Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trying to Eliminate the Clutter

What can I say?
Clutter is my middle name.
I've always had trouble throwing things out. 
I have lots of stuff I really don't need and I'm an awful housekeeper.
It's hard to clean when you can't find the floor and everything is so full of former treasures. 
I have tried to improve things and stopped buying books.  My husband buys enough for both of us. But I do receive books to review...  Since I haven't paid for them, they are easier to give away.

Last night I actually got rid of a very valuable sweatshirt.  It's from my past; I wore it in high school.  That was almost fifty years ago.  Yep!  I'm that old, and so is that sweatshirt.

In recent years I've been sleeping in my old heavy cotton sweatshirts in the winter. They are finally falling apart. The one I threw out was missing its neckline and didn't provide any warmth and protection for my shoulders, so it wasn't quite doing its job.  I loved that sweatshirt.  It brought back memories.  It was from NCSY the youth movement that changed my life.  It introduced me to true Torah Judaism. I'd wear my NCSY sweatshirts in my fancy GNN high school, where others wore their expensive clothes from Lord & Taylor, bought full price, with genuine Pappagallo shoes.

Here I am in a YU Youth Bureau TL Seminar sweatshirt of the same sort of ambience, when I was in high school.

The pins are SSJ Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry.

I must admit that I laundered the sweatshirt before throwing it in the garbage, not quite sure I'd have the guts to do it.  Also, I felt that I had to show it some respect...  Being an active part of NCSY and going to Seminars were crucial in helping me become the person I am today.

I may no longer have that sweatshirt, but I still have yiddishkeit,  Shabbat, Jewish Holidays and all that Torah True Judaism includes.  Thank G-d, Baruch Hashem.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Great Way to Start the Week, Lag B'Omer and Havel Havelim

Today is Lag, meaning לג  which equals 30 + 3 = 33 b'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer.  It's a day of celebrations in the middle of the 49 day Omer period, a period of Jewish mourning.

Those forty-nine days are the countdown from Passover, when the Jewish People left Egypt, thousands of years ago, until Moses delivered the Torah from G-d, which is commemorated on the Jewish Holiday of Shavuot.

But it didn't go all that smoothly...

Many of us remember too well the days before there were cellphones, smartphones and all sorts of ways to contact people immediately, check if someone is late, lost, warn others of delays, double-check times, locations etc.  We ask rather rhetorically:
"How did we manage in the days before cell phones?"

One thing was that we had to be more patient, trusting and planned things better in advance.  We knew that since there was no way to contact someone on their way,  we just had to wait a bit longer, or more and trust that there was some perfectly legitimate reason for the delay.  That's what makes the sin of the golden calf, the rapid and impatient building of an idol, that golden calf, so inexplicable and bad.  The recently released from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt Jewish People had decided that Moses must have deserted them, died or whatever when he didn't come at the moment they expected him and demanded from Aaron that they construct a god, that infamous golden calf.

Obviously they didn't do all of the spiritual growth stuff during the forty-nine days which is very popular now.  See this site for example, A Spiritual Guide to the Counting of the Omer, Forty-Nine Steps to Personal Refinement.

So I'm really glad that we didn't have to wait for Yocheved Golani's LaG B'Omer Havel Havelim.  She posted it last night, after Shabbat after working hard all week on it.  It's full of posts from lots of blogs and other great things, as only Yocheved can do so well.  For more information about Havel Havelim, how to post, host and be involved, join our facebook page.

And have a wonderful week everyone...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

That Lag ל"ג 33 B'Omer Stink is Seeping In

I miss the innocence of youth when I could enjoy a good campfire without thinking of the smell.  In Israel Lag B'Omer, the 33rd  day (or more exactly night) of the omer is celebrated at campfires.
According to the Torah (Lev. 23:15), we are obligated to count the days from Passover to Shavu'ot. This period is known as the Counting of the Omer. An omer is a unit of measure. On the second day of Passover, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering. This grain offering was referred to as the Omer.
Every night, from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavu'ot, we recite a blessing and state the count of the omer in both weeks and days. So on the 16th day, you would say "Today is sixteen days, which is two weeks and two days of the Omer." The Orthodox Union has a chart that provides the transliterated Hebrew and English text of the counting day-by-day. Or if you'd prefer an amusing (yet still accurate!) Simpsons-themed discussion of the Omer along with an Omer calendar, check out The Homer Calendar.

I even had a Girl Scouts "Campfire Badge" which required me to learn all sorts of campfire constructions shapes and rules.  In those days we roasted marshmallows on sticks in the fire.  Kashrut wasn't part of my life, so I could eat and roast the best marshmallows.

local medurah

But now I guess ever since I was in charge of a family and laundry, I just think of the smell.  I trained my kids to go straight to the bathroom after a campfire, strip and shower, lots of soap and rinse well.  And don't forget to shampoo.

For some crazy reason, I can never remember why there is such a custom. I have heard and read it many times, but... smoke gets in my brain....

Friday, April 26, 2013

Good Deal on a Quiche at Sambooki

Since I really don't have much of an "eating out" budget, I try to find the best deals when meeting a friend for lunch.  A few weeks ago, a friend had time right before our lunch date and began to scour downtown Jerusalem for the best lunch deal.  She chanced upon the Jerusalem, Rechov Yaffo branch of Sambooki.  They had a "business lunch," but all of the main courses were carbohydrates.  Instead I settled on their quiche, which came with a salad.

It wasn't had for ns39.  I hadn't had a meal there for years, because one time I ate there and they refused to give me olive oil for my salad.  That caused me to boycott them. But when my friend suggested it, I figured it was a good opportunity to see if they'd changed that policy.  They were very cooperative and gave me olive oil, which is what every restaurant does nowadays.  Yes, even the small pizza/coffee shop in Shiloh gave me a generous amount of olive oil for my salad.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crazy Week, Every Day a Different Season

This week dawned very wintery.

Even though it's the week after Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, I had to turn the heaters back on, and you can see from this picture, that there was lots of humidity at dawn.  I hadn't turned on the heaters for a few weeks.  My house is well insulated and retains the temperature pretty well, so the warm spring weather we had around Passover kept us very comfortable, as long as the windows stayed closed.

But then the cold and rain won out, and I was back in winter clothes and heavy waterproof shoes on Sunday and Monday.  Tuesday, when my friends came on a pilgrimage to Shiloh, it was suddenly spring.  We didn't need extra sweaters and coats, especially in the afternoon down the hill at Shiloh HaKeduma, Tel Shiloh.

And then yesterday when in Jerusalem, which is a drop colder than Shiloh, I had to strip off the lightweight jacket which had been perfect only the day before.

I hope that those last couple of rains cleaned off the koltei shemesh, solar water heaters from the dust of the spring dust and sandstorms.  I should be turning off the timer of the electric water boiler/heater soon, as soon as the night air warms up a bit more.  The living room heater is already off again.

Well, today is Thursday, and I have a lot to do.  Is winter over?  One thing I've learned after well over forty years in Israel is that this sort of weather is a typical spring.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Facebook Friends in Shiloh

Yesterday I hosted a number of friends whom I'm in touch via a closed facebook group. At our first f2f (face to face) meeting in Jerusalem barely six months ago, we planned a winter visit to the Negev and a spring visit to Shiloh.  Yesterday was the visit to Shiloh.  During Chanukah we met in Netivot.  Of course, only about a third of the group could make it.  For some it's a serious matter of distance.  Georgia and Colorado are more than a bit too far, and the carfare is pretty expensive. 

I tried to squeeze a lot into the afternoon of the visit.  One thing I wanted to show was that our "midtown" actually has stores and other servies. I took them to the supermarket and the clothing/toy/misc. store.  Some of them tried out the WC aka 00 of the clinic, too.

Of course Shiloh Hakeduma aka Tel Shiloh was the highlight of the trip.

We received a guided tour and then prayed directly to G-d.  And then they all checked out the Tel's shop and were very impressed.

We ended with a meal at the local restaurant, eating pizza and salads. As you can see we have everything one needs in Shiloh!  We even have something very few others place have, G-d's presence, which will never leave.

Now we have to figure out where we're going next.

Review of the Harry Potter Cookbook, Kosher and Hebrew Version בעברית

The following is a review my daughter wrote about The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook (Hebrew,) Gefen Publishing House. She titled her review "Savta Batya Brought us a Surprise."  The reason why the review is in Hebrew is because the book is.  I'll just summarize what she wrote in case a non-Hebrew reader wants to get one to give as a gift.  My daughter first made it clear that she and her eldest are great Harry Potter fans and have read the series.  That's why I accepted it for reviewing.  I knew that they would love the idea of having such a book.  They'd be interested in anything about Harry Potter. My daughter mentioned that the book isn't produced as a cookbook; it was hard to use, keep open.  They cooked the Brown Bread Ice Cream.  The bread needed isn't whole wheat; it's sweet challah.  And only in the middle of making the ice cream did they discover that the book required an ice cream maker.  They made it without.  It's actually very sweet and tasty.  I tasted some when I was over the other day.  It's hard to believe that there's really some bread inside.

As Harry Potter fans, they are happy with the book, and she thinks it was a great idea to publish it.

סבתא בתיה הביאה לנו הפתעה

"ספר הבישול הבלתי רישמי של הארי פוטר" – דינה בוכהולץ

המהדורה העברית יצאה על ידי גפן בית הוצאה לאור

סבתא בתיה הביאה לנו הפתעה: "ספר הבישול הבלתי רישמי של הארי פוטר". אני ובכורתי, שקראה את הסדרה מספר בלתי נתפס של פעמים, קפצנו על המציאה. נתחיל מהשבחים: אין ספק שמדובר ברעיון קסום ונחמד. ספר שמשלב שתי אהבות גדולות: נפלאות עלילות "הארי פוטר" וקסמי הבישול. הספר מחייה את חוויות הארי פוטר ומגשים אותם למשהו שאפשר להריח ולטעום, תוך קישור לסצנות הרלוונטיות מסדרת הספרים. הספר אף מלא במידע מרתק על ההסטוריה של אוכל אנגלי. ויתרון קריטי מבחינתנו הינו שהמתכונים כשרים, למרות שהתפריט המקורית בסדרה איננו כזה נעשו כל השינויים הנדרשים לאפשר לנו ליהנות ממתכונים שמתאימים גם למטבח שלנו.

ובכל זאת לספר כמה חסרונות... נראה שהוא אינו מצליח להחליט האם הוא ספר קריאה או ספר בישול. הספר הודפס בגודל של ספר קריאה, בכריכה רכה, הדפים רכים ואינם בנויים להתמודדות עם חווית המטבח. ההסברים מורכבים סיפוריים ולא סדורים, הכתב קטנטן – מה מקשה על תהליך העבודה ומחייב גם מי שטרם מאובחן כזקוק למשקפי קריאה להרים אותו כדי לעקוב אחר ההוראות, מה שלא ממש נוח תוך כדי העבודה עם ידיים לא תמיד יבשות ונקיות – בפרט שהספר כל כך לא בנוי לחיים במטבח כאמור. הספר גם פוסח בין הסעיפים – ספר לילדים או למבוגרים – אין ספק שהמתכונים מורכבים מכדי להיות נגישים לגילאי רוב ציבור חובבי הסדרה.

בכל מקרה אחרי שבילינו זמן מה בקריאתו, נתתי לבכורתי לבחור מתכון.  המתכון הנבחר נקרא "גלידת לחם חום" (גלידה שמכינים עם פירורי חלה מתוקה).

כיוון שלא התעמקתי באותיות הקטנות מראש, רק בחצי הדרך גיליתי שבעצם המתכון מיועד לבעלי מכונת גלידה... מה שאין ברשותנו. המשכנו בכל זאת... חלק מהכמויות וההוראות העלו תמיהות אצלנו – אך השתדלנו לא לזיף מדי... בסך הכל יצא מקפא מתוק ומעניין. נהנינו מהחוויה ומהתוצאה אך בעיקר מהקריאה בספר... אחלה יוזמה ... רק חבל שלנו המוגלגים אין את הכישורים של מולי או של גמדוני הבית להכין את המאכלים בדרך הנכונה באמת  - בקסם...


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A New Salad, A Variation From "The Modern Menu"

I'm not the type to follow recipes, certainly not exactly follow them, even when I try.  That's what happened when I decided to use up some celeriac, the big knobby celery roots that get stuck and ignored in the fridge.  My husband loves using the strongly flavored stalks in his chicken soup, and I'm stuck trying to find things to do with the roots.

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover a very simple recipe for a salad in The Modern Menu by Kim Kushner, which I had gotten to review.  I don't know why, but even though it's called "Lemon Celery Root Salad with Walnuts" I decided that it needs raisins and bought those to use, not walnuts.  Otherwise, I pretty much followed the recipe, although I didn't add salt and pepper and since those celery roots are of various non-standard sizes, I didn't really measure the olive oil too exactly.  And of course I added lots of raisins. 

Here is Kushner's recipe and my illustrations:
1 celery root, rough outer skin discarded, root halved
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

On the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the grater disk, grate the celery root. Transfer to a medium serving bowl. Pour the lemon juice and olive oil over the celery root, add the walnuts, and season with the salt and pepper. Toss to thoroughly coat and serve.
Serves 4 to 6
I brought this salad to our annual Yom Ha'Atzma'ut barbeque at my cousin's and I then made another one which I brought to a neighbor on Shabbat.  The celeriac has a very delicate flavor when grated and eaten raw. 

I also added some leftover salad to my cooked chicken the other night, like a stir-fry, and it is also delicious cooked.  So, if you've made too much to eat and are afraid to keep it too long in the fridge, then sauté it.

Everyone who tasted it agrees that you can substitute or add all sorts of nuts, seeds or dried even fresh fruit to make this salad a totally fantastic one bowl meal. 

I'd like your comments about this recipe, thanks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Havel Havelim 2 Ima 2 Seven

Ima2seven is the host of this week's Havel Havelim!  I'm sure you'll enjoy the interesting choice of links she has included.  Please read, comment and share. 

Next week's host is Yocheved at  It's My Crisis and I'll Cry if I Need To.  We coordinators of Havel Havelim had a crisis and Yocheved came to the rescue and offered to host the next one.  We coordinate the premier Jewish blog carnival via our facebook page. That's where you can find out who's the next host, how to send in your posts and even volunteer to host one of our weekly editions.

Thank you ladies, your time and efforts for Havel Havelim are truly  appreciated.  As you know very well, Havel Havelim is a group project, and the group is open to Jewish bloggers all over the world.  The conditions are pretty simple.  We're Jewish, meaning that we don't worship any other G-d, and we support the State of Israel.  Havel Havelim is definitely one of the longest running blog carnivals in the cyber world.  We thank all the hosts and the contributors.

And to others, nu, join us, thanks.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Blurring Things...

I'm not supposed to blog too many details about my grandkids or pictures that would make it possible for people to recognize them in the street.  So when somehow pictures come out looking like this, I don't mind, not at all.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nu! Will The Weather Make Up Its Mind Already?

Spring, summer or winter?  What's going on?

Spring to summer seemed on schedule before Passover and even during the holiday here in Israel.  It was a very normal Passover season, but not we seem back in winter mode.  Maybe that's why the dawns are still beautiful.

Sunsets are usually prettier in the summer.  With daylight savings time, we have to wait longer, but it's sure worth it.

At work, customers are coming in begging for winter clothes, but we don't have any to sell.  One woman told me that she couldn't get heavy clothes for her one and a half month old baby who was born just after Purim.  She keeps him bundled in blankets.

It's crazy that the suppliers and those who order for the stores don't take into consideration that many newborns, even summertime, need heavy clothes. I don't think ordering and producing baby clothes should be a man's job. It's a job for grandmothers.

This year I finally had apple blossoms and flowers on the lemon tree.  I wonder if they've survived the rains and winds.

We pray for rain at the right time.  Is this the time for rain?  I know that it rains in other places all year long, but it doesn't rain in Israel in the summer/spring.  OK, some years it does rain in the spring.  And spring here is crazy weather, summer, winter, sandstorms, rain, winds and heat.  That's spring and that's what we have now.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fantastically Easy, One Pot Meal Baked

I don't like to fuss over cooking, and frequently I just don't have the time to do anything that requires more than one step.  So here's a quick and easy and tasty and open to all sorts of variations noodle and vegetable casserole.

For the very most efficient way to make this, use a covered bake and serve dish, though you can also use a simple disposable aluminum pan and cover it with aluminum foil.

This version I made with:
  • pasta, straight from the box/bag
  • sliced carrots
  • cut onion
  • a generous squeeze of catsup
  • a bit of vegetable oil
  • enough water to cover the pasta plus a bit
  • optional any herbs and spices or other vegetables or even rice instead of the pasta
  • if you wish to add a protein, try a can of beans or cheese or... whatever...
Cover and bake on a highish heat; every oven is different.  The water will boil when baking and the pasta will cook without your having to touch it at all.  Stir before serving.

If you try this, please let me know how you've adapted it and tell me in the comments, thanks.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Different "Alice's Restaurant"

Last week a friend and I were looking for a place to have lunch in downtown Jerusalem, and we really didn't want to spend a lot.  By chance we stumbled upon "Alice" on Rechov Shamai.  There was a sign outside offering a "business lunch" for ns39, which is ns10 less than most places in the center of Jerusalem.  And their lunch actually included more, a choice of small salad or soup, a main course pasta dish and a hot drink.

Even though I've been avoiding pasta for years, I decided to save the money and give it a try.  We rationalized that they'd probably be skimpy with the quantity, so how bad could one pasta meal in four years really be?

No surprise that I started with their salad, which was fresh and tasty.

My friend and I both had pasta, but with different sauces.  And no surprise that there was more than we had planned on eating.  Unfortunately I finished every drop.  It was that good.  I had the mushroom sauce and she had a tomato sauce.

We both polished our meals off with fresh mint tea.  There was a quality black teabag (not one of the cheap brands) on the plate, which I took home, since I don't like black tea with mint.  The fresh mint tea was a perfect ending to the meal. And they just let us sit and sit.  We couldn't figure out if the service was bad or they were just being polite, since we had to call them over for the bill.

When I later mentioned to someone that we had discovered a new restaurant Alice, he said that it's not new at all, but its present owners had only recently bought it.

We enjoyed ourselves and recommend it.  Next time I'll try one of their lower carbohydrate main courses.  The prices were good, less than other Jerusalem restaurants.

Sunday to Thursday, 8:00 until last customer ; Friday, 8:00 until one hour before Shabbat; Saturday, after Shabbat ends until last customerShammai St. 17City CenterKosher/Rabbinate

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fireworks on Israeli Independence Day in Shiloh

This year I went to Ofra, to the grandkids for the Yom Ha'Atzma'ut dovening and celebrations.

I ended up going home in the middle, getting a really siyate d'Shmaya, Hand of G-d ride with the granddaughter of an honoree who lives near Shiloh...  When I got off the tremp, I heard Hatikva from the Shiloh celebrations and then the fireworks began.

And now we're back to normal and Sefirat Haomer.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Time Doesn't Heal

Yesterday was Israel's Memorial Day for Soldiers and Victims of  Arab Terror.  Whatever scabs or scar tissue had been covering the emotional wounds from the loss of friends and family was ripped away.  My neighbors and I, although comforted by seeing the young grandchildren, nieces and nephews of those good Jews who were killed, agreed that we felt more pain than ever.

Time doesn't heal.

Time just gives us the chance to try to live better, be inspired by those who are no longer with us, who died so young...

We live in the shadows of the loss.

Just like we can't erase a shadow, we can't ignore the memories and longings that follow us even at the most unexpected times. 

Most of those we commemorated at our Shiloh Memorial Ceremony in the local cemetery were just teenagers when they were murdered.  Other were a young mother and an infant.  They all had such potential, such dreams.  And in a matter of seconds, their lives were over, and everything changed irreparably for their parents, spouse, grandparents, siblings, friends and family.

Memorial ceremony at Mt. Herzl
for a friend.
Yes, of course, we all go on.  Nobody stays static in time.  Widows and widowers marry again; more children may be born, but that doesn't make up for the missing person.  Life adapts to a new normal.  Thank G-d for giving us the strength and drive to keep going.  We are supposed to continue and not wallow in pain and misery.

Jewish History is full of destruction, defeat and disasters.  And there is also the rebuilding.

We're supposed to take those memories and the pain and make something better and stronger.  That's why the Jewish People continues to exist, even now, two thousand years after the destruction of our Second Holy Temple.  The ancient civilizations we fought with and even those that defeated us are gone, but we Jews still live and thrive and have established a modern  State of Israel.

For the Jewish People, "not healing" is not the end of the world.  We take our pain and build something better, with G-d's help.  And as we celebrate Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, we bring those memories with us to celebrate together.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jblogs' HH Celebrating Israeli Independence Day

Esser Agaroth, worth more than 2¢ two cents, is this week's host of Havel Havelim, the international  Jewish and Israeli blog carnival.  HH appears weekly and floats from blog to blog, with some steering by our facebook page/group.  That's where you'll get information about who's the next host and how to send in your link.  You can also sign up to host an edition of Havel Havelim.  It's a good way to gain exposure for your blog and to meet others.

Last week I hosted Havel Havelim, The Cyber-Threat Edition, so if you missed it, take a look please, and it's never too late to share and comment and visit the blogs included in it.  In the end, we did survive the cyber threats, B"H, just like we've  (meaning the Jewish People) outlived all our other enemies over the millennium. 

Next week's host is ima2seven; please send your links here with HH as the subject, thanks. You can always send in other blog links, too, not just your own.

Havel Havelim isn't the only Jewish-Israeli blog carnival.  There's the monthly (according to the Jewish month) Kosher Cooking Carnival, which I began many years ago after a recipe carnival rejected my post, because their them was pork.  We still exist, which is more than I can say for that blog carnival...

KCC also has a facebook page where you can get the latest news and sign up to host an edition.  You can contribute posts/links about any aspect of kosher food and kosher cooking via blog carnivalIf you have any problems with those KCC links, please contact me at shilohmuse at gmail dot com with kcc as subject, thanks.

Since blog carnivals have nothing to do with clowns and elephants, it's perfectly acceptable to blog about them on Yom Zikaron, Memorial Day for the IDF's Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims.

יהי זכרם ברוך
Yihi Zichrom Baruch
May Their Memories Be Blessed

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Some Fun Ways to Celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day

Sing and dance along with Fountainheads:

An unexpected improvisation from an IDF soldier:

Yom Ha'Atzmaut Prayers at the Mishkan Tabernacle Synagogue in Shiloh:

Israeli Flags wave proudly in Jerusalem:

Chag Ha'Atzmaut Sameach!!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Homemade Sort of "TV Dinners"

When I was growing up, TV dinners were a whole new thing, a frozen meal, all inclusive.  Actually frozen food was just starting to gain popularity. Freezers were getting bigger and technology better and safer.  Today everyone takes frozen food for granted.  Not only is it amazing what you can find in the frozen food section of the supermarket, but people who once had insisted that their husbands and children won't eat food that had been frozen are now experts at preparing all sorts of foods in advance and freezing them.  Yes, of course their family eats them happily.

This year I prepared in advance and then froze the meals for Shabbat HaGadol, the Shabbat immediately before Passover.  All I needed to do was to heat the food and cut up some salad.

Each try holds a different meal, and each meal has chicken, vegetables and a carbohydrate.  For Seudat Shlishit, the third Shabbat meal, I used the batzek allim, puff pastry dough I had found in the freezer and filled it with sweet potato and onion.  Call it sweet potato bourekas

In addition, I baked it with more vegetables.

By utilizing the aluminum pans in this way, I have a very easy time.  No dishes to wash, because I also used disposables.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Kosher Cooking Carnival, This American Bite

Yosef has posted the latest Kosher Cooking Carnival on This American Bite.  It's delicious! so take a look, visit the various blogs and sites and share.

The Kosher Cooking Carnival is a monthly roundup of blog posts all about kosher food, kosher cooking and halachot, Jewish Laws of Kashrut.  KCC can also include reviews of kosher cookbooks and kosher restaurants.  It appears on Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the Jewish month, so this new one is the Iyyar edition.  Next month is Sivan, which is May 10 (the deadline is a few days earlier) and I'll be hosting it here on me-ander.  You can send your link in via blog carnival (click) or email me shilohmuse at gmail dot com with KCC as subject. Use the same email, shilohmuse at gmail dot com to contact me if you'd like to host an edition.  We coordinate and communicate about the Kosher Cooking Carnival on our facebook page, which you can join.

Kosher Cooking Carnival isn't the only Jewish blog carnival.  There's a more veteran one, Havel Havelim, which is weekly. HH is more general, centering on Jewish and Israeli topics.  It also has a facebook page for coordinating hosts and guidelines.

Have a wonderful Shabbat.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Challah Baking Tips, Our Favorite Challah Shapes and Readiness Check

Our family's favorite shape for challah is one I once learned from an elderly neighbor when we lived in Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem.  I've never seen it any place else besides our home and that time she showed us how to do it.

Use any challah recipe, white, whole-wheat, spelt etc.  I've been "just winging it" not measuring exactly recently.  And I've also been using half whole wheat and half white flour in my challah.  This week, when I baked to freeze in advance, I didn't use my usual dark brown sugar.  I used white with some maple syrup. I just felt inspired.  I hope it comes out well.  There's no reason it shouldn't.

When it comes the time to shape the challah, after it has risen and been punched down,
  • take six equal pieces and
  • roll them into "strings"
  • lay them on the table, baking sheet or whatever
  • three horizontal and three vertical
  • "weave"
  • braid the ends
  • tuck the ends of the braid underneath

Afterwards "paint" with raw egg and let the challah rise before baking.

When baking the challah, start on a higher than for a cake heat until it starts browning, and then lower the heat until it's lower than for a cake.

The challah will be ready when it's hard and brown on the bottom.

Here it is!

PS yes, it's a different shape from the one illustrated earlier in the post.  This one is the easiest and most fun.  This is the simple ball challah.  Just take pieces, roll them into balls and place them together in the baking pan or baking sheet.  The balls don't have to be exactly the same size.  Don't obsess, please.  It should be fun and easy to bake challah.

You let the guests or family just grab a ball when serving.  Don't cut this challah with a knife.