This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Report on Pastry Mixed by Hand

Posted by Avital Pinnick on November 14, 2009

Last week I posted a video of pastry mixed by hand, with a dough knife. I tried that method on Friday (as my son put it, “Imma made a quiche because she was bored”) and can report that it was a definite improvement over my usual Kevlar crust. I have to fine-tune the water mixing part.

Ruhrman’s 3:2:1 ratio incorporates a higher percentage of fat than my usual recipe (based on Julia Child’s 2:1 ratio, by weight), which probably contributed to the crust being somewhat more “short” than my usual crust. I found that 150 flour, 100 gm butter, and 50 gm cold water was fine for a 9″ crust. Measuring the ingredients by weight is much easier than measuring flour and butter by the cup or tablespoon. (I can’t imagine cooking without a Salter electronic scale.)

There was a bit of sagging on one side of the shell. I suspect the culprit was a lump of butter that hadn’t been fully incorporated (shmeared) into the flour, but the sagging wasn’t bad enough to cause serious leakage of the filling (forest mushrooms and portobellos sautéed in butter).

I had some misgivings when I took the dough out of the fridge after a two-hour rest. It was much harder than my usual pastry dough, almost like a rock. I softened it slightly with a rolling pin, then rolled it into an 11″ circle. I baked the shell blind without foil and beans, which led to some air bubbles, but the shell stayed intact.

Eventually I will have the courage to serve my hand-made pastry to guests. Working the dough on a stone counter with a dough knife is so much easier than hauling out a food processor or attaching abowl of crumbs with a couple dull knives.



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Video 1: How to Make Boiled Kubbeh

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 28, 2009

I’ve been trying to make boiled kubbeh (Iraqi meat-filled semolina dumplings) for years. I even took a course, but my kubbeh had the texture of boiled tennis balls. If you recall that my early kneidlach (matzah balls) could have doubled as rubber bullets, you will see the pattern. Clearly, spherical objects are not my forte.

I made this video for purely selfish reasons. When I discovered that my office mate, Yinnon, was taught to make kubbeh by his Iraqi grandmother, I realised that this was my opportunity to film a process that is best learned by observation. I would have loved to make a video of his grandmother, but she wasn’t sitting in my office and he was (and is a fine cook), so the kubbeh video was born. We made it on Feb. 11, 2009, Tu biShvat (Jewish New Year for trees), when our workplace had huge platters of fruit and nuts in every kitchen. It was my idea to use mashed raisins as a mock-up for the ‘meatballs.’ Masha, our other office mate, brought the semolina (aka solet in Hebrew) and Yinnon did it in one take, two parts.

Strangely, there are very few kubbeh videos on YouTube and they all deal with the deep-fried Syrian version or the flat version made in a tray (kubbeh bil saniyeh). Someday we’ll make the follow-up video that Yinnon promises, which will describe how to make the meat filling for the kubbeh. That will probably have to be shot in his flat rather than in the office.

The boiled kubbeh described in this video are normally served in soup. The best known are the “sour” (khamousta) soup and the “red” soup. The khamousta version is a clear brother with lots of vegetables, especially Swiss chard, mangold leaves, or spinach, slightly soured with citric acid or lemon juice. The red soup (my favourite) is flavoured with chopped beets, Swiss chard, sometimes sweet potatoes, and is a bit more substantial than the khamousta. It is also slightly soured with citric acid or lemon juice. Sort of a Mediterranean borscht…

Someday I will provide my own, but in the meantime, here are two I found on the Web.

Le Cordon Jew – Recipe and photos for red (beet) kubbeh soup recipe archive – Recipe for Khamoustah (sour) kubbeh soup

If you have the bucks and want your Jewish cooking horizons expanded, I recommend Claudia Roden’s Book of Jewish Food. Good recipes, lots of photos, and historical background. Her book covers far more than the usual Ashkenazi (Eastern European) gefilte fish and matzah balls. Apart from the ample collection of recipes from the Sephardic world (mainly North Africa), she includes Ethiopian and Indian recipes. Recipes are kosher.

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