Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1 - A Day of Firsts

I did a few things for the first time today and decided I should document them. Of course, I took no pictures - so much for planning ahead.

Today is Holy Thursday, the feast of the Last Supper. While I have no Jewish background, I've been interested in Jewish cooking and foods for a while. I decided I would do a mini-Seder to commemorate the Last Supper, which was probably a Passover meal.

Since my kitchen could not possibly be called kosher, this was not a kosher meal by any means, but there was a traditional element. I made matzo ball soup, which I have never eaten, but wanted to try. I found a recipe (good time of year for that - they are all over the place), made my matzo balls, which were floaters, not sinkers, for those of you who understand the difference, and made my chicken stock from my non-kosher chicken. Lots of chicken stock left over which I will use in an upcoming project.

I also poached a truly wonderful piece of fresh Alaskan king salmon. Maybe not gefilte fish, but tasty none the less. Since it was only Bob and me, I didn't do all the other dishes I could have. I'm working up to the full meal gradually. Maybe next year will include kugel and brisket, but tonight's dinner was much simpler.

My other foray into new territory was making butter. Nick, my formerly carnivorous son, and his roommates are trying to move towards being vegan - no animal products at all (no meat, no fish, no dairy, no cheese, no eggs) - which is very challenging for a mom who likes to send treats to Boston. My approach, which I have labeled "vegan-lite" is to encourage them to use some of those products if they are raised/produced in a humane, organic, sustainable way. To provide an example of how to do this, I made cookies which had one egg from a local farm which treats its chickens right and butter WHICH I MADE from cream from a Washington dairy farm which grows its own feed for the cows, assuring they get non-genetically modified food.

Now I suppose most of us at one time or another have forgotten the cream we were whipping, which then went past a fluffy whip cream to a lumpy concoction. Well, if you keep going and take a couple other steps, like draining the butter milk, rinsing the butter in cold water and kneading it, and then draining again, you get butter! It worked pretty well, although I was feeling my way. I found an excellent website which provided pictures of what would happen at each step. The site is called Cooking for Engineers, so it is very specific and detailed.

I used 4 ounces of my hand-crafted butter for the cookies and plan to use some for breakfast tomorrow. I don't know that this will become a habit, but for this project, it was just what I wanted.

The cookies go in the mail tomorrow - we will see if the vegans eat them or give them away!


  1. I assure you, we will eat them and be grateful!

  2. That's a very clever idea: "Vegan lite"; I dig it. :D

    "Maybe not gefilte fish, but tasty none the less." OH man, this made me laugh unintentionally - every time I picture gefilte fish, all I can see is a jello mold. I'm terrible, I know.