Who am I calling chicken?

Well, I started cooking — mostly with poultry. If it was on one of the menus and could be made using chicken breasts, I made it.

First was the kishka-stuffed chicken:

Kishka-stuffed chicken

I made it this time with kishka that hadn’t been frozen and stockpiled in my freezer — and I need to remember to make it that way again. The kishka was so pliable I felt like I was using play-dough. It is, as you might surmise, inside every one of those pieces of chicken in the pan. The chicken is coated with apricot jam and cornflake crumbs, and drizzled with honey.

Then came a pot roast — I did say mostly poultry, not entirely:

Pot Roast

This is one of the easiest recipes I have, courtesy of my mother-in-law, courtesy of her sister-in-law (my aunt-in-law?). Coat the cut of beef to be braised with tomato sauce, cranberry sauce (both canned), and onion soup mix.

After that I made the cherry chicken puffs.

Cherry Chicken Puffs

Inside each of these triangle pastries is cubed chicken, canned pitted cherries, and mushrooms. It goes with this spicy cherry sauce:

Spicy Cherry Sauce

And finally, I made half the Sweet and Sour Chicken I need to make. The other half will be made with deboned dark meat chicken, which sadly had not defrosted in time for me to cook. But the rest of it was with white meat, and looks like this:

Sweet and Sour Chicken (white meat)

New innovation for this year: adding pineapple chunks. The sauce is not homemade — I did say I would be efficient (and besides, this dish is getting served at the ribs meal… and while I’d like to have a poultry option for those who won’t eat red meat, I don’t want to steal the attention from the best part of the meal).

Up next: Sweet potatoes!  (And a couple of other things.)

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Menu #6: Shabbat Lunch

Appetizer Chicken and steak sushi
Salad 1 Avocado, orange, and pomegranate salad
Salad 2 Israeli salad
Entree 1 Chulent
Entree 2 Deli roll surprise
Entree 3 Kishka-stuffed chicken
Side 1 Sweet potato pie
Side 2 Noodle kugel
Side 3 Mushroom barley dish
Side 4 Broccoli with shallots and walnuts

Chulent is, for those who are not familiar, a beef stew, with beans, potatoes, barley, onions, and various spices, slow-cooked for about 24 hours. It’s prepared on the day before the Sabbath (one is permitted to cook on the holiday for the Sabbath) and is extremely yummy. The surprise in the deli roll is pepper steak — we stick it in the middle and the dish is a big favorite. And yes, there’s the Israeli salad again. But what really makes this meal stand out in my mind is the appetizer.

Last year’s appetizer at this meal was gefilte fish. Granted, it was the nice kind of gefilte fish — the loaf kind, cooked in a tomato-basil sauce. But a couple of months ago my husband and I went to a really nice steak and sushi place in Lakewood, NJ, where I had a duck sushi appetizer, which to date is still one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. And it sparked an idea of trying to do something similar. Raw fish won’t work for a number of members of my family, but there’s no rule that says I have to serve fish, right? So in keeping with my husband’s carnivorous reputation, we’re going with two kinds of sushi — chicken and steak. (No duck, though… I’m not that ambitious — yet.) I’m thinking of making the chicken one with avocado, but I’m not sure what else yet. The steak will likely be pepper steak with roasted peppers. I’ll be cooking the ingredients in advance, but assembling everything right before the meal (with the sushi kit I have yet to order… mental note: DO THAT). So this, along with the Turducken, are the two major innovations for this year’s Sukkahpaloozah… and that concludes the menu planning portion of this blog.

As of next week, I’ll be cooking and freezing for three weeks, then taking a week off to cook for and celebrate Rosh HaShanah, and then comes the big push — one and a half weeks of cooking and packing my refrigerator full of everything that can’t be frozen. I will be posting as many pictures of the finished components as I can manage, but there will be some things that won’t make the blog, unless I remember to take pictures of the leftovers, since a significant number of dishes will be made or at least finally assembled over the holiday, when I will not be using my camera (salads, for instance, as well as the chulent for this meal and the previous nights vegetable soup come to mind immediately). I hope you’ll all stick around… the fun (and utter madness) hasn’t even begun!