Preserved Esrog



People of the world, I am still alive! Let’s make preserved esrogim!

So, what’s a preserved esrog? Well, it’s like a preserved lemon, only with another citrus, namely – an esrog, aka – a citron. What’s preserved lemon you ask?? Well, the general gist of a preserved lemon is: you take a bunch of lemons, cut them up (whether in pieces, or only partially seems to be up for debate), bury it in salt, watch as the lemon juices and salt form a sort of brine, and voila, you have “preserved lemons,” this tart (possibly sweet, if sugar is added also), salty, briny thingy, that can be used in many sort of savory applications. And me thinks – hey why not preserve some esrog, so that’s what I did….The end…Good night everyone!

Ha! Sorry to say, but 2015 is not the year I work on my verbal diarrhea…moving-right-along.

First off, you might be asking yourself, nossi does realize that sukkos was like 5 months ago right? Surely even he realizes that even if I did decide to save my esrog, that by this time it would be, how you say, unusable? 

Well Mr Italics-pants, I do know all that, but you see I suffer from this thing called procrastination. It’s crippling; plus work, and stuff, so like whatever man. Just bookmark this post, and let’s get back to it sukkos time, ok?? Geez, do I have to do everything around here?? I would even say that I’ll remind you come next sukkos, so you save your esrog…but you and I know both know by now, that’s not gonna happen, because, well, see above…

Ok, so moving along, here’s an amazing fun fact for you brave souls still reading – the esrog/citron is one of the 3 original citrus fruits (the other 2 being mandarins, and the pomello…all other citrus fruits are some sort of hybridized/cultivated mutant).

So preserved esrog (or lemons, if you for some odd reason don’t have esrogim sitting around) as I said earlier is this sort of condiment/spice that is used to add a tart, saline, citrusy flavor to a dish, most notably it goes well with chicken.

As I mentioned above, the traditional way to preserve lemons is to bury cut up lemons in salt, which draws the moisture out of the lemon, and then salt and moisture mix, forming this brine solution.

Now this process is similar to any preservation technique, be it pickles (such as spicy pickled okra), or corned beef, the idea behind it all is to kill off bad bacteria, so good bacteria can take over and do it’s thing (enhance flavor/texture/shelf life…). We talked about the difference between “fermenting” and “pickling” back in the post on okra, so if you want we’ll all wait for you to catch up…go on…

The traditional approach to preserving lemons is more of a fermentation process, where just salt is added, which takes longer, and relies a little more on proper proportions (ratio of salt:water), but will have a more fermented taste (this process is sometimes referred to as “lacto-fermented”), but I decided to try and do a quick “refrigerator pickle” for the esrogim to preserve them. This process (which again is in the okra post) basically relies on vinegar to do the majority of the leg work in reducing bad bacteria, and kinda allows the good bacteria to flourish.

I cut up the esrogim, and discarded the interior (the pulp), and was left with the peel and rind. Now in most citrus fruits, the rind is too bitter, and we generally don’t want it, but in esrogim, it’s really the only useful part, but obviously can’t be eaten raw.

To add flavor I decided to take my dried up hadassim leaves (myrtle branch, also used on sukkos), along with salt and suger (about 1 tablespoon each), and added hot water to dissolve salt/suger, and to re-hydrate the hadassim. Then I added the vinegar, and submerged it all, and placed it in the fridge. The final proportion of vinegar:water should be about 50:50 or even 60:40.

Now I’ve never actually tried this with lemons, and never really made preserved lemons, I don’t see why wouldn’t work…but I ain’t no rocket surgeon, so let me know how it goes!

So now that you read all through that, you probably want to know what I did with it, right?


I decided since preserved lemon apparently goes well with chicken, me thinks why not try this with chicken, I’m sort of a genius like that. Anyway, I threw some of the preserved esrog, along with shallots, onions, garlic, and home made chili paste (ie – s’chug), which shocker of all shockers, I made way back in the summer (with a litany of beautiful hot peppers from this CSA I was a part of) that I never posted…it’s kinda my MO, so deal with it!

I blended it all together


and slathered it all over a chicken that I had spatch-cocked (best food word ever…it basically means to butterfly a chicken, by removing the backbone, and opening it up like a book..).

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Then I roasted the whole shebangbang, and to prevent the breast from overcooking, which it is wont to do, I covered the breast part with silver foil for the first hour or so



then I uncovered the breast, and cranked the oven up to about 450-500 for another 25-30 minutes to crisp the skin


That’s it boychick’ll…see you in 2016!

Boneless Chicken rollups with Porter reduction


So apparently there are some people who mistakenly think that white meat is better than dark meat. Craziness right? Now don’t get me wrong, white meat that’s properly cooked, and fresh is awesome, and bad chicken is bad chicken no matter what color…however that being said, all things being equal, dark meat is way better. Now there are some that claim dark meat is annoying because it comes with bones, and these people, being the lazy people they are, don’t want to have to go through the trials and tribulations of having to work when they eat, so to these weird people, any sort of impediment in their course to stuffing said food down their gullets in one fluid motion is considered bad, so ergo, bone-in chicken is bad. I know what you’re thinking, who is crazy enough to think this, right?? Well I’m not going to name names (ahem – Dr Shmalexman) but suffice it to say, people like this do exist. Where am I going with this diatribe? Well what if we could take dark meat and remove the bone so even those lazy people out there can enjoy good chicken. I know what you’re thinking, why not just buy boneless dark meat, right? Well the only answer I have is, have you seen how much more they charge you for removing the bone? Just do it yourself, and it’s really not that hard. Onward!

So butchery is a great way to take out some aggression, and I highly recommend cutting down a whole chicken at least once, just to get a feel for it (plus, the chicken always comes out neater, and another benefit is you can make chicken galantine, which you should definitely do), anyway, if you decide not to butcher a whole chicken, go grab some chicken legs, and lets start cutting. First you’re going to want to cut the drumstick from the thigh, and the easiest way to do that is to take the bottom, and squeeze the leg and thigh together and start cutting down, and you should be able to wriggle your knife in between the two pieces, and cut right through.

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Once you have the leg, you can slice down directly over the bone to open it up, and then slide your knife under the bone but on top of the meat, to completely separate the meat from the bone. Then kind of do the same thing with the thigh, but I’m sorry, because I don’t have any good pictures, but basically cut along the bone, and then slide the knife underneath to cut meat away, and where the two bones meet you’ll need to cut away, whatever,you’ll figure it out, right? Gravy sauce.


Allright, so now that you have your cut up chicken bottoms (or bought deboned thighs, because I know you guys, and I know that you’re thinking, hey why go through all this work, when I can just buy it…well you’re what’s wrong with our society!)…ok sorry for that.. moving right along…so I took the chicken, and rolled it up so it would be thicker, and more uniform, and decided you know what would be a great application for these pieces of chicken? Braising.

Braising is, in my opinion, a very underutilized technique. The idea behind it is like this – the gentlest and easiest way to cook something is by using water as a heat transfer medium (ie – it’s more predictable to cook something in water, than in air [the oven] because of how well water can transfer heat), but there’s one caveat, high heat develops flavor. So braising combines the best of both worlds, you get high heat cooking, and liquid cooking. The way it works is thusly – first you brown whatever protein you’re cooking, remove the meat, and add whatever veggies. Then you add enough liquid so that it will end up submerging half of the meat, cover the whole thing with a tight fitting lid, and continue cooking.

For our application, I rolled up the boneless chicken, and tied it with some twine. Set up a dutch oven over high heat, and browned the chicken on all sides.


While that was cooking, I mixed some honey, dijon mustard, hot sauce, and porter beer. I removed the chicken, added the liquid to the pot, and scraped the bottom while it was cooking (as the chicken browns, it develops what’s called fond on the bottom of the pan, which is a big source of flavor, so scraping it off the bottom helps). I added the chicken back, covered the pot, and placed in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes…I think.


When it was all done, the porter had reduced by a lot, and made an excellent thick sauce, and the chicken was actually pretty awesome, and I think you should definitely give this a try.

So yeah, that’s all for now, if you have any questions, let’s talk.

I’m not going to lie, I miss you random people I mostly don’t know, so I’m going to leave you with an empty promise that I’m going to try and post more often. I really want to but you know, life and all that gets in the way, so yeah, first world problems…whatever…enjoy the snow.

Chicken Galantine…Plus, a happy 3rd bloggaversary to me


I’ve been looking for a good recipe to make and write about to get back into the whole blogging thing…It’s been rough, but I think I found it. Basically, chicken galantine is essentially keeping a chicken whole, while removing all of the bones, then stuffing it, wrapping it all up, and cooking the sucker.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…chickens have bones?? The long answer is – yes.

I personally love the art and technique of butchering. I’ve always been intrigued by it, because it is an art and it’s pretty much not appreciated. Lately whenever I can, I like to buy whole chickens, and chop it up into it’s different parts, and I don’t know why, but there’s this more accomplished feeling, when you realize that one whole chicken, can produce so many components to the meal. Like in our dish for example – I used the remaining carcass to make a stock, and the scrap chicken to make the filling. Then I used the stock to make the gravy that went with the dish. It’s kinda like the circle of life, man…it’s super deep.

Whatever, philosophy class aside, I’m not gonna say this is an easy technique to do, but trust me when I say, that if I can do it, so can you. It does help to have a little bit of knowledge of what parts are what though. So without further ado…chicken galantine.

Ok, this recipe comes from the great Jacques Pepin, and he has a great Youtube video, which I recommend watching if you’re gonna venture into this. You’ll also have to excuse me for not having great step by step pictures.

One thing to know before going into this, is you know how chickens have “white and dark” meat? Well, in general, whenever an animal uses a particular muscle for longer periods of time, as opposed to quick bursts, the muscle will be darker. So for example – a chicken pretty much uses the muscles of its legs all day, when it sits, stands, walks, it needs those muscles constantly. However, a chicken doesn’t really use its wings all too often. Every once in a while, it will use them for a moment. The machinery needed to run these muscles are different, and that’s why they taste different.

(Quick science detour – You can skip this part if you want [but the rest you can’t!] – Basically, the muscles that are used for longer periods of time, need fat and oxygen in order to work, which it gets from the bloodstream in the form of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin then gives the oxygen to myoglobin, which stores it until the cytochromes are ready to oxidize it. The myoglobin is what gives these muscle fibers its dark red color [what’s interesting is, there are different configurations to myoglobin and depending on that configuration is what color the meat will be…ranging from purple, to red, and brown…but I digress]…anyway, with white meat, since the body needs the energy pronto, it doesn’t rely on the blood stream to deliver its nutrients, rather, the muscle has energy stored within it, in the form of glycogen, and converts that into energy without having to wait for blood to bring stuff. And while we’re on the topic, if you thought about it, you would understand why a duck is different than a chicken…it actually uses it’s breast muscle for long periods of time, and that’s why there’s no white meat on a duck, and why it’s freaking delicious…this is also why a tuna, and to a lesser extent salmon is different than bass or flounder…see where I’m going with this?)

Ok back to our chicken, one of the challenges in cooking this (or chicken in general for that matter) is cooking the white and dark meat to the right point, and since they both are done at different temperatures (white meat – needs to be cooked no higher than 140, and dark meat has to exceed 155ish in order for it to be melt in your mouth [that has to do with the connective tissue breaking down into collagen…more on that another time]), so we’re going to have to keep that in mind once we’re done with the whole carcass breakdown thingy…wait…it’s been like 6 paragraphs, and we haven’t even started cutting the bird??? Yeesh, this is gonna be a long post…I know, but it’s been a while…I have a lot to say.

Ok, Ok…let’s get cutting. First thing to do is remove the wish bone by making slits along the backside, and digging your fingers in, and pulling it out.


Then, lay the bird on the side, and cut through the skin along the spine. Then we’re going to separate the tips and the flat off of the wings to leave just the mini drum stick. (I know this is hard to describe without good pictures, but it was hard to take pics, so just do yourself a favor and watch the video)


All right, now the next part happens pretty fast, but the idea is this – All we’re going to be cutting from here on in is the knee and shoulder joints…the rest will be separated just by pulling everything apart (again, watch the video). Once you have both shoulder joints separated, you can basically pull the whole carcass down, and then you’ll be at the knee joint and will need to cut that also.

Once that’s done, this is what you’ll have –


The only bones left are two in each leg, and one in each shoulder.

To remove the leg bones, take the back of your knife, and gently scrape away at any meat clinging to the bone, and when you reach the actual joint, you’ll have to cut in order to separate (need I say watch the video again?)

Then to remove the bone, I pretty much whacked the ankle, to break the bone, and removed the bone through the thigh. For the bone in the shoulder, you can actually just push it out.

Ok, so now we’re ready to fill the pollo. I kinda went on a riff on our chicken crepes (which I’m sure still is emblazoned in your memory because it was so awesome), which is a big hit in this family.

I sauteed onions and mushrooms, and after they were good and soft, I added some flour, and stirred to combine. Then I added some of the stock and let that come to a simmer, and then added our reserved chopped up chicken.


Transfer to chicken, and fill the bird, making sure to stuff the filling into the legs and shoulders.


Then, roll it all up


and tie it like a large roast.


I then salted it, and placed it in the fridge over night. Leaving it in the fridge over night helps for two reasons. One I was able to go to sleep, because I was super tired. But mainly, it dries out the skin, which helps to brown the chicken better.

When you’re ready to cook, since we’re going to be roasting the chicken (ie – high heat, and uncovered), considering what we discussed earlier, we needed a way to figure out how not to overcook the wihte meat, while the dark meat continues to cook. One method I’ve used before is to pplace aluminum foil over the white meat for the first portion of cooking.

Now since there’s only so much more I can discuss, essentially there are three ways to transmit heat/energy and cook something, conduction, convection, and radiation. Without getting too much into it, placing aluminum foil on the chicken prevents radiation from transmitting energy, and thus eliminates part of what will cook the meat. Confusing? Great!

So I put the bird in at 400 for about 45-50 minutes, covering the white meat with aluminum for about 20 minutes of that.


And that’s it. Now you just have to cut it up.

I served it with a mushroom sauce (gravy made with the stock, along with sauteed mushrooms recipe here)

Well, I know the 9 days are coming, and my timing might not be the best, but you know what? I don’t care! Plus, as I’m sure you saw in the title, it’s my 3rd anniversary for this here li’l website. So go me…I’m not exactly sure what the accomplishment is, but hey, lets just celebrate.

I also hope to be able to blog more now that I’m officially unemployed (ie I finally am done with my residency, and I’m looking for a job), so here’s another empty promise that I write some more…but you know I’ll probably disappoint.

Chicken Galantine

Watch Video here

Based on this recipe


  • 1 whole chicken, deboned, but left whole
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Small case of Mushrooms, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • leftover chicken from the last time you made stock
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Stock
  • 1 batch of mushroom sauce


  1. Debone chicken, watch Chef Pepin do it in video above
  2. Salt and pepper the insides of the chicken
  3. Sautee mushroom and onion, until soft, about 5-7 minutes
  4. Add flour and cook while stirring for another 2-3 minutes, until toasty
  5. Add garlic, and cook for another 30 seconds
  6. Add broth, and bring to a boil, and cook for another 7 minutes or so, until thickened.
  7. Add reserved chicken scraps, and stir to combine
  8. Take mushroom chicken mixture, and stuff chicken, ensuring to placed stuffing into legs and shoulders.
  9. Roll up chicken, and tie into a roast.
  10. Set chicken on a rack, salt and pepper the bird, and place in fridge over night (optional)
  11. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400
  12. Place piece of aluminum foil over white meat, and cook chicken for 15-20 minutes, remove foil, up the heat to 450, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until ready (135 for white meat if using thermometer)
  13. Allow meat to rest before carving at least 30 minutes.
  14. Slice and serve with mushroom sauce

Garlic Scallion Chicken Stir Fry – December Kosher Link Up


This month’s Kosher Connection Linkup’s theme is Chinese Food, and pretty much any dish you get in a chinese restaurant is a stir fry. A stir fry, is my go to for a really quick weeknight supper. It comes together really quick, and can literally be on the table in like 10 minutes, provided you do some preparation work, and have everything ready to go (ie – mise en place). Now don’t get me wrong, I am the most unprepared cook in the history of preparedness, however, when it comes to throwing down a stir fry, you need to have it all ready, because it comes together quick.


Here’s what makes a stir fry a stir fry. First thing first, like we said, everything comes together really quickly, which is why it’s crucial you have a good pan. Whether you use a wok (which might not be the best option, depending on what type of wok you have, and whether it’s suitable for your stove), or you have a heavy bottomed cast iron skillet (which is what I use), or a tri-ply type of skillet (a “metal” type of pan, that has a layer of copper sandwiched between 2 layers of aluminum, to ensure even cooking; these pans are usually very expensive [eg – all-clad]), you need to heat the bejessus out of it, to make sure it’s super duper hot. This will ensure everything cooks quickly. Second, you want uniform sized pieces, so whatever you decide to put into the stir fry, should all be about the same size.


Now onto the food. There’s really three components. The protein, the vegetables, and the sauce. As for the protein, whether it’s chicken, beef, tofu, or whatever, the principles are the same. You want to cook them, really quickly, and with high heat, so you can develop maximum browning, but without overcooking. So you have to wait for the pan/oil to be really hot, and not overcrowd the pan (or you’ll end up steaming the meat, and not sautéing it). I usually cook the protein first, and when it’s ready I take it out of the pan, and let it sit on the side, and then add it back at the last second to mix together with everything else. (This is when a spider (that mesh looking device below) is really helpful)


For the vegetables, I like to keep it simple, and not overwhelm the dish with too many different vegetables. 1 or 2 different vegetables would be the maximum. Now in regards to cooking the vegetable, it has be done with order also. First rule – garlic and ginger always gets added at the last second, and is only sautéed for like 20 seconds. This prevents the garlic and ginger from burning, which they can do pretty easily. Other wise, the other vegetables, will cook much the same way the chicken is cooked, fast, over high heat (again, to maximize browning, while retaining their crispy-ness).

For the garlic, there are those who are against garlic presses, saying garlic presses mush the garlic too fine, and can cause the flavor of the final product to be too harsh, and instead they make a garlic paste on their cutting board. Now, I’m not one of those people, but sometimes I’m too lazy to clean the garlic press, so I make the paste instead. It’s not that hard once you get the hang of it. You take your knife and using the sides, you just keep on smushing it, until a paste forms. Some people will add salt, saying it will help (the salt abrades against the garlic), but I never do that.


For the sauce, this is really where you can just make anything up. Usually, the sauce will have soy sauce, and a vinegar in it, and a spicy component, but that’s not a hard fast rule. And you add the sauce once the vegetables is done. Since your pan is super hot, the sauce will immediately start to sizzle. You let it cook for 20 seconds or so, and then another classical addition is corn starch, to thicken the sauce.

Starch thickens sauces by absorbing water, but they only do that at a certain temperature, so typically, you take 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch and dissolve it in 1-2 teaspoons of water, and then add that to the sauce as the finishing touch. The reason you can’t just add corn starch straight to the sauce (without dissolving it first), is because the second the starch hits the hot sauce it starts absorbing water, and if you add it straight it would clump up.

So for our dish, we went with chicken (deboned thighs) as our protein, which we “marinated” in egg whites and corn starch (it’s not really a marinade, in that it doesn’t effect the chicken’s tenderness, but we did let it soak in it for a little while…the egg whites and corn starch coat the chicken, and form somewhat of a barrier, and are a kind of insurance to prevent over cooking), quick cooking scallions and garlic, and for the sauce, it was composed of – ketchup, white vinegar, white wine, sugar, and soy sauce, served over rice.


Obviously the ingredients are listed below, but feel free to tinker around.

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs that participated, by clicking on the funny looking frog thingy below.

Garlic Scallion Chicken Stiry Fry

adapted from Joy of cooking (pg 594)


  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1.5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1-2 boneless, skinless thighs, cut into roughly 1/2” cubes
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1/4” pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch, dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Mix egg whites, cornstarch, salt, and chicken pieces, and let sit 20-30 minutes
  2. Cut scallions and garlic, and set aside. Mix together sauce, and set aside, and mix together cornstarch and water and also set aside (the cornstarch will settle, and will need one last stir right before adding)
  3. Heat your skillet/wok over high heat for at least 5-10 minutes, so that it’s really pre-heated. You can test this, by taking a drop of water, and it should sizzle the second it hits the pan.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of your oil, and once it’s shimmering, add chicken, ensuring not to overcrowd your pan, you might have to do it in batches if your pan isn’t big enough.
  5. Once the chicken is ready, remove it from the pan, and set it aside.
  6. Allow the pan to heat up again, and when hot again (don’t do the “water test” since there’s oil in the pan, and it will just spurt hot oil all over the place…not fun) add the garlic and scallions, and allow to cook for literally 20 seconds (once you start to smell it, it’s done)
  7. Working quickly, add the sauce, it should start to sizzle, and allow to cook for 15-20 seconds, and then slowly add the cornstarch mixture (don’t forget to stir the cornstarch before adding to make sure it’s dissolved), and it should start to thicken right away.
  8. Add your chicken back (along with any liquid that is with it) and mix around to incorporate everything, and you’re done