Showing posts with label latkes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label latkes. Show all posts

Thursday, January 16, 2014

SCHMALTZ

Have you heard of the word 'schmaltz?'...it is an old Yiddish word for 'rendered chicken fat'. Back in the old days in Eastern Europe when margarine wasn't invented (which is so unhealthy)...butter, which was too expensive to cook with, you could make this natural, humble 'liquid gold' just from slowly cooking down the skins, and the fat part from the chicken, adding some chopped, or sliced onions (I also added a couple garlic cloves, sliced thin) You couldn't imagine a Jewish household not having their freshly made schmaltz. The best part of the skin from the chicken to render fat is the breast, and using a bunch of backbones which you can buy for very cheap price at the grocery supermarket.
There's so many uses of this fine homemade schmaltz...matzo balls, potato latkes, chopped liver, roasted chicken, and even the American southern dishes; hush puppies, corn bread, and for pie crusts...just to name a few. It may seem like an odd word...SCHMALTZ; which can also describe something expensive, or maybe something 'corny'! Old Yiddish words, used in phrases are totally hilarious!

You probably are familiar with some of these Yiddish words.
KLUTZ= an awkward person.
OY-VEY= how terrible things are.
SCHMUCK=jerk
SCHMOOZ= (is to kiss up to somebody)
SHLEP= carry, or dragging something
NUDNIK= a pest, an annoying person

SHLEMIL= dummy, loser *
SHLIMAZL=unlucky person*
Ever wondered about the 'theme song' of the beloved and funny show from the seventies what they meant?...shlemil, and shlimazl...still love the re-runs!

Chicken Schmaltz
(my way) by:Elisabeth

2 lbs. chicken backs, and roughly cut up
skins
1 large onion, cut into thick slices
2 cloves garlic, sliced

Place the chicken backs, and skins in a large heavy skillet. Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and on low heat start simmering the chicken backs and skin. After about 10 minutes, push the pieces aside, and add the onion and the garlic.

Continue to cook for another 45 minutes on low
heat. Keep stirring often. You will see the golden liquid and the chicken and onion slightly colored. Do not get it too dark. As you can see in the photo, the onion has a nice golden color to it. Remove the chicken backs to a container (do not discard) You can make a nice chicken broth with the remaining pieces. Discard the onions, and strain the schmaltz through a fine sieve into a container, or jar with a tight fitting lid. Cool, cover, and refrigerate until needed.


 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Thanksgiving came...and went this year; with less family members, and less friends. Each year it is different than from the year before. Isn't it true, that during the major holidays we lose family and friends to 'death' or they just move away...move on...never to be heard from, again...or for a long time...no connection?... it does make one sad, but 'life does go on' and we have to make the best of it!
We have so much to be thankful for, and count our blessings even if its for our every day lives that we interact with other family members and friends that we see often, or once in-a-while! As far as some of our neighbors...well, in my situation where I live; that is very awkward. I hear the srong gusty winds these days, and the 'roaring ocean'. It is always
 10 or more degrees cooler here, so this week one day, I woke up to what seemed to be freezing temperature, when others further up north, or in other parts of Europe had way below freezing and snow storms...no doubt!

Families in neighborhood communities; they treat each other with respect, and care about one-another! Even with the elderly folks that live alone are invited to holiday gatherings, so they don't have to feel left out. For example; my direct next door neighbor...an elderly retired professor, does not speak to anyone...just keeps to himself. He eats every meal...out! I do worry about him, especially during holidays because he does not even have one friend...always alone! I offered several times to help in any way, but I get rejection...so sad!

...let's get on with the rest of the Thanksgiving 'feast'...and recipe for the Cranberry Upside-Down Cake!

For the Cranberry Upside-Down Cake, I used the recipe from my sweet daughter Lora's blog @

note: if you don't have cake flour, it is important to substitute correctly for all-purpose flour but you have to make adjustment to it!
For the 1 1/4 cup of cake flour used in the recipe: use 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour: remove 2 Tbsp. of flour, before sifting, and then replace it with 2 Tbsp. corn starch and add it to the flour, then sift together.
The basic rule; to substitute all purpose flour for cake flour;
Remove 2 Tbsp. flour per each cup of flour used! (you can omit the cornstarch replacement, but it does make it lighter)
I use a square glass Pyrex pan, sprayed the pan with Pam baking spray, cut out parchment paper to fit the inside of the pan, and sprayed that, as well.
The baking time; 350 degrees F. for 45 min. was absolutely correct temperature.
I used a small baking pan to place the cake pan on it, so when it came out of the oven, I could just flip the cake over on it, or your can flip it over directly on a platter. It was a lot easier this way, and peeling of the parchment paper was very easy. After cooling it down for 10 minutes, I was able to slice it and place the slice on the serving platter.
So, there you have it! The best moist cake...ever! I must confess, I like to trim the edges of cake, and devour it, myself...selfish? you bet! ...not feeling guilty, at all...I do it every time, especially when I make brownies, all edges are trimmed off and if you happen to be close by, I will share the fun and yummy pieces with you, but other than that I will offer the entire cake, and not save any pieces for myself! (my rules for me.)
We share Thanksgiving feast with 20 people w/kids included...everyone pitched in. 2 huge turkeys, and lots, and lots of side dishes...and desserts! Just a few samples of the 'feast'...we all gained at least 5 lbs. each; at least!
Second huge turkey...not stuffed, stuffing on the side.
Can't have Thanksgiving or Christmas without the traditional French's Green Bean Casserole, which I make every year...(photo from last year...here's the recipe) French's Green Bean Casserole

Traditional 'super easy' to make Cranberry Sauce...and old recipe that I've made for years which now my daughter makes each year.  Here's the recipe: Thanksgiving Cranberry Sauce

 Lora's Classic Pumpkin Pie...(she made 2 this year)...also with homemade crust...yumm!
Here's the recipe: Classic Pumpkin Pie
Hanukkah candles were lit by Dr. Eric's son, River...a 'true inter-faith' group of people, with different heritage, nationality; Italian, Sicilian, Jewish, Hungarian, Polish, Irish and English, Colombian, and Mexican...( a united nation of different backgrounds)...and various religions...Jewish, Catholic, Christian, and Southern Baptist.
Blessings were recited by Dr, Eric's father, nonno Gil...
Nonno Sal...with his prayer and blessings (he wanted to have this special prayer in case he will not be here with us next year)...sigh!
Here are some of group sitting at the dinner table...Dr. Eric on the front left, (looks like I was the only camera person taking some photos)...others took I-Phone photos for their 'Instagram' ...OK, so I'm old fashioned!

The big kids (tweens, and teens)...enjoyed their meal outside on the back patio!
...a little 'nippy' temperature, but the fire pit kept them cozy and warm!


 I am such a proud grandmother of 4...three, which are not shown. They are my greatest blessings and joy, along with their parents...my two children and their spouses! Without family to enjoy...even if you are single or a couple without children or grandchildren...you have to embrace 'life'...family members, and even if you just have one friend...do cherish that friendship!
I saved the 'best for last' our vet, and dear friend... with Lady...an abandoned beautiful Boxer, that he saved, after he was called to check this poor doggie living under a nearby highway bridge...surviving for over one year...full of scars, malnourished, and she almost had to be put down. He was able to befriend her...took her home, nourished her back to health after a couple serious surgeries...(having to deal with putting his own beloved old and sick Boxer; Charlie down)...that's what I call 'fate'...not only did the beautiful Boxer became a family member, but she was given the name 'Lady'...because she was so sweet, appreciative, with such nice 'ladylike' manners. She is with the family for one year now, and she is truly loved and cared for!
Dr. Eric does volunteer work once a week for people that cannot afford 'pet care'!
Isn't she absolutely adorable?...Lady sneaked up to me from under the dinner table, as I was sitting there, and gently rested her cute little head on my lap...looking at me with those sweet adorable and loving eyes! That's what I call a LOVE STORY! My heart simply melted, and it brought tears to my eyes!

So, I think I updated a lot this time...hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving...now it's time to go on a diet; not really a diet...diet...just cut down on extra helpings, and the desserts, until Christmas! xoxo