I have been wanting to make this recipe for a long time. I distinctly remember my mother stuffing artichokes with breadcrumbs, parsley, and parmasean cheese as a child. However, she stuffed it between the leaves and left it whole. As amazing as that was I really think cutting them in half first really is the better way to go. You can trim the pointy leaves as you don’t need that area for stuffing – I can’t be the only who has been left bloodied by an artichoke right? You can also trim the hair off the artichoke heart (or artichoke “butt” according to my Chilean friend) before you stuff it so you aren’t de-fuzzing the artichoke mid-meal which is annoying and messy.
This Syrian dish is easy to make with only a few ingredients. The first time I made it for family my grandmother was sorely disappointed I didn’t make spaghetti with it. Despite my insistence that these were not Italian meatballs in a marinara sauce she was adamant that meatballs are always to be served with spaghetti or otherwise you clearly did not know how to throw a dinner party. As you can see from the final photo here I once again went against “tradition” and served it with rice.
Evidently most people know brisket as some sort of smoked BBQ thing. I didn’t know about this until I was googling for recipe variations and kept finding smoking instructions. Isn’t smoking what they do to whitefish and salmon? Perhaps the occasional gouda. Evidently smoking meats is like a thing in the south and I had the definition of BBQ totally confused but that is a discussion for another day. The way I have always eaten (and cooked) brisket was slow cooked in the oven with vegetables and plenty of liquids. You need to google “Jewish Brisket” for this variation.
On the bright side my version is much easier and involves a lot less equipment than the smoked version. Brisket is usually a holiday dish but the other day my husband came home with a huge hunk of meat and promised he would help me cook it. Turned out his help was keeping the children contained while I chopped, seared, cooked, and cleaned up. Better than nothing.
I tend to freeze all my leftovers and eventually the freezer gets full and I decide to get creative. I had a jar of tomato sauce, frozen meat sauce my husband made a few weeks ago, a container of tomato sauce and meatballs my neighbor brought me and frozen German sausage. I would have preferred Italian sausage but as my daughter says “you what you get and you don’t get upset” so I dealt. What is great about lasagna is that you only need a few ingredients and it is very versatile. You can use any meat you have – sausage, ground beef, ground chicken, pancetta, etc any any tomato sauce you like.
As far as the homemade pasta goes that does take work. I did not have any ready made lasagna sheets but I did have flour and eggs and some free time so fresh pasta it was. But dried lasagna sheets would work just as well I would suggest the no boil type. With fresh pasta it is so thin and delicate there is no need to boil the sheets first.
Have you ever had a tongue sandwich at a deli? If not please go have one now because they are becoming extinct. Jewish deli food like tongue sandwiches, chopped liver, pickled salmon and kippered lox has been dying out as all the elderly Jews have..uh..moved on. I remember going to the Rascal House in Miami with my great grandparents as a child and waiting in long lines to eat. Then when they were no longer here I went with my grandparents – no lines. Now they are out of business and replaced with an upscale supermarket.
The only people left who eat this food are elderly Jews retiring in Miami or younger ones like me who grew up in the NYC metro area and ate appetizing Sunday morning and stuffed derma at the Delicatessen. Since I moved to Florida though all the Florida raised Jews I met who are my age haven’t even heard of this stuff and it really is a shame they missed out on all this good stuff. It is available in South Florida if you search for it but the Jewish Deli food culture doesn’t surround you naturally like it does out in Long Island or the Lower East Side.