Home > cooking, work > Working Cook April 29, 2010

Working Cook April 29, 2010

If you do something once, it’s a fluke. If you do it again, it’s real. If you manage it a third time, it’s yours. I have made perfect fluffy matzo balls AGAIN. Yom tov meals will never be the same.

Okay, okay. Thursday means chicken soup Mendy-style. Got bones and drumsticks out of the freezer. Also grabbed a couple trays of chicken filets to thaw for Friday. Plus, before I even got into my normal work kitchen, I went to the other one and grabbed the fish fillets I’d stored there.

Mendy was good for everything frozen except the soup, but I was going to make rice for the other guys anyway and he was down to a couple boxes.

He also needed egg salad.

So, chicken in the big stock pot, covered with water and simmering. I put eight trays of fish (two fillets each, flavored with paprika, dried dill, onion powder, salt and pepper, plus a drizzle of oil) in the oven. I put a large dairy saucepan with salted water to boil.

Then I made matzo ball mixture – and this time I remembered to beat the liquids and flavorings first before I added the matzo meal. I took it a bit easier on the salt and pepper, too. That went into the oven to chill – this is key.

It took some maneuvering but I got a pot of water for rice up as well. The problem is 1. a small stove so I can’t always fit a pot on each burner and 2. special burners – two high output, one regular and one “precision simmer.” I like the high output ones in front. I like my fires fast and hot, but while the precision simmer is useful enough, it doesn’t get water BOILING. And the regular burner was unusable because the big stock pot took up one and a third burners, and I needed it in front and on that side so I could skim it.

So I put the saucepan on the big burner until it boiled, put in the eggs, and moved it in back, replacing it with the rice pot, which boiled very quickly then so I could add the rice and let it simmer. Then I skimmed the soup and added the (fresh) dill and parsley, and bay leaves.

I took out the fish, which was, of course, perfect.

The eggs were done and I cooled them. Then I needed to use the other front burner for the matzo balls, and the rice wasn’t nearly cooked. But the soup was. So I moved the big stockpot off the stove entirely, and replaced it with the rice pot. Then I put the small stock pot (filled with salted water) to boil.

While that was going on, I portioned out six cups of soup for Mendy and set them aside to cool. Then I took the drumsticks out of the stock and set them aside, and poured the rest of the stock into the big stew pot. Then I dumped the bones and herbs out of the stockpot. At this point I remembered I hadn’t seasoned the soup, so I added a little salt and white pepper to to each portion of stock.

I made egg salad, and also refrigerated two hardcooked eggs. I turned the fire off under the rice, and the water for the matzo balls boiled.

I got the mixture out of the fridge, wet my hands and started putting barely formed balls in the water, but then realized I wasn’t getting all of it from the square foil tray. So I got a couple of teaspoons, and a bowl of water, and began shaping the mixture with the spoons, the way one shapes a quenelle by moving it between two spoons. I kinda liked the wedge shapes I created but they weren’t right for matzo balls, so I squoshed them gently to make them sort of round. They still came out rather amorphous. But they were light and fluffy and they floated!

I covered the pot and let it simmer while I washed the big soup pot and ground up rice and cooked zucchini. And made chicken salad because the drumsticks had a lot of flavor, and I didn’t want to waste it. And Papa loves chicken salad. As Wilner the janitor commented, I made a lot of stuff today.

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Categories: cooking, work
  1. saraid
    April 30, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    i just gotta comment on this one – in the oven to chill? that must be some awesome oven 🙂 hi! missed you.

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