Food Friday- comfort edition

It has been something of a stressful week. I wanted to make a Shabbat dinner that tastes like love and comfort.
I made chicken with the last bit of the couscous spice my friends sent us from Paris last’s one of those flavor combinations that feels exactly like a phone call from my friend who sent us these spices. I took a photo of the package so I could reproduce this magical mixture on my own.

If you can read the French you can feel some of that love in your own belly. I plan the serve the deeply brown chicken with pomegranate arils. A dear friend who is a great cook is coming for dinner. I think my son wanted our dinner to have a bit of a showy element to it. The bright pomegranate will contrast nicely with the earthy chicken. Visually the pomegranate seeds will serve the same function as sequins on a plain black dress.

We are also eating a mess of root vegetables roasted with some of the spices my son gave me for Chanukah.
My older sister has been talking about (and baking) some of the homely simple harvest fruit cakes our mother used to make. Most of these cakes have un-fancy names like, Apple Slump, Blueberry Dowdy or Peach Crunch. You know these cakes, a layer of simple dough and fruit topped my more dough. I use mixed berries from my freezer. I also remembered some of those cakes being topped by a sandy layer of sugar that crunches as you bite into it.

I will cut the cake into squares and if I remember will sprinkle some powdered sugar over the cake before serving.

My sister recently told me how she made my mother’s apple cake that came from the recipe on the apple bag right after 9/11 and how she felt the need to make it just a couple of weeks ago. As she told me about baking that cake I saw the yellow Pyrex dish she used to bake that cake in. I used one of my 1940’s pink baking pans. My cake actually would have been better baked in my mother’s smaller and deeper pan. Life however, is filled with the imperfect.


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