Jewish Archive

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

latke redux


When I brought you rugelach pinwheels last week, I told the story of watching women make this on the Martha Stewart Show and grumbling to myself about why they felt the need to change a cookie that was just perfect from the outset. Why fix what wasn’t broken?

Of course, in the end, the recipe yields the most delicious rugelach in the whole world–even if not better than the original, well-deserving of a heroic place aside them in your repertoire. But, I still stick to my original schtick, which is that if you have a recipe that works splendidly each time, there is no reason to change it.

Why repeat this today? Because I did it–yes, again. Along with a few more recipes from last Saturday’s Hanukah luncheon I hope to work my way through this week, I of course made a batch of latkes. Yet for some harebrained reason I chose to use a new recipe, and not one of the two I made last year that were flawless in every way. They ended up undercooked, then overcooked in the when I decided to finish them in the oven and though not a single person complained, I seriously need to work on practicing what I preach.

Maybe next year I’ll learn.

Happy Hanukah to those who celebrate it! May you eat many delicious latkes, even if you do not.

first night

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

rugelach pinwheels

rugelach pinwheels

Picture this: You’re toweling off after your morning shower, your oatmeal in the microwave, looking into the mirror and thinking as per usual, “my god, am I pale. When is vacation again?” when you hear this noise from the living room. As you get closer, so does the noise, a fluttering, scratching and absolutely frantic in every little way sound. Is it (groan, another) mouse? Why does it sound like a bird? How could there be a bird in the wall? What if it’s stuck? It really sounds spazzed out in there. Calm down, Deb. Surely it’s nothing. It’s probably just a bird on the outside of your thin circa-1870 tenement walls. Sit down, eat your oatmeal, everything is going to be… #$%!!!! BIRD! BIRD! BIRD! BIRD! A BIRD FLEW OUT OF THE RADIATOR. Omg, it is THROWING itself against the window. Halp! HALP!

filling rugelach

You do the logical thing, and call your husband, who is not yet at work, how dare he leave you at home with a WILD ANIMAL banging into the walls. You open the other window, wide, afraid to go near the one that the bird is throwing itself against because, duh, you’ve seen the movie. But it won’t pay any attention to that window, it wants to go out this window and you think, “wow, you really aren’t that bright, are you?” but no, you do not utter the word “birdbrain.” You know who’s in charge here. You finally get your husband on the phone; he’s laughing, you mentally file divorce papers.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

peter reinhart’s bagels

peter reinhart's bagels

Although I’ve never come up short in the crazy category, there are some gastronomical indulgences that even I refuse to make at home. You see, a lot of what drags me into the kitchen is a complaint: I find something dissatisfying in its availability, quality or it brings me ennui. But items on my list of cooking refusals fall into none of these categories, and that’s why I’ll gladly leave the sausage, sushi and bagel making to others in this great city.

everything bagelbagels

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

cream cheese noodle kugel

noodle kugel with cream cheese and cherries

Considering that my parents will celebrate the 40th anniversary of their first date this weekend, it seems only appropriate to use today shed light on a certain farce: my mother didn’t marry my father for his flamenco guitar, his ability to use a hammer and a nail or his promises to love her for the next hereafter. Nope, she married him because when she asked his aunt for the recipe to her delicious noodle kugel, she was told she couldn’t have it until she married my father. And so it was. And you might think this story cruel or careless, but really, mother has been telling me and my sister this our whole lives and my father seems not in the least offended. “I only married him for that noodle kugel recipe,” she says, and everyone nods and smiles because, well, they’ve heard it a zillion times before but also because the kugel is just that good. What’s to question?

dried egg noodles8 ounces cream cheese

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Friday, September 14, 2007

chocolate babka

chocolate babka

If you’ve ever tried to recreate something you loved when you were growing up in your own kitchen, you know how difficult it can to match your taste memory to the reality of ingredients and step-by-step directions. Sometimes, even when you get the flavor right, it doesn’t feel right, but you hold out for those rare times that everything falls into place.

After realizing that both Alex and my families loved the same decadent grocery store chocolate babka growing up, I set out to find a recipe to recreate it at home. I waded through dozens and dozens, convinced that something was off in each of them, continually closing my eyes and trying to remember exactly what makes it what it is.

two and a quarter poundsreduced to rubblebig fat buttery doughthe kitchen was such a mess

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