Schmaltz and gribenes. Finally right.

I’ve been practicing making schmaltz and gribenes for a few months now, and I finally can report success! It’s not a hard thing to do but, like any new technique, I needed to figure it out.

Schmaltz is rendered chicken fat, and gribenes are the crispy chicken skin bits left after the schmaltz is made. Think pork rinds – but chicken. They make a tasty crunchy salty bit to nibble or garnish with. The schmaltz is beautiful and golden, keeps forever in the fridge in covered container, and gives anything you cook with it a lovely chickeny richness — it’s a great cooking fat for frying potatoes or sauteeing the veg for a chicken soup.

For today’s attempt, I took the skin and fat from three whole chickens and froze it in a loaf, then diced it up fine.   It went into a 2 quart pot over medium heat to cook.


And cook.IMAG0016

And cook.


And cook.IMAG0024

And cook.  Finally starting to brown!IMAG0026

And it’s done!IMAG0030

The schmaltz is drained off.IMAG0035

And the gribenes are salted liberally.IMAG0039

Gribenes! IMAG0040


This is my third go at this, and I am very happy with the result, finally.     Often,  chopped onion  is added after the fat is rendered but before the gribenes are well browned,  and that gives a very nice flavor to the fat,  but it kept burning when I did that.    Also,  freezing the skin and fat so I could get it really evenly chopped into a nice small dice made a big difference in how evenly the gribenes came out.   They are all nice and small and thoroughly crispy.


Simplest Sesame Halva

sesame seeds
powdered sugar

Start by blending honey into one cup of tahini until it is honey flavoured enough for you, but not as sweet as you want. This batter will be shiny from the oil in the tahini Stir in sesame seeds until you have a very very thick batter or loose dough. Finish by stirring in enough powdered sugar to take the shine out of the mixture – start with half a cup. Taste for sweetness – more sugar or honey can be added if it is not as sweet as you like. If it is not as stiff as you like, you can add more sesame seeds or more powdered sugar. Press into a pan or roll into balls and refrigerate. It is nice to roll the balls in some sesame seeds or powdered sugar.-

Lemonade Syrup.

2.5 C water

2.5 C sugar

1.25 C fresh squeezed lemon juice

zest of one lemon – about a teaspoon.

Combine water and sugar in a small pot. Bring to a boil, and let cook five minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon zest. Let cool, stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate overnight. Makes approximately 1 quart of syrup. Keeps in the fridge for up to a week, frozen for three months.

To make lemonade: Combine 1/4 cup of syrup with 3/4 cup of water per serving. 1 quart of syrup will make two 64 oz pitchers of lemonade – 2 cups of syrup and 6 cups of water per pitcher. Adjust syrup/water ratio to taste – some people like to add more fresh lemon juice when making up.


Lavender lemonade: Add 2 tbs. dried lavender blossoms to syrup along with lemon zest. Strain syrup before using.

Strawberry lemonade: Reserve 1.4 cup of sugar from recipe, and sprinkle over 2 cups sliced strawberries. Let rest while you make the syrup and juice lemons. Add sliced strawberries and all juices to syrup along with lemon juice. Strain syrup before using – garnish with fresh strawberry slices.

Ginger lemonade: Add 1 tbs. shredded fresh ginger to syrup along with lemon zest.

Limeade: Use lime in stead of lemon zest. Substitute up to 100% lime juice for lemon juice.

Sparkling Lemonade: Mix the lemonade with sparkling water.

Notes: This is basically a 1:1 simple syrup, flavoured with lemon zest, then pre-mixed with lemon juice. This formula can be adjusted readily to make other flavoured lemonades. Flavoured simple syrups can be used in many other beverages as well (cinnamon/clove syrup in hot apple cider, anyone?) Volatile flavourings should be added after the syrup is removed from the heat, but many could be cooked in the syrup.

Knitter’s Tea Swap Package!

Karen from Tangles was my secret pal. She sent me a lovely package. Thank you – I love it!
KTS2 010

There are two skeins of Cascade Yarns Heathers in a beautiful brown, a pattern for a felted needle case, a box of t-sacs, two packets of lovely imported tea biscuits, a little tin of green tea mints, and some wonderful teas! There is a Japanese green tea sampler from Adagio, Fusion Green & White from from Stash, Buckingham Palace Garden Party from the English Tea Store, and a sample tin of Jasmine #9, also from Adagio.

She got it!

I sent Beth a package for the Knitter’s Tea Swap, and it’s arrived! I love the swaps – I enjoying thinking up and making up gifts, and it’s lovely to have a reason to do it more often.

Dear Random Searchers

I am sorry you hate living in Natick, MA – have you considered moving?

I do not know how to write on chenille – permenant marker perhaps? It can write on everything else.

I still do not have a pattern for a knit chicken. Or patterns to knit for chickens. I’m not sure which you were after.

If you find that ‘Irish Knit Tea’ please let me know – it sounds right up my alley.

And the secret to making a good white sauce is to use very fresh milk and butter for it, cook it very slowly for a long time after you have stirred the milk into the roux, and finish with a tiny tiny grating of whole nutmeg.