Shabbos in My Back Pocket| September 2, 2020
Homemade salmon herring, two types of pickles, and lemon meringue pie — here I come!
Yehuda Goldman, age 33
Runs a kashrus agency Yerushalayim
Friday Night: Store-bought Challah, Roasted Garlic and Techinah (plus some dips that I didn’t make), Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls, Pistachio Encrusted Salmon with Honey Mustard Sauce, Cranberry Brisket, Roast Chicken for the kids, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Broccoli with Portobello Mushrooms, Lemon Meringue Pie, Store-bought Cookies
Shabbos Lunch: Challah and Dips, Herring-Style Salmon, Liver and Egg, Salad, Deli Roll and Pickles, Coleslaw, Cholent
Shalosh Seudos: Challah and Dips, Gefilte Fish, Guacamole, Nish Nosh, Salad, Sliced Fruit
When I came across the column Man with a Pan, I thought it would be an interesting challenge to partake in. Two of my grandparents were in the catering business, and in my job running a kashrus agency, I deal with food production on a daily basis. When a friend of mine successfully completed the challenge in a previous issue, it was time to throw my hat into the ring.
The rules were simple: Do it yourself (Family Table), have fun (mine), and clean up after yourself (my wife). While I fulfilled the first two, the clean-up part didn’t go exactly as planned. Something must always go wrong, right? When it came to the menu, I kept it simple and chose foods that wouldn’t pose particular difficulty. Ultimately, as the cooking went along, items were swapped out and new dishes made their way in. My goal was to enjoy the experience and simply go with the flow.
Step by Step
The fun began on Tuesday evening when I started preparing the fresh salmon to be cured into herring-style salmon. It takes a couple of days, so I needed to get an early start. Wednesday morning, I placed a produce order.
Later Wednesday, I prepared the brine and vegetables, and put up two large mason jars of homemade half-sour pickles (spicy and regular). While cutting up the garlic cloves, I decided to prepare a couple more heads to make some roasted garlic in olive oil (plus a dash of sea salt and coarse black pepper) — something not originally planned for.
That evening, I continued with the salmon herring and did a quick check of the pantry to ensure we had everything needed for the next day. Who wants to get stuck without an ingredient mid-recipe?
Thursday morning, once the kids had been dropped off at gan, it was all systems go. I hadn’t planned it this way, but it turned out to be six hours of nonstop action, crossing off one item after the other from the list. Fortunately, it (almost) got all done by the time the sun started rising in the USA and my normal workday began.
I started with the chicken soup, as I knew it would take time to cook. There are different ways to prepare soup, but in yeshivah, we always just threw it all in and turned on the fire. Don’t mess with success. We weren’t taught to skim the fat off (although I ultimately did, so as not to transgress minhag hamakom). I dropped in the chicken, followed by the celery, sweet potato, onion, and garlic cloves; then I turned on the fire.
My wife was still snooping around at that point and said, “I’m not helping you, but just want to remind you that our kids’ favorite part of the soup is the carrots!”
“Of course I know that,” I replied, making a beeline to the fridge and grabbing one for each child. I had just placed them into the pot when my wife once again piped up as she left the house, “Remember that we’re also making Shabbos for my brother’s family, and his kids also like carrots.”
“Oh, yes,” I said, grabbing some more in their honor. With all these kids to be fed, I quickly put up a pan of roasted chicken with spices and duck sauce for good measure.
It was time to make sweet potato kugel, but wanting to stay in my comfort zone, I pivoted and put up candied sweet potatoes instead. I scrubbed, rinsed, and sliced sweet potatoes, then laid them out in a deep baking pan. I poured some maple syrup and bourbon over them and sprinkled them with some sea salt. Then I mixed them mid-bake, and the results were just as memorable as those from my yeshivah days.
I moved on to the gefilte fish, then put up the eggs to boil. I knew that I’d need a large amount of fried onions, which takes time, so I began chopping them, then put them up over low heat. Everything was under control so far, and the search was on for the green beans.
As I rummaged around the freezer, I couldn’t find them, but I did see a bag of frozen broccoli. My youngest is a big fan, so the menu was adjusted yet again. Once defrosted, I simply laid them out on a baking sheet, added sliced portobello mushrooms, and drizzled on some of the olive oil from the roasted garlic. When they came out of the oven, I added a dash of sea salt.
On a Roll
Having some time, I made the dressing for the Nish Nosh salad and did a quick taste test of the pickles. The recipe card for the cranberry brisket seemed to be missing, so I called my wife. She said that there was no official recipe. With no alternative, I winged it: I seared the brisket on all sides, then spiced it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I added a can of cranberry sauce and half a bottle of beer, covered it with sliced onions, and placed it into the oven for six hours on low heat.
A couple of ripe avocados were in the fridge so guacamole was duly added to my menu. With the onions now done, it was time to prepare the chopped liver and egg salad. A container of tahini paste appeared in the pantry while I was searching for an ingredient, so I also made fresh techinah l’kavod Shabbos Kodesh.
Time was running out, and my youngest would soon be home from gan, so I called my mother and she guided me on a quick and easy coleslaw. I tidied up the growing mess and got started on the deli roll (and deli rugelach for the kids). The salmon herring was now ready to be packaged (it yielded 22 containers), so I chopped up the jalapeño peppers, scallions, onions, garlic, and bell peppers for the different varieties that I’d made. The jars of pickles left us with enough for a small army, so those got packaged up too. These were all later delivered to friends and family, and thankfully the feedback was positive.
Counter space was growing exceedingly scarce, so it was time to start putting away whatever possible.
Once that task was completed, all that was left was the cholent, salmon, matzah balls (which were planned for Friday), and lemon meringue pie, so a break was in order. Later that night, once the kitchen somehow looked cleaner than I had left it, it was time to make lemon meringue pie. It was my grandmother’s birthday, and what better surprise than sending her a pie made with her own recipe?
There are various steps that need to be followed, but it went smoothly — at least until it was time to bake it, when I discovered that we had never asked her for the actual baking instructions! It was too late in Yerushalayim (where my grandmother lives also) to call her.
Fortunately, I was able to call a caterer in California, who provided that crucial, missing information. The recipe yielded much too much for our family, so I ended up making a few extra smaller pies, which I sent along with the salmon herring and pickles.
Friday morning, I put up the cholent and pistachio-encrusted salmon, washed the lettuce, and prepared the matzah balls — and with that, we were done! All in all, the results were great and tasty.
The challenge was great fun and something I’d do again in the (distant) future. It sure was exhausting, and kudos to my wife for doing this week after week.
Note from the Wife
It was nice having a break from cooking, even though the cleanup was still quite a job! Everything came out delicious. My favorites were the sweet potatoes, broccoli, cholent, and lemon meringue pie — they were so good!
Click here for Bubby’s Lemon Meringue Pie recipe!
(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 708)
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