Tag Archives: baby

Happy Anniversary Kosher Connection + A GIVEAWAY: Peas + Shells (and baby bellas!) with Vegan Alfredo Sauce

22 Jul
Cauliflower: My ultimate food frenemy

Cauliflower: My ultimate food frenemy

Happy anniversary Kosher Connection!  It’s been one year since a few kosher cooking blog folks decided to get together and create a connection; a place for kosher food writers/creators could get together to share ideas, recipes, mazal tovs on success and to gain advice.  Some of us are more ‘seasoned’ (please, pun COMPLETELY intended) than others (read: me).  I discovered the Connection late Fall.  At the time, I had just come back to work after 3 months of a very tough and emotional maternity leave.  I was battling undiagnosed (though I’ve diagnosed it) Post Partum Depression, lack of sleep and lots of stress.  I was trying to find my place in this new world of parenthood meets full-time employment and felt I needed something more.  Jewhungry had been on the back burner for roughly a year.  I stopped cooking when I got pregnant and the intense food aversions set in and just never got back into it.  But all those nights spent trying to keep myself awake by the light of my iPhone and the Pinterest app., while attempting to not-so-successfully breast feed, got my creative cooking juices flowing (again, pun COMPLETELY intended).  So I found this Connection, sent a few emails and then the next thing I know, I’m in.

I am so incredibly grateful for this group of people.  As a social worker with a concentration in community organizing, I believe in the power of connectivity.  I always have.  I have found incredibly support and advice from this Connection and though I have never met any of the members in person, some I feel like I’ve known for years (I’m talking to you Yosef, Hindy and Sarah).

In honor of this most auspicious occasion, we are giving away two beautiful prizes from Emile Henry: A Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random. Click on the “A RAFFLECOPTER Giveaway” link below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's a lot easier to cook when the little one has her bestie over to play.

It’s a lot easier to cook when the little one has her bestie over to play.

For this very special Monday Round-Up, every member of the Kosher Connection who decided to participate in this month’s ‘Round Up”, was randomly assigned the blog of another Connection member. We could pick ANY recipe from that blog to recreate in your own kitchen and most importantly, we needed to make the dish our own.  I was lucky to be assigned More Quiche, Please.  Tali, the adorable creator of More Quiche, Please, was born into a vegetarian family and is still (to my knowledge), a vegetarian so she has a lot of delicious recipes to choose from.  It was a little piece of heaven to go through her recipe index.  It was also really intimidating–there were so many amazing recipes to choose from!  In the end, I decided on pasta shells with peas in a creamy Alfredo sauce.  Now, since I cook for a Paleo and a vegan client, making it ‘my own’ meant making it so that it would roughly fit into their dietary needs, which means no dairy.  For the sake of maintaining the integrity of the dish, I kept the real pasta shells but if I was making it for my sweet little Paleo client, I would have substituted it for quinoa pasta.  The result was the creation of a vegan pasta shells with peas and because I had them on hand and I just love their flavor, I had to add baby bella mushrooms.  The dish is really flavorful but, I have to admit that because I boiled the cauliflower in vegetable broth, it doesn’t look like Alfredo.  It does however, look like a delicious cheddar sauce.  More than anything, it tastes delicious.  So, happy anniversary Kosher Connection and bitayavon!

Pasta + peas

Pasta + peas

My family is, in fact, NOT vegan so we added parmesan to our dish and it was phenomenal.

My family is, in fact, NOT vegan so we added parmesan to our dish and it was phenomenal.

 

Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower
Coconut oil
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carton of baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp of white cooking wine
2.5 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of frozen peas
1 carton of pasta shells
Sea salt
Pepper
Thyme
Juice of 1/2 of lemon
*Vegan, unsweetened almond milk

Can you smell the yumminess?

Can you smell the yumminess?

 

How:

Place 3 tbsp of coconut oil in a large frying pan.  Add the onions and most of the garlic to the pan and saute over medium heat until onions are translucent and garlic is smelling up your house nicely.  Remove from heat and place in a separate bowl.  In the same frying pan, add the rest of the garlic and saute for one minute.  Add the mushrooms and continue sauteing on medium low heat for an additional 3 -4 minutes. Add the white wine and 2 tsp of thyme.  Saute for an additional 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a separate bowl from the onions and garlic.  Next, place the chopped cauliflower together with the vegetable in a large stock pot and bring to a boil.  Once the broth has come to a rapid boil, turn heat down to medium low and continue to boil until the cauliflower is tender.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instruction on the packaging in a separate pot, careful not to over cook. With about 1 to 2 minutes left to cook, dump frozen peas into the boiling water with the pasta and stir.  Let cook for an extra minute or two and drain in a colander that will keep the peas in the colander and set aside.  Meanwhile, back to the cauliflower — once cauliflower is tender, add the onions and garlic to the cauliflower pot plus salt and pepper to your taste.  Using an immersion blender, blend the cauliflower, remaining broth (what hasn’t boiled out), onions, and garlic until smooth.  If you feel that you need a bit more liquid, add some almond milk to the mixture.  Make sure you taste along the way, regardless, and add spices to your liking. Combine the cauliflower alfredo with the noodles, add the peas and the mushrooms and stir a bit to combine (we added parmesan cheese to ours and it really kicked up the flavor).  Enjoy!

Flooded.

7 Jun
Unloading us in our flood basement. Our hero.

Unloading us in our flood basement. Our hero.

This is Ray.  Ray is my angel.  Two hours ago, my dear friend, Dina, my sweet baby, Siona and I were in my 2001 Honda CRV on the way home from a celebratory lunch.  The school year was finally over.  Dina is just days away from running our school’s Summer Academy as it’s Director, a job she so deserves.  Sure, it was raining when I picked her up but I thought to myself, Judy Blue can handle this (Judy Blue is the name of my car—-she’s blue.  I’m clever).  We had a wonderful lunch together.  Siona tried tofu for the first time and loved it.  People were staring at her and waving at her and she smiled and waved and clapped back.  It was just what the doctor ordered after the year we’ve had.  And sure, we noticed that the weather had picked up but this is Miami and we’ve done this before so again, no sweat.  We got into the car, a little wet but no worse for the wear and started on our way back home—we’re just 7 short minutes from home. No big deal.

Then reality hit.  It’s raining.  Hard.  As we turned off of the highway onto our main drive home, Dina and I held hands as I squealed while holding my breath as we drove through puddles that looked like small rivers.  We saw smaller cars making it through and with my semi-SUV, we felt confident.  I’ve had Judy Blue for 12 years.  She’s taken me from Ann Arbor to Montreal and back . . . in the middle of January. . . in an ice storm.  She’s gotten me through blizzards in Chicago and tornado-like weather in Ohio.  There’s nothing she can’t do.

Well, turns out, I’m wrong.

As we made it through one light, I gripped Dina’s hand and plowed through yet another river-like puddle and that’s when it happened . . . Judy Blue stopped.  HOLY SH*T.  My baby.  Siona is in the back of the car.  It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, there’s a tropical storm outside all around us and we’re stranded 1 mile from my apartment and my poor sweet baby is in the back.  What the F*ck am I supposed to do.  Panic.  I called my husband immediately.  I don’t even remember what I said to him or what he said to me but I remember saying, “Oh my Gd.  Oh my Gd. Oh my Gd” over and over again.  I hung up from him and he called AAA while I called my big brother, who I firmly believe knows how to do EVERYTHING. He said that since my battery is still working, due to the fact that my wipers are going and my lights are on, that maybe my exhaust pipe is flooded and can’t release heat or something like that.  I don’t know.  I don’t speak car.  Where the HELL is Click and Clack when you need them!?!?  He advised that I get out and push.  So I did that.  With no raincoat, in sandals and linen pants, I got out of my car while it’s lightning out and started pushing my car.  And let me tell you, NO ONE stopped.  In fact, while I was pushing my car in a tropical storm with my baby and dear friend in the car taking care of said baby, the only person who seemed to acknowledge me was recording me push my car in the rain on her iPhone.  Way to go, Miami.

And then, out of the darkness came an angel in the form of a 6’2″, balding gentleman in his early 50s with a Boston accent so thick he could easily be cast in Ben Affleck’s next movie, which will inevitably be about Boston.  He pulled up in front of us, got out of the car and just sprung into action.  I don’t know how he knew what to do, but he knew what to do.  We called the cops.  We reported the car.  We called AAAA.  We transferred Siona, all our stuff and ourselves into Ray’s Ford.  He pushed my car to the side of the road while I steered it.  He drove us home.  He was calm.  He was awesome.

Siona is asleep now.  I’m in my jammies. My husband, who works about 45 minutes away in Key Biscayne, is waiting it out as there is still a flash flood warning going on.  In fact, I just got off the phone with him, had a mini melt-down and decided to write this because I can’t believe that just happened.  Thank Gd Dina was there, watching Siona and making her laugh and taking care of her while I’m pushing them in a car during a tropical storm.  And thank Gd for Ray, who, just when I was about to lose hope that NO ONE in Miami is willing to sacrifice for the sake of helping someone else, was sent from Gd to rescue a bunch couple of ladies who just wanted to go to lunch.  Kindness.  It goes a long way.  Thank you, Ray.

P.S.  If you see this guy during your life, go ahead and give him a hug.

P.S. (again) – I generally like when people share Jewhungry posts because it means more readership and exposure.  This time, I’m hoping it’s shared because dear Lord people, we need more Rays a maybe a story will help.  Also, I find it no small coincidence that this gentleman’s name is Ray . . . as in sunshine.

 

**Fore more stories on kindness, check out my girl, Katie’s blog, Kindness Matters.

20130607-173150.jpg

Outside our window — a sweet Subaru flooded out,

The Mother of Days

12 May
Wynwood Walls decorated for Mother's Day.  Can you spot me and my girl?

Wynwood Walls decorated for Mother’s Day. Can you spot me and my girl?

I like to to fight the establishment. I do. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a social worker and why my focus in social work school was community outreach. I’ve participated in many the protest and spent a decent amount of time on a picket line. And while I really wanted to jump on board my husband’s cry of ‘down with all Hallmark holidays”, this time I could not. And no, before you jump to conclusions, it’s not because I wanted a new, shiny present (we decided to make a donation to a children’s organization on Mother’s and Father’s Day instead of doing gifts). It’s because in this day and age, when work and other people’s needs take precedent over our own, having a day here and there when you can say, without apologies or guilt, “I can’t work today or I can’t do ____ for you today, it’s Mother’s Day and I’m spending time with my family” and actually have folks accept that and back off, well, it’s nice and I’ll take it when I can get it. Sure, there are actual holidays but as Jews, I feel like our extensive holiday list kinda starts cancelling out the “I’m with my family now. I’ll get back to you later.” Especially when we start rolling into the High Holiday time period and you’re having to take off day after day for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, etc. You try explaining Shemini Atzeret to your boss. I dare you to try to ignore the, ‘I’m so not buying this as a holiday’ look from her eyes. For sure your boss thinks you just made that word up. Seriously? Shemini Atzeret!? So, when it’s a nationally agreed upon, bi-partisan holiday that affords me unapologetic time with my family, I’m on board.

Something for Everyone.

Something for Everyone.

"You Can't Tell Now, But I'm Gonna Give My Parents Hell When They Try to Put Me to Sleep in an Hour".

“You Can’t Tell Now, But I’m Gonna Give My Parents Hell When They Try to Put Me to Sleep in an Hour”.

See, the hubby and I were chatting last night and we realized something, In the chaos of Siona’s first 2 weeks of life, people backed off. People forgive you for forgetting them or for putting them lower on the priority list than usual. Work lets you not return phone calls and emails and text messages go unanswered with no apology needed. People give you that time and it’s really, really nice. In fact, it’s kind of the nicest gift anyone can give—–space and time. As I’ve been back at work for about 6 months now, I’ve really had to fight for my time with my family. I let so much take priority over my time with them and it’s no one else’s fault but mine but it’s really hard work trying to lay those boundaries. One is so available with Smart Phones that there really isn’t an excuse as to why you didn’t answer an email or text right away. I love my job but I don’t have a lot of role models there when it comes to work/life balance. So when there’s a day on the calendar that’s kind of, “national-take-a-breath-and-hang-with-the-people-who-love-you-unconditionally-day”, I’m gonna go ahead and celebrate that and even be thankful for it.

Close Up at Wynwood Walls

Close Up at Wynwood Walls

Family Photo

Family Photo

Now, because I’m a big lover of food, today’s day revolved around just that—-food. We started the day at my most favorite coffee shop in the whole world, Panther Coffee. It’s located in the very trendy, very hipster-heavy neightborhood of Wynwood in Midtown, Miami. So, suffice-it-to-say, the people watching does not disappoint. Not only is Wynwood known for it’s hipsters and eateries but it’s also known for it’s amazing art and graffiti (see pictures before). Next on the agenda was a visit to the Pinecrest Gardens Farmer’s Market to visit our dear friend, Zak the Baker, who is a bit of a bread celebrity (look for an interview with Zak in a forth-coming post). Zak’s sourdough is the stuff of legends and as soon as we got home, the multigrain loaf he gave us sandwiched a delectable grilled cheese made with sharp white cheddar, balsamic carmelized purple onions and avocado. We also picked up some limes, which I used in a cheesecake recipe I made later in the day while the little one napped. We’re finishing this beautiful Sunday with some sushi and a movie and a dessert of warm fuzzies**. What blessings. Happy Mother’s Day!

**Quick Update: Warm fuzzies and sushi were put on hold as baby girl spent a solid hour and a half fighting sleep. That a’girl.

Oh! Before I forget! I made some quinoa ‘meatballs’ last week for a customer. I made them sort of off-the-cuff and didn’t take a lot of pictures (and the ones I did take aren’t that spectacular). I was just going to do a practice round but they came out so nicely I saved myself another go round and sacrificed the pictures. Sorry ’bout that. Anyway, I wanted to share. See below.

Quinoa Balls - Wish I Took More Pictures!

Quinoa Balls – Wish I Took More Pictures!

Baby Bella Quinoa “Meatballs”

What!?

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 baby portobella
  • 1 zucchini, finely chopped (skin off)
  • 1 tsp. basil or oregano
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste*
  • 1/2 cup matzoh meal, bread crumbs (if going gluten free or paleo, try 1/2 – 3/4 cup almond meal)
  • Sea salt and pepper

How’s That Now?!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots saute for about 3 minutes or until a transparent. Next, add the zucchini and garlic and saute for another several minutes or until fragrant (you may need to add a bit more coconut oil at this point). Next, add the mushrooms and saute for another 3 – 4 minutes. (The mushrooms naturally have a little more moisture in them then the zucchini so it will soften the other ingredients as it cooks. I like my zucchini a little brown so that is why I add it first). Finally, add the oregano, tomato paste, sea salt, and pepper. Cook another several minutes until all ingredients are well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Add to a bowl with the quinoa and stir to combine. Add the whole wheat bread crumbs and continue mixing until completely combined. Roll into 12 – 14 meatballs, each about the size of a ping pong ball, and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes on the first side. Flip over and bake for 12 more minutes.

*Because I made these vegan I omitted any egg that could have been used as a binding agent. The tomato paste coupled with the bread crumbs worked out perfectly and I didn’t see a need for the egg but if you do, please feel free to add one.

What to REALLY Expect When You’re Expecting (plus cauliflower crust pizza!).

24 Apr
"Listen up mama.  Gimme all your milk and no one gets hurt."

“Listen up mama. Gimme all your milk and no one gets hurt.”

Spring has sprung down here in Miami and by that, I mean it’s already 90 degrees some days and there are pregnant women every where. Every day I walk by my sweet friend and co-worker, Tara, who is 7 months pregnant and trying her darndest not to melt in this heat and I can’t help but reminisce to where I was this time last year, which was 7 months pregnant and trying my darndest not to melt in this heat. Every time I see her I get transported back in time to being large and in charge with that baby in my belly and it just blows my mind that she’s here now. She’s here now and she’s already old enough to have a couple teeth and to start crawling. Oy, blows. My. Mind. Due to this transport back in to time I also can’t help but remember how stinkin’ happy I was this time last year and how I didn’t know what the h*ll was about to happen to me. I also can’t help but remember of all the unsolicited advice complete strangers would give me at all turns. I mean truly, the best conversations usually started out as, “Let me tell you about my wife’s birth experience! It was crazy! She was in labor for 30 hours!!” Ummm, no buddy. I don’t wanna hear that. Not even a little bit. Of all the things I was told that scared the sh*t outta me (‘Don’t get an epideral! You’ll end up in a C-Section!” or “Don’t feed your baby formula! She’ll be obese and dumb the rest of her life!”), no one told me the things that I really really really wanted to know. Those things that, sure, might be hard to hear, but I would have appreciated knowing. Kind of the “What to REALLY Expect When You’re Expecting”. There were things I never expected—-some of which no one could have predicted but some of which I think, on the whole, there could have been a little ‘heads up’ about. So for the sake of all those women out there experiencing their first pregnancy who could use that ‘heads up’, the following is my list of things I never would have expected. Warning: the following is not ‘touchy feely’, but it is honest so if you like honest, keep reading.

1. You will sweat like John Goodman on a hot summer’s day. It’s the hormones. They are coming out of you postpartum for about 2 weeks after you give birth. It’s natural. There’s no deodorant that can stop it, but it’s natural.

2 weeks old. She’s in there somewhere (and so are my sweaty pits)!

2. Maternity leave is not a vacation leave. It is maternity leave. This is the first 3 months of yours and your baby’s life together, which means you are both getting to know each other while battling it out over who gets to sleep when and trying to figure out when you’ll actually eat again. I don’t know about you but that’s not how I like to vacation.

3. Your boobs might not ‘work’. I never expected to not be able to breast feed. It was in my plan. It never entered my mind that it wouldn’t be how I fed my baby. But, I breast-fed for as long as I could, which was about 9 weeks. And guess what? My baby is a straight up formula baby and she’s doing OK. I’ll let you know if all that propaganda about formula being the devil is true in a year or so (spoiler alert: it’s not).

4. I never expected memes on Facebook about breast-feeding toddlers and baby cereal would make me wanna cry

5. I never expected those memes to be posted by other women

6. I never expected to get more emotional while watching movies/TV shows involving children. For example, my husband and I were watching a rerun of Lost where a supposed 6 week old baby is involved in a helicopter crash and miraculously suffers no injuries and the whole time I’m thinking, “wait, that baby hasn’t been around its mother in days. Who’s feeding it? How is he surviving!? How did he survive a helicopter crash!? What if that was my baby!?” And then I remember we’re talking about an island that can travel through time so I got over it . . . kinda.

7. You will get blankets and socks (especially if you have a girl). People LOVE to give you blankets and socks as baby gifts. It’s very sweet.

8. You might not ‘fall in love’ with your baby right away. It might take a couple days or even weeks. But when you do, oh boy, it is all-consuming.

9. Make sure you have a Smart Phone or something because you will need it to help stay awake in the wee hours while you’re doing a feeding. I suggest creating a Pinterest account now if you haven’t already. I love you Pinterest.

10. It’s possible most or all of your family members will see your boobs at one point or another during those first couple weeks. My husband has 3 brothers, all of whom visited within the first 4 weeks of Siona’s life and all of whom saw my boobs at some point during their visit. I even remember spending several hours one day with some of his family members only to discover, once they left, that I had spent the whole time with my tank top around my waste and nursing bra exposed a la Madonna on her Blond Ambition tour.

11. I never expected to want to punch a sweet British nanny in the throat (this lady gets me). Listen, the Baby Whisperer seems really nice and she’s clearly got a handle on this whole ‘baby’ thing. However, on one incredibly frustrating day during those first couple weeks of parenthood something dawned on me. The majority of these ‘experts’, whether via their books or blogs, had a lot of ‘no’ going on. There was a lot of ‘Don’t do this and for heavens sake, definitely don’t do that!” It was stressful and honestly, not helpful for ME (again, everyone is different. It could totally have helped you and to that I say, “mazal tov sister!” ). Ultimately, it’s ALWAYS about finding what works for you and your family and if you start tracking your anxiety levels and realize that they go up every time you open one of these ‘parenting’ books or blogs it might be time to close up shop.

12. Edit your advice —When we first brought Siona home from the hospital I was texting and calling every mom I knew for advice. Then after a while I started editing. It was clear to me who was giving advice with an agenda and who was giving me advice based on what they know about me and my family. My unsolicited advice? Find a 2 or 3 women whose parenting style, outlook on life, and life style in general match yours and make those your mommy brain trust.

13. I never expected to be back in the kitchen as soon as I was. Thanks be to my best friend, the Ergo, I was cooking again several weeks after I gave birth and it felt great. It felt so good that when I went back to work, I took on the extra challenge of cooking for a co-worker. She wanted a specialized, Paleo menu and I wanted a challenge (and some extra cash to cover daycare). It was a match made in heaven.

5 weeks old! Our first Starbucks run.  It was so freeing to get out (I had to document that glorious moment).

5 weeks old! Our first Starbucks run. It was so freeing to get out (I had to document that glorious moment).

This list could go on and on but I’ll stop now so I can leave space for the recipe! The recipe! The following recipe is a dish I made for the previously mentioned co-worker. It can be Paleo, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian or whatever you want it to be. I wanted some pizza dang it but didn’t want the bread so I experimented with cauliflower instead and it really turned out nicely. Honestly, this would have been amazing for Passover so maybe next year. Anywho, see below for the recipe and thanks for reading.

Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Homemade Tomato Sauce, Ricotta, Roasted Eggplant and Arugula

For the Sauce – check out the sauce I made on a previous post. Just omit the cream cheese.

For the Crust (adapted from The Lucky Penny):

2 small heads of cauliflower, processed
1 TBSP sea salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup Daiya cheddar cheese (or mozzarella cheese)
1 egg

For the Eggplant:

1 medium eggplant, sliced in thin rounds
Coconut Oil
Seasalt
Garlic powder

Place thinly slice eggplant rounds on paper towel. Pour sea salt onto each slice and let sit for 30 minutes. This will draw out excess moisture and help decrease eggplant mush. After 30 minutes, place on oiled parchment paper and top each slice with a bit more coconut oil and garlic powder. Roast in oven for about 20 – 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Keep close eye to make sure they don’t burn.

Making the Crust and Assembling the Pizza:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil.

Soak your cauliflower in a bowl of salted hot water for several hours. Dry thoroughly and cut up the florets into small chunks and discard the stems. Pulse florets in food processor for about 20 – 30 seconds until cauliflowers resembles flour. This should yield you about 2 – 3 cups of cauliflower. Place the flour in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean dish towel and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before you will need to wring out the moisture. If you are antsy, put dish gloves on before wringing out—you will burn your hand otherwise.

cauliflower snow

Cauliflower Snow

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel (do not use paper towel. It will seep through) and wring it out. You want to squeeze out as much moisture out as possible. I cannot stress this enough. The more moisture you squeeze out, the crisper the crust will be.

Yum! Cauliflower Juice

Yum! Cauliflower Juice

Once you’ve wrung out as much water as possible, dumped cauliflower into a bowl and add your seasonings plus cheese. Finally, add egg and mix with spatula or wooden spoon.

Once mixture is evenly combined, wet hands and place mixture on well-oiled parchment paper. Pat it into a nice round crust that is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. I think the thinner the better as it allows it to crisp up. Spread a little more oil onto the top of the final crust and slide the paper onto a pizza pan and put in preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges and center brown. Once it’s down, let it cool and top with an even spread of riccotta cheese, then a layer of the tomato sauce and roasted eggplant. Bake all together for another 8 – 10 minutes. Once done, let cool for a couple of minutes and then top with arugala and some sea salt.

Crust – Phase One

Crust – Phase 2 + 3 (Ricotta + Tomato Sauce)

Crust - Phase 4 (Eggplant)

Crust – Phase 4 (Eggplant)

The Final Phase – Arugula. Delicioso!

Transitions, Shmansitions.

19 Dec

Before I get into this post, I must wish a very heartfelt ‘refuah shleimah’, a renewal of body and spirit to my partner in blog, Jeremy.  Jeremy was hit by a car while walking home at night this past weekend.  Thank Gd, only suffering a nasty black and blue nose; the worst of it being the fact that the person who hit him drove off without offering apologies and responsibility.  If the past week hasn’t shown us enough, it’s a rough world out there folks.  Please make sure you look both ways and always remember to stop and say you’re sorry.

That's Jeremy, to my right, and the rest of our crew, being awesome on my wedding day.

That’s Jeremy, to my right, and the rest of our crew, being awesome on my wedding day.

It’s become increasingly obvious to me that one of the biggest challenges in parenting (for me at least) thus far, in all of my four and a half months of being a parent, is the number of transitions one goes through.  Let me get real on your a** for a moment.  I HATE transitions.  I mean it. I hate transitions.  And I’m a school counselor and I do not like using the word ‘hate’ but I’m gonna use it here because it’s true. The irony is, of course, that since I was 18 years old until we moved to Miami almost two years ago, I have been in a constant state of self-inflicted transition because of my inability to stay in one place. I lived in Chicago for 3.5 years and that was a wonder! I’ve lived for some amount of time in the following cities since I was 18 years old (I consider ‘lived’ being I had my own bed in an apartment, not crashing on a couch):  Wooster, OH; Milan, Italy; Washington, DC; Marietta, GA; Asheville, NC; Athens, GA; Jerusalem, Israel; Chicago, IL; Ann Arbor, MI; and Miami, FL.  I feel very strongly that I’m forgetting a city so maybe if Mom or Misty reads this they can fill me. Regardless, the point is I should be used to transitions by now but the fact of the matter is that I am not.  I don’t like them and I’m terrible at them. So it was a surprise for me when I had a little revelation that much of parenting is deeply imbedded in transitions and I might want to get over myself right quick-like.

I mention this because we are about two and a half weeks away from yet another transition—day care.  I spent the first 2.5 months of our baby’s life home with her during maternity leave.  If I’m being honest, I have to tell you, I truly struggled during maternity leave.  I was often unhappy during the first 2.5 months of my child’s life, not because I wasn’t head-over-heels for my little one but mainly because I couldn’t get to the purity of my love for her because I was dripping with anxiety and depression.  I so vividly remember asking my sister-in-law, Caitlin (found at her blog, The Joy of Caitlin), “Why doesn’t anyone tell you how hard this is?” And she so honestly said, “Because we want you to have kids.”   So it was difficult. It was difficult but it passed.  My husband took over our baby’s care when I went back to work and has been with her for the past 2 months.  He’s AMAZING with her and I count my blessings daily that he’s had this incredible opportunity to be with her.  I feel much more comfortable sending a 5 month old to day care rather than a 2.5 month old but I am still terrified.  I’ve already started telling my co-workers to be prepared to see me in a fit of tears the day we drop her off.  I should mention that we are doubly blessed that the day care is across the parking lot of the school I work in and I should feel better (always with the ‘shoulds’.  The ‘shoulds’ will drive you crazy) about sending her but I don’t. We’ve got such a nice little routine down and I feel a lot of comfort in the routine but come January 7th,  we will become a fulltime working family.  A coworker said to me yesterday, “Whitney. I don’t know how you leave her. I couldn’t leave my baby for 2 years.”  For which I replied, “Well, my landlord forces us to pay rent and I like eating so that’s how.”  Cheeky? Probably, but the point is we don’t have a choice so day care, here we come.

Someone Else in the Family is Starting to Enjoy Solids Too!

Someone Else in the Family is Starting to Enjoy Solids Too!

So what in the world does this have to do with today’s recipe? Absolutely nothing.  I just needed to get that out so thank you for listening.  Incidentally, this post’s recipe is one of my most favorite shabbat chicken recipes and follows in the footsteps of Jeremy’s Ina Garten post.  My dear friend, Annie, made this chicken for shabbat dinner on the first shabbat I landed in Ann Arbor (the second time. That’s right, I went back for more) and I fell in love.  It’s delicious, juicy and makes your guests think you’re a James Beard award-winning chef.  Bon Appetite!

P.S. I’m taking words of advice/encouragement re: the whole day care thing so please feel free to post in the comments section 🙂

Ina’s Lemon Chicken with Croutons (adapted)

What!?

  • 1 (4 to 5-pound) roasting chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. rounds
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 4 lemons, quartered
  • 6 cups (3/4-inch) bread cubes (I use fresh challah. It’s SO good)

How’s That Now!?

Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Toss the onion and carrots with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan. Place the chicken. Place the lemons inside the chicken and around the outside. Brush outside of chicken with the olive oil, and sprinkle the top with salt, garlic powder and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh.  The key to the juiciness of this chicken is basting. Baste every 15 – 20 minutes! Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may burn, but the flavor is good.)

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to

10 minutes. Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the croutons on a serving platter. Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.

Pepper

Pepper

Carrots and Onions

Carrots and Onions

Ready for the Oven

Ready for the Oven

 

 

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