Kreplach

Matzoh Balls are for Passover, Kreplach are for Rosh Hashana.  That’s our family tradition.  For those of you who spent part of today trying to get a head start on the holidays, here is what we prepared in our kitchen.  Chicken soup, two kinds of Challot and Kreplach.

Kreplach

Cooked soup chicken ( I used 5 of the thighs from the pot of chicken soup)

2 medium onions, finely chopped

3 Tbs oil

4 Tbs chicken soup

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Saute onions in oil over low flame till golden brown.  Chop the soup chicken by hand in a wooden bowl, using a hackmesser.  Add sauteed onions, salt and pepper, and 3 Tbs chicken soup. Mix well.

Place 1 tsp chicken mixture into center of each wonton skin. Dip your finger in water and wet the outer edge of each skin before sealing the kreplach to create a better seal.

Place the kreplach on a cookie sheet and freeze.  When frozen, remove from sheet and place in freezer bag.  On the day you plan to serve the kreplach, line a cookie sheet with wax paper, separate kreplach on sheet and allow to defrost. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil.  Drop kreplach in, a few at a time,  for about two minutes.  Remove with slotted spoon and place  2-3 in the bottom of each soup bowl and set aside. When you are ready to serve, add piping hot chicken soup to bowl.

Alternative preparation: Norm fried some up (see above) and froze them. They just need to thaw out and sit in the hot soup for a few minutes.

Yield: 40 Kreplach

Here is a photo and a link to the King Arthur Four Recipe for this challah.  We tested one out last week and loved it!

Harvest Apple Challah

Shana Tovah,

Irene

Schav Borscht (Sorrel Soup)

Mother’s Day may feel like a Hallmark holiday but it does force us to stop whatever we are doing for a minute, an hour, or a day, and think about our mothers or our role as mothers.  My mother was a petite, olive-skinned woman with medium brown hair and the deepest set blue-grey eyes I have ever seen.  Those eyes had seen the best and the worst of humanity but in the end my mother chose life and all that it had to offer.  Nothing was more important to her than her family, her daughters, and especially her grandchildren.  She would kvell at their every achievement, smile when they smiled, and if they experienced a moment of sadness or pain, you could see the sadness reflected in those deep blue-grey eyes.  She was the embodiment of a yiddishe mamma.

As mothers, we all know that motherhood is much like a roller coaster ride, thrilling and frightening at the same time.  On this mother’s day I want to thank my husband Norm and my children, Shira, David and Micah for giving me the opportunity to experience the ride. Nothing could be better.

Michael Yanow, a friend and colleague, took this generational photograph of  his grandmother sitting at her vanity.
http://www.storiestoldbythecamera.com/?p=589

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

Here is one of my Mom’s favorite cold soups.

Sorrel growing in my garden

Schav Borscht

1 lb. schav (sorrel leaves)

6 cups water

1 lemon, juiced

1 tsp salt

2 egg yolks

1/2  cup sour cream

Wash the sorrel well, removing the tough stems and chopping the leaves coarsely.

Bring the water to a boil, add sorrel, lower heat and cook for about 20 minutes.

Remove from heat. Add salt. Slowly add lemon juice until the desired tartness is achieved.

In a small bowl beat the egg yolks well. Add a few tablespoons of the soup to the yolks and then stir yolks back into remaining soup. (Delete yolks if you are worried about egg related illnesses)

Whisk in 1/2 cup sour cream.

Chill and serve in a tall glass along with a bowl of hot buttered mashed potatoes.

Note: I wrote my post before I read this article but had to share the coincidence.  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/dining

Enjoy,

Irene

Matzoh Balls

When my sister and I get together and reminisce, it is hard to believe that we grew up in the same house with the same parents.  We not only have different memories of the same events, they are sometimes so different that it is even hard for us to believe that we had the same mother.  We can spend hours arguing and laughing over how MY mother prepared a dish in comparison to how HER mother prepared it.  So, it is not surprising that our taste in Matzoh Balls also differs.  My sister prefers small hard matzoh balls, and I prefer the large, soft, fluffy variety.  She may be my older sister, and  l love her, but here is MY version of Knaidlach, which is what my mother called them.

Fluffy Matzoh Balls

4 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup matzoh meal

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

Process all of the ingredients for about 10 seconds. Place in fridge for about an hour. Shape into balls and add to a large pot of salted, boiling water . Cook covered for about 45 minutes.

Makes 12 matzoh balls.

Enjoy,

Irene

Red Lentil Soup

We are weeks away from Passover and I am starting to feel the pressure. What is it about this holiday that brings out an obsession with cleanliness in a way that is totally and completely out of character?  I approach the task with a vengeance, a virtual attack on that lurking piece of hametz that might otherwise be missed.  Each year this personal struggle re-surfaces.  When does my preparation for Passover morph into my being possessed by Passover?  There are those who have said that when people are less knowledgeable regarding the rules governing Pesach, they have a tendency to go overboard.  Is that really what it boils down to?  Ignorance?
I remember my mother sharing memories of her family’s preparations for Passover in pre-war Poland.  Her home was whitewashed each year, linens were boiled and pillows were opened and re-stuffed with additional feathers from ducks and geese that were freshly slaughtered. (The fat was rendered and put away for Passover to eat with matzoh) My own childhood memories of Passover preparations thankfully did not include the killing of ducks and geese but I do remember my mother spending hours on her hands and knees polishing parquet floors with Johnson Paste Wax.  She insisted on cleaning our apartment windows and I can remember watching her perched outside the 4th story window with nothing to keep her safe other than the double hung window pulled down tightly across her lap.  Only her legs were dangling inside the apartment and, as a child, I held onto them for life.
So here I am in the weeks before Pesach contemplating what the next few weeks will bring and wondering how successful I will be in my pursuit of moderation.  This past week I took my first step as I gingerly approached the pantry.  I looked inside and pondered the contents.  I still have hope that some interesting recipe will inspire me to prepare the freekeh I recently purchased but the matzoh meal from last year had to go.  Some things will be used over the next few weeks, leaving less to pack up and sell.  Standing in front of the pantry I realized that, for me, all this preparation is a way to impart the importance of Passover and it’s traditions to our children in a non-verbal way, as it has been done by women for generations.  What better way to convey the seriousness in which I approach the holiday and all that it stands for.  The hard work, attention to detail and the pursuit of that last piece of hametz is my personal way of telling the story of Passover. Ultimately we hope to create memories that our children will recall and pass on to their own children.  We hope that the lesson is well learned and joyous and as for moderation, it is probably overrated.
Here is a recipe for a soup that I made using the red lentils I found in the pantry.

Puree of Red Lentil Soup
2 Tbs  olive oil
2 Tbs. butter
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup red lentils
2 tsp. Spanish smoked paprika
3 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup whole milk
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in soup pot till hot and then sauté chopped carrots, onions and garlic until soft or for approximately five minutes.  Add lentils and stir well. Add salt and pepper and paprika.  Pour 2 cups water over lentils and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook till lentils are very soft, about 30 minutes.  When done, let cool slightly and add butter and milk.  Then purée contents and serve.
Serves 4-6.
Enjoy!

Irene