Matzo Ball Soup – Part 1…The Balls

Matzo Balls Plated

There a few things in life that just make you feel good no matter what…

Pizza, ice cream, not having to leave the house on a rainy day and of course, a big bowl of matzo ball soup.

People running into things also makes me feel better (as long as they’re not hurt) but that’s a whole ‘nother story…what’s wrong with me??

Back to the task at hand – SOUP.  As long as I can stay focused you are about to have the best Matzo Ball Soup EVER!!

Matzo Ball Ingredients

The starting line up for today is as follows:  3 packets of “Matzo Ball Mix”, not to be confused with “matzo meal” (there are two packets per box – To risk stating the obvious – you will need two boxes equalling 4 packets, which gives you one to save for later), 4 eggs (I always use extra-large eggs in my recipes), 1/4 cup canola oil, 1/8 cup chicken stock fat (if you don’t have this ingredient substitute with canola oil), 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper .

You can see in the photo above the worlds most amazing whisk.  Papi got this for me as a gift and it’s by far the best whisk I’ve ever owned.  I take it with me everywhere, not really, that would be weird.

Coolest Egg Crack

To start, crack 4 eggs into a bowl, any bowl, it doesn’t have to be this bowl.

Oil Pour

Pour 1/4 cup canola oil into the same bowl.

Pepper

Here comes the pepper.

Salt

Then comes the salt…then comes the bride, not really it just sounded right so I went with it.

Just add the salt.

Schmutz

Then the chicken stock fat known as “schmaltz” in Yiddish.  Now you can sound really smart when talking to your friends about chicken fat.  You’re welcome!

Plastic Wrapping

Whisk it all together so it looks like this.

Cover with plastic wrap and let the mixture get its cold on.

Chill for at least 25 minutes.  If you can leave it longer that’s preferable.  The colder the better!!

Kitchen Helper Oso

As you look down at the dog sleeping on my foot, you will notice the crumbs on his back.

I fling food around when I cook, I also dance and say “OPA” a lot.  Am I sharing too much?

Scooping

When your matzo ball mixture has chilled it is time to make the balls.

I use a teaspoon scoop so they are all uniform.  As evidenced by the photo, this is the rough draft for your matzo balls.

Just scoop them out and plop them down – You’ll make them tight and pretty in the next step.

Rolling

See, what did I tell you.

Take the matzo balls one by one, give them a good squoosh in your hand.  Roll them until they are round.

I could actually eat these raw just like cookie dough.  How gross is that?

Flying Matzo Ball

Once your water is at a rolling boil it’s time to add your matzo balls.

Drop them in one by one. Swim my little one, swim for your life…

You have to admit this is really an awesome photo if I do say so myself!

Swimming Matzo Balls

Once all the matzo balls are safely swimming, it’s time to turn the heat down to simmer and place the lid onto your pot.

Set your timer for 20 minutes.

Fishing out Matzo Balls

When your time goes off, fish one of your matzo balls from the pot and conduct a taste test.

If you are satisfied, scoop out the rest.

I prefer to use a slotted spoon for this step specifically because I do not want to harm these little guys.

I set them on a plate until I am ready to slide them into my soup.

Dropping Matzo Balls

Onto the plate they go…

Matzo Balls Plated

And there you have it.

My sons kept coming in the kitchen trying to steal them.  I had to chase them away with a spoon so I could take this photo.  You’re welcome!

At this point, I have to use all my will not to gobble them down.

If you stopped right here you would have yourself a great meal.  However, I suggest you serve it with my soup recipe coming up next 🙂

Until next time…Keep being awesome!!

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!!!

Love, L.

Matzo Balls

Ingredients:

Step 1:  The Matzo Balls

  •   4 extra large eggs
  •   1/4 cup canola oil
  •   1/8 cup chicken stock fat
  •   1/4 tsp kosher salt
  •   1/2 tsp pepper
  •   1 1/2 cups Matzo Ball Mix (I use Manichevitz) – not to be confused with plain matzo meal.

Directions:

The Matzo Balls

  1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) to a boil in a stock pot.
  2. Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Cover with Saran Wrap.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 25 minutes.
  5. Once cold, roll into 1” balls.  I use a 1 teaspoon scoop for uniformity.
  6. Once the water is boiling add the matzo balls, there is no need to add oil or salt to the water.
  7. Drop the temperature to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Use a slotted spoon to remove the balls.
  9. Either eat them as they are or continue on to the next step to make the soup.
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Top 5 Reasons to Hang with Salvador Dali in St. Petersburg Florida

Hello Lovelies,

Traveling is a passion shared by my entire family.  We love to travel and travel we do.  Even if it is simply a day trip to St. Petersburg, Florida, the enjoyment rings true just the same.

Dali Brochure Cover

Today’s road trip brought us to a magical-ificent venue.  See what I did there – this place is so amhazing I had to combine two great words together just to introduce you to…

Salvador Dali, The Big D, Dali, Dali Salvador, D-diddly do wop de bop….”YO Sal, What’s up?” That’s what I’d say if I was way cooler and saw him on the street.  No, I wouldn’t that’s preposterous.  And so the story goes…

Salvador Dali was a Spanish painter who lived from 1904 – 1989.

He is known for his eccentric behavior and the shocking quality of his imagination.

If you want more technical information regarding him you can visit thedali.org.

For this piece I am going to talk from my heart about what fascinated myself and my family about The Great Dali.  I hope you enjoy.

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Our first delight with St. Petersburg was crossing over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  4.1 miles long and supposedly one of the “Top 10 bridges” in the world. Check, only 9 more…now only if I knew where they are located.

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Once at the Dali museum our arrival was greeted by a fun filled door welcoming us in various languages along with the most beautiful wall of flowers.

True Story – Everytime I went to snap a photo of the door someone would come walking out of the museum.  It’s alright though, because now I have my yearly quota of “people walking through a door” photos – so clearly it wasn’t a complete waste of my time.

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For clarification purposes, that’s me.

The building was breathtaking as you can see, modern and uplifting.  The energy in the building was so positive, I suppose it would be hard to be grumpy with all that fresh sunlight pouring down upon you.  Although, I’m sure there are some folks who are up for the challenge…Uh-hum…

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Here is a map of the museum for your enjoyment.  Read at your leisure.

Brochure Exhibit Area Dali

This is where the fun begins.  Prior to heading upstairs (that’s where the art lives) we received head phones with a nifty little box that knew a whole lot about Dali.

Various pieces throughout the museum where marked with a number.  Once you punched that number into the device you were met with a treat of an explanation regarding that particular piece of art.

In addition to the adult explanation there were customized more animated versions for the children.  My boys preferred the adult versions but I listened to a few of the children’s versions and they were delightful.  Oh, how I love technology!!

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And now here is what you have been waiting for…Drum Roll Please:

My Top 5 reasons I love Dali and therefore you should too!!

1.  The fact that my favorite piece of art requires and accent and flair of the hands to properly pronounce – Santiago El Grande. I think Mariachi’s should come out of a hallway for the complete effect.

2.  He loves to hide things in his art.  Nieuw Amsterdam is the bust of White Eagle sculpted by Charles Schreyvogel then painted on 75 years later by Dali.  Dali transforms White Eagle’s face into an interior setting where two Dutch gentlemen toast each other.  This however, is not readily visible.  It takes a moment to realize it’s not war paint on White Eagle’s face but instead dinner time.  Cleverly impressive!!

3.  He has good old fashion God given talent.  Not the paint-by-numbers talented like I have, but real talent.  Several of his paintings look as though they were taken by a camera.  His art comes alive when you look at it.

4.  You can actually stare at his art.  Let me explain…You know when you see someone staring at a piece of art that looks as if an elephant painted it and they seem so engaged…you wonder to yourself, “Self – Is it me or them?”.  Then hope it’s them because if it’s you then you’re in trouble.  Well, not his art.  His art has such depth and thought put into every piece you’re bound to discover something new each time you look at it.  Aside from some nudity, which we embrace, his art is wonderful for children because it lends itself to their depth of imagination.  Our boys 10 and 11 absolutely LOVED it!!

5.  This one is my favorite – He was madly, head over heels in love with his wife, Gala.  She can be found in a great deal of his paintings and she always looks so beautiful.  She was his muse and the love of his life.  And really, is there anything better than LOVE??

So there you have it.  5 fantastic reasons to run off and visit Dali.  Or at least google him…

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And so lovely, as we exit the building, this is where we shall part ways on this fine day.

I hope you enjoyed our day trip!

Until-Next-Time

~ I’m off to find my paint by numbers – I feel inspired!!

Be Blessed, Stay Blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

For current pricing & hours of operation I suggest you visit the Dali Museum Website at thedali.org

Homemade Chicken Broth –mm-mm Good!!

Chicken Stock

I opened my freezer yesterday and to my dismay I only had one container of homemade chicken broth left.

How could this happen?  I swore I had just made some fairly recently.  I then hugged my last container goodbye, used it in my recipe and swore to avenge its death with a new batch of soup.

Here’s the recipe I use for Homemade Chicken Broth.

I’ve been using this recipe for years and it turns out perfect every time.

It just works and that’s what makes cooking super fun!

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First things First – The stock pot – Make sure it’s a Big Daddy of a Pot!!

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I use newspaper when dealing with the birds so I don’t get their yucky all over my cutting board and counter.

As you can see I also use gloves, I don’t like to get their yucky on my hands either, grody.

I always ask papi to remove the innards from the birds, unfortunately he was not home so I had to do it.

So I put on my big girl pants, sucked it up and went for it..

Gag me with a spoon, I actually positioned the garbage can next to the counter, closed my eyes really tight, reached in, pulled the innards out, gagged, tossed the insides away and covered them with paper so I didn’t accidental sneak a peek.  (I am just trying to be real here, not everything is glamorous in my kitchen).

Don’t be mad at me for not saving the innards – we all have our limits!!

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Meet Fred, Don and Jack.

You will need three whole chickens approximately 5 lbs each.

Note: They don’t have to be named Fred, Don or Jack any old bird will do.

Put them in your stock pot and get ready to cover them in deliciousness…

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And now the fixin’s’:  3 large onions, 8 unpeeled carrots, 4 stalks of celery, 4 unpeeled parsnips, 1 head of garlic, 10 sprigs fresh thyme, 20 sprigs fresh parsley, 25 sprigs fresh dill, 2 tablespoons kosher salt and 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns.

Please wash them first – except for the onion, garlic, salt and pepper, that might cause you some complications…

 

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Add the dill, you don’t have to chop it.  Easy breezy!!

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Add the parsley, so you see a pattern here…Guess what’s next.

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The thyme…

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Then the unpeeled parsnips.  I cut them in thirds.

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The unpeeled carrots, cut in thirds or fourths or fifths or sixths.

Really it doesn’t matter just cut them please.

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The cut celery.

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The onions – unpeeled and quartered.

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The entire head of garlic cut in half, skin and all.

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The kosher salt.

Look at those cute little boy fingers.  I love my boys helping in the kitchen!!

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The peppercorns…Do not add ground pepper – the peppercorns are for flavor only.  They will be strained once the soup is cooked.

You would end up with pepper soup if you did that!!  Then you’d have to sit and pick out all the ground pepper while thinking bad things about me and the whole process would take forever so kindly just use whole peppercorns and trust me.

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Water – 7 quarts.

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There you have it.  Give your spoon a spin around the pot…

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Put on a lid, turn your stove on high and set your timer for 4 hours…

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Ah, Ah, Ah – not so fast one more step.  Stay with me here or you’ll have soup boiling all over your kitchen.

As soon as it starts to boil turn your stove to simmer, take off the lid and let it go to town.

Now you can sit back, make some tea, grab a book and relax until your timer goes off.

Some delightful, delicious, wonderfulness is coming your way!!

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And there you have it, Perfection!!  Utter perfection!!

I promised you it would be great didn’t I?

Pull your soup off the stove and let it cool down.

Once it has cooled enough to reasonably handle then it is time strain your soup.

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The easiest way I have found to strain the soup is to use another stock pot and strainer.  This way you don’t lose any of the juice from the chicken and vegetables.

As you are moving the contents from one pot to another take a moment here and there to compress the solids.  This way you get the most bang for you buck of chicken stock.

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This is an optional step.

If you choose to save the meat which I hope you will.  Reach right in the pot as you are straining the solids and pull the meat out with two forks and shred.

This meat is extremely tender, juicy and full of flavor.  It will be great in all kinds of recipes.

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My largest strainer’s holes are quite large, this is why I take this additional step to make sure my stock is free of debris.

I think it’s worth it.

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And there you have it, the result of your labor.  Great job my friend!!

I am jumping up and down singing your praises because I am so proud of you!!

Once these guys are cooled they will go for a slumber directly into my freezer.  They will not pass go or collect $200.00 dollars!

So for now I hope you enjoyed my first recipe blog.  I was trying to make it simple enough so that even the most novice of chefs could follow along and the most advanced of chefs would enjoy the ride.

Remember, doing something imperfectly is better than doing nothing perfectly!!

Have fun in your kitchen, laugh at your mistakes, rejoice in your victories and remember when worse comes to worse you can always order a pizza!!

Until next time…I’m off to clean my kitchen.

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you.

Love, L.

Homemade Chicken Broth

 Ingredients:

  •   3 (4 to 5 lb.) whole chickens – Don’t forget to remove the innards
  •   3 large onions
  •   1 head of garlic
  •   8 unpeeled carrots
  •   5 stalks of celery
  •   4 parsnips
  •   10 sprigs of fresh thyme
  •   20 sprigs fresh parsley
  •   25 sprigs fresh dill
  •   2 tablespoons kosher salt
  •   2 whole black peppercorns

Directions:

  1. Wash and chop the carrots, celery, parsnips, thyme, parsley and dill.
  2. Place the chickens, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, parsnips, thyme, parsley, dill, kosher salt and peppercorns in at least a 16 quart stockpot.
  3. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
  4. Once the water is boiling, uncover the pot and place on simmer for 4 hours.
  5. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander.
  6. Optional step:  You can shred the chicken and save for future meals.
  7. Discard the solids.
  8. Place in containers.
  9. Use immediately or store in the freezer.