Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Passover I: Killah Matzah Balls

The hard and soft matzah ball debate is unnecessary; it just depends on how much water you put in before cooking. Matzah balls are pretty much matzah flour, beaten egg, and water. The water and egg will mix before cooking, and after cooking the water will be trapped by denatured egg proteins. You want soft matzah balls? Trap a lot of water in there. You want hard matzah balls, not so much. I like them soft, and had to quadruple the amount of water suggested by the nice people at manichewitz. Batter in the sink, testing for size at 1 tablespoon and a quarter cup, scooping and dropping from a quarter cup measure lined with plastic, and the matzah balls increasing in size so dramatically th I was sure they were going to start plopping onto the deck of the stove, potentially injuring passerby (good thing they were soft...)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Arab Market: Seeds and Spuds, Candy and Chaos.

Arab market, somewhere east of Nazareth. Big sheet metal warehouse, entirely open, an informal dirt parking lot on one side, and a chaos of trucks, crates, and shouting over a floor of drops and discards. Produce you can tell just came out of the field... spuds still covered in dirt, cabbage with the rough, eaten outer leaves we never see because, ie, some Jamaican migrant worker at the Smalowski farm in Hadley, Mass has cut them off with a billhook before the shrinkwrap. Clear plastic bags of seeds... sunflower, fried fava beans, fresh fava beans, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, peanuts, almonds, pecans, salted, unsalted... sold by the scoop and the kilo, a nice change from the sealed 1.75 oz packages hanging by the cash register. And the fish monger in a keffiyeh and leather jacket who graciously allowed me to take his picture. Looked like mostly farmed tilapia, but the pink bags by his left hand are shrimp on ice, a leeway allowed by Halal dietary laws but not Kashrut.