Archive for ‘Hanukkah’

December 11, 2012

Simple and Heartfelt | Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball SoupSometimes, you just want soup. When it’s rainy (no snow?) and cold and dreary and grey, you need something that says, “Bubbala, where are your mittens?”

This fantastic soup is something that anyone can make, with the most simple of ingredients.  And it’s pretty much the single most biggest bang for your buck kind of thing you can make.  People love it.  It’s funny like that.  Because you say to yourself, “Really?  This is that good?”

But it is.  You might even get a bit greedy for the leftovers.  But then, you won’t, because you know better and because this is wonderful to share.  Because the leftovers are even better.  And this, in the season of giving is a wonderful thing to give: warming, comforting and 98% love by volume.

This particular recipe/method uses every possible bit of the soup, even the fat that you skim off the top of the stock.  Because thrift is what takes this soup from ho hum to oh nom.  Yeah, I went there.

Matzo Ball Soup, Serves two for dinner, plus five for leftover lunch, so, yeah. Lots.

For the stock

1 split chicken breast, bone in, skin on

2 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on

2 chicken drumsticks, bone in, skin on

2 carrots, quartered

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December 3, 2010

Persephone’s Deli | Salmon on Rye

When I worked in South Orange, New Jersey, there was a little tiny delicatessen (the Town Hall Deli) that claimed to have invented the sloppy joe.  This is not a manwich (i.e., can o’ sauce over ground round).  This is a serious sandwich with usually a couple of types of meat (the original had slices of tongue), cheese, coleslaw and housemade russian, all on rye.  Good stuff.  Those sandwiches could feed a small classroom of fourth graders.  They were huge

Tonight I continued with a Hanukkah theme.  I made the PK version, and wisely made them smaller.  A single slice of toasted rye was slathered with homemade Russian dressing, topped with slices of caraway gouda from Oakvale Farmstead, and piled with celeriac remoulade and pan-seared salmon.

South Orange Salmon Sloppy Joe

For the remoulade and dressing

2 egg yolks

1 peeled garlic clove, minced

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December 3, 2010

Open House at Oakvale Farmstead Cheese

Ladies getting a treat of some corn silage (grown on the premises) and alfalfa.

This morning we drove out to Oakvale Farmstead for their holiday open house.  We were greeted exuberantly by Greta, a golden lab farm dog.  I could tell, it was going to be a delightful morning.  Instantly, Cherub was off and running, enticing Greta to follow her around, which she did without hesitation.

Oakvale ships wheels all over the world.

I met with Dena King-Nossokoff to talk cheese and learn a bit more about how they make their gouda.  The farm is family owned and run.  The King family has a herd of about 20 beautiful and happy dairy cows that provide the milk for their very famous Gouda.  Farmstead cheese, by definition, is made on the farm with only the milk of the dairy animals that live there. 

In their cheese house, you can take a look at the cheese-making room as well as choose from many varieties of cheese including gouda rubbed with Barley’s Russian stout.  We took home a chunk of that, as well as some caraway seed gouda that I’ll use for dinner tonight. 

Aged gouda at the top has a decidedly different look than the young gouda (bottom).

Also swoon-worthy is their

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December 2, 2010

Chrismukkah Fare | Latkes and Bubbly

I know I’m biased, but food has always been, and remains, the keystone of every culture.  It brings people together, allowing families to share, to bond, and to pay homage those that came before them.  Many of the recipes I share here, from pub food, to Spanish stews, to Asian noodles or vegetarian Indian curries are designed to bring people together around the table. 

This effect is even more profound during times of celebration.  Today, I honored the Hanukkah holiday, and in traditional PK fashion, made it my own.  Dinner was a simple supper of really delicious (almost bordering on miraculous) potato latkes, given a twist with a coating of grated parsley root, carrot and onion, and a quick charred cinnamon applesauce, from one of the Kitchen’s chef crushes, Sam Mason.  Served with a crispy Cava from Spain, the meal was festive, without being too heavy.

Anthony Bourdain has said that American cooking is whatever food is being made in American kitchens.  I think if we embrace that variety in our own kitchens, food can help us learn.     

Parsley Root Latkes and Charred Cinnamon Applesauce

1 potato, peeled and cubed

2 T butter

splash of milk

2 parsley roots, peeled

1 carrot, peeled

1/2 onion

2 heaping tablespoons flour

1 egg

salt, pepper, olive oil (both for its symbolic importance and its flavor)

In a small pot, cover the potatoes with heavily salted water and boil until soft.  Drain, and mash with the butter and a bit of milk. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.  (This is a perfect time to use leftover mashed potatoes.)

While the potatoes are cooking, with a box grater or using the shredding blade of a food processor, shred the parsley roots, carrots and onion.  Place grated vegetables in a colander and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt.  Mix with your hands to incorporate the salt.  Allow to sit for five or ten minutes.  In a clean kitchen towel, spread shredded vegetables evenly.  Roll up the towel and twist to squeeze out excess liquid.  Place vegetables in a small bowl, sprinkle with the flour, another generous pinch of salt, and add in the egg.  Mix to coat the vegetables evenly. 

In the palm of your hand, place a heaping tablespoon of the grated vegetable mixture and flatten to make a thin round.  On top of the round, place a heaping teaspoon of mashed potatoes, spreading to almost the edge of the vegetable round.  Place another heaping tablespoon of the grated vegetable mixture to cover the potato and finish the latke.

In a large nonstick pan, heat enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan over medium low heat.  Add the latkes, taking care not to crowd the pan.  Allow to brown before turning, approximately 8 to 10 minutes on each side.  

Serve with sour cream and apple sauce.

Playlist included A Lack of Color, by Death Cab for Cutie.  Seth Cohen once attempted to write a Chrismukkah song to this tune with the lyrics “Moses and Jesus, they both had beards.”

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