Monday, November 25, 2013

Chanukah Chow: It's About the Oil, Stupid!

Photograph by A. Schloss

There are two broad classifications of Jews, Ashkenazi and Sephardi, distinguished by the geography from which one's ancestors fled. Those kicked out of potato-eating eastern Europe are Ashkenazic and at Chanukah they dine on potato latkes by the dozen. Those that were made to feel unwelcome in Spain and its territories due to that nasty Inquisition are Sephardic, and, depending on where they landed, they eat some sort of deep-fried doughnut, known as loukomades to Greek Jews, zelebi to Persian Jews, and sufganiyot in Israel.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Year Roast the Turkey While You Sleep

Photograph by A. Benson from Cooking Slow by Andrew Schloss

I thought the recipe for Holiday Turkey on page 29 of Cooking Slow was complete perfection, until I was asked to slow roast a 20-pounder for a turkey promotion at our local co-op. Of course, I didn't follow my original recipe exactly (I am incapable of precise reproduction) and, damn, if it wasn't improved. Don't get me wrong. The recipe in the book is perfectly fine and almost effortless. I was just intimidated when I wrote it and now I've grown braver, or maybe I've become an even bigger fool than I was a year ago. Take your choice.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Joke-Defying Fruit Cake

Photograph by A. Schloss

Fruit cake is a joke. Take your choice of punchlines from "edible doorstop" to "endlessly recycled holiday gift" fruit cake has to be the most maligned sweet in history. And I have a hard time arguing. Commercial fruit cake is for-the-most-part nasty stuff; cloying, dank, and leaden - a cinnamon-scented anti-digestif - and the polar opposite of this masterwork.

A spin-off of Fig and Walnut Fruit Cake on page 205 of Cooking Slow, this is a substantial indulgence  packed with pounds of dried fruit and nuts and barely enough batter to keep everything from falling apart. The finished cake is closer to a giant energy bar than fruit cake - chewy, crunchy, wholesomely decadent.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Slow Baked Lamb Shoulder with Oven-Dried Tomatoes

Photograph by A. Schloss

Where do all the lamb shoulders go? This super-succulent cut used to be commonplace and irresistibly inexpensive, but now most markets can't get them at any price. One would think they would be plentiful (for every leg of lamb there has to be a shoulder, unless modern lamb anatomy has been altered). So when our neighborhood co-op told me they were getting in a whole lamb and asked what cut I wanted - my response was immediate -shoulder, both of them, and Mike threw in the breast bones, since nobody else wanted those delicious spindly ribs.