Wednesday, April 27, 2011

welllll, i lapsed.

it's been a couple weeks since my last blog post.  life got busy like whoa, and i'm sorry, internet friends and on-lookers.

my pug elvis had a bit of a rough couple weeks. he's an old guy, and is deaf and mostly blind.  he had surgery yesterday to have his left eye removed after it got all bulge-y and red. i get stressed out when my boy is having a hard time. i've had him since he was 6 weeks old. he weighed 3.5 lbs when i got him.  the cutest little puppy you ever did see.

in the days before digital photography

his eye was removed and the vet found a fairly sizable tumour inside the eye itself. thank goodness, it was nicely encapsulated inside the eye, which bodes well for the rest of his body. scary stuff, though. he also had 4 teeth removed. poor puggle is in a fair amount of pain, i'd imagine, but he is nothing if not stoic. he's recovering well, eating, sleeping, all that stuff. he enjoys a belly rub while nestled beside me on the couch. here's to hoping that the rest of his recovery remains uneventful!

passover was awesome, as always. it's my favourite of the jewish holidays. it's fun family time, a great story, and yummy traditional foods that i love.

my bubbies used to make gefilte fish from scratch each year at the high holidays. actually, they didn't make it from scratch from scratch like in the good old days when you would buy a live carp and let it live in your bathtub for a couple days before killing it and chopping it by hand. my dad remembers that from when he was a kid... not being able to take a shower for a couple days before the holidays due to a gigantic freaking carp living in the bathtub. funny! anyhow... a few years ago my bubbies stopped making it and my mom bought an unger's frozen gefilte fish log and made THAT for the high holidays.

so not ok.

it is barely passable. it's watery and weird and doesn't hold a candle to the real thing.  the only thing worse is that jarred horrifying stuff that looks like turds floating in slime.

completely unacceptable

so i decided that i would take on the family responsibility, and learned how to make it.  it's not hard to make.. these rustic, generations old recipes seldom are, but you have to do it the right way, and it takes a while. oh, and it stinks really really bad while you're making  the fish stock. boiling fish heads and skeletons with onions can't smell that good, but it makes a nice rich stock in which to poach the fish patties.

these days, you can skip the majorly time consuming and labour intensive step of killing and chopping a huge mama carp by hand by buying pre-chopped fish from some jewish-centric grocery stores. usually, actually, it's a mix of whitefish, pike and carp, and that works just fine.

i've been making it for about 5 years now, twice a year, and i've gotten to the point that i can make it without a recipe now. i look forward to going over to my mom's house and making the fish while she's making other holiday dishes. it's the family time that is the most important thing about our holidays. we are not religious people, but we do show respect to our ancestors by following the same traditions they did for generations. taking the time to prepare the same recipes that they did. not taking the easy way out by buying it in a jar or frozen. there is a spiritual value in going through these processes. to me, that in itself is holy.

i also made a corned beef from scratch for the holidays by following a recipe from the bible michael ruhlman's charcuterie. it brined for 5 whole days and it smelled divine cooking up.  i was pretty pleased with the results! it was pink like corned beef ought to be, (thank you, sodium nitrite) and the flavour was spot on.  it was a bit dry in spots, but i would give it a 7.5/10. i will definitely be making it again, for the leftovers alone. corned beef fried up the next day with a fried egg on top?  oh em gee.

other things i've made from that book:
salt pork
duck breast prosciutto

currently i have two pieces of pork loin on the brine and i will be making canadian bacon with one and peameal with the other.  the brine is the same with both, but afterward i will smoke one to make canadian bacon and the other will be rolled in cornmeal, sliced and grilled up. good times, people. good times. it comes out of the brine tomorrow and i will try to remember to take pictures this time.


  1. I'd give your corned beef a 10 out of 10 Jude - it was absolutely delish!

  2. I can't believe they put a live carp in the me the creeps