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Pam R

eG Foodblog: Pam R (2011) - Passover Part III

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Thinking about what to cook tomorrow. How do we feel about blintzes?

Love me some blintzes, but please make them potato. I made a batch around a week ago to go with the leftover brisket from last Passover. This year's brisket was made with the second of two very expensive briskets absent their fat caps that I purchased for pastrami-blogging purposes. I am pleased to say it worked much better in a braise than in the smoker. :wink:

Oh no. Potato blintzes?? Hmm. Glad your brisket turned out. When I make meat blintzes I use the chicken from chicken soup -- with a little beef if there's any around. Add lots of caramelized onions and some boiled potatoes - helps keep it moist.

. . . .

Thinking about what to cook tomorrow. How do we feel about blintzes?

Goodnight!

Dessert blintzes, mayhap? Cherry and blueberry blintzes are wonderful things.

OK. So, potato. I was thinking cheese. . maybe some of each? With fruit sauce on the side. I never make them with fruit in them. I don't know why. :smile:

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The kugel looks wonderful. I'll have to try it this winter.

I googled your shop and you are pretty close to my Junior High School. I'm getting all nostalgic.

As you thought, Melbourne must have a substantial orthodox Jewish community, judging from the people I see at the airport. No matzo in my local grocery - I'll have to try the one in town that seems to have a little better selection.

We don't have to pay for bags but reusable ones are encouraged. At Aldi you have to bring or buy reuseable bags.

The kugel is one of my favourites. It's much lighter than typical kugels. Thankfully there's a few pieces left . .for lunch!

I spent Chanukah in Melbourne about 10 years ago and had a wonderful time at a community celebration -- games, entertainment and of course, food! And my sister lived in Melbourne and worked for a kosher caterer.

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That brisket looks SO good. I want to make that today, but I only have venison roasts *sigh*. I'm adding brisket to my shopping list!

I have been reading online about the traditions of Seder night. Did you hide the Afikoman? I likened that to putting a bean in a king cake during Mardi Gras. I definitely like the part about having to drink four glasses of wine. :biggrin: I'm looking forward to seeing the pictures and learning more.

There was no Afikoman. I was the youngest person at the Seder and my parents refuse to pay me for it anymore. :angry: My sister and I are the youngest cousins (and only girls) in my father's family. When I was a child my older cousins would act as my agents and negotiate on my behalf. But we did eat matzo! On it's own, with bitter herbs (horseradish) and charoset. Pictures coming soon.

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More prep for last night's dinner.

Matzo Balls

The ingredients:

IMG00177-20110419-1413.jpg

There are all sorts of tricks for getting the perfect, light matzo balls. Some people use seltzer or other carbonated water, some whip the egg whites and carefully fold everything together, some use baking powder, some chill overnight - I don't do any of that. Simpy mix all of the ingredients together (whole eggs plus egg whites, oil -- I used grapseed oil -- matzo meal (spelt last night) and salt and pepper), cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the matzo meal has absorbed the liquid and the mixture has stiffened up. This usually happens in the time it takes for the water to come to a boil.

Mixture ready for the fridge:

IMG00178-20110419-1419.jpg

Once the water starts boiling, add some salt. Then I use a small ice-cream scoop to scoop the batter. This keeps them all the same size.

IMG00186-20110419-1450.jpg

Roll each scoop into a ball and then the balls go into boiling water. Cover tightly with lid or foil and cook at a high simmer for 40+ minutes. Most recipe I read say to cook for 20-30 minutes -- that has never worked for me. The center is always hard and not fully cooked after 20 minutes. They're ready when you cut into one and the colour is consistent throughout -- if they're darker in the middle, they're not done.

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Is the matzo meal a pre packed item or do you crush them yourself, and if so, how much?

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While the matzo balls were cooking, I put another pot on with new potatoes and simmered until just tender. Then drained the potatoes and tossed them into a bowl with olive oil, lots of fresh garlic, a mixture of fresh chives, rosemary and oregano, salt and black pepper.

IMG00181-20110419-1421.jpg

Those went into the fridge for a few hours and roasted closer to dinner. The pecans behind the bowl were toasted for the charoset (and so I can toss some into salads for the rest of the week).

Then onto the Charoset

Charoset is a mixture of fruits and nuts and other flavours. We always had the traditional Ashkenazi version - apples, nuts, cinnamon, honey and sweet red wine:

IMG00183-20110419-1425.jpg

We eat charoset because it's symbolic of the mortar used by the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt (remember the movie the 10 Commandments? That's the story of Passover). It's strange that something that represents mortar tastes so good. But it does.

IMG00185-20110419-1434.jpg

Umm. Does it look like mortar? :unsure: It's going into the fridge for a few hours and will get a little darker . . and a little limper . . and a little more mortar-like.

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Is the matzo meal a pre packed item or do you crush them yourself, and if so, how much?

Pre packed. You could crush it yourself, but the pre-packed is consistent and easy. It also comes in whole wheat, but I like to stick to the spelt when I'm cooking for myself.

3 large egg whites

3 large eggs

6 Tbsp. oil or chicken schmaltz

1 cup (or 4 1/2 oz.) matzo meal

salt and pepper

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The table:

IMG00189-20110419-1911.jpg

Before we eat dinner, we go through the Hagaddah, retelling the storey of the Exodus from Egypt. The hagaddah is also a guide for the evening, telling us when to drink the four glasses of wine, when to eat the matzo, bitter herbs, have dinner, etc.

I tried to drink this instead of wine:

IMG00190-20110419-1942.jpg

Ugh. Too sweet. Couldn't do it.

When it was time to eat everybody helped themselves to chopped liver and gefilte fish while I got the soup.

IMG00193-20110419-1951.jpg

The little yellow circles are soup croutons from Israel. They are made by Osem and are awesome. They're made from potatoes and get soft rather quickly, so the trick is to add a few, eat them, then add more. Repeat.

Then, everything else:

IMG00194-20110419-2003.jpg IMG00195-20110419-2003.jpg

IMG00196-20110419-2005.jpg IMG00197-20110419-2006.jpg

IMG00199-20110419-2008.jpg Missing the turkey.

My plate:

IMG00201-20110419-2011.jpg

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Dessert

Last week I baked some chiffon cakes at work:

IMG00124-20110412-1142.jpg

I do all the baking, then my mom does the finishing. The pecan chiffon cake I baked turned into a Shmoo:

IMG00204-20110419-2100.jpg

Along with some cookies I did at work:

IMG00205-20110419-2101.jpg

Some fresh fruit and peach tea:

IMG00206-20110419-2102.jpg

(Also pictures 1.5L 7-Up from Israel)

IMG00211-20110419-2111.jpg

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The meal looks and sounds lovely. Leftovers?

The soup croutons sound intriguing. I like contrast in my soup - will keep an eye out for them.

Your soup has a lovely yellow color - any secrets in your method?

I meant to ask when you first posted the shot of the chopped liver - can you give us an overview of your recipe?

Thank you for taking the time to share this holiday with us given the huge time crunch you are in.

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The meal looks and sounds lovely. Leftovers?

Plenty! After a piece of matzo & butter with a few slices of fruit earlier this morning, lunch was a small bowl of chicken soup, a slice of brisket and piece of kugel. There's enough for a few more meals.

The soup croutons sound intriguing. I like contrast in my soup - will keep an eye out for them.

The croutons are very popular. During the year they are little square-shapes and made from wheat - and called "shkedi marak" which means soup almonds. They hold the crunch a little better than the Passover potato version, and I like both, but I think I prefer the Passover circles.

Your soup has a lovely yellow color - any secrets in your method?

Thanks, Heidi. I don't do anything special -- lots of chicken, onions, carrots, parsnips & celery. Then some dill and salt. Here's my eGCI chicken soup demo . I know some people leave the skins on their onions and claim it adds the yellow colour, but I've never done that and still get yellow soup every time.

I meant to ask when you first posted the shot of the chopped liver - can you give us an overview of your recipe?

First, for liver to be kosher it has to be broiled (click here for explanation). Once it's been broiled and cooked through, it's ready to go. We use a meat grinder and mix it with lots of onions that have been really well cooked in oil or chicken schmaltz (until soft and uniformly browned), hard boiled eggs and salt. Beef/calf or chicken livers can be used. Some people hand-chop the liver but we make too much for that. Even at home, making a small batch I'll use a food processor, just pulse it until it's the right texture for you.

Thank you for taking the time to share this holiday with us given the huge time crunch you are in.

My pleasure! Thanks for reading and playing along. :wink:

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Those soup croutons are the first thing that caught my eye on the table. They look like nekkid spaghetti o's. :laugh: I'm dying to try them. Must google and order some. I wonder how they shape them so small and round like that?

With a machine? :wink: This is the first time I've seen the round ones. Last Passover they were square. I have no idea if this is the reasoning behind it, but I wonder if they changed the shape so they wouldn't be confused with the regular, square ones.

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Blintzes

First you have to make the bletlach (wrappers). I have two recipes that I like, one using matzo cake meal and one that uses potato starch. The cake meal recipe uses sugar and is closer to a crepe than the potato recipe. Today I went with the potato starch recipe.

Ingredients: water, potato starch, eggs and salt.

IMG00216-20110420-1702.jpg

I whisk it together in a measuring cup, let it sit for 5-10 minutes and whisk again before using:

IMG00217-20110420-1706.jpg

Heat a small, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brush with oil, then pour a little batter into the pan. Swirl the batter around then pour any excess back into the measuring cup. Whisk the batter before each blettle.

IMG00224-20110420-1732.jpg

Cook until the edges start to release and the top of the wrapper is dry. Use a spatula to loosen the blettle and turn the pan over -- the blettle should release easily. Repeat until you've used all of the batter.

IMG00226-20110420-1736.jpg

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Thinking about what to cook tomorrow. How do we feel about blintzes?

Love me some blintzes, but please make them potato.

Since you asked so nicely, I made potato blintzes for you and cheese blintzes for me. Then I forced myself to have both for dinner. :wink:

For the potato filling, I use red potatoes and yellow onion. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/4's then into a pot of cold water. Boil until tender. While that's going, brown some onions (ok, lots, not some). I used grapeseed oil.

IMG00214-20110420-1701.jpg IMG00221-20110420-1717.jpg

Drain the potatoes, add the onions, salt, black pepper and some garlic powder and mash 'em.

IMG00222-20110420-1725.jpg

For the cheese filling, I wanted to keep it simple.

IMG00227-20110420-1741.jpg

Pressed cheese, eggs, salt and a little sugar. You can add more flavourings to this -- I make a version with a little vanilla and orange zest, but not tonight.

Now we're ready to roll some blintzes.

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Dinner was salad and blintzes (salad had a little of my favourite feta cheese in it).

IMG00237-20110420-1902.jpg

To finish the blintzes, they need to be browned. Use oil of your choice or butter. If I'm making potato blintzes to go with a meat meal, I'll use oil -- since tonight was dairy, went with butter.

A little sour cream (also from Western Creamery) on the potato blintz and some of the strawberry/blueberry sauce I made for the matzo brei yesterday on the cheese blintzes. Delicious!

IMG00240-20110420-1917.jpg

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This is really a whole different world of cuisine that I know little about—and right here in North America!

Have you been to Israel? Are the Passover food traditions any different there?

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This is really a whole different world of cuisine that I know little about—and right here in North America!

Have you been to Israel? Are the Passover food traditions any different there?

I have been to Israel a couple of times, but never during Passover.

I'd guess that it's easier to keep Passover in Israel than it is here. They actually have restaurants that are open during the holiday (actually, so do cities with large Jewish populations like NY and Miami). And from reports I hear there are lots of products that are available there and not here (I bring in over 1000 products that are kosher for Passover, but it can't compare.)

There are different traditions and influences there. In Winnipeg, the Jewish population is mostly Ashkenazi -- from Russia and Eastern Europe. So this group traditionally doesn't eat kitniyot (discussed earlier -- no legumes, corn, seeds, etc.). This is a very simplistic explanation- Israel has a much larger mix of Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews. For the most part the non-Ashkenazi Jews eat kitniyot and their food is influenced by the countries and regions they come from: Spain, Portugal, Morroco, Iraq, etc. From what I understand, the lines are a little more blurred in Israel. In Canada, canola oil is considered kitniyot and not used by Ashkenazim. In Israel, from what I understand, it's used by many.

We have a family friend here who is Israeli but her parents are from Morocco. I've been lucky enough to eat in her home during Passover and she's an amazing cook. Lots of spices and flavours that aren't used much in Ashkenazi cooking.

If anybody cooks Sephardi foods please tell us more! I'd love to get the chance to spend time in Israel learning more about Sephardi and Mizrachi cooking.

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I'm not sure what's on for tomorrow. The store is open, so I'll be at work. As I mentioned earlier, I'm waiting for my condo to be finished -- I'm hoping to get down there tomorrow if possible. If I can, I'll get some pictures of my new kitchen. :unsure:

I also have a non-Passover related question. I've been looking for kitchen stools for months and can't find anything I like. Anybody have good ones? They need to be comfortable as they'll probably be the only seating in the kitchen. And I'd rather not have to sell my stove to pay for them. Why is it so hard to find good stools?

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I also have a non-Passover related question. I've been looking for kitchen stools for months and can't find anything I like. Anybody have good ones? They need to be comfortable as they'll probably be the only seating in the kitchen. And I'd rather not have to sell my stove to pay for them. Why is it so hard to find good stools?

I've had a lot of luck finding things from Ballard Designs (Click Here)

Congratulations on your new condo! Happy decorating :biggrin:

Rhonda

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Pam: It's been wonderful to read your blog, about traditions and cuisine I know nothing about. It's especially a pleasure to have someone blogging from the Canadian prairies.


Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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Pam, I find Ashkenazi food so exotic- and I never can wrap my mind around the idea that our Syrian food might be considered exotic by anyone-it's just plain food.

For Passover this year we hosted a second seder for one of my daughter's friends- I made a typical Syrian seder but I added a gefilte fish course and instead of a minty soup I made a cumin spiced chicken soup. In deference to our guest I didn't serve any rice, or peas- which are usual accompaniments to a seder here.

Our meal consisted of these courses:

Chicken soup, made with thighs, garlic, carrots, celery and cumin.

Gefilte fish with horseradish-(Yehuda brand gefilte fish- far too salty for my taste)

Avocado halves filled with Balsamic vinegar(Bartenura) accompanied by a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, mint, parsley and Bermuda onions.

Braised lamb shanks(our traditional seder meat course) made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, celery, carrots, cumin and chicken broth.

Zucchini and tomatoes, stewed with LOTS of onions.

Olive oil roasted small white potatoes- these are put into a souffle dish, covered halfway with olive oil, then liberally salted and lightly sprinkled with whole cumin and cracked peppercorns, then roasted near the lamb shanks. Too delicious for words!

For dessert I made small bowls of frozen fruits pureed with almond milk- blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and bananas- which I served with sticks of sugarcane and dark chocolate covered matzoh shards that I had dipped earlier.

I normally make pistachio ka'ak and almond cookies, lachm la'lou(a sweet stew),chicken with prunes and keftes b'hamoud-lamb meatballs in a lemon mint broth, but there were only 2 young people to eat all of my cooking- and I was avoiding kitniyot-I had to limit myself!


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