People are always asking, "How do you do it? How do you make great tasting food day after day for so many people?"
I say that there are five factors that make the difference: Time, caring, money, staff, God.
1. Time: You need to allot yourself enough time to prepare the food. You can't be rushed. You need time to taste, adjust the seasonings and move at a comfortable pace. When I have enough time, I will taste a soup 3 or 4 times to get it right. When I'm rushed, I can taste it only once.
2. Caring: You have to have an investment in what you are doing. Pride in your work. A desire to please the people you are serving.
3. Money: Not as big of a factor as you think. Caring and time can make up for a lack of money in most cases, although you need to buy enough food and be sure to buy the best that your money can buy.
4. Staff: When my numbers are up and the pressure is on, I have no choice but to delegate. My staff has to do what I want, when I want it. They can make or break me. Teach them well and treat them well.
5. God factor: I always ask God for help, realizing it's all up to Him. When I forget, that's when I really get into trouble.
Here are some odds 'n ends that will also help for diversity, another very important ingredient.
Fried Fish with a Middle Eastern Sauce
- 1 lb. filet fish - preferably flesh white fish - cut into 4 pieces
- Flour seasoned with salt and pepper to coat the fish
- 1/4 cup fresh coriander
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsps. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/8 tsp. hot pepper
- 3 tbsps. Oil
In a food processor, puree the coriander, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, cumin and hot pepper. Continue to slowly add oil as well as satl and pepper to taste.
Dredge fish fillets with seasoned flour. Fry on both sides until cooked through. Place fish on a serving dish and drizzle sauce over it.
- 1 lb. chicken liver (Kashered in the proper manner - consult your Rabbi) (my wife uses chicken liver; my mother always used beef liver)
- 6 tbsps. chicken fat (what you take off the top of chicken soup)
- 3 cups onions sauteed slowly, until dark brown, using chicken fat (chicken skins and tails can be included, but are not necessary)
- 3 hard boiled eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
My mother used an old hand meat grinder, which was fun for the kids, or use an electric meat grinder.
Roast Chicken with Orange, Lemon and Ginger
- 1 lemon
- 1 roasting chicken
- Grated zest of 1 lemon, then lemon cut into quarters
- Grated zest of 1 orange, then orange cut into quarters
- 3 tbsps. peeled and grated fresh ginger root
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tbsps. margarine, melted, or olive oil
- 4 tbsps. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 3 tbsps. Honey
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the lemon into quarters. Rub the outside of the chicken with one of the lemon quarters, then discard. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon and orange zests and 1 tbsp. of the grated ginger. Rub this mixture evenly into the cavity. Put the lemon and orange quarters inside the bird. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper. In the now-empty small bowl, combine the melted margarine or olive oil, lemon and orange juices, honey, and the remaining 2 tbsps. ginger. Mix well.
Place the chicken in the oven and roast, basting with the citrus juice mixture at least 2 times during cooking, about 1 hour.
Beef Brisket Braised with Dried Fruit, Yams and Carrots
- 3 tbsps. vegetable oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp. dried crushed red pepper
- 3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned broth
- 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 4-lb. boneless first-cut beef brisket
- 1 6-oz. package dried apricots - check for bugs!
- 1 1/2 cups pitted prunes - check for bugs!
- 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 6 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- Minced fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat oil in heavy large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add 1 tsp. paprika, crushed red pepper and stir 20 seconds. Add chicken stock, wine and bay leaves. Boil 10 minutes.
Sprinkle brisket with paprika and rub in. Add brisket to pot, fat side up. Add dried apricots and pit. Cover and bake 1 1/2 hrs.
Add sweet potatoes and carrots to pot. Cover and cook until brisket is very tender, about 2 1/2 hrs. longer. Close oven and let stand 20 minutes. Remove brisket from pot and slice thinly across grain. Arrange on platter. Degrease pan juices. Spoon pan juices over meat. Arrange fruit and vegetables around meat. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate before slicing. Remove meat from pot and slice thinly across grain. Remove any solid fat from sauce. Return to pot. Place in 325°F oven and bake until brisket is heated through, about 30 minutes.)
Makes 8 servings.
Sweet Potato Pie
Prep Time: Approx. 30 minutes. Cooking Time: approx. 30 minutes
- 4 cups sweet potato, cubed
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 tbsps. margarine, softened
- 1/2 cup parve [non-dairy] cream
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans and cornflakes
Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C). Place sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.
In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, salt, margarine, non-dairy cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9" round graham cracker piecrust.
In a medium bowl, mix the sugar and flour. Stir in the pecans and cornflakes. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.
Makes 12 servings (6 cups).
Hot'n'Spicy Turkey Wings Recipe
- 6 turkey wings
- 1 tbsp. margarine
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tsps. dry mustard
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce (tabasco)
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tsp. celery salt
- pinch cayenne
- 2 cups beef broth, divided
- 2 tbsps. Cornstarch
Cut off and discard wing tips. Divide wings in 2 pieces; set aside. To prepare sauce, melt margarine and saute onion. Add mustard, sugar, vinegar, hot pepper sauce, ketchup, celery salt, cayenne and 1 ½ cups beet broth. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, combine cornstarch with remaining ½ cup beef broth. Stir into boiling mixture and simmer 15 minutes. Barbecue wings over medium heat for 20-30 minutes, baste with sauce and continue to cook until tender (approx. 20 minutes).
Makes 4-6 servings.
- 6 lbs. 3-4" long pickling cucumbers
- 4 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cups pickling salt
- 16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
- 8 sprigs fresh dill weed
- 8 heads of dill weed
Wash cucumbers and place in the sink with cold water. Refresh. Sterilize 8 (1 qt.) cannings jars and lids in boiling water for at least 10 minutes.
In a large pots over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil.
In each jar, place 2 half-cloves of garlic, one head of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar (about 1 lb.). Then add 2 more garlic halves, and 1 sprig of dill. Fill jars with hot brine. Seal jars, making sure you have cleaned the jar's rims of any residue.
Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath. Process quart jars for 15 minutes.
Store pickles for a minimum of 8 weeks before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool, dry place.
Slow Cooker Mexican Style Meat
This recipe can be used with chicken or beef.
- 1 (4 lb.) roast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 2 tbsps. oil
- 2 large onions, chopped
- 1 cup diced green chili pepper
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 1 (5 oz.) bottle hot pepper sauce
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
Trim the roast of any excess fat, and season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place meat in a hot skillet, and brown meat quickly on all sides.
Transfer the roast to a slow cooker, and sprinkle onion over meat. Season with chili peppers, chili powder, cayenne pepper, hot pepper sauce, and garlic powder. Add enough water to cover 1/3 of the roast.
Cover and cook on High for 6 hours, checking to make sure there is always at least a small amount of liquid in the bottom. Reduce heat to Low, and continue cooking for 2-4 hours, or until meat is totally tender and falls apart.
Makes 12 servings.