Tuesday, September 16, 2014

For an Audience of One

My son mentioned that he he feeling a bit homesick.

I took these photos for him. They are of our immediate neighborhood.





I hope this holds my son until he comes home next week.

See This Show


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I don’t have to say another word.

Just see it.

I’m done.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Food Friday and a Poltergeist

I started my cooking right after breakfast. This is the mixture I put on our chicken. I added, sumac, smoked paprika, regular paprika a bit of cayenne pepper and not pictured, a few grinds of black pepper.


Chicken and beef tastes better if one massages the spices into the flesh. I guess if you are squeamish you could wear exam gloves or put plastic bags over your hands as you worked.  I just wash may hands really well before and after I massage the chicken.



The house smells really, really good as this cooks. My mother in law loved serving Mauzone Chicken, that is rotisserie chicken from the local kosher deli.SAM_2951 

The chicken from Mauzone was consistent. It wasn’t wonderful and it came covered in orange glop. For my husband it tastes like home and love. This is a classed up version of Mauzone Chicken.


I also made roasted eggplant.


Thinly sliced eggplant was put in a  roasting pan with olive oil, a can of diced tomato and lots of za’atar. When it was cooked I squeezed a lemon over  the whole thing.


I’m serving a watercress salad. Our guests are my cousin and his girlfriend. My cousin’s grandmother, my aunt, loved watercress. Whenever my aunt used to come to vist my mother always bought lots of watercress.


And now for the poltergeist. My son set the table and then left the room. I was on the phone in the kitchen and I heard  the sound of breaking glass from the dining room.


One of our glasses exploded.SAM_2958


I have had kitchenware commit suicide before. I have never had kitchenware spontaneously explode before.

Shabbat Shalom!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Replacing the imposter

Not long after my husband and I married, my parents wanted to buy us a gift. They asked me what I wanted, and I told them that I wanted a challah knife.


My parents asked me about the sort of challah knife I wanted and I told them that what I hankered after was the one that they had.


My parents’ challah knife had a handle that  was shaped depending on how you looked at it, either like a loaf of challah or like a stalk of wheat. My parents shopped and shopped but their challah knife that was ubiquitous in the mid 1950’s was no longer being sold in the 1980’s.


So instead, they bought us this challah knife.


My parents gave it to me and said that they weren’t delighted with this challah knife but it  would do for the moment. I like the stalk of wheat but this is not a comfortable knife to hold in the hand. Those sharp corners do not make for comfortable cutting.


When I went to buy the tzitzit for Mike’s tallit at my local Judaica store they had the challah knife of my dreams.

It wasn’t sterling silver like the knife I grew up with. But the design and shape were what I had been missing. I bought it. This is the wheat side.


And here is the set Shabbat table side.


And here is the imposter with the REAL challah knife.


I look forward to using it tomorrow night.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Truly Complete



Mike came by today to tie his tzitzit and pick up his tallit.  I had set up the tallit on my dressmaking form so Mike could see it as soon as he came into my apartment. It’s always good to see a client completely happy.

When I first started making tallitot I used to tie the tzitzit myself.Over the years I have gone from tying the tzitzit myself, to offering to tie tzitzit with my clients to just insisting that my clients tie the tzitzit.


Having my clients tie the tzitzit accomplishes several things. It’s useful from a purely educational perspective. How often can one do the mitzvah of tying tzitzit?  It’s a nice opportunity to learn a new skill. I have also found that when clients have time to interact with the tallit and spend not just their money, but also their time, and their efforts they  really fall in love with their tallit as they tie the tzitzit on each corner.

I find that the process of tying the tallit also ends up transferring ownership of the tallit from me to my client. By the time the fourth one is tied the tallit is no longer mine.SAM_2932

Mike was at first a little concerned about doing a good job. But he caught on fairly quickly.

Mike loved that the wool fibers tend to grip one another. That means that the tallit can stay on his shoulders without much fuss.



Each time my husband saw this tallit he would ask if I would be adding stripes. Mike was so very clear about NOT wanting stripes. This tallit, more than I think any other tallit I have made is all about the tzitzit. Mike’s vision  for his tallit was so pure. I’m glad that I could help make it happen.



Working with Mike was such a pleasure.


We sit near Mike in synagogue during the High holidays. I love that it will be right within my sightlines  throughout the holiday season.

Another video to prepare for the season.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Quiet and Done


It’s done.SAM_2921

Like Mike, the tallit is quiet but the longer you look at it the more you realize is going on.



The pinot, corner pieces are large and fairly bold.SAM_2920

Although it might have been slightly nuts to hand embroider the letters on the atara, I’m really glad that I did.



I love the texture. My son, who was kind enough to be my model in these photos, thought that the stitched looked like grains of wheat.SAM_2927

I bought tzizit dyed t’chelet, the murex blue, yesterday. I had a serious case of sticker shock.  The tzitzit cost more than my winter coat and less than the tuxedos I bought for my boys. The tzitzit are beautiful though. They will get more use than the tuxes.


Tomorrow, Mike comes by to tie the tzitzit .

And to help you get ready for the Holiday seasonאוחילה לא-ל אודהליה ברלין

Friday, September 5, 2014

Food Friday

The challot are baked, but I had let them rise at to high a temperature so they look a bit deflated.  It’s hot out. I ought to have put on the air conditioner,


if not for my sake, then for the sake of my baked goods.

Our guests this week are a meat eater who has been living with a vegetarian for the past umty ump years.

So I made meat balls.

SAM_2896I also made tofu.



I know, I don’t often make tofu. This tofu was cut up and baked with sesame oil, rice vinegar and some soy sauce. I put it in the oven to warm for Shabbat uncovered . I hope that it gets crusty. I also made a smoky spicy hummus that I will serve with some left over pletzel. Our guests are bringing a salad.

Tonight's ice cream is autumnal, even though the weather is not. I made a spiced rum raisin non dairy ice cream.

Here is the action shot if the ice cream being made.SAM_2898

And here it is at rest. I put in a lot of run so it had trouble freezing.


When I told my husband that the ice-cream had an autumnal flavor he suggested that I turn on the air conditioner. I did. Life now seems much better.


Shabbat Shalom!