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


Pam R
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This year, I conducted extensive research pertaining to Kishka, which for years has been hit and miss. Now after using tempreture probes, and making notes, and about 15 or so "cooks", many of which ended in disaster, I set out a batch that was consumed. I plan to publish the recipe somewhere on e gullet soon. I can tell you there are no recepies out there that I could find that is right on for Kishka. Pam: After reading your e gullet comments, I wonder if you make Kishka?? The Schmaltz herring is another recipe I am considering publishing in memory of the gentleman that gave it to me many years ago. You will like it or hate it. No one in my immediate family is interested in the tradition of the ethnic foods, and I am determined not to let this go into the ether

alanjesq

You have to share your recipes when you're ready! That's one of the reasons why I wrote a Passover cookbook -- to share traditional recipes that I grew up that I was able to learn from my parents and grandmothers. (The other reason was to share new recipes -- a real mix of both.)

I don't make kishka, though I do remember helping my parents make it once or twice when I was very young. And my grandmother made helzel (very similar, using the skin from a turkey neck rather than intestine) but I never got her recipe. What do you use for casing? I remember when we made it we used synthetic casings -- the turkey skin seems like a better option. It would add flavour that synthetic casings obviously wouldn't. I'd love to see your recipe.

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Finally had time to sit down and catch up with the week's worth of posts. Fascinating! The brisket is absolutely drool-worthy, and I'm most impressed with the blintzes, as well. Forgive my ignorance -- I know the blettle are cooked, and then you roll the filling inside, but you made mention of them cooking up more or less crunchy, depending on filling. So I presume they are cooked again? Are they fried, or baked, or did I misread?

I'm not sure if I talked about finishing them. :hmmm: Before eating them, they go into a pan with oil or butter until browned on all sides. If they're filled with cheese there's no reason not to use butter, right?

I'm intrigued by charoset, as it sounds like something I'd love. Do you prepare it any time other than Passover?

No. I don't know why -- but maybe it's special because it's only made once a year? Yeah, I think that's it. :wink:

I can't get excited about matzoh ball soup, but the next time I'm in NYC I'm going to a good Jewish deli and try some to seem what I've been missing.

Matzo ball soup is comforting. Each and every time I have a pot of chicken soup on the stove the aroma sends me back to my baba's (grandmother) house. I don't think I have a stronger food memory - it takes me back to family Sabbath and holiday dinners with all of my cousins and aunts and uncles around my grandparents dining room table that had to be extended into the living room to include all of us. My parents make chicken soup just like my baba did, and that's how I learned to do it. It's a connection. And it tastes great. :smile:

Thanks for sharing your holiday; I've particularly enjoyed the explanations of the dietary rules and the customs.

My pleasure! Let me know if you have any specific questions.

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It was a looooong day, so dinner was simple. This morning I grabbed a couple of cornish hens from the freezer and asked my father to split them on the band-saw.

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When I got home, I had to clean them. Have you ever cleaned kosher chicken? When they pluck kosher chickens, they have to use cold water and for some reason that makes it harder for the feathers to come out. So I spent 20 minutes plucking stray feathers and . . hairs?

Made a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, lots of fresh herbs, garlic and salt (kosher, for Mitch) and black pepper.

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Rubbed it all over the hens, making sure a lot of it went under the skin.

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Into the oven at 400 for about 45 minutes. While that was cooking I put some potatoes on to boil for mashed and I had dressing and washed lettuce leftover from dinner the other night, so I threw together a salad.

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Simple and delicious, but glass plates are not the best choice for photos.

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Planning on doing a lamb shoulder for dinner tomorrow night. Not sure what to do for sides. Kugel, potatoes again, maybe farfel . . hmm.

While most business are closed up here for Good Friday, mine is not. Goodnight -- see you in the morning! And please, let me know if there are any dishes you would like to see. Cannot make promises but I will do what I can!

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Pam, I'm enjoying your blog so much! These are all foods that I've read about in books & stories, but never really had pictured properly in my mind. That brisket and those blintzes look delicious too. Not to mention being just the thing for me to try as we head into autumn here. I'm so glad you're taking the time to share this.

I have a few questions.

First, I was curious about how you make the mash for a meat meal. It looks so fluffy!

Second, do you always use potato flour or cake meal in the blintz wrappers, or is that only because it's Passover? Also, how long can you keep the filled blinztes for before you fry them?

Finally, is most of the kosher meat you have access to frozen, or are there local butchers as well?

Edited to fix really bad sentence structure.

Edited by Snadra (log)
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Pam, you are such an amazing cook! I want to bite everything that you've made here.

I only use kosher salt here- I've never even thought about using the other kind- although a dear friend sent us a gift of "special" salts that I use to enhance baked goods.

As an aside, we have the same Passover plates- Arcoroc Octagon!

More Than Salt

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That's so interesting. I assume it's Yiddish, but might be Polish. What dialect are we talking about? :smile:

Danube Swabian (Donau Schwabish) - a German dialect that is more 1700's than modern

OK- who does not covet the bandsaw!?!

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First, I was curious about how you make the mash for a meat meal. It looks so fluffy!

First, I use red potatoes or other 'moist' potatoes. Then I add some olive oil and seasoning - salt and pepper last night. Really simple. But I discovered that some of the juice from the cornish ladled on was delicious, so it got some of that too.

Second, do you always use potato flour or cake meal in the blintz wrappers, or is that only because it's Passover? Also, how long can you keep the filled blinztes for before you fry them?

At work we always use potato starch (which isn't the same thing as potato flour -- you know how when you grate a bunch of potatoes and then drain them? At the bottom of the bowl you have the really thick, pure white starch? That's basically potato starch before it's dried. Potato flour, I believe, is more like ground, dehydrated potatoes). And I don't make them often at home, but I really like the potato starch version. It's light and let's you focus on the fillings.

How long can you keep them? If you freeze them you can keep them for weeks. Just make sure they're really well wrapped. In the fridge, I'd say a couple of days, wrapped.

Finally, is most of the kosher meat you have access to frozen, or are there local butchers as well?

It's all frozen and we bring most of into Winnipeg. A couple of grocery stores have a small frozen kosher sections but we're the only independent kosher food store between Toronto and Vancouver (we do have a couple of bakeries and the Jewish Community Campus has a restaurant).

There was a kosher chicken plant but it closed down years ago (probably 15 or more). There was a kosher butcher up until a few years ago, but even he had to ship meat in from Toronto. My father (and family) moved to Winnipeg in 1950 and tells me there were 12 kosher butchers here. At that point, until 4 or 5 years ago, they were slaughtering locally. Now the only places in the country where they have kosher slaughter are in the Toronto area and maybe a little in Montreal.

For a while we were able to get fresh lamb from the US but it's become exorbitant to do so. So we truck it in from Montreal and Toronto. We've had problems with trucks coming through the city in the middle of the night and not stopping, so our orders can make it all the way to Calgary and have to come back -- so everything comes in frozen.

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Cool. You guys have a band saw. :cool:

OK- who does not covet the bandsaw!?!

I'm scared of the bandsaw! :wink: When my parents first started the business my father would bring in beef and veal fronts and break them down. He held on to the saw when he stopped doing that and now we use it mostly for splitting birds and slicing rib-eyes. We get large rib-eyes and slice them into steaks for customers.

That's so interesting. I assume it's Yiddish, but might be Polish. What dialect are we talking about? :smile:

Danube Swabian (Donau Schwabish) - a German dialect that is more 1700's than modern

There's is a lot of German in Yiddish. It's a mix of Hebrew, German and whatever language was spoken where Yiddish speakers live. So my father's family spoke Yiddish at home and it had a lot of Polish in it; my mother's family had more Russian in theirs. And I bet the blettle might come from German.

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The cauliflower kugel looks and sounds terrific. Could you please give me an idea about how much matzoh meal you use (say, per egg). Do you use more than you would in a potato kugel, since the vegetables are more moist? Thanks for your help.

I do use more than I do in a potato kugel, but it's also a softer kugel -- more like a pudding? To 1 large head of cauliflower, 1 lb. of leeks, 1 lb of zucchini I add 6 oz (1 1/2 cups) matzo meal and 4 eggs. For a potato (& onion) kugel I'd add 4 oz (1 cup) matzo meal and 6 eggs to 2 lbs. onion and 4 lbs. potato.

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I feel like I hit a wall today. I was great throughout the busiest time at work and now that I've had a day off . . oof.

But I must keep cooking! A few more hours at work, helping customers and making notes for next year. Yep, my computer has a folder titled "Passover 2012", started today.

Stores are closed up here for Good Friday, so I made a quick stop yesterday to get some produce and now to figure out exactly what to do tonight. Lamb roast and . . ?

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I meant to post these earlier but they got away from me. I haven't done any baking at home yet, but I did plenty of it at work.

An assortment of Komish/Mandelbroit/Jewish Biscotti

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Chocolate filling for tart.

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Chocolate tarts

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Filling pecan flans

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Pecan tarts baking

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700 rolls:

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Chiffon cakes:

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I bake, my mom finishes:

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Here's the menu of prepared foods we offered this year:

chicken soup

matzo balls

chopped liver

gefilte fish

turkey

garlic brisket

sweet and sour meatballs

short ribs

apricot honey chicken

chicken fingers

chicken schnitzel (and turkey and veal)

lemon potatoes

potato blintzes

vegetable cutlets

mushroom and onion farfel kugel

sweet kugel (matzo meal kugel with dried fruit)

rolls

cole slaw

mixed vegetables

salad dressings

chocolate chip meringues

assorted mandelbroit

brownies

pecan flan

frangipane tart

chocolate tart

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What do you use for casing? I remember when we made it we used synthetic casings -- the turkey skin seems like a better option. It would add flavour that synthetic casings obviously wouldn't.

I purchase Beef casings which are sold on line by various sausage maker supply houses. www.sausage maker.com, for example. The recipe for Kishka is so simple, but the implementation is sooooooooo difficult, unless you know the unwritten ins and outs which I will write soon. Many of the recipes say "boil" the stuffed kishka for X time. Try boiling and you will have exploded the Kishka all over your pot. Stuff the Kishka, sure, but unless you leave room for expansion---Poof, all over your pot. No recipe I have ever read instructs one to have a needle at the ready to pop the aneurisms, as they appear, or "all over your pot. Or, start the cook in cold water, or----see what I mean. Each of those "all over the pot" moments have happened to me, until I said "I am mad as hell, and I am not going to take it any more!!!". I then started making Kishka in earnest over a weekend, and did not stop until I got it right.

I will post soon.

alanjesq

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Here's the menu of prepared foods we offered this year:

...

Good Lord. How large a staff turns that out? And are all the quantities similar to that of the chopped liver?

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Shabbat shalom!

Tonight a family friend joined my family for dinner, so we started with matzo ball soup (it's Passover and Shabbat . . and cold and rainy. Perfect way to start dinner).

First thing I did when I got home was get the lamb shoulder into the oven. Slits cut into the roast got slivers of garlic, some fresh herbs tucked into the netting, lots of salt and pepper on all sides and a little chicken stock poured in.

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I like mint with lamb, so I made a quick sauce.

Lots of fresh mint, sugar, salt, white wine vinegar, honey and some boiling water.

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Mixed together and into the fridge until dinner.

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Cooked long and slow - it gave off lots and lots of fat.

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I couldn't figure out what to make with the roast but there was a request for potato latkes. Okay.

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Finished dinner with some roasted Portobello mushrooms and zucchini, made by mom.

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The lamb was juicy, tender and flavourful. On to dessert!

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So, we had a new product in this year. It was a pre-made macaroon pie crust. Normally I'd make a crust but people were asking me how this crust was so I wanted to try it.

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What could I do with this crust? Coconut and lemon are good together - how about a lemon meringue? I made some curd.

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Put it into the fridge to chill and on to the meringue.

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And into the oven to finish.

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A hit! The crust was pretty good.

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I'm curious about the rolls: they are really okay for Passover? They look so . . . leavened! They also look delicious.

Right . . they are okay for Passover, but there are people who won't eat them. There is somethings called gebrochts, and people who are non-gebrochts, meaning they won't eat any matzo that has become wet or anything made with matzo products -- no matzo balls, nothing made with matzo meal or cake meal or farfel.

The roll dough is basically a choux, so the . . .'poof; comes from eggs and steam. To me it's the same thing as a chiffon cake that gets it's height from whipped egg whites.

The rolls are made from matzo meal, which is already cooked flour. So there's no chance of any yeast activation here (and no fermentation).

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I've been enjoying reading along, Pam, though I've been quiet so far. But I'm curious about your tart crusts: are they butter-free, or just not eaten at meat meals?

If dairy isn't an issue, I use butter. For a meat meal, I use margarine. I try to use it as little as possible during Passover (during the rest of the year there are some pretty good margarine options, like Earth Balance), but some things need it. When possible I use oil over margarine, especially if I can use olive or grapeseed (Passover margarines are made from cottonseed oil).

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Here's the menu of prepared foods we offered this year:

...

Good Lord. How large a staff turns that out? And are all the quantities similar to that of the chopped liver?

Not everything is made in huge quantities, but we send a lot of food out for the week. For instance, we only had to roast 12 turkeys on Saturday night/Sunday morning. :wink:

My parents and I divide our time between the kitchen and the store and we have 2 full-time employees in the kitchen, 1 full-time store person, we add another person in the store for the 3 weeks running up to Passover and had some family helping out a lot. (My sister was in almost daily and a cousin came in a few days.)

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