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. […]

My chinois

Several years ago, I was at a friend’s house for dinner, and I saw this amazing utensil hanging from a pot rack in her kitchen.  It was a large, stainless steel cone, with a long handle.  The cone part was made with the finest stainless steel mesh you can imagine.  I asked her about it, and she explained that it was a chinois, and she used it when she needed a very fine strainer for soups or sauces.  She’d purchased in Paris, at the famous kitchenware store,  E. Dehillerin.  Well, I knew at once, that I needed one. […]

Jewish chicken soup

Jewish chicken soup is the ne plus ultra of chicken soups.  Unlike other soups made with chicken broth, Jewish chicken soup – REAL Jewish chicken soup – is simply chicken broth, taken to it’s logical, delicious extreme.  Forget the pictures you see of bowls of soup chock full of chunks of juicy white chicken meat, and glistening vegetables: no balabusta would be caught dead serving that for the soup course of an elegant dinner.  Jewish chicken soup is really more of a chicken consommé: sparkling and clear, with an intense chicken flavour that is rounded out by the essence of aromatic vegetables and an herb or two.  The broth is the main attraction, though simple garnishes are acceptable: some thinly-sliced carrots (or better yet, a brunoise of carrots), and maybe some knaidlachkreplach, or a small mound of fine egg noodles. […]