Category Archives: Meat

Deep Fried Turkey for Hanukkah

Fried Turkey

I know I am a bit late with this, and Hanukkah is half over, but I got sidelined with a killer cold for the past week. I was back on my feet just in time for Latke Ball on Thursday and Chinese food with friends tonight. A couple of week ago, some friends and I decided to kick off Hanukkah early and deep fried a turkey. Combined with niner’s football, latkes and beer, it made for a pretty awesome Sunday. While the tradition of deep frying turkey got started in the American South, and most people associate it with Thanksgiving, this culinary trend was ripe for a Hebraic takeover. Hanukkah is considered a minor Jewish holiday but there are three universal practices associated with it: Lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and eating fried foods. Why settle for simple potatoes when you can fry an entire bird? Now when this idea was first proposed there was a lot of concern that this was a spectacularly dangerous thing to be doing on a small San Francisco balcony. There are a lot of  people who have done incredibly stupid things combining a turkey and a deep-fryer and have started some crazy fires. You can even entertain yourself for hours on YouTube watching people do this very thing. I have been lucky enough to have watched the process a few time at my family’s Thanksgiving and got some great pointers from Derek B.  Plus a few simple rules can greatly reduce the risk.

  1. This is not a one person job. You need at least two people or a mechanical pulley system (thanks Alton) to do this safely. Luckily, men really enjoy doing this and I had Ben, Shaun and Sivan on hand to assemble the fryer and do the heavy lifting.
  2. Have a fire extinguisher handy. (and as Ben helpful pointed out, have it accessible in a place that would not require you to go through any potential fires to retrieve it)
  3. Totally defrost your turkey. A still frozen turkey = massively splattering oil.
  4. Don’t over flow the oil. Most of the fires start when the oil overflows the pot and catches the flame which subsequently ignites the rest of the pot of oil. You can do a displacement test with water and your turkey before you unwrap it to determine the amount of oil you need. When you lower the turkey in after you have heated the oil – turn off the flame.
  5. Last but not least – Get drunk AFTER the turkey comes out.

With the appropriate safety precautions, you will have a fantastic bird and may never roast a turkey again. My crowd of about 15 people cleaned an 18lb turkey down to the bone. The only drawback to this is a lack of leftovers.

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Filed under Hannukah, Holidays, Jewish, Meat

Roast Chicken with Apples, Honey and Fennel

Chicken with Apples and Fennel

Question: How long does it take five young professionals in San Francisco to come to consensus on high holiday plans via email and text? I’ll never know the answer. My friends and I started discussing it at the end of August and went in circles for weeks. It was like the set-up to a bad joke – liberal Jews, raised reform, reconstuctionist, conservative, one a convert, all of us with a slight twinge of traditionalism mixed with egalitarianism, and none of us are currently members of a particular synagogue.  We even specifically started “shul shopping” by going to some shabbat services looking for a place with the right mix for all of us. The only thing I learned is that the perfect shul does not exist, but in line with the old joke, the one that each person won’t set foot in, does. Luckily, through an impromptu shabbat dinner, we all ended up at the same table and settled on plans within ten minutes. It was a High Holiday miracle!

The dinner came together because I was looking for a Rosh Hashana recipe and serendipitously one appeared in my inbox. I subscribe to a few recipe list and one for salmon with apples and fennel appeared and I knew I was on the right path. Salmon is a pain to make for a crowd because it can easily get dried out, plus it is expensive, not to mention that my good friend, Sarah, now won’t eat fish because she believes it is all unsustainable and toxic. Chicken is almost always the answer for a meal for a crowd of Jews and what I turned to. Since I was sort inventing this recipe I decided a test run was necessary before my larger Rosh Hashana shabbat dinner and invited my friends to serve as guinea pigs.

After working all day and grocery shopping the thought of doing the photography was feeling a bit overwhelming so I called in an old debt and enlisted my good friend Ryan Simon to serve as the official photographer. He has been nagging me to upgrade to an SLR, so this seemed like a good opportunity to let him show me the goods and if it might be worth the investment. All the photos on this post are his, and I threw in a couple of extra because they were particularly good, so I urge you to click and enlarge them.

I also suggest you to look back at some past Rosh hashana recipes as we have a really nice collection going. I personally will be reviewing the how to braid a spiral challah post so I can impress my guest next week. L’Shana Tova!

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Filed under Fruit and Vegtables, Holidays, Jewish, Meat, Rosh Hashana, Sukkot, Yom Kippur

Purim and St. Patrick’s Day

Corned beef, cabbage and potatoes

Obviously these two holidays are totally unrelated except for the fact that they fall within two days of each other this year. While I am working on a new hamantaschen recipe this weekend and starting the brine for my annual corned beef, I invite you to peruse some recipes from last year:

Learn why corned beef is really a Jewish thing that got adopted by Irish Americans and make your own or you can head over to Wise Sons Deli on Saturday to try theirs.

For Purim ideas:
Traditional poppy seed hamantaschen

Honey whole wheat hamantaschen

Onazi haman – Fried Haman’s Ears

Kicheleh, aka Dutch Puffed Purim dough

Ma’amoul – Menena (Walnut & Date Tartlets)

Kreplach

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Filed under Holidays, Jewish, Meat, Purim

Porcupine Meatballs

Cutie "Porcupine" Meatballs

So this is an Israeli version of homey-hibernation-mode meatballs that was passed along from one of the best Israeli home cooks I know (a close second to my grandma). Super easy, extremely fast, and delicious… well apparently-I’m still vegetarian.  In a fresh tomato sauce and made in a flash they are ideal for quick hearty meals or to feed the little ones. In Hebrew they are called Ktzizot (keh-tzi-tzoat) Kipod (keep-od), which translates to porcupine meatballs. They are called this because of the way the rice pops out of the meat when they are done, reminiscent of the quills of the cute little animal often seen scurrying around Israel.

Click for the recipe!

Come on, you won’t be disappointed you did.

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NSFW – Pork interlude

I suppose this is only not safe for work if you work for a Jewish institution or have an aversion to knowing where your meat comes from (yes Krista, I am talking about you).  In my grand tradition of trayfing it up after the long stretch of the High Holidays, I decided to go whole hog… literally. I couple of Tuesdays ago I got a facebook message from Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, that he had gotten his hands on a pig and would be teaching his highly sought out Whole Hog Butcher class that Friday. Ever since Gordon and I took his lamb butcher class I had been wanting to get into the hog class but he hadn’t held one in months so I jumped at the chance and hit redial until I was enrolled.

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Filed under Meat, Pork interlude, Snout to Tail, Trayfe

Grilled Chicken Liver and Figs

Grilled Liver and Figs

So I’m still slightly obsessed with figs and was attempting to come up with some creative uses for them. As you may have noticed in previous posts that Gordon and I really like chicken liver. (The rest of the Heathens seem to have escaped this particular affliction)  While chopped chicken liver is the more traditional Ashkenazi dish, I felt that the Jerusalem mixed grill gave me a bit of leeway  on creating an appetizer that might just be the perfect bit to stave off the hunger pangs of Yom Kippur fasting while awaiting the main break-fast meal. Additionally, this could be a great way to get yourself out in your Sukkah and on the grill while the weather is still nice.  I also got a really awesome new infrared gas grill this summer, that I look for any excuse to use. BTW – If anyone has an idea how to put a Jewish twist on pizza, let me know, because this grill converts to an amazing pizza oven.

I started very simply with green California figs as I felt they provided a nice contrast to the dark color of the liver.  And while this is a very Mediterranean thing to do I made a simple balsamic vinegar reduction to accompany the figs and liver. I prefer just straight balsamic vinegar but some people like to add a sprig of rosemary or other seasoning. Additionally I used bamboo skewers for the grill but if you are feeling particularly fancy, twigs from a rosemary bush can add a nice bit of flavor. All told this is a sweet, creamy, umami-licous appetizer.

recipe after the jump

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Filed under Fruit and Vegtables, Holidays, Israeli, Meat, Snout to Tail, Sukkot, Yom Kippur

Jerusalem Mixed Grill

 

A Jerusalem Mixed Grill

 

Liver, heart, gizzard- all the makings of  Jerusalem classic for Jerusalem Day. The mo’arav yerushalmi is a classic sandwich that is available all over the new city of Jerusalem, especially in the small eateries around the Machane Yehuda markets that serve as the primary outdoor markets of the Jewish side of town off of Derech Yaffo (literally the way to Jaffa- which it still is from the center old city).

Of course this tasty combination of chicken organ meat is not really a Jerusalem dish. It is in fact a corruption of the English mixed grill brought to the Yishuv (pre-1948 Jewish proto state) by the British army that occupied a good chunk of the near east under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations mandate system.  The British version consists mostly of lamb parts, the Israeli version features either chicken or turkey organs with a dash of ground lamb or lamb fat for flavor.

Properly served it comes on a baguette (a result of Israel’s Francophillia in the 60’s) or pita with hummus, salad, a dash of schoug and of course french fries (called tcheeps in Hebrew, after the English chip).

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Filed under Deli, Israeli, Jewish, Meat, Snout to Tail

Yom Ha’atzmaut Menu

Monday evening and Tuesday will be Israel’s Independence Day. Observed on the 5th of Iyar it commemorates the day that David Ben Gurion read Israel’s proclamation of Independence in Tel Aviv on May 14th, 1948. Israelis love this day as an opportunity to be with family, hang out and grill meat.

The best way to grill this meat is on a small, crappy charcoal fired grill out of doors. Live in an apartment? No worries- city parks, JNF forests and even grass covered median strips can become impromptu picnic spaces. When I lived on kibbutz we found city folk invading our backyard each year in search of a perfect spot to enjoy their festive meal. Be sure to stake out your spot early or you might have to drive down into the Negev to find an open picnic table.

In an effort to help our non-Israeli friends I am referring you to of our previously posted treats to round out your Zionist menu on this 62nd year of the Third Commonwealth.

Start with some bread, pita is mandatory. Next a nice Israeli salad, fresh hummus or ful, schoug and perhaps some grilled sausages, but steak is also nice (Israelis call pork chops steak levan or white steak- a fact I always find amusing). Also, throw some onions halves on the fire with some olive oil, bring along a couple of cold beers and enjoy.

Yom Ha’atzmaut Sameach – Happy Independence Day!

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Hillel’s Kosher for Passover BLT Sandwich

Korech, Hillel’s sandwich at the Temple. It is said that when the Temple still stood in Jerusalem Hillel would combine matza, maror and the Pesach lamb into one in order to observe the mitzva of eating the sacrifice on matza and maror (Numbers 9:11). It might also be the case that he was hungry and dinner was still being organized in the kitchen.

Now, what if we still had a temple? What if we still made the sacrifice? What would a modern chef do with such a sandwich? I think the answer would be the kosher for passover BLT. I put this to the test by taking some of the lamb saddle from our butchering class and curing it with pink salt. Cured and smoked I then sliced it up and placed it on some homemade matza, with fresh parsley, horseradish mayo and of course fresh tomatoes.

Hillel would have asked for seconds.

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Filed under Jewish, Kashrut, Meat, Passover, Smoked, Snout to Tail

Gribenes

These are best enjoyed with a nice IPA

A few weeks ago Amiee and I went to learn how to butcher a lamb. It was fun and we learned a great deal about breaking down whole quadrupeds. But on a more immediate level we got to try some of Ryan Farr’s chicharrones. Now there is a Jewish version of this, gribenes. I have made them before, usually a result of using chicken thighs for something where the skins weren’t needed and I would slowly render them down and feed them to the kids (my son calls them “chicken chips”). But recently I was breaking down a whole chicken for sausages (post on the way) and I thought that I would try to remove the  skin in one go and then render that down. The results were astounding, so I am sharing the results here. By the way, its kosher for passover and you get about a half a cup of nice clean fat (schmatlz) to boot.

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Filed under Ashkenazi, Deli, Meat, Snout to Tail