Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Biological Wonders of a Refrigerator

Deep in the recesses of a refrigerator marvelous biological processes take place, out of sight of human beings. Atoms are split in ways no human has ever envisioned. Genes float around in the frigid air forming new and unique partnerships. Cloning happens as a matter of course.

From lecht bentching for Shabbos through this morning I have served at least 8 meals. I have a full house of people. Somewhere I know that mathematical calculations should reach the conclusion that my refrigerator should be reaching a point of emptiness. And yet...

If we have been eating until all are groaning, and I know we have been, then what is all that food doing in the refrigerator? A quick check of the downstairs refrigerator shows it to be in the same condition. Where is all this food coming from? Somewhere, in the privacy of the dark interior, my food is hearkening to the precept to "go forth and multiply."

It cannot be that I have cooked too much. Or can it be? Have I succumbed to all that pre-Pesach worry I have heard from others that "there just isn't anything to eat on Pesach"? Calculating the square footage of both refrigerators and converting to portions possible, I see that I should not have to cook another meal until at least the middle of 2009. No, no it cannot be me that has made an error. Somehow, in some way, food is multiplying all on its own. There can be no other logical explanation.

Someone asks me that question that usually strikes terror into the heart of balabustas everywhere--"What's gonna be for dinner tonight?" I open the refrigerator doors wide and point. I watch the same puzzlement that has crossed my face cross someone else's face. "Where did all that food come from?" they ask. I shrug my shoulders and close the refrigerator doors. "Just another Pesach miracle," I murmur.

Since I don't have to cook dinner for tonight or for tomorrow night either, what will I do with all that free time that my refrigerator has granted me? I'm becoming giddy with the thought of free time. Look at me, sitting at a keyboard with a cup of coffee. Why do I have the time to do this now? Surely my refrigerator is sending me a message, oblique as it is. Is it saying "sit down and relax"? Do I even remember how to do that any more?

I sing a little paeon in praise of refrigerators as I prepare to head back upstairs and find that book I was dying to read. Go figure, I'm actually going to read it. But first I'm going to stick a hand into the fridge and grab something to eat. Hmmm, tuna patties, raspberry jello and tzveible mit eye with chocolate syrup and boysenberry jam on shmurah matzah. The fridge is cooking now and I'm off. Enjoy your day.


mother in israel said...

That worked yesterday, but not today. How do you make non-gebrokt tuna patties? And what is tzveibel? We're not Hungarian.

ProfK said...


Tuna Patties, non-gebrokts

1. Drain tuna.
2. Flake tuna until no lumps remain.
3. For 3 cans of tuna, add in 4 eggs, 3 tablespoons of potato starch, onion and garlic to taste, parsley chopped fine (about 2 tablespoons), 1 tsp. paprika. Mix together really well. Mixture will be soft.
4. Heat enough oil to cover bottom of a fry pan.
5. Using hands, form patties and place in hot oil.
6. Fry until browned on both sides.
7. Good hot or cold.

Zveible is onion. Zveible mit eye is finely chopped onions, hardboiled eggs and cooked mashed potatoes mixed together well with oil and salt added. Served cold or at room temperature as a forspeis. Approximate measurement is one large potato to one hard cooked egg to one teaspoon onion. Add in one teaspoon oil and salt to taste. I knead the ingredients together until well mixed. Serve with salad. If you use instant mashed potatoes make them stiff rather than soft.

Anonymous said...

Haven't heard of the zveible mit eye since I was a kid and my grandmother made it for us. Still remember how good it was. She used to call it tzibele mit eye so I guess both words mean onions? If you use the instant potatoes how much do you use?

mother in israel said...

Thank you. I think I'll try the tuna patties for lunch or supper tomorrow (bli neder), and maybe the other recipe as well. Now tzibele is the kind of Yiddish I can (in this case) understand. Wonder how it will go over with those opposed to hb eggs on principle.

ProfK said...

My answer to the hardboiled egg people is, don't tell them. If the eggs are chopped up finely enough--I use a food processor--they don't actually see that they are eating the cooked eggs. Just a little note on those eggs. I get guilty about all the cholesterol that Pesach brings with it so sometimes I throw out half the cooked yolks and only use the whites.

ProfK said...


Use the measurement for two portions if you are using the instant potatoes to equal one potato. Don't follow the recipe suggestion for the amount of liquid. Just add in warm tap water until a fairly stiff mixture results.

mother in israel said...

Naturally I was not planning to mention the HB eggs; hopefully they will not be noticed. I don't worry about cholesterol. We are 8 people so even if I use 70 eggs, that is just over one per day. Also, from what I have read cholesterol is only a problem for people with a tendency that way and bli ayin hara we don't have a problem. We don't bake but bought macaroons; no one likes them. We eat beef for Pesach but never have it during the rest of the year. Thanks for the suggestions.

ProfK said...

Re the macaroons, if your family likes chocolate try this. Crumble up the macaroons into fine crumbs. Melt one large package of chocolate chips or the equivalent in a chocolate bar. Mix the macaroon crumbs with the chocolate. Drop spoonfuls onto a piece of foil or waxed paper. Put into the fridge to harden a bit. They sort of taste like a Mounds candy bar.

Anonymous said...

If you're handing out cooking advice, I don't have enough of everything left over to make one meal of the same dish. There's only a little of this meat and a little of that meat. Any ideas?

ProfK said...

Become an honorary Hungarian and make a paprikash. First, take a large pot. Take your leftover chicken and, using your hands, rip into large bite size chunks. Don't put in the skin or small bones but do put in the bones from the pulkas and the fligels. Next, if you have beef leftovers, no matter what kind, cut into small pieces and put into the pot. Next, take a package of hot dogs and cut them into thin slices and add to the pot. Note: add the hot dogs only if you look at the rest of the meat and it looks like it won't be enough for the number of people you are cooking for.

Now, add in vegetables. These can be frozen, cooked or raw. Use one cup per person you are serving the meal to. Frozen I use the mix of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots that Bodek makes. Fresh I use celery, shredded carrots, a red pepper, broccoli or whatever you have handy.

Next, take a potato per person you are serving plus two additional potatoes. Wash well and do not peel. Cut into chunks about one inch in size. Put into the pot. Add in one chopped onion and two cloves of elephant garlic or add in one heaping tablespoon of onion powder and one of garlic powder. Add in about 1/2 tablespoon salt. Add in a small handful of chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley. Now add in 2 tablespoons of paprika.

Add water just to cover what is in the pot and bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat and continue cooking until the potatoes are soft and the liquid has reduced in the pot. Stir occasionally.

Makes a complete meal in one pot.

Anonymous said...

My mom is in Israel and I'd choke before I ask this question to my MIL, so please help. I made baked potatoes before Shabbos for the kids for lunch. They didn't eat them and I just found them in the fridge. Do I throw them out or how can I warm them up and they should still be edible? I made thme in the microwave if that is important.

Am trying the paprikash for dinner. Thanks for the idea because it doesn't look like leftovers and I did add the hot dogs.

ProfK said...

As far as I know there is no way to rewarm those potatoes and still have them be flaky like fresh baked. But you could try making them as Chipkele Potatoes as follows. My family loves them this way.

You'll need one baked potato per person plus two extras. Bake up some more if you don't have enough.

1. Add in oil into a large frying pan about 1/4" deep. Heat oil. Cut the baked potatoes into half length wise and then slice them crosswise into slices about 1/3" thick. Toss them into the pan with the oil. On top of the potatoes sprinkle about one tablespoon of onion powder, 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder and one tablespoon of paprika. Use a spoon and stir the potatoes around in the pan so the spices and oil get onto all the potatoes. Let them fry in the oil for a few minutes and stir them up again. Do this until the potatoes are browned on all sides. I don't use fresh onion for this because they get too brown before the potatoes get browned enough.

Great way to use up any leftover baked potatoes in the summer when you make a BBQ--It's how I made it up.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you! The paprikash was a success tonight and no one guessed that it was using up the leftovers. I laughed though when my husband asked where I got the recipe. I just told him a friend who was Hungarian. I got that right didn't I?

G said...

make a paprikash

--Ahhh, now we're talkin'...

Next, take a package of hot dogs and cut them into thin slices and add to the pot

--Hot Dogs??!! I just died a little bit inside.

ProfK said...

Knackwurst not being available for Pesach, hotdogs do just fine. By the time they cook up in the juices they don't taste like any hotdog you've ever known. Besides, I'm a philistine anyway--they are turkey hot dogs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipes. We were getting kind of sick of all the leftovers and the paprikash disguised everything really well. Made the potatoes today too but had to make them again just now because everyone kept coming in and taking just one and the pan started to disappear.

you wouldn't know what to do with too much leftover cooked fish would you? It's still good but no one wants to look at it any more. My wife is ready to throw it out but since she liked the recipes from you so far she said she would wait until you say yes or no.

Go figure. My wife bought 3 Pesach cookbooks and the only new recipes we actually used were from the blogsites.

ProfK said...

Thank you for the compliment Tuvi. Re the fish.

1. If you are talking about white fish or cooked salmon type of fish, drain it well, flake it up well and follow the tuna pattie recipe above. You need about 2-1/4 cups of flaked fish to equal the 3 cans of tuna.

2. If you are talking about gefilte fish you can also make the tuna patties from it but double the amount of potato starch. OR

3. In a fry pan put a finely cut up onion, one green or red pepper finely diced and one medium yellow squash or zucchini. If you have a can of mushrooms you can drain in and add it in also. Saute until all the vegetables are soft. Place the veggies into a baking pan. Put the gefilte fish loaf on top of them. Take a can of plain tomato sauce (16 oz.) and mix into it 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 tsp. each of garlic powder and onion powder. Pour the sauce over the fish and stir it into the sauteed veggies. Place in the oven on 350 and bake uncovered, basting with the pan juices and veggies for about 15-20 minutes. It shouldn't need more since the fish is already cooked. Serve over plain mashed potatoes if you want.

G said...

Knackwurst not being available

--OY!! Hashem Yerachem!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to stop worrying about recipes and how things taste and look anymore. Yesterday my five year old got hungry and made himself a matza sandwich spread with chocolate syrup sprinkled with chopped walnuts and squaqshed banana. He washed it down with a glass of grape juice. And I';m worrying about pleasing this son's taste with what I cook?

Anonymous said...

Before Pesach we all look forward to having unlimited potatoes over the yom tov. Right about now if I even see another potato I'll probably grow roots and a peel instead of a skin.

Orthonomics said...

I boiled all the eggs with the skin on this year. It takes a little skill to figure out how to peel them. But, it saved my hands from having to use the food processor. Of course, Sephardi cooking is much ligher on the potatoes. I believe I used one five pound bad.