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Chamim and Gingerbread

December 7, 2011

My significant other was absolutely impressed when I started rattling off with all my new-found culinary knowledge about Jewish food (I am quite the student when I put my mind to it). My refrigerator already held a rather nice piece of Beefy shoulder I had rubbed in Southwestern spices and I just happened to have some black beans laying around, so I decided to deviate from the traditional Chamim (beef and bean stew). But when I researched it further, not such a deviation. Apparently there was a pretty significant population of Jews in the Southwest when our country was young thanks to the Spanish Inquisition chasing them all over the place. The traditional foods like Chamim, Fish Balls, Pierogen, and even the sausages underwent changes and picked up local flavors from all the different locations they lived. When a large number came up through Mexico they added more jalapenos and corn to their dishes. So, I really was being somewhat true to the stew when I seared my beef (with oil not butter, of course) and stewed it with ¬†black beans, Jalapeno’s, onions, and tomatoes ALL DAY. I think that’s what’s important… the all day part. Many of the traditional foods took significant time and effort. Luckily, this just took time…which I spent most of reading…not actually tending to the stove.

Near the end of cooking I added the eggs that often accompany this stew but I changed things up a bit. I removed the beef and shredded it. I then encapsulated it in a dough and steamed it to create a nice, light dumpling. I pureed the beans and veggies and served it with the dumpling and some egg. (BTW the bean puree is a pretty kick-ass dip for tortilla chips)

I would have posted my findings earlier if it weren’t for having to go to that pesky place people refer to as “work”. But I wouldn’t necessarily call what I was doing today work. Tonight’s class was a gingerbread house decorating class. Most of my time was taken up with sorting candies and pouring glasses of wine while I created my own masterpiece. We didn’t have a demo house in the cooking school kitchen and we could always be a bit more festive. So, I attempted it. I have never done this before. Don’t judge me.

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From → The Good Stuff

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