Friday, September 23, 2011

Lunch Bag Knish

My 2-yr-old daughter and I went straight home after preschool because of the rain. I unpacked her lunch bag and it seemed she ate most of everything except the quartered potato knish that Mama packed for her. I had a little nibble of the cold knish, and it actually tasted quite good. Having upped the vegetable shortening and added eggs for the first time to the base potato filling might have done the trick. I think I may be ready to actually start recording my recipes for further refinement, I might actually have something here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Knishy Haze

Felt off my game, but busted out a batch of knishes, on autopilot -- a good test, cooking something without much thought, just feel.  L, who first inspired me with her knish class lecture this past summer, came over for dinner to taste my knishes. Overwhelmingly positive feedback, and she & B got along like a house on fire. I know my wares are not yet perfect but they're coming along.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Knish 3.0: The Chocolating

Three trays of potato, spinach-potato, broccoli-cheddar-potato, kasha-mushroom, and cabbage. Rolling out the dough, shaping the knish, baked at 425 for about 30 minutes seemed to get the job done. Upon tasting the broccoli, though, I wondered whether baking the potato instead of boiling it was the way to go since the potato seemed a bit lumpy, alas. Gotta eat more to make an executive decision!

I also made a chocolate cheese loaf. Winged it, based on a brownie recipe. Melted a stick of butter with about a cup of unsweetened chocolate. Turned off heat, cup of sugar, 16 oz. farmer's cheese, scrapings of 3 vanilla beans, pinch of salt, 4 whisked eggs. Tasted not chocolaty enough; added about a 1/2 cup of dutched coco, definitely amped up the flavor. Put in a loaf pan lined with the potato dough, covered totally, brushed with a milk and egg wash. Baked at 375 for about 40 minutes. It expanded a little and cracked the top -- note to self for next time.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Experiments lead to Flashbacks. No LSD, just potato.

While cooking today, a strong food memory pounced on me. As an experiment, instead of boiling peeled potatoes, I baked them whole for 2 and half hours, then split them while hot to let out steam before discarding the skins and sending the flesh through the food mill. The smell of the steam coming out of the over-baked potatoes sent me back....

It was in the kitchen of the house I grew up on Staten Island. My mom was making some sort of chicken or lamb chop, along with mashed potatoes. This evening was a little unusual, because my mom had a friend over from work, it was her assistant or secretary, maybe one and the same. My brother was there, too. For some reason, I told my mom that I wanted baked potatoes, not mashed potatoes. I didn't have some big preference for one or the other, but for some reason I insisted that THAT was what I wanted. She took one of the potatoes she planned to peel, boil, and mash...and placed it in the oven instead. Two hours later, at the table, I cut my baked potato in half and a fragrant poof of potato steam came out of the spud, giving a wonderful scent all over the kitchen. Mom's friend said, "That's the potato yeast", and I could see her staring hungrily at my potato. Knowing what Mom's mashed potatoes tasted like -- lumpy, too salty -- I think it's safe to say that I enjoyed my potato dish the most! I was not picky when it came to food and special meals, but I guess that getting my mom to bend to my will (in front of one of her professional friends) was some how exciting.

Back to today's prep for tomorrow's cooking session: Potato, sweet potato, cabbage, kasha, spinach, and broccoli cheddar. Dough needs to rest upwards of a day. Baked 5lbs of potato, caramelized 5 lbs of chopped onion. Found I didn't have enough potato, though today's CSA visit produced a bunch more.
Cooked up a cup of kasha, added the sauteed onion as well as garlicky sauteed mushroom. Sauteed 1/4 of a cabbage with a little vinegar, salt, and sugar.