Archive | July, 2011

Get BRAVE

31 Jul

I am mad mad mad about summer tomatoes.  I love them.  LOVE.  I could almost eat them like apples.  You show me a ripe summer tomato and I’ll make it disappear.  I can’t get enough of ’em!  I’ve got a recipe for you today that I learned from watching Oprah a few years ago.  It’s arguably the easiest thing that I know how to cook.  My two favorite things about this recipe are that it’s a sort of do what you want recipe AND that it involves tomatoes.

I’m clearly feeling more brave in the kitchen these days.  I’m currently addicted to recipes that give me a guide that I can alter and shift as needed.  I know, I KNOW…that’s exactly what all recipes are.  You can believe it or not but recipes are guides.  They aren’t one of the 613 Mitzvot.  You can change them!  Who knew!  I get that, sorta.  I’m brave-ish…not crazy.  I like a recipe that starts out by saying here’s the base, here’s a guide line.  BUT!  If you like _____________ then throw that in.  I like pretending that I’m a chef.  Throwing in random ingredients makes me feel like I know what I’m doing and gets me excited.  It makes me feel like I’m slowly turning into Ina Garten and who doesn’t want that?

What?

1 box of spaghetti (or other pasta that you love…linguini, angel hair…whatevs)

1 small bag of vine ripened cherry tomatoes (they come in a cute little bag still on a vine at the store)

1 small bunch of basil (this also comes in a small little box at the store)

Olive oil, salt and pepper

 

How?

I know what you’re thinking.  How on earth can I prepare a pasta dish that only involves 3 ingredients.  Take a deep breath and come with me.  It’s real easy, y’all.  Boil your pasta.  While that’s happening take a large bowl that can hold all of the pasta.  If you have a large bowl that also has some sort of a lid use that.  Take your cherry tomatoes and squeeze them into the bowl.  Literally.  Squeeze the tomatoes open into the bowl and tear the tomatoes into small pieces.  Use the whole bag.  Take your basil and chop or tear it into the bowl with the tomatoes.  Once he pasta is ready?  Dump maybe half a cup (don’t stress about the amount…not a lot but also not a little) into the bowl with the tomatoes and basil.  Strain your pasta.  BUT!  Be quick about it toss the pasta into a colander and let most of the water drain out but not all.  Throw the pasta into your bowl.  The hot pasta will cook the tomatoes and basil, the starchy pasta water will keep the pasta wet and form a little sauce with the tomatoes.  Put the lid on your bowl and give it a shake to mix up the tomatoes, basil and pasta. Give it a few minutes to let the pasta cook the tomatoes and basil maybe 10-ish minutes?  Salt and pepper the dish and finish it with a little olive oil…just a drizzle or 4.

Done!

This isn’t super saucy but it is delicious.

Want to kick that up a notch?  I added a couple of chopped garlic cloves and a can of San Marzano that I also smashed into the bowl with the other tomatoes and basil.  You can add cheese or chicken.  How about some fried onions?  Everything tastes better with a fried onion.  Saute some bell pepper?  Zucchini?  Squash?

Seriously, y’all.  Give this a try.  It’s simple.  It’s easy.  You can add or take out any of this.  Make it your own!  Double up the tomatoes if you like more stuff in your pasta.  You’re in the driver’s seat for this one.  ENJOY!!

Dairy Sunday!

24 Jul

While Whit is in the clouds in Costa Rica and Jeremy is recovering from a bachelorette party…what is Misty doing?  Misty is cooking for JewHungry!!  The last time I was a guest blogger it was February and there were right at 400 hits on the site.  Now, five months later there are 2,816 and counting!  I hope everyone who is visiting enjoys this easy and delicious meal!

Sundays are usually a little crazy around here, while we try to do our best to just hang out and “be” on Shabbat, that means that Sundays are NUTS and is never-ending loads of laundry, yard work, grocery shopping and all those other fun domestic things to do.  So, during the kids nap time, I start getting ready for dinner.  This week I prepared a Heart of Palm Salad, Spinach Quiche with Pine Nuts and Apple Pie for dessert.  While it seems like a lot of work, simple things like the cut canned hearts of palm, bagged greens and frozen pie crust really cut down on prep time!

*PS- please forgive me if the format gets all crazy here…I have no clue what I’m doing 🙂  Thanks!  Misty Lacefield

 

 

 

 

 

Hearts of Palm Salad

What:

1 cup mixed baby greens

1 (14 0z) can hearts of palm salad, cut, drained

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup sliced radishes

1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed

1 blood orange, cut into segments (or 1/2 cup canned mandarin oranges)

2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Sea Salt and ground black Pepper

How?

Toss greens, hearts of palm, onion, radishes, avocado and orange segments in a bowl with vinaigrette.  Season with salt & pepper.  Drizzle with additional vinaigrette, if desired.  *I couldn’t find a blood orange on my quick trip out and I HATE mandarin oranges so I skipped the orange all together but it was still a delicious salad and EASY!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Spinach Quiche with Pine Nuts

What?

1 frozen 9-inch ready-made whole wheat pie crust

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

6 cups (I used 1 bag of organic baby spinach leaves) washed and dried

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon dried sage or 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup milk

2 large eggs

1 large red potato, steamed until firm-tender, sliced 1/4 inch thick

How?

Preheat the oven to 350.  Remove pie crust from freezer and thaw for ten minutes. * While your waiting, go ahead and toast your pine nuts and steam your potato so they will be ready. *  Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork and bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove crust from oven and let cool.

Heat olive oil in a medium saute pan.  Add garlic, spinach, salt, pepper and sage.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, or until the spinach is just wilted.  Stir in pine nuts.

In a small bowl, mix mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  In another bowl, whisk milk and eggs together.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture on the pie crust.  Top with half of the spinach mixture.  Place potato slices on top of spinach.  Add half remaining cheese mixture and then remaining spinach mixture.  Top with remaining cheese.

Place the pie pan on a baking sheet.  Carefully pour in milk mixture.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly before cutting.

 

 

 

 

 

Swedish Apple Pie

What?

Apples for a pie (I used 4 organic Gala apples b/c it’s what I had)
1 tbsp. sugar
Cinnamon
3/4 c. melted butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Pinch salt
Vanilla ice cream (opt.)

How?

Fill pie pan 2/3 full of peeled, sliced apples. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar and cover apples with cinnamon. In small bowl, combine butter, 1 cup sugar, flour, egg, nuts and salt. Pour over the apples. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.  *This pie was SO easy, I actually made it spontaneously just b/c I had an extra pie shell- it was delicious and not too sweet b/c of the Gala apples.*

Dear Blue Cheese: I love you.

13 Jul

I’m not sure what has happened to my taste buds.  The old ones have either committed suicide, moved out or simply grown up.  There was a time in the not so distant past that blue cheese and I could not get along.  If I so much as smelled the stuff I’d get frowney faced and stick out my tongue in disgust.  It secretly upset me.  You see, I believe in cheese.  I.  Love.  It.  It should be its own food group.  I’ve praised it for as long as I can remember.  In fact, some of my earliest childhood memories are of cheese.  I’m serious.  Don’t laugh.  There were whole stretches of time where cheese (slices, pieces, blocks) was the only thing I would eat.  I know, I know.  It’s hard to live in a world where you can do things like select cheese as your only form of nourishment.  It’s difficult to be me, for sure.

What I’m trying to tell you is that I have a new cheese mistress.  Her name?  Blue.  I want her on salads, grits, smeared on a warm baguette, crumbled up in a bowl of beats.  Sigh.  Suddenly, I want her everywhere.  I can’t explain it.  I’m not sure when the change came or where it came from but I am a happy man.

I woke up today craving salad.  It might be because I’ve had the tiniest addiction to fast food lately.  I’m working though it.  My body is rebelling and begging for vegetables!  It could also be that I visited my family in St Louis last weekend and my grandmother forced me to eat like it was an Olympic Sport.  Either way…I woke up today desperate for a salad.  I made a giant garbage salad.  GIANT.  I also made my own salad dressing.  I’m sure you can guess the flavor.  Thank you, Martha Stewart for helping my new addiction to blue cheese dressing get out of control.

 

WHAT?

1 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

4 oz blue cheese crumbles

fresh ground black pepper and salt to taste

 

HOW?

Whisk together buttermilk, mayo, yogurt, lemon juice and thyme.  Stir in the blue cheese and then season with salt and pepper.

 

Totally amazing and easy, right?  I had a moment at the store when I thought I was going to make a super low-fat and/or healthy version of this dressing.  Google tells me that I can substitute more yogurt for the buttermilk.  I would suggest going with a Greek yogurt.  You need something with a little zing to spruce up its bite.  I hope you’ll try this dressing.  It’s easy and oh so tasty.  I’m going to try to not eat the whole bowl full!

 

Scones . . . it’s what’s for breakfast on shabbos mornin’ (and seuda shlishit)

11 Jul

Like I said, I’ve got some free time.  Therefore, I feel the pressure to step it up when it comes to shabbat cooking.  I have to confess, when it comes to shabbat dinner planning, I usually go big for dinner but as a result, lunch gets a bit, well, sad and seuda shlishit (third meal) turns into leftover challah and hummus.  But not this Shabbat. Oh no my friends, this Shabbat I showed up.  I made SCONES. But not just any dinner AND scones.  I made cherry scones with orange zest and organic whole wheat pastry flower and oats. I mean these were delicious. We were asked out to a seuda shlishit (third meal — it’s required on shabbat to have three meals.  You first is dinner, second is lunch and third is a little snack before post-shabbat dinner.  This idea is linked to a section of Torah that states “And Moshe said: Eat it (the Manna) today, for today is Shabbat to Gd; today you will not find it in the field.” The use of the word today three times in the sentence in reference to eating the manna is considered the background resource  for the Rabbinic rule requiring three meals on Shabbat), which we never get asked out to so I figured I should bring it and ‘it’ was scones.  yum. Now, the thing about scones, for those who aren’t as familiar, is that they are not super duper sweet.  You will be sorely disappointed if you’re expecting a sugary sweet breakfast treat.  You will not, however, be disappointed if you’re expecting a buttery, almost biscuit-like treat that tastes good either with jalapeno and white cheddar or with orange zest and cherries.

Orange and Oat Scones
(as adapted from 101Cookbooks.com)

WHAT?

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups rolled oats
zest of 1 orange
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup coarse turbinado or Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
2/3 cup dried cherries

How?!

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the flour, 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse 15-20 times or until it looks like sandy pearls. (If you are working by hand, cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter.) Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir in the oats and zest. Stir in the buttermilk and currants until just moistened.

Bring the dough together with your hands. If the dough is still too crumbly, stir in more buttermilk a tiny splash at a time, but try to avoid over mixing. After bringing the dough together, gently pat it into an 8-inch round. Cut into triangle shapes (see photo) and transfer to the prepared baking sheet with some room between each scone. Sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 12 to 15 minute or until the bottoms are deeply golden.

Makes 8 extra-large scones, or 12 to 16 larger ones.

…and so it begins

9 Jul

I have been trying to be a Jew for a real long time.  Maybe forever.  One of my favorite movies is Yentl for crying out loud.  It always has been.  I’m not sure if it was the sexual frustration and confusion that was speaking to me as a kid, or the desperate need to light candles, pray and learn.  Probably all of the above.  Maybe you’re reading this thinking that you agree, that you’ve been trying to be a Jew your whole life too so what’s the big deal.  The big deal is that I grew up in rural Arkansas as a Southern Baptist.

There.  Do I have your attention now?

That’s right.  I was a Southern Baptist and now I’m converting.  I’m not sure I know how to explain why I want to convert other than I feel it in my gut.  I know it’s what I’m supposed to do. I’ve heard it said that some people are born with a “Jewish Soul” and that they never feel fully satisfied and whole until they go through a conversion.  Maybe that’s a little out there.  I don’t know if I buy it myself.  What I can tell you is that I’ve got a Jewish Soul and it’s time that it came out of the closet.  That’s really all I want to say about it.

For the last few years I’ve taken classes, talked to rabbis, consulted friends, prayed, worried, wondered.  This is not an easy process, friends!  I’ve been on a path to conversion for a long while.  I began an official process to convert back in October.  Then?  I quit my job and started waiting tables, which didn’t really work well for attending Temple services.  Friday and Saturday nights are big money nights in restaurants.  You have to work weekend night to make money.

I’ve gradually become more and more frustrated with my restaurant schedule.  I don’t want to work every weekend.  Not only do I want to go to temple on Friday nights, I also want to see my husband and our friends.  I want a life, y’all.  I deserve a life with a normal schedule.  So?  Last week I talked to my manager and changed my work availability.  I no longer work on Friday nights.  Friday nights are for Temple.  It’s time to focus on more important things than selling food to strangers.

As I begin to focus more on this process, I want to share and I guess sorta journal what happens.  I think I’m technically supposed to keep a written journal but I like the idea that somebody, somewhere could be thinking and feeling the same things that I am and that reading what I’m going through might help them.  When Whitney and I started this blog I had this whole journaling my conversion for the blog idea in the back of my mind.  JewHungry has been such a wonderful outlet for me.  It’s kept me feeling creative and kept us fed. It has also been one of the things that has connected me to my Jewishness when I haven’t had time for temple or meetings with my Rabbi.  I suppose it’s time to nourish my little Jewish Soul.  I hope you’ll enjoy and/or get something out of what I write about each week…

Tonight was my first Shabbat.  I went to services with my in-laws.  I was a little nervous.  Mostly though?  I was excited to get started.  I’ve put this off long enough.  What I can say about tonight is that it was both awesome and awful.  Isn’t everything?

I’ve been to services before.  I know what to expect.  I also realize that it was my first temple experience of many to come, so I need to be patient.  BUT? The Hebrew is killing me at the moment!  I don’t know the tune of the songs.  I obviously don’t read Hebrew so that’s a problem.  Sure there’s the transliteration but even that gets difficult.  Is that a long A or a short A?  It’s very hard.  I’m a smart literate guy.  Not being able to read and understand is one of the most frustrating and challenging aspects of services at the moment.  I don’t like not knowing.

That being said?  When I got frustrated I read the English translation to myself.  Near the end of services I thought…screw it.  I’m singing some really off-key and rocky Hebrew.  Who cares.  G-d’s just happy that I showed up.  There were maybe 20 people there.  What am I worried about?

That wasn’t so negative, was it?

I can tell you that the experience was also very emotional.  I went with Andy’s parents.  It was just the three of us.  I sat in the middle.  They pointed me in the right direction when I looked lost.  They guided me.  They held my hand.  It was really extraordinarily beautiful.  I felt safe.

Though, I have to admit to you that I sat there thinking to myself…Alright.  I’m crazy.  There’s all of this Hebrew.  There are all of these songs.  I feel illiterate, I feel lost.  What am I going to gain from this experience.  I tried to be quiet and listen for a little whisper from G-d.  It’s always in the whispers.  I believe that if you’re quiet and still enough, you can hear the message.  Your phone will ring.

You guys.  My phone rang.

As I’m dragging myself through negative-town, hating the Hebrew and questioning my sanity, we read something in English.  I wish I had the prayer-book with me right now so I could quote it exactly as it appeared.  It was something along the lines of…we’re wondering in the desert, we can’t make it alone, we have to hold hands and walk through the trials together…we’ll make it through the desert. Maybe it sounds corny and cheesy.  I had to bite my lip.  Tears came to my eyes.

First off?  How many people are lucky enough to love their in-laws?  LOVE.  I love them.  I was standing between my two biggest cheerleaders.  If there were ever a Team Jeremy?  These two would be Co-Presidents of its fan club.  I was surrounded by love.  They gave up their Friday night to come to temple with me.  ME.  And not even just for tonight.  We now have a long-standing temple date.  I’m on their calendar.  There they were standing next to me, waiting to hold my hands and walk me through the desert.  Maybe that desert is a conversion, maybe it’s Hebrew, maybe it’s any number of things.  All I know is that passage that we read reminded me how lucky I am.  Things have been complicated for me lately.  I don’t want to throw a pity party for myself, let’s just say I’m in the desert and it’s getting hot, y’all.  The reading reminded me to be grateful, to be thankful.

Wherever you are.  Whatever your desert is?  I hope you have a Steve and Sherry to hold your hand and walk you through it.

xo

Challehnnnnge (Cosby show, anyone? Anyone?)

6 Jul

Hey Gang.  So this Jewhungry author works for a school now and that means shorter work hours, especially in the month of July.  I don’t really know what to do with myself during all this free time.  I’ve spent a significant amount of time pouring over favorite food blogs and cookbooks and now, I’m drowning in a sea of inspiration and it’s a little overwhelming. I can’t make a decision. Do I bake? Make a meat dish? Try something traditionally Israeli? Ahh, I’m a blessed lady to have these kind of issues 🙂  But anyway, why am I telling you this? Well, I need your help. Make the decision for me. Tell me what to make next! Please? Pretty please?    Maybe there’s a non-kosher dish you’ve always wanted to try but couldn’t because of its treifiness (we occassionally make up words on this blog. Bear with us)? Maybe you’ve been itchin’ for some kind of kosher baked good and need someone else to try it out first?  Or, maybe you just want to see us sweat it out in the kitchen with a meal of your choosing.  Whatever it is, let us know.  We’ll take a few days (maybe til this Sunday night) to gather some suggestions and then take a couple more days to let folks vote for which dish they’d like to see us create.  Ok, now get thinking.

 

Soup in Summer

1 Jul

Ready for Devouring

I know what you’re thinking.  This crazy woman lives in Miami.  What the “H” is she doing making soup in June in Miami!?!?!?!  Has all that new hair-coveringbeen constricting the common sense the good Lord gave her!?  Well no.  Here’s the thing.  Folks in South Florida (and the majority of the South) over air condition their environments during the summer.  I mean I do not leave the house without a sweater or hoodie of some sort because guaranteed, when I leave my house, whatever my destination is it will be completely freezing for the entirety of my stay at said destination.  Even though I was born and raised in air-conditioned Hotlanta, I am just not used to all this AC.  And then, as fate would have it, a giant box of organic fruits of vegetables came into my possession.  I thought I was inquiring about a CSA share but as it turns out, I was buying into an organic shoppers club and 5 minutes after my inquiry I was walking away with a giant box of fruits and veggies.  Inside that giant box were two leeks.

Leek

At the time, I must confess, I had no idea what they were.  Heck, the guy who I bought the box from told me it was celery root.  But, as it turns out, it was leek! And wouldn’t you know it, my husband has randomly been craving potato leek soup so with a combination of the cravings of a husband, the surprise of leeks and the onset of a cold due to an intense use of AC, I made a pot of potato leek soup.  But not just any potato leek soup, I made the best pot of soup we have ever eaten.  I mean, it was delicious.  So, it may be summer but I’m telling you, if you come in contact with a leek, grab some potatoes and a giant pot and get cooking!

What?!

I ended up halving the recipe and we still had leftovers so the recipe below will serve 4.  This is a very hearty soup.  My recommendation is to serve with a nice arugula salad with some parmesan shavings and a nice lemon/olive oil dressing.

  • potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly chopped pieces
  • 3 leeks, whites only, thoroughly washed
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shaved parmasen for serving
  • Chopped green onions for serving

Before the Blending

How?

In a large pot, place potatoes, 2 of the leeks (reserving the rest), celery, regular onion, bay leaf and chicken stock and bring to a boil, about 15-20 minutes. Continue to boil until potatoes are very soft. Whisk flour and butter in small bowl with a fork to make a roux for thickening the soup. Add the remaining leeks, roux, cream, fresh thyme, and salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor), blend soup until smooth. Pour into a medium pot and simmer for 5 – 8 more minutes until soup has thickened.  Serve with parmasen and green onion on top.

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