Home Food Warm up with some hot new recipes from Montreal

Warm up with some hot new recipes from Montreal

Potato latkes (Joannie Tansky photo)

Shabbat Shalom! Winter is definitely here. My deck and backyard are still covered with snow from the weekend storm and I get cold just looking out the window, so I’m going to eat something warming for lunch.

I’ll make Potatoes and Parsley Sauce, some real comfort food from Second Helpings, Please! Later, I’ll serve the potatoes as side dish for dinner.

For the main course, I will be trying a new recipe – Meat Pie aka French Canadian Tourtiere from The Big Jewish Mama’s Cookbook, a new cookbook by Joannie Tansky, a Montreal author. She kindly sent me a few recipes from her new book cookbook.

She writes: “Tourtiere, also known as meat pie, is a combination of ground meat, onions, spices and herbs baked in a pie crust. There are many variations of tourtiere throughout the regions of Franco-American communities and Canada.”

“While it is not traditionally a Jewish dish, I made it one. It’s serious comfort food.”

Tansky, a mother of three and grandmother of 16, is also the author of Short Shabbat Insights, a weekly one-page digest emailed to women to read at their Shabbat tables.

Tansky became observant through Chabad and does a lot of home entertaining. She says the ingredients in The Big Jewish Mama’s Cookbook are accessible and she offers shortcuts to simplify meal prep.

Her book also includes recipes from various Jewish ethnic groups like Iraqi Chicken Soup spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, and Hungarian Chicken Paprikash. For CJN readers, she has offered her recipe for Another Moroccan Salmon – it’s seasoned with lemon, garlic and cumin. In view of the holiday season, Tansky has also sent her recipe for Potato Latkes.

It was a busy food weekend in Toronto last week! Both NoshFest and the Shuk Toronto by Ezer Mizion were held Dec. 1. Unfortunately, a massive snowstorm upended my plans to visit the Shuk in Thornhill, but I did get out to NoshFest (the venue where it was held is walking distance from my house).

The Shuk continued on Dec. 2, but the roads were terrible. I was so disappointed because I had really been looking forward to fressing and shopping for Israeli spices and other delicacies.

NoshFest is always a lot of fun and very festive. I love the klezmer music, the Judaica and handicraft boutiques, and of course, the food.

I tried Marty’s Pickles, but I came too late for latkes by In the Manor. I did have a mini sip of Tzafona kosher wine and a healthy sized sample of halvah from Parallel Brothers.

That evening, we had a big family gathering at my house and so I brought home all kinds of desserts from NoshFest – maple blondies from Electric Love, some chocolate filled donuts from Artsy Baker, and halvah.

For those keeping track, the latest update on The Brain Boosting Diet: Feed Your Memory, Norene Gilletz‘s upcoming cookbook, is that the book will available on Dec. 20, 2019.

In the meantime, the following potato recipe is from Gilletz’s first culinary venture, Second Helpings, Please!, circa 1968.



½ cup onions, finely chopped

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

1 clove garlic minced

3 tbsp olive oil

4 large potatoes pared and cut into 1.5-cm (1/4-inch) slices

1½ cups chicken or beef broth

salt and pepper to taste


Add the oil to a large sauce pan and saute the onion, parsley, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking another 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring gently for a few minutes. Add the broth and seasonings and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Makes 6 servings.



900 g (2 lbs) minced meat

1 398 ml (14 oz) can sliced mushrooms

1 640 ml (2½) cup jar tomato sauce, seasoned is OK

1 large Spanish onion or 2 small onions, finely diced

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

5 ml (1 tsp) granulated garlic

5 ml (1 tsp) oregano

3 bay leaves

45 ml (3 tbsp) oil

1 450 g (1 lb) package puff dough

1 egg to brush the dough

optional: sesame seeds


Saute the mushrooms and onions until softened for 8 minutes. Season well with salt, granulate garlic and oregano (this is in addition to the seasonings above).

Add the meat. Before beginning to crumble it, season with the salt, garlic and oregano. Chop the meat with a fork until crumbled and mixed very well with the onion and mushroom mixture.

Add the entire jar of tomato sauce and mix until fully blended. Add the bay leaves.

Cook uncovered on a low flame for 10-15 minutes. Turn off the burner and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour the entire mixture into a colander to drain most of the liquid.

Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper and spray with oil.

Flour the counter and roll out the puff dough so it is big enough to be cut in half equally, with each half fitting the cookie sheet.

Cut the puff dough in half lengthwise. Fold one half gently and place the dough on the cookie sheet. It should overlap the edges a bit.

Place the meat on the dough (remove the bay leaves) and spread evenly.

Cover the meat with the remaining dough. Pinch the edges together. If there is too much dough, cut off the excess with a scissors or knife.

Using a fork, make air holes in over the top of the dough.

Brush with egg, sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake at 200°C (400°F) for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is a beautiful, dark golden brown. This freezes well.

If you are not eating immediately and want to freeze it, wait until the tourtiere cools before moving it. Holding the edges of the parchment paper, slide it onto a large pice of aluminum foil. Cover well. To transport to the freezer, use the cookie sheet and slide it onto the shelf.

Before defrosting, cut it into squares. It’s much easer to cut when frozen than hot.



125 ml (½ cup) chopped fresh parsley

10 ml (2 tsp) olive oil

5 ml (1 tsp) fresh lemon juice

2½ ml (½ tsp) salt

1¼ ml (¼ tsp) ground ginger

1¼ ml (¼ tsp) garlic powder

1¼ ml (¼ tsp)ground red pepper

1¼ ml (¼ tsp) ground cumin

1¼ ml (¼ tsp) freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 salmon fillets, skin off

Cooking spray

1 lemon, very thinly sliced

1 medium red bell pepper very thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper very thinly sliced

30 ml (2 tbsp) water

1 large plum tomato, cut crosswise into 1½-cm (¼-inch)-thick slice


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)

In a large bowl, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, ginger, garlic powder, red pepper, cumin, black pepper and garlic. Add salmon, turning to coat. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

Remove the salmon from the bowl, reserving the marinade.

Place the salmon, in a 23 x 33-cm (13 x 9-inch) baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place the lemon slices, tomatoes, red and green bell pepper slices all over the salmon.

Add the water.

Bake covered for 15 minutes, then uncover and bake another 10-12 minutes.

* When Tansky makes an entire salmon filet, uncut, she doubled the recipe.


POTATO LATKES (Joannie Tansky)

8 or 9 Idaho potatoes (if using another kind and they are smaller, increase the amount)

1 large onion

3 eggs

110 ml (1/3 cup) flour

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

2½ ml (½ tsp) pepper

1 cup oil for frying (although you may need more)


For this recipe, Tansky uses the processor to grate the potatoes. Before grating the potatoes and onions, prepare everything else.

Check the eggs, measure the flour, salt and pepper. If you do not, then your grated potatoes will start to turn brown.

Prepare a large plate covered with paper towel. Grate potatoes and onion and place in a large bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Mix well.

Take the entire mixture and transfer it to a colander which has been placed in a large mixing bowl.

You want slightly wet potatoes, not dripping. This way, the excess water drips away while you are making the latkes.

Heat almost all of the oil in a frying pan. You will know when the oil is ready by dropping a tiny bit of the batter into the pan. If it starts to sizzle, the oil is hot enough.

Place 5 ml (1 heaping tsp) of the batter into the hot oil. (Tansky cans get about 6 latkes in one frying pan). It takes at least five minutes for the latkes to turn a nice golden brown.

Turn them over and fry on the other side. It should take less time. As you take each latke out, place it on the prepared plate covered with paper towel.

If more oil is needed towards the end of the batter, add some, and wait a minute until it heats up.