Monday, June 30, 2008

the one where I end up in the hospital.

Health care in Israel is different than you think it is. It is universal, but not in that scary, everyone gets horrid care kind of way. We actually have excellent doctors and facilities, considering that the country is only 60 years old. Little did I know last week that I would be testing the extent of those facilities.
I went to the Beach on Tuesday. It was a women's only beach in the Tel-Aviv area a gorgeous day to swim in the Med. Shevy and I came home tired but happy. Half way through the night I got up to go to the bathroom. As I sat down to take care of things I felt nauseated and dizzy; not a feeling I am unfamiliar with, as I am prone to fainting. The next thing I know I'm flat out on the bathroom floor (ick) wondering what happened. After calling out to my DH, waking the baby, and hosing myself off in the tub, my DH decides I'm dehydrated and runs up to the 24 market to get me some gatorade. Meanwhile, I puke my guts up onto some dirty laundry piled next to my bed. (I always notice how dirty the house is when I'm sick and can't do anything about it.) Despite my mom's voice in my head warning me not to eat or drink for an hour after throwing up (mom doesn't say puke) the DH convinces me to drink some gatorade. About an hour later I throw up again, fortunately this time into a large bowl. An hour later DH is also throwing up and also having to run to the bathroom every hour, so we figure we both have some virus and decide to just let it run it's course. Then Shevy starts having leaky diapers, and being other than her normally happy self. By this time it's afternoon on Wednesday, so we decide to take her into the clinic. While there, the Doc is very concerned about the bump on my head (I'm pretty sure I hit it on the door when I passed out) While she's examining me, I lose consciousness again, and throw up again. She freaks out and orders me to be admitted to the ER. We get a taxi to the big Hospital (Haddassa Ein Kerem) which also has a mall attached--another story--and after going a little nuts they send a Medical explorer to come take my blood. He provides me with a running commentary of his incompetence (failed to insert a Heprin lock, just barely got the blood they needed after 4 sticks) and I promptly pass out again. So they admit me to the trauma unit, the Doc gives me the *worst* Hep. lock IV I've ever had (docs usually suck at basic procedures, by the way. get a nurse to do it) and they start pumping me full of unwarmed saline. I hate that feeling. So, they CT me and X-ray me and take more blood and 12 hours and 4 bags of saline later have no idea why I passed out (not surprised) but want to keep me in the Hospital for a week to run tests to find out why I faint. I have a 7-month-old at home so I say No way, which really annoys the Israeli Doc, who is used to being obeyed like a god. I know all the tests he wants to run can be done outpatient and my DH has had the baby *alone* for 12 hours and is going nuts with what to do. So I check myself out of the hospital AMA (against Medical advice) and take a taxi home, where my daughter nearly turned herself inside out with delight at seeing me after us being separated for the longest time since I gave birth to her. That's all I have the time or energy to type right now. I need a nap. maybe next time I'll write about the Drunk Ethopian in the ER or the poor lady with Fibromyalgia and 2 broken wrists.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The best bread in Israel.

Or anywhere else for that matter. When We were dating, my husband made this bread, which was yards better than any Challah I'd ever made or tasted, but he refused to give me the recipe until we were married. Now I make the bread, and I can give the recipe out, and you don't even have to marry me to get it. The best part about this Challah is that it is moist and dense rather than bland and fluffy like many Challah recipes. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. If you'd rather I made it, stop by my house any Friday night.

Challah (mix it up on Thursday night!)
4 1/2 C warmish hot water
1 1/2 c sugar
7 tsp yeast
7 egg yolks
¾ c oil (olive is best, but any kind works)
4 Tb Salt
5 Lb flour
1 egg
3 Tb sesame or poppy seeds.

In a large bowl mix the water and sugar, then add the yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add egg yolks, oil, sugar, and salt and mix thoroughly. Slowly begin adding flour, mixing completely each time. After a while it will be impossible to stir, so turn the dough out onto a floured surface and begin kneading in the rest of the flour (it all has to go in for halachic reasons. If you find the dough is too dry, add more water.) Put dough ball into LARGE (really large) oiled bowl or pot, cover with plastic wrap (spray the top of the dough ball with pam or oil to keep it from sticking) and let rise overnight in a warm place, or at least 6 hours. The longer it rises, the better the flavor, punch it down a few times if you need to. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, separate challah with a bracha, and burn the portion. Cut the dough into the desired number of loaves (I make 12 loaves, but they are small. It makes 6 large loaves nicely), then cut the loaf section into 6 pieces and braid. (If you want to learn this, it is explained in the Spice and Spirit cookbook. It takes some practice to be fast at it, but the result is worth the effort.) Place braided loaves onflat pans lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and place in a warm spot for 40-60 minutes, until the loaves have approximately doubled in size (if you are pressed for time, you can put the loaves in to bake right away, but they won’t be as pretty or soft). Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375. Take the last whole egg and beat it with a little water to make an egg wash. Use a brush to coat each loaf with the egg wash, the sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds, or both. Place pans in the oven for about 35 minutes, until the tops are light brown and when you tap on the top of a loaf it is hollow sounding. If you have to use 2 racks because it is a small
oven, switch the pans from top to bottom to ensure even cooking. The secret to nice challah is to not over-cook it. Trust me. People prefer things slightly underdone, whether they realize it or not.

There's the big secret. It was worth marrying the guy just to get this fantastic recipe! If I get requests for them I'll put up some other Shabbat food. We make killer Matza Ball soup in this house.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I know it's been a long time...

...But I've been busy. We had to move. not out of Jerusalem, but to a different part. And then there was Passover. that took up a LOT of time. And I have a 6-month-old. In case you didn't know, they are the biggest time-suck ever. More than the internet, blogging, and wii combined! (not that I have a wii, I've just heard and I really want one. Too bad we don't have a TV) Oh, and I run 2 businesses, one sewing, and one making balloons. And I was in Ulpan (Hebrew Language school) but then I quit because I was becoming a maniac and pulling out my hair, and I decided something had to go, and it WASN'T going to be the kid (although it is tempting). But who could get rid of such a cutie, right?
So I quit Ulpan, we moved and my life has calmed down a bit. I'm even sewing for fun sometimes. Now there's a novelty!