South to North

Between Shabbat dinner and Shabbat lunch, we basically traversed all the parts of Philly I would ever expect to go to.  Throw in an aufruf, some snow, and an awesome pumpkin cheesecake, and I’d say it was a pretty good Shabbat.

Warren had us over for dinner Friday night and asked me to bring challah.  It was gratifying to be able to pull homemade challah out of the freezer and still have it taste good, but that was the end of it, so I definitely need to make more.  (Though, when Marc called me from the grocery store Friday afternoon to ask what we needed, I couldn’t think of anything, instead coming up with my new favorite adage about cooking with a baby around: We don’t need more ingredients, we just need more time.)

As always, Warren’s food was stunning, including a whole fish he named Ed, and another one he named Mike.  We also had a Spanish tapas dish that I could only describe as a cross between a latke and an omelette, green onion and citrus risotto, and incredible beets that I am excited to make (crossing my fingers for next week’s CSA!).  And then there was the pumpkin cheesecake.  Oh man.

Warren’s Quick Beets

2-4 Beets
2-4 Tbs butter (depending on taste)
salt and pepper
About 1 Tbs. lemon juice

1) Peel beets and trim away any hard parts.
2) Use a food processor with grater attachment or hand grater and grate beets using course grater option.
3) Melt butter in frying pan.  Add beets and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring beets every now and then.
4) Add about 1/4 cup water to the frying pan and cover with a lid.  Let cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Check the beets.  They should be tender at this point.  If not and the water has cooked off, add some more water and continue cooking.
5) When the beets are done, season with salt, pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.  You can also add a little more butter at this point to bump up the flavor (Warren says, “I personally like the beets on the buttery side.”).

Conversation at dinner ranged from what’s going to happen to the Occupy movement as the season changes, to wondering if, as adults, we could go trick-or-treating for things we actually need.  For example, that whole razor scare of the 80’s got people all vigilant or whatever about checking their kids’ candy, but actually, razors are expensive, so maybe we could knock on a neighbor’s door and ask for one?

Saturday morning, we woke up to what can only be called a wintry mix and, though I remember at least one Halloween growing up where we trick-or-treated in snow, it felt vaguely apocalyptic.  Or at least anachronistic.  Or fill in another “a” word of your choice.  It also fit with this week’s Torah portion where we read the story of Noah and the flood, and though I don’t usually go in for this kind of statement, it sort of feels like some higher power is trying to send us a message.

Noah has another significance, too, which is that it is Aileen and Brian’s “parshaversary.”  They met on parshat Noach and they celebrated their aufruf (being called to the Torah before a wedding), on parshat Noach, and I don’t know if they coined that term or not, but it’s caught on, and it was a huge honor to celebrate with them.  I don’t know how I never realized this before, but Noah builds the ark out of gopher wood — good Goucher girl that Aileen is, of course this resonates with her.  It’s not often that you get to yell “go Gophers” during services!

Also, since Aileen and I went to college together and spent time together in Philly, it was pretty awesome to walk into services and see so many good, good people from so many different parts of my life.  Their co-d’var Torah was pretty cute, too.  And since the RRC contingent was there, there were also a lot of little kids, and it was a nice change to have Aliza around so many other babies. She also helped open the ark, inasmuch as someone can open the ark who still can’t really control her hands…

Lunch was a beautiful spread from Boscov’s (who knew?!), and the desserts were especially impressive, in that no one would have guessed they were pareve (no meat or dairy) if they hadn’t also seen the deli platters.  It was a beautiful morning and bodes well for the start of a wonderful partnership.  (The dessert at the wedding was also delicious, and most certainly not pareve!  See below.)

So with all this warmth and goodwill, why even come back to the snow?  Because it’s weird!  Snow in October!  Plus, we realized that despite my snowy Western New York upbringing, we have no idea what to do with a baby in the winter.  Though at least, thanks to Nancy, Aliza has a hat!

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