Posts Tagged ‘matzo’


It’s a Fishy Story

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by Sara

My great uncle is the ever-so-famous Robert Schuffler, the original owner of Robert’s Fish Market on Devon Ave. At 93-years-old, he still makes a daily trip to the market to get his hands dirty.

Uncle Robert is my grandmother’s brother on my dad’s side. Robert was more like a father to my dad than an uncle so when I was growing up we regularly visited with him and his family. More often than not he would bring us fresh fish that my mom would cook the following day. Or if it was a holiday we would bring us an enormous amount of his famous gefilte fish. Enjoying uber-fresh fish has always been part of my life and I especially loved his gefilte fish.

I know most people are picturing the gefilte fish that comes packed in a jar that’s surrounded by a mysterious liquid. That’s far from the kind I’m talking about. Picture a five-star French restaurant preparing the most flavorful and delicate, perfectly poached fish mousse you have ever tried. I know it’s hard to believe but that’s what Uncle Robert’s gefilte fish is like. It’s sweet with onions and carrots and has the perfect amount of salt and pepper.

I like eating it with a spoonful of that really bright-pink horseradish or sometimes I like to put it on matzo and chow down. My husband really likes it too so we decided it would be fun if we made it at home. It was an experience, and a messy one at that, and I’m glad we did it but from now on we’ll just beg Uncle Robert to make it.

Watch Uncle Robert’s amazing story in this video.





Sara Salzinski has been a chef instructor at the Chopping Block since 2002 and loves sharing her knowledge of all things food-related with her students. She loves interacting with her students, making them feel right at home and at ease. Sara is also the Curriculum Coordinator at TCB which means she develops the classes, menus and recipes. A lot of Sara’s inspiration for classes and recipes comes from personal experience. When Sara and her husband, who is also a chef instructor, are at home they join forces and make countless mouth-watering creations that are then taste tested by their 5 year old daughter and 2 year old son.


What Do You Eat When You’re Sick?

Thursday, October 27th, 2011 by Clair

I don’t get sick that often, but I do get one or two “good” colds a year. I stock up on Airborn, Zicam, tissues with aloe, etc. but the thing that makes me feel the best is some good old-fashioned homemade chicken soup.  As soon as I feel the sniffles coming on, I make a big pot of my chicken soup (aka Jewish Penicillin).  I start with boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast. I use thighs because no matter how many time I warm the soup up, the chicken will stay moist.  I poach the thighs in my homemade stock that I’ve previously made and stored in my freezer. If I’m out, I’ll use my ready made, go-to backup: Kitchen Basics.

Along with the usual mirepoix  mix of onions, carrots and celery, I like to have lots of noodles (all I had in my pantry were thin Asian rice noodles and they were so good I’ll probably use them from now on) and matzo balls. If you’re not familiar with matzo balls, they are really just round dumplings made with matzo meal instead of flour. If  made right they are light, fluffy and really flavorful.  There are mixes that you can buy that are actually pretty good, but when I have time I like to make my own.  It’s three days after the first sign of my sniffles, and as always, my soup did the trick!

Matzo Balls

  • 6 tablespoons chicken fat
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons seltzer water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted matzo meal

Heat the chicken fat over medium heat in a small pan. Add the chives and cook for 30 seconds. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, add the eggs, dill, seltzer, and salt and pepper and whisk until combined. Add the matzo meal and the chicken fat/chive mixture and stir to combine. Cover well and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

Form the matzo mixture into equal portions using a small portion scoop , about 1 3/4 ounces each, add to the soup, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook until very tender, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.


Clair Smith is a Lead Chef's Assistant at The Chopping Block's Merchandise Mart and Lincoln Square locations. After being a long time student, Clair joined the TCB team in 2006. When she's not helping people learn how to cook, she enjoys traveling, camping, and entertaining family and friends. Clair lives in Hyde Park with her husband Ken and her cat named 'Kitty'. She loves Mexican cuisine and her "go to" dish of the moment is Pozole.