Archive | December, 2006

Chinese Food

26 Dec

Eating Chinese food and going to a movie on Christmas has been a tradition for as long as I can recall.  Though I didn’t participate in the ritual this year, I did enjoy a song about it.  You can too.  Just click on this YouTube link.  Enjoy.

Passover already?

25 Dec

I don’t mean to be an alarmist or scare anybody, but Passover is just over 3 months away.  For most people, this means very little – you probably won’t start worrying about it for another couple of months – or maybe longer. For those of us in the kosher food world, it’s much sooner than you think.

A couple of years ago Canadian Living magazine asked me to provide them with some recipes for Passover.  At the time, I hadn’t started writing my own recipe columns, and I couldn’t believe how early they needed the information.  For the most part, I’m a cook-as-you-go sort of person.  I can tell you how I do something, but I rarely know the measurements or the cooking times.  Only when I’m writing a recipe for publication do I actually write everything down and time it.  So there I was in December of 2004 hosting a Passover Seder.

I’ve now been writing my column for a year and a half and I remember how hectic last year was.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I run a kosher food store, and you can probably imagine how crazy it gets (or maybe you can’t… believe me, it’s hectic).   Because the store was so busy leading up to (and including) Chanukah, we’ve decided to close for a week.  While everybody else is on vacation, I’m diligently working on recipes.  That’s right.  Tomorrow the cake meal will make it’s first appearance of the season.

Now, I didn’t mean to worry you.  You have plenty of time to worry about Passover.  I’m just getting a jump on it.  By the way – the first of my Passover supplier lists has already arrived.

Chinese Kreplach?

24 Dec

Tonight dinner was a simple affair.  I had a crazy morning at work yesterday – fighting the Christmas food shoppers to get some needed fruit and vegetables for work.  As I pushed my way through the crowds and glimpsed the long line-ups at the cash registers, I decided that picking up some things for home would be a good idea.  The thought of returning to the store after work was too stressful!

I’ve had visions of wonton soup in my head for a few days now, so I bought some baby bok choy, Chinese broccoli, snap peas, mushrooms and green onions.  The chicken stock, wonton wrappers and ground chicken I had at work – and everything else was at home.

The wonton filling was a mix of ground chicken, finely chopped mushrooms and green onions, fresh ginger, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and 1/2 of an egg white.  I let the wrappers thaw, brushed the edges with water – filled with some chicken filling and set aside.

As the wonton assembly was under way, I was slowly bringing the chicken soup (diluted with water) to a simmer.  In went some quartered mushrooms – after a few minutes the wontons and then the Chinese broccoli went in.  Simmer another minute or two and in goes the baby bok choy and the peas.  Seasoned with soy sauce and it was ready to go.

Easy to put together, and one of my favorite soups.  The trick to making this not a good soup, but a great soup, is using really good homemade chicken broth.  Tonight I used broth from work (made the same way I would make it at home) – but plans for this week is making a big batch of chicken soup at home.  I’ll eat some of it as ‘classic Jewish chicken soup’ and hopefully have enough to stick in the freezer for the next time I’m craving the wontons.

It’s all over.. Chanukah that is.

24 Dec

Last night was the final night of Chanukah for the year.  I love to see the Chanukiah with all nine candles glowing.  I hope you and yours had a nice holiday and a good Shabbos. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a break from fried foods!

How do you spell Channukkahh..

21 Dec

Please check out the LeeVees.  Watch their video – and click on “Hear the LeeVees!” (scroll down on the left) to hear the latkes frying (or a song aboug it)!

Chanukah oh Chanukah..

21 Dec

As we’re still in the midst of Chanukah it seems appropriate that the first recipe I share is for potato latkes.  There are so many recipes out there – and many of us use the same recipes and techniques that have been passed down in our families for generations.   My recipe is nothing new – but I like the results. 

Before we begin, some latke pointers:

  • Use a box grater to grate vegetables. If making large quantities, use a food processor. Squeeze as much liquid from the vegetables as you can.
  • Grating the onion first, then tossing the potatoes with the onions as you grate them will help keep the potatoes from oxidizing and turning that blueish grey that is so appealing.
  • Use a non-stick or cast-iron frying pan for frying. Heat 1/2″ of canola or vegetable oil over medium (350 degrees). The oil should be hot enough for the latkes to sizzle and bubble as soon as they touch the oil, but not too hot or they will burn before they are cooked through.
  • Drain the cooked latkes on paper towel.
  • Fry one latke and taste it, checking the seasoning before frying the whole batch. If you like things light on salt and pepper cut back my quantities – taste one and add seasoning to suit your tastes.
  • Serve with apple sauce, sour cream, creme fraiche or tzatziki.
  • Latkes are best served hot, right out of the pan (after draining). If you are feeding a group, place the fresh latkes on a baking sheet and keep in a 200º oven as you make them. If necessary, they can be frozen, thawed and reheated on a baking sheet at 350º degrees, uncovered, until warm (about 10-15 minutes).

Traditional Potato Latkes
1 large yellow onion, peeled and shredded
2 lbs. red potatoes (5 medium), peeled and shredded
2 whole eggs
3 T. flour
1 1/2 – 2 tsp. salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Grate the onion and potato, drain and place in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, flour, salt and pepper and mix well.

Heat oil and use two spoons to place batter gently into the oil (use about 2 T. of mixture for each latke). Fry for about 4 minutes, or until the edges start to brown, then turn over and cook another 3-5 minutes until both sides are golden brown.

Transfer to paper towel, drain and enjoy.
Makes 12-14 latkes.

Here we go…

21 Dec

I decided it’s time to jump on the bandwagon and start this blogging thing.  

For those of you who have no idea who I am, let me introduce myself and give you a little of my background.  I live in Winnipeg, Canada and work in the family business.  We have a kosher food store and a catering operation.  I grew up in the business and it made sense to continue on with the parents after graduating from university (with a degree in hotel and restaurant management).

Over the last few years, with me pushing and prodding the whole way, our business has changed focus.  We up and moved our store to another part of our city (following the customers) and are building the grocery part of the business by leaps and bounds.  Our years of catering several large functions (weddings, bar mitzvahs, etc.) are over – but the smaller functions and day-to-day catering has picked up tremendously.  We have a lot of fun, and work like crazy.

A few years ago I decided to push myself to get a cookbook written.  I’d thought about it for a long time and didn’t really know how to get started.  After writing 70 recipes, I put together a proposal and sent it out to numerous publishers across North America.  A few offers came in, and I happily signed with Whitecap Books.  An American company, M. Evans (now a part of The Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group) bought the US rights.

Another 70 recipes were created, tested and written up and my book, Soup: A Kosher Collection was published in the fall of 2004.  Since then I’ve started writing a bi-weekly recipe column for a local paper and have had several columns published in other papers across North America. 

My plan is to continue to work on recipes – and I’ll share some of those with you here – and hopefully get another book put together.  I’ll also use this space to share my thoughts about cookbooks and other food books and point you in the direction of things that catch my interest.

I hope you enjoy visiting and contribute to the conversation.
Thanks for taking the time to read.

Best,
Pam

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21 Dec

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