Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Carrot and Parsnip Puree

Carrots by Shih

Here’s something to do with the root vegetables when you want to make a clear soup, especially for peysekh, which as I hardly need to remind you, is hurtling toward us like a hyper-caffeinated ostrich (I have an amazing soup recipe in the pipe for you--oh, I just can't wait!). Amounts are approximate. This will work just fine if you don't have parsley root and celeriac, but I think the carrots and parsnips are essential, both for the puree and for the broth which is the pretext for the whole thing.

Root Vegetable Puree

1 pound carrots

1 pound parsnips

1 bunch parsley roots (about 1 pound) with attached parsley (optional

1 celeriac (about 12 ounces)

1 medium onion

12 cloves garlic

2 or 4 tablespoons butter

2 7-ounce packages farmer cheese

several sprigs snipped dill

salt, paprika, and white pepper to taste

Cook the vegetables in salted water until they are quite tender. Strain, and use the liquid in soup. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, puree them, and mix in a few tablespoons of butter, the farmer cheese, and dill. This was delicious just like that, and it is just fine if you leave out the butter and cheese.

Happy Republic Day to India, surrogate homeland to all who are devoted to deliciousness.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike, z"l


My father knew
how to be
Uncle Sam

Six feet two
he led the

the year
the boys came back
from war.

spatted, his legs
like canes

his dandy coat,
like a
bluebird’s back

he led the parade
and then
a man

(I’ve never been sure
he was honestly

he might have been
after a laugh)

from the crowd
swinging his hands,

and screamed
“you’re the s.o.b.
who takes

all my money!”
and took
a poke at

my own father.
He missed
by half

an inch; he felt
the wind, my father
later said.

When the cops
grabbed that one,
another man

shouted from the
crowd in a
voice like brass:

“I don’t care if
you take a poke at

but don’t you
Uncle Sam!”

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spring Cleaning (Gettin' Ready for Love)

Skateboarding Giraffe by Christine Larsen

On Thursday I heard a beautiful song about hakhune lepeysekh הכנה לפּסח(Passover preparations). It is called Spring Cleaning (Gettin’ Ready for Love) by Fats Waller (1937). I don’t remember all the words, and I can’t seem to find them anywhere, but to paraphrase only slightly, the point Fats was trying to make is that the joyous and auspicious holiday of peysekh is hurtling toward us like a giraffe on a snowboard. Running and getting out of the way are simply not options. Fortunately, there is no need to panic. I have tagged as peysekhdik or perfect for peysekh these archival recipes. Gut Khoydesh גוט חודש and xin1nian2 kuai4le4 新年快樂:

Pokey-Leekey Soup (with fresh chiles instead of Tabasco sauce)


Collard Greens

Apple and Quince Sauce

The recipes for Venus Nectar and Carrot Cake from the Famous Cook Book

Lost and Found Kabocha Soup of Many Colors

שפּינאַט און קרײַטעכצער קוכן


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pareve Sweet Potato Pie

In Friday’s paper, there were a number of letters from schoolchildren to Barack Obama. While I was touched by the writer who wanted to “help all nations, even Hawaii,” the letter that particularly grabbed my attention was this one:

Dear Barack Obama,

You look too skinny.

You should eat more food.

This is what you should eat:

  1. pizza
  2. ice cream
  3. butter popcorn
  4. cupcakes
  5. hamburgers
  6. French fries
  7. hot dogs
  8. hot chocolate
  9. cookies
  10. cotton candy



The reason Jayme’s letter grabbed me is that except for the hamburgers and hot dogs, the text is exactly, but exactly, identical to the letter I sent President Obama myself, or would have, if only I got around to it.

I will add only my new recipe for sweet potato pie. I just cannot stop making these pies. Here’s the dairy-free version. In good health, America.

Pareve Sweet Potato Pie

Pareve Pecan Crust

½ cup rolled oats

1 ½ cups pecans

1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons apple cider

If you will also be making a pecan pie, or might make one at some point, select the perfect gorgeous pecan halves for that. For this recipe you can use the broken pecan or imperfect pecan pieces.

Heat the oven to 350 F. Place the oats on one baking sheet and the pecans on another and toast the oats for about fifteen minutes, and the pecans for about twenty minutes. Allow to cool.

In a processor, buzz the oats to a fine meal. Add the pecans and pulse, and then add the sugar and flour and process to a fine powder. Add the coconut oil and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the apple cider until the crust comes together. Press the dough into two eight-inch tart pans or one nine-inch pie pan. Use the leftover bits to make little tartlets (the best part). Return to the oven and bake for twenty minutes or until lightly browned. Raise oven temperature to 400.

Pareve Sweet Potato Pie Filling

4 medium sweet potatoes (to yield about 2 cups baked, mashed sweet potatoes)

4 eggs

8 ounces (1 cup) brown sugar (darker is nicer)

12 ounces (1 can) coconut milk

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Bake the sweet potatoes until quite soft—about an hour depending what else you have in the oven. Peel the potatoes when they are cool enough to handle. You can do this with your fingers, and it is one of the many great pleasures associated with this pie. Combine all the filling ingredients in the processor and process until quite smooth. Pour the filling into the tart or pie pans and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake until set—another 15 minutes for the tarts, or about 25 minutes for the pie.

I'll make you pie, baby!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Peysekh Countdown 2009 ביז פּסח ת"שסט

Tonight is the night of the glorious midwinter moon, and you all know what that means. Four week to the lush and sacred feast of Tu b'shvat, eight weeks to the wooly and sacred feast of Purim, and just three short months until the joyous and sacred feast of Peysekh will be at our throats. Yellow alert.

I have tagged as peysekhdic these archival recipes:
Romanyiote Zucchini
How to Grate Potatoes (Not including the pasta recipe in the same post)
August Breakfast Salad
אלול פֿרישטיק סאַלאַט