Meyer Lemon Butter Cookie Sandwiches with Jam

The task on baking cookies is daunting and extremely frustrating to me. The thought of it makes me flustered. Chilling the dough, forming shapes, then freezing before baking. Flouring surface but not too much, working the dough but not over working, glazing, piping with all those tips and apply pressure while piping but just so. Such finicky little cookies that they are! For years now just before Christmas time when the rest of the world around me prepares for Christmas, one Christmas tradition I was taken with, and romanticized about over my years in the States, is the holiday cookie baking. I never wished for a Christmas tree, though I must confess, every year I brush my hands against the miniature rosemary bush shaped as a pine tree, as I pass by and love the lingering rosemary scent on my palm. If not for fear of killing it over the winter indoors I would have gotten the rosemary bush, but what I really wished for were the holiday cookies.

Romanesco Floret Fritters in Beer and Honey Batter

My apologies in advance I absolutely love photographing raw ingredients. Narrowing down shots to be published is a tough decision. Take for example this intriguing and statuesque subject matter, the Romanesco. Every snap shot, and I took many, came out perfect. I have not altered and photoshopped the snapshots at all. My initial photos a couple of months ago, came out terrible, hence the delayed post with a new batch. I know some won't be able to relate but think of it like a baby or a pet in which whatever angle you shoot, you go aww, and are so very proud. I did write in the past how I connect with these inanimate subject matters, for me they come alive! Even if snapshots seem repetitive it has some degree of movement and changes in angle ever so slightly. It was important to me to showcase it and at least I didn't subject you to dozens of these two degree movements

Moroccan Veal and Beef Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

I just came back from the grocery store and realized I have not picked up basic staples like sugar, we completely ran out, unless you count confectioner's sugar. I also forgot to buy baguette, not just to have at home in case of emergency sandwich dinner, but also for this dish of stuffed artichoke bottoms. I wet some of the baguette, squeeze it dry and cut into tiny little pieces to give these meatballs stuffed into artichoke bottoms some fluffiness and lightness. Plan B was set into motion, my friend Shoshi just mentioned she had a dinner party, and she made a similar dish, but she grates potato instead of adding bread to the mix to achieve the desired lightness to the meatballs. I have made these stuffed artichoke bottoms for many years now, some like to add cinnamon and nutmeg but the flavors come out incredibly pure without it as well. As you can see I do not even add the optional cumin in the ingredient list. If you wish to add these flavors they certainly do not detract from the dish. The result will be just as delicious but different!

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms and Garlic and SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble GIVEAWAY!

Last, but not least, of the blogiversary cookbook giveaways is SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble by Aviva Goldfarb. Aviva is another nationally successful local Washingtonian cookbook author. Her book is for the super efficient moms and dads and families on the run! For a quick, delicious, and nutritious homemade meal with seasonal ingredients. I who act mostly on impulse and not much planning need to learn a thing or two from her brilliant menu planning, so that, Jonathan and I won't have those mid week uh-oh moments when all my energies I focus on making Sufganiyot-Israeli Jelly Doughnuts for Chanukah and shooting it from every angle. It is a helpful guide to mainstream a family to run an efficient plan ahead menu, grocery shopping so you can get your kids after a busy day at the office, to soccer practice, a piano lesson, and still manage to gather around the kitchen table for a meal together.  The Six O'Clock Scramble is cleverly planned cookbook with a chapter on the well stocked kitchen: the scramble staples list and another one with a seasonal guide to fruits and vegetables.

Sufganiyot - Israeli Jelly Doughnuts

Speaking of the Chanukah's miracle of oil, which lasted for eight days, this doughnut is a Chanukah miracle all on its own. As throughout the last few weeks I pulled many doughnut recipes, familiar and new. I collected many to embark on a doughnut extravaganza this Chanukah! Cider doughnuts I've seen a year ago @DeliciousDish I was planning on making, some other versions of Israeli doughnuts, which the secret is in the dough, strawberry jam and dusting of confectioner's sugar. We had it every morning for breakfast, with a bag of shoko from the little grocer in the neighborhood, as we were running late for school. Bite the tip off and squirt with a bite of doughnut for childhood memories. My favorite shoko is to the right from Kibbutz Yotvata in the Arava Dessert a last rest stop as you drive down to Eilat on the Red Sea.I wished to embark on American doughnut making as well with the hole in the middle, glazed and coconut are my favorite. I've made in the past Moroccan sfinge (svinge) that are tricky but as you get the hang of the forming technique it becomes a

Lemon Crostata, Holiday Sugar Cookies and a Double Holiday Giveaway!

Thanksgiving is yet to be a faded memory and Chanukah is already welcoming us this coming Wednesday.  Before I embark on a weeklong Israeli, American, cider, baked and fried doughnut making extravaganza, let's backtrack.  This past Thanksgiving I made a classic Lemon Crostata from Domenica Marchetti's  Big Night In. I was at awe at the flavor intensity of this no fuss lemon curd. It paired beautifully with the sweet pastry (pasta frolla) crust. The remainder of the dough I used for holiday sugar cookies, sprinkled the dough with naturally dyed sugars, some finicky kids as well as the adults could not stop munching on those. These both are classic elegant lemon dessert and cookies for every day and the holidays.
To show the versatility of this dough, Lora @cakeduchess, a wonderful baker and a great twitter friend, put another twist to this wonderful sweet pastry dough and made chocolate hazelnut cookies you can find here.  Both Lora and I are doing Domenica's Big Night In  giveaway. We thought to publish a double giveaway simultaneously to double your chances at winning this wonderful Big Night In cookbook and enjoy it for the Holidays. Please visit Lora's post and enter your comment here as well for doubling your chances.

Indian Spice Rubbed Cornish Game Hens

After a Thanksgiving meal, the next day, I could not even look at the turkey. The carcass of this massive bird in the fridge was staring at us and out of guilt we had some of the remaining leftovers as scavengers for lunch. Images of cowboy movies, desert scenes roadrunners and Clint Eastwood running through my mind. But, I was craving not a pinch but a punch of spice! Which brings me to my sister and some triggered memories. These memories awakened from hibernation as I was craving spicy food and I have a teenager with a newly found freedom. I have probably mentioned that I am the oldest of six, who in their right mind would have six kids within eight years?! Back then life wasn't as calculated, it just happened! Two of my siblings were in boarding schools in Israel, ok don't have images of royal England running through your mind, they are further from the truth! My sister was at an agricultural boarding school while I was in the army, she is four years younger than I. One day I showed up visiting her, knocking on her dorm room.

The Kosher Baker and The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat Giveaways

Since we are on the subject of Jewish cooking  (see my previous post on  Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels and Couscous here), kosher cooking, though debatable, has a general consensus of being healthier. Once in a blue moon, happens especially when we are downtown DC visiting an exhibit, I do wolf down, a hot dog, and feel much better knowing it is a Hebrew National.  Unfortunately this confession I cannot later retract or deny! The next two Washingtonian cookbook authors, while not advocating junk food habits, Kosher is one they do champion. Paula Shoyer of the The Kosher Baker (Brandeis University Press) and Meredith Jacobs  of the The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat (HarperCollins) are lovely ladies and young, hip moms and their books are perfect duo giveaways!
Paula Shoyer's  The Kosher Baker with over 160 traditional to trendy dairy free and parve recipes for the everyday and the holidays. The owner of Paula's Parisian Pastries Cooking school in the Washington D.C. area, with a pastry diploma from the Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise in Paris in 1996, Paula used to be the editor of the popular Susie Fishbein cookbooks Kosher by Design. First on my list is the Chocolae Babke and the Challa Beer Bread pudding with Caramel Sauce, sounds scrumptious!

Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous, Blogiversary Giveaway III

Five of the upcoming cookbook authors who will be featured in the next posts are of national and international reputation but all live locally in the metro DCs area. First and foremost is the queen on Jewish Cooking in America the famed Joan Nathan. Her new book just released Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010). Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous is the acclaimed Joan Nathan's tenth book. Published in 1994,  Jewish Cooking in America won the James Beard Award and the IACP and Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award, among many other accolades. I always revered as I understood how much work goes into this tapestry of recipes but the enormity of the research dawned on me only after watching the trailer (press trailer on right) on Joan Nathan's site. The much discussed Pain Petri (Anise-Flavored Challah With Sesame Seeds) I thought, if you bake few loaves, the day or two old challah will be so perfect as a Thanksgiving stuffing base. The anise flavored challah stuffing will be complemented well with mirepoix. added to the mixture sauteed granny smiths and pear and voila a more festive twist to Thanksgiving stuffing tradition, with the anise flavor fitting well with the traditional Thanksgiving spices and fare.

Rolled Oats Pancakes - Quick, Healthy and Delicious!

This will be the quickest post I have ever written. It amazes me every single time how quick and easy, as I call them, American pancakes are. When I saw this healthier twist to the traditional recipe in one of my favorite food magazines from Israel Al HaShulchan (on the table), I could not wait to make them! I just got it from an Israeli friend of mine living just a neighborhood over, she was on a business trip to Israel and brought me two current Israeli cooking magazines and a cookbook. I must admit I did light up like a little girl when I got what I consider, treasured surprises. The magazine featured breakfast and brunch recipes. Initially, when I saw the word Rivyon in the ingredient list, I don't know why, but yogurt came to mind. I embarked on a twitter quest since the yogurt I had in the fridge expired same day I was preparing the pancakes. With much panic I turned to my twitter friends as I was impatient to make a quick run to the supermarket. Later as it turned out Rivyon most resembles buttermilk so the first batch was with yogurt and I badly wanted to convince myself the pancakes were most delicious, but they were a bit dense.

Creamy Cran-Raspberry Sherbet, Pear Fritters with Lemon and Ginger and Blogiversary GIVEAWAY II

Abby Dodge, Fine Cooking Magazine and Taunton Press have been extremely generous and agreed to donate to my one year blogiversary giveaway. I have been raving about Fine Cooking magazine prior to my food blog days, way before I encountered the fantastic staff at  Fine Cooking Magazine and one of their contributing editors and multiple cookbook author, the lovely and talented Abby Dodge on twitterverse. If Paula Wolfert was  my first American cookbook author love then Fine Cooking Magazine was my first American food and cooking magazine crush! My long lasting crush is quite unusual as I tend to lose interest faster than a lightening bolt. Impressive how Fine Cooking and Abby Dodge managed to keep my interest up for so many years. You can read three of my archived posts featuring recipes from Fine Cooking and giving you a window to which corner of the world did I have Fine Cooking magazine shipped to. First, Blizzard's Chocolate Chip/Banana and Meyer Lemon/Blueberry Muffins post, second, the ever so popular Fine Cooking Rich Chewy Brownies post and lastly the decadent Fine Cooking Deeply Rich Chocolate Brownie Cookies post. Please visit Fine Cooking magazine site for innovative and  brilliant create your own Thanksgiving and Holiday menu, create your own, ice cream, muffins and much much more

Chickpeas and Swiss Chard in the Style Tunisian Sahel, Blogiversary and a GIVEAWAY!

I am going to start a new tradition on my first year blogiversary. My blog anniversary has come and gone Nov. 4th with no disasters to speak of, unlike my birthday. I am not talking about chipping a nail or a ruined manicure but disasters of epic proportions, maybe not every year but every leap year for certain. Every year as my birthday approaches, I wonder not so much with anxiety but somewhat resigned, what disaster of epic proportion awaits in the cards for me this year? Maybe nicknaming me Kali playfully as opposed to my sister Gori throughout my childhood was not the best karma. On this blogiversary, I am reigning in old karma and holding it by its horns and starting a new tradition. Just like the little girl I was at nine years old, taking control of my life and my five little brothers and sisters, and spending my entire summer at the ministry of education. Every day I would wake up just before the offices would open and plant myself in a chair by the door until close of business hours, every day that summer, a tenacious little nine year old Indian girl that was I! The last day of summer before the school year was about to open, is when they switched me and the entire school age brood to a better school. My parents wouldn't sign the papers as they believed the religious school we were attending would preserve their conservative Indian values and their girls' virtues better than a secular one would. I had started at nine years of age a new tradition, and wrangled karma. As you all know, the cards dealt me Jonathan and Sagie...speaking of much good fortune! Only a small matter of leap years still remains, was it a leap year this past birthday, I wonder?! This year I was surrounded with all my twitter friends and their well wishes, as well as my friends and family's congratulations, and on this blogiversary I want to share with you, my wonderful supportive friends, some giveaways to celebrate my quiet uneventful good karma blogiversary. Giveaways will be spread throughout the next few weeks so stay tuned. Without further ado, let me introduce you to:

My first American cookbook author love, the much revered icon Paula Wolfert. As you can tell from my blog, I am partial to food photography just a smidgen but what I end up falling in love with are books and an author of substance. My first purchase of her books was Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco without a single photograph as you leaf through the pages.

Apple Rolled Oats Streusel Cider Muffins - Twin Post

This is a twin post of An @bakerstreet29 out there in my parents birthplace, Mumbai, India, and mine here in the DC area. Before I embark on this post I got a confession to make. I was extremely suspicious of An when she showed up on the twitterverse radar interacting gingerly with all of us to a point of paranoia. Are we subjected to some kind of social media experiment? I was not about to be a guinea pig of sorts. Soonish after I discovered An is a lamb, the sweetest girl with the best intentions, exactly as she showed up on our twitterverse radar. A week or so ago might be longer, she had a bake sale fundraiser for street dogs in India and was baking up a storm. Some of her creations were blueberry cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate cookies and raisin cinnamon oatmeal cookies. What's not to like about this girl?!

Apple Picking at Larriland Farm

Last week as we were heading up to Pennsylvania, many of you on twitter tried to help but I came up empty handed at Penn State, State College, PA. Most of the surrounding farm land belongs to the college for purposes of research and learning. The one farm we came across was closed on Sunday the one day we had a moment as we were heading back. Then I went on twitter to find one organic orchard in the DC area. Thanks to several recommendations from FRESHFARMMktsDC, we found Larriland Farm. I have been looking for an organic orchard but after the seeing the crowds today I understand why purely organic orchards are not open to the public. Though it was as dignified as this type of harvest and Fall Festivals events can go, it was a matter of the waste that I am referring to. As you pick, some  apples just fall to the ground, some consumed and some destroyed accidently.  Larriland Farm farming practices are Integrated Pest Management, part of which is disease and pest resistant crop varieties. 

Honey, Agave, Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Rolls with Flax and Sesame seeds: My Tale of Becoming an American

My tale of becoming an American didn't instantly happen at the pledge of allegiance swear in but it started rather rocky and came full circle on Thanksgiving. I was fairly young at the time and stumbled quite accidently to live here in the United States. I didn't seek a refuge from dictatorship lands or escape from persecution. I had good future prospects as I was just out of the mandatory service of the Israeli army, getting accepted to Tel Aviv University. Yes, life growing up was challenging, in an east meets west worlds type of challenges many face and a tad more, but my future prospects were promising. If it were not for Jonathan, who would love me mentioning, that he is younger than I, I might have now not been an American. After so many years, friends back home say I am so Americanized. Well, I am!! Now that I no longer eat fast food, I am, I think, an American only in the most fabulous sense of the word possible!! Imagine me smiling now.

Shekem Dough and Disco in the Sukkah or Mushroom Onion Roulade

I've been simultaneously working on few posts, couple Holiday posts that are way overdue but we are still in the midst of the High Holidays with Sukkot a week long. At the same time my mind is running in different directions and ideas abundant bouncing around. I have so many recipes I would like to share with you, but at the same time how do I tie them to the Holiday season and cooking for two. I am sorting out through all that and it seems the picture is getting crisper and clearer which at this junction and hazy crossroads is a glimmer of excitement for what lays ahead around the curb. Sukkot, is the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles. The tabernacles, the dwellings of the Israelites after the exodus from Egypt while wandering through desert for forty years. My memories of Sukkot are, in our relatively small dwelling with an disproportionately large porch, of my dad, with our help, building a sukkah every year in our, did I mention, disproportionately large porch.

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes - My Lunch Today

Quiet a bit of discussion about healthy eating habits and really it is simple. Something I religiously do is roast vegetables on Thursday so we have it for Friday night as starters for a big meal and over the weekend on the sandwiches on the go, picnics or if having few people over then appetizers. If you put a bit of time in this simply prepared roasted vegetables such as tomatoes, eggplants or bell peppers, the reward is not only in the intensity of the flavor but the versatility of the roasted ingredients. Slow roasting tomatoes is very straight forward not much to it but programming the oven timer on for three hours If you follow these few simple steps your healthy eating won't be a chore, only a pleasure. As appetizers you toast slices of baguettes and layer with a spread such as pesto, avocado, and layer with roasted vegetables. You can also use this Moroccan Lemon preserves as first layer and top with avocado and anchovy. Endless possibilities!

Fig Gelato - two ways!

Rosh Hashana brings with it a time for self reflection, soul searching and introspection. This year is not only a crossroad, a right of passage for our son who we just dropped off in college but also for us, now empty nesters. There are so many thoughts crossing my mind about growth, maturity, independence, self fulfillment and being a better person and giving to others, even in small gestures.  Some thoughts as I am sure cross my child's mind.  His adjustment started with a rocky start and mine with the Holidays sneaking in a bit too quickly, staring at me blankly, now what?! Our son, Sagie, went to a reality, hopefully temporary, of shattered dreams of playing college soccer due to a tough leg injury and surgery. He worked very hard and sacrificed a lot the majority of his 18 years of life so that he can play soccer in college. Me, I made celebrations of Jewish and American Holidays mostly in our home for the last eighteen years and all for this lone child of mine. Celebration with much cooking and commotion, big loud laughter mostly mine, and sometimes Sagie will join in laughing at my jokes until our stomachs hurt. Some smaller devilish smirks with a tingle in of both Jonathan's and Sagie's eyes at Jonathan's dry humor loving arrows of sarcasm targeted at me, which are so smart I even have to laugh. All this commotion for a larger life for this small family of mine!! now, what?! ...but then, we get an inspired text from Sagie recently around midnight, 'that he always wished for a humbled life, and maybe this battering of his spirit is some sort the humbling life he always yearned for, a test for him to persevere and grow stronger.' Sometimes I feel this child of mine is raising me, and when we get a text such as this, we are speechless and at awe. I MUST think for a happy sweet New Year to focus my energies on self growth and do good, and if not a big family, friends, cooking, commotion and celebration this Rosh Hashana then there is always Thanksgiving!!

At the risk of being excommunicated - Moroccan Carrot Salad

Being invited to the Barb's Holiday happening means, show up with this Moroccan carrot salad, or risk being excommunicated!! The words are unspoken, given, this salad is a symbol, a flagship of loyalty and friendship. Barb is the type of a typical American Jewish woman, educated, articulate and with big maternal instincts. The type of a woman when you are in need, she, like a storm, will take over and manage your life and your kids will find harbor at her home. A typical American Jewish woman, not a bad way to bel! The recipe is an adaptation from Paula Wolfert's Couscous and other Good Food from Morocco., I follow loosely the measurements especially with the garlic. This salad was a staple at any Israeli wedding before shushi chic weddings took over...I believe it is still a staple at many weddings as well as many household Friday night dinners. My youngest sister is married to a Moroccan guy, it is a tradition in his family, the recipe is a bit different in Israel, with more of a paprika flavor than cumin and heavy handed with the oil. They also use a different slicing method, rather than cubing or dicing, they cut the carrots with a specialty knife, called wavy knife (thanks Shoshi!!). Found at any Bed Bath and Beyond and the likes.

Apple, Orange and Lemon Chiffon Cake

Apple cake is a year round favorite of mine goes perfectly with my afternoon tea. I am particularly happy I baked one today as the High Holidays fast approaching. My friend Barb bakes a fantastic apple cake regular and low fat. Few years back I baked one out of the Washington Post Food section but I have to sift through their archives. I have decided to make a version of Poppy Lemon Chiffon Cake recipe, another favorite of mine. As it turns out quite unintentionally I made it Parve, perfect for the kosher observing folks. Lack of milk and butter makes this cake friendly to the lactose intolerance crowd. As you well aware this blog and this post are tree nut free and this particular cake is friendly to the tree nut and peanut allergic crowd. For you who do not have kosher or allergy prohibitions you would be surprised how delicious this cake is regardless of the milk and butter omissions.

Petit Beurre, Cocoa and Coconut Chocolate Balls

In between the primarily Indian cooking household, curry aromas, caramelizing onions on the stove and plain basmati rice to go with the multitude of curries and bhadgis, my childhood memories are laced with prominent memories of shakshuka my dad always made, decadent crust pizza my sister Ilana, a fourth out of six kids, always made, Israeli salads and petit beurre cocoa and coconut chocolate balls we all chipped in to form. Unlike this recipe we broke the petit beurre by hand not pulsed in a food processor.  It gave us more control over the size of the chipped biscuits and therefore the final product appearance. I do not think using a food processor detracts from the final result but you have to be careful not to pulse the biscuit to dust. Half the batch will be finer and half will be more of a rough chop.

Figs, Goat Cheese and Sesame with Honey, Balsamic and Red Currants

I am obsessed with all things figs. I will roam the earth, well metro DC area, even consider for a second there driving three and half hours to the Eastern Shore to pick some ripe figs right off someone's tree. I still find it a tad obscure that figs in the DC area will ripen end of August/Beginning of September where on the Eastern shore they are ripe as we speak. It must be the proximity to the water, the breeze, maybe the salty air, or is the soil any different?! Biblical images come to mind when I think of figs right there with ancient olive trees, but funny how I never thought of the figs and ocean blue salt water.

Butterflies and Flowers - Summer in our Garden

Mango Sorbet

This recipe is very similar to the previous pineapple sorbet post. The directions below are for the mango sorbet all by itself. I happened to make both pineapple and mango consecutively the same day, so I had a tinge of pineapple flavor in my mango sorbet from the blender which I didn't bother to wash in between batches. Not only I saved myself time and the hustle but it enhanced ever so slightly the mango flavor. If making two different fruit batches the same day, my advice to you is skip washing the blender and proceed to make a second batch! If you are not making two different batches same day and still wish to achieve same flavor, I suggest instead of peeling a fresh pineapple, use couple of rings out of a canned pineapple and a touch of pineapple juice.

Pineapple Sorbet

Couple of weeks ago I got my impulse buy at Costco. Well I don't know how much of an impulse it is when you desire something for years and even have it, still, on your blog wish list.  Normally the kitchen appliance box will get into the kitchen, sit there for awhile and then be transferred to the basement, unopened, for a year! This time around it got as far as the top of the basement step and sure enough two weeks later, this week I made my first two batches of sorbet.

Exotic fruit and my first giveaway

I have seen chatter on twitter in favor and against giveaways. I haven't really thought about it much but on impulse decided on a giveaway. Might I add it's a non foodie giveaway on a food blog. The one year anniversary for my blog is in November, and if you do the math it's already past my six month anniversary, but it's my 23rd year wedding anniversary to a great guy this Monday, July 12. My husband and my son are the biggest and best things that happened to me, but I do take immense pleasure in the little things in life as well.

Eight Ball and Corn Fritters

I have these images of 'Indianized' zucchini and corn fritters for awhile now. I have experimented with them for Passover, back in March, with Matza (unleavened bread) which proved to be a disaster. The nagging of the images and the fantasy of the flavor kept me unsettled so I went to Whole Foods to pick up some fresh corn and zucchini where I bumped into Eight Ball and Baby Boo (see recipe for Baby Boo from previous post here).

Stuffed Baby Boo!!

Please see a story to this Baby Boo in the next post (coming soon)  but for now I would like to introduce to you to the white baby squash named Baby Boo.  It does not have much flesh which makes it perfect for roasting and stuffing without much wasting. It's edible and if you want to impress your guests and family when you have them over or just make your everyday meal at home more festive it makes for a beautiful and elegant presentation. 

Curried Wheat Berry Salad

This salad seems sort of like a wheat berry twist to Indian (rice) Biryani. It's easier to prepare and keeps for a few days for a healthy snack or lunch on the run.  I also like to make a large batch so when a friend drops by I give them a tasting as we chat. At this moment the wheat berry is my favorite of all the grains who made a comeback. This particular recipe reminds me of Indian fare but also North African wheat berry Hamin and Eastern European Cholent dishes, cooked on low heat oven, overnight, with chuck meat, beans or chickpeas and eggs in their shells. 

Quinoa - An Ancient Grain from the Andeans to the Mediterranean

From what started as a Mediterranean BBQ somehow I ended up with Quinoa.  Something about the ancient grain like felt right to fit right in with the Mediterranean fare. With added halved grapes, after all, the grapevine was domesticated in Turkey and is one of the seven fruits and grains of the Holy Land. It gave the salad a Mediterranean twist. To accentuate its Andean mountains, South American origin I used Agave instead of Maple syrup or honey for the vinaigrette and lime. Although I had both Agave and Quinoa while dining out, both were firsts in my kitchen this past weekend.  For a natural sweetener Agave is just different from Maple syrup or honey, probably a matter of a habit and an acquired taste.

In Season: Airy Apricot Cake and GO-GO-EEM

Jacks, remember that game?! Well in Israel we have, not quite the same, but similar game, with five small metal cubes called five stones HA-MESH-AVANIM חמש אבנים.  When we didn't have the five metal cubes or lost one, we would use the pits of the apricot for the game.  We called the pits and the game GO-GO-EEM גוגואים.  I was very good at it, but my aunt who was only a couple of years older than I was the best at it.  When we visited my grandmother, after few miles of walking in the heat, in a neighborhood known to house the town's cemetery, we would go downstairs, to the yard outside, for a tourney and championship rounds.  When I say yard, these were tiny government apartments, the yard is not your private landscaped yard just a piece of barren dirt outside the building with maybe some surviving grass patches, but mostly sand. Nurit my aunt always outlasted us all. She was the undeclared champion. Just imagine an immigrant neighborhood of three story buildings mostly comprised of Moroccans and Indian Jews and sporadic Romanian Jew here and there. I remember because one of the Romanian Jewish boys had a crush on another aunt of mine and was chased quickly and swiftly away with a broom by my grandmother.

Our 2010 Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend this year was extremely busy with a family Bar Mitzvah and lots of out of out of town relatives. When on a normal Memorial Day Weekend we shy away from venturing into the city, this Memorial Day we ventured in twice. The crowds at midnight were just as large as at daytime, for the first year in many we saw first hand the hundreds and and hundreds of Rolling Thunder's Harley Davidsons as they poured into the city for Memorial Day. With striking images of DC's monuments and memorials at night, my favorite and most haunting to me is the Korea Memorial, just steps away from the Lincoln Memorial. It's not the largest or the tallest, you don't see it from the road but to me it speaks louder than any.

Fine Cooking Deeply Rich Chocolate Brownie Cookies

For the last week or so I didn't feel so inspired, maybe I was preoccupied, but was not too happy with particularly the photographs I took of my food and therefore was reluctant to post. Somehow today, I dedicated the day to baking,  I was determined to show a token of thanks, gratitude, with baked goods for all the support many have shown my son and us throughout a treacherous last month and a half. Coming to the States years back I had images of public high schools as portrayed in Hollywood movies.  Four years ago, I walked out of Parent's Freshmen orientation at the high school overwhelmed and depressed.  It felt like a prison to me, pre-renovation, might I add.  The images from the movies came sweeping, flooding over me.  To understand me son never went to seven eleven with me for same reasons I stated above, there always were police cars parked in their parking lot. 

Indian Potatoes and Chickpeas (Chana) over Basmati

This one again is one of my mom's recipes.  It literally took about half an hour (tops 40 minutes) to prepare.  My mom adds a touch of ginger powder and a touch of that powder, but believe me this version is spectacularly delicious and satisfying!! I like lots of potatoes in this recipe, the Russet completely melts in your mouth when cooked.  Stir mixture once when you add water, but do not restir while cooking, you can give it a nudge by the handle once in awhile throughout cooking process.

Chuck - A choice cut for many occasions! Beef Stew!

This cut of meat is so versatile that one day I wish to get the ok from a mid-western graduate school friend of Jonathan's and share his, and may I add best, chili recipe I have had in all my years in the United States! A winning recipe with beer and honey! Better yet if he agrees to guest post that would be double the pleasure as his humor and writing are sarcastic, entertaining and unique. I buy a block of chuck and cut to desired size cubes. For Moroccan couscous soup I cut large cubes and add some bones to enhance the flavor, for Indian curry and chili smaller as well as for this stew.

Happy Mother's Day!!

Inspired by my garden.  Happy Mother's Day everyone!!  This particular climbing rose was destroyed last year when a tall oak tree fell on it, this is the lone rose coming back to life:).

Poppy Seed Lemon Chiffon Cake

This Israeli iconic cook book, cakes for every occasion (time), was one of Jonathan's very few possessions when I met him just days after his surprise 20th birthday party.  He sported a jewfro (as the kids call it) and a vintage powder blue jacket (I know, right?!), or maybe was it a whole suit?! Retrospectively it was really cool although back then I was intrigued and (quietly) questioned  his choice. In addition his closet carried a pair of each worn out jean shorts and worn out long jean, a Boston long cotton t-shirt and a killer tan he carried himself! With the exception of couple more shirts that was the sum of his earthly belongings.

MeatLessMonday Medley of Cherry Tomatoes Salad

This Medley cherry tomatoes salad is always a departure for me, from the almost daily staple Israeli salad we have with every meal.  I make a hugh batch of this medley salad for parties, barbecues or just a small batch for intimate dinner gatherings.  It has a huge wow effect, even when you have scraps left at the bottom of the bowl (see pics:).  It is absolutely critical to have fresh, sweet cherry tomatoes.  As tomato season is approaching, ask the farmer at the farmer's market to taste one.