Hello! Yes, I know, it’s been a while. Stuff has happened. Lots of stuff has happened. I sold a house and bought a house. And then I moved to that house, which took up every moment of spare energy available. We had a wonderful trip to Budapest (thank you Sassy and Sabraman) and also a nice vacation at the Grand Canyon (very impressive hole in the ground), Las Vegas and New York. I left one job, got another job. Loved that job! However, that job kept me busy, too busy to blog, but not too busy to cook. And then I was replaced, by a computer program. How embarrassing! So now I’ve become the hunter (of employment) instead of the gatherer (of salary). But since my last blog entry there’s been something (or rather, someone) else that has made me smile. You see, I’ve fallen in love…
I am a classic second generation Holocaust survivor.
My third generation kids are unabashedly Jewish and unabashedly Israeli and I so wish my parents were around to see how I have raised my phoenixes out of the fires and ashes of the camps.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “What’s it like to be the child of Holocaust survivors?”
Today is the 22nd Annual Ra’anana Marathon, which was meant to be two weeks ago but was canceled due to rain. Lots of rain. In the last week the weather has warmed up considerably. Granted, winters in Ra’anana are not exactly Siberian, but you can get cold, especially indoors. In fact, sometimes I walk the dog just to get outside and warm up a bit.
While I hate the hot and muggy sauna that Ra’anana becomes in the summer months, the springtime can be quite enjoyable.
I may have mentioned once or twice, or twenty times, that Ju-Boy and I are the parental units of a blended family. Sometimes we can be one big happy Brady Bunch, and at other times we resemble the Manson family. With a large cast of characters, we all have our ways of dealing with the situation. Ju-Boy and I prefer to deal with our reality by running away from it. Every now and again we will find someone to watch the dog and just disappear…
The World Wide Web is a very interesting place. You dip your tootsies into the deep waters of the Internet and you never know who is going to take a nibble. You end up finding all sorts of people from your past.
I’ve reconnected with half of my sixth grade class. I found the guy I had a crush on when I was 11. I’m chatting with my long lost best friend from the playground. People you think are always going to be part of your Once Upon A Time can become part of your Here And Now, and quite possibly part of your Happily Ever After. For example, there was this guy I used to trade jokes with over the ether back in the 90s. In 2005 we traded wedding rings. Okay, so that one was a bit over the top. Life isn’t always going to be so trippy.
Sometimes you meet people over the net that you’ve never met in person. I’d been reading Mrs. S.’s blog for a while, living through her personal angst as she renovated her house, then just taking a voyeristic peep into her family life, and finally learning a new language, Hebrish. I’d comment here, comment there, but no connection was really forged until a certain Icelandic volcano forced Miriyummy to be born, and then the connection became two-way. And then one day, Mrs. S. actually emailed me!
It seems we had another connection, one hanging by a thread, but a connection nonetheless. It so happens that Mrs. S.’s mom and Ju-Boy used to work together once upon a time in the last century. Mrs. S. never actually had the pleasure of meeting Ju-Boy in the flesh, but her family tells a story about him, and I quote (with permission, of course):
Sixteen years ago, before my sister’s wedding, my mother told her coworkers that the wedding was going to be starting on time and that they should plan accordingly.
[Ju-Boy] didn’t believe her. He joked that EVERYONE claims that “we’re starting on time” but that no Israeli wedding ever does. However, my mother insisted that this wedding would be different, and so they bet on it. They determined what “on time” means and decided that the loser would have to give the winner a chocolate bar.
Anyway, as anyone who knows my parents could have guessed, but to the shock of those (like [Ju-Boy]) who had never attended one of our family’s smachot, the wedding was — of course — very much on time.
My mother didn’t come into work for the first few days after the wedding, but when she finally returned, she found a whole chain of mini chocolate bars covering her desk… 🙂
Okay, maybe life really is that trippy…
And in one of the most awkward segues in the history of this blog, that leads us to the recipe for this week — Chocolate Chicken. Okay, let’s not all throw up at once. It really isn’t Chocolate Chicken, but the recipe does have chocolate in it. Mole (pronounce molay) sauce is common in Mexico and usually served over a variety of different foods. I like to serve it over chicken. The original Mexican recipe can have over 20 different ingredients and may or may not contain chocolate. I like to add the chocolate since it gives the sauce a rich body, serves as a good talking point and supplies excellent shock value to your guests.
- 8 chicken pieces (we use the thigh quarters, known in Israel as the meshulash, or the triangle)
- salt, pepper and paprika to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, for browning
- 1 more tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped medium fine
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 large can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (now empty can) filled with water
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 50 grams (2 ounces) dark, bittersweet chocolate
- Rub the chicken pieces with the salt, pepper and paprika. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the chicken pieces top-side down and brown. After about 5 minutes, turn and cook the bottom sides for another 2 minutes or so. Remove to a baking dish. You may have to brown the chicken in two batches, but make sure you have enough space in your baking dish that the pieces are all on one level.
- Add the one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan in which you browned the chicken, and bring up to heat again. Toss in the chopped onions and let caramelize until golden.
- Toss in the minced garlic and stir for a moment.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, and then take the empty can, fill it with water and add that to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Add the paprika, chili powder, cumin and coriander. Stir.
- Taste, and then add the salt and pepper.
- Bring the heat down until the sauce starts to bubble, and then let it bubble until reduced by one-half. This could take anywhere between 15 minutes to half an hour.
- Add the chocolate and stir until melted.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 F).
- Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover and bake for 1/2 an hour.
- Serve with rice, tortillas, quinoa, anything you like, but serve with panache!