Apr 10, 2009

my second quarter of culinary school started this week. i am taking three classes - foodservice business planning for ten weeks, and methods of cooking for 5 weeks, followed by intro to garde manger for the second 5 weeks of the quarter. so far we've cooked vegetables (why do the french boil everything?) and starches - rice, risotto, potatoes and pasta.

i had to be a smart ass and hand cut my pasta instead of using the cutter attachment for the pasta roller. i keep forgetting how easy pasta is to make - i'm definitely going to reincorporate it into my rotating dinner menu.

it feels great to be back in class- i really missed my classmates and the experiences we share in the kitchen. it also feels like time is slipping away too fast. i've already technically completed 1/4 of my studies - and although i have learned a lot, i'm not sure i've absorbed as much as i had wanted to. i'm also feeling overwhelmed, like i don't have enough time to myself anymore. i'm working on ways to deal with that, and hopefully i'll come up with a solution soon...

i'm getting the spring itch - i keep wearing clothes and shoes that probably aren't quite ready to

i don't know if i've mentioned this before, but my company has been amazingly supportive of my cooking school venture, and has given me a budget to cook for the office about twice a month. i've been cooking soups exclusively so far - chicken noodle, split pea, minestrone, tortilla, lentil, chicken and rice, cream of chicken, and today: matzoh ball. one of my jewish coworkers brought in her grandmother's incredibly vague matzoh ball recipe ("omi's matzoh balls") for us to decipher, and although i had never even tasted matzoh ball soup before, i think we figured out the quantities allright and made a damned tasty soup.

so here is the recipe - my interpretation of Omi's matzoh balls soup.
serves 15-20.

for the matzoh balls:
1 box matzoh, broken into smallish pieces
1 large onion, small dice
2 oz butter
6 eggs
1 tbsp garlic salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup matzoh meal

for the soup:
1 pound of carrots, sliced
2 large onions, small dice
2 oz butter
8 quarts of chicken broth
1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • to start the matzoh balls: soak matzoh in warm water for about 5 minutes until soft. drain and squeeze out excess water.
  • sautee onion in butter over medium heat until translucent. add drained matzoh and cook, stirring to break up the matzoh, for about 5 minutes. turn off heat and cover. let sit for 10 minutes or so to steam.
  • spread matzoh and onion mixture on a baking sheet or platter to cool, stirring every few minutes.
  • for the soup, while the matzoh mixture is cooling heat butter over medium heat and sautee onions and carrots until onion is translucent. add chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  • to finish the balls: combine eggs, garlic salt, pepper, salt and nutmeg. get yourself a bowl with some cold water to dip your hands in - this will prevent the matzoh ball mixture from sticking too much. when matzoh mixture is about room temperature, add eggs and use your fingers to combine. add matzoh meal.
  • roll balls with the palms of your hands to about ping pong ball size, dipping your hands in the water occasionally to keep the sticky mixture from sticking to your hands. your mixture should make about 75 balls.
  • add balls to simmering broth and simmer for just under 5 minutes. when they're done they will float to the top.
  • serve 3-4 matzoh balls per person and sprinkle with a bit of finely chopped parsley.

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