no matter how much we vacuum!
The whole idea of cooking something slowly got me to thinking about taking time to cook for loved ones (and, of course, you should count yourself as a loved one!). But, as you may have noticed, this blog has not appeared for several months. I haven't felt like putting my heart into meal prep because said heart has been breaking for our country since last November. And the last several months have been pretty ghastly, right?
But, we still have to eat, and we still have to love each other. So, for me, love made manifest is a delicious, soul-nourishing meal, and that doesn't mean defrosting something in the microwave and slapping it on a plate, but taking time and care. Kind of what we should be doing with anything that is important in our lives, whether it's raising children, planning a career, growing a garden, tending a marriage, or recovering from a broken heart and making damn sure that we work hard and elect sane, compassionate and progressive leaders in the next few years. Slow and steady, and never give up.
I made the following three dishes for our tiny Passover Seder this year. It was just Henry and me, because the extended family Seder was taking place over 500 miles away, too far to drive for one night. But, thanks to speaker-phone, we were able to join the crew for a little while, and got to hear our oldest grandson read about the Exodus from Egypt.
Anyway, this food need not be restricted to holidays, Jewish or other. Make all or some of the dishes when you just want to take the time to show someone how much you love them.
My Mother's Sweet and Sour Pot Roast in a Slow Cooker
3-4 pound beef brisket or pot roast
2 large onions
3 TBS grape seed or olive oil
1 cup organic chicken or vegetable stock (I use Imagine brand)
1 bay leaf
2 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 TBS coconut sugar
1/3 cup raisins
2 TBS organic ketchup
1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven. Brown the onions, then remove from the pot. Add the meat and brown on all sides.
2. Set your slow cooker for low and for 8 hours. Place the browned onions, meat, stock and bay leaf in the cooker and cover.
3. After 6 hours, stir in vinegar and coconut sugar and cover.
4. One hour before meat is done (7 hours) stir in ketchup and raisins and cover until time is up.
5. You can keep the meat warm for several hours in the cooker (it automatically switches to a warming setting) or let sit for about 10 minutes before slicing. Remove bay leaf and spoon gravy on top of meat.
2-Day Chicken Soup with Paleo Matzoh Balls
3-4 lb chicken, liver and giblets removed
3 quarts organic, low-sodium chicken broth (I use Imagine brand)
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
1 large onion, quartered
6 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
18 matzo balls (see recipe, below. You will only need two matzo balls per serving, but the rest can be frozen)
1. Place all ingredients except matzo balls in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat. Simmer, covered for 4-6 hours.
2. Cool, then refrigerate overnight.
3. The next day, remove the soup from the refrigerator, and remove most (but not all!) of the hardened fat from the top of the soup. You can keep this fat, refrigerated, for several week, and you can use it for frying, making chopped liver, etc.
4. Remove chicken from the pot and shred the breast meat. Discard the skin. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and save the legs, thighs and wings to serve for another meal.
5. Bring soup to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until the soup is ready to serve.
6. Put two matzo balls in each soup bowl, then ladle in soup, making sure each serving has some chicken, carrots, parsnips and celery. A large bowl of this soup makes a hearty meal. If you want to serve the soup as a first course, remove the whole chicken from the pot, reserve for another meal, and just serve the broth with the matzo balls.
Paleo Matzo Balls
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
2 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
2 TBS chopped parsley
1/4 cup chicken fat (softened, if it's been in the fridge)
Scant splash of seltzer, optional
1. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, 1 tsp salt, and pepper for two minutes until frothy.
2. Stir in almond flour, chicken fat, parsley and seltzer
3. Refrigerate mixture for 2-4 hours.
4. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the additional teaspoon of salt.
5. Wet your hands and form mixture into 1 inch balls and gently drop into boiling water. Because of the seltzer, the mixture might be a little wet, but its addition makes a lighter matzo ball, I've found.
6. Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.
7. If you've made the matzo balls on the second day of soup making, remove from water and put two matzo balls in each bowl and ladle in the soup. If you've made them on the first day, remove from water, let cool, and refrigerate overnight. Reheat for a few minutes in the simmering soup before serving.
Bon Appétit's Best Chocolate Macaroon Cake
This might be the very best cake I've ever baked.