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  • Challah


    I never ate challah, in fact I could not SPELL challah, until I began began hosting a jewish outreach program. Out of interest, and self-defense, I began to learn the fine art of kosher cooking. Being a goy, I can never REALLY cook kosher, but it does make for interesting conversations and intriguing attempts. One of the cornerstones of home and hearth in a jewish household is the shabbos meal, and of that meal the bread, (challah) plays a large roll..
    This challah takes two days to make – not all active. There are three major components (soaker, sponge, and dough).
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  • Meatless Monday – Hamantaschen

    Thank you to ilisa for such a wonderful graphic

    It is the holiday of Purim, and one thing I do so love is the cookies. Aka Hamantaschen.

    Wikipedia Says:

    A hamantash is a pastry in Jewish cuisine recognizable for its three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center. It is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim. While occasionally seen other times of year in secular contexts, this is not traditional. Hamantashen are made with many different fillings, including poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional variety), prunes, nut, date, apricot, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, chocolate, dulce de leche, halva, or even caramel or cheese. Their formation varies from hard pastry to soft doughy casings.

    The name hamantash , is commonly known as a reference to Haman, the villain of Purim, as described in the Book of Esther. The pastries are supposed to symbolize the defeated enemy of the Jewish people, and thus resemble the “ears of Haman”.

    “Naked Archaeologist” documentarian Simcha Jacobovici has shown the resemblance of hamantaschen to dice from the ancient Babylonian Royal Game of Ur, thus suggesting that the pastries are meant to symbolize the pyramidal shape of the dice cast by Haman in determining the day of destruction for the Jews.

    Another possible source of the name is a folk etymology: the original Yiddish word מאָן־טאַשן (montashn) or German word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches, was transformed to Hamantaschen, likely by association with Haman.

    In Israel, they are called Oznei Haman, Hebrew for “Haman’s ears” in reference to their defeated enemy’s ears.

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  • Country Gravy


    One of Madam Bad Wolf’s favorite breakfasts, Country gravy, (usually made with bacon drippings), Biscuits, and tomatoes.

    This is also an integral part of a Chicken Fried Steak, or Fried Chicken dinner as well


    Biscuits and gravy is a traditional Southern breakfast dish. A roux is formed with flour and butter or other fat residual from cooking a meat product. Milk and seasonings, such as salt and pepper, are added to create a moderately thick gravy, ingredients such as cayenne pepper or a spicy sausage are used to make a more spicy gravy.

    Country gravy is traditionally served over Buttermilk Biscuits, and accompanied by other typical Southern breakfast items such as fried eggs.

    Then again it is a wonder why I’ve not died of cholesterol poisoning…

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  • Nakiri Salsa

    Through various twists and turns, I have been presented with a very nice Nakiri bōchō or Vegetable knife. (Thanks RabbiV). My first test of this fine implement of culinary construcion was the preparation of a a salsa, which as you can see from the slide show above required some fine dicing of tomatoes. As you can also see from above there was a number of “hot-dog” cuts while dicing the tomatoes. (Do not do that. It was not bright of me to do it, and even less bright for others to follow suit.)

    Nakiri bōchō translation: (knife for cutting greens) and usuba bōchō (thin knife) are Japanese-style vegetable knives. They differ from the deba bōchō in their shape, as they have a straight blade edge suitable for cutting all the way to the cutting board without the need for a horizontal pull or push. These knives are also much thinner. While the deba bōchō is a heavy blade for easy cutting through thin bones, the blade is not suitable for chopping vegetables, as the thicker blade can break the vegetable slice. The nakiri bōchō and the usuba bōchō have a much thinner blade. This does not help with cutting small bones in fish or meat, but is useful for cutting vegetables.

    Nakiri bōchō are knives for home use, and usually have a black blade. The shape of the nakiri bōchō differs according to the region of origin, with knives in the Tokyo area being rectangular in shape, whereas the knives in the Osaka area are called kamagata nakiri and have a rounded corner on the far blunt side. There are also kamagata usuba. The cutting edge is angled from both sides, called ryōba in Japanese. This makes it easier to cut straight slices.

    Usuba bōchō are vegetable knives used by professionals. They differ from the Nakiri bōchō in the shape of the cutting edge. While the nakiri bōchō is sharpened from both sides, the usuba bōchō is sharpened only from one side, a style known as kataba in Japanese. The highest quality kataba blades have a slight depression on the flat side. This kataba style edge gives better cuts and allows for the cutting of thinner slices than the ryōba used for nakiri bōchō, but requires more skill to use. The sharpened side is usually the right side for a right hand use of the knife, but knives sharpened on the left side are available for left hand use. The usuba bōchō is heavier than a nakiri bocho, although still much lighter than a deba bōchō.

    Salsa may refer to any type of sauce. In American English it usually refers to the spicy, often tomato based hot sauces typical of Mexican cuisine, particularly those used as dips.

    Salsa cruda, also known as pico de gallo, salsa picada, salsa mexicana, or salsa fresca, and is made with raw tomatoes, lime juice, chilli peppers, onions, cilantro leaves, and other coarsely chopped raw ingredients.

    Mango Salsa is a spicy-sweet sauce made from mangoes and used as a topping for nachos. It is also used as a garnish on grilled chicken or grilled fish due to the complementary flavors.

    Fruit Salsa are spicy-sweet sauces made from various fruits, (melons, berries, cherries) with the addition of peppers (hot or mild), lime, sweeteners (honey, molasses, sugar), and salt.

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  • Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops


    Madam Bad Wolf has requested a Pork Chop dinner for my next trip home. This will require a bit a research and review, plus a good trial run with my panel of Victims Er, ah Taste Testers.

    The local not-so-mega-mart had pork chops on sale. This set off a whole chain of thoughts, that ended with Bourbon Glazed Chops. Ok, We’ll deal with the Bourbon glaze at some point, but no matter what you do with pork, it will be juicer, more tender and more flavorful if it is brined first.

    I’ve dealt with how to make a brine in You have to be FREAKING kidding…. (How to make a Brine), and the effect of salting / brining in Improving Cheap Beef, Gaucho Style, so I’ll not dwell on those items.

    I will however look closely at how a brine for pork is constructed. A basic brine is a salt solution, so salty a raw egg will float, I use 1 cup of kosher salt to 2 cups of water, to add a bit more flavor to the party, I’ll add a cup of brown sugar, and 1/2 cups of molasses with 2 more cups of water to the basic brine. One may also add peppercorns and other spices to further enhance flavors.

    Bring this to a boil and make sure all is dissolved, add 4 cups of ice and 4 cups of water to cool the brine. Once the brine is down below 40 F, we can add the meat. (DO make sure you use a non reactive container to brine in, I use a plastic tub, but glass and zip lock bags work just as well.)

    Since I am using six chops in the 8oz range I’ll brine for up to 4 hours, (after 30 minutes the change in taste and texture is quite noticeable), and then wash, pat dry and prepare.

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  • Spaghetti Al Carbonara

    So it is Ash Wednesday… And we supposed to fast and abstain..

    Ummm, ah Nope… To quote a good friend “Do Not drink and drive…. Just keep drinking…”

    If I am to fast, I will do so in the proper manner, NO FOOD, not “eat one big meal, or two smaller meals, or three little meals, or eating fish is ok, and vegetable do not count, etc, etc, etc,”

    So, how about Pasta Wednesdays, with a real deal meal…

    This dish is why I will die of chronic cholesterol. It is also why I will die happy…. For those of you who have read my post about hedonism, this is quite indulgent, and ooohhh so simple. There are many rewards to using only the freshest cream and butter, the finest of cheese, and the best of pasta. Truly, a RogueChef classic.

    The hearty, creamy sauce and the smokey salty bacon with the tender bite of the pasta helps to assuage the naturally occurring desire for gelatin / umami caused by the short and cold days.

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