Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wrist action: I'm back to making my own tzimmes!

Remember my Kulanu M'subin Seder Chicken recipe, based partly on a variation on my mother's parve tzimmes recipe? I wasn't able to make homemade tzimmes for Rosh HaShanah last year because it was less than a year since I'd broken both wrists, and I wasn't really ready for sweet-potato "surgery." So we managed with a batch of tzimmes from ye not-so-local glatt-kosher take-out place.

This year, though, I did the whole thing myself. I really should have had my husband cut the sweet potato, but I didn't have the heart to ask him, since he was busy commuting to and from the basement, doing the pre-Yom Tov/holiday laundry, at the time.

The problem is that, being the only one of my parents' four kids who did not inherit my late mother's wonderful cooking and baking skills, I don't enjoy cooking and, consequently, don't own a decent cooking knife or a cleaver. My puny knife invariably gets caught in the sweet potato, making me feel like one of the hapless knights in the King Arthur legend trying to pull the sword from the stone. But somehow, I managed to get the sweet potato cut into chunks without hurting my wrists too much.

Well, enough about me. Here's the recipe, good for Rosh HaShanah (sorry about the timing), Sukkot, and Pesach. It can be cooked in the oven, well covered, where it would probably cook more quickly because you can use a larger pan and spread out the ingredients. But the thought of turning the oven on while it's still above 60 degrees Fahrenheit doesn't appeal to me--our apartment gets hot enough from turning on the stove, much less the oven. I use a three-quart pot--my newest pot says that's 2.8 L, if I'm reading it correctly--and cook the tzimmes on the stovetop. The cooking time is approximately forever, which I'm guessing is about an hour and a half (or perhaps more, depending on the size of the sweet potato), though I haven't timed it--I just check every 10 minutes or so until the sweet potato and carrots are soft, then remove the pot from the stove and put it on the hot-tray. This recipe should make approximately four servings.

What's unique about this recipe is that it's fruit- and juice-sweetened exclusively--it contains no sweetener of any kind. It's probably still too high in fruit-sugar for diabetics and hypoglycemics, but it might keep your dentist happy, at least. :)

  • 1 fresh apple, with core removed (Do not peal--the skin keeps the apple from falling apart during the cooking process.)

  • 1 20-ounce can of pineapple chunks--since you want to be able to taste the pineapple, chunks work better than crushed pineapple or pineapple tidbits--in unsweetened juice (no syrup allowed!). Dole brand is kosher.

  • 1 one-pound bag of baby carrots (easier on the wrists and fingers than cutting full-size ones), or 1 pound of full-sized carrots (sliced or cut into chunks)

  • 1 large sweet potato or yam (at least 1/2 pound), cut into quarters lengthwise (the difficult part of the "surgery"), then into medium-sized chunks (If you cut the chunks too small, they turn into mush.)

  • 1/3 cup-1 cup of orange juice, depending on how sweet you like it--the more juice, the sweeter--and on the size of the sweet potato. You might want to taste periodically to see whether you'd like to add more.

  • ground cinnamon to taste
Place cored apple in the center of the pot. Sprinkle the inside of the apple with ground cinnamon, stuff it with pineapple chunks, and sprinkle exterior of stuffed apple with cinnamon. Spread the entire pound of carrots and the sweet-potato chunks around the stuffed apple. Pour the remaining contents of the can of unsweetened pineapple over everything. Pour orange juice over everything. Sprinkle cinnamon on everything. Mix a bit, if possible, without dislodging the apple from its pride of place. Cook on low heat until carrots are soft. Have a good and sweet year!

Update, about 3 minutes after publication: That'll teach me not to check my previous posts--I published this recipe last year! (And, apparently, I did manage to perform sweet-potato "surgery" at that time). Oh, well.


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