Apr 142007
 

Indifference by Fritz Hirschberger (1912-2004)

Sunday evening, 15 April until sundown 16 April is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Can you imagine an entire country coming to a standstill for two minutes? This means stopping what your doing, whether you are at home or at work or in your car and thinking about the six million lives that were lost. A siren is sounded at 10AM on Monday and everyone stops what they are doing: cars stop driving and the drivers get out of their cars and stand in the middle of the highway for two minutes. The first time I experienced this, it brought me to tears. I was in a bus on my way to work and the bus driver stopped on the highway, he got out of the bus and the passengers stood in the aisle of the bus. In front of me I saw a sea of cars; it literally gave me goose bumps.

We lost a total of 120 family members on both sides of my family. One of my cousins, a professor at Leiden University in Holland, was riding his bike to the university when some Nazi soldiers stopped him, forced him to pull down his pants and upon seeing that he was circumcised, they shot him dead on the spot. My great-aunt and her sister and parents were rounded up and sent to Riga, Latvia. She, her mother and sister survived under great hardship, but her father z”l died on Lag B’Omer from gangrene that developed from an ingrown toenail.

My mother-in-law’s first husband was sent to a forced labor camp in Slovakia where he was murdered. They had only been married for six months. László Weiner was a promising Hungarian composer and conductor, whose musical vision was destroyed before it had a chance to blossom. Fortunately, a few of his compositions survived the war and have been played in several concerts in Budapest and elsewhere: one of them is due to be played in the Swiss capital, Berne, this coming November.

My mother-in-law, Vera Rozsa, went into hiding herself, living with a false identity as a Christian: her talent as an actress allowed her to walk unharmed out of two Gestapo interrogations. She also worked at the Swedish delegation in Budapest with Raoul Wallenberg who tried to save the lives of as many Jews as possible.

I will light seven memorial candles on Sunday, one for my family members and six for the six million who lost their lives for nothing more than meaningless hatred. Have we learned from those mistakes? I wonder……

Apr 142007
 

Since I was too ill to cook the last night of Pesach, I made the meal for Shabbat. Luckily, I still had some matza for my dessert.

Dinner this evening was:

Carn Estofada amb Prunes i Patates (Catalan-Style Veal Stew with Prunes and Potatoes)

I used osso bucco instead of the recommended veal shoulder. As the dish was simmering away, my husband sneaked a taste of the sauce and moaned blissfully, “this dish should be in a museum.” Need I say more? This dish is outstanding. The flavors of chocolate, prunes, chili, cinnamon and orange zest marry into an amazingly complex sauce that just bursts on the palate. The crispy potatoes add the perfect texture to the dish. This is a very rich dish that should be served with a dry and assertive red wine, such as the one we had. In the absence of the Rioja, we drank, a good Cabernet Franc or Shiraz would do pretty well.

For dessert, I made a family recipe that I have never made for my husband. They are matza fritters and they are made in several different countries. The Dutch call them Gremshelish, the Italians call them Pizzarelle Con Giulebbe. My recipe is combination of the Italian version and the version my grandmother used to make from leftover Matza Shalet batter. She served it with a lemon custard. This custard is dairy, so if you keep more than one hour between eating meat and dairy, you can serve this with a non-dairy lemon sauce of your choice.

This was a big hit with my husband. The custard is very light and creamy and the fritters are also light, but should not be served with a rich meal like we had for Shabbat dinner. You should make a double or triple recipe of the custard for all of the fritters.

Pizzarelle Con Crema di Limone

Yield: About 25 fritters and 2 cups of sauce

(Matzah Fritters with Lemon Custard)

For the fritters:

5 matzahs, broken into small pieces

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup slivered almonds or pine nuts

3 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 egg whites

Vegetable oil for deep frying

For the lemon cream:

1/4 cup sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 cup single cream (half and half)

2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the batter:

Wet Matza

Place the matza pieces in a bowl of cold water and soak until soft but not falling apart, one to two minutes. Drain in a colander and squeeze out any excess water.

Mix all Ingredients

In a large bowl, mix together the matza pieces, sugar, cinnamon, lemon rind, vanilla, salt, raisins, pine nuts and egg yolks.

Add Egg Whites

Ready to Fry

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the matza mixture.

Frying Fritters

In a large, heavy pot, on medium-high, heat at least 2 inches of oil. Drop heaping tablespoons of the matza as necessary, until they are a deep brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Matza Fritters

Serve warm or at room temperature, accompanied by the lemon custard.

For the lemon cream:

Whisk sugar and egg yolks in medium bowl to blend. Bring cream and lemon peel to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Slowly whisk the cream mixture into the yolk mixture. Return to saucepan. Stir over medium heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Strain custard into bowl; discard solids. Whisk lemon juice and vanilla into custard. Chill until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/04/14/spanish-and-italian-inspired-shabbat-dinner/

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