Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This Week's Recipe--My Grandmothers Refrigerator Cheesecake.

Pauline Haydak in the 1930's
My Grandmother, Pauline Haydak was a good cook and baker.  She made traditional Ukrainian foods, but did not just make traditional recipes.  This recipe was one of my favorites.  I found an old recipe card, written out by my mother, and later found this recipe in a booklet published by the St Michael's Women's Auxiliary.  St Michael's Ukrainian Orthodox Church held an Easter egg sale and demonstration every spring.


Use a  9x12 inch rectangular glass pan.  Serves12

16 plain Zwieback Toasts.  (These were made for babies and were sold with the baby food in the grocery story)  Graham crackers can be substituted.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 cup melted unsalted butter
zest of one lemon

1. Crush the toast until fine.  (My grandmother crushed it with a rolling pin.  A food processor work will do the job)
2.  Add the sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest to the crushed toast
3.  Add the melted butter and combine until crumbly.
4.  Reserve 1/2 cup of the mixture for the topping.
5.  pat the mixture into a glass pan.

Cheese Filling
2 packages unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup milk
2 lbs. dry cottage cheese
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 pint heavy cream

1.  Dissolve  gelatin in  1/4 cup water--set aside
2.  Press the cottage cheese through a sieve or food mill.  (use a food processor if you don't have a food mill) and set aside.
3.  Beat egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar  until thick. Add 1/2 cup milk
4.  Cook the eggs mixture over a double boiler until thick.  
5.  Add gelatin to the egg mixture, stir briskly for 1 minute.  Set aside to cool.
6.  Add 1/2 cup sugar, vanilla and almond extract to the cottage cheese.
7. Add the cooled egg and gelatin mixture to the cottage cheese mixture and set aside.
8.  Beat the egg whites and add  1/2 cup sugar gradually.  Beat until stiff but not dry.
9.  Fold the egg whites into the cheese.
10.  Whip the cream and fold into the cheese.
11.  Pour into the pan and top with the reserved crumbs.
12.  Refrigerate  overnight.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What Happened to Velvil Gerstein?

I am making a little change in this blog--the recipe will appear on Wednesdays.

One of the families I research is my husband's family, the Gerstein Family. 
My husband's grandfather, Morris Gerstein immigrated to the United States around the turn of the century from Russia.  He was born in a town just west of Odessa, which was known them as Bessarabia and is now known as the country of Moldova. He married Sarah Schwartz in Chicago, and had three children, David Gerstein (my father-in-law), Rose Gerstein, who married Maurice Endliss and Philip Gerstein, who married Ruth Ginsberg.
Morris's  parents were Falik Gerstein and Rivka(maiden name unknown).

Falik and Rivka had six children. Although they remained in Russia, all their children immigrated to the Americas--five to the United States and one to Argentina.
The children were Miriam, who married Abe Lozowick and lived in Chicago, Brona, who married Hyman Rothstein, and lived in Chicago, Herschel, married to Fannie Fleisher, also lived in Chicago, Sara married Sam Yanes and lived in Chicago as well.  That leaves Velvil, who went to Argentina, and the whereabouts of his family remains a mystery.

Morris and Sarah Gerstein
Why did all of Falik and Rivka's children leave Russia at the turn of the century?  A little historical background is necessary here.  Odessa was founded by Catherine II (The Great) of Russia in 1794, after the land was taken in the Russo-Turkish Wars.  The people who lived there, the Tartars, were expelled in the 1770's and 1780's.  People in the Russian Empire were encouraged to move to this sparsely inhabited area in the 1800's to replace the Tartars.  Among the people that were moved were a large number of Jews from other areas of Russia. Sarah Schwartz's family, originally from Berdichev in Ukraine, family,was one of these families. However in the late 1800's, a policy of Russification was introduced in the lands conquered by Russia, and a result of this policy was government encouraged anti-Semitism.  There were many pogroms in what is now Moldova and in the city of Odessa, one occurring in 1903, which was about the time the Gerstein family left the area. 

Most of the Russian Jews immigrated to the United States, but why did Velvil go to Argentina?
Velvil and a little girl--possibly his daughter.
Since living conditions for Jews in Russia were never good, the policy of Russification made them worse.  There were many groups who were trying to find a new homeland for Russian Jews either in Palestine or in some other hospitable place.  One of these places was Argentina, which had a lot of unsettled land and low population. The first group that emigrated found that the negotiated deal had fallen through.  Later, they purchased land in another area in Argentina and Moises Ville was established.  A group Jews from Bessarabia (the area west of Odessa) immigrated there is 1903.
Very little is known of Velvil Gerstein once he moved to Argentina.  There is a picture and a message on the back of the picture. 
Is there anybody who can translate the Yiddish message and give more information about Velvil?  
Back of the picture of Velvil Gerstein above--written in Yiddish.  Date unknown.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What do Mollie Karbovsky and Peter Noznick Have in Common?

Mollie Karbovsky and Peter Noznick are connected because they both suffered from the Flu Pandemic of 1918. 

Past epidemics are  ancient and forgotten history for most people today. The Influenza pandemic of 1918 affected 25% of all Americans, killing more people worldwide that World War I.  It is estimated that over 20-40 million people died from the Pandemic of 1918 worldwide.  It was the most devastating Pandemic in world history.
 It reached its height in October of 1918, just before the end of World War I.  The War, with its concentration of troops probably helped its spread and made it a pandemic.  It was deadly, killed quickly, sometimes within hours.  Schools, theaters and other public places in the United States were closed to keep the flu from spreading.  Deaths were so numerous, that funeral homes and cemeteries couldn't handle the numbers.  Quarantine was the only preventative measure available in those days.  We know today, that the Spanish Flu was a form of the bird flu (H1N1)

Peter Noznick about 3 years old
So, how did The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 affect my family?  I will start with my Father, Peter Paul Noznick. He was born August, 1915 in New York City, the son of Maria Klak Nyznyk and John Nyznyk. and was 3 years old in 1918. The Flu was an epidemic in New York City by the end of September, 1918.  Peter came down with the flu, and contracted a secondary ear infection, which spread to his mastoid bone (the part of the skull behind the ear.)  In those days, there were no antibiotics, so bacterial infections, such as ear infections, often were killers.  Peter survived the flu, but had the effects of chronic infection in his mastoid.  When he was 14, he had surgery to remove the infected  bone at Bellvue Hospital in New York City.  His family had moved to Windham Center, Connecticut in 1930, so he traveled to New York by train by himself for the surgery and stayed with relatives. He was in the hospital for several weeks, waiting for the only surgeon  who performed this type of surgery to be available.  He said that the men in the beds (no private rooms in those days) next to him died from the procedure that he was about to undergo.  He survived, but lost the hearing in one ear for the rest of his life.
Later in life he suffered from Parkinson's disease, which may be related Flu Pandemic of 1918.

Mollie and William
The Flu Pandemic of 1918 brought tragedy to the Karbovsky family.  Mollie's parents, Avrom Karbovsky and Rose Monkovsky Karbovsky, moved from Chicago to Peoria to open The Chicago Bakery. ( the Karbovsky name was shorted and Americanized to Krause in the 1930's.) At the time, Rose and Avrom had four children, all born in Chicago: Mollie, born in  November, 1904, William, born in 1906,  Paul, born in 1909, and Florence, born in 1913. 
The flu was reported as an epidemic in Peoria on October 11, 1918. Rose was was pregnant and the baby was due in October.   Tragedy struck and Molly, who was 13, died of the Spanish Flu on October 15, 1918.  She is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Peoria.  Lillian Karbovsky, my Mother-in-law, was born  on October 25, 1918, only 10 days after Mollie's death. 
Mollie's name lives on--in Jewish tradition, people often name children after family member who have passed away, using the first initial of the person's name.  William Krause named his daughter Marsha, and Lillian Krause Gerstein gave her daughter, Sheila, the middle name of Malka, Mollie's name in Hebrew.
For more about the Flu Pandemic of 1918, click on the link from The Centers for Disease Control.
More about the Flu Pandemic of 1918 

This week's recipe is for cookies!  Good for Passover too!

I have made these cookies many times and have given out the recipe to friends.  The cookies are not very sweet, but have a wonderful chocolate flavor, crisp on the outside and soft inside.  They contain no flour, so they make a good Passover dessert.

Chewy Chocolate Almond Meringue Cookies

Heat oven to 350.

You will need 6 oz bittersweet chocolate for this recipe

Makes about 25 cookies

½ cup toasted almonds chopped

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped

3 large eggs at room temp.

½ tsp cream of tartar

½ cup granulated  sugar

½ tsp vanilla

3 oz bittersweet chocolate melted

1.     combine the almonds , cocoa powder and chopped chocolate in a small bowl

2.    combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a clean mixing bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds. increase speed to medium. Whip egg whites until foam turns white and begins to hold its shape.

3.    Add sugar about 1 tbsp at a time beating until mixture is glossy and thick

4.    Beat in the vanilla

5.    Fold in the almond mixture gently with a spatula

6.    Add the melted chocolate until just incorporated and no streaks remain.  Do not over mix and deflate the mixture.

7.    Cover baking sheets with parchment paper

8.    Drop the batter by heaping tbspful on baking sheet about one inch apart.

9.    Bake cookies until just firm when gently pressed on top, but still soft inside, about 7-8 minutes.  Do not over bake.

10.  Remove pan from oven and let cookies stand on the pan 1-2 minutes.  Slide the paper from the pans onto a flat surface, let the cookies cool completely before removing with a spatula

Nutrition info:  65 calories/cookie.

4 gm fat

8 gm carb.

1 gm protein

1 gm fiber.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Mysterious Joseph Koshuba

This is a blog about family.  I will be posting weekly about a family member and will include a  family recipe as well. 

My first post on this blog is about my Great-Uncle Joseph Koshuba. He is a mystery to me, since I know so little about him.  He died about 2 weeks after my mother was born.  All I know about him is what she told me, which was told to her as a child.

He was born in Ouzurnaya--or Jerzirna, Ukraine about 1880.
I'm not sure when he immigrated to the USA, but he was living in St Paul, Minnesota in 1913.
He married Florence Elizabeth Holmberg on February, 4, 1913.  He and Florence had 3 children, Fred, who was born in 1914, Marie Olga and Catherine. The family lived on Central Ave in St Paul.  
Joseph was the President and owner of  a window washing company,  National Window Washing Co. in St Paul.
Then tragedy struck, Joseph died suddenly in 1919 at the age of 33 of heart disease.  He left Florence and three young children.
The family continued to live in St Paul until 1939.  I have been searching for information about them, and  the trail stops in December, 1941, when Fred Koshuba was killed in a car accident.
I have no idea what happened to Florence or Catherine.  I have found a death record for Marie Olga in California.  That's it.  So, does anybody in the blogosphere know what happened to the Joseph Koshuba family? 

This is the wedding of my grandmother and grandfather, Pauline Rychlyj and John Koshuba, who was Joseph's brother.  They are the bridal couple in the center of the front row.  My great-grandfather, Sylvester Rychlyj is behind the bride.  Anna Rychly, Pauline's sister is in the top row next to Stephen Koshuba.  Dymtro Popko, and Pelagia Rychlyj Popko are on the far left. Pelagia is Sylvester's sister. Paul Popko is probably the baby on Dymtro's lap. Their daughter,Sally,(Stefania) Popko is one of the little girls, but I'm not sure which one.  There are several people in the picture who are unknown to me. 

Joseph Koshuba, is in the second row, on the right.  Florence Holmberg Koshuba is in front of him, and Fred Koshuba is the little boy next to her.  Joseph's hand is on Florence's shoulder.  Other Koshuba family members in the picture are Stephen Koshuba, brother of Joseph and John, is in the third row, on the right.  Anna Koshuba, sister of Joseph and John is in the second row, third from the left, with the white flower in her hair. The other woman, next to Joseph in the second row may be Teckla Koshuba Wons, the other sister in the Koshuba family.

Now for the recipe!
This is a recipe for Borscht Ukranian Style.  My grandmother Pauline showed me how to make this soup, but never gave me a recipe.  I have made it several times, and it tastes like the soup she made.

Borscht Ukranian Style.
3 fresh beets diced.  Save the greens and stems.
1-2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
1-2 carrots chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard or 1 bag of fresh spinach
1 large container beef or chicken stock ( I use Swanson, without salt)
1 large can diced fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
2 tsp Kosher salt.
1 box Pomi brand strained tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice ( fresh is recommended) 
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh or dried dill
sour cream or Greek Yogurt

1. Peel and dice the beets and set aside.
2. Wash and chop the beet greens and stems, set aside
3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the garlic and onion and cook until  onions are transparent
4. Add the celery, carrots to the  put and cook until wilted
5.  Add the beets, potatoes  and the stock
6.  Add the strained tomatoes and the diced tomatoes and salt.
7. Bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
8.  Add the lemon juice, add more to taste.
9.  Add pepper and salt to taste.

Garnish with sour cream or Greek yogurt and fresh dill.