Candied peel

I don’t do a lot of baking for Christmas, but if I do, it’s likely I’m going to make plum puddings (which, technically speaking, are steamed, not baked), or maybe a fruit cake of some kind.  I haven’t decided yet.  But the time to make either of these has already passed: Stir-up Sunday, which falls on November 22nd this year, is the last Sunday before the beginning of Advent, and is traditionally the day when puddings are made.    A cake rich with fruit and nuts would ideally be made even earlier than this.  So I need to get going, since both cakes and puddings benefit from an aging or ripening period before they are eaten.  And both cakes and puddings have several ingredients in common, one of which is candied peel. […]

Practically perfect pork pie

Now that the Jewish high holidays are over, I feel it’s ok for me to reintroduce some trief into the house … so I thought I’d whip up some pork pies.

I don’t know what it is with me and English-style pork pies … I’ve always loved them. Not only are they tasty – for me, they’re downright addictive, dangerously so, given that they are hardly diet food – they’re just so, well, cute. […]

The perfect meatloaf

Very short post today. Make this:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/lamb-and-veal-meatloaf-polpettone-recipe.html. It’s insanely good. It’s an peculiar cooking method: entirely on top of the stove.  But it works.  When browning it, it might be easier to do it in a shallow skillet … turning the loaf over in a dutch oven is a little tricky.  Once it’s browned, transfer all the oil and the loaf to a larger pot … Continue reading The perfect meatloaf

Challah

Challah is the traditional braided bread of the Jewish Sabbath.  Unlike the heavy, somewhat sour everyday rye-based breads that were eaten by the poor of Eastern Europe, challah is made from white wheat flour, which has a lighter texture and flavour. In addition, it contains eggs, which create an even lighter, fluffier crumb, sugar to sweeten it, and oil to tenderize and enrich the loaf.  On the shtetl, where luxuries were few, challah was a once-a-week treat to remind families of the sweetness of life, and the goodness of God. […]

Gefilte fish

Depending on your experience with it, the words “gefilte fish” will have one of three effects on you:

  • You might say “What’s a gefilte fish?  Is it like a salmon?”
  • You might involuntarily gag a little bit
  • You might start salivating, and say to your self “Get the chrain!”

You’re most likely to have the first response if you’re not Jewish (or if your not an Ashkenazi Jew). The second response  most often comes from those who’ve only ever eaten the supermarket version of this delicacy, which I think is abominable.  The third is what the children of Jewish mothers who were good balabustas are likely to say.  Because homemade gefilte fish is amazing. […]