A Pesach recipe and a slew of centenarians are cause to celebrate

Passover prep

Marianne Banes

Due to the coronavirus, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona Women’s Philanthropy Lion of Judah Society canceled a pre-Passover cooking demonstration featuring Marianne Banes. Tucson has a vibrant food scene and Banes is one of its most popular professional and pastry chefs, with a 43-year culinary career. She has been the corporate pastry chef at Kingfisher Bar and Grill since 1993. She teaches pastry classes and contributes articles on food, organic gardening, and cooking for several publications.

Here is one of Marianne’s Pesach recipes. Enjoy!

Potato and egg cake
Serves 8

2½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
4 to 6 cloves garlic
8 eggs lightly beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sweet red pepper
1 onion, diced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Cook the potatoes and garlic in salted boiling water until the potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash with fork or food processor, but don’t let them get too smooth. In a 10-inch oven-proof skillet, sauté the onions and pepper until tender. Season with salt and pepper and cool slightly. Add to the mashed potatoes with eggs, parsley, salt, and pepper, mix well and return to the skillet, or to a greased oven-proof dish if your skillet isn’t oven-proof. Spread the potato mixture evenly and bake at 400˚until golden, about 30 minutes. Serve warm or hot with Lemon Aioli.

Lemon Aioli
Serves 6 to 8

2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste, 1-2 lemons

In a food processor, using the steel blade, pulse the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Combine until smooth, and then very slowly drip the oil into the mixture until the sauce is a thick mayonnaise-like texture. Add lemon juice to taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Seven centenarians under one roof

Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging had planned a party last month to celebrate four of its residents who were turning 100 in March, along with its three residents who were already centenarians. Because of the virus, the event was postponed; however, Nanci Levy, Handmaker’s community outreach coordinator, provided some short bios and/or secrets to their longevity.

The four March birthday celebrants:

Stella Kazmer

For Stella Kazmer, whose brother and sister are 105 and 106 respectively, longevity runs in the family. Stella never married, citing it hard to find a good man. She used to play the piano and hopes to take piano lessons again soon.

Betty Winter-Leddy

Bertha “Betty” Winter-Leddy, born in Palestine (now Israel) and age 4 when she came to America, says she has memories of the voyage, looking out over the ocean and watching games the children were playing on the ship. Betty worked at Hughes Aircraft and Raytheon in California and Tucson before retiring at age 65. She attributes her long, healthy life to the love of her supportive family.

Rosalyn Katzenberg

Rosalyn Katzenberg turned 100 on March 27 and her husband, Edgar, 99 two days later. She is grateful that she and her spouse are still here and healthy. They grew up in Chicago, have two sons and seven grandchildren, and are proud that a number of them are doctors and lawyers.

Gladys Whitaker

Gladys Whitaker’s family threw her a lovely 100th birthday party and she was thrilled with all of the love and attention.

The three residents over 100:

Catherine Crowe

Catherine “Cay” Crowe, who became a centenarian last year, has two children and two grandchildren. She says she has had a good life, an easy life compared to many others she has met along the way. Realizing how fortunate she has been, Cay claimed, “Anything I wanted, I asked for, and I got.”

Gertrude Shankman

Gertrude Shankman, at 105, is the matriarch of Handmaker. When asked a few years ago her secret to longevity, Gertrude replied, “Accepting,” always trying to make the best of what comes along. When something happens to her, she thinks, “This is it.” She continued, “There is this thing (death) always staring me in the face. But you cannot dwell on it. Tragedies come into your life, but you have to try to move on.” Nanci notes that Gertrude’s spunk and inquisitiveness also make one wonder how much these traits have contributed to her longevity.

Myrtle Darmody

Myrtle Darmody, 101, the eldest of seven children, had three children, 15 grandchildren, dozens of great-grandchildren, and a few great-great-grandchildren scattered across the country. Her children say it was her positive attitude that allowed her to reach this great milestone. Sadly, Mrs. Darmody died on Sunday, March 29.

Time to share
This month’s column almost became a victim of the virus, due to cancellations of travel (an Israel Hadassah tour) and a local event (Connections). But we still have much to celebrate. So, Happy Passover, be well, and onward. L’shalom.