Getting Rid of Chometz

(From the archives of my  Mishpacha Cooking column)

The kids look forward to “lets get rid of the chometz” meals that tend to appear in the beginning of Nissan. Knowing that I hate throwing things away opens everyone’s imagination to create all sorts of concoctions.

 

One year we rolled out the philo dough sprinkled browned ground meat and the ½ bag of frozen spinach that was sitting in the freezer. Rolled it and then cut it into separate rings. Brushed it with an egg wash. Then sprinkled it with the leftover sesame seeds. The kids loved it! Who would think they would eat something green for an appetizer?

 

Another time it was bread pudding. We took all the leftover bread, cubed it.  Soaked it in milk and added vanilla pudding and can fruit.  When it came out of the oven it smelled heavenly.

 

One year we felt we were really ahead.  Daringly we invited a family who had four rowdy boys over for a Shabbos meal. The parents’ presence was uncertain due to her expectancy.  During the week they couldn’t express their delight and surprise that someone had actually invited them so close to Pesach. The mother called twice to make sure it was true. In the end their attendance was obligatory at the hospital.

 

After the drinks had been spilled twice on the sofa, and another time on the just polished book case, the already Pesach cleaned bedroom was unlocked and assaulted with a wielding drumstick, the girls bunk bed was penetrated with a chocolate covered rice crispy peanut butter ball, and a trail of noodles and raisins were made toward the boys toy box, I started having my doubts of how clever it was inviting company.

 

But at the Rabbi’s Shabbos shiur, he told over the power of hachnassas orchim.  Welcoming guests is equal to having the Shechina (the Devine presence) brought into your household. A Midrash is told about Moshe receiving the Torah. When the angles heard they began to attack him. To protect him, HaShem changed Moshe’s face to look like Avraham Avinu and only then would the angels graciously accept Moshe. What happened? Why Avroham? Because when Avraham served the angels a meal (in Parsha Vayeira) they owed him.  Their debt of hakaras hatov (gratefulness) to him forced the angels to accept flawed man’s partnership with their perfect world.

 

Hey, maybe it wasn’t so bad.

Bread Pudding

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Baking time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6 – 8

This is the more traditional form of bread pudding.

 

½ cup raisins washed and checked or med can of peaches or apricot

¼ cup butter or margarine

8 slices day-old bread, lightly toasted

1 cup firmly brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground allspice

3 eggs

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups milk

 

 

Spread butter on each bread slice. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes; set aside.  Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and allspice; leave 3 tablespoons aside.  Toss bread cubes with remaining sugar mixture.  Place half of the bread cube mixture in a lightly greased 1-½ quart casserole. Add half of raisins or fruit drained (save the juice) over bread cube mixture. Repeat layers.

 

Combine eggs, salt, and vanilla in a medium-mixing bowl.  With a stick blender mix for 1 minute; gradually stir in milk (and juice from the fruit) while mixing.  Pour over mixture in casserole dish; let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture on top.

 

Bake at 325*F for 45-50 minutes.  Serve warm.

Thick Vegetable Soup

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 – 8

½ cup celery

½ cup onion

1 Tbls olive oil

2 cups water

½ tsp salt

3 cups diced fresh or dry bread

1 cup light cream or milk

1 egg

Parsley chopped

Sauté the vegetables in oil until they are soft.  Add the water, salt and bread.  Stir well and let the mixture come to a boil.  Then simmer for ½ an hour.  Blend the soup with a stick blender. Combine the cream and egg and mix. Add some hot soup to the mixture and then add it slowly to the soup. Do not let it boil and serve with parsly.

Artichoke Tomato Pasta salad

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6 – 8

 

1 kilo of pasta already cooked and drained

1 large cucumber sliced

½ cup fresh parsley chopped

1 jar (6 oz or 170 milliliter) marinated artichoke hearts quartered.

1.2 tsp salt

½ tsp dill

¼ black pepper

1 tbls lemon peel grated

2 tbls lemon juice

4 tomatoes quartered into wedges

 

 

Mix all the ingredients together except for the tomatoes including the marinade for the artichokes.  Place the tomatoes on to the platter and serve the salad over them. Serve cool.

 

 

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Not particularly dietetic, but oh so good.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 – 8

1 chicken cut into quarters or 1/8’s depending on your family taste

 

8 slices of day old bread

1 tbs vegetable oil

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp paprika

¼ tsp turmeric

Pinch of pepper

1-½ cups flour

2 eggs

½ liter or quart of vegetable oil

 

In a shallow but large bowl, mix the flour and the rest of the spices.

 

Lay slices of bread on baking sheet.  Drizzle oil on the bread.  Mix all the spices together.  Sprinkle ½ of the spices onto the bread. Bake for 10 minutes until toasted.

 

In a med size pot, fill it half way with oil.  Place on a high fire.  Add a carrot.

 

In a food processor grind the bread into crumbs.  Place crumbs in a large flat bowl.  In a 3rd similar shape bowl beat the eggs and add 1 tbs of water.  This is called egg wash.

 

Place each piece of chicken (on all sides) first in the flour, then egg wash, then the breadcrumb mixture. When the oil is boiling add the chicken.  After the chicken rises turn it over but don’t take it out until the skin/crumbs reach a golden brown.  Take it out gingerly and place on a wire rack to drain or paper towels.

Chocolate rice crispy peanut butter ball

Kids love to make it themselves.

 

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6 – 8

½ cup corn syrup or honey

¼ cup brown sugar

1-cup peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 oz. (50 grams) baking chocolate

2 cup ‘Rice Krispies’

1 cup Corn Flakes

½ cup coconut (optional)

 

 

In a large saucepan heat corn syrup or honey, brown sugar, vanilla and peanut butter until blended.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cereal. Round mixture into med size balls. Roll ½ the balls in the coconut.  Chill for 1 hour.

 

 

Tips: Other uses for left over bread such as: Bread Crumbs, French toast, and Croutons.

Fruit and Bread Stuffing

 

4 cups of dried bread cubes (you can make your own by toasting old bread with any spices you like sprinkled with oil)

2 cups of sliced ½ inch celery

2 med onions

1 cup of dried fruit (white raisins, black raisins, prunes)

1 cup of chopped apples

(½ cup of chopped nuts – optional)

1 tsp of salt

¼ tsp of pepper

1 tsp of sweet paprika

½ cup of oil or margarine to fry

½ cup of chicken soup or turkey gravy or water

 

 

Fry the onions, celery, and fruit in the oil.  As they sauté add spices and then the bread cubes with liquid.  When everything is slightly soggy put in on the baking tray intended for the turkey and cook with the turkey.

 

Bread Sauce

Try it over noodles.

1 onion small studded with 3 whole cloves

2 cups milk

2 Tbls butter

1-cup fresh white bread crumbs

In a pot with the milk and butter add the onion.  Bring the milk to a boil.  Add the breadcrumbs and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove the onion.  Mix the sauce and it is smooth.

 

Cinnamon Bread, Orange Toast or Garlic Bread

Preheat over to 350* F (180* C). Slice a loaf of bread but not all the way and pour the different following flavorings on top of the loaf allowing to run down each piece.

Cinnamon:

1/3 cup melted butter

1/3-cup brown sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp grated lemon peel

 

Orange toast

1/3 cup orange juice

Grated rind of 1 orange

¼ cup orange juice

½ cup sugar

 

Garlic Bread

½ cup melted butter

2 garlic cloves minced

¼ tsp salt

 

Brown the bread in the oven.

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