Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops

From Williams Family Cookbook at WikiSpaces

Fry bacon in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to
paper towel-lined plate, leaving fat in saucepan (you should have 2 tablespoons bacon fat; if not, supplement with vegetable oil). Reduce heat to medium-low and gradually whisk flour into fat until smooth. Cook, whisking frequently, until mixture is light brown, about the color of peanut butter, about 5 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth in slow, steady stream; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, stirring occasionally; cover and set aside off heat.

Heat 1-tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until smoking, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, dry pork chops with paper towels and sprinkle with 1/2-teaspoon pepper. Brown chops in single layer until deep golden on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip chops and cook until browned on second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer chops to large plate and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon oil, onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and water to now-empty skillet. Using wooden spoon, scrape browned bits on pan bottom and cook, stirring frequently, until onions are softened and browned around the edges, about 5 minutes.

Smothered Porkchops Photo by farm5static at FlickrStir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Return chops to skillet in single layer, covering chops with onions. Pour in warm sauce and any juices collected from pork; add bay leaves.

Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until pork is tender and paring knife inserted into chops meets very little resistance, about 30 minutes.

Transfer chops to warmed serving platter and tent with foil. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer sauce rapidly, stirring frequently, until thickened to gravy-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Discard bay leaves, stir in parsley, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Cover chops with sauce, sprinkle with reserved bacon, and serve immediately. Serves 4

Editor's Note: The serving suggestion for side dish from the source for this recipe is mashed potatoes, rice, or noodles. my suggestion would be collards & biscuits. i have not eaten pork for decades but i still remember nothing comparing to biscuits & gravy with porkchops.

Smothered Porkchops Recipe

3 ounces bacon (about 3 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
vegetable oil
4 bone-in, rib-end pork chops , 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
Ground black pepper
2 medium yellow onions , halved pole-to-pole and sliced thin (about 3 1/2 cups)
table salt
2 tablespoons water
2 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Text Credit: Williams Family Cookbook At || Image Credit:farm5static

Monday, March 12, 2012


"Rugelach [Yiddish: רוגעלך], other spellings: rugelakh, rugulach, rugalach, ruggalach, rogelach [all plural], rugalah, rugala [singular], is a Jewish pastry of Ashkenazic origin."

"Rugelach is a traditional Jewish food that is eaten any time of year, including, but not limited to Shabbat. Despite the fact that it is not fried in oil, some sources indicate that they are traditional on Hanukkah."

"Traditional rugelach are made in the form of a crescent by rolling a triangle of dough around a filling. Some sources state that the rugelach and the French croissant share a common Viennese ancestor, crescent-shaped pastries commemorating the lifting of the Turkish siege in 1793 [this could be a reference to the Battle of Vienna in 1683]. This appears to be an urban legend however, as both the rugelach and its supposed ancestor [the Kipfel or Kipferl] pre-date the Early Modern era, and the croissant in its modern form did not originate earlier than the 19th century [see viennoiserie]."

"An alternative form is constructed much like a strudel or nut roll, but unlike those, the rolled dough and filling is cut into slices before baking."

The word rugelach is Yiddish The ach ending (ך) indicates plural, while the el (ל) can be a diminutive, as, for example, shtetlekh (שטעטלעך, villages) is the plural of shtetl (שטעטל, village), the diminutive of shtot (שטאָט, town). In this case, the root means something like "twist" so the translation would be "little twists," a reference to the shape of this cookie. In this context, note that rog (ראָג) means corner in Yiddish, so it is possible that a more accurate translation would be "little corners.""

"Alternatively, some assert that the root is rugel, meaning royal, possibly a reference to the taste. This explanation is in conflict with Yiddish usage, where the word keniglich (קעניגליךּ) is the dominant word meaning royal."

"Finally, in modern Hebrew, they are known as roglìt (רוֹגְלִית), a postbiblical Hebrew word
Rugelach Photo From Baking For The Cure meaning "trailing vines". The Yiddish word ruglach probably came first. The modern Hebrew is probably a neologism, chosen for its similarity to the Yiddish and its descriptive meaning."

"Rugelach can be made with sour cream or cream cheese doughs, but there are also pareve variants with no dairy ingredients, so that it can be eaten with or after a meat meal and still be kosher. Cream cheese doughs are the most recent, probably American innovations, while yeast leavened and sour cream doughs are much older."

"The different fillings can include raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, chocolate, marzipan, poppy seed, or fruit preserves which are rolled up inside."

From Baking For The Cure

Naama And Asaf's Rugelach Recipe

For Dough: 5-6 cups flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
150 gr. [5.3 oz] melted\soft butter
Zest from half a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 egg beaten [for egg wash*]
For Chocolate Filling:
50 gr.[1.8 oz] bittersweet chocolate
100 gr. [3.6 oz] butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3-4 tablespoons sugar
1\2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

Put all the dough ingredients in a bowl, combine to make dough, and knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic. Wrap the bowl in a cling film or a plastic bag, let sit for an hour and a half, until the dough doubles its volume.

Melt chocolate and butter, add other ingredients for the filling. Chill for 15 minutes. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Slice dough into pieces shaped like right-angle triangles. Spread the filling on each piece. Roll the dough starting at the wide end toward the narrow. Egg wash rolled pieces. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.

If you don’t want to *egg wash the rugelach, 5-10 minutes before the baking ends, brush the rugelach with syrup that was made from 1:1 amounts of sugar and water. Yields about 30 pieces.

Text Credits:Wikipedia || BakingForTheCure || Image Credit:BakingForTheCure

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gefilte Fish ~ Happy Passover *

"Gefilte fish (/ɡəˈfɪltə fɪʃ/, from Yiddish: געפֿילטע פֿיש, german: gefüllter Fisch "stuffed fish") is a Ashkenazi Jewish dish made from a poached mixture of ground deboned fish, such as carp, whitefish and/or pike, which is typically eaten as an appetizer." [*Passover for the year 2012 begins at sunset Friday April 6th.]

"Although the dish historically consisted of a minced-fish forcemeat stuffed inside the fish skin, as its name implies, since the 19th century the skin has commonly been omitted and the seasoned fish is formed into patties similar to quenelles or fish balls. They are popular on Shabbat and Holidays such as Passover, although they may be consumed throughout the year."

"Traditionally, carp, pike, mullet, or whitefish were used to make gefilte fish, but more recently other fish with white flesh such as Nile Perch have been used, and there is a pink variation using salmon. There are even vegetarian variations."

"Ingredients require selecting a fish that is preferably at least 3 kilograms [6.6 lb] in weight. Also required are 1 kilogram [2.2 lb] of brown cooking onions, 200 millilitres [6.8 US fl oz] of vegetable oil [traditionally sunflower oil], salt, pepper, and five eggs."

"The fish is deboned and the flesh mixed with ingredients, including bread crumbs or matza meal, and fried onion. Cooking takes as much as 3 hours."

"Gefilte fish may be slightly sweet or savory. Preparation of gefilte fish with sugar or black pepper is considered an indicator of whether a Jewish community was Galitzianer [with sugar] or Litvak [with pepper], hence the boundary separating northern from southern East Yiddish has been dubbed "the Gefilte Fish Line"."

"This is largely attributed to less availability of fresh fish in the inland areas before refrigeration, with the sugar used to 'mask' the sometimes less-than-fresh taste of the fish"

"The post-WW2 method of making gefilte fish commercially takes the form of patties or balls, or utilizes a wax paper casing around a "log" of ground fish, which is then poached or baked.

"Low-salt, low-carb, low-cholesterol, sugar-free, and kosher varieties are available. The U.S. Patent #3,108,882 "Method for Preparing an Edible Fish Product" for this jelly, which allowed mass-market distribution of gefilte fish, was granted on October 29, 1963 to Monroe Nash. Gefilte fish are also sold frozen in 'logs'."

Gefilte Fish photo at Wikipedia "When this product is sold in cans and glass jars, and packed in jelly made from fish broth sodium is a relatively high 220–290 mg/serving."

From Equal Opportunity Kitchen

Baba's Gefilte Fish Recipe

[A meat grinder is needed for this recipe]
5 lb. pickerel fillets [a combination of carp
pickerel and whitefish]
2 large onions [divided]
4 large carrots [divided]
1 parsnip
4 eggs [rule of thumb is 1 egg per pound of fish
if the fish is filleted skin off]
1/2 cup grated ground almonds [divided]
4 handfuls of matzoh meal [approximately 1 cup]
1 Tbsp Salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups water

In a large stock pot slice 1 large onion and 2 carrots, salt,1/4 c sugar, 6 cups water. Peel 2nd onion and cut roughly to fit meat grinder. Remove skin from fillets [it is suggested to request your fish monger to do this]. Process carrot and parsnip on fine grater or grate with a box grater. Put cleaned fish fillets and 2nd onion through meat grinder. Add carrots, parsnip and onion to fish. Add salt, pepper, eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar. Mix ingredients together - should be loose but hold together. If it feels too loose, add a little matzoh meal to the mix.

At this point you may either form your patties or refrigerate the mix for 30 minutes to let it set. With wet hands, create patties by gently rolling in a circular motion and shape like an egg. Start pot to heat as you're shaping and layering your patties. Very gently lower them into the pot. Be sure not to disturb them until they're cooked and cooled.

Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer, lid on for approximately 2 hours. After the first hour, sprinkle the remaining ground almonds to the pot. To cool, put pot into a sink of cold water - about 1/2 way up the pot. Once the fish is completely cooled, move to a serving platter and refrigerate until time to serve. Yield on 5 lb. of fish is 24 patties. Serve with red horseradish.

Text Credits: Wikipedia || EqualOpportunityKitchen || Image Credit: Wikipedia

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hamantaschen ~ Happy Purim

The word "hamantash" is singular; "hamantashen" is plural and is the word form more commonly used. However, many people refer to these pastries as hamantashen even in the singular [for example, "I ate an apricot hamantashen"].

A hamantash [or hamentasch, see: Other names; Yiddish המן־טאַש] is a filled-pocket cookie or pastry in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine recognizable for its three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center.

It is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim. While occasionally seen other times of year in secular contexts, this is not traditional. Hamantashen are made with many different fillings, including poppy seed [the oldest and most traditional variety], prunes, nut, date, apricot, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, chocolate, dulce de leche, halva, or even caramel or cheese. Their formation varies from hard pastry to soft doughy casings.

Other names: Hamantash is also known as hamentasch, homentash, homentasch, or even [h]umentash. The name "hamantash" [Yiddish: המן־טאַש], is commonly known as a reference to Haman, the villain of Purim, as described in the Book of Esther. The pastries are supposed to symbolize the defeated enemy of the Jewish people, and thus resemble the "ears of Haman".

“Naked Archaeologist” documentarian Simcha Jacobovici has shown the resemblance of hamantaschen to dice from the ancient Babylonian Royal Game of Ur, thus suggesting that the pastries are meant to symbolize the pyramidal shape of the dice cast by Haman in determining the day of destruction for the Jews.

Another possible source of the name is a folk etymology: the original Yiddish word מאָן־טאַשן [montashn] or German word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches, was transformed to Hamantaschen, likely by association with Haman. In Israel, they are called Oznei Haman [Hebrew: אוזני המן‎], Hebrew for "Haman's ears" in reference to their defeated enemy's ears.
Hamantaschen Photo by Yoninah
Another folk story is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat ---thus the shape.

Hamantashen can cause drug tests for opiates to show up positive if eaten in large amounts due to the amount of poppyseeds in them.

From Liz Kratz' Classically Kosher

Hamantaschen Recipe

4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted margarine
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 tsp milk/rice milk/water
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of your favorite filling

Cream together margarine and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla. Separately, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the egg mixture with the mixer on low, alternately with water or rice milk. Chill the dough for 1 hour to overnight, then roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, and using a water glass or round cookie cutter, cut into 2" rounds. Fill with 1 heaping teaspoon of your favorite filling, and draw up sides for triangle. Seal edges with cold water. Bake at 375° for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Text Credit: Wikipedia || Liz Kratz' Classically Kosher || Image Credit: Wikipedia

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Crown Roast Lamb aka Rack Of Lamb

"A rack of lamb or carré d'agneau [though this may also refer to other cuts] is a cut of lamb cut perpendicularly to the spine, and including 16 ribs or chops. At retail, it is usually sold 'single' [sawn longitudinally and including the 8 ribs on one side only], but may also be sold as a "double rack of lamb", with the ribs on both sides."

"Two or three single racks of lamb tied into a circle make a "crown roast of lamb". Crown roasts are sometimes cooked with (ground-lamb) stuffing in the middle."

"Rack of lamb is often "frenched", that is, the rib bones are exposed by cutting off the fat and meat covering them. Typically, three inches of bone beyond the main muscle (the rib eye or Longissimus dorsi) are left on the rack, with the top two inches exposed."

"Rack of lamb is usually roasted, sometimes first coated with an herbed breadcrumb persillade. Persillade is a sauce or seasoning mixture of parsley [French: persil] chopped together with seasonings including garlic, herbs, oil, and vinegar."

"In its simplest form, just parsley and garlic, it is a common ingredient in many dishes, part of a sauté cook's mise en place. If added early in cooking, it becomes mellow; but when it is added at the end of cooking or as a garnish, it provides a garlicky jolt. It is extensively used in French and Greek cuisines, as well as in Cajun, Louisiana Creole, and Quebecois cuisines."

"The simplicity of the basic combination invites variations, either by adding other ingredients or substituting other herbs, such as bay leaf, oregano, basil or tarragon, for the parsley. Combined with bread crumbs, it is used as crust for roasted veal or lamb chops. The addition of lemon zest creates gremolata, a traditional garnish for braised lamb shanks. Anchovy is a common addition in Provençal cooking. A small amount of olive oil is often added to persillade to make it easier to work with."

"The tips of the bones are sometimes decorated with paper frills resembling chefs'
Crown Roast Lamb Photo by thejustifiedsinner at Flickrtoques. The toque most likely originated as the result of the gradual evolution of head coverings worn by cooks throughout the centuries. Their roots are sometimes traced to the casque a meche [stocking cap] worn by 18th-century French chefs."

"The colour of the casque a meche denoted the rank of the wearer. Boucher, the personal chef of the French statesman Talleyrand, was the first to insist on white toques for sanitary reasons. The modern toque is popularly believed to have originated with the famous French chefs Marie-Antoine Carême and Auguste Escoffier."

From wikibooks Cookbook

Crown Roast Of Lamb Recipe

2 racks of lamb, trimmed and frenched
2 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder

Brush both racks with olive oil. Sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder, and kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rub herbs into flesh. Place both racks in a bundt pan and tie end bones together with butcher's twine. Place on the middle rack of the oven and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 145° for medium rare. Remove and let rest 10 minutes. Serve.

Editor's Note: my tweak for this recipe would be to use a breadcrumb stuffing instead of the ground lamb stuffing.

Text Credit: Wikipedia || Wikipedia || Wikipedia || wikibooks Cookbook
Image Credit: Flickr