Seasonal This and That

Sept 14 apology

It always amazes me how we transition so smoothly between the joyous solemnity of Rosh Hashanah to the contemplation of Yom Kippur and then back to rejoicing in the bounty of the earth and the gift of the Torah.

On Yom Kippur, we recite a long list of behavorial errors-often by rote. “How to Forgive” by Amy Klein (Hadassah Magazine online)  looks at some recent books about forgiveness. Klein says  “… at this time dedicated to introspection, soul searching and forgiveness, there are mixed emotions: grief for the people who passed; sadness and empathy for those who got sick, lost jobs and suffered in quarantine. But what should we feel for people who refused to observe quarantine mandates or wear masks, who won’t vaccinate (for nonmedical reasons) or who spread disinformation about Covid-19? Or for those who perpetuated divisions in our society? What to do about all the emotions—even rage—at the stubborn ones who we think are responsible for our suffering? ” In her article entitled “How to Forgive”, she cites two books that helped her deal with her conflicted emotions.  Continue reading

Apple, apples everywhere

apples

You know by now that I love to cook. Finding recipes, organizing and writing my shopping list, assembling the ingredients on the counter and following the directions appeal to my inner nature that really, really wants a predictable outcome in these unpredictable times that we are living in.

On the other hand, I’ve spent far too much time in the kitchen these past 18 months. So when planning my holiday meals, I looked for delicious outcomes with minimum effort.

I could not resist sharing with you one last set of holiday recipes. They all use apples, but you could easily substitute pears. Did you know that Shomrei has a pear tree loaded (at least as I am writing this) with almost ripe pears?  Continue reading

Summer Viewing and Doing (Updated)

There are so many great viewing opportunities right now. With the weather as sultry as it is, and the COVID threat still with us, taking a break for an armchair visit to another country or participating in a book talk is a good idea.

CAVEAT: Always check times for online events. Often the website will be in PDT or even European or Israeli time.

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

To Grill or Not to Grill

Yes, I know it’s grilling season. But years ago our grill’s time was up. Now I use a grill pan on the stove and my marvelous Breville oven to beat the summer heat.

So here are some non grilling summer recipes many of which you can adapt if you prefer to cook  outdoors.

July 15Pineapple-Cucumber-Gazpacho-Start with a cold soup like pineapple gazpacho (See: Cool Food for a Hot Day, Jun 26, 2016). You’ll need a good knife and some kind of blender to puree the mixture. It goes together quickly especially if you buy a precut pineapple. And it can be as spicy as you wish with the addition of extra jalepeno. Or try a little of Trader Joe’s Chili Lime seasoning to spice up the soup. Pomegranate seeds or plump blueberries might make a colorful garnish. 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

Easy Cooking

kitchen_at_shomrei
It’s been a while since I posted new recipes. Passover cooking and general languishing (that’s the stage between flourishing and depression, according to my daughter) got the better of me. Then the dishwasher died.

Dinners have been very simple- ad hoc stir fries with lots of vegetables, baked fish or chicken, salads and soup and lots of things from the freezer.

Continue reading

Four Questions

questions.inddWhere does it say that brisket is the dish of choice on Passover? Where does it say that gefilte fish is de rigueur? Where does it day that sweet wine is a must? And where does it say that one is obligated to replicate everyday food rather than going with natural food that can be eaten anytime?

The Lampert Library’s staff (me) has researched the questions: there are no rules. Much of what’s served- other than ritual foods- is just custom and what was available or what could be adapted. Even among the ritual foods there is a lot of choice. Continue reading