Who's Cooking: Charlotte Drogin, Jericho

Charlotte Drogin of Jericho with her Passover banana

Charlotte Drogin of Jericho with her Passover banana walnut kugel. Peaches can be used as well, she says. (Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)

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CHARLOTTE DROGIN

A teacher at Jericho Middle School, Drogin lives in Jericho with her husband.

 

How long have you been cooking?

A long time, about 45, 50 years. I started when I was a kid, helping out my mom. She did all kosher cooking. I would do all the baking. Then later, once I got married, she would come over and I would bake, she would decorate. Baking is really my specialty.

What do you cook for the Jewish holidays?

The first night of Passover, I will probably be having 15 people, the second night about 25. I grew up in a house where, if somebody didn't have a place to go they were invited to our place, and I've continued that tradition. I have friends from the neighborhood one night and family another night. I love to experiment, so every year I try some new recipes along with old favorites. I make a noodle pudding every year, knishes sometimes. I always make turkey. Short ribs is another dish that everyone likes. This year, I'm looking for new vegetable dishes -- we have a few vegetarians coming -- maybe some healthier things. Probably, I'll bake something that has no eggs because my grandson has an allergy to eggs. My claim to fame is my chicken soup and matzo balls, but I don't give out that recipe.

Any tips for Passover baking?

You can convert a lot of recipes, replacing flour and cornstarch with cake meal or cake flour and potato starch. Cheesecake is a great choice. I use crushed macaroons and a little margarine for the crust.

Tell me about this recipe.

I've been using this recipe on and off for about 20 years. It's nice, because you can serve it as a sweet side dish, or as a dessert. You can use peaches instead of bananas. There's nothing difficult about it. You just have to watch that it doesn't burn when you are baking it. And you can make it a day in advance, cover it and refrigerate it before reheating it for dinner. During the rest of the week, leftovers are good when heated up in the microwave.


BANANA WALNUT KUGEL

3 cups matzo farfal

4 eggs

¼ cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, melted

6 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 bananas, sliced

1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Place farfel in a colander and run under cold water for a few seconds to moisten. Press out liquid.

3. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in farfel, margarine or butter, sugar, and cinnamon and mix well.

4. Place ½ the farfel mixture on bottom of greased 1½-quart baking dish. Arrange bananas on top and sprinkle with nuts. Cover with remaining farfel mixture. Bake until lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

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