The recipe for McCoy's Mondelbroid is here.
"Dammit all," Jack McCoy stated as he ran his hand threw his hair. "I can't believe it."
"Believe what, boss?" Jamie Ross asked as she entered his office. "Are you reading the briefs from the State of New York v. Patten case?"
"Yes," said Jack. "This case is gonna be another one of those social calling cards I reckon, and I am not looking forward to dealing with it so soon before the holidays."
"Well," Jamie said as she apprised Jack. "You really don't have to"
"And why is that?" Jack snapped.
"Because Adam has scheduled a meeting with the defense attorney. They may be able to work out something and they are not meeting until after the first of January."
"I just bet," Jack grumbled as he went for his ever present bottle of scotch. "Let us just go on and enjoy the holidays without worrying about a thing"?
"Precisely," Jamie stated as she picked up her coat. "I have to go get Katie ready for her holiday pageant in school tonight," she said. "So excuse me if I don't wallow along with you tonight." Jamie then added, "She is going to be an angel."
Jack couldn't help but smirk. "Well, tell her to break a leg for me."
"Oh, I will," Jamie crowed. "And, by the way, don't forget Adam's holiday party this weekend. I hear that this year he is breaking down and doing something different, especially for his family."
Jack took a sip of his Scotch. "Interesting," Jack said. "I am glad that Adam is doing something to bring his family together in spite of his tragic last year."
"I agree," Jamie cried as she walked to the door. "I will see you Saturday night?"
"Yes, you will," Jack said as she left him alone in his office.
Jack arrived at Adam's around 8:30 pm. and his party was in full swing.
"Jack, Jack McCoy!" Adam called as Jack entered the room. "Please come in and meet everyone."
Jack looked around his brownstone and quickly calculated give or take 35 people. "Thank you Adam," Jack said trying to get his bearings. "Let me hang my coat and warm up a bit."
"Take your time," Adam said. "There is more than enough of anything that you could eat or drink. In the meantime, please, make yourself at home, look around, take a walk and just relax."
"Thank you Adam," said Jack. "I will do just that." With that, Jack walked up to the buffet table and feasted his eyes on a tremendous amount of food. There were different kinds of white fish and lox, fresh-out-of-oven bagels, a gigantic brisket smothered with carrots and onions that was emitting a totally intoxicating aroma, chicken and what seemed to be round crispy potato pancakes that were still sizzling.
Jack's senses were in high gear and he turned away for a moment and perused the dessert table. Thank God know one knows that I am really a sucker for sweets, he thought. Jack could not believe the spread: bundt cakes, muffins, rugulah, chocolate brownies and the most interesting looking cookie he has ever seen. Man, I am in deep trouble, he thought. I hope they hold a treadmill with my name on it at the gym, he thought. His thoughts wandered over to the interesting crescent shaped cookie. Hmm, Jack thought. I have never seen a cookie like this. I wonder what it tastes like? With that, Jack picked it up and thought, it is hard, almost like a rock. He put it down, but as he did, he noticed the warm smell of the cinnamon and other spices coming from the just baked cookies.
Ok, I will give it a try. And with that, he took a bite and his eyes closed as he savored the crunchy nutty flavor of the cookie. Wow, Jack thought. This is utterly divine. I have never tasted anything like this before. Jack finished the rest of the cookie, noticing how the outside was crunchy to the taste and the inside just gave the right amount of almonds and spice to round out the total flavor.
"Well, I see someone went right for the dessert," smirked Jamie.
"Evening Jamie," said Jack kind of sheepishly. "You must try this cookie. I never tasted anything like this before."
" Oh, I intend to try everything here tonight," boasted Jamie. "I ran five miles today so I am primed and ready."
Jack laughed and left Jamie to do her feasting. As he walked down Adam's hall, he was hit with the same kind of intoxicating aroma from the kitchen that he just experienced with those cookies. Jack opened the door of the kitchen and heard a total commotion going on.
"I don't care what you think!" a female voice was yelling. "You are getting paid to help finish cooking and serving these guests. If you are telling me that you cannot stay because you booked another party to try to double your profits tonight, let me save you the trouble -- get the hell out of this kitchen and the hell out of this house!" the female voice exploded. "And furthermore, since you slimed my great-uncle and I tonight, you are only going to get one-half of your wages I booked you for. "
"You can't do that!" cried the two men. "We will sue you out of business."
"Oh, that is rich," she cried. "Do you know that my great-uncle is the DA of New York? Oh yes, that Adam Schiff," she crowed. "I think you best pack it up and get out before I start throwing things, and you know that I am more than capable of doing it."
Jack saw the two men scurry out of the kitchen mumbling to themselves. As he walked into the kitchen, his feet began to slip on flour left on the floor. As he lost his balance, Jack started to curse.
"Oh, great, just great," came the female voice. "And I suppose that you are now going to sue my butt because you slipped on the kitchen floor after I fired your sorry ass?"
Jack got to his knees and as he started to brush himself off, he came face-to-face with the very angry voice.
"What the hell?" Reva Schiff cried. "Who are you and what the hell are you doing in my kitchen?" And with an after-thought she added, "Are you all right?"
"Yes, I am fine," Jack answered turning around and focusing on the young woman facing him. Jack looked at her and was taken aback. This little thing all of five feet had the booming voice? he thought.
"Well," Reva countered. "Since you were nosy enough to come into my kitchen and if you are all right, put this apron on and give me a hand if you don't mind. Those too losers left me short-handed and I need help in order to finish baking these desserts." She turned to Jack, and started to take off his jacket. "I am Reva Schiff, Adam's great-niece," she said. "I hope you know that I don't throw his name around loosely, but boy, I am steamed and well, I guess when push comes to shove, I don't take any prisoners. And, by the way, who are you?"
Jack was momentarily speechless. "Jack, Jack McCoy, Adam's assistant DA."
"No way!" Reva cried. "You? you are the great Jack McCoy?" and with that, Reva threw back her head and laughed. "Please, Mr. McCoy, don't be offended. My uncle has the highest admiration and respect for you and he cares for you a great deal, but truthfully, I didn't ever think I would meet you under these circumstances."
Jack was not amused, at first. But, as he watched her take control of her remaining employees, he was impressed by the way she knew how to keep her cool--sort of and he let his guard down, even for only a moment. "What do you want me to do?" he asked.
"Well, first of all, lets get this mondelbroid out of this oven," Reva said. "They will need to cool a bit before we bring them out, and you will have to put that apron on around your waist unless you want food all over the rest of you."
Oh great, Jack thought. I come to a party to relax and I am coaxed into helping the hired help cook. But then his mood softened when Reva opened the door of the oven and the aroma of the mondelbroid hit him. "Did you really bake all these yourself?" Jack asked.
"Of course I did," Reva responded. "I own this little catering outfit and you can rest assure that whenever I can, I always cook the food."
Jack watched as she opened the door and pulled out two trays of the cookies.
"What led you to come into the kitchen?" Reva asked.
"Well, I was taking a look around Adam's and, well, I followed my nose and my salivary glands into the kitchen," Jack said.
That is honest, Reva thought. "Ok, lets get moving," Reva barked. "After we take these out and let them cool, I have one more big batch to make. I promised my cousins I would make a slew for them to take back to Jersey."
"I have never eaten anything that has felt so hard and tasted so good before," Jack exclaimed. "What is mondelbroid anyway?"
"Mondelbroid is a combo cake-cookie that was derived from the Eastern European Jews," said Reva. "Many of the desserts were made with plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla and nuts. When I smell it cooking, there is something magical that it does to me."
"Me too," thought Jack as his curiosity was piqued as he helped remove the mondelbroid from the trays onto cooling racks. "So, how does your family fit in with Adam's?"
"Adam's family and my father's family fled Eastern Europe before the Holocaust really broke out. I consider us to be the lucky ones," Reva said quietly. "Our religion and culture is very close to family and family ties. I haven't spoken to Uncle Adam in a while since my Aunt's death, so I was tickled to death when Uncle Adam called and asked if I were to help cater this event."
Jack smiled and nodded his head towards the sink. "Ok, what do I do now?" he asked.
"Start breaking those eggs on the sink and beat them with that whisk."
Jack looked at the eggs. That I can do, he thought. He broke one egg and the entire shell fell into the bowl. Looking around, he took his fingers to retrieve it, but, the shells splintered into little fragments in the bowl. Uh oh, thought Jack. I can't even crack an egg!
"Don't worry," cried Reva coming to the rescue. "Let me break them and you mix. You can stir can't you?"
"I am sure I can mix something," Jack laughed, grateful for the rescue. He handed the bowl to Reva, who in turn gave him the rolling pin. Great, he thought as took the rolling pin. I am glad no one is watching this, he thought as he began to roll the dough into place. Just don't let me mess this up.
As Reva and Jack began to work around the kitchen, they fell into a synch of movement; and for the first time in a long time, Jack actually was relaxing. "How can I be moving around at a break-neck pace to get food done and yet feel so alive and relaxed?" he asked Reva.
"That, my friend," Reva said "is the beauty of cooking. I have always found it cathartic and the ability to create something that so many people enjoy is satisfaction enough."
"That makes sense to me," Jack said as he helped Reva put the last two trays of mondelbroid into the oven feeling pretty good about his creations.
Unaware to Jack and Reva, Adam was giving Jamie the tour of his brownstone. When they came to the kitchen and saw his great-niece and Jack playing Betty and Buddy Crocker, they could not believe it. Adam put his fingers to his lips in a "hush" motion to Jamie and turned her away from the kitchen.
"Oh my God, Adam," Jamie cried. If I did not see it I wound not believe it."
"I know, I know," said Adam with a glint in his eyes. "I am glad that two of the people I care about are actually enjoying themselves. And do you know what else Ms. Ross?" Adam asked.
"No Adam, what"?
"Reva is not even one of his assistants."
Adam and Jamie looked at each other and broke into laughter.
The recipe for McCoy's Mondelbroid is here.