LESSON OBJECTIVES AND OUTLINE FOR TEACHERS
I. LESSON OBJECTIVES
A. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of proper cooking techniques by preparing slishkas; thereby demonstrating that they know how to:
- Prepare instant mashed potatoes.
- Measure and combine ingredients.
- Beat eggs.
- Knead dough.
- Roll dough with the hands into ropes.
- Cut dough ropes into lengths.
- Boil dough.
- Drain dumplings.
- Prepare a crumb coating.
- Toss the slishkas in the buttered crumbs.
B. The students will demonstrate their knowledge of the relationship of this dish to Jewish cooking by completing the final Sample Test.
II. KITCHEN ORGANIZATION: TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
- No preparation is required ahead of time for this recipe.
- There is a bit of a wait while the slishkas are boiling. If you wish to keep the students occupied during this time, you can save the preparation of the crumbs for this time and grind them in the food processor, or have them begin cleaning up.
- It is not necessary to use a mixer for this recipe. If one is available, it can be used.
- Keep surfaces well-floured to prevent sticking.
- Toss the slishkas in the crumb coating with a wooden spoon to keep from breaking them up.
III. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
A. This recipe is not heavy with symbolic meanings as are some of the others included in this course, but slishkas are remembered in certain quarters with a fondness and nostalgia particularly appropriate to memories of Bubbie’s kitchen. They belong to a category of old fashioned, homey, comfort foods that are rarely prepared in this age of frozen french fries. Ask your students if they have any special memories to share about foods prepared in their bubbies’ kitchens that may not be familiar to an assimilated American family. It may be a dish that they hated, too. Some other dishes not covered in this course that may fall into this category are: schav, petcha, gefilte fish, kishka, gribenes, to give but a few examples.
MATERIALS FOR SLISHKAS
- 2 boxes instant potato flakes or buds
- boiling water
- vegetable oil
- 1 dozen eggs
- all-purpose flour
- 2 sticks butter
- stale bread for bread crumbs
- potato chips
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- 6 to 8 qt. pot with steamer insert and lid
- large skillet
- mixing spoons
- pot holders
- serving bowl
- small pot for boiling water
- food processor
- dishwashing liquid
FOR THE STUDENTS:
Years ago, a favorite buffet selection at Ashkenazic Bar Mitzvahs was slishkas. They are buttery, crumb-coated potato dumplings that are served as a side dish. A very similar type of dish is probably more familiar and is the Italian favorite, potato gnocchi. Gnocchi, which means knuckles, are made from a similar dough that is pressed against a rough surface such as a coarse grater before they are cooked so that sauces will cling to them. Making slishkas is much more fun because it is reminiscent of that time in kindergarten when you made long snakes out of clay or play dough by rolling pieces between your fingers and the table. Every skill comes in handy eventually!
I’ve substituted instant potatoes for the mashed potatoes with which these are traditionally made because I find that the finished product is just about the same. Also, slishkas have always been coated with bread crumbs, but when I have leftover stale potato chips, I usually grind them up in the food processor and add them to leftover bread crumbs or matzoh meal when I am breading something. Since this is a potato dough, the potato chips give a nice, but untraditional crunch to the slishkas. You can also use corn flake crumbs, or any other type you like.
- 2 c. instant potato flakes or buds
- 2 c. boiling water (or very hot tap water)
- 2 T. vegetable oil
- 1/2 t. salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 c. all-purpose white flour (preferably unbleached)
Alternately using Real Mashed Potatoes:
- 4 cups seasoned mashed potatoes with onions and butter
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose white flour (preferably unbleached)
- 2 T. butter, margarine, or vegetable oil
- 1 c. fine bread crumbs
- 1 c. finely ground potato chip crumbs
1. Put the potato flakes or buds into a large mixing bowl and add boiling water. Mix well to make stiff mashed potatoes.
2. Stir in the oil and salt and let mixture come to lukewarm stirring occasionally.
3. Beat in the eggs until they are completely combined.
4. Add the flour gradually while mixing at lowest speed.
5. Lightly knead the dough in the bowl for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it is springy. (At this point, if necessary, the dough can be covered well with plastic wrap and set aside for a short while, or it can be refrigerated overnight.)