Yes, it’s that time of year again — glowing lights, fried foods and sweet little presents. To help us get in the mood here is the latest collection of Chanuka videos going viral this year. Who’s your favorite? Those sweet-toned YU boys in the Maccabeats, or the cool kids in the Fountainheads ? Or maybe you have another favorite? Check them out and let me know.
It’s been a slow summer for me. I don’t do well in the humid heat of Ra’anana. I feel sluggish, ponderous, as sticky as thick honey. All that, and a bout of pneumonia last week, has left me full of ennui and it hasn’t helped the blogging much either. I haven’t been in much of a mood to cook, or to write about cooking. Pity this hasn’t extended to my appetite, that’s been as healthy as ever, in the most unhealthy of ways.
It took my friend Abby to get me out of my funk. Well, not totally out of it, just to nudge me a bit. She’s been asking me about Rosh Hashana menus. I haven’t really thought about the holiday yet, I mean, it’s not Rosh Hashana until next year…
Okay, the house is clean, you are exhausted, the table is set, the guests are hungry, what are you going to serve?
I have a confession to make. I am an addict. Not just a food addict, this one is a much more serious addiction, and in order to get my drug into my system I need to use needles. Family and friends (and bank managers) have tried intervention, but to no avail. I need to use those needles on a daily basis.
You see that bag up there in the picture. I made it myself. I couldn’t help myself. One day I wandered into The Gourmet Yarn Shop and Orly, the owner, became my pusher. She enables me. She takes my money and I walk out of there with my stash. My needles. I need to get that stuff into my system.
This bag has magical properties, it’s a Mary Poppins bag, but it works in the opposite manner. Instead of all sorts of amazing objects coming out of it, things go in there and never come out. I buy a few things at the supermarket, put them in my bag (to save the planet and not use the plastic stuff), and they are never seen again. Knitting needles, crochet hooks, notebooks, chocolate bars, stuff goes in there and never comes out. I’ll bet Jimmy Hoffa is in there…
The other day I downloaded and printed out a recipe for what looked like a really great cream soup. It would be perfect to serve right before Tisha B’Av, full of carbs and filling and just right to have before a 25 hour fast. My mistake? I put it in my bag, never to be seen again. This is the Little Shop of Horrors bag (feed me, Miriyummy, feed me all night long).
What to do? We have a fast coming up and need to load up on the carbs. Ju-Boy claims that if you give him half an onion, he can have supper ready in half an hour. I’m the same way with soup, just as long as I have my handy dandy immersion blender, I can make soup out of anything.
Zhuzzed Potato and Leek Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, unpeeled and well scrubbed
- 1 large zucchini, unpeeled and well scrubbed
- 1 medium leek (including the green)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 packed cup parsley (just the leaves, no stems)
- 1 liter (4 cups) water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Add the onions and start sautéeing until golden.
- Cut up the potatoes into smallish dice and add them to the pan, let them get some good color as well. Chop up the zucchini and the leek, toss them into the pan, keep sautéeing. Do the same with the garlic, but throw them in whole. Now add the parsley and give it one final stir.
- Add the water, bring it to the boil, turn the heat down, cover the pot, and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Now comes the fun part. Get out your immersion blender. Take the pot off the flame, stick your stick in the soup, and start zhuzzing. You don’t know what zhuzz means? Neither does dictionary.com. But it’s simple onomatopoeia, you just stick your stick in the soup, and start zhuzzing. What is so difficult about this? Need a picture?
- Add the brown sugar, the salt and freshly ground black pepper and zhuzz one more time. If you want to add some soup powder, I won’t tell anyone you did.
I served this soup up with a drizzle of cream, and then added a handful of grated cheddar cheese, which then totally obscured the cream in the picture, so we got the flavor and calories without the visual enjoyment.
The soup heats up well in the microwave. You could take some to work with you and it would taste even better. If I tried it, however, it would probably just get lost in my bag.
Some women have a thing for tall men. Others have a thing for men with curly hair. And then there are those women who go for muscles. Visual stimuli, works for some, but not for me. For me the attraction is aural.
If you’re having trouble figuring that one out, or keeping your mind out of the sewer, look it up.
Okay, back to my aural fixation… I have a thing for English accents. It’s an illness, really. It all started in the 7th grade, when Miriam Greenblum beckoned me into her bedroom and said, “You have to listen to one of my sister’s records, it’s so cool!” The record was The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, and at that point my life changed forever. I fell in love first with their music, then with them (predominantly George Harrison), and later on, when I saw their movies, with their accents. I didn’t realize that they had working class Liverpudlian accents, I just loved listening to them talk. I started watching any BBC production I could on public television. Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, The Good Life, To The Manor Born, as long as they were speaking with that accent, I mopped it up.
The First Husband was a Brit. Still is, actually. 21 years of listening to him say ” ‘ello, luv,” well, let’s just say I didn’t divorce him because of his Cockney accent. And then there’s Ju-boy, a/k/a The Last Husband. Also a Brit. He’s got a yummy accent, London with a touch of country. Everything that comes out of his mouth sounds golden (to my fetished ears), even when he yells, “Oh Miriyummy, my sweet, my cherub, where the @#*! have you hidden my slippers?”
But man plans, God laughs. While I ooohed and aaaahed over his accent, he did have this habit of correcting my pronunciation. When I would ask him if he wanted some tomato in his salad, he would not answer yes or no, but would say tomahto. He uses a tis-you. He keeps to a she-jew-al. It’s a tiny bit irritating, or, as he would say, it gets up my nose. But still, I love to listen to him, even when he rolls his eyes when I’d ask him if he wanted a banana (he’d say no, he didn’t, he wanted a ba-naaaaah-na). Finally, I confronted him. “Do you want me to sound like Madonna after she moved to England? Do you want me to tawk to you in my Bronx accent? Yo! Ju-boy! Ya wanna tomahto? Would you care for a spot of cawfee?” He got the point. And we continue to live happily ever after, for the moment.
Oddly enough, in spite of the Gershwin lyrics, the Brits also say potayto. Does it matter? I’m getting hungry discussing this. Which leads us to part of what’s for supper tonight, Golden Herbed Potato Wedges. You can find the recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Israeli Kitchen. Full of wonderful recipes, this blog is always a source of mealtime inspiration.