Ess Gezint: “Cheese Kaltsonia: Greek-Judeo Recipes with Personal Histories”

Jul 11, 2017 by

For many years, residents of NJ knew Isaak Dostis and his wife, Diana Sunrise, as actors whose interest in Gentile rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust led to numerous two-person theatrical performances in schools, libraries, and other institutions, produced by their company Act 1 Presentations.

Born of Greek-Jewish parents who lost most of their family members on all sides during the Holocaust, Mr. Dostis has long been passionate about his Greek-Jewish heritage, tradition, and culture. This enthusiasm has led to several books, most recently a 58-page pamphlet entitled Cheese Kaltsonia: Greek-Judeo Recipes with Personal Histories.

Most of the book’s dishes and stories were inspired by his mother, Molly Eftichia Dostis, whose recipes Mr. Dostis says he still has. Copies of this personal memoir, peppered with recipes as well as stories of Greek-Jewish suffering during World War II and then renewal, can be obtained by writing to Mr. Dostis at act1presents@optonline.net.

Koulouria

2 cups flour

1 Tbs sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cloves

¼ cup olive oil

½ cup orange juice

Preheat the oven to 350⁰. Add parchment paper to a long pan. Mix the dry ingredients, and then add the wet ones (oil and orange juice). Pull 12-15 pieces off the dough and roll it in your hands to form a rope. Twist into any shape you like. Mr. Dostis’s family favored the letter “S.” Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Cheese Kaltsonia

4 oz cream cheese

8 oz farmer cheese

8 oz pot or cottage cheese

4 oz crumbled Feta cheese

2 eggs

1 Tbs dry dill

1 Tbs basil

2 Tbs parsley

¼ cup matzah meal

¼ tsp salt

1 cup warm water

3 cups flour

⅓ cup olive oil

In a bowl, mix all the cheeses together. Add eggs, dill, basil, and parsley. Mix well and add matzah meal to firm up mixture. Place bowl in the refrigerator. In a cup, combine the salt and water to make a salt-water mixture. In a second bowl, add oil to the flour and dig in with hands to mix the two. Then add the salt water solution. Knead into a ball until it is shiny. Wrap the ball in cellophane and place in refrigerator. In 45 minutes, preheat oven to 350⁰ and grease a baking pan. Roll out pieces of the dough ball to measure 7-inch rounds. Place 1-2 Tbs of the cheese mixture in the middle. Pull one part of the dough circle over to the other edge and flute the edges so they stay together. Bake for one hour.

Greek-Sephardic Egg Salad

8-10 fresh white or brown eggs

Outer dried skins of 2-3 onions

2 Tbs ground coffee

2 Tbs olive oil

Salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice, olives, to taste

In a saucepan, cover the eggs with water, adding the onion skins, ground coffee, and olive oil. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for several hours and then let the eggs cool in the flavored water. When lukewarm, remove the eggs from the pot and shell them. Mash the eggs, or put them through a potato ricer or sieve, and add salt and pepper to taste. Using a ratio of 2 parts olive oil to 1 part lemon juice, add olive oil and lemon juice to the eggs. Mix well and garnish with black or green olives.

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