What an astoundingly delicious start to 2011! I think that bodes well for the year and for this project, so let’s get started!
Since I’ve been on vacation this week, I’ve had a lot of time to cook and try out some new things. Thursday night, Marc and I made two kinds of ice cream, banana and chocolate (we’ve now made this recipe with and without the cinnamon), with his Chanukah present (the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment, which I am going to benefit from more than seems fair). It was an exciting and awfully messy night in the kitchen, but with great results.
On Friday, I made cinnamon rolls, not specifically for any Shabbat meal, but because I thought they’d be nice to have around, and oh boy – the filling leaked out of the rolls and formed an incredible caramel on the bottom. Cinnabon, eat your heart out.
Ok, so Friday night, Ariel and Ilana treated us to a real sit-down, full-service dinner party in honor of the new year. We had salad (with apparently amazing candied pecans), spicy carrot soup (recipe coming soon), chicken, pilaf, and brussels sprouts, and chocolate mousse for dessert. I was full and happy. Very full. Very happy. One thing about Shabbat meals is I’m not taking pictures at them, so use your imagination!
I also told my dining companions about this blog, and I got some great feedback and reactions. For one, there seems to be some concern that I might deem a particular meal or dish not worthy and, rather than criticize it, show my disdain by omission. Well! We’ll just see about that… (I’m nice! No passive aggression here!)
They also said that knowing their food might be written about means that they’ll really have to step up and “bring it” with their cooking in the coming year. So now I’m really looking forward to a lot of fabulous meals. Quite a few friends expressed their willingness to cook me meat, so I guess this new “fleyshik fad” is here to stay for the foreseeable future. (Fleyshik means meat, as in flesh. Yum, right?) Finally, we recounted highlights of 2010 Shabbat meals that shouldn’t be forgotten, so stay tuned for that post in the next couple days.
Following dinner, we went over to Josh’s and learned a new board game, Dixit. I can’t recommend it enough. I was too full to eat anything, but the pareve cupcakes (with sprinkles!) looked divine, and the sparkling pomegranate juice was a perfect thing to toast with at midnight.
Lunch today was at our place with a very small crowd (who had all been warned I was making a new cholent variation and didn’ t know how it would turn out). We started with round whole wheat bread I’d made earlier in the week, sprinkled with honey. (Rosh Hashana traditions on Jan. 1? Why not!) We had spinach salad with apples, baked tofu marinated in tropical Soy Vey sauce with pineapple, a new vegetarian cholent concotion, and then the aforementioned ice cream for dessert. Following that, we went out to see the Mummers. A very happy new year indeed.
This is a vague recipe, with thanks to my sister for the first variation, and my own trust that it would all work out for the second. Cholent is forgiving, so give it a try. You do need a crockpot, though, which I recommend greasing first, and soaking for a long time after lunch is over.
An onion or two
Some potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and/or other root veggies
About a cup of barley
A cup or so of a combination of chick peas, kidney beans, and/or white beans (dried beans, unsoaked is fine, rinsed if you care)
1 cup ketchup
1 can beer or coke
Paprika, salt, and garlic powder (you’ll probably have to add more after it’s done cooking – the 20 hours simmering away seems to absorb all spicing)
Onions and garlic
Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Half a pound lentils and a cup or so chickpeas
1 can V-8
Some tomato paste
Salt, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, soy sauce, and a bay leaf (remove before serving, or at least warn your guests)
With either combination of ingredients or something else you dream up, cook it the same way: cover with water to right around the top of the ingredients. Cook on low for 20 hours. Be prepared to spice it again at the table (preferably generously with the hot sauce).