2nd Annual Golden Schmaltz Awards

Sunday night was the 2nd Annual Golden Schmaltz Awards at the New Shul, the temple we belong to.  Conceptually a great idea.  Get everyone together for a fund raiser for the synagogue to taste everyone’s food entries and pick a winner.  Last year, the concept was best brisket which worked much better.

The concept this year was twisted takes on Jewish classics.  There were less entries because too much thought goes into the concept.  It wasn’t straight forward.  The success of the brisket could have been just moved into a different item like kugel or kreplach or borsch.  Simple and easy.  You also have to bring tastes for 75 people.  Also, the space was small.  They tagged this event with a scavenger hunt at the beginning.  Two things wrapped into one.  The event should have been a community bake off (or cook off), lots of liquor and food, if you don’t come to anything all year except for the high holidays…you should come to this.  We need to raise money and we want this to be a big barn raiser.  The event was over thought.  Sometimes simple works.

The_judges
The judges were Stephen Lyle, owner and chef of Village and Hillary Groffman from Dean and Deluca/owner of an organic farm in the E. Hamptons and Rick Field from Ricks Picks.  They were very serious about their work. 

A few of the entries were green eggs and no ham matzoh balls which appeared to be a huge hit.  Matzoh balls with spinach, Guacamole Zoup which was a chicken matzoh ball soup with a guacamole on the side to add in.  It was actually really interesting and good.  Others were Flankenstein which was short ribs over polenta which were excellent and schmaltzie mushroom risotto.  All clever but again, too much. 

I entered in two different recipes.  Mini kugels and a take on Chinese pork buns that were folded (like Momofuku’s) but stuffed with pulled brisket, bread and butter pickles and sauteed red onions with a dollop of barbecue sauce.  Other ideas I had were a soup dumpling filled with chicken soup, finger shaped rugallah filled with a variety of dried fruit ( made it and it was delicious but too much effort for 75 people).  Here are the recipes below.  The kugel is great for a party.  The brisket buns is a major pain in the ass.  Buy the buns pre-made and stuff away but don’t bother making them.  Huge ordeal.

Kugel
Kugel Mini-muffins       

8 ounces of thin egg noodles
1-cup sour cream
1-cup cottage cheese
½ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 T. butter
½ cup currants
Mixture of cinnamon and sugar (1/4 cup each)

You will need a 24 mini muffin pan.  I used an oil spray to coat the interiors of the tins.  Take a little bit of the cinnamon sugar mixture and coat the interiors of the tins. 

Boil the noodles until al dente.  Drain in cold water and put back in the pot.  Add butter and coat the noodles.  Add the sour cream, cottage cheese, granulated sugar, 3 eggs (slightly beaten), and ½ cup of currants.  Mix thoroughly.  Also, throw a few Tablespoons of the cinnamon/sugar mixture in to coat.

Using a tong, fill the muffin tins up to the top.  Take the cinnamon/sugar mixture and coat the tops. 

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the tops are browned.

BRISKET BUNS

BRISKET
1 5/6 lb. brisket
3 medium/large Spanish onions, sliced 
bunch of Italian parsley
1 bag of small carrots (readyBrisket_buns
to eat)
couple bottles of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 can of chicken broth – about 2 cups.
salt, pepper and paprika

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use a large dutch oven pot. Salt, pepper and paprika the brisket. Layer the bottom of the pan with 1/2 the onions, 1/2 the parsley and 1/2 the bag of carrots. Put the brisket on top of this. On top of the brisket spread the rest of the onions, carrots and parsley. Take your favorite barbecue sauce. I prefer Bone Suckin’ Sauce, which I buy in 1/2 gallon sizes. Pour the barbecue sauce over the brisket until is it almost covered. Take the chicken broth and pour on top. The meat is braising so make sure it is pretty much covered in liquid.
Put the brisket in the oven for around 3 1/2 to 4 hours. When the brisket is done, you can easily cut into the meat but it is not falling apart, yet. Take the brisket out, slice it against the grain and put back into the pot. At this point, I generally just leave it on the stove. Sometimes I throw par-boiled whole potatoes in that slowly continue cooking from the heat in the pot. Then, reheat before serving in the oven.
Brisket is one of those meals that always taste better the next day.

For the sandwiches, you really want to pull the brisket apart and slice very thin.

BUNS
1-cup warm water
½ tsp. active dry yeast
3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. nonfat dried milk
3 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
Canola for greasing and brushing

Stir together ¼ cup warm water with yeast and a pinch of sugar.  Let stand for about 5 – 10 minutes.  If mixture doesn’t form up, start over again with new yeast.  Whisk in dried milk and remaining ¾ cup warm water. 

Stir together flour and remaining 3 tbsp. sugar in a bowl, then stir in yeast mixture with a fork until dough forms.  Knead the dough with your hands until all the flour is incorporated.  Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead until is elastic and smooth and soft, about 5 minutes.  Form dough into a ball.

Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat.   Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature.  Let double, takes about 2 hours.

Once the dough has risen, take out.  Punch the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface and flatten slight into a disk.  Sprinkle the baking powder over the center of dough, then gather the edges of dough and pinch to seal in the baking powder.  Knead the dough with just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking until the baking powder is incorporated.  About 5 minutes.  Return to dough and cover with plastic wrap, let dough rise about 30 minutes. 

Take wax paper and cut 32 pieces that was 3 X 2.

Form dough into a long 16 inch log or even longer.  Cut into about 32 pieces, ½ “ each and keep dusted with flour and loosely covered with plastic wrap.   Roll out 1 piece at of dough into an oval of 3 by 1 inch.  Then remove the excess flour and brush canola oil on top, fold in half, put on top of a piece of wax paper and then set into a large cookie sheet, cover with loosely with plastic wrap.  Once complete, let them sit for about 20 minutes.

Set a steamer rack inside a skillet, enough for the water to reach within 1/2” from the bottom, then bring to boil.  Place 5-7 buns (still on the wax paper) on the rack.  Cover tightly and let steam for about 3 minutes.  You might need to continue to pour boiling water in to keep the water at the right level. 

Remove buns, take off the wax paper, wrap in a wet towel (not terry cloth) to keep warm.  You can freeze them by wrapping tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap for about a week.  Thaw them in the refrigerator fully wrapped and reheat buns wrapped in a damp towel and tin foil at 350 until soft and heated through.

SANDWICH

Slice the bun down the middle but not completely through.  One end should be closed.  Brush the bottom each of each bun with barbecue sauce, put in a few slices of brisket and brush a little more barbecue sauce on top.  Add in a few sliced red onions and bread and butter pickles.  Serve.

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