Monday, September 15, 2008

Mastering the art of Kosher Cooking.

So why am I starting this blog?

I guess that it's best to start with the food part. I was raised in a secular household. Cooking and baking was always very important to my mom. Instead of buying cookies and granola bars from the grocery store, she used to bake them herself. Kids at school were always so jealous of my lunchbox. I got beat up more than once for those granola bars. And every Sunday the house would fill with the smell of the oven as she would make roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy, followed by a fresh pie (usually apple).

So it's no wonder that I grew up to enjoy baking and cooking. I enjoyed food so much that I eventually became a professional food photographer.

Three years ago, I met a boy. We liked each other. Then we loved each other. Two months ago, we got engaged. I had known since we started dating that he was Jewish and wanted a Jewish family. So when he proposed, I signed up for conversion classes.

Since I started dating my wonderful fiance, I've had the chance to participate in many Jewish holiday celebrations, and in the meantime I've been able to enjoy some seriously amazing Jewish food. I love that so many dishes have a story and a tradition. Eastern European Jewish cuisine really appeals to me and my love of meats, sweets and starches. Naturally, after tasting something that I like, I need to know how to make it. Then I usually attempt to recreate it in my own kitchen. As a result of this, and as a way of understanding the culture that I was marrying into, I began to cook Jewish food shortly after I started eating Jewish food.

Yesterday, after successfully recreating R's baba's chicken soup, I got to thinking: What if I turned this little hobby of mine into a project? What if I were to document these attempts at learning to cook like a bubbe?

Of course, it only made sense to create a blog. Who doesn't have a blog nowadays?

I should clarify that this blog might not follow all kosher laws. I suppose that it's more like kosher style than anything. I am learning about keeping kosher, but it's a process and I may not always know the rules, especially at the beginning. That being said, if you aren't familiar with kosher cooking, I hope that you'll enjoy learning with me.

To start, here is Baba Luba's chicken soup recipe:

1 whole chicken
1 carrot, peeled
2 stalks of celery, leaves removed
1 whole peeled onion
salt, pepper

1. Fill a soup pot halfway to the top with water. Add 3Tbsp of salt. Bring to a boil.
2. While waiting for the water to boil, cut the whole chicken into quarters and remove the skin. Reserve the neck and any giblets - They'll give the soup lots of flavour.
3. When the water is boiling, add the chicken, carrot, celery and onion. Continue to boil for 10-20mins, stirring often, skimming off any foamy residue that comes to the surface.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover (leaving a tiny crack for steam to escape) and simmer for 3 hours, longer if you have the patience. Stir occasionally.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also added some powdered thyme, and you might like to add some rosemary too.
6. Simmer for another 20mins.
7. Remove from heat. At this point you can either strain the soup to get a clear broth, or you can break up the vegetables and chicken and leave them in the soup, removing only the chicken bones, the neck/giblets, and the onion.

I would have taken pictures of the process, but at the time I wasn't thinking about posting this as a blog entry. Next time there will be pictures, I promise.

1 comment:

G in Berlin said...

You should add celery root. That's the strange knobbly root shaped sort of like a brown furry very large beet. You peel it (like a potato) before cutting it into chunks.