Blog Archives

KCC #61 — Let Tevet Bring The Rain!

Welcome to the 61st Kosher Cooking Carnival — the Tevet 5771 issue!  As I’m putting together this issue it is still Kislev.  We are in the midst of Chanuka and the candles are burning, as is our wonderful land of Israel, both physically and psychologically.  The horrific forest fire in the Carmel Forest has claimed 41 lives (edited after posting — 42).  The weather continues to be hotter than normal for this time of year.  As the sun continues to shine and balmy weather brings warm breezes and banishes all thoughts of a wintry Chanuka, we still continue with our holiday traditions, the frying of latkes, the filling of sufganiyot, the caloric intake as if to bulk up for a winter that has yet to arrive.  But rumor has it that with the month of Tevet comes that rain!  Inclement weather is predicted for the erev of and the first day of Rosh Chodesh.  May the rains come and wash the burning land and perhaps the Carmel Forest can start to regenerate the green we long for.

Just a note — today, as I finish writing this post, erev Rosh Chodesh Tevet, the rain has come, washing the country in its blessing and causing Am Yisrael to smile and breathe a sigh of relief.  But still, the showers of last night and today are not enough, so please pray that the weather stays wet and gray!

Over the centuries Israel has been beset by many a tragedy, and how have we always managed to get through it?  We eat!  So let the Kosher Cooking Carnival begin!

The Kosher Cooking Carnival KCC is a monthly blog carnival, a “round-up” of blog posts about all aspects of kosher food and cooking.  It includes Jewish Law, customs, kosher restaurants, cookbooks and kosher recipes, too.  Every month it’s on another blog.  Next month the KCC is once again going home and will be hosted by Batya at me-ander.  If you’d like to host an edition, please contact Batya.

Anything Kosher

Leah of Ingathered brings back some childhood memories with her Quick and Easy Homemade Pickles.

Batya, of me-ander, decided to do something we do almost weekly in our house and did a little Cashing In, Frozen Foods.  In our house we always cook twice or three times as much as we need, just to feed the Freezer Gods.

Leora who lives over Here in HP posted a wonder No Cook Pea Salad.  This one is absolutely going into the Shabbat rotation at our house.

Jennifer is having some Adventures in BreadLand, and is stretching and folding, stretching and folding and wants us to Bake Bread Bold with “Stretch n’ Fold”!

Even though we are in the midst of Chanuka, not too long ago we were celebrating Thanksgiving.  Mirj of Miriyummy (hey, that’s me!) didn’t quite make the traditional dinner, but had a little party to give thanks, and served up some unconventional Thanksgiving food.

Desserts

Phyllis, our favorite Ima On (And Off) The Bima, made a supercool dragon cake for her son’s 5th birthday.  You can read all about it at Move Over, Cake Boss – Dragon Cake.

What do you do when you just don’t know what to call your creation?  You do what Mrs. S. over at Our Shiputzim:  A Work in Progress did.  Curious?  Find out what she called her dessert in Freshly Baked Goods Friday: Nameless Edition.

Not that I want to get political or anythings, but… with all this talk about a building freeze, Jennifer and her Adventures in MamaLand is building houses, gingerbread houses, and they look good!  Have a peek at Gingerbread Night.

One way to avoid politics is to focus on the ying and yang of the sweet stuff.  Mirj of Miriyummy (me, again) gives it to you in black and white with Reality Bites.

Diet Food

There were no entries this month for Diet Food.  Like, duh!  This is the Chanuka season!  Latkes, sufganiyot, anything fried, oil, oil, oil, get the picture?  Just in case you don’t, here’s one…

Everyday Meals

Ilana-Davita took one of my favorite side dishes and gave it her own personal twist in Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage with Apple.

If you head over to Here in HP you can read how Leora made Kid-Friendly Spicy Potatoes.  Sounds like something my kids would love to cook, and love to eat.  Very kid-friendly!

With the drought we’ve been having here in Israel Batya has come up with a very economic way to save water over at me-ander.  See this new innovation with Water-Saving Meatloaf.

Halacha

Mrs. S. on Our Shiputzim discusses the mitzvot of blogging on Chanuka.  Nothing to do with food, but worth reading, just so you know…  Happy Chanukah!

Jewish Shabbat and Holiday Food

Mimi of Israeli Kitchen receives some potato inspiration with 2 Recipes:  Spiced Olives and Potatoes with Olives.

Just in time for the last days of Chanuka (and who says this should only be limited to Chanuka?), West Bank Mama tells us Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Latkes.

Over at JewishBoston.com we have an interesting take on the usual latke thanks to Dan Brosgol.  Check out Hybrid Latkes: Low-Fat, High-Flavor, and Interestingly Textured.

Bookishima, who’s In Our Small Garden, wants to tell you All About Sufganiyot.

Mirj of Miriyummy (me, again) has way to chill down in Israel with memories of the cold north and little baby sufganiyot with There’s a Hole in My Donut.

Just because it doesn’t feel like winter yet here in Israel, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the world isn’t freezing its tuchas off and in need of hot and nourishing food to stave off the cold.  Beth, the Upper West Side Mom, has a warming recipe for Fassoulyeh b’Lah’meh (Syrian Cholent).

And while were still talking about Shabbat food, doesn’t every shul have a Kiddush Club?  Mine does, so I blogged about it at Miriyummy.

Restaurants and Cookbook Reviews

Gillian Pollack of BiblioBuffet takes us down under and back in time with In Search of Nineteenth-Century Food.

In Jerusalem?  Hungry?  Batya at me-ander has found The Best Lunch Deal in Jerusalem!

Still in Jerusalem?  Still hungry?  The trials and tribulations that Batya of me-ander goes through to find us An Even Better Salad Deal for a Great Lunch!

Miscellaneous

Okay, so while this doesn’t fall under the issue of kashrut per se, I just couldn’t pass up including this entry from Erin Lenderts from Bachelor’s Degree Online: 40 Beautiful Coffee Table Books for Foodies.

Maybe I should call this the Not Kosher But Interesting Nonetheless category.  In any case, Jennifer Lynch submitted an entry which is good for those of you who keep kosher but like to read about weird, non-kosher restaurants.  Check out 20 Strangest Restaurants Around The World over at TopOnlineColleges.com.

Everything you wanted to know about the food pyramid but couldn’t be bothered to Google it yourself?  You can find the Top 50 Blogs About the Food Pyramid and Macronutrients at ADN to BSN.

So how many of us who regularly read the KCC deep-fry their turkeys for Thanksgiving?  Hmmmm, thought so.  We’re just not in that demographic, are we…  But just in case you ever get the, erm, hankering to try, Susan Howe discusses how Deep-fried turkey fiascos can spoil Thankgiving at Insure.com.

Have a happy holiday full of light!

Here are the previous editions of the Kosher Cooking Carnival:
123456789101112131415161718,192021KCC Meta Carnival22232425262728,293031323334353637383940414243,444546, 47, 4849505152,  53,  54555657, 58, 59 and 60.  Click on the numbers to check them out.  Blog about them and visit the various links.
That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of kosher cooking carnival-kcc using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

There’s A Hole In My Donut

A summer's day in Oslo, you can tell she's cold

Once upon a time, in 1970, my family spent some time in Norway.  There’s not much I remember, I was 7 at the time, but what I do remember was that I got to hang with some cool cousins, I got to say Jeg ikke gjør det oppfatte (I don’t understand) a lot, and I was cold, always cold.  Even in the summer.

You can tell it's summer in Oslo, we're only wearing sweaters

My family of four moved in with my uncle’s family of four.  Eight people in one house, two women sharing one kitchen.  My mother and aunt were in each other’s pots and pans and dinnertime was always a combination of my once Lithuanian now American mother, and my once Hungarian now Norwegian aunt.  We had a few weird combinations.  It was in Oslo that I learned to eat hot dogs with ketchup, which I still love to this day.  It was in Oslo that I learned to eat chunks of bread mixed with sour cream and sprinkled with sugar.  I’ve never seen that combo before, and quite frankly, am happy to never see it again.  And it was in Oslo that I had the most amazing jams, made from the most amazing berries.  They have berries up there that I’ve never seen in the States or in Israel.  I put jam on everything back then, except for hot dogs.

Cousin Rebecca and family in Sweden

My cousin Rebecca, that sweet little bald thing up there in the picture, the cutie on the right, left the frozen fjords of Norway and now lives in the frozen hustle bustle of Sweden.  I haven’t seen her in a while, but we chat on Facebook.  Just today I was complaining about how hot it is here in Israel.  It’s Chanuka, it’s not supposed to be hot on Chanuka.  We’re supposed to be wearing sweaters, eating hot latkes, drinking hot chocolate, and instead I’m trying to stay cool in the hot sunshine while walking to work.  Rebecca said she would trade places with me, she’s drinking her mug of hot tea while staring out into the brisk Swedish weather, with the temps a cozy -15 degrees C.  Yes, that’s minus 15.

So I’m trying to conjure up some memories of Norway to cool me off.  They say foodie memories can be very strong, so I’m making the traditional Chanuka sufganiya, otherwise known as the jelly donut.  Carine Goren, my favorite dessert diva, posted her recipe for sufganiyot on Facebook this morning, and the dough is rising now, ready for a bath of hot oil and then some yummy jam.  The last time we were in Ikea I picked up some Swedish lingonberry jam, and some of that spread on a slice of Rykrisp took my straight back to those white Oslo nights.  I think a little lingonberry jam on my Chanuka sufganiyot is the perfect remedy for a balmy Chanuka.

Jammy Donut Holes

Rising holes

I very rarely make full-blown jelly donuts for Chanuka, they’re a pain to fry, I never manage to get them just right on the outside, just right on the inside, and oy, all that oil!  So I make donuts holes, and we all get to dip them in whatever we like, and the filling becomes a topping.

This is Carine Goren’s recipe for sufganiyot, but she uses a whole kilo of flour to make 30 huge donuts.  I’ve halved the recipe, to make lots of little holes.

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried yeast
  • 2/3 cups milk (I use soy milk), heated to lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • Grated rind of half a lemon
  • canola oil, for deep frying
  • jam for filling
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Place all the ingredients except for the oil, jam and powdered sugar in the mixer fitter with a dough hook.  Mix until the dough is smooth, it should feel like your earlobe, go ahead, give it a pinch.
  2. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  3. When the dough has doubled its bulk punch it down, knead by hand for about two minutes, and then pull off pieces and roll into balls.  The size of the piece should be based on the size of the sufganiya you want.  Golfball sized pieces will give you a full-size sufganiya.  We like to make bite-sized donuts, so our pieces are about a third of a golfball.
  4. Put the balls to rise again on pieces of parchment paper.  Let rise again for about 20 minutes.
  5. In the meantime bring the oil to a low boil in a pan.  I’m not going to tell you how big of a pot and how much oil, since that should be a cooking preference.  Big pots, lots of oil, lots of room for many large donuts.  I use a small saucepan with about 2-3 inches of oil, and fry about 4 or 5 holes at a time.
  6. Carefully lower the balls into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes on each side for the big boys, 1 minute or less for the babies.  Remove with a slotted spoon and let rest on some paper towels to sop up any extra oil.
  7. Fill with the jam and dust with the powdered sugar.  Or do it Miriyummy-style, serving up the plain donut holes with the jam on the side, and dip at will.

Happy Chanuka!  May your holiday be filled with light, and yummy little holes!

Foodie Fridays #5

I spend a lot of time (some may say too much time) reading foodie blogs. They are always good for some entertainment, inspiration and it fills my need for food porn.

Here are some of the posts that have sparked my interest lately…

Risa over at Isramom is hosting the Kislev edition of the Kosher Cooking Carnival.  I totally agree that it’s so weird that we’re now entering the month of Chanuka, with visions of latke parties while it snows outside, yet here in Israel we’re baking in the longest Indian summer on record.  Lots of great postings over at the Carnival, so check them out.

Hadassah of In the Pink is taking a school lunch poll.  In elementary and junior high we ate whatever the cafeteria served up that day, slowly dragging our feet when mystery noodle casserole was served, speeding up on Fridays when we had tuna sandwiches with potato chips, cutting the line for pizza and felafel day.  What did you take to school for lunch?

My favorite Cooking Manager, Hannah, regularly interviews bloggers on a Monday morning (I even got interviewed a few months ago).  This week she spoke with Sara Melamed who blogs Foodbridge.  Sarah actually made melouchia, and all I can say about that is better her than me!

The Nana10 webportal is always full of interesting recipes.  This week I found a recipe for Chicken Patties with Tehina in Silan Sauce.  Silan, for those of you who have yet to taste this ambrosia, is date honey.  I use it instead of bee honey many times, and it’s great with chicken.  This is going to be on my table this Friday night!  The recipe is in Hebrew, so for those of you that lo medabrim hasafa (don’t speak the language), if you really want the recipe, contact me and I’ll translate.

Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

While not a foodie blog per se, Life in Israel has a very interesting post about someone who is trying to sell their leftover cholent on eBay!  Starting bid was $2 and someone eventually bought it for $4!  At the Miriyummy household we never have leftover cholent because we don’t eat cholent.  Or rather, Ju-Boy and progeny don’t eat cholent.  I love the stuff.   Maybe next time I should just buy a portion on eBay?

Baroness Tapuzina paid a visit to the Organic Farmers Market in Tel Aviv.  The market is situated down at Hatahana, the renovated Ottoman train station near Jaffa.  We’ve been going more and more organic at home, but for the time being have bought our produce and dairy products at the new “Green” section of our Supersol Deal.  But Michelle’s pictures are just so tempting, we just might give up a precious Friday morning and stop by.

And now for a subject close to my heart:  pizza, and New York pizza specifically.  Serious Eats takes their pizza, well, seriously.  I always enjoy their pizza articles, and was not disappointed with this one either.  I always try to make a good slice at home, but until I invest in a real pizza oven with a pizza stone, I’m going to have to try to settle for the Miriyummy version (coming soon to a blog near you).  But one very interesting thing I learned is that you get a much better dough if you make it up in the food processor.  I’ve been touting the wonders of my Kenwood Major, and what I really should be doing is bugging Ju-Boy and the kids for a really amazing food processor to replace the pitiful one I’ve been working with now.  Hey, it’s my birthday this Wednesday, help me nag Ju-boy!  Just comment on this blog and maybe it will sway the unswayable (he’s bought me perfume, again, I just know it…).

You know how you can tell Chanuka is on the way?  When the sufganiyot (jelly donuts) start showing up in the bakeries and supermarkets.  Just as the Christmas decorations start hitting the stores in the States sometime after Halloween, the jam-filled calorie bombs are showing up earlier and earlier.  I think I saw the first ones right after Rosh Hashana.  Now Roladin, that mmmmmmmmm bakery, has the 2010 parade of donuts up on their website.  Check them out, you can’t gain weight just by looking (or can you?).

Shabbat Shalom!

 

 

 

 

 

Quick and Kosher — And The Winner Is…

 

Didi holds up the entries in the now-famous Tupperware bowl
Didi then drops the bowl on the floor and Miriyummy has to pick it all up…
Shy-Boy chooses the entry, and the winner is…
Congratulations faith/emuna!

Please send me an email via the Contact Miriyummy widget on the right-hand side of the blog, give me your name and address and I’ll have Feldheim send you a copy!

 

A Miriyummy Cookbook Review — Quick and Kosher: Meals in Minutes

As an avid cookbook collector I can often find myself identifying with the author.  After all, even if the cookbook is full of dishes I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) cook for religious, dietary or various ick factors, I still buy the book because something appeals to me.  I feel like Carine Goren is a long-lost sister, can so get into the geekiness of Alton Brown, and I want to be Nigella Lawson when I grow up.  So when the nice people at Feldheim Publishers asked if I would review a book called Quick & Kosher: Meals in Mintues I thought, hey, that’s me!

Well, it’s not.

This is the second book by Jamie Geller.  Her first book, Quick & Kosher: From the Bride Who Knew Nothing, would never have been a book I would buy.  When I got married (the first time) I was a twenty year old bride who knew everything.  At least, I thought I did.  I certainly did know my way around the kitchen (thanks, Ma).  I was putting meals on the table even in my single days.  I even helped cook for my own sheva brachot, hosted by The X’s clueless single friends.

Jamie Geller, on the other hand, claims that when she first got married she prayed under the chuppah,

“that even though I had never cooked anything in my life, somehow I would be transformed into a savvy balabusta.”

This second book comes five years and four children later, where Jamie once again has to learn how to put dinner on the table, once more

“magically cook up something impressive, despite the fact that the kids are clutching your skirt, scraps of lunch are still on the table and chocolate syrup is dripping from the counter onto the floor.”

There’s just no way I can identify with Jamie, this book is so not for me.

Well, it is.

First, this is a big book!  Big, burgeoning with recipes, and beautiful!  Kudos to the food stylists and photographers, who elevate this from cookbook to food porn strata.

Almost every single recipe is one I would want to try.  Almost, I said.  Remember, there’s still the ick factor I was talking about earlier.  So while each recipe is kosher, and takes either 20, 40 or 60 minutes to make, you won’t find me rolling up my sleeves to make Chicken Fiesta (there’s a mango in there, a WHOLE mango), or Lamb Meatballs in Pita.  The dreaded lamb has an avocado relish, a double ick factor for me.

But there are so many other recipes I would want to try, among them:

  • Red Leaf Lettuce with Dried Cranberries and Pecans
  • Greek Style Chicken with Lemon and Dill
  • Thai Chicken Soup
  • Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Basil
  • Cranberry Walnut Salmon on a Bed of Spinach
  • Carrot Cupcakes

Cranberry Walnut Salmon On A Bed Of Spinach

And not only are there interesting recipes in here, Jamie has them in menu format, so if you are really going headless chicken on the way home from work or gymboree, or, like me, are having a series of brain farts (I did not just say that, did I?) and can’t think of what to serve with what, Jamie has solved your problem for you down to the bottle of wine.

So my lesson learned here?  Never judge a book by its publicity.  Jamie writes,

“…unless you join the circus, nobody teaches you how to juggle…”

Jamie will get you there if you give her half a chance.

Irresistible Forces

My mother at one of her dinner parties, Goteborg, Sweden

One of the things I love about Judaism, and being Jewish, is the subjectivity of it all.  Yes, there are rules that say do this, don’t do that, but there is also a lot that is open to interpretation.  How you go about your relationship with God, your relationship with your family and your community is left up to you.  Within the circle you have chosen to live in, your religion is your own.

Growing up in my parents’ house I was shown both side of the religious coin.  My father grew up ultra-Orthodox, he had the requisite peyot (side curls), the right intonation when he prayed and he was a rabbi who taught small children to love the Torah.  He lived in a small village in Hungary where everyone knew everyone else.  And then his entire world was ripped apart.  He lost his family, he lost his community, his livelihood, and as the Holocaust did to so many, he lost his religion.  He took off his hat, cut off his peyot, and lost his faith in God.

My mother with my grandfather and father

My mother, on the other hand, grew up in a home that didn’t have the relationship with God that my father had.  My mother grew up in a secular household, where there was a Jewish tradition, but as they say, it was more of a guideline than a rule.  She lived in Vilna, the capital of Lithuania and the center of Litvak culture, a cosmopolitan town.  And then her entire world was ripped apart.  She lost her family, she lost her childhood, and she lost her trust in everyone, especially in God.  The Nazis did such horrible things to my mother, that when she was liberated she was malnourished, ill, and would never be able to have children.

She and my father were both refugees in Sweden.  How they met has become family legend.  My mother was keeping house for my grandfather, a furrier.  My father was living with his 4 surviving brothers and sisters and they  decided to get my Aunt Toby a fur collar for her coat for her birthday.  My father was the one who stopped by my grandfather’s house to place the order.  He saw a picture of my mother on the hall table, and my grandfather couldn’t help but boast of his daughter who took care of him and cooked him the most amazing meals.  My father was told to come back a week later… which he did… at dinner time.  My parents were married a year later.

For 13 years they took the ashes of their lives and rebuilt them into a life together.  They immigrated to the States in the late 50s, and then, one day, I arrived in their lives.  The adoption of a daughter changed them forever, and my father, who had lost his faith, found it again.  But my mother, who didn’t start out on the same page religiously, was not ready to follow.  My father let her be, and she let him be.  I grew up in a home where religion, as well as secularism, was not only tolerated, but respected.  My mother kept a kosher home for my father, and he let her live her life in the way she felt she needed to live.  I have very interesting memories of my mother making the blessing on the Shabbat candles, and then lighting her cigarette off those very candles.  There are those who will be shocked at this, but in our house, that was how we all got along.

What happens when two irresistible forces meet? The forces can’t resist each other, so they combine into one irresistible force.  This irresistible force became our family, and the interpretation of religion in the end always centered around the table.  My mom was the most amazing cook, and no matter how you felt about God, Judaism or life in general, her dinners took you to heaven.

This past Shabbat was the first yahrzeit (anniversary) of my mother’s death.  I’ve written before how I’ve subjectively taken this year of mourning to be meaningful to me.  My father died eight years ago and every year on his yahrzeit I celebrate his life with a Hungarian dinner.  This year, the first yahrzeit for my mother, I cooked a dinner in her honor which I hope would make her proud of me.  We had good friends over for dinner on Friday night, my daughters Tinky and Didi were there, and Ju-Boy gave a wonderful speech about a woman he never met in life, but knew so well through the love of cooking she passed on to me.  He mentioned how the irresistible force of my father’s faith and the irresistible force of my mother’s lack of belief met together to create an irresistible force of respect.  My father taught me to love books, my mother taught me to love cooking (and feeding), but together they taught me to respect your partner, your children, your family and your fellow travelers in life.

Kasha Varnishkes


My mother served this at least every other Shabbat.  The wonderful nutty flavor of kasha (buckwheat) will always bring me back instantly to the warm Friday night table, candles lit, my father making kiddush on annoyingly sweet wine and my mother hovering over the stove, ready to serve up her amazing food.  I suppose you could say she found her religion in the kitchen.

  • 2-3 tablespoons oil (my mother used shmaltz)
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 cup kasha
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups chicken soup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces (250 grams) bow tie pasta, cooked
  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot.  Add the onions and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until brown and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.  Do not clean the pot.
  2. Combine the kasha with the beaten egg until completely coated.  Heat the pot over medium heat and add the egg-coated kasha.  Keep stirring to keep the grains separate and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the kasha becomes dry and toasted.
  3. Add the chicken soup and stir.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.  Lower the heat and cook for about 10-15 minutes  until the kasha is tender and all the water has been absorbed.  Stir with a fork to fluff.
  4. Add the onions and mix well.  Add in the cooked bow ties.  Toss well and serve.

~*~*~*~*~

One of my subjective interpretations of Judaism was how I went about my year of mourning.  One of the traditions I took upon myself was not to cut my hair for the whole year.  When my mother died my hair really needed cutting to start with, so you can imagine how long it grew.  Tonight my daughter Tinky cut my hair.  She’s been studying hairdressing at one of the most prestigious schools in Israel, and since I’ve been paying the tuition I suppose you could say this was my most expensive haircut ever…

 

Foodie Fridays #2

I spend a lot of time (some may say too much time) reading foodie blogs. They are always good for some entertainment, inspiration and it fills my need for food porn.

Here are some of the posts that have sparked my interest lately…

Mrs. S. over at Our Shiputzim has the same problems I do on short winter Fridays, I wonder if she also goes headless chicken.  Still, she’s posted a sweet little recipe (pun intended) for Cinnamon Marble Cake.  I also agree the Rich Whip is the work of the devil, but a very necessary evil sometimes.

The following falls under the Oh Em Gee school of recipe:  even though the blog entry is from this past March, I was trawling around a new blog (new to me, that is) called The Wicked Noodle and found a two-ingredient recipe for Nutella Mousse.  I gained a kilo just looking at the picture!  Those of my readers who know from Recipezaar just how I like to eat my Nutella should blush, because the most X-rated thoughts are now going through my head.  Ju-Boy, be afraid, be very afraid.

We have a double agent in our midst!  Mimi, who normally hangs out in her Israeli Kitchen, is doing double-duty over at Green Prophet with her Lemon Scented Vegetarian Couscous.  I can just smell it from here!

I told you she was a double agent!  At Israeli Kitchen Mimi is posting her 10 Life-Saving Recipes, part of the Jamie Oliver TED Prize program.

Want to see some total food porn?  Check out Jan’s Dark Chocolate and Orange Cheesecake with Grand Marnier Liqueur over at A Glug Of Oil.  It uses Brit-centric ingredients like Hob Nob biscuits and some Terry’s Chocolate Orange, but even if you don’t have a local Sainsbury’s this is worth a shot in any country, just substitute local ingredients.

HRH Baroness Tapuzina is back with Part Two of her endless search for the best ice cream parlor in Israel.  The dedication of that woman is admirable!  She does us all a great servie!

How can you not love a blog that asks you to Nosh With Me?  Hilary posts the perfect recipe for those days, when you need something salty and sweet at the same time.  Sweet and Salty Brownies need a sugar thermometer, but you know that nothing is going to stand in the way when it’s that time!

Brownie bottom, semi-sweet chocolate mousse, then a layer of milk chocolate mousse, then a layer of white chocolate mousse, all covered in dripping, yummy chocolate ganache — this is something Carine Goren has come up with to torture me.  It satisfies every single chocolate craving you might have.  The recipe is in Hebrew.

Have you noticed that most of the recipes in the links posted here are desserts?  And most of those chocolate desserts?  I have a one track mind…

Wishing you all a wonderful Shabbat!

 

Headless Chicken

Ju-Boy's End of Summer Party -- 2009

 

I gave up many thing when I married Ju-Boy.  I gave up the Jerusalem mountain air.  I gave up quiet streets and living in a town with no stoplights.  I gave up a certain amount of my independence.  What I feel the most, however, is that I gave up my friends.  Okay, they are still my friends, but because I now live a one-hour’s drive away (long distance in the Israeli psyche), I don’t get to see them often, or at all.  I don’t get to bump into them at the grocery store, wave to them as I take my evening power-walk (oh yeah, I also gave up power-walks), I don’t get to exchange gossip outside the synagogue, and I don’t get to just hang out with them, either at the Shabbat table or for a coffee evening during the week.  I miss them. 

I gained many things when I married Ju-Boy.  I gained a house with stairs (my first time living in a house, not an apartment).  I gained living in a somewhat cosmopolitan city with a main street full of fun shops.  I gained the Cooking Channel (the X said we couldn’t afford it because we were already paying the cable company a ton for all his sports channels).  I gained the use of Ju-Boy’s amazing turbo oven, and I gained his friends. 

When we spoke about them I used to call them “your friends,” and he would always correct me and say “our friends.”  But, tachles,  they started out as his friends, and I then began to refer to them as my friends-in-law.  Regardless of the fact that I even knew some of them longer than he did, they were his friends.  But little by little, I have taken over.  Shar calls on the phone and Ju-Boy is ready for a chat, but she wants to speak to me!  Yummy Mummy calls my cell phone for the Shabbat meal invitation.  Most of them read my blog, but how many of them even know he has one, huh? 

John shows off his hands-free drinking technique

 

I like his, erm, my friends, they’re good people, and they make sure that with all the hustle and bustle of busy families, smachot, grandchildren and life in general, that we still get together for a laugh.  We make sheva brachot celebrations together for our children, we try to go away together for a Shabbat here or there, we drink Marc’s whisky and eat Yummy Mummy’s cake creations.  We’re in and out of each other’s houses on Shabbatot for meals, and a few times a year we get together for holiday potlucks. 

It was the annual Simchat Torah potluck that made me go headless chicken.  I had just started a new job and needed to put in some time on erev chag.  Shar was hosting the event at her house (at least 50 people were expected) and Ju-Boy had volunteered four dishes — challah, fish pie, couscous salad and chocolate babka.  Isn’t he the most altruistic husband you can imagine?  Four dishes, when most people were making only two.  But both of us cook, so that makes sense.  What doesn’t make sense is that all four dishes are MY specialities.  Ju-Boy helped by giving a running critique of my fish-skinning skills.  Brave boy, I was holding a sharp knife… 

So it’s erev chag and I have four dishes to make in two hours. I didn’t get a chance to make any the night before because we were out late (visiting one of my, erm, our friends from my Jerusalem days), and that morning my boss decided he needed just one more email, just one more thing, just one more… aaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh!   I got home from the office, saw the mess in the kitchen, the mayhem in the rest of the house, and that’s when I went headless chicken! 

like a headless chicken  (British) also like a chicken with its head cut off (American

if you do something like a headless chicken, you do it very quickly and without thinking carefully about what you are doing (usually in continuous tenses) I’ve got so much work to do – I’ve been running around like a headless chicken all week. He was racing around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to do the work of two people.
Definition thanks to The Free Dictionary
One of the great miracles of Judaism is that no matter how early or how late the holiday or Shabbat starts, you are always ready at the last minute.  Amazingly, everything got done on time, and when I lit the candles and ushered in the final holiday of the season, the house was relatively calm, I was relatively calm, and even the floors were clean.  That night it was just the family for dinner, the quiet before the storm.

 

We arrived at Shar’s house the next day after all the singing and dancing  and boozing lechayims at shul.  Since we probably live the furthest away, we were the last to arrive.  The house was full of friends, their kids, their kids’ kids, invited guests and Shar and Perrys dog Chief looking for attention (their cat was smart and found a hiding place).  And yet Shar was amazingly calm.  Whether she had started on the whisky early, or had swallowed a bottle of Rescue Remedy, I wanted some of that!  I think it was just her natural personality, Serene Shar and Peaceful Perry, surrounded by good friends, safe in the knowledge that we all pull together to celebrate en masse.  The next time I go headless chicken I need to channel me some of that…
Couscous Salad

I first tasted this at my (our) friend Shosh’s house back when I lived in Givat Ze’ev.  I politely took a portion, then seconds, then thirds, this was yummy!  I got the recipe, and over the years it’s evolved to what it is today.
  • 350 grams couscous (1 package)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soup mix
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 5 carrots, peeled and quartered
  • 2 teaspoons grated gingerroot (or to taste, I use almost a tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  1. Pour the couscous into a large bowl.  Mix in the soup powder and olive oil, stir well to combine (I use a fork).  Add the boiling water and let soak until all the water has been absorbed.
  2. Place the carrots and parsley in a food processor (steel knife).  Zest the lemon with a Microplane and add it to the food processor.  Process until a minced finely.  Add the juice from the lemon, olive oil, ginger and pepper.  Process until a paste has been formed.
  3. Add paste to the ready couscous and mix together.
  4. Add the chickpeas and mix together.
  5. Turn into a salad bowl and chill for at least two hours.

This is a great dish to serve on Saturday lunch, or to take to a potluck with 50 of your best and newest friends. 

My Favorite Shiksa

Dree the Divine

Nature versus nurture, it’s a crap shoot, really.  How much of the person you are today is because of DNA?  How much of your personality is due to your upbringing?  Case in point:  my brother, Skeezix.

Skeezix in the sailor suit, self-fulfilling prophecy?

Skeezix is three years younger than I am.  In spite of my efforts to destroy this interloper into my happy childhood, he’s managed to survive to become one of the defenders of truth, justice and the American way.  Skeezix is a submariner in the US navy, stationed in Pearl Harbor.  We were both raised in the same home, both smothered in chicken soup, sweet kiddush wine and the paranoia of  Holocaust survivor parents.  And yet, we have ended up on opposite sides of the Jewish spectrum.

I am what you would call agressively Jewish.  I am Torah observant, I keep kosher, my week revolves around the spindle of Shabbat.  Judaism for me is not just a religion, it’s a way of life.

Not so for Skeezix.  In his early teens he began to buck against my parents and our way of life.  Today is he a fervent athiest.  He revels in letting me know how delicious pork is, that he has no clue when Yom Kippur is, and it’s really pissing me off that he inherited our mother’s cast iron frying pan and he’s using it to fry up his shark steaks and bacon strips.


Defender of truth, justice and the right to treif up a frying pan

One of the things that drove my parents to despair is that Skeezix married Dree, the Shiksa.  My father sadly shook his head and oy-yoy-yoyed into his Gemara.  My mother threatend to put her head in the oven.  Dree is the epitome of Shiksahood.  Tattooed, pierced in places you can only begin to imagine, this bacon-eating, Santa-loving transplanted surfer girl was every thing my parents dreaded Skeezix would bring home.

I have to admit, I was also prejudiced, at first.  My brother’s description of their wedding included the line, “Dree’s dad got so drunk we had to carry him out to his truck.”  No offense, my darling Dree, but those are words never really heard at an Orthodox Jewish wedding.

Skeezix and I planned a joint trip back to New York, me bringing my two youngest from Israel, Skeezix bringing the Shiksa and her daughter (from her first marriage) from Hawaii.  I was planning on being gracious, but not overly friendly.  I was sure this family reunion was going to set off an Armageddon in the Bronx (as if that didn’t happen all the time).

Dree and Skeezix

I planned on being gracious, and yet again, Miriyummy plans and God laughs.  What I discovered was that Dree was one cool Shiksa.  She’s funny, she’s smart and she refuses to take any crap from  the anti-religious Skeezix.  She’s the one who pushed my brother to light Chanuka candles in my father’s house.  She’s the one who forced him to drink kosher wine at my mother’s Shabbat table.  She made sure the chocolate dreidls they brought my kids from Hawaii were kosher.  She dragged my brother out of the apartmet to smoke in the stairwell so as not to offend my father on Shabbat.  As much as I wanted to not like Dree, I grew to love her.  She respected my parents’ way of life, and made my rebellious brother respect them as well.

Dree and Skeezix are unfortunately separated now, though still married.  I never thought I would say this, but I hope my stupid brother comes to his senses and realizes what a treasure he has in my favorite shiska.  Listen, if your family has to have a token shiksa, let it be one  as cool as Dree.  Aloha au ia ‘oe kuaana!

Chocolate Babka

This is a Carine Goren recipe.  The first time I posted some pictures on Facebook of a chocolate babka I made I got a comment from Dree that she loves that stuff.  So here’s a yeast cake that transcends all religions and brings family together, even when they are 12 time zones apart.

For the dough:
1/2 kilo (3 1/2 cups) flour
1 tablespoon yeast
100 grams (1/2 cup) butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (300 ml) milk
4 eggs (at room temperature)
scant half cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
100 grams (1/2 cup) very soft butter
1 beaten egg, for brushing on top

To make the dough, place the flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand-mixer.  Attach the dough hook.  Melt the butter together and then add the cold milk to the melted butter so the liquid is just lukewarm.  Add th butter/milk mixture to the flour/yeast mixture, together with the eggs and sugar.  Mix at low to medium speed until the dough pulls together, and then add the salt.  Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and just a tiny bit sticky.  Cover and let rise until doubled.

Because the dough is sticky, it’s perhaps best to let it rise halfway in a warm place in your kitchen and then to let it finish rising in your fridger for another two hours.  This way the dough cools down and will be less sticky to work with.  You could also prepare the dough a day before, or let it rise in the fridge overnight.

To make the filling, mix together the sugar, cocoa and the cinnamon in a small bowl, and set aside.

Yes, these are supposed to be rectangular. What are you going to do, call the Babka Police?

Take out the doubled dough and punch it down.  Divide it into two separate (yet equal) pieces.  Roll each piece out into a rectangle about 1/2 centimeter (a little over an inch) thick.  I can never get the perfect rectangles you see on TV, but it really doesn’t matter, because when you roll the whole thing up in the end you can’t tell anyway.

I’ve impressed myself here

Spread the butter over the two rectangles (polygons, blobs) and then try to sprinkle the filling evenly over the buttered dough.  Roll each blob up from the long end, then twist the two rolls together and place in a buttered (or parchment-papered) round cake pan.  Brush with the beaten egg.  When I first made this recipe, as you can probably see in the photo, I didn’t read all the instructions, because, you know, I’m such a hotshot cook.  So I mixed the butter with the sugar, cocoa and cinnamon instead.  It was still spreadable, still edible, but not as good as doing it according to Carine’s instructions.  Hubris bites.

To rise or not to rise?

At this point you should have remembered to preheat your oven to 170 degrees C (340 degrees F).  Place the rolled babka into the oven, there’s no need for an additional rise.  Bake for about 50 minutes until the babka is all brown and yummy and inviting.

The reason you don’t have one more rise before placing the babka in the oven is because that’s the way most of our grandmothers did it.  If you really, really feel you need to let it rise just a bit one more time, go ahead, the Babka Police aren’t going to arrest you.

Mmmmm, babka! Who wants to come over for some coffee and cake?

Unstuffed Sukkah

Sukkah Lights in the City of David

Some people are amazed at the lengths (and depths) I will go to in the kitchen to put a meal on the table, or tempt you with something sweet to have with your coffee.  Yes, we do have home-baked challah every Shabbat (the last time store-bought challot graced our Shabbat table was… um… I can’t remember… 2003?).  Yes, I will patchkeh around with the pastry bag and make a legion of profiteroles.  Yes, I will concoct my own liqueurs potent enough to knock you out after a tiny shnapps glassful.  Yes, I have been known to make my own jams, youghurt, chutneys, even marzipan.  But I draw the line somewhere.  I’m not a fan of rolling out pastry dough (I’ll do it, but grumble throughout).  Unless you count krepach (Jewish wontons), I’ve never made my own pasta.  And I hate, hate, HATE stuffing cabbage.  Back in the late 90s I came across a recipe for Unstuffed Cabbage and my life changed forever.  I made it every Sukkot, when it’s traditional to eat stuffed cabbage.  I made it all throughout the winter, and well into the summer.  It was yummy and easy and a hit.


Not Ju-boy's stuffed cabbage, but an exact replica

Then I married Ju-Boy.  He thinks Unstuffed Cabbage is an abomination.  He had it once at my house while we were dating, and decided to quote Rabbi Meir Kahane and say “Never again!”  He makes his own stuffed cabbage and that is the only kind allowed in his sukkah.  Why do we eat stuffed cabbage on Sukkot in the first place.  I Googled and Googled, but it seems I’m handier in the kitchen then on Google, since all I could find was a bunch of websites explaining that one eats stuffed foods on Sukkot, but not why.   And then I came upon Interesting Thing of the Day.  It took a non-Jew to give me an explanation I can identify with:

Although there are no explicit rules as to what foods must be eaten during Sukkot, stuffed foods are extremely common. These may include stuffed peppers, eggplants, or cabbage, stuffed fruits and pastries, knishes, kreplach, main-dish pies, or even ravioli. Though no one knows for sure, there are several theories as to how the metaphor of stuffing came to be associated with Sukkot. Some commentators liken the stuffed foods to miniature cornucopia, representing a bountiful harvest. The cornucopia originated in Greek mythology, so the terminology is not historically accurate, but the symbolism may nevertheless be correct. In terms of the harvest that Sukkot celebrates, produce such as peppers and eggplant will have been gathered recently, and Mark suggested that stuffing them with the other late-summer vegetables may represent the completion of the harvest. Sukkot also includes the notion of welcoming guests (both living and historical heroes) into the sukkah, thus “stuffing” them into a wrapper of sorts.

I like this explanation a lot.  And it goes with my Jewish mother philosophy of life of stuffing people with food.

But for those of you who don’t agree with this philosophy, or don’t like patchkeying around in the kitchen, or just like a quick dish to put together for the holiday, I bring you…

Unstuffed Cabbage

  • 750 ml (3 cups)  ketchup
  • 1 liter (4 cups) ginger ale
  • 1 whole medium  cabbage, very coarsely shredded
  • 1 kilo (2 pounds)  ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs or matza meal
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  1. Put the ketchup and ginger ale into a large soup pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the cabbage and lower the heat so it simmers.
  3. In a large bowl mix the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Wet hands and form large balls, place gently into the simmering cabbage in the pot.
  5. Bring to the boil again, turn heat down, cover and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Serve with something to mop up the juices (like my challah, hint, hint).

Photo courtesy of Chia from Recipezaar

One of the advantages to living in a blended family is that we combined not only our families, kitchens, pets and furniture, we also combined our sukkot.  Ju-Boy puts together both frames not to create one giant sukka, but a two-roomed suite, complete with dining area and separate bedroom.  I’d like to show you a picture, but can’t.  We never photographed our sukka.  How remiss of us.  So instead, I’ve garnered a few funky pix of sukkot that might entertain.  A few are from my album on Facebook, Only in Israel, and when you see them, you’ll see why.  Enjoy…

Sukka on a yacht, courtesy of Doubletapper's blog

Gotta have your Whopper in the sukkah

Latte in the sukkah -- photo courtesy of Elie Lederman

Lulav? Check. Etrog? Check? Hadas and arava? Check? Automatic weapons? Of course!

Sukkot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- any piece of open sky will do...

And finally…

I wish our sukkah got built that quickly and efficiently!  And look at the size of the dining room table — I want one!


Wishing you all a Happy Sukkot!

!חג סוכות שמח


<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: