Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Fifty-Two Frames post

These were several submissions of mine that I made over the past year. Gearing up for the new year!

Pigeons in Petach Tikvah

Nesher cement factory at sunset

Fish pond in Ariel

Bread at Shuk Machaneh Yehuda, Jerusalem

Fighting a wildfire in Ariel

Building new homes in Ariel

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Non-potato latkes

Here are some alternative recipes to try for Chanukah! (And these are all tried-and-true. One year I made a Greek-themed medieval Chanukah feast for our SCA group.)

Onion Fritters
1/2 kg (aprox. 1 lb) onions finely diced
1/2 kg flour
Fresh spearmint
Oil for frying
In a bowl, mix well the onions, spearmint, flour, salt and pepper. Add enough water to make a thick batter. Heat oil in a frying pan. Drop teaspoons of batter into the oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain the fritters well and serve hot.

Aubergine croquettes (Eggplant)
aubergines (enough to make at least 2 cups of aubergine pulp)
2 eggs
Bread crumb
1/2 cup grated cheese (kefalograviera or parmesan)
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Flour for coating
1 tspn baking powder
Wash the aubergines and pierce them in several places. Boil them in salted water until tender. Drain them well, peel of their skin, remove seeds and mash them well until they become a pulp. Place in a bowl. Beat the eggs with a fork and mix with the pulp. Add the bread crumb, 1 tspn baking powder, chopped onion and parsley. Work the mixture until all ingredients are unified. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. If the mixture is very soft and not thick enough add more bread crumb or some flour. Shape the mixture into croquettes or balls, dredge flour over them and fry until brown.
Tip: To soften the aubergines you can bake them for an hour in 190 C, if you prefer

Courgette balls (Zucchini)
1 kg (2.2 lbs) courgettes
1/2 tea cup grated cheese
200 gr grated feta cheese
3 eggs
flour for dredging
Olive oil for frying
Wash the courgettes and cut off their ends. Grate them and squeeze them to remove their liquid. Soak the bread crumbs and drain them. Beat the eggs. In a bowl mix the grated courgettes with the grated cheese, the grated feta cheese, the bread crumbs and the beaten eggs. Add salt, pepper and spearmint. Shape the mixture into balls. Flour the balls and fry them in olive oil until they take brown color.

Santorinian Tomato Rissoles
* 500 gr. tomatoes, rinsed and dried
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped (not grated)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt and black pepper
1 teacup fresh spearmint, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil 150 grams self-raising flour
sunflower oil, for frying
Put the rinsed and dried tomatoes whole into a large bowl. Squeeze and manipulate them with the hands, until they turn into a pulpy substance. This is the only way to do it as you need the skins to give some substance. Next, mix all the ingredients together, apart from the flour. Add enough flour gradually to make a thickish but moist paste. You will probably not need all the flour. The mixture can now wait until it is time to be cooked and eaten. Put about 2.5 cm oil in a large frying pan. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, drop in tablespoons of the mixture and fry, turning the rissoles over once, until lightly golden all over. Serve immediately.

*(I use peeled, whole, canned tomatoes and crush them between my fingers and just use more flour. I don't like the texture of the peel once the tomatoes are smashed).

Delicious yogurt dip to go with the above latkes
1/2 kilo (1 lb) strained yoghurt (I use a good quality goat yogurt)
1 cucumber
4 garlic cloves (more makes it with stronger taste)
Grate the garlic and mix it with salt and vinegar. Peel the cucumber, grate it and squeeze it until all its water is removed. Put the yoghurt into a bowl and add the cucumber into it. Then mix the yoghurt with the mixture of grated garlic. Whiz the content until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add some oil. Yoghurt dip can be served in a normal temperature but it is rather preferred cold.
Variation: substitute chopped dill for the cucumber or garlic.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Family Sukkah Project

Bli Ayin Harah, we're now in our fourth year :)

This year we did orange flower hand prints to add to the mosaic.

And to see the previous years,  go

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Rosh Hashana roses

This is a recipe in progress...

For the time being, all I did was thinly slice apples with my mandolin and cook them in a bit of water, cinnamon, and sugar. Unfortunately cooking them muted the red peel of the apples, so I'm going to have to rethink that. Also, working with wet apple slices was kind of hit and miss.

I cut thin strips of ready-made puff pastry dough I defrosted (French pastry dough will work too) and then layered the slices of apple along the dough, with the peel on top, sticking over the dough. You want to make sure to overlap the slices.

You'll also want to make sure the dough is really cold. I kept it in the freezer while a assembled each rose.

Once they've been rolled, I put them on a cookie sheet covered in baking parchment, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on top and baked it for about 10 minutes.

I think my next try, I'll bake it in a pie tin and put a simple syrup of honey, cinnamon and walnuts between the pieces...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Meatball-stuffed garlic monkey bread

It's a bit of a to-do because you have to make the dough, season the chopped meat, make the meatballs, wrap them in dough and make the marinara sauce.

Of course if you don't particularly care about buying processed foods and ready-made foods straight out of the freezer, I've seen the quick and easy version of this on Pinterest with: Buy some kind of frozen Pillsbury dough, buy frozen cocktail meatballs at Costco, and pop open a jar of your favorite sauce.

The dough I made for this is the onion rolls recipe from The Secret of Challah. Obviously the filling are meatballs instead of onions.

7 cups sifted flour (1 kilo)
2 tablespoons dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons sugar
2 cups warm water
2 eggs
2 tablespoons oil

Mix together the dry ingredients. Then add the wet and knead for about 5 minutes, until all the ingredients are incorporated. Then cover the bowl and let it rise for about an hour or until it's doubled in size.

1/2 kilo (about 1 pound) of chopped meat (chicken, turkey, and lamb will do as well)
Spices - I used garlic powder, black pepper, and oregano

Mix and make into golfball-sized meatballs.

Garlic bread mix:
About 4 generous tablespoons of minced garlic
1/3 cup oil

Take a piece of dough (a little bigger than a golfball size) and flatten it like you're making pizza. Wrap it around the meatball and pinch the ends closed. Place in a 9x13 baking dish.

Once the bottom is loosely filled (you want the dough to barely be touching), spoon some of the garlic mixture on top. Then add the next layer of dough balls. Pour the remaining garlic mixture over the top.

Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake at 350 degrees F (about 180 degrees C) for about 45 minutes. Serve with sauce.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Some humor

I'm part of a Facebook project called Fifty-two Frames which is a year-long photography project. Each week is a different theme and you have to take the submitted photo within that week.

This past week's theme was anthropomorphism/personification. For those not familiar with the terms (and are too lazy to Google it), anthropomorphism is basically seeing humanity in objects or animals. If you click on the link for the Fifty-two Frames FB group, you'll be able to see the whole album and get a pretty good idea of what I mean.

My submission was a bit of a spoof on the home birth/water birth photos that tend to be popular these days. This is the photo I submitted:

And here are the rest of the photos in the 'home birth' series:

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Politics at prayer

So this whole Women of the Wall (WOW), Women for the Wall (W4W) bruhaha... the vitriol going back and forth is an embarrassing chillul Hashem in my opinion.

I don't completely agree with WOW, but I agree with W4W even less. Their 'my way is the only way' is arrogant to say the least.

One of the things that annoys me about W4W is they seem to be ignoring what they claim to be the main goal of their mission statement. (I underlined it for emphasis)

If their ultimate goal is to make a woman's experience to be as meaningful as possible and they will do 'whatever possible' to achieve experiencing this profound connection to God, then why does it seem the only thing they manage to do is try to prevent women from that experience?

The group will be protesting at their third Rosh Chodesh davening at the Kotel in a few days. I have yet to read anything about W4W talking to the various Kotel 'authorities' to advocate say, enlarging the women's section. Or finally moving that unsightly ramp up to Har haBayit. Or any number of things.. BEYOND trying to get WOW banned from the Kotel proper.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Spiritual baking

This was something I had written 5 years ago. Not sure what was stressing me out so badly around then though...

"This might sound silly to some of you, but I actually had a rather meaningful, therapeutic Challah baking session today. 

Since getting the book The Secret of Challah I've really been trying to put more meaning into each step of the process of Challah making. 

The sifting of the flour, adding the ingredients (although I don't take it as far as some I've read about who sing and dance as they go, reciting Tehillim and such), the mixing... I use this time to.. well, as Lt. Lenina Huxley said, "enhance my calm". 

And after this week, I really needed it. 

Apparently more than I thought because as I looked down into this huge bowl of dough I totally lost it. For about 5 minutes I stood there bawling my eyes out as I released the stress of the past few weeks. When I finally calmed down enough, I said the Bracha for Hafrashat Challah, pulled off a piece and began punching the dough down. 

I divided the dough into 6 parts, each one to be divided into strands for braiding. The first one, as I rolled the strands, was dedicated to just thanking HaKadosh Baruch Hu for everything. 

The second was dedicated to asking Hashem to help people I know realize their dream of becoming parents either for the first time or again. Two strands were dedicated to two specific couples I know and the other two were dedicated to the anonymous members of the various boards and forums. 

The third and fourth were dedicated to those who needed healing - physical, mental, emotional. 

The fifth was dedicated to my children. 

And the final one was for my husband and myself. 

I wonder if it will taste different this week..."

This week instead of making six loaves, I made 4, and a batch of garlic knot monkey bread.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Going back

In December, a couple with four children moved to Ariel from Australia. The children were 9, 7, 4, and 3 (or thereabouts) and they moved just a few houses down from us. The 4-year old was placed in my 4-year old's pre-school class and we all became very fast, very good friends. We would often see one another at drop-off and more often than not, we'd meet at pick-up and lately, since the weather got nicer, we'd hang out at the nearby playground to let the kids let off steam.

The two 4-year olds, the 3-year old and another 3-year old Anglo have become near inseparable.

Which is why, when they told us of their decision to return to Australia, I was heartbroken. And I know my 4-year old is going to miss his best mates terribly.

I came up with this idea for a going away present for them: a t-shirt with the Ariel logo on it (readily available since kids need it for assembly) and then I had the Anglo kids who were closest friends with the Australian kids put their hand prints on the t-shirt in paint. Then I wrote their names in permanent marker. The plan is, once they get settled back in Australia, they'll frame it and hang it.

To the Chelom Family,
while you were only here for a little while, your leaving puts a big hole in our lives and in our hearts.
We hope you'll return one day soon, and until then, we wish you the best in Mazal, Simcha, and Bri'ut.
(And you'd better get a Skype account!)