Sunday, November 18, 2012

How did this happen?

My Baby is 5!!!!!
I'm having a hard time taking it in.  She's turned into such an amazing kid, I love her so dearly.  But, I just pushed this kid out, like, last week, right?  NO?  How did this happen????  5 years have slipped by, and now she's such a confident little girl, punching schoolyard bullies back when they give her a bloody nose, not caring if people tease, loving her little group of friends so loyally, wanting to make "treats" for her sisters and brother.  The bossy one, the silly one, the very first one. Elisheva.  My gift.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Don't Panic! Mushroom chicken.

As I have considered making a cookbook over the years, I wondered if there were enough 5 ingredient recipes for main dishes to actually make a whole chapter.  The jury is still out on that, but here is my favorite 5 ingredient chicken recipe, fancy enough for Shabbat!  (remember that oil, water, salt and pepper don't count!)
You will need:
a big skillet
at least 2.5" deep glass or metal roasting pan

Bottle of dry or semi-dry white wine
container of button mushrooms, sliced (portabello mushrooms taste fine in this recipe, but make an
                                                            unappetizing sauce color)
one large onion, diced
oil for the pan
3 tablespoons flour (cornstarch or potato starch for Pesach)
whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat.  add the diced onions and sliced mushrooms, and saute until they are softened and the mushrooms are a light tan color.  sprinkle flour, salt an pepper over the mushrooms and onions, stir for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour.  pour the white wine over the flour to deglaze the pan and simmer until the sauce thickens to a light gravy consistency.  Now, place the cut-up chicken into the baking pan.  Pour the sauce over the gravy and cover with foil.  put the pan into a 375 oven for at least an hour.  uncover 15 minutes before serving.  This works great with mashed potatoes!  Yum!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Panic! Olive Tapenade.

           So, here I am, one month later, sitting on my couch, waiting to give birth. My mom arrives this afternoon, so I managedto keep this kid inside long enough for her to be present, which I consider to be a major victory after 2 attempts and failures (first, 10 days early, missed by 24 hours, second, 4 weeks early, didn't bother trying for the 3rd).
           Meanwhile, I'm left thinking about what I can make for the shisha after this little girl is born. Many people aren't aware of the very old Sephardic custom of welcoming a girl on her 6th day of life, not unlike having a brit for a boy on his 8th day, but with less blood and more casual. The naming ceremony is repeated, everyone says Mazal Tov (and hopefully they mean it!) and then we all have a nice chance to admire the baby and eat. My plan for serving food is to have lots of salads and spreads to go on fresh pitas, because most can be made days, if not weeks in advance. So, here is my first "don't panic" recipe-Olive tapenade! (we recently had a guest for Shabbat who loved this stuff and I told him I would post the recipe. I never thought it would take so long, however.)
You will need a food processor or blender for best results.

Canned green olives
pickled capers
oil (preferably olive, but any kind is fine)

How to: Peel your cloves of garlic (2 cloves per can of olives is my standard, but you can do more or less, depending on how much you love it) and put them through a garlic press or chop them up finely. Drain olives. put olives, garlic, a few tsp of oil and 8-10 capers into food processor and grind up liberally. Add more oil if needed to achieve a semi-smooth consistency. THAT'S IT! Seriously, wasn't that easy?
I love this stuff spread on challah, pitas, and it makes a really nice addition to grilled cheese. it keeps forever in the fridge (6 months) and gets more mellow with time. This recipe also totally invites ad-libbing ingredients. you could add roasted red peppers, cook the garlic, add lemon juice instead of some of the oil, add whatever fresh herb is lying around (basil or oregano would be nice), anything really, and come out with an AMAZING spread.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My darling husband always encourages me to write. I never really know why. he's the talented one with words and thoughts in our family. I'm more creative, hand-crafty, free-spirited. Not the type who makes a good writer, which I believe requires a logical thought process that I genetically lack. However, I do love to think about food. I like to cook, too, and have always aspired to write a cook book of some kind. Again, lack of focus and accuracy will likely stymie any aspirations in that direction. However, my "big idea" is a good one, I think. the "Don't Panic!" cookbook. easy recipes suitable for Shabbat/entertaining, for people who host a lot, for people new to the idea of Shabbat guests, for folks (like me) who are eternally rushing around at the last minute with not everything done minutes before Shabbat has to come in. To this end, I have collected quite a number of recipes (and suitably altered them) that are either no-fail (even if you forget or don't have certain ingredients) very simple (5 ingredients or less), or simple and impressive.
On a personal note, soon I will be nailed to the couch for many hours a day, nursing our 4th child. My plan is to use this time to revive my blog and share some of these "winner!" recipes (as my mom noted in her recipe books). Hopefully someone out there can benefit from my hard-learned lessons (sometimes failures!) and be saved at the last second when they've discovered they're not hosting 2 but 10 guests on a Thursday night.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

So, for any new visitors, I'm going to put up some links to my favorite posts.
Matza Ball soup
question series
Strings (tallit katan)
2-handled cup (Hand wash cup)
Kosher food

That's probably enough to get started with.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Almost a recipe, but not quite.

One of my husband's favorite foods in the entire world is Yellow rice. I can put anything on top of it and he will gobble it all up (hes a bit of a "discerning" eater). Yellow rice is easy. dice and saute an onion in 3 tbls oil, stir in 1.5 cups of rice and toast it for a bit, then add in 2 c water, 1 tbls salt and 1/8 tsp saffron soaked in very hot water. Cook until it's done. that's not the recipe in the title, though. I decided I needed to do something with the leftover rice from Shabbat, and that saffron and soy sauce wouldn't be complimentary, as fried rice is my usual use for leftover rice. Instead, I followed my usual cooking pattern for fried rice and added ginger, coriander and cumin. It was pretty good. it still needs a sauce of some kind, and for the life of me I can't figure out what. until I do, it will remain not quite a recipe. Oh well.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

my cornflakes are orange

and other Passover oddities.

Passover made me crazy. Not as crazy as the lady I saw literally running through the grocery store on the day before the Seder, but crazier than normal. I procrastinated on the cleaning, and ended up pulling an old person's all-nighter (up until 4AM) to get it all done. The kids were so wound up from eating our sugar stash, it was ludicrous. as of 2 days before Passover all that remained was this: Which isn't really so much, considering I take away 90% of the candy they get given in this sugar-obsessed culture. I give it out as rewards occasionally, but we never eat even half of what we get. Some of it I just throw out because I don't want to deal with it (suckers, BB sized puffs of MSG), some I eat (the good chocolate!), and the rest gets binged on right before Passover. anything left 24 hours before bedikat chometz (the time you look for last bits of leavening in the house) hits the trash.

I'm sure you're wondering how and why my cornflakes are orange. I'm getting to that. In case you don't know anything about Passover, let me give you the skinny (or the kitzur, in Hebrew). At Passover we get rid of all food that has Chometz. Chometz is any substance derived from wheat, oats rye spelt or barley, and it hides in everything. Citric acid? From wheat. No kidding. it's in everything. not to mention the obvious forms: Bread, pasta, oatmeal, cereal, etc. anything that could even have a little speck of this stuff has got to go. So, processed foods for passover have a special kosher certification. If you are an Ashkenazi Jew (North and East European) you also have to get corn, rice and legumes out of your diet. HFCS? oh yeah. peanuts? them too. If you are Sephardi (Spanish, North African, and Middle Eastern Jew) like us, you get to keep these foods. Thus, my Passover Cornflakes. But to make certain that everyone KNOWS these are special for-passover flakes? they add Paprika extract (doesn't change the flavor) to make them orange. Sure, it's a bit unappetizing, but the passover cereals based on potato starch are so much worse, I'll eat my orange cornflakes and be grateful!

Passover is a huge subject. It would take a dozen posts to talk about it all, but if people have questions, write them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.