Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 68- Cookbooks and "Leftovers"

I ate pretty much totally from the fridge today- last of the fried rice for breakfast (with extra soy sauce- should have added more water, too), and had a bunch of the "dahl" for dinner. I want to make flatbread of some sort because I like the way it rounds out a meal, and it feels somewhat decadent to have fresh bread.

I know I said I'd attack the eggplant, and I will, I just didn't get to it yet- when I was motivated it was too dark to get good photos- which I want- and when the light was at least ok the noise of blending would have either woken or bugged the hell out of my roommates. I'll try to get to it today- the roast eggplant looks both tasty and sad in our fridge, and I don't want it to go bad.

Right, so cookbooks.

I went to the library and grabbed a "bread" book. I won't say which one yet, but it's gotten rave reviews on a bunch of blogs. I'm having a bit of a problem with it, though- other than the bit where so far only one recipe I've looked at is even vaguely able to be completed in one day. Just flipping through, it all looks amazing. There are lots of very interesting looking recipes, from all over.

I'm sure some of them are even right. Most even. But (having a particular fondness for it), when I flipped ahead to the "New York" deli style rye bread, I ran into a problem.

Ok- so New York rye. Found in just about every Jewish deli in all of New York, right? Eaten with corned beef or turkey or pastrami, right? So, generally speaking, would have to be either Parve or meat, right?

Not this one- it takes a cup of milk. The only way I can think of for it to be more off would be if the recipe recommended bacon drippings instead of oil for the fat. Well, or not to use rye flour- that'd be kinda very wrong too.

But still, really? It's great that this recipe takes only 2 days (plus however long it takes to get a decent sourdough starter going), but what's with the milk?

For anyone interested, this is the best rye bread recipe I've seen around, though with the background may be a bit tough to read. I also found one with costing and calorie counts.

For the cookbook? If the focaccia and baguette turn out good, I'll tell all about it, linky and everything. For now, though... I dunno. I realize that what's bothering me about the recipe is really just a shortcut, but it's a pretty big change to be passing off as even vaguely authentic.

Anyone else lose faith in a cookbook author over something really not that bad? Or at least something that probably wouldn't even be noticed by people outside a (relatively) small group? You know, chicken stock in "vegetarian" risotto, cabbage-free borsht, Chili without chilies in it?


  1. I'm starting to look into baking my own bread, too, and I've noticed a lot of recipes say it is ok to substitute water for milk. Since soy milk is kind of pricey, you might want to try that for your rye.

  2. This might be a situation where I jump from A to F without saying what B,C,D and E were... but your recipe frustrations reminds me of the time that I was looking for a good gnochi recipe and a lot of what I found on the internets involved "buying gnochi" then cooking it in some sort of sauce... I was like "No, I want to make the actual gnochi! you know with potatoes!"

  3. Kim- I know I can just use water- I'll actually be using a totally different recipe when I get around to making rye bread. The recipe doesn't even suggest normal milk, but buttermilk- so it's obviously a desperate attempt to recreate the flavor without any idea of the real recipe or technique. But it was kinda like opening a "for passover" cook book and having the first recipe be for bacon cheese burgers. It makes me less likely to believe the other recipes are accurate.

    Ruby- I had that problem too, actually- and I'm a great A to F jumper, so no problem there. Sitting at home with flour and potatoes, knowing I've seen Mario make them on TV, but unable to find an actual recipe. Drove me nuts!

  4. I know the milk/lactose dilemna...the slightest bit of dairy and I'm in agony. But, thankfully, soy is "ok"-i like it..still feel some "dairy-distress"--don't even wanna consider adding it to my allergy list, so gonna pretend.
    Someone i met gave me a super quick and easy recipe for beer bread. Basically it's self-rising flour and beer...might be one more ingredient. It takes on the flavor of whatever beer you beer...a raspberry-flavored bread. I can get the actual recipe for you if you want it.

  5. This whole rye bread thing has really peaked my curiousity. Has anyone actually claimed that pastrami on rye is kosher? I think I'm going to have to do some research on this. Maybe it was just one source that screwed up the recipe, and real 'jewish rye' is milk-free?

  6. Kim- a "traditional" Jewish (or NY) rye bread contains neither meat nor dairy, but is parve, so can be eaten with *either* meat *or* dairy. Most pastrami in the US is beef pastrami, from the farthest back part of a brisket (the "navel end"). Strict kosher food rules require that dairy and meat not be served or eaten together, and in some really observant homes there may even be two kitchens.

    Fun bit of trivia- fish is neither meat nor dairy in the world of kosher food, so gefilta (and other) fish are parve, so veggies and vegans still have to check labels on parve foods, just in case.

  7. hey J have you heard of/read the short book "skinny bitch" yet? request it at your local library (free!!) and read it! its really good, about eating healthy (i.e. vegan!), etc.
    basically as of today i am no longer a vegetarian-but-might-try-vegan-someday, i am a 'vegan who might slip occasionally!'. It really moved up being a vegan on my life list. This book even explains that loving cheese is actually a chemical addiction. wow! its not our fault that we slip, haha.
    and why diet soda (i.e. aspartame) is veryyyy baddddd. goodbye diet coke :-(. so interesting though!!
    anyways u might really enjoy it, i did!

  8. j,

    You're talking to the worst Jew from NY here - I know all the parve rules, I break them daily. ;) I was wondering about the pastrami sandwich, and found that traditional jewish rye is kosher, (sour rye), but takes a number of days to make traditionally, so some people cheat and include dairy in the process. The problem is that the label 'kosher' gets used, which doesn't always mean 'parve', and combining kosher bread with meat might make it not kosher.

    Thanks to my friend the 'good' Jew for that bit of info on marketing shenanigans.

  9. Watchout- I haven't read that one yet, though I have heard the "cheese is addictive" thing before. It certainly makes sense. I'll check the library for it.

    Kim- Sorry, most people don't, so I wanted to cover it, just in case. I can see how a lot of people at home might "cheat"- I found a couple recipes that even used yogurt to develop the starter- but I'd assume (perhaps wrongly?) that delis or bakeries specifically marketing to the more observant end of the kosher eating spectrum would use parve bread.

    I dunno if you're the worst ever- I had a friend once who *did* have a bacon cheeseburger for passover- on a yeasty fluffy bun. Ah, college.

  10. I've never had a traditional borscht that had cabbage in it (though I've had it prepared by people who immigrated to the States from various Eastern European countries). From what region was yours made in the style of? I'm only used to schi necessitating the use of cabbage.