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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dairy Shabbos SuperPost!

So here I was at around 11:30 am on a Friday morning with absolutely no meal plan and no menu. And then, like a lightening bolt flash, the answer hit me. Dairy! Its fun, its unconventional, and I could throw most of it together from stuff I already had around. Plus, Ben and Jerry's made a star appearance as dessert along with chocolate milk and chocolate cake. Fret not, this entire menu, including the whole wheat challa took no more than 4 hours to prepare! I was rushing at the last minute, but that's probably because I took an hour to get a haircut. So, you too can throw together shabbos in less than 4 hours with my magical dairy menu!

Potato-Leek Soup
Leeks can be tricky to clean/check sometimes. My method is to slit it down the middle and take off the outer leaves which are sometimes muddy and yucky. Rinse the whole thing (one pretty largeish leek) and give it a cursorial inspection. Then chop it into rings, leaving off only the toughest tips of the green. Some recipies tell you to throw away the whole green, but IMHO thats pretty wasteful because it cooks to tenderness anyway. But if it bugs you, trim it off and save for soup stock. Take 2 medium yellow onions, peel, and cut into half-moon slices. Heat up a generous dab of olive oil in your soup pot and add the onions and leeks. You can also add garlic. While this is cooking, peel and slice a generous number (6 maybe? mine were small....) of potatoes. Fit this number to the number of people you expect and figure about a potato and a half per person. Add these to the soup pot and let them cook a bit as well. Then fill up the pot with water and let the whole thing simmer while you get your hair done or do something productive like laundry. When the potatoes look more or less like they are about to fall apart, you can either give it body (to match your shiny, gorgeous hair) by pressing the potatoes with a spoon against the side of the pot or by pureeing it with a stickblender or jarblender. Season with salt and pepper.

Honey-Mustard-Dill Salmon
Works with individual pieces or with a whole side of a salmon.
Preheat your oven to 425. Wash the salmon after you take it out of the package (cuts down on the fishyness and smell- I promise!) and arrange it on a baking sheet or rimmed lasanga pan or foil baking pan if you are like most of the singles I know who don't own bakeware. This is easiest with squirt-bottle mustard and similarly equipped honey. Squirt generous dabs of honey and mustard over the surface of the fish and smooth over it with your hands. Use rubber gloves or plastic wrap if you are squeamish. Then take a shaker bottle of dried dill and shake vigorously (think green snowfall) over the coated salmon and follow with peppermill twists. Throw it in the oven and watch it carefully- cooking time will vary on whether you used big or small peices and mine were done in 20 mins- and a good thing too because it was almost lichtbentchen time. Its done when it flakes easily with a knife but still looks tender and juicy. If it looks dry it is. But dont worry cause you can rescue it with.....

My Mom's Famous Tartar Sauce!
Chop up one dill pickle. Spoon enough mayo over it that you can imagine every person at the meal taking a healthy spoonful, but if you mess up its no biggie cause this is easy enough to refill in the kitchen in seconds. Add some capers if you like, thin it with some apple cider vinegar and add a dash of sugar to balance the acidity. Salt, pepper, and more dill- it makes it match the salmon. Garlic or onion powder if you are into that kinda thing.

Mac-and-Cheese Kugel
It doesnt get much easier than this. Or much better. Boil noodles. Use whole wheat and then you can justify pushing more on people by saying "its whole wheat! its healthy for you!" and it doesn't change the taste a whit. Drain and rinse with cold water. Grate about a brick of millers cheddar and crumble almost all of a block of feta. Add most of these, saving some for the top-to the chilled noodles with one egg. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, or whatever looks appealing. Pour into a lightly oiled pan and top with the rest of the cheese and some paprika or cayenne for flair. Bake at 350 to cook it through but finish it slightly higher- 425, say, to get the crispy, browned effect. Sure to generate rave reviews and plenty of food-guilt.

I also served a romaine-hearts of palm salad with a dressing i tried to base on the one on Caravan of Dream's house salad- mmmm. Peel, bruise, and slice a garlic clove thinly. Let this steep in olive oil for a few minutes, then add an equal quantity of rice vinegar and a few dashes of soy sauce and pepper. Pour over the salad, trying to exclude the garlic- it tends to be too bossy if you let it get into the salad but letting it infuse in the oil gives you fresh garlic taste without scaring people.

Comments:
I've never tried with salmon, but with flat fish (trout, bass, etc), I've always soaked it in milk for 10-15 minutes before cooking to remove the fishy smell (although the milk _really_ stinks!). It seems to work better than washing with water.
 
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i always want to make fish for shabbes but i can't figure out how to keep it warm without overcooking it. any suggestions?

PS Can i post to your blog sometimes too? i'm a good cook. i live in chicago.
 
sounds amazing. if you want my brother's recipe for "vegetarian cholent that doesn't just taste like cholent minus meat, and tastes good with cheese", just ask
 
hey rachel, if you want to be one of the contributors send an email to gavriel or shifra; their profiles are posted on the side of the blog, they are the original blog-establishers and have executive powers.
 
Oh wow that meal sounds SO delicious!
We're not really shabbos/dairy people but I believe I will make it my Purim Seduah menu!
 
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