Monday, February 16, 2009

Curious Cookbooks Part II: Shalom Y'all!

Another trip to the East Coast by a group of loved ones netted me another curious little cookbook last week - yay!  This one is entitled Shalom Y'all, and was compiled by the Congregation Mickve Israel of Savannah, Georgia.  While it doesn't involve such exotic dishes as the last one, this book is quite tempting in its own special way...

Mickve Israel, a reformed congregation, was founded in 1733 by 42 original members, just months after the Colony of Georgia was established.  In 1876, a beautiful synagogue was built to accommodate the growing community, flanked by two giant palms in grand Georgia style.  A pen and ink drawing of the Mickve Israel temple graces the cover of this cookbook, and it is still their home to this day.

After reading the recipes, notes and narratives in Shalom Y'all (it tickles me to type that!), I am left with the impression that this a warm and adventurous group that enjoys celebrating the food of cultures near and far.  This passage from the introduction says it all:  "Our Sephardic, Italian and Indian Sabbath dinners, complete with appropriate musical accompaniment at services that follow, highlight Jewish ethnic traditions around the world.  Our annual food festival featuring homemade chopped liver, blintzes, chicken soup with matzo balls, apple strudel, and Rabbi Belzer's Ah-Mein Lo-Mein offer to the community at large a glimpse of our culinary talents and love of food."

This book has a little something for everyone, whether your childhood memories revolve around matzo balls and potato pancakes or chicken spaghetti and pecan pie.  (Or both, like me.)  Here are a couple of my favorite recipes from Shalom Y'all, dog-eared for future kitchen adventures.

Chicken Country Captain

The lineage of this beloved Southern dish was explored in a recent article in the New York Times.  This version looks like a classic.

1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 fryer, cut in pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. thyme
16 oz. can Italian tomatoes
2 tbsp. raisins
2 tbsp. toasted slivered almonds
3 cups hot cooked rice

Mix flour and half of salt and pepper in a paper bag.  Toss chicken pieces in the bag to coat with the seasoned flour.  Heat oil in skillet and when hot, brown chicken pieces until brown on all sides, removing chicken to platter.  Then add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic, sauteeing until tender.  Add remaining spices and tomatoes.  Bring to boil.  Return chicken pieces to the sauce, reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 30 minutes.  Serve over hot rice, sprinkling with raisins and almonds.  Serves 4.


I found the recipe for this Passover dish in the "Holiday and Traditional" section, along with such favorites as Chocolate Coconut Macaroons, Lox Spread and (gasp!) Gefilte Fish.

2 boxes dates (pitted)
2 cups almonds (or pecans)
4-5 tbsp. sweet Passover wine or grape or apple juice
3/4 box raisins
3/4 bag coconut
cinnamon (to taste)
3-4 apples (peeled)

Put everything through a meat grinder.  Add more apples and wine to sweeten.

Vegetable Chopped Liver

And because no spiral-bound community cookbook seems complete without a few oddball recipes, I had to include this contradictory dip.

3 tbsp. oil
1 onion, minced
1 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and brown onions, until glazed.  Set aside.  In pan, add mushrooms and walnuts and brown.  Add to onions, along with chopped eggs and salt and pepper.  Mix well and serve with crackers or matzo.


gammypie said...

You know. I bet that vegetable chopped liver is pretty good.

Smarry said...

Very nice article thanks for the sharing..........

The only Satellite Television Delivers the Best Value in Entertainment