A cooking intermission

Fridays are my usual big cooking day. We usually have guests for Shabbat dinner. It's the only meal during the week where we all eat together, so I like to make it into something of an event.

Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. My multi-talented cousin, ET, is a lawyer for the State of Florida for her day job. She has also done a fair amount of food writing for various Florida newspapers over the years in her spare time. I believe that she was, for a while, food editor for one of the Florida papers. A couple of weeks ago, she asked me for any unusual recipies I might have for Chanukah.

Many years ago, a bunch of people were coming over for latkes for Chanukah. I decided to get a little funky with the latke varieties. I'm really not a big fan of potato latkes. I made zuccini and sweet potato latkes in addition to the regular Maine potato latke. I served them with cranberry sauce and realized that it is the perfect taste combination. ET loved the idea and asked me to write up the recipies for her article. Here is the article, if you want to take a look at it.


Last night, I mentioned the article to my youngest. He waxed poetic about my potato latkes and about the cottage cheese latkes I made up this past Passover. My youngest is a kid who cares very little about food ( as opposed to his two older siblings and mother) . So when he talks with pleasure about anything that I have made, I'm sure to make it for him. So, this morning, I made up a batch of traditional latkes for us to eat this evening.

Shabbat dinner can't be latkes alone, regardless of what my youngest might think, so I also made chicken bottoms with cranberries, (chicken, sliced onions, black pepper and a dribble of pomegranate molasses - cooked at 350 until nearly cooked, then flip over all the chicken pieces so that each piece ends up crispy and brown on both sides. Let cool a bit, then pour off cooking juices into a skilletand reduce adding wine if you wish. Cook until syrupy , then pour over chicken)
I had also purchased a side of salmon from our Internet grocery store, because it was such a great price. We probably won't be eating the salmon for a couple of days. I hate frozen fish. So I pickled it.

My parents used to live in Nova Scotia. Given the access to top notch fish, and given the fact that the cooks in Halifax were old world cooks, pickled fish was served often there. My mother makes it for Passover and for Shavuot. I like it because you can make it one day and serve it a couple of days later.

The other thing I love about making pickled fish is that it is a recipe with deep internal logic. I love recipies like that. Whenever I cook from a recipie with that sort of deep logic I know that it comes from a real cook, not a chef with huge staff of underlings, but someone, who like me, is trying to get the most cooking done in an efficient manner. I always feel like someone in a long line of tradition when I cook something that works in that, just right, sort of a way.

In a big covered pan set to boil 1-2 cups white vinegar, 1/3 c sugar and a tablespoon of salt and several juniper berries of about 1 tsp whole. pickling spices. While mixture is heating, cut salmon fillet off the skin and into bite sized pieces. And here, is the elegant part. By the time you are finished cutting up the fish, the salt and the sugar will be fully dissolved and ready for the fish to be thrown in the pot. Cook the fish until done. Allow to cool and then put into a covered container and store in the fridge. This keeps for several days. I can't tell you exactly how long it will last because it always gets eaten before there is a question about the fish going bad.

All of this cooking was completed before 9:00am. ( I just have to make a vegetable for tonight).

Happy Chanukah to all.


  1. Ohmygosh Sarah, in addition to everything else, you are also a wonderful cook! Why am I not surprised?!

    I love potato latkes, but I'm also interested in the cottage cheese ones - do you have a recipe you could share?

  2. I threw these together during Passover. I was feeding 9 people per meal for the little meals and about 15 for the big ones.

    This is I think what I did:

    1 1lb container cottage cheese ( Hood's in the red package is just the best if you live in New England otherwise you want a small curd cottage cheese that isn't too wet..or use what you have)

    1 egg
    enough flour or matza mael to bind
    scant Tablespoon spoon sugar
    pinch salt
    fresh orange peel cinnamom

    combine all . add enough flour/matza mael until you have a batter somewhat looser than library paste.

    fry in butter or oil..


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