Recipe for Kreplach

When I got married and moved from Brooklyn to Ann Arbor, it was the first time I had lived away from home. It seemed important to me to show my parents that I was an adult. My method of demonstrating this was to make Kreplach, a time-honored tradition in our family. I made them, and reported my success in a phone call, but that still left something to be desired. I had made the entire recipe as it appears here, but since there were only two of us, instead of my Brooklyn family of 6, Michael and I were eating them for several days. As much as I love kreplach, after a few days, it’s enough already. (I didn’t know then that you can freeze them.) So I took one from the fridge, wrapped it tightly in aluminum foil, marked an envelope PLEASE HAND CANCEL, and sent it off as proof.

The package arrived intact, and my mother said the little krepple looked very nicely formed, although a bit too old to taste. My sister told me it was the funniest thing I had ever done. She went into hysterics when they opened the envelope. Only I would have thought of sending cooked pasta through the U.S. mail. It was just recently that she told me that when the thing arrived, it was several shades of green and had hair growing on it. My mother was much too kind to mention that.

So here’s the recipe. But please don’t mail them anywhere. I think they’ve now passed a law about that.

 

Jewish Ravioli

Or I would call ravioli Italian Kreplach.

It depends on who raised you.

WARNING! Read this entire recipe before you begin.*

About three months in advance of wanting to make kreplach, serve your family roast beef about once every two weeks. Always make a roast a little bigger than the family needs, and freeze the leftover piece. Soon you will have a bunch of little silver foil packets in the freezer, and you will wonder, “What am I going to do with all these little pieces of meat?”

Then you will be ready to make Kreplach.

THE DOUGH

Ingredients: 2 cups flour

salt (slightly less than a level teaspoon)

2 eggs

water

Here’s the rule: for each cup of flour, use one egg. Let’s start with two cups of flour. If it turns out we didn’t make enough for your family, you can do it again. If it turns out we made too many – no, forget it. There are never too many.

Put the flour in a bowl. In a cup, mix the eggs with about 1/3 cup of water and the salt. Make a crater in the flour and add the egg and water mixture, stirring it gently with a fork. Now the next step is hard to do in the bowl, so you have to spill the flour/egg mixture out onto a board or the kitchen table. Only you know how expensive your kitchen table was – so we leave this decision to you. Work the dough to combine all ingredients well. You might have to add a little more water or perhaps you should have used a little less to start with. All cooking is an experiment!

Knead the dough until smooth. It should be rather soft. Separate it into two balls and knead each one. If you feel that you do need a little more water, just add it one or two drops at a time and knead it in. If you find that you had too much water, add a little flour. Adding flour to the board or table will make it easier to work the dough and prevent sticking.

When the dough is made, cover it (you can just turn the bowl upside down and place it over the dough) and leave it alone for about half an hour. It’s going to get soft under there, and will be easier to roll out.

THE FILLING

Ingredients: 1 or 2 diced onions

oil

beef

Did you leave the little frozen pieces of meat in the regular part of the refrigerator over night so they would thaw? It would have been a good idea. But since you didn’t, just leave them out on the counter while you cook the onions.

After you dice the onions, saute them in oil. Cook slowly until translucent. Don’t let them get too brown. While the onions are cooking, cut the beef into small pieces. Add them to the onions. They will thaw the rest of the way. Let them get thoroughly heated and in the meantime they will pick up lots of yummy onion flavor. Salt the mixture to taste.

Do you have a meat grinder? Put the mixture through the grinder. Now you have your filling.

The problem when I was growing up was that the filling was so delicious that while my mother was rolling out the dough, we kids used to find excuses to come into the kitchen so we could snitch little pinches of filling. Only now am I able to understand why she used to find this so aggravating, especially since she had been saving that meat for three months. So put the filling in a safe place if you have children.

Did all that take half an hour? If so, you are ready for…

THE FINAL ASSEMBLY

On your board or table, roll out one ball of dough. It should be about an eighth of an inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the whole sheet into 3″-4″ squares. Lift up one square (start with a corner, it’ll be easier to get up) and place about a teaspoon of the filling into the center. BE SURE TO PUT THE FILLING ON THE UNDERSIDE of the dough. The underside is stickier and the kreplach will hold together better. Fold the square over to form a triangle and press the edges together firmly to seal the meat in. Repeat this until you have made all the kreplach.

At this point, I can never remember how many minutes to boil them. So I’d better do what I usually do – call my mother. Excuse me for a minute.

My mother said you cook them in boiling salt water for about 10 minutes. When done, drain them like any pasta. You can eat them in chicken soup, with pasta sauce, or with butter (that’s my way) or eat them cold the next day right out of the fridge – if, that is, you have any left to refrigerate. You can even make a big batch and freeze them (spread them out on a cookie sheet – and once frozen, put them all in a plastic bag) in anticipation of the day when you won’t have time for cooking. And my mother said that Aunt Tillie had her gall bladder out and didn’t even tell anyone she was going into the hospital. Oy!

OK, so you want to make kreplach right away and don’t want to wait three months. I suppose you could make a roast and use the whole thing for the kreplach, but I can’t imagine anybody doing that.

 

 

*otherwise you may find yourself having to run out and buy a meat grinder in the middle of everything.

 

 

Note: When I originally wrote this recipe out some years ago for a friend of mine, I was able to call my mother. Oh, how I wish that were still true today.

judyrose June 28, 2006

 

Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 7:59 pm  Comments (28)  

Jumping In

This reminds me of the day, many years ago, when I was a senior about to graduate from Brooklyn College. The only thing standing between me and my diploma was the swimming test. Yes, you had to be able to swim to graduate from the City University of New York in those days. These days, you don’t even have to be able to read!

So I’m standing on the edge, down at the far end of the pool, looking out over 8-foot deep water and calculating that at 5’4″, I’m surely going to die within about 60 seconds after I hit. But I had no choice, so I took the biggest breath I could, and said to myself “screw it” and jumped in the water.

And somehow, even though I had never learned to swim as a kid, and had only spent a few weeks splashing around in the shallow end during this required swimming course, I surfaced, I swam, I passed, and I graduated. And then I lived happily ever after — well, happily for the most part, and not forever yet, since I’m still here and have no idea what may be around the next corner, which is why I’m starting this blog. You’ve got to keep learning new things or you’ll sink to the bottom.

But today, I feel like I’m back at the edge of the pool, since I’ve never done a Blog before, and everybody else in the world seems to be so much better at computer stuff than I am. Anyway, SCREW IT! … here I go.

HAH! The water feels good, and if I just keep moving, it’s going to be fine.

So let us begin — there’s so much to talk about.

Back about as far as I can remember, I liked to write. Down in the basement of the house in Brooklyn where I grew up, on a bookshelf filled with stuff nobody ever looks at any more, I found my third grade notebook; one of those black and whites with the word COMPOSITIONS on the cover. I brought that notebook back home to California, and have kept it like a treasure. I guess it is, to me.

I was 8. Every day, we had to write something called Daily Report. It didn’t matter what it was — it could be a short story, a poem, commentary on something — but we had to write. Here are a couple of excerpts.

DAILY REPORT

Today is Mon. Mar. 8, 1954. Today was the first time in my life that my mother let me come to school all by myself. I brought my girl friend with me. I am not supposed to come to school myself until I am 9 years old.

My mommy bought me new crayons, and my aunt bought my sister and I coloring books. My sister is sick in bed with the measles. She does not have crayons so she uses mine. THE END

I guess “by myself” means without Mommy. The girlfriend didn’t count as a person. This report was followed by an illustration of a girl in a green robe with red spots all over her hands and face. Why I drew her with blond hair, when my sister’s hair is black, is beyond me.

DAILY REPORT

Today, May 21, 1954, is the very last day that any child is going to spoil our class and make us all be punished. The next time any child does spoil our class he or she will be sent to the office and have his or her mother come up to school. It is not fair for any one child to be so selfish.

How’s THAT for 8-year-old clarity?

Here is the last one (and then I will stop, because maybe it’s just ME that loves these.)

IF I WERE CINDERELLA

If I were Cinderella I’d be so sweet,
If I were Cinderella, a prince I’d meet.
If I were Cinderella, I’d hear a chime,
And that would mean, to go it was time.
They tried to wear the tiny shoe
But it didn’t fit them, and it won’t fit YOU.
Cinderella was married then,
Now she lives in a palace and has children ten.

Despite the little tantrum in the middle there, about how your feet are probably just as big as the two ugly stepsisters’, I got an “A” on that one.

Now that I think of it, my Daily Report book was a lot like Blogging. Imagine that!

So from these humble beginnings…

I’ll be back before you know it, sharing more stuff. Until then…

judyrose June 28, 2006

Published in: on June 28, 2006 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment