Archive | April, 2011

six and counting

11 Apr

Freezers, that is.  I actually have 7, but one is not occupied with anything for my business or family at this time (don’t think it’s empty!).  Having this much freezer space may be a dream for some people and I do appreciate it, but it’s hard to keep track and know what you have.

Usually, the freezers get done very close to Pesach and ultimately, I have to throw out lots of food that would have made anyone happy.  This year, I got to the freezers soon after Purim.  I went through each one (of 5) and made a list of what was in there with regard to prepared food and raw meats.  Then I made a calendar and wrote down waht I would use when.   I was so happy to use the raw chicken and meat from the freezer when I would otherwise have bought fresh. Nothing last forever in the freezer, not even chicken and meat.

And, I must say, we have eaten quite well these past couple of weeks.  Gourmet meals on the run up before Pesach, makes me feel so good about myself.  I served chopped meat in eggplant sandwiches, tongue with apricot sauce, shlishkes with prune filling, meat knishes with mushroom sauce, peanut butter mousse dessert, and a host of other delicacies that have been waiting for an opportune moment which never arrived.  Why? because when it comes down to it, I like to make everything fresh.  I leave the delicacies in the freezer for another time, when I will be desperate.  The good part is, I didn’t make it special for the freezer.  I made it for an occassion and had leftovers or made an extra pan.

One faux pas that I made was that last Friday, I cooked a fresh pickled tongue to go with the sauce I found in the freezer labeled “apricot sauce for tongue”.  I sliced the meat and when the sauce was defrosted, I removed the cover and immediately suspected that the container did not contain apricot sauce.  Smelling it confirmed my suspicion; it was chicken soup, put away with a cover that fit the container and had a previous label on it.  I guess I wasn’t all that organized because this week Friday, I found a cooked tongue in the freezer and proceeded to make an apricot sauce to accompany it!

The one freezer I had not cleaned was a small, under the counter size one, that I keep at the end of my hallway.  It basically holds breads, ice cream, frozen vegetables and anything small that doesn’t fit into my kitchen freezer.  At the end of last week, my housekeeper decided to take it in her hands and in fact, I saw a garbage bag full of leftover challah (which I sometimes use to make chicken stuffing).  Then, before Shabbos, I went to the big freezer in the garage to take out what I had planned to serve and saw a 9×13 pan with a plastic garbage bag over it that did not look familiar.  I untied the knot and found an entire pan full of cheese kreplach which had been sitting in that small freezer! 

So this week, as I am trying to turn my kitchen from Pesach to Chometz, my family will be enjoying delicious homemade cheese kreplach made with love many months ago.

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homemade pickles

10 Apr

Just about 2 weeks before Pesach each year, my grandmother would come over,  and together with my mother, start the yearly pickling process.  They covered the basement kitchen counters with sheets, and lined up the large square glass jars.  Some jars would be filled with beets for borscht and others with curbies for pickles.  The jars would then sit on the floor of the boiler room for a couple of weeks until they were ready. 

For some odd reason, the only person that liked the pickles was my mother.  Sometimes, we’d eat them because there were no alternative ones bought.  In retrospect, I think they kinda spoiled sitting in the boiler room.  They got overdone and were a little fizzy, if you know what I mean.  When I started making Pesach, pickles were not on my radar.  I buy them ready from the store, and although they are not as good as the all year round ones, it’s better than homemade.  Or so I thought.

Just the other day, I walked into my brothers’ house and peeked into his Pesach kitchen.  It didn’t look like the cooking had begun but there were 3 jars of beautiful looking pickles fermenting on the counter.  “Oooh, you make pickles?”, I asked him.  He said “yes, and they are wonderful”! 

Since these take about 2 weeks to be ready, if you put them up now, they will be ready for the second days of Yom Tov.

HOMEMADE PICKLES

Ingredients

  • Curbies
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • water to fill
  • jalapeno peppers
  • fresh dill

Directions

Use a glass jar with a 2 piece screw on cover.  Fill the jar with unpeeled curbies.  Add salt, jalapenos (some whole and some cut) and cover with water.  Put the fresh dill on top of the curbies.  Dip the rubber (flat) part of the cover into hot or boiling water to expand it.  Then put it on top of the pickle jar and screw on the cover.  This should make a tight seal.  Keep in a cool place for a couple of weeks until done.