Sunday, March 24, 2013

Almost Passover - Let the Cooking Begin in Ernest

Joanna called me at 7:30 this morning with her first cooking question of the day - "Since my brisket is huge, and the roasting pan from Grandma Hazel barely fits in the oven, how do I sear the brisket in the oven rather than on top of the stove?"  We decided that 20 minutes at 450°F/220°C should work just fine.  It will look like the photo above, but without the lima beans.  And while she's busy cooking most of the meal, I've dishes of my own to prepare...

I've already sent over the chicken soup.  She'll be doing the matzo balls.  I'll be steaming some carrots, parsnip and turnip to be added before serving. 

I'm going to try an new recipe for Passover Carrot Cake that sounds delicious... I'll keep you posted.  Truthfully, I find most Passover cakes taste like flavored sawdust.  
But there's always the Chocolate Covered Matzo Crunch borrowed from David Leibovitz every year, that is the best candy ever created. 

I might make another favorite flourless cake of mine - Tunisian Date Cake...   if I don't poop out before then.
I love preparing those dishes, but the last dish I'm charged with preparing is the gefilte fish.  I know that many of you are already turning your noses up. In truth, only half the guests Monday night will even try some.  Of those, most will be having large portions and be eyeing some to take home. The other half  will either wolf down the chopped liver Joanna is making or will be enjoying a salad dish, waiting for the bazillion dishes for the main course. 

My grandmother used to make her gefilte fish from scratch, going to her fishmongers and getting the fillets plus the heads and bones to make the broth.   When I was living in Montreal, I did as my mother did before me (to avoid the house reeking of fish broth... I know, some of you find the aroma wonderful... but not me!), I bought it from one of two great Jewish delis, only one of which is still around today - Snowdon Deli still one of my favorite foodie stops when visiting.  Moving to Toronto, meant finding another place to purchase some - that would be my favorite butcher shop - Nortown.  

But here in Halifax... there are no Jewish delis, so I have two choices...
1.  Make my own Baked Gefilte Fish  from scratch which I have tried before, but the flavour and texture was not what I had in mind... not to mention the "aroma" that lingered for days.

2.  Buy Ungar's frozen gefilte fish loaves and simmer them for an hour.... easy, not smelly and pretty much like my memory taste buds require.  

So.... gefilte fish is done,  vegetables have been steamed for the soup, the chocolate matzo and a banana cake are done (Haven't tasted the cake yet, but the batter was bitter.  I hope that's not an indication.  

Now it's time for a rest before the carrot cake. It's a recipe from Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels & Knishes - one of my favorite books, so I'm sure it will be awesome.


Goody said...

Well, I just came here looking for your baked gefilte fish recipe...because I can't get the frozen kind. I'm using cod, as that was the only suitable white fleshed fish I could find. We live on a farm with cattle...I don't think anyone will notice the smell of fish ;)

Hope you have a wonderful Pesach.

Ruth Daniels said...

Happy Passover... and good luck with the gefilte fish.

Patsy K said...

Between our aunt and my mother-in-law, I haven't had to prepare gefilte fish yet... our aunt brings for the Seder and my MIL brings some for us for during the week. I've only had homemade once before and that was probably 15 years ago... I recall it being a very different texture than what we use (they buy the large cans and simmer as it sounds you do).

Just wanted to wish you a Chag Sameach!

Ruth Daniels said...

Patsy, Chag Sameach to you as well.

I hope both your seders were as joyful and noisy - a wonderful cacophony of 4 little superheroes - 4 & 6 year old boys, 2 baby princesses wishing they could join the fun, and 12 adults around the table, enjoying each other's company.