And another thing I love is to cook from scratch, especially the traditional recipes from my grandmother and great-grandmother. I have a recipe book made by my mom that has many of these recipes. It's like going on a trip back in time when I cook one of their dishes.
So I was really excited to see both these interests come together when 13-year-old Arvind Mahankali, from Bayside, New York - just a few miles away from where my grandparents lived! - spelled the word "knaidel" to win the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
I love knaidel - it's a Yiddish dumpling. While it can be made from many different ingredients, such as potatoes or nuts, the best known knaidel is the matzah ball.
So soon I'll be making my grandmother's recipe of knaidlach (the plural of knaidel) to celebrate the winning word of the spelling bee!
Here's the recipe:
SPELLING BEE KNAIDEL
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1-1/4 cup matzah meal
2 tbsp chicken broth or water
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the oil, salt, and pepper, and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the matzah meal and mix until the matzah meal is moistened. Add the water and mix again. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Boil 8 cups of water in a large pot, adding salt to taste. Remove the matzah meal mixture. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and form it into a ball with your hands. Place the rolled balls on a plate. Continue until all of the mixture has been used, about 12-16 balls. Place matzah balls into the boiling water with a slotted spoon. Once all the matzah balls are in the pot, cover and turn down to low. Allow the matzah balls to simmer gently for 30-40 minutes.
Remove matzah balls with a slotted spoon and place in heated chicken soup. Serve 2-3 matzah balls per serving of soup.
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