Fry, Fry, Fry

Just when I thought it’d be easy….

The cooking from two weeks ago started off just fine — my apple kugel recipe is easy and got done quickly enough.

Apple Kugels

Then came the stuffed cabbages, which you can’t quite see underneath all the extra cabbage leaves I put on top of them to keep them from burning, but trust me, they’re there.  And once again, I made too many of them (at least judging by what people ate last year). I need to remember to use 3 pounds of beef next time rather than 4, and only 2 cabbages.  (It would save me a lot of time, too.) However, they do freeze–and last in the freezer–excellently well. So I don’t mind the leftovers.

Stuffed Cabbage

And then came the bane of my existence two weeks ago — also known as the potato-chicken cr0quettes.  This recipe originally came from a Robert Irvine show on the Food Network in which he used pork.  I changed it to chicken because the concept sounded really cool, and the sauce sounded delicious. It’s made of orange juice, pineapple juice, and the juice of a lime, plus some Thai green curry. The latter, of course, is impossible to find kosher (locally, at least), so I found a recipe for it online and made it myself. Here’s what it looks like in the food processor:

Thai Green Curry

And this is the sauce:

Citrus Green Curry Sauce

Then came the croquettes themselves. As you can see, there are two layers of them in each container.

Potato-Chicken Croquettes

Putting the ingredients together is also pretty simple — mashed potatoes and browned ground chicken, scallions, and soy sauce, balled up and dipped in panko bread crumbs. The problem arrived when it came time to fry them. Last year, I had frozen them pre-frying, thinking that it’d be nicer to serve them fresh out of the pan (they were served for lunch on one of the first days of the holiday, not on Shabbat). The recipe calls for deep-frying, so since my deep-fryer is electric, I loaded up my pan with oil, old-school, set up my splatter guard…and watched half of what I made completely disintegrate in the oil. So I had to pan-fry them instead, which took eons. I mercifully had enough to serve one per person, and they were delicious. This year, I figured I’d fry them first, then freeze — and had the same problem. Fortunately, I only lost about half a dozen croquettes in the process. Unfortunately, that meant pan-frying about 3 dozen more of these annoying little things… which took me over three hours. At this point, I think this may be the last time I serve them for Sukkot, at least in this quantity. I’d love to find another use for the sauce, since I think it’s amazing; but unless it turns out I can bake the croquettes all at once rather than frying them, this recipe is getting shelved.

After this little adventure in frying, I took the next week off for Rosh HaShanah. Cooking went well, and I even tried making the sushi as a trial run — we had guests who were happy to serve as guinea pigs. The rice came out great, although now I have to extrapolate exactly how much I have to make for 20-plus people; and the rolls themselves came out pretty good, too, especially considering it was my first time making sushi rolls. I’ll be sure to post pictures when I make them for Sukkot next week, although I won’t be slicing the rolls until I serve them.

We also had a power outage due to a storm on Rosh HaShanah, during which I spent most of the time panicking about what would become of the food I had been cooking for the three weeks prior that I had in frozen storage. Fortunately, it only lasted about three hours, so there was no harm done, and it made me very thankful for having any electricity at all. 🙂

This week I will be making hush puppies, roasted red potatoes, noodle kugel, Yerushalmi kugel, rice with caramelized onions, rice with curry and raisins, a barley-mushroom dish, and dressings for the Terra Chip salad and the Avocado/orange/pomegranate salad. Here’s hoping my refrigerator will be able to contain everything, as well as what I’m making next week. Eleven days to go!

Wishing all my readers a Shana Tova U’Metukah!

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Menu #5: Friday Night

Appetizer Mini broccoli-salami quiches
Soup Vegetable soup
Salad 1 Chicken salad
Salad 2 Israeli salad
Entree 1 Stuffed cabbage
Entree 2 Cherry chicken puffs
Side 1 Yerushalmi kugel
Side 2 Mashed potato pie
Side 3 Zucchini in tomato sauce

…And we’re almost done! With the menus, at least. The vegetable soup is my own concoction, and to be honest, I never even got around to serving it last year. I had left cooking it for Friday during the actual holiday, since I was cooking it to be eaten on Shabbat, but it didn’t get done in time — and truthfully, no one missed it. But I’d like to make it anyway — it’s a pretty good soup, if I say so myself, and also pretty light — so I’m going to try and start it early and just reheat it a few hours later. Hopefully that will work.

I made the stuffed cabbage last year, and it went over extremely well — and it freezes wonderfully, which is a good thing in my case. The Israeli salad is the only item on any of the menus, in case anyone has noticed, that is getting repeated (but I think I’m allowed one item, right?). Yerushalmi kugel is a noodle pudding made with fine noodles, caramelized sugar, and a lot of pepper. I was lucky enough to find a recipe on the internet somewhere that provides enough of a kick to make me happy but does not set my guests’ mouths on fire. And the mashed potato pie is my lovely mother-in-law’s recipe, to which I added soymilk, which I think makes a huge difference in how light it tastes.

One more to go, and the cooking commences next week!