28 of the Fifth Month 5770
Many might be wondering what I am doing by posting simple recipes on this blog, which is supposed to be a "commentary on life in Israel and on being Jewish."
Well, a long time ago, I had the idea to produce a bood called The Yeshiva Bochur's Cookbook. (Please, don't steal my idea! And, please don't tell me if it's been done before.) The goals of the book would bed twofold. One, the single, yeshivah student would not have to feel helpless in the kitchen. He would be helped to cook simple, tasty, and relatively healthy meals, helping him to keep to a budget by not eating out all of the time. Two, he would be encouraged to perform the misswah of hakhnasath orhim (welcoming guests) himself, instead of always feeling obligated to help others perform this misswah for him. Once in a while it is nice for “the guys” to get together on Shabbbath, without the apprehension of going for a meal at the home of a family he has never met. He won't have to end up feeling stuck staying until the family decides to finish the meal. He also won't have to worry about when the meal starts, immediately or after two hours of minhaggim and maisehs to be completed before qiddush. In his own home, he and his roommates will get to decide. He also won't have to fear any awkward, “stealth shidduch” (match-making) attempts, when the lady of the house announces, “Oh, look who's in town! My second cousin, Esther. I just had to invite her over. Hey, aren't you the same age?” And you get forced to speak to each other all night. Even though you already went out, and both amicably decided that you were not a good match.
Now, I am NOT saying never to go out for a meal to a family's home, even a family you know nothing about. Go out! How else will you meet new people? Plus, going to families out of town is a great way to experience various communities, and in the case of Israel, visit parts of our Homeland you have yet to see. It IS also important for you to allow others the opportunity to perform the misswah of hakhnasath orhim for you. Once in a while, it may mean an awkward experience, or the need to come home as soon as possible to put some more food into his stomach. But, hey. That's all part of the adventure called yeshivah life.
All I am saying is that a yeshivah bochur need not feel helpless, and have to depend upon families for their only decent meals, and for that matter, only one day out of the week.
As you may recall, two Shabbathoth ago, I cooked for a new friend who was staying over. I asked him what he liked, to get a general idea of what to prepare. He said, “Grilled chicken, rice, and potatoes.”
Pretty standard fair for Shabbath.
Well, I do not own a grill. The barbeque got lost in the last move, and there would not have been any place to set it up anyway. Even the balcony is so small that my apartment, along with a few of the neighboring apratments, would have smelled like smoke all of Shabbath.
So, sans grill or barbeque, I prepared “Almost Grilled Chicken,” rice, and potatoes, plus some qishu'im (green squash, similar to zucchini) in tomato sauce.
I prepared the same chicken this past Shabbath for the two of my friends who were willing to schlep all the way over from Nahla'oth, a good 40 minute walk up and down a few hills.
Without further adieu, here is the EASY recipe:
4 cloves, garlic
one brown onion
Cut up defrosted chicken into nine parts, the ninth being the neck if it came with it. If the organs were included, set aside, or freeze for another time. If the uncooked liver was included, remember, a special procedure is necessary for its preparation. So set it aside as well, separate from the other organs.
Rinse off and dry each piece of chicken. Place into a pre-heated pan. A little oil may be necessary. I prefer canola oil. Fry the chicken for a couple of minutes, flip, and fry on the other side for a few more. Here's the catch, though. You can't call it frying. Every one knows how frying is unhealthy. So, don't call it that. Call it "almost grilled" instead.
While the chicken is on the fire, peel and chop the garlic, and throw it into a food processor or blender. Cover the food processor, chop up the garlic as finely as it can. Add the peeled onion, and water as necessary. Purée the onion together with the garlic.
Remove the chicken, and place onto a plate. Dump the excess fat out. Before putting the chicken back into the pan on the fire, push aside the skin, sprinkle a little soy sauce onto the meat, and then spoon the garlic-onion purée onto the chicken. Add a bit of the chopped parsley, and then replace the skin. (This keeps the spice & herb flavors in the chicken.) Add a little oil and cover.
Check the chicken, flip over, and recover. To check to see if the chicken is done, poke a folk through eat piece, close to the bone. If it goes through easily, it is done or near done. Add the remainder of the garlic-onion mixture. Cut into a couple of pieces at the age the pan, near the bone to see that it is no longer red or pink inside. When that is the case, turn the fire off, add more soy sauce, and flip the chicken over a few times. This ways the soy sauce will not burn.