Monday, January 09, 2006

The Very First Chocolate Lady’s Vegetarian Peysekh Survival Guide

I recently unearthed this email from 1995. I wrote it when a bunch of classmates mentioned that they felt hungry throughout the holiday of Passover. This is the first little throb of what was to become The Chocolate Lady’s Vegetarian Peysekh Survival Guide, the newsletter that in part provoked this blog. Between now and Passover I’ll post some surviving back issues. All the retail establishments mentioned below are gone, but I think you can still get most of the cookbooks.

The Chocolate Lady’s 1995 Vegetarian Peysekh Survival Guide

I feel just terrible about you feeling hungry for all of peysekh. Here are some things I like:

Artichokes
What a wonderful vegetable. I always wait till peysekh for the first artichokes of the season. Dance on down to Leibel Bestritsky's for kosher for peysekh balsamic vinegar and olive oil to go with them. (Or maybe by now you can get it at the Miller's store, but I don't think so.) The best weeknight supper is just two really big artichokes and some decent vinaigrette. If you follow the artichokes with something milky, you get the full artichoke effect.

Asparagus
The same goes for asparagus. You do have to peel them. I am on my way out right now to buy one of those new asparagus peelers today. I will let you know if they make it any easier.

Matzo Balls
As we discussed. Skip the soup, keep the balls. Slice in half and fry face down in butter. Eat with salt, pepper and cheese.

Some good recipes:
Try Grated Potato and Artichoke cake on page 258 of The Savory Way by Madison. Also Potatoes and Chanterelles Baked in Cream on page 210 of The Greens Cookbook. (It's only once a year!) Eggplanty appetizers go well with matzo. The best one I know is in Classic Armenian Recipes by Antreassian and Jebjebian. Potato squares with whole spices are also wonderful. The whole spices form a very satisfyingly bready crust. A good recipe is in Madhur Jaffrey's Invitation to Indian Cooking. If you are not used to using whole fenugreek, be warned that the smell will penetrate the walls of your kitchen for about two days.

Ratners is open with supervision during moyed. Perhaps we can go there on Tuesday.

4 Comments:

Blogger mzn said...

Chocolate Lady, are your charming transliterations uniquely yours or are they standard among the contemporary Yiddish-speaking scene? I like them quite a lot.

This reminds me of this post I saw the other day at the blog Jam Faced. The guy is British and insists on spelling bagel "beigel," which I find only slightly less bizarre than his contention that the world's best are to be found in London. I would be eager to know your opinion on either matter. Wouldn't you pronounce "beigel" with a long I sound? Is that how we're really supposed to say it? Am I making sense?

I don't have anything to add to your excellent veggie ideas except to say that my kid has eaten plenty of matzo balls sans soup, though not fried in butter.

9:24 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Aw, thanks mzn,

I wish I could claim credit, but I use the standard system of the YIVO Institute for writing Yiddish with Roman characters. They are standard and contemporary, but not really standard among the contemporary Yiddish-speaking scene, which is mostly Hasidic (khsidik).

I've seen that spelling for bagel/beigel/beygl in England, but can't remember having had London beigles.

Both pronunciations are correct. Bagel/beygl (rhymes with Nagle or Pagels)is the standard Yiddish pronunciation and would be used in Eastern Yiddish (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, some of Romania, a sliver of Poland including Bialistok). Baygl, (rhymes with Michael (sort of) )Would be used in Central Yiddish (Most of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, etc.) understanding of course that Yiddish dialect boundaries do not line up with national frontiers and the countries listed above are just to give you an idea.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous aleza (aka rubychard) said...

This is a topic I could go on and on about. I rely largely on soup during pesach: leek and potato, always, since my family follows the mizrachi 'whacking one another with leeks during dayenu' minhag, and so we're left with many leeks. but also standard tomato-vegetable, and carrot-ginger, and others.

also, yes on the eggplant: both ratatouille and eggplant parmesan are standards for me. Frittatas of any type also work well, and roasted vegetables of any description...

last year i was very tempted to declare tofu kosher l'pesach, on the grounds of both sephardic custom and my feelings that vegetarians should have an exemption of sorts, but didn't, in the end. still, maybe this year...

12:25 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

Aleza,

I know what you mean. The guide for the coming peysekh is already ten pages long and it's only January. I like the idea of making potato leek soup to employ leeks from the "whacking one another with leeks during dayenu" ritual.

*smiling for the first time today*

1:28 AM  

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