Q&A: What the Heck is “Tzlaot Unterif”?

In a word, Yiddish. Remember when I said that there were a bazillion ways to butcher a cow? Well, Yiddish is apparently one of them. Fleisch, a frozen meat brand here in Israel, markets some of the alter haim cuts of meat. So when you’re in Osher Ad and you keep picking up and putting down this cut, at least now you’ll know what it is. It means, literally, under the rib. Rib is “rif” in Yiddish. It’s a cut from the chuck, under the shoulder (what I would call the #4,#5, & #6), next to the French Roast. It’s good for pot roast, chulent, or other moist heat cooking methods.

How do I know? I tracked down Yaakov, the butcher who named it. And it was no surprise that he spoke with a Yiddish accent. Mystery solved.

So now here’s the real question: should I add it to my meat chart? Leave your vote in the comments below.

Cleaning Your Cutting Board

A while ago, I was reminded of a technique for cleaning cutting boards that I once knew. Ever since, I’ve been meaning to write a post about it. While this article isn’t going to make you drool with desire or reveal some wondrous cooking technique, it will give you proof that your cutting board will look brand new in five minutes.

And it’s my first attempt at a time lapse video. Smile for the camera, baby!

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Garlic Paste

Garlic, the same garlic that the Jews pined for in the desert, is an ever-present ingredient in any decent kitchen’s pantry. I say pantry and not refrigerator because, if you’ve ever seen the rotating quotes on the bottom of the sidebar, Anthony Bourdain writes:

“Avoid at all costs that vile spew you see rotting in oil in screwtop jars. Too lazy to peel fresh? You don’t deserve to eat garlic.”

And I wholeheartedly agree.

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Quick Bites: Barley Risotto

Dinner one night a couple of weeks ago was a barley risotto cooked with red wine (Merlot), with sauteed onions and mushrooms, diced pumpkin and seared portobello mushrooms. The chiffonade is Melissa, an herb I failed to grow this past summer in my garden.

I like to use pearl barley as an alternate risotto grain because it gives off a nice amount of silky starch, and remains al dente. It also has flavor to add to the dish.

This is very similar to a popular appetizer that we served at Abagail’s in Cedarhurst when I worked there. This isn’t meant as an homage. This is me kicking that dish’s culinary ass. (And that’s me resenting a $0.50/hour raise)

Today’s Lunch: Shiva Surplus

Technically speaking, it was breakfast, not lunch, but you’ll forgive me.

My wife lost her father over the chagim, and has been sitting shiva. We are blessed with a wonderful, close-knit, and caring community who have been overwhelmingly successful in their efforts to stuff us to the gills.

With this surfeit of food, I have a number of new food elements in the house that I can tinker with and recombine to make new and delicious things to eat, without letting anything go to waste.

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Meet Kubo, the Pitaya

Israel, as you know, has a large, arid region known as the Negev. And, as you probably know, Israel has this on-again, off-again relationship with the planet, where they mostly hate us unless we’re doing something helpful, like solving agricultural dilemmas, either through irrigation (Africa in the 50s), genetic selection (disease-resistant crops), or plain old common sense (hydroponics improvements).

So along comes plucky Israel and sends agricultural engineers to visit a bunch of other desert climates, and says, “What grows here, and can we grow it in Israel?”

Hey, how about another cactus fruit?

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Pumpkin Bread

The other day, I made pumpkin puree. With over a kilo of the stuff, now I have to find some things to make with it, right? Well, never fear, I’ve come up with a whole bunch of ideas for how to use it. The only question is whether time will allow for it all.

The first thing I’ve prepared is Pumpkin Bread. It’s quick, easy, and delicious. And I didn’t even use Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Go figure.

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Homemade Pumpkin Purée

Libbys_pumpkin[1]Remember this pantry staple from your childhood? Sure you do. During the long summer months, there it was, staring back at you every time you opened the pantry. Waiting, patiently, until the leaves turned a riot of colors and your breath came in small puffs in the chilly winter air. Then, in an almost hallowed ceremony, the can opener would slowly wind its way around the surface until at last, it would reveal the contents it had been secreting away all year…

Rusted sludge.

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