Friday, September 14, 2012

The Vegetarian's Dilemma

Do you tell your hosts you're a vegetarian? 

Many say, you don't want them to go through any trouble and you can just eat the side dishes. I say YES, YES, PLEASE TELL!

1. (Unless you are a vegetarian or vegan purely for health reasons) isn't having someone purchase meat on your behalf half as bad as eating it?

2. What's so bad about influencing your hosts menu? If you believe in the cause, wouldn't you prefer your host serves more plant-based foods?

3. Your host wants to please you. A good host plans a meal around what she hopes her guests will enjoy. A lot of thought goes into this and if you can steer your host in the right direction, it is helpful.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rosh Hashana Menu

Beginning with Shabbat, tomorrow night, through the second day of Rosh Hashana, on Tuesday, there are six festive meals with barely one day to cook in between.  Since I'm having guests for five of those meals, I thought I might want to plan a menu. I don't want my the two young men staying with us to get hungry over the next six days and I want to make sure we have enough FRESH foods left for our big meal on Tuesday. I've had my hands quite full with my non-cooking activities, so I'll be relying on store-bought challah and dips, and uber-simple dessert.

Thankfully, most of my shopping is done, but I'm hoping to go to the shuk (market) tomorrow for fresh salmon and vegetables.
Pesto Zucchini

Here's my provisional menu:

Friday night
  • Turkey with tomato sauce, red wine, mushrooms, olives, and basil
  • Challah and dips
  • Rice
  • Lightly roasted zucchini with pesto sauce
  • Dessert: Mango

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Homebrewing - Part 2: The Process, Amazing Hops, Useful links

This is the second post in our series on brewing beer at home, by special guest, award winning brewer Boaz Harel.  CLICK HERE to read Part 1: Why make your own beer?

One little piece of advice before you forge forth: Looking at all this stuff can be intimidating, and it's easy to get overwhelmed or feel like this is too complicated for you to do. It's not. Making beer is easy. Primitive stone age people did it 6000 years ago with clay pots and a bonfire, it it worked fine. The only difference now is that we've got much better equipment, and many more people to help you if you get stuck.

Using Wort Extract by Jason Pratt
In the Part 1 I discussed why you should brew your own beer at home. Now, I'm going to talk about the basic process of brewing, and try to tackle some of the common questions of new homebrewers. If you are familiar with the process (or are just impatient) you can skip to the links at the bottom of the post for more concrete instructions and resources for brewing at home. 

Let’s start with the most basic question: What does brewing involve, exactly? Well, simply put, when you brew you take the sugars and flavors from malted grain, mix it with water, boil, season to taste, cool, and ferment. See? It's simple! Now go brew!

Ok, so maybe it's not as simple as it sounds. To get the sugar out of the grain you have to rinse it out with water at specific temperatures for specific times, using the twin processes of "mashing" (soaking the grain) and "luthering" (rinsing the grain and filtering out the particles). Doing this at home means that you start with a bunch of dry grain and end up with a big pot's worth of grain-flavored sugar water, known as "wort." When you start your brewing from grain you are using "all-grain" brewing.


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