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Archive for May, 2010

Working Cook May 25 and 26, 2010

May 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Fast update. With two days’ work, I have all of Mendy’s meats and most of his vegetables and starches finished – he just needs his normal soup and mashed potatoes.

Dinner on Tuesday was blintzes and potato knishes. I’m emptying a freezer. Today was beef stew with sweet potatoes, and I made Mendy sweet potatoes and squash. I hope to get groceries tomorrow.

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Categories: cooking, work

Working Cook May 21 and 24, 2010

May 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Friday was special. I had to do two days worth of work in one – so much fun. Or not.

Mendy needed eggs, broccoli and zucchini. Everyone needed chicken soup, matzo balls, gefilte fish, a main course and some kind of starch. And Israeli salad.

I got lazy for the main course and the starch – I made turkey meatballs in sweet and sour sauce and rice. WHITE rice. And skipped the Israeli salad – it was 2:30 and I had an appointment that afternoon. But I had the ingredients, so that Debby, the young married woman who, with her husband, spent Shabbos, could make it. But I was conscientious for the the rest.

Today, we were back on track. Shulem wants us to use up a lot of the stuff in the freezer, so I did. Mendy and Misha needed meat – ground beef, turkey and chicken. Mendy also needed tuna salad, and I made a “tuna casserole” for Misha. And there was the inevitable split pea soup and dinner.

Dinner was to be burgers, cauliflower and noodles, but the meat had to be defrosted first. I made the split pea soup vegetarian this time. As I defrosted each type of meat, I cooked one package for the guys, and then ground and portioned it. I mixed barbecue sauce with Misha’s ground beef. And since it was out and smelled good and I was tired of plain burgers, I put the barbecue sauce on them, too. And I froze two portions of the pea soup for Misha. Made the tuna salad, portioned out three for Mendy and then pureed the rest with cheese – hence, “tuna casserole.”

Categories: cooking, work

Working Cook May 14, 17 and 18, 2010

May 20, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been busy this week. Shavuot started Tuesday night and ended tonight, so with holiday prep (including the very important purchase of a new dress), I’ve been very busy, and of course I can’t use the computer during the holiday itself.

Friday was pretty much normal for Friday – finished the soup, cooked two roast chickens and a pan of chicken filets, plus sliced potatoes and onions, and Israeli salad.

Monday was pure Shavuot prep, since I had enough food for Mendy and for dinner. One of the customs for Shavuot is eating dairy food (which contrasts with the custom for ALL yomtovs that calls for eating meat, so there are ways people do it – a bite of dairy and then a meat meal a half hour later, dairy appetizers for a meat meal, which I’ve had once and it is so very, very weird, having some meals meat and others dairy, and having all dairy. My personal custom is to have one meat meal unless the holiday falls on Shabbat, and then having all meat for Shabbat, and all dairy for the other.)

So, I compromised for my guys. Monday was dairy day. I made a pareve soup, macaroni in cheesy tomato sauce and baked tilapia. The okay dairy knife I bought before Pesach has gone missing, and I had to use a sharpened utility knife instead, and it was bad. I even stopped everything to go out and try to buy another okay cheap knife in the same store but no dice.

After I left work, I went shopping. Not only did I buy a really lovely new dress (it’s customary to get a new outfit for a holiday PLUS I have three or four weddings in the next few weeks), which was a job all by itself, I bought a decent dairy knife. And it’s going to be MY knife and live in my knife kit. That way I’ll know where it is and it won’t disappear on me.

The job for the dress is that 1. I’m a large size. 2. All the suits available are black or white, mostly black. Sometimes navy. I have enough dark suits. The ones in my size? Have very boxy jackets. I look better in tailored jackets. In the first store, a place I’ve had good luck in the past, I found ONE cute look and it ran small. So small that the largest size didn’t fit me. That is, the very adorable skirt did, but the not as adorable but still cute jacket did not.

The next store had nothing over size fourteen. I went to a third store, and the very helpful salesgirls showed me somewhat glittery (I don’t glitter) suits for far more than I was willing to spend, but then showed me several lovely dresses in pretty colors that fit more or less – the skirt needed to be shortened and they put elastic in the neckline of the shell so I could tighten it, but those are minor. And the shortening took so little time – they just removed a tier – that I could wear it today.

Tuesday felt like Friday. And I made meat, so I didn’t even use the new knife. I made chicken filets, meatloaf and two kinds of kugel – apple and salt-and-pepper noodle. I’ve gotten very good at making the apple kugel – peeled and sliced in a half hour!

Categories: cooking, judaism, work

Working Cook May 12 and May 13, 2010

May 13, 2010 2 comments

Family stuff happened yesterday – my father-in-law, who just got out of the nursing home rehab this past Friday, was rehospitalized for pneumonia. We’re taking it day by day, but he seems to be improving. Thank Gd.

So, no blog post.

I made Chinese chicken yesterday. No Mendiness at all. It was like a vacation! I julienned onions, carrots and celery and saute’d them in oil. Meanwhile, I started a pot of rice, and then cubed chicken filets to add to the cooked veggies. I seasoned them with powdered ginger, garlic and soy sauce. And I cooked some cauliflower. I was finished, clean-up and all, in two hours.

Today took a bit longer. It is Thursday. Thursday means chicken soup. It was going to mean apple kugel but no one bought the apples. I got things started quickly when I arrived – pot of water with chicken bones, pot of water for eggs, tomatoes trimmed and seasoned to bake. Made matzo ball mixture to refrigerate. Thawed out some ground beef for burgers. Skimmed soup and put in the herbs. Cooked noodles. Took tomatoes out of the oven and mashed them. Cooked corn. Made corn salad and egg salad. Cooked the matzo balls. Portioned the soup and poured the rest into my big pot, with rest going to Keshet.

I will have to buy carrots and potatoes tomorrow en route to work.

Categories: cooking, work

Working Cook May 7 and May 10, 2010

May 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Ah, Friday. My big stewpot *magically* reappeared, so I could finish the soup properly. And I found my other stewpot with the teflon, but didn’t need it.

I shopped on my way to work because I knew I’d need gefilte fish and potatoes. And then it all proceeded like all Fridays do – prep veg for soup and for fish. Get main course protein seasoned and in the oven (in this case, two chickens in quarters for Ruach and two turkey roasts for the other two houses.) Get fish in the veg poaching liquid. Peel and shred ten pounds of potatoes and four onions. Cook a pound of green beans and toss with red pepper and onion for a salad. Just a normal Friday workday.

And, of course, today was Monday. I checked the freezer – Mendy needed tilapia, ground beef, ground chicken and chicken, and I needed beef for the inevitable split pea soup. Got the meats from the freezer in the office, and then gathered spinach and tilapia from the kitchen one. I also got cans of tuna. Got changed but forgot to change shoes. Thawed the ground meats while I prepped the soup, got the fish (still in frozen lumps) in a dairy pot, and made the pureed tuna salad. Once the fish was done, I put up a stockpot of salted water, put the soup (now seasoned) on a back burner and took first almost a pound of the chicken and cooked it, followed by almost a pound of ground beef. Meanwhile, I chopped onions and bell peppers.

I ground and portioned the meats while the veggies cooked, and then added the rest of the ground meats to that pot. About then, the spinach was cooked, so I ground and portioned that. (And fed one of the nurses tilapia and spinach.) When the meat was cooked and seasoned, I added tomato sauce. Meanwhile, I also cooked whole wheat macaroni. I combined the pasta and the meat sauce and seasoned it again. I also cooked a bag of zucchini.

And I made and collated more copies of my shopping list. And washed up. And watched the second episode of Wife Swap that featured the family that pretended their son was in a balloon last summer. Lovely people.

Categories: cooking, work

Working Cook May 6, 2010

May 6, 2010 1 comment

Thursday equals chicken soup.  It now also equals matzo balls. 

I was reasonably on time because I had some bloodwork done this morning (right on time except I skipped last month.)  The only problem was I’d grabbed my breakfast pills on the way out, because the bloodwork has to be done fasting.  So I’d be eating out and would need my bp meds and my baby aspirin and I need my Zyrtec in general.  And, of course, my Byetta. 

Only I only managed to grab the baby aspirin and the pen and needle.  The other bottles?  Were Jonathan’s.  So I had to have my car service driver take me home so we could exchange.  Then I got deposited more or less by a kosher Dunkin Donuts.  And I think I’ve had my last cheese egg veggie sausage croissant.  It’s still yummy, but it felt lousy in my stomach.

So.  Get to work.  Change into whites and cooking shoes.  Got the chicken bones from one freezer and the fish from another.  Got the soup started and then sliced up some onions and tomatoes.  The tilapia was a problem – it comes as individually frozen fillets usually, so I just put two or three in each 8×8 tray.  However, I think these thawed slightly and refroze, so what I got were lumps of fish that I couldn’t separate. 

Okay, fine.  I didn’t.  I put a lump in each tray, covered them with tomatoes, onions, parsley, seasoned salt and oil and slid them into a 350 oven.  Then I put my herbs to soak, and made the matzo ball mix.  It looked sort of loose when I followed the recipe (well, sort of. I mean, I measured the water and the matzo meal, and the eggs come in discrete units, but I never measure seasonings, and I didn’t bother measuring the oil) so I added a bit more matzo meal. This makes me happy – means I’m getting a feel for the mixture.  Covered it and put it in the fridge to cool.

I started a pot of water for rice.  And then, *finally*, I started drinking my coffee.  Unlike the last time I tried to carry coffee from the DD to the home, it survived the trip.  It did so because I asked for a plastic bag.  I’d also asked for “kosher” (meaning cholov Yisrael) milk, but they were out so I took it my normal black.  Not really a problem.  I’m not strict on milk at all, but the home is.

I measured and cooked corn for corn salad for Misha and Mendy.  Skimmed the soup and put in the herbs.

Cut note – Ina, one of the nurses, told me she loved “my” knish from the other day. I told her that they were premade frozen, and all I did was heat them up.  I will NOT take credit I didn’t earn.

Checked the fish, and separated the lumps to make sure they were all cooked.  Put up a pot of salted water for the knaidelach.  Did some washing up and made the corn salad – half to Mendy and half, blended with red pepper, for Misha. 

Shut the soup off and added some salt and pepper.  Made the knaidelach – still doing the two spoon thing, but making rounder balls.  Took the fish out of the oven and portioned out the rice.  Portioned soup out for Mendy and poured the rest into a container.  Three containers, actually since the first wasn’t big enough.  I filled a quart and a pint deli container with the remainder.

See, I’m missing two pots – my big stew pot and a telfon coated smaller one.  So I had to improvise.  I’ll find them tomorrow.

The matzo balls were finished, so I got them out of the pot.  Did some washing up.  Finished the coffee.  Done.

Categories: cooking, work

Working Cook May 5, 2010

May 6, 2010 2 comments

Today was somewhat busier. No planning for disaster, but had to make dinner and do Mendy and Misha stuff.

Checked the freezer. Needed sweet potatoes, broccoli, green beans and mashed potatoes. All of which I had. I put the sweet potatoes in the oven first. Then I made beef stew.

The meat was thawed already, so I prepped the mirepoix first and then browned the meat. I added the veggies next, and then peeled and chopped red skinned potatoes. I put just under half into a pot of cold salted water, which I then put on the stove to cook, and the rest went into the stew, which I put to simmer on a back burner. Then I started a pot of water for eggs.

Meanwhile, I’d cooked green beans and broccoli, and since I was waiting for water to boil, I used the time to puree the veggies for Mendy (and leftover green beans for Misha.) During this time, the egg water boiled. I put in the eggs, set the timer, and went back to the veggies. By the time I was finished, the eggs were done.

I left to get some cake for Mendy plus a cup of coffee for me. When I got back, I took the sweet potatoes out of the oven and pierced them so they’d cool. I also added a small can of tomato paste to the stew and drained the white potatoes and mashed them. Portioned them out. Pulverized the egg. Drank some coffee. 🙂 Portioned the cake. Washed up. Portioned the stew. Took the skin off the sweet potatoes and mashed them with salt, oil and cinnamon, and portioned them for Mendy. I had a lot left over, so I froze it.

Categories: cooking, work