Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Kugel for breakfast

Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes RevisitedI'd had Arthur Schwartz's Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited by Arthur Schwartzon my to-read list for years, and finally found it at the library to look through it. I'd had a taste of Jewish cuisine from an excellent deli in town and wanted to try more.

It was interesting to thumb through this cookbook on the heels of reading  97 Orchard : An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement, because much of the information in the chapter on Jewish Immigrants was mirrored in the textual parts of this cookbook. Schmaltz is praised and utilized like crazy; this is old-school Jewish cuisine! The recipes come from the Ashkenazi tradition more or less, but it feels like Polish grandmother food. Same difference, maybe. Hearty, full of fat, and full of tradition.

I bookmarked quite a few recipes to try, but the idea I kept coming back to involved pasta for breakfast.  Sweet kugel, that elusive, mysterious creature, would be mine!  There are two recipes for sweet kugel in this cookbook, I picked the recipe that didn't ask for pot cheese, since I wasn't sure I could find that anywhere.

This is my rendition of Anne Whiteman's Birthday Kugel.  It is a grandmother dish too!  Anne Whiteman is the mother of the man who helped create Windows on the World, the restaurant well known for its presence in the World Trade Center.  I mixed it up the night before and by morning, the citrus zests and creamy custard were ready to permeate the noodles.  It felt like home, and I made a silly post in Facebook about kugel making me believe in reincarnation.  Well - I'd never had a sweet version before, but it felt so familiar and homey.  I suppose that is what traditional, comfort food is for. 

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Lower Carb Pie Crust - Coconut-Almond

I was playing around with ingredients and came up with a crust that was nice with the berries and a sugar-free glaze.

Coconut Pie Crust
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 cup other flour (I used a combination of almond flour and graham cracker crumbs)
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg

Mix dry ingredients, toss with wet until blended and dough sticks together lightly.  Press into pie plate.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until browned and your house smells amazing.  Let cool before filling with some kind of summery filling that you can chill to set.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Nora Ephron's Key Lime Pie

"The pie I threw at Mark made a terrific mess.... The Key Lime Pie is very simple to make. First you line a 9-inch pie plate with a graham cracker crust. Then beat 6 egg yolks. Add 1 cup lime juice, two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk, and 1 tbsp grated lime rind. Pour into the pie shell and freeze. Remove from freezer and spread with whipped cream. Let sit five minutes before serving.... I should add that the pie was hardly the first thing I'd thought of throwing at Mark...."
-Nora Ephron, Heartburn, Random House (1983 print, 2013 audio)

Who wouldn't want to make a key lime pie after it played such a pivotal role in this story?  Heartburn is Nora Ephron's first novel, and I recently listened to the audiobook.  Ephron would go on to make some of my favorite films (Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, etc!) but this is where she started.  Each chapter involves some kind of recipe that came from her own collection.  They are told in this narrative fashion, as the main character is a cookbook writer who can rattle off recipes like they are stories.

The scene involving the key lime pie also made it into the movie, where Meryl Streep stars alongside Jack Nicholson who plays Mark.  The audiobook is read by Meryl too, so it was a nice tribute to the movie.

I used the slight tweak on the recipe as desribed by the blogger at A Common Sea, with a little less juice and a little more zest.  I also used a pre-made crust because then I could bring it to work without having to bring dishes home.

Nora Ephron’s Key Lime Pie

6 large egg yolks
¾ cup key lime juice (I used bottled)
2 Tbsp lime zest (I used a regular lime)
2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk
9”-10” graham cracker crust
A few slices of lime for garnish
Whipped Cream
  1. Beat the 6 large egg yolks in a large bowl. Add lime juice, zest, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until well blended.
  2. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust pie shell.
  3. Freeze 6 to 8 hours, until firm.
  4. When ready to serve, allow pie to thaw for a few minutes on counter. Add whipped cream (if you’d like) and lime slices for garnish.
  5. Cut and serve. Throwing at your husband is optional.
This isn't my favorite key lime pie ever; I tend to prefer the custardy baked kinds.  But this was about using Nora's actual recipe!  I brought it to a meeting and by the time the meeting was over, the pie had melted and morphed into a less appetizing cold key lime pudding.  Definitely make this when you can control when and how it is served!  With the key lime juice, it was very tart and refreshing.