Please welcome guest blogger Barbara Fradkin, author of the award-winning Inspector Green mysteries, set in Canada's capital, Ottawa. Barbara will be giving us a taste treat from her Inspector Green's own traditions.
Green's many fans know him to be a bit hard to manage (maybe that's what we love about him) and we all have sympathy for his lovely and strong-minded wife, Sharon. He does care about his family, even if he's often home late. So what a thrill to find the renegade in the kitchen!
A new take on a traditional dish
Ottawa police Inspector Michael Green had a lonely childhood. His parents were Holocaust survivors who lost their entire families in the camps, and while he was growing up, Passover Seders were low-key, secretive affairs haunted by the presence of unacknowledged ghosts. Eastern European Jewish food is peasant food under the best circumstances – cheap, unflavored cuts of meat boiled forever and supplemented by mounds of potatoes. In the Green household, food was a survival tool, not a joy, and his mother’s traditional potato kugel was a heavy potato pie salvaged from glue only by the hint of onion
With Passover just around the corner, Green’s wife Sharon is determined to inject new life and flavor into the old Passover mainstays. Zucchini and parsnip promise to add zest and lightness to the kugel, and because the recipe is so easy, Green himself is entrusted to make it while Sharon works on the more difficult dishes. All he needs is a food processor, a colander, a big bowl and a baking dish. What could go wrong?
Where Green and the kitchen stove are concerned, a lot. But here, under Sharon’s careful eye, is the kugel he will attempt.
5 Yukon potatoes, peeled
1 medium carrot, peeled
2 parsnips, peeled
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped parsley
½ cup oil
3 tbsp. matzoh meal (if used for Passover; otherwise flour works too)
1 tsp. Kosher (or sea) salt
½ tsp. black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. In the food processor, grate the potatoes, parsnips, carrot and zucchini, then transfer to the colander and squeeze out the excess liquid.
In a big mixing bowl, mix eggs and oil until frothy. Add the grated vegetables, onions, parsley, salt and pepper and sprinkle the matzoh meal on top. Fold into the egg mixture until well combined.
Spread into the baking dish and bake for 30 min. Remove and brush the top with vegetable oil. Bake until the top is golden, about 30 min. more. Only under-cooking (soggy) or over-cooking (dry) can ruin this dish, and Sharon will nip these disasters in the bud.
The Greens will serve this with brisket, carrots, and salad, with perhaps a side order of smoked turkey in the tradition of Sharon's family. But it can liven up just about any meal.
And now a bit more about our guest!
Barbara Fradkin is an award-winning author and retired psychologist with a fascination for how we turn bad. She's also a former Crime Writers of Canada President. Beautiful Lie the Dead is the latest in her gritty detective series featuring the quixotic, exasperating Ottawa Police Inspector Michael Green, which has won two Arthur Ellis Best Novel Awards. In a new venture, her first Rapid Reads novel, The Fall Guy, has just been released.
Learn more about Barbara and both her series at www.barbarafradkin.com or find her on Facebook where you can also check out the pix of her Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.