Friday, February 21, 2014

"Love and Knishes" & "Cooking with Love" & The Way to a Man's Heart is through His Capricorn" - a Valentine's Day meal

Date I made these recipes:  February 17, 2014 (for Valentine's Day—a bit late!)

Love and Knishes – An Irrepressible Guide to Jewish Cooking by Sara Kasdan
Published by:  The Vanguard Press
© 1956; Fifth Printing 1957
Recipe:  Potato Soup – p. 33-34
Purchased at Arc's Value Village Thrift Stores, Richfield, MN

Cooking with Love – A World-Wide Collection of Recipes for Entertaining from One of Chicago's Favorite Hostesses by Florence Kerr Hirschfeld
Published by:  Houghton Mifflin Company Boston
© 1965
Recipe:  Wonderful Chocolate Cake (with Glossy Chocolate Frosting) – p. 291
Purchased at Bloomington (MN) Crime Prevention Association annual sale

The Way to a Man's Heart is Through His Capricorn – A Whimsical Astrological Cookbook by Peggy Holt
Published by:  Price/Stern/Sloan Publishers, Inc.
© 1970
Recipe:  Parfait Pistache (from the Libra chapter) – p. 67
Purchased on from SALLIEandJUDY

When, a few days before Valentine's Day, I announced to my husband that a few of the dishes I wanted to make contained sour cream and butter, he exclaimed – jokingly – "Are you trying to kill me?"

No honey.  Just trying to feed you something fun for Valentine's Day.

But a few day's later, when I got around to making the dishes, I had to wonder if instead of me killing him, he wasn't in fact trying to hasten my demise.  Because later that night, after he came home from a part-time job, he took the soup I made that afternoon out of the fridge to warm up a bowl for a late-night snack and forgot to put it back in the refrigerator.  And so the soup sat out all night.  Now granted, it is winter and our kitchen is not insulated (making it just a bit brisk back there until I turn on the oven) but no way was I eating that soup.  Nuh uh.  Nope.  Visions of emergency rooms replaced visions of love in quite the burning hurry.

Well of course he felt terrible because he was not trying to kill me off nor is he big on wasting food.  These things happen.  Luckily, I was of the mind to make the soup for a second time and I can promise you we have both be vigilant about storing it properly.  Still, all that butter, all that sour cream, all that milk wasted.....sigh.

Now I imagine, although I don't know for sure, that Sara Kasdan, author of the Love and Knishes cookbook from which this soup recipe came, also would likely have sighed and tut-tutted and oy veyed a couple of times at that waste of these yummy ingredients.  Many recipes in her cookbook contain these precious ingredients, some of which sounded yummy, like our soup recipe, but others that I just need a moment to ponder—like noodle or rice kugel which is basically a casserole of butter, sugar, eggs and...noodles/rice.  Nope.  That does not compute. 

I was really tempted to make a knish but that seemed too heavy (yeah, right—like potato soup isn't?) so I passed.  A knish is basically a mound of filling (potatoes, cheese) wrapped in dough.  Think of it as a Jewish Hot Pocket.  Now, I love these things but again, didn't want the knish weighing me down that day as they can be quite filling (with the filling).

By the way, years ago, Andy and I were watching TV show – maybe the "Tonight Show" – and a comedienne, who was a southern Jewish woman, just cracked us up. She talked about southern cocktail parties where the going phrase as hors d'oeuvres were passed was "Y'all want a knish?" The way she pronounced "knish" was just so southern i.e. add more syllables than needed.  "Knish" became "kah-ni-ish" and we became fans of that line.  Still, I veered toward the soup because I had other items to make for our Valentine's Day menu and didn't want to get too bogged down.

Cooking with Love by Chicago hostess with the mostest (who knew?) Florence Kerr Hirschfeld, yielded the very yummy "Wonderful" Chocolate Cake recipe, chocolate, of course, being a mandatory – no exceptions – Valentine's Day incredible edible.  The only thing that puzzled about this recipe was that you had to melt chocolate squares and water together – those two ingredients don't often mix well – and so the texture was somewhat odd even though the taste was delicious.  The glossy chocolate frosting also yielded a few "huh" moments when it came to appearance and the only thing I'll say is that the frosting is good but messy.

And last but not least, a book which made me laugh (but made Andy's forehead wrinkle in confusion—as in "why did you buy that?") is The Way to a Man's Heart is Through His Capricorn, featuring a nude woman (cartoon drawing) on the front.  Similar artwork abounds featuring nude woman with various animals like frogs and lions----we won't go there.  As to the recipes, nothing for February (Aquarius) or March (hubby's birthday) (Pisces) tripped my trigger but wouldn't you know, the ice cream dessert for Libra – my birth month – did!  Coincidence?  Yes!  So in addition to the chocolate cake, we had a parfait of – be still my heart – coffee ice cream, chocolate ice cream, pistachios and...drum roll....dark rum.  Woot!   Does that cake/ice cream combo sound like Valentine's Day, or what?

"Or what," people!  Although the culinary combinations might sound a little odd—potato soup, chocolate cake and ice cream, it all worked.  And hubby was happy.  So there you go—happy hubby, Happy Valentine's Day!

Potato Soup (Milchik) – serves 8
3 cups diced potatoes
1 cup diced onions
2 stalks celery, diced
1 quart water
2 teaspoons salt
1 quart milk
1/8 pound butter (or more)
3 sprigs parsley
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons minced parsley for garnish

Cook potatoes, onions and celery in salted water until tender (about 30 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Mash vegetables with a potato masher.  Add milk, butter, and parsley.  Return to heat and simmer gently for about 15 minutes (do not allow to boil).  Remove parsley.  Stir in sour cream and allow the soup to remain over a low flame just long enough to heat the cream.  Garnish with minced parsley and paprika.

Ann's Notes:  I made half the recipe and had to adjust my cooking time when boiling the potatoes.  Simmer on low for about 15 minutes, then check.  If necessary, add a bit more water.

I cannot say that the addition of the sour cream made for an attractive-looking soup but the taste was great.  Think of this dish as a bowl of mashed potatoes with a bit of liquid in it.  Yum!

Wonderful Chocolate Cake with Glossy Chocolate Frosting – makes a 9" x 13" pan
For the cake
2 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
½ cup water
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
For the frosting (You can also skip the frosting and dust with confectioners' sugar if desired)
3 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
¾ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
Dash salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

To make the cake, place chocolate and water in top of double boiler and heat until chocolate is melted.  Cream butter and sugar together.  If using electric mixer, beat only at low speed, just enough to blend thoroughly; stir in eggs only until mixed.  Sift flour again with baking soda, then add to butter mixture, alternately with sour cream; mix lightly, starting and ending with flour.  Blend in chocolate and vanilla.  Bake in 9" x 13" x 2" pan, well greased, at 350 for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake pulls away from sides of pan.  Dust with confectioners' sugar or frost with Glossy Chocolate Frosting.  Cut into 3-inch squares.

To make the frosting, melt 3 squares of chocolate in top of double boiler; combine milk, water, sugar, salt and stir into chocolate.  Cook over hot water 20 minutes, then beat with rotary beater 1 minute or until smooth.  Stir in vanilla; cool.

This icing may be made in advance.  It will store well in refrigerator, tightly sealed.

Parfait Pistache – serving size not indicated although I'm guessing it's one serving for you, one for your Valentine!
½ pint coffee ice cream
½ pint chocolate ice cream
1/3 cup dark rum
½ cup crushed pistachio nuts

In parfait glasses, alternate layers of coffee ice cream, crushed pistachio nuts, and chocolate ice cream.  Store in freezer two to three hours.  At serving time, trickle rum over each glass.

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