Blog Archives

Man Plans God Laughs

How many ways can you spell chicken?

If it can go wrong, it will.

Take the picture above, for example.  I was out with a bunch of hungry bloggers one evening and this was on the menu at the restaurant.  Since my friend Toby has a blog featuring jewels such as this one, I snapped a pic on my phone and sent it to her.  Now that I needed the picture for my own blog post, I couldn’t find it.  Luckily, I just hopped over to Toby’s blog and snatched it back.

I wish all of my life could be this easy.  But “man plans, God laughs” seems to be the theme song of my life.  Take last Friday night for example…

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Chatting with Miriyummy: Varda Epstein

Meet Varda Epstein.  Varda and I are landsmen.  That means our families come from the same area in Eastern Europe.  In fact, we share a cousin, Judy, who is the keeper of my family tree.  Varda and I met on the Internet, in the Israelfood group.  We email each other back and forth, yatter on Facebook and have even met once for breakfast. The two of us have a lot in common, a love of food, a love of family and a love of playing Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook.  It’s a family addiction, apparently.

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Isn’t It Romantic?

This Friday Ju-Boy and I are celebrating having survived six years shackled to each other in matrimony. 

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A Boy Called Sous

It’s Friday morning and I’m puttering around in the kitchen starting to cook for Shabbat.  Ju-Boy is off talking to God, Chip is snoring away after a late night out.  Didi would love to be snuggled deep in bed after a late night out, but she’s off early for her National Service gig.  I’ve got the kitchen all to myself, Barry White is on the stereo (you all should know, Barry is excellent for cooking, while The Boss is the best music for cleaning), when I hear a noise on the stairs.  Shy-Boy, despite the fact that he went to bed late last night after a marathon of X-Boxing, shuffles into the kitchen, helps himself to a bowl a cereal and utters the magic words, “Can I help?”

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Cherry Pai — As I Sit By The River

Once upon a time, not that long ago, but long ago enough that it happened in Chapter One, I was in the mall one evening and there was some kind of a New Age fair being held in the middle.  There was a woman sitting at a table with a pile of Tarot cards and a few pretty pebbles, and she told me that if I would cross her palm with silver (or a 20 shekel note) she would read mine (palm, not the money).  I’m not even sure if I believe in palm readings, but, why not?  I sat down and she took my hand in hers.

“You are going to have many children,” she told me.

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Kosher Cooking Carnival — The VeNahafoch Hu Edition

Welcome to the Adar II 5771 issue of the Kosher Cooking Carnival, the Purim edition, where you can party like it’s 3338 (or 423 BCE)!  And just as Haman’s edict against the Jews was turned upside down (venahafoch hu), so is this blog post!  From this point onward, the Kosher Cooking Carnival will be

so start from the bottom, and enjoy…

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Friday Night Lights

I absolutely love Friday night!  Friday morning, that’s okay, too.  Friday afternoon, not so much.

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No Awful Offal

I grew up in an Eastern European household with the Yiddish flowing like Manischewitz wine, the wine flowing over our kiddush cups every Shabbat, and every Shabbat flowing with chicken soup with matzah balls and my mother’s gehakteh leber.

I loved my mother’s gehakteh leber (that’s chopped liver to those of you (most of you) who didn’t grow up speaking Yiddish).  She made it in a large wooden bowl with a double-bladed chopper called a hakmesser.  The sound of her chopping the liver and hard boiled eggs greeted me every Friday when I came home from school, along with the smell of onions slowly caramelizing in shmaltz.  On Friday night we would start every meal with challah and gehakteh leber, topped with crunchy gribenes (chicken crackling).  It was a delicious heart attack waiting to happen.  My father actually had four of those heart attacks, eventually dying of complications due to quadruple bypass surgery, but I’m sure that if he could, he would tell you that it was worth it, just to have some of my mother’s wonderful chopped liver.  It was, as he often said, geshmak!

Offal Hater

Over the years I’ve tried to replicate my mother’s amazing recipe.  I’ve come close, but it always eludes me.  Perhaps nothings tastes as wonderful as a memory.  Perhaps it’s the enthusiasm of the eaters, or rather, the lack of.  Not a single member of my family’s joy of liver comes close to mine, or my father’s.  A few friends have loved it, the X tolerated it and the kids won’t go near it.  Ju-Boy can be counted among those who are not fans, but I’m not insulted, since he won’t eat liver or any kind of offal, in any form.  It’s not like he’s cheating on me with someone else’s chopped liver, phew!

He does, however, like my vegetarian paté.  It’s almost as labor-intensive as the original, almost, but not quite.  With no liver to kasher and chop, the only real work is the caramelizing of the onions and the cleaning up of the food processor afterwards.  No wooden bowl and hakmesser to give it that authentic Eastern European je ne sais quoi, or as they say in Yiddish, epes geshmak!

 

Liver Lover and Offal Avoider

Miriyummy’s Vegetarian Paté

  • 4 huge onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 100 grams (4 ounces) walnuts
  • 2 cups canned peas (1 largish can, must be canned peas), drained
  • salt, pepper and paprika to taste
  1. Chop the onions medium fine.  Heat the oil in a large pan and slowly caramelize the onions.  This can take up to an hour.  Don’t try to rush it, this is what gives the paté its authentic flavor.  The onions will cook down to next to nothing.  When the onions are a gorgeous caramel brown take them off the heat and let cool.
  2. Place the walnuts in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the steel knife.  Zhuzz until finely ground.
  3. Add the peas and zhuzz again.
  4. Add the hard boiled eggs and the onions (scraping every last drop of oil into the mix) and give it a good zhuzz until you get the paté consistency you’re looking for.
  5. Add salt, pepper and paprika to taste.  Turn into a serving bowl or Tupperware and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
  6. Serve with challah, crackers or fancy shmacy little toast points.
  7. Can be frozen.

It Pays To Blog (and Tweet)

The blogosphere is full of contests.  I’ve even held one or two here on Miriyummy.  One of my favorite bloggers and longtime reads, A Mother in Israel, posted a contest where you could win a tallit.  Now, granted, I don’t actually use one myself, but I was tempted.  The company offering the prize, Galilee Silks, had some gorgeous tallitot for women.

It was a simple contest, really, just either blog about the contest on your own blog, or tweet about it.  I did both.  It seems I was the only entrant to do so (blog AND tweet), and guess what?  I won!

In spite of the fact that there were some really cool blue and pink and red tallitot for women on offer, I gave my prize to Ju-Boy.  The man can be pretty outrageous at times, but his taste in tallitot is really boring sedate.  It seems my man does not want to be a peacock in shul.

The prize arrived just in time for Chanuka.  I’ve wanted to get a picture of him wearing the tallit for a while, but he’s made this his Shabbat tallit, and the camera doesn’t come out on Shabbat in the Miriyummy household.  This past Saturday night he took it out to give it to Optimus Prime, who’s going to be adding the tekhelet, so I got my supermodel husband to don the tallit for everyone to see.

Galilee Silks has some seriously gorgeous tallitot and other prayer accessories for sale.  They seem to cater to the international market (prices are quoted in dollars), but it’s worth stopping by just to look and admire their work.

 

 

Kiddush Club

Food likes and dislikes are a very subjective subject.  My favorite food is sushi.  I love the stuff, extra wasabi and ginger please.  I would probably eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, except my budget won’t allow it and I’m in no mood for mercury poisoning a la Jeremy Piven.  Ju-Boy chides me that I can’t abide rare meat, yet will gleefully eat raw fish, and steal some off his plate as well.

But one man’s sushi is another man’s fish bait.  Take peanut butter and chocolate, for instance.  Did you think this was going to be a post about sushi?  Think again.

Peanut butter and chocolate is an American institution.  How many of us baby boomers grew up with the “hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” commercial?  Raise your hands if you did, but wipe the Reese’s crumbs off first, okay?

I’ve discovered that Brits, who can’t abide the peanut butter and jelly combination, will quite happily devour what has become a kiddush club classic at shul — homemade Reese’s peanut butter bars.  But one man’s peanut butter bar is another man’s (or in this case, woman’s) unpalatable food combo.  Did you think this was going to be about peanut butter bars?  Think again.

Ever since I first brought a batch of the stuff to the shul kiddush club it’s been a hit.  Every Shabbat, after services, we would gather together and make kiddush.  It seems that the well-loved combo goes very nicely with single malt whisky.  Whisky purists may disagree, but our whisky snobbishness is entirely an affectation, so we get to make up our own rules.

But Dalia, who, like her father and so unlike her mother, isn’t partial to a dram and was not a fan of the peanut butter bars neither.  And I like Dalia.  We have the same taste in jewelry and Teva Naot sandals.  I felt bad that while we were all happy with the kiddush fare, dear darling Dalia, who always diligently collected the siddurs after davening, was relegrated to the dry, store-bought wafers.  I had to come up with a solution.

And thus was born the Dalia Bar!  White chocolate, yummy!  Buttery crumb crust, nummy!  Dalia Bars became a hit with Dalia and the rest of the kiddush club as well.

Dalia Bars are actually a combination and variation of two of my favorite recipes, my Miller Bars and another Recipezaar staple, Fudge Filled Bars, by the incomparable MizzNezz.  I “fudged” around with the ingredients and came up with this winner.

A year ago Ju-Boy and I left this particular synagogue and now daven in one that is closer to home in both distance and outlook.  The kiddush club soldiers on without us, I hear, although Dalia Bars are no longer on the menu.  Maybe I’ll send over a batch next week for old times’ sake.

Dalia Bars

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 300 gram (1 1/2 cups) white chocolate or butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C  (350 degrees F).  Grease a 9X13 inch (33 X 23 cm) baking pan (I always just line it with parchment paper).
  2. Combine the flour and brown sugar.  Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the egg and mix well.
  4. Take half the mixture and press it into the bottom of the lined pan.
  5. Mix the chips with the sweetened condensed milk and melt.  I do this in the microwave on high for three minutes, you can use the double boiler method if you like.  Stir well to combine the two into a gooey, fudgey mass.  Pour this over the crumb layer in the pan.
  6. Now cover the gooey, fudgey mass layer with the second half of the crumbs.  Press down a bit (with clean hands, of course).  Don’t be afraid, but be gentle.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Let cool, or even better, place in the fridge for an hour.  I then just lift the whole thing out by the parchment paper, place on a cutting board and cut into squares.

Freezes beautifully!

Nice with some single malt whisky, even better with a cup of English tea or a good, strong mug of coffee

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