180c (350f) for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and fill with wakame filling.

Wakame filling

olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2″ (1 cm) ginger, chopped fine
1 bundle beet leaves (mangold or kale), chopped
2 carrots, hulienne
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp wakame, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
1 tbsp ground flax-seed, soaked in 4 tbsp water for 5 minutes
1 small kohlrabi, slice into thin rounds, to form a flower shape as the garnish
1 carrot round, thinly sliced to serve as the flowers center on the garnish

Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and spices and saute for 5 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the beet leaves and the carrots and saute until the beet leaves are limp. Squeeze the wakame to remove the water (the sea is in the water and if you don’t want your dish to taste like a mouthful of the sea then you need to remove the seawater.) and add to the pan. Remove from the flame and mix in the flax-seed. Pour into the baking dish.
Lay the kolhrabi rounds in a circle to form a flower shape. Place the carrot round in the center of the circle. Brush the flower with olive oil so that it doesn’t dry out.
Bake in preheated oven at 180 c (350f) for apx. 25-30 minutes.

Serve hot.

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.


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Red lentil, Beet Leaf and Mushroom Soup

Last Updated on Wednesday, 3 November 2010 03:15 Written by Flax Wednesday, 3 November 2010 03:03

Beet leaf/Mangold/Kale

The beet leaves are in season, they are full, and bright. Adina asked me what to do with them so in today’s class we made two dishes with them. The soup below, and a Beet Leaf – Wakame Pie.
This soup is accredited to Lucy Blaser. It is one of the recipes from her calander that she distributed a few years ago. I basically use her recipe with only a few small changes.
Another reason I taught this soup today is that it is in harmony with Jewish life. This upcoming shabbat we read in the Torah about a red lentil dish that Ya’akov sold to Esav for his birthright. (My cousin Rakel Berenbaum writes Portion on the Portion in Torah Tidbits, so I guess she inspired me to cook this way as well.) In Chinese medicine, the Autumn emotion is one of sadness or mourning. The lentil in Judaism is also symbolic of mourning, the roundess of the lentil signifies eternity, the continuity of life and death. Ya’akov was making the red lentil dish to commemorate the day of Abraham’s death. So whether you want to think Chinese or Jewish, this is a good soup to make for Shabbat.
Health wise this dish includes:
The dark green leafy vegetable will oxygenate your blood and keep you young and healthy.
The orange vegetables, carrots and sweet potato, which tonify the spleen and help with sugar cravings.
Turmeric, a bitter spice which will clean toxins from your system. It has also been shown as a natural preventative for Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers.
The mushrooms are anti-carcenogenic and also clean toxins from the system.
Lentils, which are considered by the Chinese to increase ones vitality or ones kidney jing.


olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cm (1/2″) ginger chopped
1 bunch beet leaves (mangold or kale)
1 package shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups red lentils
1 carrot, chopped
1 small sweet potato, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley or cilantro (or both)
4 liters water
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper

Saute the onion, garlic and ginger in olive oil. Add the spices and beet leaves and saute until the leaves lose some of the water and are limp. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.

Partially puree with and immerser.

Serve hot.


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