Dobbie: Our Matriarch

"Dobbie" Brownstein was born in the Ukraine in 1906.  Her name was Vera Slifman.  Vera got the nickname "Dobbie" when her first grandchild, Jeb, mispronounced "bobba", the Yiddish word for Grandmother. 

Dobbie got the name "Brownstein" from her husband of 50 years, Al "Pop" Brownstein, who was no less remarkable than was she, and who died in 1976.  Dobbie lived the majority of her life where she died in 1998, in Portland, Oregon.  

Well into her 80s, Dobbie drove, bowled, played Scrabble, attended the Portland Symphony concerts, read, knitted, cooked... and mothered us all.

To View Part 1 (of 5) of a 150 minute video of Dobbie's life, click the play button (the solid arrow) on the player below

Click for more parts:

  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3   Part 4   Part 5

Every Friday Night, Dobbie would cook the her famous chicken, challah, and eggplant spread for her happy brood.

Each Purim, Dobbie would cook thousands of Hamantaschen and send them to friends and family around the world.

The recipes for these and many other of Dobbie's favorites are below, manually hand-typed by Dobbie in 1992 as a wedding present to a grandchild. 

(She typed Farfel twice: it was very important to her.)








2 packages of dry yeast

3 Tablespoon sugar

4 to 4 Cups flour

1 Tablespoon salt

1 Cups of lukewarm water

   Combine yeast and 2 Cups of flour.  Add sugar, salt and water.  Beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes.  Stir in the rest of the flour to make a moderately stiff dough.  Kneed for 3 to 5 minutes until smooth.  Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.  Cut into 15 portions, shape into smooth balls.  With floured finger, punch a hole, pulling gently to enlarge and shape into a bagel.  Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.  Boil in 2 to 3 quarts of water and 1 to 3 Tablespoon of sugar until puffy.  Bake on an ungreased sheet at 375(F) for about 30 minutes.







2 eggs

1 Cup of flour

1 Teaspoon of salt

2/3 Cups of skim milk powder

2 Tablespoon sugar

1 Cups of lukewarm water


1 Poundsdry curd cottage cheese, sieved

2 eggs

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon surgar


   Heat 8-inch Teflon pan.  Brush with Crisco.  Pour a large tablespoon of batter, rotating the pan so that the batter spreads thinly and evenly over pan.  Bake on low to medium heat until it begins to loosen on sides.  Flip onto a towel.  Put filling into cooked side just below the middle.  Fold up bottom, fold in the side, and roll up to open end of pancake.  Fry in butter or margarine (I use butter) until browned on each side.

   They are now ready to eat. with sour cream, jam, or what have you.

   To freeze, place browned blintzes on a cookie sheet -- do not crowd.  After freezing, place in plastic bags and return to freezer.  To thaw, place in the oven until hot.

   I have never tried to thaw them in the microwave oven, so I don't know how it would work.





2 squares baking chocolate

1 Cube butter (1 ounce or two tablespoons)

1 Cup sugar

Cup flour

1 Cup chopped nuts

2 eggs 


   Melt chocolate and butter; Add Sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add flour and nuts.  Spread on a well greased and floured cookie sheet (11 X 9 X 1).  Bake at 450(F) for 12 minutes.  When cool, spread with the following:

   Cook 1 cube of butter with 1 Cup of sugar and 1/3 Cup cream or canned milk until it forms a soft ball in ice water.  Beat until spreading consistency.  Add vanilla and rum flavoring (rum optional).  Spread over cooled brownies.   Melt two squares of chocolate and spread over filling.   When chocolate is set, cut into squares about 1  inches.





  My Own Challah and Rolls

For each Pound of flour use:

1 Cup of warm water 1 Tablespoon oil
1 egg 1 Teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar 1 Tablespoon granulated yeast


   Dissolve the yeast in part of the water and sugar.  In a large bowl, place the rest of the ingredients except the flour.  When the yeast is ready, stir well and pour into the large bowl.  Beat well with an electric beater and start adding flour.  When the batter starts climbing to the top of the beater, you have added about half the flour.  Start mixing with your hands.  When all the flour is in, remove the dough from the bowl.  Place on the kneading board.  Cover with a cloth and let it rest while you are cleaning up the mess you made.  Let the dough rest for about 15 minutes.  Kneed well.  Place in a greased bowl.  Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until it doubles in size.  Punch down and let it rise again.  Shape into loaves.  Place into greased baking pans and let rise again.  Brush with a beaten egg.    Sprinkle with sesame seed or poppy seed.  Bake at 350(F) for about 30 minutes.

   To make rolls, cut off about 1 ounce pieces of go.  Roll into rolls.  Place on cookie sheets about 1 apart.  Let rise and proceed as with the challah.  Bake for 15 minutes at 375(F)






 Cheese Cake

1/3 Cup melted butter

2 eggs, beaten

1/3 Cup brown sugar

Cup sugar

1 Cups graham cracker crumbs

Teaspoon vanilla

8 ounces cream cheese

1 Teaspoon cinnamon 

1  Cups cottage cheese


   Melt butter.  At finally crushed crimes, sugar and cinnamon.  Mix well.  Press in an even layer over the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square pan.  Soften cream cheese to room temperature.   Press cottage cheese through a sieve and mixed into cream cheese.  Beat in eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Pour into crumb lined pan.  Bake in a moderate oven, 350(F) about 35 minutes.  Spread with sour cream while still hot.  Cool and chill.

  Makes 8 to 10 servings.





 Baked Chicken in Barbecue Sauce

Sauce Combine:

1 package onion soup mix 1 Cup water
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar 2 Teaspoons salt
1 Cup sugar 1 Teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons prepared mustard 1 Cup catchup
2 Tablespoons garlic powder or 2 garlic cloves


  Cut frying chicken into serving pieces.  Arrange on baking pan.  Broil for about 10 minutes on each side.  Pour sauce over chicken.  Bake at three and 350(F) for 30 minutes.  Turn.  Pour more sauce over chicken.  Bake for another 30 minutes.




Refrigerator Cookies

1 Cup shortening or butter ( I use margarine.)

1 Cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Cup white sugar 2 large eggs
1 Teaspoons vanilla 4 Cups flour
Teaspoon salt Teaspoon baking soda
1 Cup chopped nuts


  Cream together shortening (or butter or margarine),  with brown sugar and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Sift together flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix with the creamed batter.  Add chopped nuts.  Work with hands until dough is smooth.  Make into rolls about 1 inches in diameter and wrape in wax paper or Saran wrap.  Chill in refrigerator overnight.  Slice about 1/8 inch thick.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 400(F) for 7 to 10 minutes.







Pepper Garlic powder
Onions, chopped fine Oil


   Punch holes in an eggplant.  Place under broiler until the skin scorches.  Cool.  Scoop out the eggplant from the skin.  Add all of the ingredients.  Mix well.





Toasted Matzo Farfel

1 Pound matzo farfel

2 Tablespoons chicken fat
4 eggs 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
2 Teaspoons salt 1 Teaspoon onion powder
Teaspoon pepper 2 Teaspoons paprika


   In a large bowl mix all ingredients except the matzo farfel until well blended.  Add the matzo farfel and mix until well blended.  Spread a large cookie sheet and bake at 375(F) for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let cool somewhat.  Break up with hands.  Return to oven for 15 minutes.  Turn over again and remain in the oven until oven is cooled.





Mock Gerfilte Fish

1 Pound can pink salmon

2 eggs, separated
3 large onions 3 Cups water
3 large carrots, sliced or chopped Cup matzo meal
1 Tablespoon water salt and pepper to taste


   Drain salmon liquid into a heavy saucepan.  Add 2 cups of water.  Add 2 chopped onions and all carrots.  Season to taste.  Simmer for hour.

   Bone salmon.  Add three egg yolks, grated onion, matzo meal and 1 cup water.  Season to taste.  Add stiffly beaten egg whites.  Form into 12 large balls.  Drop into boiling liquid.  Simmer for 15 minutes.







Filling: grind together

2 eggs 2 Pounds pitted prunes
3/4 Cup sugar 12 Ounces dried apricots
Cup oil 1 Pound seedless raisins
orange (juice in grated rind) 1 whole orange & 1 whole lemon
lemon (juice in grated rind) 1 canned crushed pineapple
3 - 3 Cups flour 10  chopped nuts
1 Teaspoon baking powder 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
Teaspoon salt Cup jam of any kind


   Beat eggs.  Add sugar, oil, fruit juices and rind.  Add dry ingredients.  Chill well.  Roll out thin.  Cut out and fill.  Bake at 375(F) for about 25 minutes





Lockshen Kugel

1 Quart buttermilk

12 Ounces fine noodles

1 Cube of butter or margarine

1 Cup finely crushed Cornflakes

4 eggs

1 teaspoon That salt 

Cup sugar (optional)


   Cook and drain noodles.  Melt butter or margarine into a 9 X 13 baking pan.  Sprinkle half the crumbs over the melted butter.  Mix eggs, well beaten, with salt and sugar.  Stir into noodles.  Pour noodles into baking pan.  Carefully pour buttermilk over the noodles.  Sprinkle with remaining crumbs.  Bake at 400(F) for one hour.






Matzo Balls

6 eggs

6 Tablespoons chicken fat

1 Cups matzo meal

1 Teaspoon salt

6 Tablespoons water

lots of chopped parsley


   Mix eggs, chicken fat, matzo meal and salt.  Add water and parsley.  Mix well.  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  Shape into walnut sized balls and boil in salted water for 20 to 30 minutes.  Cool.  Spread on cookie sheets and freeze.  Pack into plastic bags.

   Drop frozen balls in the boiling soup.  Bring back to a boil.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Makes about 36 balls.





Passover Sponge Cake

9 eggs, separated

1 Cup sugar

2/3 Cup potato starch (sifted)

1  Tablespoon lemon juice

1 Teaspoon almond extract

2 Tablespoon orange juice

Orange rind grated

Lemon grind grated


   Beat egg whites until stiff.  Add sugar gradually.  Fold in potato starch.  Add salt, seasonings and rinds to egg yolks.  Beat until thick.  Fold in egg white mixture. Bake in an ungreased angel food cake pan at 325(F) for one hour.  Invert pan on a cake rack and cool well before removing pan.

  ( I beat the egg yoke and and rind mixture for at least five minutes at high speed.)






3 eggs

Cup sugar

Cup salad oil

1 Cup warm water

pinch of salt

5 Cups flour


   Beat eggs, sugar, oil, salt and water.  Add flour gradually until a very soft dough is formed.  Turn out on a lightly floured cloth cover and allow to rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  Divide into eight pieces, about 5 ounces each.  Place each piece on a square of plastic wrap which has been brushed with oil.  Place on a dampened towel on a cookie sheet.  Cover with a towel which has been wrung out in hot water.  Keep Bill warm while working. 

   Roll out the first piece of dough in place it on the stretching board.  (I use a card table.) Roll out a second piece of dough, brush with oil and let it rest while working with the first piece of dough.  Stretch dough over the board, brush with oil and place a role filling at one end.  Fold over the filling and along the edges of the board.  Roll into a slim roll.  Place on an oiled baking sheet.  Before baking, slice the roll into about 20 pieces.  Bake at 400(F) for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with oil.  returned to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.  When cool, slice and dice with powdered sugar before serving.

  P.S.  After stretching go cut off all the fifth and lumps from all around the end.






Toasted Matzo Farfel

1 Pound matzo farfel

2 Tablespoons chicken fat
4 eggs 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
2 Teaspoons salt 1 Teaspoon onion powder
Teaspoon pepper 2 Teaspoons paprika


   In a large bowl mix all ingredients except the matzo farfel until well blended.  Add the matzo farfel and mix until well blended.  Spread a large cookie sheet and bake at 375(F) for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let cool somewhat.  Break up with hands.  Return to oven for 15 minutes.  Turn over again and remain in the oven until oven is cooled.


"Sorry -- someone has

been messing around with

the typewriter.  (I suspect Noam) 

This is the best I could do.

Give Noam a big kiss for me.

I forgive him.

Love to all of you."