March 13, 2008

Slow week

It's been slow here since we turned the clocks forward for daylight savings time. Or maybe that's just how I feel getting along on one hour less sleep at night... I've been reading my usual doses of science fiction, entertaining but nothing worth sharing. I took out a video from the library of A Wrinkle in Time which struck me as a really faithful adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's novel (one of my all-time favorite books). I cooked dinner several nights in a row and appear to be on an Italian streak (lasagna, pizza).

No news on dad, all appears stable as he continues to receive physical and occupational therapy. My parents celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary yesterday and mom sounded quite chipper on the phone. Susan bought a black radish at the market and made some retach which my parents enjoyed. Retach is grated black radish and onion, bound together with schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) and seasoned with salt and pepper. It's one of those dishes from eastern Europe where people used whatever was available in the winter: the original locavores.

How to make schmaltz:
Remove the skin from a raw cut-up chicken. Place in a skillet over low heat. As fat melts, pour off into a small container. Can also saute some chopped onions to add flavor. Cracklings left in the pan are called gribbenes. Add to chopped liver for extra flavor and crunch. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Kosher homes use schmaltz in place of butter for meat meals. It has a smooth, silky texture and tremendous flavor.

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