Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Turkey Wings, Easy to Cook

I found a good deal on frozen turkey wings and decided to serve them on the first night of Succot.


After thawing and soaking them, I added just a few ingredients:
onion
carrots
orange juice
water
and a bit of pepper
I almost added fresh ginger, but my husband doesn't like it

Then I covered, cooked, first high flame and then simmered until it all seemed ready. I served it with salad, rice and baked/roasted vegetables.

The meal was easy to make, but very festive and tasty.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Succot! Enjoy ושמחת בחגך


Tonight we celebrate the weekly Succot Holiday. Enjoy!

As you can see, I managed to decorate our succah. Some of the decorations are very old, but most are from Jewish Calendars sent by various charities. I just cut out the pictures and put them up with thumbtacks. I also use New Years- Rosh Hashana Cards people have sent us. That makes decorating the succah very easy and low cost, free is about as cheap as you can get other than decorated succah fabric/walls.

Our succah is wood, but actually, the walls of our merpeset,  balcony/terrace go halfway up, so the wood, pergola and wall pieces don't start from the floor. Our sons came over the other night to help my husband get it all up, including the s'chach, special reusable roof.

This year we bought a new supply of plastic chairs, and we're looking forward to having a few guests. What are your plans?






Glad We Don't have Strict/Rigid Food Traditions

No, I'm not talking about kashrut,which is Jewish Law, not tradition.

The only really required food is mtazh for the Passover Seder and the special ritual food at the seder. And there are different customs concerning exactly what is to be eaten.

When people tell me they must cook a certain food for a certain holiday with the exact side dishes, recipe etc, no flexibility... And then they get all stressed, because a crucial ingredient can't be bought.

Thank Gd I didn't grow up in a home like that. And I didn't raise my family to expect specific menus, foods etc.

It makes my life so much easier and so much more foun.

Now that we're empty-nesters, we need less food. This year, for the first time, and maybe I'll do it again, I served the same thing before and after Yom Kippur. For years I made a totally different meals. This year I decided that it wasn't worth the bother.

By not having rigid menus, I can be spontaneous is there is a sale on a certain food. I can invent a recipe.

I'm glad it works for me and my family.





Friday, September 21, 2018

Succah Up, But Needs Decorators

B"H, my wonderful sons came by after work and within minutes had the succah up. Luckily my husband had found all the boards beforehand.



Now, I'm stuck with the job of decorating. We have a box of decorations. I just have to get inspired to put some up. B"H some stayed up from last year.

PS Did you notice that we bought new Keter plastic chairs? Most of our old ones either broke or disappeared.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Pre/Post Yom Kippur Meal

Since we have a rather empty nest, just my husband and myself, I don't need to cook as much as before when the house was full of kids and guests. And we still have lots of big pots.

Don't get me wrong; we do have guests, but not as many as in the past. Also, nowadays, my cooking experiments aim more for efficiency than impressive. That's why I decided to try a Pre/Post Yom Kippur Meal, serving (almost) exactly the same meal before and after the Yom Kippur 25 hour fast. Of course, this dish is perfect any time you want an easy hearty one-pot meal.

I don't have many real Jewish Food traditions, especially as pre/post fasts or Succot and Shavuot, which weren't at all celebrated by us. I didn't grow up with kreplach, which is what many Jewish families eat as Pre/Post Yom Kippur Meals.

For some strange reason, as I was trying to figure out what to serve Tuesday night before Yom Kippur, barley popped into my mind. The experts say we should have a complex carbohydrate as a main part of the pre-fast meal. I decided to cook up chicken with barley and vegetables, a one-pot meal, which can even be a soup.




Before the fast, I served it with a salad, and breaking the fast I heated up some ratatouille, I had in the fridge. I also served myself some of the liquid with a bit of whatever came along as a soup, while my husband had his chicken soup. It was delicious, satisfying and so easy to make and serve. I tried to calculate cooking exactly what we needed for the two meals. In the end there's some barley left over, which can be "recycled" into a new soup with added vegetables.

Ingredients:
chicken, I cut it into large serving size pieces
about a cup of barley
onion, cut
2 carrots, cut large
2 large squash, cut large
seasonings, paprika, black pepper, garlic, parsley, a pinch of salt
water, of course

Instructions:
  1. add all ingredients to a large pot, leaving a good inch before top, so it won't boil over
  2. bring to a strong boil and then turn down flame to simmer for an hour or so
  3. Yes, that's it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Has Anyone Used One of These?


It's a meat/fish grinder. It was probably given to me by my mother or mother-in-law as part of my basic Passover or regular cooking equipment when I got married close to half a century ago. They had heard that things were pretty primitive here in Israel. They no doubt also heard stories from  people who fled Israel in the 1950s, traumatised by the need to store fish in the bathtub. I was also prepared to kasher the meat, since I, too, had heard stories...

In 1970, it was no problem to buy your meat and poultry already kashered. And if you went to the fish store early enough before Shabbat or the Jewish Holidays, your fish could be ground. I just make gefilte fish a couple of times a year at most, and recently I've been buying jars of it. Only once did I use that fish grinder for Passover, when we were late at the store. And nowadays you can buy it ground. Also I'm pretty sure that nowadays the fish stores won't send you away with whole fish, even close to the holidays.

When I was clearing out the kitchen closets to prepare for my new kitchen I found the ginder. Since I saw rust, I decided to dump it. Why not? I used it only once in forty-eight 48 years.

Have you ever used one? Do you still use it?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I AM SORRY

It's the Eve of Yom Kippur, and I AM SORRY.

I am sorry for sins done against Gd and man, whether aware or not.

I AM SORRY for everything I have done wrong, hurt people, intentionally or not.

I AM SORRY

I AM SORRY and hope to be better in the future, if I have a future.

I AM SORRY


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Easy and Healthy Cucumber Salad

We ended up with too many cucumbers, so, before they could go bad, I quickly made a "Cucumber Salad." Of course I had never made one before, so I had some research to do. Cucumber Salads used to be mainstays of Israeli summers, and I started googling "Cucumber Salad."  I was surprised to discover that Google claims it's a German dish.

I read a couple of recipes, internalized the general idea and got to work.

Ingredients:
cucumbers, sliced relatively thin
red onion, also sliced relatively thin
dehydrated dill, fresh is better but I didn't have any
barely a teaspoon of light brown sugar
a couple of tablespoons of vinegar
1 tablespoon of tamari sauce
freshly squeezed lemon juice from a quarter of a lemon


Instructions:
put cucumbers, onion and dill in a bowl
add sugar and then the rest of the ingredients
let it "sit" for a few hours
eat and enjoy


The recipes I saw online were a bit more complicated. I've simplified it. You can also spice it up a bit more. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Only in Israel 😍


Who can label/caption this? Your captions in the comments, thanks.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevorach
May You have a Peaceful and Blessed Shabbat

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Nothing Better than Vegetable Soup

Yesterday afternoon I made myself a much too full pot of vegetable soup full of brown lentils, onion, carrots, ginger, squash, garlic and finely sliced mushrooms. Yes, that's all the ingredients, plus a bit of oil and water, of course.



Cooking on my new gas stove top is such a pleasure. One advantage is that it heats and cooks so quickly. I no longer have to boil water in the electric kettle for cooking purposes. The old electric hotplate I had been using was so slow, I was always supplementing with the kettle, whether for pasta, soup etc.

To make this soup, I started a few of hours early and put the lentils in the pot, added water to cover, plus, and then boiled it for a few minutes, turned off the flame and covered the covered pot with a towel to keep in the heat.

Then, about an hour or more before I needed to eat the soup, I cut up all the vegetables and added them to the lentils, topping with some cooking oil, and began to cook it all on a high flame. As soon as it began to boil, I added more water until about an inch, 2cm from the top of the pot. Then I had it reach boil again and lowered the flame to simmer. Actually, I moved the pot from the double-flame to a weaker one.

When the soup looked almost cooked, vegetables were soft, I added some coarse salt and coarse pepper. It's better to add less than you think would be good, since people can always add more, but you can't reduce salt and pepper in cooked food. About ten minutes later I turned off the flame and let the food continue cooking on its own. It didn't need more than a total of forty minutes of cooking time.

This, easy to prepare, vegan vegetable soup is a full meal. If you eat dairy, you can put a slice of yellow cheese on the bottom of your bowl before serving for an extra tasty protein treat.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

New Stovetop

When I was searching for new kitchen appliances, gas stove top and ovens, I noticed that there's a choice in the arrangements of the four burner stovetop. Although the total size is the same, in terms of how much of the counter it takes up, there's a big difference in pot space between the two.

I chose the stovetop that has the four knobs close together, not spread out in front or on the side. That leaves enough room for one burner to be much larger. And the manufacturer makes it extra strong, two circles of flame.

As you can see in the photo, I can cook in  two large pots, with room to spare. And there's room for two smaller pots, too. That's the most efficient arrangement. I don't have enough counter space for a five or six burner stovetop.


Cooking is so much easier now.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

5779 Stepping Onto The Plate, May You Never Be Alone...

Cross-posted on Shiloh Musings.



For those of you waiting for my annual Fruit Head to greet the New Jewish Year, here he/she is! A few decades ago, during my quarter century, yes, 25 years, as a vegetarian, I adapted our Rosh Hashana table to the reality that nobody in the family wanted to eat a fish head, or even look at one. So, since then I've decorated a fruit, usually an apple, in honor of the New Jewish Year.

I bless you with a year of comfortable companionship. May you never be alone.

The 5779 Fruit Head is joined by a רימון rimon, pomegranate, one of the fruits which has much spiritual significance in Judaism, read 9 Jewish Things About Pomegranates.

One of the principles of Judaism is that Gd is all over, not just in the synagogue, not just when you're praying or remembering Him. Judaism is a "full-time" religion, and we don't need an intermediary to pray to Gd. Gd also sees us all the time, what we do and what we think. We can't hide from Gd.

At the same time, Judaism is divided between the קודש וחול Kodesh v'Chol, the Holy/Gd and Ordinary People/things/everyday. That's why in Judaism it's not considered enough to just pray to Gd, even saying all the words ourselves, it's preferable to pray with a proper minyan, ten men prayer group, with a leader.

Judaism isn't a solitary religion; it's a community. We need other people, other Jews. We need family, even when the family isn't all biologically and legally related. We need the support of other people, and we must help and support in turn. Yes, there is a time when we give and when we receive. That concept is repeated in the book of קהלת Kohelet, Ecclesiastes.

Last week when I led our pre-High Holiday book club discussion on  קהלת Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, I asked if anyone knew why the writer, the son of King David, generally believed to be King Solomon, gave himself the name קהלת Kohelet. We couldn't think of a reason.

Maybe we're supposed to see ourselves as part of a long, complex Jewish History of Jewish People. There are repetitive cycles and lessons to be learned, and that is what King Solomon who is described in the Tanach/Bible as very wise is trying to tell us in קהלת Kohelet, Ecclesiastes. We are a very unique community קהל Kahal from the same linguistic root as קהלת Kohelet.

To survive we need both ordinary people and Gd. Even when things look bad, they are just part of the normal cycle, and we mustn't allow ourselves to wallow in depression. Reach out to others, humans and Gd. Don't be alone.

שנה טובה ומתוקה
גמר חתימה טובה

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Perfect Summer Tea


For years this coffee pot has been sitting in the closet unused. It's old. I'm tired of having things I don't need. It's a waste of space and money.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I did need it. Now I make perfect summer tea in it to serve on Shabbat.

I take two herbal tea teabags. One is usually mint, which shouldn't surprise you. I brew the teas in the pot with a some boiling water, enough to cover the teabags. After it cools a bit I add tap water to almost the top and then refrigerate it before serving. I don't add sugar. Actually it tastes so good I'm not even tempted to add a sweetner.

Enjoy!

Friday, September 07, 2018

Suddenly Cooking Again

For the past couple of years, I barely cooked and didn't bake at all. When I didn't have a functioning kitchen I became very lazy. A few times I baked at my daughter's in Ofra and at a neighbor's, but that was it. If it couldn't be easily cooked in a pot on an eccentric electric burner or two, it just didn't get cooked at all. That had been my kitchen for the past year. And for quite awhile before that, when my old mini-ovens still worked, even before we retired the old stove top, which smelled of gas, no more than two burners were strong and reliable enough for cooking.

Now, I have a kitchen, bli eyin haraa-not to tempt the evil eye, and I must get used to making real meals again. No doubt that our food bills will go up, and I pray that my weight won't join them.

The first things I made in my new ovens were a supply of cake and challah. I couldn't make a super-sized supply, since we don't have much freezer space, just the fridge's freezer. Last week I also made us moussaka, one for Shabbat lunch and one for the freezer. Remember that we're only two people at home, versus the 7-9 we'd have at ordinary Shabbat meals a few decades ago, and don't do all the entertaining we once did. Nowadays, I'm overwhelmed when there are five to prepare for!

Yesterday I cooked the meat and poultry for Shabbat and Rosh Hashanah. I didn't make all that much, but it was more and more varied than I had made for a long time. Take a peek:





Thursday, September 06, 2018

Tefilat Chana, 2018, תפילת חנה 5778, Here in Shiloh

Last night was the annual Tefilat Chana תפילת חנה at Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh. Thousands attended, mostly high school girls. Over the years, when Tel Shiloh was under different managements, there were other programs called Tefilat Chana תפילת חנה.  I believe that last night's basic program featuring an inspiring talk by Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi followed by female singers was the seventh.

Shiloh Hakeduma, Tel Shiloh opened for the event from 5pm, and Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi gave her talk at 8pm, so there was plenty of time to walk around, buy food and noshes, jewelry, clothes and various Judaica. And there was also a special prayer program at the site of the Mishkan, Tabernacle.


To be honest, I didn't check out the prayer at the Mishkan, Tabernacle site. I looked at the crafts and jewelry and even bought myself some gorgeous earrings made and designed by Miriam Feyga Bunimovich. She's selling her jewelry and her husband's woodwork in the First Station to day and tomorrow. Hint...

There were other stands with jewelry, but most were the same you'd find anyplace. I was impressed by the practical Judaica, like the covers for Shabbat hotplates. I received one years ago and still use it on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays.

I also met with friends who were attending. The weather was perfect. What surprised me was the amount to attendees who said that it was their first time in Shiloh.

Tefilat Chana is held the week before Rosh Hashanah. Please try to attend next year.

Shabbat Shalom and Shanah Tovah





Wednesday, September 05, 2018

New Watch, Yes, Again

Here it is:


I haven't had very good luck with cheapo watches recently, so I got one a drop better. At least the salesgirl insists that it's guaranteed for a year. The last two didn't last a year. So this is my third new watch in just over a year, and I truly hope it lasts a lot longer than the previous two. It cost a bit more than I had planned on paying, but the style I wanted didn't come in any color I'd wear.

It was bought in Center 1, which is near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. I didn't have the time to go all the way into the Center of Jerusalem to shop.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Practical Low Tech Kitchen Gadget

For someone like me who eats and cooks lots of fresh fruit and vegetables this little sink hanging insert seems like a great idea.



I found it in the Naaman Outlet, Pisgat Zeev Mall, when I was there to buy a dish-drainer. Instead of having to clutter my counter with a plastic strainer for the wet produce, I can now let it drip into the sink.

Before buying it, I had to ascertain that it would be a suitable size.  That was more complicated, since my sink is a bit larger than standard. First I called my husband who was home and asked him to measure the sink. Then I checked all of the labels on the drainer to see who large it is. No dimensions listed, so I asked the young clerk who was manning the shop for a tape measure. He didn't have one. So I looked around at other items of similar sizes to find something with measurements, and I found one. Then I compared the size of the drainer with that item and visually calculated the approximate size. According to my estimate, it should fit, so I bought it. And I also explained to the young clerk what I had done and demonstrated to him. I added that he should request from his boss a tape measure or they may lose sales.

There wasn't a color that really matched my kitchen, so I chose the lilac for fun.

Monday, September 03, 2018

A Peek into The New Kitchen, The New Dish Drainer

I must confess that although my new kitchen has been functioning for a couple of weeks, I haven't finished setting it up. There are still some things, mostly Pesach/Passover dishes I haven't put away, and there are a number of items I still have to buy, such as a couple of stools for sitting at the dairy counter/table and a step-ladder or stool to help me reach some upper shelves. Remember that I'm short and most probably getting shorter.

Yesterday I finally got myself a new dish drainer for the dairy sink. My husband and one of our daughters picked out a different one for the meat sink last week, which was assembled by a son who dropped by very luckily for us. The counter area around the sinks are different, so what's good for one doesn't fit the other sink. And for the past few years, my husband washes the meat/fleishig dishes, while I was the dairy and parve ones.

A lot of people told me to buy the dish drainers and other kitchen accessories online, but I like to see and touch products first, even though I have a good concept of size and space. And for sure I'm going to have to try out the stools, to make sure I feel comfortable getting on and off.

Since I had refused to allow the old dish drainers into the new kitchen, to be perfectly honest I had wanted to replace them for at least a decade. The cutlery compartment was always falling off, besides after years of use, it was grimy. In the interim I purchased a couple of those dish-dryer cloths which are popular nowadays.  They were disastrous. Even my talents couldn't prevent breakage. One of my favorite dishes flew off and shattered. Maybe they're good when you just wash a few things by hand, but there was no way I could safely pile up all the dishes, pots, pans, cutlery etc I had.

So, yesterday I went off to buy myself a new dish drainer. My original plan was to buy a hanging one, rather small to hang to the left of the sink on the wall, but my son convinced me that it wouldn't work well. So, I just looked for a small counter one. There actually is enough space on the counter for a larger dish drainer, but I plan on using the counter space for eating and food preparation.

I decided to go to the mall in Pisgat Zeev for two reasons. First of all, it is relatively close by. Second, it has two stores, which most probably would have a choice of dish drainers at reasonable prices. The stores are the Naaman Outlet where everything is discounted; I got the tray/basket for onions there. And there is a Home Center, which has a really nice selection of products, though it's not one of their larger branches.

First I went to the Naaman, and they had one dish drainer. It seemed nicely made, not too big, but it was only one level, meaning not much drying space, and cost NS100. So I then went to the Home Center, where there was an really large choice of dish drainers of all materials, sizes, styles etc. I ended up choosing one on display that I had noticed previously. The size seemed right, and it has two levels, plus a small compartment for cutlery and a section for hanging glasses. It was the most efficiently planned one on display, a real space-saver. At NS80, the price was right, too. It was the last of that model and didn't have a box. I had to pay another 30 agarot for a large bag, since bags are no longer free in most stores, and it was too large for the bags I had brought along.

I washed it well when I got home, and it's now in use. For full sinks of dishes, I do have the cloth to cover the counter...


What do you think of it?

Sunday, September 02, 2018

#morningcoffeehaiku in New Kitchen



hard to choose a mug
at least the coffee's ready
cold press in the fridge
#morningcoffeehaiku

such perfect coffee
grateful for my new kitchen
Rosh Hashanah soon
#morningcoffeehaiku


strong sun defeats clouds
cold strong coffee wakes me up
Gd willing great day
#morningcoffeehaiku


love my new kitchen
enjoying the great upgrade
planning was fun, too
#morningcoffeehaiku


coffee wakes me up
sun still hidden by grey clouds
perked last night and chilled
#morningcoffeehaiku


early coffee, sigh
didn't sleep enough again
too much on my mind
#morningcoffeehaiku


another grey morn'
looks brighter with new cellphone
coffee cheers up day
#morningcoffeehaiku


morning sans smartphone
it died suddenly last night
still coffee sunshine
#morningcoffeehaiku


awfully early
didn't sleep enough last night
coffee to rescue
#morningcoffeehaiku


Friday, August 31, 2018

Jerusalem Beer Festival, Great Fun

For the second year in a row, I joined the Beer Maivin aka Doug Greener at the Jerusalem Beer Festival in Independence Park. We all had a wonderful time. I stayed until the noise aka music made it impossible to talk, and then I trekked home, train, bus and tremps.

Of course, I was at the beer festival to drink Israeli craft beer and sample lots of new ones. This year the new and interesting beers were the fruity kind. At one stand there were what I considered "dessert beers." They were sweet, one more an apple cider and the other had a strong pineapple taste. I prefered the pineapple. At a different stand I tried a cherry one, which was awful. It had a very strong taste of artificial cherry, sort of like children's syrupy medicine.

The larger Israeli craft beer companies have been making deals with foreign craft beermakers. One got together with a beermaker in  Arizona, and they came up with what they called the 7 C's. The "C's" are different types of hops. I liked the Israeli version of it.

Basically, I used this wonderful opportunity, the Jerusalem Beer Festival, to hone in on my beer preferences. I like a strong dark beer which tastes like beer and doesn't mask the hops with other flavors. And to be honest, I do better drinking beer than wine.




















Make sure you join us next year.