There was no floating or sinking about the matzo balls served at the Second Annual Matzah Bowl at Forest Trace retirement community in Fort Lauderdale. “These are all sinkers,” said Jay Tabachnick – the “soup” man. Tabachnick and I shared notes and comments at the judging table where he clued me in on what top quality a matzo ball is made with. “Love is No. 1,” he said.
He explained why they’re all too big, too: “The matzo ball will get cold by the time you get to it all. They need to be smaller.”
We were judging the professional caterers who brought in their matzo balls for tasting – Ally’s won of the three who showed. The matzo balls were light and fluffy and nicely formed. A better soup was in Ben’s; the matzos were good, but could have used more flavor. Lasko’s Deli also had a good matzo ball, but only one could win. Rabbis, a priest, food writers and food pros judged the event, which drew the whole residency to witness the party surrounding the contest – cantors singing and much tasting going on.
Chefs and others judged the winners of the amateur contest. Karla Goldstein, 81, originally of Romania and now a resident of Forest Trace, said she’s thrilled her recipe was being carried on, as she has no children.
“It was meant to be,” she said of the win. “I didn’t submit the recipe till the last minute!” It’s one of several recipes she has – all good, she maintains.
“I’ve been making matzo ball soup since we’ve been married in 1967,” she said. Her husband Stanley cheered her on. This will be the first year she won’t make them for Seder – she’ll be eating at Forest Trace. She says she’ll miss the tradition – “I put my heart into what I do.”
She won $100 for her synagogue in Hallandale.
The tie winner, Alice Levy of Wellington, was unable to attend the awards. Both recipes are below.
Karla Goldstein’s Perfect Matzo Balls
(Begin night before)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1-1/4 cups matzo meal
- Salt for soup water
Beat eggs with salt and white pepper. Add oil, 1/2 cup of water and 1-1/4 cups matzo meal. Mix until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings; refrigerate overnight. Fill a large soup pot halfway with water. Add salt and bring to a boil. Using a tablespoon, scoop up matzo meal mixture and form into 12 balls. Drop the balls into the boiling water. Cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Add to chicken soup before serving.
Makes 12 matzo balls.
Alice Levy’s Best Matzo Balls
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup matzo meal
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher for Passover baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pinch sugar
- Optional: 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, fresh chopped dill, fresh chopped parsley
In small bowl, beat together eggs and vegetable oil. In a large bowl, stir together matzo meal, kosher for Passover baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste) and sugar. If desired, add white pepper, fresh dill or parsley. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. With wet hands, shape dough into 8 to 10 balls. Add matzo balls to a large pot of boiling water and boil for 6 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and cover pot; let stand for 20 minutes.
Add matzo balls to soup before serving.
Makes 8 to 10 matzo balls.