A day of cooking
One of the big principles of telling the Passover story is that you begin with the bad stuff and end with the glory. That is you begin with the story of slavery and idol worship and end with redemption and the promise of Sinai.
Today, my cooking did not follow the story line of the Haggadah. My first cooking task was the easiest one. I made apricot balls. They will be a nice addition to the dessert plate.
You want to make some too? I don’t blame you. Throw a bunch of dried apricots into a food processor. I used a mix of sour California apricots and the sweeter Turkish ones. I added a bunch of almonds and squeezed in the juice of a lemon. I then pulsed the apricots and nuts until they were a nice chunky puree.
I then spread some coconut, sugar and potato starch on a plate. I put some cold water in a bowl to keep my hands damp and made the balls and then rolled them in the coconut mixture. If I had a pre- schooler hanging around the house I would give them the job of making the balls.
They are now sitting in a plastic bag in the freezer.
I then made two small slabs of meat ( coffee and spice rub, sliced onions and diced tomatoes in the pan, cooked until dead).
After the meat was cooked and cooled I sliced it up. I then added a can of tomato paste, some vinegar and some honey and spices to the pan juices and cooked until reduced to a nice syrupy gravy. I packed the whole thing into a bag and now it’s living in my freezer until Seder.
My next task was the hardest, straining the soup. I made the job somewhat easier by leaving all of the vegetables whole.
I often make chicken soup for my family. I usually serve it with the bones and the vegetables I refer to it as “ soup with stuff”. It tastes great but is an unrefined eating experience. One does not serve “soup with stuff” to elegant company.
Passover I make chicken soup like my father did. that involves straining the soup and then squeezing out every bit of goodness from the bones and vegetables so al you are left with is a bunch of cellulose.
This year I used a bit of technology to help me.
This potato masher was probably purchased in 1954. I mashed the vegetables onto the tea towel lined strainer that is sitting over a large soup pot. Then I squeeze the contents of the towel until it looks like the contents of an industrial dish machine.
For those of you not lucky enough to wash dishes in college, like I did this looks like what collects in the trap of an industrial dish machine after several hundred people eat dinner.
You should note that this stuff is hot, even after a few hours with the flame off. I have several blisters on my hands.
This is what the beautiful strained soup looks like.
I am SORE, but this is waiting in my freezer.
One more quart is not pictured. It seems a small and sad amount of soup after two days labor.
I also made chicken latkes with home made ketchup from the boiled chicken in the soup for tonight’s dinner.
They got mixed reviews. I do have ideas about perfecting the ketchup though.