More Passover Progress

Yes. I have been busy. Here are the four packages of chicken and one of chicken juice in my freezer. I want to thank my friend Alan for making me think about how to recreate the sense of pesto for a meat meal.
Actually thinking about this chicken I’m reminded of an old Jewish story about a poor man who eats an amazing dish at the house of a wealthy man. he described the dish in detail to his wife…let’s say for this telling that it’s pesto. he describes how it is made with basil and it’s so fragrant, and pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese…it’s simply incredible. the man obsesses about the dish until his poor wife renents and makes it for him.

She can’t find basil in the market, so she uses parsley, pine nuts  are too pricy so she substitutes walnuts, she’s making the dish for a meat meal so the cheese has to be left out..and her husband hated garlic…so she grinds in a lemon to mimic that pungent cheese taste…in the story the husband eats the simpler meal and says…”Eh, what’s the fuss anyway.”. maybe I’m deluded but I do think that the chicken is good though.
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Yesterday I made the charoset. I know that the classic Ashkenazi mix is made out out of chopped walnuts apples and wine. My father concocted a mix that is quite heavenly. I think he began with fruits mentioned in the Song of Songs, but then just put in what ever appealed to him. This year’s charoset  was made with, apples, walnuts, almonds a Meyer lemon, a navel orange, raisins, California ( sour) apricots, figs ( black and light), dates, a few prunes, cinnamon, fresh ginger a bit of  honey and sweet wine.

Growing up, my job was chopping up the charoset with the hand chopper in a big wooden bowl. it was hard work, and perhaps the reason that I still don’t mind wearing sleeveless. After I moved out, my father began to make charoset  in the food processor. It tasted good, but the smooth texture was always a disappointment. Actually, I’m being polite. my sister just told me that it reminded her of dog food.
So of course I chopped by hand.  It took  more than an hour. here it is partially chopped.
charoset -before
Here is the charoset fully chopped.
charoset-after
My mother’s big anxiety each Pesach was the dreaded fallen cake. Pesach cake baking is relatively new to me. I found a recipe for a lemon almond cake from
Leah Leonard's 1949 Jewish Cookery .  I decided to bake this cake because it uses only two tablespoons of matza meal. I figure the less matza, the better chance it has of tasting good. The cake did not fall and the crumbs on the pan tasted delicious. lemon almond cake
As a kid I used to chop nuts for my mother using a little hand mill.  I chopped lots of nuts in that mill. I love being able to use a food processor for the job. It’s much faster and does a better job than the little crank mill.
I think I will add an apricot glaze to the top before serving.

The meat has been duly massaged with spices and is now cooking away.
spiced meat
I will either make matza balls next or move onto the side dishes. Wish me luck.

Comments

  1. whoa, my mouth is watering! I made charoset from Florence Greenberg's Jewish Cookery book, which I picked up at a school fete on time. I really liked it.
    I think your father's version sounds pretty tasty!
    What is the difference between a Meyer lemon and other lemons?
    Thanks,
    Sandy

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  2. Nice memories Sarah. I hand cranked nuts for my mom too. I agree, the processor for nuts, a knife for fruits.

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  3. Sandy -

    A Meyer lemon is a sweet variety. It has really smooth skin and is almost sweet enough to eat like an apple. It has a great flavor with a bit of perfume to it. It has a short season.

    The charoset is good it has a dark and gignery flavor.

    Ann -that hand cranked nut chopper is a perfect job for little kids. you can't hurt yourself and it's just the right job for a 3 year old to do.

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