More bread, more babies

Fourteen weeks ago, we spent Shabbat in the hospital waiting for Aliza to be born, and we spent this Shabbat waiting to hear news about Aliza’s new baby cousin.  He arrived in that 25th hour between sundown and havdalah, not exactly Shabbat, but not the rest of the week either, a seemingly auspicious time to enter this world.  We can’t wait to meet him!

But in between numbered text message updates, we had Shabbat in Philly with our baby.  (Perhaps it’s a sign that I’ve spent too much time in academia, but I keep thinking that now she’s a semester old.)

Friday afternoon, Val came over to bake challah, and I felt much emboldened after last week’s success.  We used only white flour, I was surprised that it took a full cup more to get the right consistency, and it was still a little sticky.  Also, I have to say that as much as I like the health value of using part whole wheat flour, the moist cake-y-ness of this week’s batch was incomparable.

Friday night dinner was just Marc, Aliza, and me, and we enjoyed the challah along with tomato soup, grilled cheese, homemade potato chips, and a little beet salad.  It was perfect comfort food and nice to have a quiet dinner to complement the thunderstorms.

We had Shabbat lunch at Ilana’s, just the three plus one of us.  Ilana makes a mean baked tofu, which I was hoping she’d have at lunch; I was not disappointed, and the tofu went perfectly with the sesame noodles and bean salad.  She also introduced me to putting peaches into green salad, and it was amazing with raspberry vinegarette.  I was also happy to see my neglected popsicle maker given new life with peach and pink lemonade popsicles.

I had no idea I would be writing about so many seudah shlishit meals (I know that translates as “third meal meals,” but my Hebrew is just not good enough to say it another way).  We spent a lovely time at Sara’s Saturday evening eating all kinds of beautiful little bites of things, including an awesome tapenade from Israel and a tuna salad with curry that Marc whipped up on the spot.  I made a fruit crisp for dessert (but photographed it before it got its delicious buttery topping).

Walking home from Sara’s, we got the final text update about the baby.  A lot can happen in 25 hours.

Tomato Soup

So much easier to make from scratch than  you might think, and such a good use of the season’s fresh tomatoes!

4 slicing tomatoes (I don’t know if this is an official term, but it’s what our CSA calls them – think of what you’d put on a sandwich)
1 can tomato paste
3 shallots or 1 large onion
fresh basil
olive oil or butter
salt and pepper
water or stock

First you have to peel and seed the tomatoes.  This is really the only fussy part of making this soup.  Cut out the core, then score an x in the bottom of the tomato.  Put in a pot of boiling water for about 10 seconds then move to a bowl of cold water.  The peel will slip off and you can just squeeze out the seeds.  Coarsely chop the tomatoes.

Chop and saute the onion/shallots in butter or olive oil.  Add the tomato paste and some water or stock.  I added some sliced basil here, but you can wait until closer to the end.  Bring to a boil then simmer until the tomatoes fall apart.  Blend with an immersion blender  then add water until it’s the right consistency.  Add salt and pepper and a little milk or cream if you want to.

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