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Working Cook March 26, 2010

March 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Friday morning dawned with a Pesadich home kitchen (mostly) and a nose that was NOT imitating a faucet anymore.  This made life so much easier.

Once at work, I looked into the kitchen freezer and realized that none of our gefilte fish logs were kosher for passover.  Also, our turkey roasts were frozen and I didn’t have enough bones for soup and I was going nuts.  I did, however, stop to shop on the way in, so I had tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, onions and parsley.  I got what bones and chicken legs I had, and put them in my newly kashered stock pot, and I put the turkey roasts in the oven on a relatively low temp (350 – low for me) so that they’d cook properly.

Then I realized I’d cut a finger at some point – do not ask me when. I’d already peeled my left thumb and cut my left forefinger on a food chopper blade (at which point I’d stopped for lunch, since I was clearly tired) on Thursday, but the tiny cut on my left ringfinger is a mystery.  It stung, though, so I went to the office to get a band-aid. 

I usually go to the office to check the freezer to see what Mendy needs or what food I have available.  So I did.  And I found kosher for passover fish and what I needed to make chicken soup.  I piled it all in my apron to take back to the kitchen, singing in my relief.

And then I wondered why I checked the freezer in the first place – and went back for the band-aid I’d forgotten.  🙂

I made six servings of baked tomatoes and two matzo quiches for Mendy, and that plus a cup of the soup I was cooking would do it for Mendy’s pesach needs.  Meanwhile, I thawed (double wrapped in a chometz microwave) all the ground bird I could find.  See, it’s a minhag to avoid all roasted meat on the first night of Passover, as well as all lamb, to avoid the appearance of eating the sacrifice we can no longer do.  (This is Ashkenazi Orthodox custom. Other groups have lamb STEW, and some even have roasted lamb for the seder.)  My family doesn’t believe turkeys look like lamb, so we do have roast turkey our first night.

So, I made meatballs in tomato sauce for the seder meals. Eventually.

Because I had to do the veggies for the fish and I had to make a huge potato kugel, which meant peeling and handgrating over twenty pounds of potatoes.  And take care of the soup properly and then add the veggies to that.  And cook eggs for egg salad.  And then Israeli salad.  And then I was going to make farfel kugel but it was almost 4PM and I was exhausted.  I know that because I gashed my left thumb while cutting tomatoes.  I have four band-aids on my left hand right now, two on my thumb alone.

I do not go back to work until Thursday, by which time my hand will have healed.

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Categories: cooking, work

March 24 and March 25, 2010

March 25, 2010 2 comments

The word for today, my lovely readers, is exhaustion.  The word for the day before is “sick” as in a cold.  The first is the normal state for this time of year; the second makes life…interesting.

When Michelle, the nurse, walked in yesterday, she saw me with a tissue pressed against my nose.  This is because my nose was doing its best to imitate a faucet.  Next thing I know, she’s calling the supervisor, hoping to have me go home.  Nope – they needed me there.  So, next best thing – lots of hand washing and a face mask.  Which I kept stuffed with a tissue, and every time I changed it or sneezed or whatever, I washed my hands again.

Mostly it was Mendyness, since we wanted two full weeks of pesach food for him – he started today.  I did most of the dairy – matzo brei, egg salad, tilapia (with and without “stuffing” – meaning mixed with soaked shredded matzo), cheese “lasagna”, tuna “quiche” and so on.  I made dinner for the others – baked tilapia, and mashed sweet potatoes.  There was also leftover soup.

Today, I continued to look like a misplaced surgeon, although I’m feeling a little better.  I made six meat loaves and a dozen pieces of chicken, and Mendy got chicken, stuffed chicken, beef, beef “lasagna” and stuffed turkey, as well as plain “quiche” and broccoli and spinach.  Oh, and gefilte fish and something for his seder (a half piece of machine matzah and a slice of gefilte fish).  At this point, all he needs from me is portioning cake, two more quiches and six baked tomatoes.  So that’s good. Oh, and egg salad because that’s already gone.

And, yes, this all took me a while. Not counting lunch, it was about five hours.  And tomorrow, I still have lots to do. Shabbos, yom tov – all tomorrow. 

Why do I still love this job?

Categories: cooking, work

March 23, 2010

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Cooked Pesadich for the first time today.  This did mean a shopping trip – two good knives (Shulem took a look at the pesadich knife they had and KNEW I’d need a better one), peelers, a decent can-opener, cutting boards, spoons, sponges, even pot holders.

Made chicken soup for Mendy (bought new soup boxes for him), made burgers and oven fries, made mashed and baked potatoes for Mendy.  Turned the remainder of the chicken soup into chicken vegetable soup.  Stayed so late I actually took a lunch break.  Tomorrow, I get started for real.  We want two weeks worth of food for Mendy.

Categories: cooking, work

Working Cook March 19 and March 22, 2010

March 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Went to a convention this past weekend, so doing another combined post.

They were still kashering the Kerem kitchen, so I went to work in Keshet on Friday.  I was a trifle worried because I was planning on making an apple kugel and I wasn’t sure I had all the ingredients, but it turned out I did – including flour and vanilla.  The apples, of course, were in Ruach waiting for me.  The Ruach guys just love it. 

I finished the chicken soup, and tossed in a half bag of noodles, and cooked two turkey roasts, two whole roast chickens (a big hit, as it happens), potatoes and onions (thinly sliced peeled potatoes, julienned onions, salt, pepper and oil) and the apple kugel, and made a large Israeli salad.  This time, though, I used dried parsley. 

And Yossi came home at the wrong time for me.  I had to take the food cooling on the dining table and put it back into the kitchen, and then chain the door closed – Yossi will touch and throw things if they’re in reach.  It got warm in that kitchen even though the upper part of the door was open. 

When I left, Mendy, Yossi and Papa were outside enjoying the lovely weather, watched over by one of the Shabbos staff, who was also doing a crossword puzzle.  I helped with a couple of clues and I went on home.

Monday, I got a call from Shulem – come in late so they can finish the kitchen.  I was not averse, since even though I pretty much slept most of Shabbat, I was still short – I stayed up late and woke up earlier than I should on Sunday and didn’t sleep much on Monday for other reasons.  And I had to return the rental car anyway.  I contacted my cleaning person to come in later – she was going to do my fridge, oven and cabinets for Pesach. It makes a huge difference, especially now that I’m working five days a week.

I ended up cooking in Keshet anyway.  I made a basic dinner only – chicken fillets in duck sauce, baked potatoes (no real choice, since I had NO knives – my knife was home, the Kerem knives were put away and the Keshet knives are under lock and key, since the individuals in that house are mobile.)  I also cooked some cauliflower.  Otherwise, I looked over Mendy’s menu and did a shopping list.  Tomorrow – pesach time in Kerem.  I hope there are decent knives.  If not, I’ll get some.  I’m also taking my uniforms in a shopping bag instead of my backpack.  I’ll let you, my lovely readers, know how I get on.

Categories: cooking, work

Working Cook March 18, 2010

March 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Today, joy of joys, I had to work in a different kitchen – they were in process of cleaning my normal work kitchen for Passover – cabinets empty, contents  spread out.

I gathered what I needed (it took several trips as the meal, etc, took shape) and took it to the other first floor apartment, Keshet.  They had limited cooking utensils, but I did find my long missing ladle (I’ve been using fleishig coffee cups.)  And they didn’t need it – they had a perfectly good fleishig ladle anyway.  After Pesach, I’m stealing it back.

Also, they never did my grocery order this week.  Well, Mendy needed nothing but soup, so I made soup – out of chicken legs instead of bones.  And I made meatballs in tomato sauce.  All using my normal utensils in a different kitchen. I had the additional challenge of no hot water, which made washing up fun.  I even boiled water in the teakettle to make it easier.  They did the repair work (there was a leak in the basement) in time for the major clean up, which made it easier.

I gave Shulem my Pesach grocery list and we discussed which sugar-free products might be available kosher l’pesach.  I should practice matzo balls.

Tomorrow – stay in new kitchen or cook pesadich.  Or both.  We’ll see.

Categories: cooking, work

Working Cook March 17, 2010

March 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Again, I had plenty of Mendy food, and this is the time of year when cooking gets strange.

They had NOT kashered the kitchen, so I could cook my normal stuff.  Mostly.  I gathered ground beef and ground chicken.  Mendy needed ground beef.  I thawed them out, slowly, after buying onions, red peppers and mushrooms,and then chopping them plus celery and cooking them.  I also started a pot for noodles.  When the veggies were ready, I added a bag of frozen corn.  I cooked part of the ground beef for Mendy after the noodles were cooked.  I cooked the rest of the meat in the same big pot I’d cooked the noodles in, and when it was ready, I mixed it with the veggies, plus chopped fresh parsley.  I also cooked a bag of green beans.

I have to make a shopping list for Pesach.  Double your Passover, double your fun?

Categories: cooking, work

March 15 and March 16, 2010

March 16, 2010 Leave a comment

No excuses about yesterday.  I’m very sorry, my lovely readers.

We’re all still tired of split pea soup, so I made beef vegetable soup instead.  I still based it on cholent meat, with standard mirepoix, but I also added orzo and chopped potato, and since I had to go out to buy the onions and the celery, I also got a bunch of parsley, and I added that, too. And then I put in a couple cans of tomato sauce and a can of black beans.

I cooked eggs for egg salad and also made a tuna salad.  I also made broccoli.  For dinner, I made noodles (gotta use up the noodles) and I made turkey-and-chicken burgers.  I mixed them with spices and a little oil, and fried them in oil before putting them in the oven to finish cooking.  I cooked green beans as well.

I also had a talk with Michelle (as she ate a couple of turkey burgers and some noodles) and she said that I don’t have to worry about any special minhagim when it comes to Mendy. In other words, I can use “gebrokts” – matzo meal products – and I can use any non-kitniyot vegetable, peeled or not. This makes it all so much easier. His only chometz meals involve one serving of couscous or macaroni and cheese, or cake. His only kitniyot are one serving of green beans and one serving of peas. It’s easy enough for ONE week.

Today was even easier – there are so many leftovers, all of which should be eaten, that I didn’t bother with dinner tonight. Instead, I just cooked for Mendy – tilapia, corn salad (another kitniyot dish that needs to be replaced), green beans, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. I tried to limit how much I cooked because even the non-kitniyot was made on non-Pesach utensils.

They’re cleaning my work kitchen tonight. Tomorrow, everything I make will be pesadich.

Categories: cooking, work