Saturday, May 12, 2012

Matzo Balls

No need to head to the deli, you can get your matzo balls right here. Not even kidding. I have awesome matzo skills.

For the first time ever, and for no apparent reason, I merged two recipes into one, using most of the ingredients from one and the general directions of the other. Two cookbooks, one dish. I don't even know why. Thankfully, it turned out. Below are both recipes.

First, the one I used mainly for the ingredients:

Matzo Balls
from Sara Kasdan's  Love and Knishes: An Irrepressible Guide to Jewish Cooking
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup matzo meal
2 Tbls melted schmaltz 
Beat egg whites until stiff. Beat egg yolks until light. Add salt, pepper, and melted schmaltz to beaten yolks; fold into egg whites. Fold in matzo meal one spoonful at a time. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Wet hands and form batter into balls the size of a walnut. Drop into rapidly boiling soup or water. Reduce heat and cook slowly, covered, for about 30 minutes. Serves 12.
Next, the one I used mainly for the instructions:
Matzoh Ball Soup
from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance
1 1/2 cups matzoh meal
3/4 tsp salt, plus extra for the boiling water
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 (12-oz) package firm silken tofu
8 1/2 cups or so Rich Vegetable Broth
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, peeled
A handfull fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Fresh parsley for garnish
   In a mixing bowl, combine the matzoh meal with the salt and pepper; set aside.
   Crumble the tofu into a blender or food processor, add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth, and puree until smooth. Add the oil and blend again.
   Mix the tofu mixture with the matzoh meal, making sure that everything is moist. Grate half the carrot into the mixture and mix until it's well distributed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight. you can't skip this step; it's important in making sure that the matzoh balls will not fall apart when boiled.
   When you are ready to form the balls, fill a large stockpot with enough water to fit all the matzoh balls with minimal touching. Salt the water generously, cover, and bring to a boil.
   Set out a cutting board upon which to line up the formed matzoh balls, and cover it with parchment paper if you have any, to prevent sticking. Also have handy a wet rag to wipe your hands on between forming each matzoh ball.
   Remove the matzoh mixture from the fridge. Form into tightly packed, walnut-size balls and place on the prepared cutting board. When all the balls are prepared, drop carefully into the boiling water, one or two at a time, with a spatula or slotted spoon. Take your time and be careful not to plop one on top of another; they need to remain separate. When all the balls are in the water, cover the pot and DO NOT LIFT LID FOR FORTY MINUTES! Sorry for the caps, just had to stress it. When 40 minutes is up, you can remove the lid. The matzoh balls will have floated to the top and will drop back down when the lid is lifted. This is fun to watch.
   Now they are ready to serve; however, to make them even lighter, you can turn off the heat, cover the pot again, and let them sit in the water for another hour or so. This way they absorb more water and expand a bit more.
   (...) [There's more about making the broth/soup itself, but I didn't use it.]
As I said, I mostly made my matzo balls using Kasdan's recipe (I used eggs) but I didn't use the chicken fat (schmaltz); instead, I felt totally okay substituting with olive oil, since that's what Moskowitz does. And when it came time to mold and cook the balls I appreciated the blow-by-blow instructions (and the CAPS) of the vegan recipe.

We still have matzo meal left over. I'm thinking a few matzo balls might be in store for us this weekend...

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