Making Things Right
Are there many things that can turn everything around?
Of course not, but that doesn’t mean that we should give up trying to find them.
I usually find that a couple of hours at the beach, particularly during those days when we get little sunshine or warmth, can do wonders for me, although I do feel revitalized and rejuvenated under the warm, benevolent rays of the sun, in a way not possible otherwise, even in the middle of summer.
But it’s not like we can go to the beach ever day. And who says that even a beach day might not become tired after a little while?
And not all beaches and “sunlights” are the same. Everyone knows that when you are at a beach at a Greek island, for example, under that magnificent and ancient orb overhead, you are experiencing one of the most healing experiences of all time. Just don’t ask me what it is, exactly. It just is.
In the absence of the above, on my way for my usual soup and homemade sandwich at the local café today, where, me being a regular, they’re nice enough to allow me to pull out my lunch bag at their tables and eat the stuff that I make at home, I felt an irresistible pull to get something, although pricey, which usually makes everything right: matzoh ball soup.
I couldn’t fight it. Once it took hold, as I passed Ernie & Ellie’s, the kosher restaurant at Decarie Square where I work, while heading back from throwing a few letters in the outdoor mailbox, I couldn’t pull myself out of its stranglehold – on my stomach, and on my mind.
It had been quite a while since my last matzoh ball soup at the same establishment. Had it been two years already?
And sitting down and ordering it, slurping it up in a couple of minutes, was nothing short of heaven.
I’d like to say that Ernie & Ellie’s matzoh ball soup is fantastic but it doesn’t come close to what my mother used to make, adding it to a freshly cooked Jewish chicken soup broth (no, the chicken wasn’t Jewish!).
We enjoy a good matzoh ball soup at my wife’s step-mother’s every Passover, although my mother’s stands out as the best I’ve ever had (and that was a long, long time ago).
But even a mediocre matzoh ball soup puts you in a peaceful, all-is-right-with-the-world state, albeit temporary. You sit there, waiting for your bill ($6.00!), and you know that you’ve made things right.
For those reading who cannot find a place serving matzoh ball soup in your city, here’s a recipe found on the Internet. Hope that it’s not too hard…
Make the broth: Put the chicken, celery, carrots, onion, tomatoes, parsley, dill, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cloves and 2 teaspoons salt in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer and cook, skimming off the foam occasionally, 3 hours. Strain, discarding the solids. Let cool until the fat rises to the surface. (The broth can be made up to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate.) Skim off the fat, reserving 2 tablespoons fat for the matzo balls.
Make the matzo balls: Whisk the eggs and reserved chicken-broth fat in a bowl. Stir in the shallot, garlic, lemon zest, ginger, dill, parsley, matzo meal, 1/4 cup of the prepared broth and 1 3/4 teaspoons salt. Cover and chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls with damp hands. Cover and chill until ready to cook, up to 8 hours.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the matzo balls and reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer; cover and cook until the balls are tender, 35 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the prepared broth. Drain the matzo balls and serve in the warm broth. Top with dill.