A Squirrel in the Pear Tree: That was then; This is now

Editor’s note: This article was first published in 2013 in the print Kol Emunah. See the update below. 

squirrel eatingHave you noticed the little tree right opposite the pre-school playground?  I finally did late in July [2013] when I saw some brown blobs hanging from its slender, leafy branches. When I examined the tree more closely, I realized that it was a pear tree with small, brownish pears-hard as rocks- hanging from almost every branch.

There were more than twenty of the little brown fruits. From that moment I dreamed pears: pear relish, poached pears, pear pie, sautéed pears, a true Sukkot treat from Shomrei’s very own pear tree.  Continue reading

Chicken on the Grill

Chicken - Peruvian grilledHawaiian chickenChicken - barbecue with pantry sauce

Our grill sits on our deck and we use it most of the year, but particularly in the summer. We started to grill a lot when we purchased our first gas grill, over 30 years ago. So much easier and quicker than cooking with charcoal.

Having a gas grill came in handy when we redid our kitchen and were without a stove and oven for 3 months. We do have a funny story about that, though. Usually I buy fresh chicken, but this one day I was using chicken that had been frozen. It wasn’t quite defrosted so I left it on our dining table for a bit. When I came back an hour later, the chicken was gone and there was Donny, our little dachshund, in the corner of the living with just a bit of bone still hanging out of his mouth and a bulging tummy. Seems that he had managed to jump onto one of the chairs and then on to the table to get the chicken. No grilling that night. We ordered in. Continue reading

Attending in person Shabbat Services at Shomrei

Gail StocksWe’ve all been home so much during this past year, who would expect to enjoy being “even more at home?” But that’s what it felt like walking into Shomrei and up the stairs and into the service on Shabbat.

Of course I picked up the wrong prayer book but didn’t even notice the pages being called were the wrong pages, because I could not pay attention to the prayer book at all. It was the Rabbi – live on the bima – the congregants – live surrounding me – the singing – reverberating through the room – the Torah on the bima (I was late…) being chanted live so beautifully – it was all I could attend to; the prayer book would have to wait. Continue reading

Goodbye “Sharing Shabbat”

video

Shomrei’s calendar bears a scar. On Friday March 13, 2020 and Saturday March 14, all the Shabbat services were listed as “CANCELED.”  The Shabbat of Ki Tisa was our lockdown date. The following Saturday the “Sharing Shabbat” services began. Broadcast live on YouTube, Rabbi Greenstein, would go to the shul, all alone and lead an adapted one hour service in front of a web camera. How strange it must have been for him, to lead prayers out loud with no response or feedback.  In fact, without even the sure knowledge the automatically triggered technology was working or anyone was listening. Continue reading

Plain and Not So Plain Chicken

CookingThe silver lining to the pandemic has been that our son and daughter-in-law (Moish & Charissa) ― who used to get together with friends every Friday ―are, instead, coming over every week for Shabbat dinner. This past week, Charissa commented that she never cooks chicken herself, partly because she doesn’t like the thought of handling raw chicken but also because she doesn’t know how to cook chicken.

Did I say that the menu every week is always chicken? Lou grew up having chicken for dinner every Friday night for Shabbat. When we were married, I decided to continue that tradition. However, whereas Lou’s mom made chicken the same way every week, I wanted to vary what I served – hence I have a very large number of different chicken recipes. So here is an excerpt of the chicken chapter of the family cookbook I am compiling. I’ll start simple with some roasted chicken recipes … Continue reading

Vive la Difference!

karpasWhy was this year’s Passover different from last year’s?

This year we knew what we were doing as we Zoomed across three continents and several states. We knew where to put the IPad so that everyone could see and be seen. We knew to mute and unmute. We knew how we would sound singing together. And we knew that if we didn’t mute ourselves, everyone could hear our comments.

This year we had in person guests at our small seder, for we were less fearful, though still cautious.

This year we experimented with haroset and grew our own karpas and hazerat.  Continue reading

Kitchen Scrap Gardening for Passover

Aileen's karpas & maror

Aileen’s karpas & maror

It really works!

At the Passover Splash program on March 7, Aileen Grossberg showed the attendees how the root ends of a bunch of celery or head of romaine can be grown in water for use as karpas and maror at the Passover seder.   Once the vegetables have started to put out roots, they can be planted in potting soil and will continue to grow leaves.

Continue reading

Putting Seder (Order) in Our Yoga Practice

Editor’s note: Elisa gave this drash (commentary) at the yoga practice for Passover Splash on Sunday March 7, 2021

ElisaauthorsphotoUsually I don’t begin a Jewish yoga practice discussing yoga, but instead, start with a drash or commentary on the parsha or theme of the morning.

Today, I’m discussing yoga.

Decades ago when I first began practicing, I started with Ashtanga Yoga, a very precise form of yoga that is composed of six series, each of which has a set order of prescribed poses. The first series (I never made it much beyond the first, and not sure I ever really “nailed it”–more on that phrase in a moment–even at that) has about 40 poses.      Continue reading

Starting with Starters

Recipe blog picture

Back in September at the start of the (Jewish) new year, I started a new project – compiling my recipes into a book for my daughter and daughter-in-law. The project posed several challenges – many of my “recipes” were just scribbled suggestions of ingredients while some were not written down at all. Still others were actual recipes that I had found over the years – except that I didn’t follow any of them as written and had not noted down my modifications.

So …. I have embarked on a year-long (or possibly longer) journey which involves making each recipe and writing down the ingredients and directions for all the items I cook. In addition, at the request of my daughter-in-law, I am taking pictures so that she knows what the finished recipe looks like. Continue reading