Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shana Tova! - A sampling of my food prep

I wanted to wish you all a sweet, happy, healthy, successful, and peaceful new year.  Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, begins this evening.

Our family has been invited out for three meals.  I'm bringing some salads and dessert and keeping the rest of our meals simple.  We are even mixing it up with a couple dairy meals (blasphemous, I know). Tomorrow we are planning a cold meal with fancy cheese, smoked salmon, bagels, and fruits like persimmon and pomegranate.  Traditionally meat and hot foods are eaten on holidays, but with six meals, we think whatever is considered special is fair game for a holiday meal, and we love dairy!

While I'm sitting down for my little break, I thought I'm share a few other things I'm making.

- Cinnamon honey cookies with apple sauce and fresh vanilla - to go with a non-dairy frozen dessert I bought.  I had a tough time with the dough, so I put the whole lump on parchment paper, covered it in plastic wrap, and rolled it out.  No sticky mess on the table or rolling pin.  Then I baked it whole and used cookie cutters while it was still warm.  I would recommend this method if you have sharp cookie cutter (I didn't) and if you don't mind the leftover, though equally yummy, scraps.

- Quinoa tabbouleh - some for us and some for one of our hosts.

- Pasta salad.  I don't know what kind yet. Maybe Sun-dried Tomato Basil Pasta Salad.

- I also have Pre-mixed Bulgur Salad I can always make by adding hot water.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kosher Cooking Carnival - The Holidays Are Coming!

Welcome to the Kosher Cooking Carnival (KCC) for the Hebrew month of Tishrei! Autumn is officially upon us. It rained this Shabbat here in Israel and I'm guessing some of you have an incredible view of the colorful autumn leaves. This year Israelis and Jews abroad unite under the infamous "three day yom tov."

For those who don't know: Outside of Israel, Jews celebrate holidays for two days, whereas in Israel the chagim are only observed for one day... except Rosh Hashana!  The Jewish new year is, and has always been, observed for two days throughout the world.  Outside of Israel, where two day holidays are commonly observed, it is not unusual for the holidays to abut or overlap with Shabbat, giving two or three days in a row where holidays are observed with the resulting restrictions.  But Israelis are not accustomed to the extended period of observance that occurs this year where two days of Rosh Hashana (beginning Wednesday night) lead directly into Shabbat.   This puts many in quite a frenzy, especially those in charge of preparing six festive meals in a row (lunch and dinner for two days of Rosh Hashana and Shabbat).

G6's  Croation Star Raisin Challah  
For the majority of us who have not been planning our meals and freezing kugals and pies for weeks, I hope this edition of KCC will put you in the mood to celebrate the way Jews do best... with food!

Food is an integral part of most Jewish holidays.  While Passover seems to be the best known for requiring specific foods, Rosh Hashanah has a rich tradition of food-based symbolism to reign in a good new year.  Sarah Melamed of Food Bridge celebrates Symbolic Foods of Rosh Hashanah with her beautiful photography and explanations of a sampling of traditional symbols.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Creamy Roasted Tomato and Corn Soup with Cauliflower (non-dairy)

Autumn is officially here, but our vegetable stands are still selling some reminders of summer.  This soup is perfect to use up your summer produce and enjoy on an almost cool, and possibly rainy day.

Working in this order will lead to more appropriate cooking times.  You can prep while other things cook.  If you have a large oven, you may want to think of other things you want to cook at the same time to conserve energy.  This would be good served with toasted garlic bread or homemade pita chips.
  1. Roast garlic.  You only need 2 or 3 cloves, but I like to roast the whole head and use during the week.
  2. Seed and roast tomatoes.  I cut regular vine tomatoes in quarters.  You can also halve Roma or cherry tomatoes.
  3. Wash corn and cut off cob. (Yes, you could use frozen.  I wouldn't bother with canned.) 
  4. Wash cauliflower, cut to small bite-size pieces, and roast.
  5. Begin cooking corn in the pot you will use for the soup.  Sauté in a little oil.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Creativity Outside the Kitchen PLUS Recipe Links

I've been so tired lately.  Not up for much standing in the kitchen.  I don't know how much more cooking I'll be doing in the last six-ish weeks of my pregnancy or right after. I am planning a home birth, G-d willing, so maybe the labor pains will inspire an interesting kitchen creation.  In the mean time, I've been getting crafty with things I can do with my feet up.

At the beginning of the summer I learned bead-weaving from a great book - Beaded Allure.  I'm sure there are lots of good books out there, but after I read through this one I had the skills and confidence to make my own designs.  The pictures and instructions were very clear, and right now it's on sale for half what I paid.  I was instantly attracted to the more expensive plated beads and Swarovski Crystals.  Both in an out of the kitchen, I have always been inspired by great materials.  Beading is not the cheapest hobby, but I really enjoyed learning, designing my own things, and knowing that I have one more skill in my craft box.   Below from left: My first beaded necklace - trying an asymmetrical design; easy necklace from an instructor's design; heart for my daughter's backpack - figured it out myself; earrings and necklace made for my mom - my design with gold plate beads and Swarovski Crystals.

I've been wanting to learn how to knit or crochet for sometime, but kept putting if off, thinking, "How often do I/will I have two free hands?"  Last week I finally got to the store to buy some yarn and hooks and I learned to crochet from YouTube - a fellow blogger's suggestion.  I recommend Crochet Geek.  The new hobby came just in time for a week sick in bed.  I'm glad I went overboard buying yarn and hooks when I had the chance, because it really saved my sanity.  Below: Baby boots from YouTube tutorial - Rib Cuff Baby Bootie; netted snood - my first project, my own design; two views of a lamb doll I made - my own design, but inspired by the "blackberry stitch."


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