Thursday, April 30, 2020

"Sauerkraut Salad," Corona Lock-down Recipe #3

This is the third in the series of recipes I've been making with the goodies we've received in "care cartons" for senior citizens here in Shiloh during the Corona Lock-down. See, sample and share:

Cooking With Canned Beans, Corona Lock-down Recipe #1
Cooking With Canned Pineapple, "Apple-Pineapple Compote," Corona Lock-down Recipe #2

When I was putting away the cans, my head/mind kept trying to figure out what to do with them. Waste was not an option. Normally there's almost no canned food in my pantry, other than cans we received on Purim from others. But I believe that I must use these gifts, so I've been trying to figure out recipes.

Sauerkraut? Gevalt! That was never on our menu. Apparently sauerkraut is very healthy. Since simplicity is one of the hallmarks of my cooking or food preparation, I decided to add some to a salad. After half a century here in Israel, salad means minimally cucumbers and tomatoes. So I added  a few spoonfuls of sauerkraut. Yes, it's that simple.

Sauerkraut Salad

Yes, easy to prepare, healthy and surprisingly tasty, too.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Cooking With Canned Pineapple, "Apple-Pineapple Compote," Corona Lock-down Recipe #2

This is the second in the series of recipes I've been making with the goodies we've received in "care cartons" for senior citizens here in Shiloh during the Corona Lock-down. See, sample and share:

Cooking With Canned Beans, Corona Lock-down Recipe #1

Corona Lock-down Recipe #2:

The box of goodies/staples sic, we received as senior citizens included a few cans of lightly sweetened pineapple. I decided that with the addition of a few apples and a teaspoon of cinnamon, we'd have Apple-Pineapple Compote.

Yes, that's the recipe plus a bit more water than was in the can. I cooked it all up until the apples were soft, and we ate it for dessert on Shabbat.  There's still some leftover. My husband, who's not much of a fruit eater even liked the compote.

The Apple-Pineapple Compote was very easy to make. The most difficult part of the preparation was opening the can. Thank Gd I have an old simple can-opener.

Corona Lock-down Recipe
Apple-Pineapple Compote

Friday, April 24, 2020

Cooking With Canned Beans, Corona Lock-down Recipe #1

Life in Corona Lock-down. This week I "gave in" and accepted the offer to get some ready-made meals. There are perks to being 70+. We're registered as one person, not two, because I do cook. It's just that the idea of receiving ready-made "restaurant meals" seemed irresistible. The meals are like TV Dinners or kosher airline meals with a bag of pre-washed salad.

The day after we received our first meals, we got two cartons of food staples, disposable eating utensils and a few dozen rolls of toilet paper.

As you can see there are lots of canned goods, and I almost never use canned food.
"Never say never."
Presuming that the cartons will arrive about monthly, I decided that our lunches will be based on the food we've received. Since I had baked sandwich rolls the day before, my husband got a tuna sandwich and I ate the other half of the can with cooked vegetables.

The following day I challenged myself to come up with a meal using the Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce. So I cut up an onion and two nice squashes and put the pieces in a pot, added the contents of the can plus some water.

After the vegetables were fully cooked, I served the "stew" with fresh salad, as you can see in the photo below. My husband also got a serving of pasta.

It was delicious,frugal and we ate much too much. This bean vegetable stew was easy to make, healthy and inexpensive. Call that a success, thank Gd.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Corona COVID-19, Lock-down, Stories Continue

More of my life in the corona lock-down.

Sunday-Thursday most weeks

Now it's post-Pesach, so we're back to a "new normal." Whatever that means. I've resumed my daily story reading on Facebook Live, 4pm Israel time, which is 9am New York time. If you're in a different time zone, I trust you can calculate it. Also, I save the readings on facebook, so just scroll down on my page. 

Everyone seems to be coping differently. it's not all a matter of better or worse. It's more that our needs are all different, and we're making great efforts to stay cheerful, healthy and productive. That's really the best we can do.

I still get out with one of my regular walking partners, but now we're masked and stay 2 meters or 6 and a half feet apart.

My favorite special lock-down activity is reading children's books on Facebook live. But I'm running out of books. That's a problem. I'll have to start borrowing books. You can click the link on the bottom if you have a facebook account and watch one of my readings.

Nobody has a clue as to when life will really go back to normal. Am I repeating myself? Sorry.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

"Prepare My Prayer," Perfect Timing, Book Review

Prepare My Prayer
by Rabbi Dov Singer
I read Prepare My Prayer by Rabbi Dov Singer just as the corona virus aka COVID-19 began to restrict our basic life as Jews. The fear and uncertainty of our basic health has certainly been affecting the faith of most of us regardless of our general spirituality and religious observance. It was very clear that I'd need time to fully digest Singer's book.

page xv
The Introduction had me very wary, because it mentioned "Hasidic revival," of which I've never been a fan. I have problems with the entire concept of hasidism, because for me is theologically problematic. As I understand it, hasidim place a rebbe between themselves and Gd. According to my understanding of Judaism, one of the main principles is that we worship Gd directly. I also don't go to graves and tombs to pray to Gd.

Despite my doubts, I read through the book very carefully. Prepare My Prayer ended up being extremely timely, because it encourages looking for words, phrases sections of our long prayers that speak to us personally, in addition to the solitary, hibodedut, praying we are now commanded to observe.

Temporarily, until the corona virus aka COVID-19 is no longer considered an immediate danger, community aka prayer with a minyan (group of ten or more) is forbidden in most of the Jewish World. Rebbe Nachman and his followers are suddenly "mainstream." We all must learn how to pray alone, and I consider Prepare My Prayer to be the perfect tool to help us.

Here in Israel we're not allowed to take long walks to isolate ourselves for prayer in the ways of classic Bratslav, but we do have to find the beauty and relevance from the text. Singer's Prepare My Prayer really encourages us to look at the prayers instead of just following.

Catriel Sugarman who
Rebbe Nachman's chair
Israel Museum
Davka, just before Purim, at the Israel Museum, there was the grand opening of an exhibit depicting the Bratslav Hasidim's solitary prayer, which I attended and wrote about. The curators were fascinated by the beauty and spiritualism of solitary praying on logs and broken chairs, rather than in well-kept decorated synagogues.

Even when today's restrictions are long over and history, our prayers should be more personalized and meaningful, not just a proscribed mumbo-jumbo. Too many young people have left observance, because they couldn't connect spiritually, intellectually and emotionally to the long, standardized, structured classic prayers. Rabbi Singer is the principal of Yeshiva High School Mekor Chaim, and no doubt he has found many welcome ears for his approach to Jewish Prayer.

Despite my initial misgivings, I got a lot from reading Prepare My Prayer by Rabbi Dov Singer and highly recommend it for yourself and as a gift to people of all ages.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Table for Two, Passover, 2020, Pesach 5780 מה נשתנה הלילה הזה?

?מה נשתנה הלילה הזה

Here are two views of our Passover Seder Table, which for the very first time in history was set and ready before I lit the holiday candles. I'm not sure exactly how many of the forty-nine, yes 49 s'darim we've had as a married couple we hosted. It's most probably just over half or two-thirds.

But one thing for sure; I never had the table fully set before lighting candles before. So we have no old photos of the table all set up.

In addition, from the time our daughters were old enough, they took charge of setting the table, so I probably haven't done it alone for well over forty years.

I had too many matzah covers to choose from. I gave my husband his traditional one, which had been given to us by my parents. And I used mine, which I had embroidered from a kit over forty years ago. Others we must have inherited from my parents' stock of Judaica.

On the table there are lots of memories plus the mosaic hotplate I made in our local senior citizen group. The Seder Plate and other hotplate were gifts from friends. The two-handled washing cup was from (one of) our children. I'm pretty sure that the glass wine goblets date back to a rather large seder we hosted in our small Jerusalem apartment over forty years ago.

Another first time in well over forty years, my husband did the entire seder on his own. All I contributed was the ?מה נשתנה הלילה הזה Mah nishtanah...? Why is this night...? aka the Four Questions. And of course I planned and cooked, while he followed his tradition of preparing the charoset (chopped apples and nuts) and chrain, horseradish paste.

Now I must prepare for Shabbat. No time to rest/goof off.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Pesach Kasher V'Sameach

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

My Passover Kitchen! Sort Of

Even though we don't have a separate specially built and equipped "Passover Kitchen," mine is pretty close to that dream/ideal.

I am very happy with the new kitchen we did less than two years ago. I did most of the designing. Almost everything for Passover lives in it easy to access all year long. Anyone who has to kasher their kitchen annually knows what I mean. I still clean it of course, but only two closets get switched. And I have some pots in the laundry room, which is just across the hallway.

Here are some photos. Sorry, but I don't have time to chat.

Chag Pesach Sameach 

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Baile Rochel Locked In? Nah! Can't Keep a Good Girl Down

Baile Rochel tell you how it really is:

Life in The Corona Lock-down

The other day I got an emergency call from my childhood playmate:
"Baile Rochel, the world is waiting for your words of wisdom."
"Nu, me?"
What wisdom?

I'm just a sloppy overweight middle-aged senior citizen who keeps getting chastised by my children for taking walks outside the house. I dress like a bandit with a mask and all. OK, I admit that the "mask" is just a folded shmatta, cut from a ripped flannel sheet. For goggles, I have my trusty multifocals.

When people ask why I still go outside I answer:
"Doctors orders!"
When corona virus, COVID-19, the plague, or whatever you want to call it, is no more than an awful memory, high blood pressure, diabetes, serious aches and pains, etc ad nauseum will still be live threats. In addition, I live in the "sticks," in a private home, so I don't need scuba gear in an elevator or public stairwell.

I rarely see anyone when outside, and if I do, I cross the street. And if that's not possible, proper corona manners demand that the younger wanderer must climb the nearest tree. A close call was averted when a clueless little kid started approaching encroaching on my personal space, about the distance/height of a star basketball player, so I growled. He got the hint and ran away.

Like many, I'm hoping that I still have clothes that fit when this corona has crooned away. In a "normal year," I would have given fattening chametz, the food forbidden on Passover, away before the holiday begins. And in case you haven't been following the Jewish calendar, Passover's next week. Corona prevention regulations forbid giving away food, so my husband and I are enjoying suffering by eating pancakes-made in large family quantity and other forbidden for dieters foods. Yes, I'm finishing the beer, too. It's chametz!

I haven't seen my grandchildren in person since Purim. But now on the advice of one of my kids I am "living my old dream" to be an international "entertainer" by reading children's stories daily on facebook. Anyone can tune in, as long as you have a facebook account. Join to watch my daily shows.

One corona related regulation I'm following very strictly is staying away from the supermarket. My husband can't do his beloved shuq, open market, shopping either; it's in Jerusalem and shuttered. We must be saving a lot of money. Every few days I call the manager of the local grocer and order a few things. They arrive straight to our doorstep.

And I can't remember the last time I ate out with friends, another frugality of the corona lock-down. We now meet frequently on Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, email and, of course, my blogs written under my other name. But:

Mrs. Sullivan's Dancing School, Bayside, NY, circa 1953