Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Parshat Bo - 6 Shevat - February 3 & 4

As much as last shabbat was quiet, intimate and meaningful - this shabbat is going to be loud fun and busy. My niece is coming for shabbat, and our best friends, still in the throws of home remodeling will be with us for dinner and lunch. We also invited a new friend and her son.

Added to to the cooking agenda is two extra desserts, to bring over to a shiva house. I hope I don't sound egotistical, but it's very satisfying that whenever such an occassion arises, the neighborhood calls on me for desserts -

So here's what I'll do.

Friday Night

Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls - (never made them last week - used kreplach)

Spinach Salad with Hearts of Palm and mustard dressing

Pomegranate Chicken (KBD)
Roast Beef
Jasmine Rice Pilaf
Garlic Potato Galette (KBD again - I give credit where it's due)
Green Beans Almondine

Cherry Crumb Cake
Cookies (I haven't decided what kind yet)

Shabbat Lunch

Cajun Meatloaf
Carrot Raisin Salad
Israeli Salad

By the way, as far as I'm concerned, the real problem with OPC (other people's chulent) is too little seasoning. My chulent is pretty basic, cut lots of onions at the bottom of the crock pot, add beans, barley, potatoes, meat bones and meat. Now - the important part. Mix 1/2 cup flour with 4 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ground pepper, 2 teaspoons garlic powder and 1 tablespoon HOT paprika (not the regular stuff). Sprinkle the whole flour mixture over the meat, pour lots of boiling water over - and put it on low. 5 minutes and you're set.

Sunday night is my father's yahrtzeit - I suppose I should make foods he liked in his memory, unfortunately I really don't remember what he particularly liked, only that he didn't like sponge cake - but that's another story

Shabbat Shalom (and go Steelers! - for Dan)

The best Friday Night Chicken

This is one of the best chicken recipes I make - it stays warm and juicy waiting for in a low oven, and the sauce gets better and better! It also reheats well in a slow oven on shabbat morning.

Honey Mustard Chicken

2 cut up chickens
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon paprika
¾ cup Dijon mustard
2/3 cup honey
¾ cup stock

Mix flour with seasonings. Shake chicken pieces in flour. Brown in hot oil. Put in browned chicken in single layer in baking pan.

Mix mustard, honey and stock. Pour over chicken. There should be a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan, but the chicken should not be drowning.

Bake about an hour at 375 degrees. Will sit around in a slow oven waiting for you on Friday night.

If you don’t overdo it the first bake, will reheat in a slow oven Shabbat morning.

OK, so besides the fact that the chicken (and the rest of the food) were terrific - and much more importantly, we had a great time. We talked, we sang zemirot, and benched. An excellent night altogether!

May all of you have such a shabbat shalom.

Friday, January 27, 2006

My Least Favorite Cookbook

Has anyone else tried to make the "butter"cream frosting recipe from the My Most Favorite Dessert Company cookbook???

Last night, I tried for the third time, and for the third time, I put a batch of yucky, gucky goo into the garbage.

I follow the recipe precisely, I use a candy thermometer -

Does anyone have a clue????

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Time to Make the Challah

This past shabbat, we were invited to friends for lunch and the hostess had made challahs. It was very impressive. And as much as I (and my guys) love Zomicks challahs, it was sufficiently impressive to inspire me to buy yeast yesterday. So Thursday night, I'm going to give it a try, with a recipe that calls for the last rise to be overnight in the refridgerator.

My requirements to make this a regular process are that it takes no more than half an hour on Thursday night, and another twenty minutes Friday morning.

Just in case though, I'll get the Zomicks on Friday anyway.

I'll let you know, and if it works, and it's simple, I'll post the recipe.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Parshat Vaera - 28 Tevet - January 27-28

This parsha has a very "pesach" feel about it, so it's back to matzoh balls in the chicken soup this week.

Luckily, I have 3 quarts of soup in the freezer left from two weeks ago. The rest of my menu for this week is absolutly NOT Pesach.

Friday Night Dinner
Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls

Honey Mustard Chicken
Basmati Rice Pilaf
Garlic Broccoli
Baked Sweet Potatoes

If we end up with company, I'll add Roast Beef and Twice Baked Potatoes

Chocolate Cake with Seafoam Frosting
Cookies (depends on my mood when I get into the kitchen to bake)

Shabbat Lunch

Definitely Chulent, beyond that, it will depend on how many kids are around, so I'll have to figure that out later in the week.

Any suggestions - post a comment.

Enjoy the week - and remember, only 4 and 1/2 days until shabbat!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Two Hour Prep Shabbat

OK, this week, even though our friends are coming for shabbat dinner, since we've been invited out for lunch, I'm going to make an easy Friday Afternoon Only prepped shabbat dinner.

Here's the Menu:

Onion Potato Soup (an article in the newspaper intrigued me)

Nancy's Salad (an online friend/backgammon buddy emailed me a terrific looking recipe)

Roast Chicken (what could be easier!)
Tapas Potatoes (quick, and hold well on the hotplate)
Israeli Couscous with Mushrooms (ditto)
Steamed Veggies

and for once, I'm letting my friend bring dessert

This won't stop me from baking cookies on Thursday night (PBJ's I think)

Want any of these recipes? Leave me a comment.

Shabbat Shalom OoMevorach!


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Parshat Vayechi - 14 Tevet - January 14 & 15

We seem to be in a January thaw, so no chulent this week, but the warm weather won't stop me from making chicken soup. I'm "known" for a great chicken soup, but until this past November, when I bought a great pot at Ikea (11 quarts, giant strainer inside) - I'd never been very specific about my recipe, but now.....

I set up my soup on Thursday night, and leave the pot in the refridgerator overnight, adding the water Friday morning. The added advante to setting up the soup Thursday night is that it ensures that I have to clear all the leftovers and wipe up the refridgerator a little on Thursday night, heading me into shabbat knowing what's around. Other than forcing me to straighten up, and saving me from having to mess with chicken and onions early in the morning, there's no benefit to prepping the soup in advance.

This time of year, the soup goes up at about 6:40 on Friday morning (right after my older son gets on the bus to school) and cooks the whole day. Yes, I leave the stove on all day.

Into the pot (in this order)

3 to 4 pounds chicken (could be a whole chicken, or cut up, or just leg quarters)
1/2 pound pupiks or necks (not just more chicken, they really add flavor)
1 pound carrots, peeled and chunked
3 parsnips, peeled and chunked
2 stalks celery, in 2" pieces
2 leeks, dark green cut away, sliced down the center almost to the base and well washed
2 onions, peeled, left whole
1/2 bunch dill
1/2 bunch parsley
1 tablespoon salt

Add water to the top (if you're using a strainer pot, pay attention to where the top of the pot is). Bring to boil over high heat and immediately lower to slow simmer. For a few minutes, skim off the foam that rises to the top. Do not cover.

Right before shabbat, lift strainer out (or carefully strain soup), leave soup on blech. Add back whatever veggies or pieces of chicken you like.

Please note: no place in this recipe does it say stir, so don't. If you follow these instructions and DO NOT STIR, you will get clear, beautiful golden soup.

Right before serving, pour a cup of hot water from your hot pot over the noodles. And if your soup bowls are not too fragile, put them on top of some warm surface (oven top, blech) to warm them.

After shabbat, any leftover soup goes in quart containers into the freezer. When we have no extra people for Friday night dinner, I can pop a quart right out of the freezer on Friday afternoon, and melt/heat it before shabbat in less than 1/2 an hour. And if anyone is sick, there's always soup..... Personally, I love the boiled chicken, but that's me.

Betayavon - Shabbat Shalom
Shabbat Shalom

Ask my kids, they'll tell you, I live for shabbat. There's something about the feeling of sitting with my boys, in the dining room, with or without guests that just gives me a feeling of peace and joy like no other. All of us find that if for any reason we're not home on Friday night, the whole week is messed up.

Starting on Sunday, the next shabbat is mapped out... guests, meals, which shul (we sometimes switch off). I take great pleasure in making everything from scratch (except the challah - Zomick's is JUST BETTER!!! You could really call shabbat my hobby - and during the chagim, I'm in my glory.

I love to help other people figure out their menus too, so just post or comment, and I'll be glad to assist.


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