Ira and Roni's Recipe for Love

Ira and Roni's Recipe for Love

Ira and Roni of Rainbo's FIsh at Essex Street Market have been together for over 40 years; they were officially married four years ago when it became legal in New York State. Below is their recipe for love.

Serves Everyone | Cook Time 44 years

1 Fish Shop
Mutual Respect
Meddling Parents
Love and Kindness

1. Answer there 36 Questions that Lead to Love.

2. Remember, Love is Love.


Alla's Garlic Bread

Alla's Garlic Bread

Alla, an employee of Pain D’Avignon at Essex Street Market, has made a lot of bread in her life, but it was love at first bite when she tried a slice of garlic bread made by a fellow Ukrainian immigrant during their thanksgiving festivities.

Serves 6 | Cook Time 15 minutes

1 Teaspoon of Caraway Seeds, Lightly Crushed
1 Tablespoon of Black Treacle
1 Teaspoon of Fast Acting Dried Yeast
⅗ Cups of Yogurt with Live Cultures
1 ¼ Cups of Rye Flour
1 ¼ Cups of Rye Flour
1 ½ Cups of White Flour
1 Tablespoon of Roasted Barley Malt flour
2 Teaspoons of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Caraway Seeds
1 Egg, Beaten
4 Tablespoons of Butter
5 Cloves of Garlic
Fresh Chopped Parsley

1. Mix all of the starter ingredients together with 8 ounces of water cover and leave overnight, until bubbling. 

2. Mix the flours together with the salt, then stir into the starter mix to make a dough, adding a little extra water if required. 

3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, or until smooth and springy. Then shape it into a ball, put into an oiled bowl, and cover loosely with oiled cling film leave in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Finally, Flour a baking tray lightly knead the dough again, and then form it into a rugby ball shape lift onto the tray, cover it loosely, and leave to rise again for another 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Brush the dough with the egg, sprinkle with the caraway seeds, and slash the loaf along its length with a sharp knife. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400°F. And bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until dark golden with a hard shiny crust.

5. Melt butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat and add in minced garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes.

6. Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise and stick it under the broiler until golden brown.

7. Brush the garlic butter on top of the bread and sprinkle with parsley.



Mom's Magical Ensalada Papas

Mom's Magical Ensalada Papas

Sobeida of Viva Fruits & Vegetables at Essex Street Market was born and raised in the neighborhood surrounding the market. Her younger brother is able to detect whether their mother’s magic hands have mixed the salad.

Serves 6 | Cook Time 1 hour

5 Potatoes
3 Eggs
½ Cup of Mayonnaise
½ Cup of Chopped Peppers
½ Cup of Chopped Carrots
½ Cup of chopped Onions
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons of Cilantro
Mom’s magic hands

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, peel and chop.

2. Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.

3. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, peppers, onion, carrots, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Mix with mom’s magic hands and chill.

Chin's Fish and "a thoke" (Burmese Salad)

Chin's Fish and "a thoke" (Burmese Salad)

Chin moved to Queens from Myanmar and has now been working at Essex Farm for the past year. Her Thanksgiving traditions stray from the beaten path, like this Burmese Salad.

Serves 4 | Cook Time 8 minutes


1 ½ Pounds of Your Favorite White Fish
Salt to Taste
¼ Cup of Soy Sauce
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
1 Stalk of Lemongrass, Minced
½ Inch Hunk of Fresh Ginger, Grated
2 Cloves of Garlic, Grated

1 Cup Sliced Cabbage
2 Teaspoons Toasted Yellow Split Pea Flour
2 Teaspoons of Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons of Fried Garlic Slices
Hot Green chilies, Chopped
⅔  Cup Peeled Julienne Ginger
2 Tablespoons of Peanut Oil
2 Teaspoons of Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons of Toasted Sesame Seeds
2 plum Tomatoes, Halved and Thinly Sliced


1. Clean the fish and salt inside out.

2. Combine soy sauce, egg, lemongrass, and lemon juice. Allow the fish to marinate in this mixture for at least 1 hour.

2. Combine all salad ingredients except chilies in a large bowl. 

3. Mix well and serve garnished with chopped chilies. Let the salad chill and soak in the flavors as you steam your fish.

4. Spread garlic and ginger on top of the fish and steam for approximately 8 minutes. If you do not have a steamer, a rice cooker or a large pot topped with a plate will also do the job.

Enjoy with friends

Michael's Fishey Thanksgiving

Michael's Fishey Thanksgiving

A number of years ago, Michael, a chef, and patron of the Essex Street Market, found himself with a surplus of lovely fish right before Thanksgiving. He whipped up some sushi and hasn't gone back to turkey since. The following is his recipe for Miso Fish Fillets

Serves 2 | Cook Time 10 minutes

3 Tablespoons of Miso
4 Cups of Water
2 Filets of Your Favorite Fish
2 Teaspoons of Sesame Oil
2 Green Onions
Splash of Sake

1. Mix in 3 tablespoons of miso with water in a pan, all the mixture to reach a simmer and then let it cool

2. Slice up the green onions

3. Pour sesame oil into a frying pan and allow to reach high heat, sear your fish for about 15 seconds on each side. Add a splash of sake and turn the heat to the lowest setting. Leave the fish in the pan until cooked through.

3. Add a squeeze of grapefruit juice to your fish and sprinkle both soup and protein with green onions.

Take risks in the kitchen, use a variety of sodium and citrus sources when you cook

Cara's Lefse

Cara's Lefse

Essex Street Market shopper Cara was glad to share the recipe for this family favorite with us. Lefse is a Christmas necessity in Norway, but Cara’s family likes it so much that they whip it up for Thanksgiving too.

Serves 15 | Cook Time 30 minutes

10 Pounds of Potatoes
⅔  Cup of Butter
⅓  Cup of Heavy Cream
1 Tablespoon of Salt
4 Tablespoon of White Sugar
2 ½  Cups of All - purpose Flour

1. Cover potatoes with water and cook until tender. Run hot potatoes through a potato ricer. Place into a large bowl. Beat ½ cup of butter, cream, salt, and 1 tablespoon of sugar into the hot riced potatoes. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Stir flour into the potato mixture. Form one giant ball and roll it out on a large cloth until it is about ⅛ and inch thick. Use flour to prevent sticking.

3. Cook on a large, hot (400℉) griddle until bubbles form and each side has browned. You will need an extra long spatula of sorts or a “sword” to flip this massive flatbread. Place on a damp towel to cool slightly and then cover with damp towel until ready to serve.

4. Slice up the bread (be sure to “taste test” in the process), spread with butter and sugar, roll it up and it’s ready to eat.

Challenge yourself by keeping track of how many you can devour

Brandon's Potluck

Brandon's Potluck

Essex Street Market shopper Brandon often find himself making sushi for Thanksgiving. Why sushi you ask? The former English teacher of Brandon’s wife hosts an International Potluck Thanksgiving every year. Each attendee must bring a dish from their native country; Brandon’s wife is Japanese.

Serves 8 | Cook Time 20 minutes

½  Lemon, Thinly Sliced
4 Sheets of Roasted Nori (dried seaweed), Halved
4 Cups of Prepared Sushi Rice
¼  Cup of Wasabi Paste
½  pound of Yellowfin or Ahi Auna, Cut into Strips
½  Cup of Sliced Pickled Ginger
1 Daikon Radish, Peeled and Julienned
2 Medium Carrots, Peeled and Julienned
Soy Sauce for Dipping
*Bamboo Sushi Mat

1. Fill large bowl with ice water and lemon slices.

2. Place sushi mat on cutting board with slats running crosswise. Arrange 1 sheet nori, shiny side down, on mat, lining up long edge of sheet with edge of mat nearest you. Lightly moisten hands with lemon water, then gently spread about 3/4 cup rice onto nori in even layer, leaving ½ - inch border on long end opposite you.

3. Brush ½  teaspoon wasabi paste in thin horizontal line across rice about 1 inch from side nearest you. Arrange about 1/8 of tuna strips in horizontal line atop wasabi line, cutting tuna as necessary to fit from side to side.

4. Beginning with edge nearest you, lift mat up with thumbs, holding filling in place with fingers, and fold mat over filling so that upper and lower edges of rice meet. Squeeze gently but firmly along length of roll and tug top edge of mat away from you to tighten. (Nori border will still be visible below top edge of mat.) Open mat and roll log forward 1/4 turn, then fold mat over again and squeeze gently but firmly to seal nori border. Repeat to form remaining rolls.

5. Transfer 1 roll, seam side down, to cutting board. Dip sharp knife into lemon water, shaking off excess. Slice roll in half, then cut each half into 3 pieces. Slice remaining rolls in same manner. Serve immediately with remaining wasabi paste, ginger, daikon, carrots, and soy sauce.

Cook time may only be 20 minutes, but prep may take all night! if you are in a rush, just pick up a tray from Whole Foods!

Ira’s Bouncing Strawberry Bomb Cake

Ira’s Bouncing Strawberry Bomb Cake

Ira of Rainbo's Fish at Essex Street Market makes excellent desserts, however, he never worked with gelatin before attempting this Strawberry Bomb. The result: unintentional “rubber balls” inside the cake. Dinner guests thoroughly enjoyed bouncing them off the dinner table.

Serves 10 | Cook Time 5 minutes

4 Cups of Frozen Strawberries
1 ½  Cups of Sugar
2 Teaspoons of Gelatin
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
1 Cup of Whipping Cream

1. Allow Strawberries to thaw. Crush them and add the sugar. Let these stand at room temperature for about ½  hour.

2. Soak the gelatin in 3 Tablespoons of water and then dissolve in 3 Tablespoons of boiling water. Then stir the berries and lemon juice. Let come to room temperature and place the mixture in the freezer compartment.

3. When the mixture is just on the point of freezing whip the cream to the point where it stands in soft peaks and fold the whipped cream gently into the mixture. Pour the whole into a slightly dampened mold. About 30 minutes before serving transfer to the regular refrigeration compartment.

If you do not dissolve the gelatin properly you can look forward to bouncing balls of cake off of the table just like Ronnie and Ira’s friends!

Mary's Homecoming Pasteles

Mary's Homecoming Pasteles

Mary has been coming to Essex Street Market to forage for pastele fixings with her grandmother since she was 3 years old.

Serves 12 | Cook Time 2 hours


6 Tomatoes, Coarsely Chopped
1 Medium Green Pepper, Coarsely Chopped
1 Yellow Onion, Coarsely Chopped
½  Cup of Tomato Sauce
1 ½  Tablespoons of Cider Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Dried Oregano

1/4 Cup of EVOO
8 Ounces of Slab Bacon, Rind Removed, ¼ - inch Cubes
1 ½  Pounds of Boneless Pork Shoulder, ½ - inch Cubes
¼  Cup of Chicken Broth
8 Garlic Cloves, Diced
20 Caribbean Sweet Peppers, Halved
¼  Cup of Chopped Cilantro

⅓  Cup of Whole Milk
1 ½  Pounds of Taro, Peeled, 1 - inch Cubes
1 ½  pounds Green Bananas, Peeled, Thickly Sliced
½  Green Plantain, Peeled, Thickly Sliced
8 Ounces Calabaza (pumpkin), peeled, seeded, 1 - inch Cubes
¼  Cup of EVOO
Salt to Taste

25 Banana Leaf Squares
¼  Cup EVOO
25, 42 - inch Pieces of Twine

⅓  Cup of Raisins
1 Can of chickpeas, Drained and Rinsed
50 Pimiento - Stuffed Olives

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree. Set aside. 

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and brown for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until it begins to release its fat, about 15 minutes.

3. Stir in the recado, reduce the heat to low, add garlic, peppers and cilantro, then continue to cook, covered, for about 50 minutes, or until the pork is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Add some chicken broth if the sauce thickens too much during cooking. When the meat is done, transfer it to a plate with a slotted spoon. Set the sauce aside. 

4. Working in 2 or 3 batches, puree the milk, malanga, green bananas, green plantain, and calabaza in a blender or food processor and pour into a large bowl. Add the oil and salt and mix well to color the masa evenly. Stir in the reserved sauce. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

5. Place one leaf square on a work surface with the veins perpendicular to you. Brush generously with oil. Place 3 heaping tablespoons of masa in the center of the leaf and spread into a 6-inch square, leaving a 3 - inch margin on all sides. Place 3 tablespoons of the diced pork on top, forming a rectangle. Garnish with 4 raisins, 4 chickpeas, a strip of red pepper, and 4 olive halves. Tie the pastel wrap.

6. Using two steamers (or working in batches), steam for about 1 hour

Make them ahead and freeze them.

Benny's Big Turkey

Benny's Big Turkey

Benny is an employee of Saxelby Cheesemongers at Essex Street Market. Growing up, Benny’s Family raised turkeys. One grew so fat that it could no longer walk, so it was slaughtered in the name of thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, this bird was so large that he did not fit in the oven!

Serves 20 | Cook Time 5 ½ hours

30 Pound Turkey
4 Tablespoons of Butter
Stuffing or Aromatics of Your Choice (Onions, Carrots etc.)
A Nearby Volume Kitchen (Benny chose a boarding school kitchen)

1. Preheat the oven to 325℉. 

2. Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity. Dry the turkey with paper towels, then season it inside and out with salt and pepper. Fill the turkey with your favorite stuffing or choice of aromatics.

3. When the volume kitchen has vacated, sneak in and cook that turkey!

4. Place the turkey breast-side up in a roasting pan and brush with melted butter. Tent with foil and roast for 4 ½  hours. 

5. Remove the foil, baste with more melted butter and turn up the oven to 425℉. Roast for another hour or until the meat at the thigh registers 165℉.

You may end up with leftovers to last a full year

Anne's Disappearing Pie

Anne's Disappearing Pie

This Thanksgiving staple was made each year by Grandma June when Anne, of Saxelby Cheesemongers at Essex Street Market, was growing up.

Serves 8 | Cook Time 50 Minutes

2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
⅔ Cup of Lard
1 Teaspoon of Salt

1. Whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut in the lard with a knife until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 

2. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, blending gently with a fork until all flour is moistened and dough almost cleans the sides of the bowl. Divide the dough in half and shape flattened rounds. 

3. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Shape, fill with your favorite fruit (Anne likes apple), bake for 40 - 50 minutes, and Enjoy!

Enlist help from your favorite little human for extra fun and new traditions.