Florence's holiday tzimmes inspired this recipe, which features prunes lightly sautéed with sweet onions. The unexpected pairing melds perfectly with the carrots, apricots, and raisins.
Says June Feiss Hersh, author of Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival:
"I talked to Michael and Florence in the heart of their home, the kitchen, as it filled with the early aromas of the approaching Passover holiday. Michael quipped, "We are married 53 years and in the end I agree with whatever she says." They share a positive outlook, a close-knit family and a legacy of philanthropy."
Here's more about Florence Edelstein's journey, in her own words:
I was born in Zamosc, Poland. My family were members of the Belzer sect of Hasidic Jews. When I was 3 years old, we left Poland for Russia.
At the time, in 1939, Poland was divided between the Germans and the Russians. We chose the Russians and decided to run with the Russian army. My entire family survived because we made this choice. We lived in many parts of Russia, and finally settled in Siberia. We were hungy and tired, but we did not fear for our lives. After the war, we went back to Poland and stayed in a DP camp in Germany. We wanted to go to Israel and applied for passage, but instead the HIAS was able to arrange our travel to the United States.
We joined the Macabee Club, for new Americans; that's where I met Michael. Shortly after we met, he was drafted into the U.S. army. Michael served two years in Korea, and when he returned, we were married.
My life has been built on my firm belief that 90 percent of what you do is luck and other 10 percent is guts. When you see a situation, grab it. In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine that we would accomplish for ourselves and for our three children and eleven grandchildren, what we have. It's a dream come true.
- Preheat the overn to 350°F. Bring a pot of salted water to boil, and cook the carrots and sweet potatoes, until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and reserve.
- Heat the oil in a skillet, cook and stir the onions, over medium heat, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the prunes and apricots (if using preserves add them later, along with the orange juice); and continue cooking for 10 minutes longer. Stir in 1 cup of orange juice, (preserves), cinnamon, honey, brown sugar, granulated sugar and raisins.
- Place the carrots and sweet potatoes in a 13x9x2-inch Pyrex baking dish. Stir in the prune mixture.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes add the remaining 1/2 cup orange juice. Continue baking until the potatoes and carrots are tender, but not mushy, about 15 minutes longer.
Reprinted with permission from Recipes Remembered: A Celebration of Survival © 2011 by June Feiss Hersh, Ruder Finn Press.