who's in the kitchen

For Jerry, 50-year-old wrong is made right after 50 years


My husband Jerry has always had a strong sense of right and wrong. When Jerry and his extended family attended the Turkins bungalow colony in the Catskills, there was no day camp or any other organized activities for kids — there were really no facilities at all, except for an outdoor pool. Thus, the kids really had to use their imagination to have any fun.

Born out of desperation, they began playing a game called WAR. Jerry’s oldest cousin, Harold Altman, aka Big, basically ran the show, made all the rules and picked all the teams. Jerry called Harold “Big” because he was five years older than he was and twice his size. Harold’s sidekick, Sandy Zlonick, was four years older than Jerry and taller than him as well. Big picked Sandy for his army, with all the younger cousins and friends forming the other army to be led by Generals Jerry and his cousin David Steinberg.

They played WAR every day for four straight summers and Big and Sandy won every day.

The basic rules of the game were as follows: Everybody’s hands were their guns and when they fired, they made rapidfire shooting sounds with their mouths. Big would tell everyone to hide, but all the little kids would run to the same places every day and Sandy and Big eliminated them immediately. Even though Jerry, his brother Seme and his cousin David attempted to vary where they hid and start shooting when Big’s army approached, Big and Sandy (who also happened to be the judges in the game) would rule that the younger soldiers either missed their mark or they themselves were shot first, even if they weren’t. Big was the judge of everything, and that was that!

Understandably, Jerry thought this was unfair. His last summer in Turkins, he finally hatched a foolproof plan, so that his army could at least win once. Jerry had scouted out the entire colony and secured a new spot never used before. It was in a remote, unused portion of the colony. It was obscured in high grass and had barbed wire around it. Jerry knew they would eventually walk by there, as the game never ended until all soldiers on the opposite team were “shot.”

So there was Jerry, crouched behind a tree, in the brush beneath the barbed wire, waiting patiently for Harold and Sandy to walk by. He planned to quietly step out, when they were a few feet ahead of him, and shoot them from behind, so there could be no question about who shot who first or whether or not he missed. It was the perfect plan. Game, Set, Match! Jerry would finally win.

The plan was executed perfectly. The older kids were shocked — they had never been ambushed before. They turned around and started shooting at Jerry, and said “boom, we got you first, we won, game over.” Jerry was furious.

“What do you mean, I missed?” He cried out. “I was behind you, how could you have shot me first?” They just repeated, “Jerry, you missed,” even though they were shot from behind.

Jerry was beside himself, his perfect plan was foiled, not by the truth, and this troubled him — for the next 50 years. Every now and then Jerry would mention the game to me. It’s surprised me, as I know his cousin Harold to be a fair, honest and wonderful person.

A few weeks ago Sandy was in our neighborhood visiting relatives, and Jerry bumped into him. Right before they parted, Jerry asked him. “Do you remember that one time when I hid in that obscure place under the barbed wire and in the brush. Do you remember what happened?” He replied. “I remember it like it was yesterday. You stepped out and you ambushed us. However, don’t you remember, you missed.”

Jerry was shocked that he had the same exact response as he did 50 years ago. He then asked: “Sandy, I was behind you, a few feet, I was shooting before you turned around. Do you really think I missed you?” Sandy thought for a second and began to laugh. “You finally got us!”

Right before Rosh Hashanah, Big called Jerry to wish him a good Yom Tov. Right before they hung up, Jerry asked the same question he had asked Sandy. He remembered the incident vividly and insisted that they shot Jerry first. Then he reflected for a moment and said, “No, I guess you really won.”

Jerry thanked him for remembering. It meant a lot to him.

Apparently, the original ruling on the field was finally reversed, and justice had prevailed 50 years later.

In celebration of Jerry’s delayed victory, don’t you think he deserves a special cake? This one is adapted from savorthebest.com

Chocolate Amaretto Espresso

Mousse cake by Pat


For the Brownie Base Layer:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1-1/2 sticks butter (12 tablespoons)

1-1/2 cup coconut sugar 

1 teaspoon instant coffee espresso powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 eggs, whisked well

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa nibs

For the Amaretto Mousse Layer:

10 oz. bitter sweet or semi-sweet chocolate

5 extra-large egg yolks

1/4 cup Amaretto liqueur

3 extra-large egg whites, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla

1-1/4 cups well chilled heavy cream

To Make the Espresso Mousse:

10 oz. milk chocolate

5 extra-large egg yolks

1 packet unflavored kosher gelatin

2 tablespoons espresso powdered coffee

1/2 cup water

3 extra-large egg whites, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar, divided

2 teaspoons vanilla

1-1/4 cups well chilled heavy cream


Chocolate curls (optional)


Preheat oven to 325°F Fit a piece of parchment paper to the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan that has 3-inch sides. Spray the with cooking oil.

To Make the Brownie Base Layer: In a large saucepan set over low heat, add the chocolate and butter, stirring constantly until they are melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the sugar, instant espresso powder and salt, stir until well combined. Let cool slightly, then gradually stir in the beaten eggs and the vanilla extract. Add the flour and stir until blended. Fold the cocoa nibs into the batter and pour into the prepared baking pan.

Bake the brownies in the center of the oven for 30-32 minutes, it should still be a little jiggly in the center but will firm up as it cools. Transfer to a cooling rack. Once cool, loosen the edges with a sharp knife.

To Make the Paper Cake Collar: Measure around the pan and cut a piece of parchment paper the length, plus a couple inches to overlap. Fold the parchment paper to a double thickness that is 5-inches wide. Clean the pan ring and wipe it dry, spray the inside of the ring with cooking oil and place it on the serving plate, fitting it around the brownie layer with the paper collar between the pan side and the brownie, flush with the serving plate. Snap the ring latch closed. The brownie layer will serve as the bottom of the cake and you will not need the metal pan bottom. Set aside while preparing the amaretto mousse.

For the Amaretto Mousse Layer:

Chop the chocolate into pieces and add to the top of a double boiler which is set over barely simmering water and allow to melt undisturbed.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl beat the egg yolks until they are thick and pale, beat in the amaretto. Add the melted chocolate by spoonfuls, beating until the mixture is combined well.

Optional: For a very smooth textured mousse, pass the chocolate mixture through a fine mesh sieve, scraping the outside of the sieve, then proceed with the egg whites and whipped cream.

In another bowl beat the egg whites until they just hold soft peaks, beat in 1/4 cup of the sugar a little at a time and continue to beat the meringue until it holds stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla. Stir one-third of the meringue into the chocolate mixture and fold in the remaining meringue.

In a chilled bowl beat 1-1/4 cups of the heavy cream until it holds soft peaks, beat in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, gently incorporating it completely.

Pour the mousse into the prepared springform pan, directly on top of the brownie layer, smoothing the top. Drape a sheet of plastic wrap lightly over the cake and refrigerate until until firm. About 2 hours.

When preparing the espresso mousse layer, be sure to hydrate, (bloom) completely in the cold water before mixing it with the hot liquid. Also, ensure that it is thoroughly dissolved in the hot liquid before proceeding with the recipe.