Zichrona Livrocho. This One’s For Grandma.

I tried the most amazing recipe last week for challah… or 50% of it, since I divided the recipe in half. It yielded a truly authentic challah texture and crumb… my mouth waters remembering it. The dough itself is made in the bread machine, which is a wonderful way to achieve the perfect rise at high altitude. Breads baked at high altitude also require an additional rise, a touch more liquid and a lower baking temperature.

I modified the recipe slightly by adding some freshly ground cardamom and using floral, organic honey in place of plain, white sugar. Of course, the bread is best lightly toasted and slathered with creamy, sweet Meyenberg goat butter (now sold at Sprout’s Farmers Market) and drizzled high-quality honey.

Oh, and Meyenberg doesn’t pay me to rave about their butter. I am simply utterly enamored by all things milky and goat (or sheep, for that matter).

Another fabulous recipe comes from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. Her hummus is divine. I added a bit of fresh parsley and lemon zest to my batch and used a homemade tahini recipe. I recommended buying sesame seeds in bulk if you plan to make your own tahini! The hummus is fantastic on salads.

The salad above incorporated lovely leftovers, such as roasted butternut squash, curried quinoa, French green lentils, fresh red pepper, roasted wasabi tofu and a few slices of amazing Carr Valley Billy Blue Cheese.

I have accepted no dinero from the folks at Carr Valley.  Once again, my enthusiasm relates to my goaty obsession of all things bahhhhhhh.

The kids and I bake breads often. We make a whole grain bread recipe on Sunday for the week’s obligatory sandwiches and toast. I adapt the dish to include all whole-grain bread flour and a variety of new, fun seeds. Snu Magoo’s current favorites bread toppings are turkey, Manchego and hummus – or a simple layer of raspberry jam. Littlest Guy just wants lots and lots of honey on his slice. I usually enjoy toast first thing in the morning, topped with homemade jam or honey (or both!) and (of course) goat butter.

We’ve been experimenting with lots of different whole-grain, seeded bread recipes. If you have a favorite that you stand by, please feel free to share it in the comments below. 

Also popular in our house is the Roasted Root’s recipe for black bean brownies; we add earthy cocoa nibs, pure vanilla extract, mounds of imported, chopped 70% dark chocolate and a full 1/2 cup of organic cocoa. Ironically enough, either the brownies or bread make a great breakfast (of champions!), provided coffee is involved.

Now, to touch on grandmother’s (and their ravioli). Mo Rocca’s (or if you tuned into last week’s episode, his name is now “Mo Rocco“) show, My Grandmother’s Ravioli, is an excellent way to spend thirty minutes (or twenty, if you have a DVR and fast forward through commercials) of your week. It is cooking/reality television meets feature journalism meets hilarity at its best.

My own Grandmother Martha made a mean scalloped potato and any salad containing lots, and lots, of mayonnaise. An immigrant to this country, she was sophisticated in a purely European way. She was elegant, thin (despite all of the mayonnaise), cultured, well-educated and oh-so-poised. Occasionally, I would visit her in Kansas City, Missouri.

photo 3

My grandfather, a judge, passed away in the late 1960’s, and my grandmother never remarried. Still, she was a lively, vivacious women, and she was not one to sit at home – or lack a male companion for her nights out. And, oh, did she have the most spirited parties, where she played upbeat music on her piano with a drink (scotch, on the rocks) in hand. Most importantly, during my visits, she bought me my favorite (soft, sugar-filled and glucose-coated) fruity candies at her local market. What a treat it was for a little girl.

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I no longer have parents and am one of three of Grandma Martha’s grandchildren. She is my only direct living relative, other than my little love bugs, i.e. children. This week, she suddenly passed away, taking her upbeat music with her.

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Martha (Muriel) Sinclair Koenigsdorf was nearly 100 and lived a full life, enriched by frequent travel, art, music, mayonnaise-based salads (alternated with fine-dining on the town), myriad good friends and a loving extended family. Ale-ha Ha-shalom. 

Grandma Martha, this soup’s for you. If it weren’t for this “tumor” (my husband’s unfortunate comparative phrase from medical school) growing in my ever-expanding belly, I’d have a scotch (or two) in your memory. You may be gone, but your DNA lives on in our three children (and scalloped potatoes half as good as yours in their happy tummies).


Zichrona Livrocho. May her memory be a blessing.


This week, the love bugs and I prepared a recipe for miso soup from My Grandmother’s Ravioli. Mo, you had me at kabocha squash. The vegetable is rich, creamy, buttery and sweet. It boasts a most velvety, smooth texture. Scrumptious!


The soup includes kabocha squash, cabbage, wakame (seaweed), miso, scallions and tofu. YUM: what can go wrong with those delicious, Japanese-inspired ingredients?

Last night, the soup accompanied our dinner, which included other recipes from the episode. Snu Magoo and I both devoured leftovers today for lunch. I could really take a swim in this soup (mouth open, of course).

No, that’s not weird at all.


I will admit, I went a bit astray from the grandma’s recipe during the cooking process. I roasted my cabbage, tofu and kabocha squash in the oven for extra flavor. And, yes, a touch of chile, garlic, ginger and lime each found their way into the soup. Hey, how did you guys get there? True to the recipe, fresh scallions make a spectacular finish to the soup, along with a scattering of lightly toasted sesame seeds.

Do try this recipe – or tune into the heartwarming, funny and delectable show My Grandmother’s Ravioli -and eat with your eyes.

No, Mo Rocca (or The Cooking Channel) did not fund this blog in any way (nor have they provided Curls and Carrots with any products containing goat milk or goat derivatives).  



Wakame, Kabocha and Miso Soup

Adapted from the recipe at My Grandmother’s Ravioli


1, 12-ounce block of extra firm tofu, cut into small squares
1 small to medium kabocha squash (MMMMMM), seeded and diced into small, 1-inch squares
1 small to medium head of savoy or Napa cabbage, halved and thinly sliced
1 small Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 bunch of scallions, white parts only, sliced
1/2 cup wakame seaweed, rehydrated, rinsed  if containing added salt, roughly chopped if strands are large
1 Tablespoon finely chopped, organic garlic
1 Tablespoon finely chopped and peeled ginger
1 chile, preferably a Japanese variety, seeded and chopped
The juice of 1 lime
2-3 quarts of dashi or stock of choice, to taste. Use two quarts for a hearty soup, three for a lighter soup.
1/2 cup light or dark miso paste
4-6 Tablespoons bonito flakes, to taste

Ingredients for Garnish:

White or black sesame seeds, roasted or furikake blend if prefered
1 bunch of scallions, green parts only, very thinly sliced


  • Preheat oven to 400•F.
  • On individual sheet trays, toss the onion, white parts of the green onion, squash, cabbage and tofu in a fairly generous amount of (peanut, canola or light olive) oil.
  • Roast in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, tossing the vegetables halfway through, just until light golden and soft.
  • Over medium heat, sauté the chile, garlic and ginger in a touch of oil (of your choice) just until soft, about a minute.
  • Bring the dashi or stock to a simmer in a large stockpot.
  • Stir in the lime juice and whisk in the miso until it is fully incorporated and no lumps are visible.
  • Add the roasted vegetables and tofu, the bonito flakes and the wakame to the pot and stir well.
  • Allow to gently simmer over very low heat for at least an hour, or a few hours, if time allows.
  • Taste and season with a touch of soy sauce to add salt or cracked black pepper to add spice, if needed. Garnish individual bowls with roasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.


51 thoughts on “Zichrona Livrocho. This One’s For Grandma.

  1. Shanna, I enjoyed this post tremendously. I’m so sorry for the loss of your grandmother. She sounds like such an interesting and vital woman. This post is a lovely tribute to her.

    Of course, all the food looks delicious, as always. I will have to check out My Grandmother’s Ravioli. I keep forgetting about it. I heard him talk about the show on NPR–and of course, listen to Mo Rocca on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!

  2. I’m sorry for your loss. My grandmother (who I never met) was named Muriel and I’ve never heard or met anyone else with that name! From your post, it sounds like only extra special grandma’s have that name. 🙂

    P.S. I can almost smell that challah. Yum

    1. Thank you, Rebekah. I am sorry that you were not able to meet your Grandma Muriel. Her name is certainly a special one :-), elegant and timeless. Ahh, challah, freshly-baked… the smell is intoxicating. Speaking of intoxicating, your Mad Men inspired Golden Dream looks like the ticket!

  3. Sorry to hear about your grandma. I heard about my maternal grandma dying while walking around Italy with our dog while my husband was in a business meeting, I had no transportation so just sat on a park bench and had a good cry. Like you I have many fond memories, many food related. I actually have several adaptations of her recipes on my long to do list for the blog. And yes to Mo’s show, love it but somehow don’t see it often enough. I really must set the DVR to record!

    1. Ju-won, thank you for the most lovely note. It’s heartwarming to see such positivity on the page! What was the favorite dish that your grandmother made? Best, Shanna PS Yes to anything from the coffee bean! Having my morning cup(s) now.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your dear grandmother. The breads, soup and chocolate all look so appetizing. I can see that your so sweet looking children are getting a good education through food.

    1. Thank you, Hilda. The kids love to cook and bake… and make big, fun messes in the kitchen. 🙂 Oh, my, your post on salted caramel spruce ice-cream has stolen my heart. The perfect summer treat!

  5. You have one lucky family! Not many can boast a mom who can put such delicious and nutritious food on the table each and every day. I expect they’ll be doing the same for theirs when the time comes,. As you learned from your remarkable grandmother, they are learning from you!

    1. Muchísimas gracias, Sofia. Is it a gorgeous and delicious/ tasty weekend for you and H in Barcelona? Yes, I have my grandmother’s high forehead, passion for education and love of all things fermented. 😉 ¡Un beso muy fuerte y disfruta el sábado! xx

  6. Dear Shanna, i read just now …i’m so sorry. What a beautiful post, a quite nostalgic slice of life.I was really close to my granfather too, and despite the time passes, i cherish his memory… a big big hug!Cristina

  7. Sorry to learn of your loss, but your post was a special tribute. And the cooking – almost a complete illustrated cook book! The breads especially and especially especially the challah were beautiful. One of these days I’m going to post my simplified recipe for Chad Robertson’s amazing rustic bread from his famous Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. (His version of the recipe occupies 26 pages in his beautiful Tartine Bakery cookbook.) I hope you will be able to enjoy that scotch very soon.

    1. Thank you for your encouragement and support. I look forward to purchasing one of the Tartine Cookbooks soon; I have heard so much about them. My kids love any bread, and the husband loves rustic-style loaves. He would happily bring some in for lunches with hummus or cheese to work; the hospital cafeteria here is a sad state of affairs! A stale bagel or old apple are as good as it gets. Cheers to your blog, which I enjoy reading!

      1. Yes, you are correct. He has just entered his fifth year in otolaryngology. I suppose the great staff makes up for the inferior food; and I know they deserve better! We find out where we are moving July 1st, though he will have another eleven months at UNMH after. He is ranking the programs now; it is a thoughtful process. Enjoy your Sunday night with your other half! 🙂

  8. what a beautiful post! so much to love 🙂 From pictures of your perfect children (how you can ever be angry at them, I don’t know–haha) to mentions of Mo Rocca/o who is the best of the best to a lovely tribute to your late grandmother. And more! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself and the great recipes, too.

  9. What a beautiful post. Sorry for the loss of your grandmother. She sounds like a wonderful an inspiring person. My grandmother was eighty this year and I know exactly how important they are. They have so much life experience and wisdom to share. Your photos are amazing as always. The rustic style loaves are stunning. Perfect with some delicious soup. Sending you hugs and best wishes. I am so happy to have found your blog and am now a follower. Emma xx

  10. Hi Shanna, I can smell that challah from here! The texture looks divine and so fluffy. I’ve been playing around with just whole wheat bread, but no luck yet on a whole wheat grains and nuts version. If I ever find a good recipe, I’ll let you know. The soup and posts are such beautiful tributes to your grandmother. You surely carry on her love for food and zest for life. xx

    1. Thank you, Ngan. I made more challah yesterday, with a touch of vanilla and cardamom. I have finally achieved the perfect crumb. Whole wheat challah is less flaky – maybe you have have a great recipe that will improve on mind? Enjoy the cake and the runs you mentioned…. Cheers, Shanna

  11. What a wonderful story about family and food! Your challah looks divine. It’s 6:15 a.m. here on Maui and I could use a slice right now. The miso soup with kabocha, scrumptious! I love miso soup and adding extra ingredients as you did makes it a hearty meal.

    1. Thank you, Kiyo! There is nothing like a delicious slice of toast – with a pat of butter or EB and a slather of rich, fruity jam – in the early morning. Yum, yum. Thanks for your lovely comment. Yes, the wakame, miso and the kabocha are a congruent combination of salty, umami and sweet. Cheers! – Shanna

  12. Dear Shanna, I’m so sorry for your loss again! My own grandmother was that kind of girl (she passed away 3 years ago at the age of 95). Seriously, I don’t know where to look at this post; it’s all full of recipes, great stories and pictures. It’s almost like a chapter of one of those beloved books you always remember and reread.
    Thanks for sharing so much with us. (I can’t stop thinking about that challah bread!!!)

    1. Hi, Rosa,
      Thank you for sharing a bit about your grandmother. I am sure she was a most amazing cook and baker, like you! I loved your recent post on English muffins. You really are an inspiration; your photography and culinary skills are unparalleled, and you have a warm and generous spirit.
      Besos y abrazos! – Shanna

  13. I’m sure your grandmother is smiling at this lovely tribute to her…I know she will be missed but never forgotten by your beautiful family.

  14. Such a lovely post, Shanna. Sorry for your loss. Your grandmother seemed like such a wonderful person to know, be around, talk to and learn things about the beauty of living a full and passionate life. What an honor for you and your children to share her DNA! Thanks for sharing her via your lovely writing. I’m familiar with Mo from NPR will have to check out the show. Your recipes sound delicious.

      1. I’m looking forward to checking it out! Thanks for letting us know about it. Sounds very interesting! I actually am hoping to start a series on my blog that focuses on cultural aspects of different areas of the world. Hoping to do that as soon as I can carve out the time and structure! Stay tuned!

  15. Dearest Shanna, I’m sorry to hear of your grandma’s death. It’s clear she lived a grand and blessed life, enriching all around her with her joyful sense of adventure and cosmopolitan interests. You carry her torch forward beautifully! Thank you for sharing a little bit of her with us. I immediately assumed that a name ending in -el was a classic Hebrew name, and when I wandered off to see what I could learn about it came across a number of widely differing ‘origin stories’ from quite divergent cultures—but in general, what they seem to share is a sense of a person being a gift and an angel, a bringer of emotional freedom, and those are apparently good descriptors of your grandmother, so regardless of how her parents chose her name they must have been guided. 🙂

    Meanwhile, as always you have delighted with your artistic cookery-bakery, all of which makes me ridiculously hungry. And every glimpse of your exquisite little charmers is a joy.

    May you and your family rest in the warm embrace of your grandma’s memory, and may I add mine in spirit!

  16. Dear Shanna, I’m really sorry to hear of your loss. Grandparents are one of the most important figure in families. I’m sure your grandmother was an incredible woman, I know how hard is to let some people go. With this post you have celebrated her memory in a very sweet way. Take care, hugs

    1. Thank you for leaving such kind and empathetic words. I have a feeling your family have molded you in the kitchen; your recipes are filled with wisdom and love. Enjoy your evening, and keep up the wonderful wonderful writing and recipes, Margherita. My best!

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