Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27

Today is my mother's birthday.

In her honor I am posting some photos of her from the grand tour of Europe she and my father did in 1955.

When my parents got married in 1953 their honeymoon consisted of a couple of days in Atlantic City (they took the bus there) and a few days visiting friends at Camp Ramah in Connecticut.

Two years later they decided to do  the sort of honeymoon they might have done if either of them had wealthy families. Their financial situation hadn't changed all that much. But my mother decided that they should live off of my father's salary and bank her Hebrew school teacher earnings so they could do this grand tour. This was a decision that gave both of them a great deal of joy. 

They stayed in fancy hotels in London, Paris, Rome and all over Israel.  They spent a week in each of the European cities and a month in Israel. 

My parents ran into an old friend at the base if the Eiffel tower. He probably took this photo of the two of them together.

I have a program from a concert they attended in Paris on June 6 of a performance of the Israel Philharmonic. Marian Anderson was the soloist.

My mother wore this straw hat to the beach when I was little. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Food Friday- Yummy, not fussy

Today is a day filled with complicated news. I am not going to address the complicated global issues swirling around us.

Earlier today, one of  my childhood friends re-posted  this article on how to make home made Hoodsies. For those of you NOT from New England, a Hoodsie was a staple at every birthday party of my childhood. It was a small cardboard cup filled half with chocolate ice cream and half with vanilla. There was a small wax coated tabbed cardboard lid that always lifted off the cup with a thin layer of ice cream perfect to lick. A Hoodsie was always packaged with a paper wrapped wooden paddle you used as a spoon.

A Hoodsie was delightful for kids. it was inexpensive for parents to buy. A Hoodsie was easy to serve at the end of a birthday party after the cake. Every kid got the same amount of ice cream and you didn't have to worry about 20 different kids' individual likes or dislikes.The quality of the ice cream was fine, perfect for a table full of kids.

The Food 52 article shows probably the most nutsy, obsessive way to recreate a Hoodise. I completely don't get this level of fussiness to recreate a completely mediocre food, even if it is nostalgia laden.

I contrast that article with tonight's dinner.

Mix three types of paprika, smoked, smoked hot and mystery paprika that came from my friend Judy in Minnesota and a bit of fennel in a bowl.

Rub it on the chicken including under the skin.

Cook the chicken in the oven until it is done.

Spicy kale salad
Put olive oil in a roasting pan.sprinkle cayenne pepper on ears of corn. Roast the corn until done.
Roast a few extra ears of corn and share them with your kids. Be sure they eat the corn over the sink.
Roast the kale in the oven with olive oil and black pepper. If you are using the giant 2lb bag of kale from Costco, you will need to roast the kale in small bits, because there you probably don't own a baking pan big enough for all of that kale.

While the kale is roasting you can go about your life doing all of the other things you need to be doing.
Cut the corn off the cob and layer with the kale as it is done cooking.
Before I serve the kale I will add some balsamic vinegar to the salad. That's it. 

Non dairy ice cream
I ought to come up with a name for this mixture. If I tell you what is in it, maybe you can give me an idea of what to name it. 
dried apricots
a plum
 ginger liqueur
coconut oil
brown sugar
pomegranate molasses
ascorbic acid
shredded unsweetened coconut
Rose water
After it had done it's time in the ice cream maker I toasted some walnuts
and layered them with the ice cream

Tonight's dinner took time. Most of the time was food cooking away in the oven  so flavors could intensify and meld. This isn't a fussy meal, but it is full of flavor.

Shabbat Shalom

Yesterday, my husband and I had a reception to attend across Madison Square from his office. I waited for my husband for a few minutes.

The reception was lovely with lots of adorable passed tidbits and lots of delicious curated wine.

We wandered back across the park to head home. 

This sculpture was cool to look at. But the accompanying text which you see my husband reading was so completely irritating that it made me instantly hate the sculpture that a minute before I had found fairly charming.

Sometimes people don't know when it is better to say less.

As we continued our walk we passed St.Saba, the Serbian church that suffered a catastrophic fire several weeks ago.

We Continues walking only to discover that it was Manhattanhendge, one of the nights when the sunset exactly lines up with the city grid.

It is always a completely impressive experience.

I am adding some fire escape photos from Sunday. if I were more clever I would have figured out an elegant way to fit them into a post. I am adding them here because this post has something of an architectural focus.

I love how fire-escapes  and their shadows add a graphic element to buildings. 

Unlike the description of the sculpture, I am not going to tie this love of fire escapes to any larger themes of human existence. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Failing my way to success

I have been working since last week on the border for Jean's atara/tallit neckband. The border serves both ta visual function and well as a structural one. Visually, just about anything looks better with a good border. ideally the border will repeat or emphasis elements that are found elsewhere in a tallit, its a visual coda.

From a structural point of view a good border serves the same function as those round white loose-leaf reinforcements that most of us used in elementary school. It gives an area of tallit that gets a fair amount of wear some additional stability.

The fabulous silk Jean chose for her tallit has a complicated strip pattern with straight stripes as well as squiggly zig zaggy stripes woven into the fabric.  I realized that if I embroidered a ribbon with a combination of stitches and threads I could create something similar to the look of the stripes on the silk.

Given the size of the atara that meant embroidering 68 inches of ribbon several times, once for each layer of stitching.

I started with a stitch that looks sort of like a hand done cross intermittent cross stitch in gold. It looked great. I added a blue metallic diamond  stitch. Again, fabulous. I am leaving out that the blue metallic thread was not actually meant for machine sewing but is a thin  fragile yarn really meant to work in a knitting machine. I made it work.

Monday, I thought that I would add a bit of the blue/grey that is part of the striped fabric to the mix of stitches. I thought to add a diamond grid stitch..
I was wrong. It was a bad choice that weakened the composition and the impact of the blue and the gold stitching on the ribbon.

I slowly began to unpick the work. The stitch is a complicated one . The thread was a fine rayon one. Unpicking was a disaster. Finally I cut away the six or so inches where I had begun the failed experiment.  Now I didn't have enough embroidered ribbon to go around the atara.

So I began to embroider another 68 inches of ribbon.

I sewed the new embroidered ribbon to the edge of the atara and then added a line of gold Lurex yarn to edge both sides of the border.

 I couched  the gold  yarn with the blue metallic yarn. I love the teeny bits of blue on the gold.

The border is just a small detail but it can make a piece so much better. I wish my earlier experiments hadn't failed, but they got me to where I needed to go.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Fathers Day

Our kids suggested celebrating their father at the Lower East Side Egg Cream, Eggroll and Empanada  festival would be a good idea. We took the subway from 96th street. 

My husband wore a shirt the kids and I made for him on a Fathers Day long ago back when we only had two kids. My husband wears it every Fathers Day. This is just one way that he exhibits his excellence as a father.

When we got to the festival it was smaller than we expected and really crowded.
My youngest suggested that instead we go eat lunch at Vegetarian Dim Sum, which serves, you guessed it, vegetarian dim sum.

Here is my satisfied family.

After we ate we went to the Chinese supermarket under the Manhattan Bridge. We had some supplies that we needed to buy. 

We had by that point walked off enough of lunch so there was room for dessert at the Chinatown Ice Cream factory. It was a hot day so of course there was a line. So I took photos of my family as we waited.

 If my family decided to become a band, this is the album cover.

After the ice cream we headed home.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Food Friday- side dish edition and a bit of a tallit

My husband is usually pretty neutral on the topic of food. My late mother in law was at best an anxious cook with a complicated relationship with food. My mother in law was deeply suspicious of things like spices which she approached with great trepidation.

In the early 1990's my sister joined us for a Thanksgiving at my in laws. My sister had brought one of the dishes and wanted to add a bit more flavor to what she was planning to serve. She reached into my mother in law's spice cabinet and pulled out a couple of dusty jars from the Eisenhower administration. 

My husband grew up thinking of food as fuel. One ate to keep from dying, but eating per se is not a source of pleasure.

And yet, despite growing up this way, occasionally my husband gets all soft eyed late in the week when I am starting to plan for Shabbat dinner and mention a food that appeals to him.

This week I my husband started talking about cauliflower puree. 

When my husband was little his mother sometimes used to boil a few potatoes and roughly mash them. Perhaps she added a tiny bit of butter or a speck of salt to the potatoes. My husband used to beg for his mother to make boxed flaked mashed potatoes. 

One summer when we were in New Hampshire we bought a box. My kids called them "blob-o-taters".  They are soft and bland and go down easily.

Lately I have occasionally made a cauliflower puree with lots of olive oil salt and pepper. it has the mouth feel of  mashed potato. I guess it reminds my husband of the boxed mashed potato of his youth. The taste and feel I am going for is the sort of completely pureed made with tons of butter mashed potatoes you can find in old fashioned New England restaurants.

I boiled a head of cauliflower with a few small parsnips. I salted and peppered the water.

When the vegetables were soft to the touch of my fork I pureed the vegetables with a bit of the cooking water, a few gluggs of olive oil in the food processor. When everything was smooth as silk I seasoned to taste.

I just received a call from one of tonight's guests. She had an emotionally difficult day. I think she will appreciate the comfort in the cauliflower puree.
Another view of the bowl of comfort.

Raw tomatoes creep me out. I hate the feel of a big chunk of tomato in my mouth. My kid have inherited my dislike of raw tomatoes.   Roasted tomatoes though allow me to enjoy the bounty of the season. My kids  (at least the ones that eat vegetables) enjoy them as well.

And now a bit of a challah baking lesson. When your dough looks like this, you can shape the loaves.

We are also eating vaguely Indian chicken and vaguely Middle Eastern Kofta.

I mentioned yesterday that I have been working on a tallit. The tallit is constructed out of a fairly complicated striped silk where the stripe pattern does not repeat along the length of the fabric.

Today I cut out the pinot/corner pieces and backed them
 I also embroidered a ribbon to edge the atara and the pinot.

I started out with a black ridged braid and then embroidered the cross stitch like stitch in ggold and then added the blue diamond. 

I love how it echos the design of the fabric.

 Shabbat Shalom!