Friday, March 27, 2009

Weird new food

Remember how I mentioned serving olive-oil potato chips after karpas?

For all you non-kitniot eaters, there's a new product out that you might want to try:

Avocado oil potato chips

We bought some last week to test them out and they were actually pretty good - a tad oily, as one might expect of kettle-style chips, but good. They were tucked in with the gourmet/crunchy granola snack foods at our upscale organic grocery, so you'll probably find them in a similar place (such as Whole Foods). They're made by "Good Health Natural Foods."


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Obsessed with Swedish Design

My ethnic roots are showing.

As I gear up for Passover this year, buying some new dishes to accommodate the insanely large crowd we'll be hosting, I keep getting obsessed with the idea of redecorating.
We are already in the middle of re-covering the dining room chairs, which, thanks to the toddler, are no longer cream but sporting a Jackson-Pollockesque treatment. Not really my thing. (Don't worry, I made him a red Thomas-the-Train cover to prevent reoccurence on the new look.)

The new fabric for the chairs (greyish-blue) and my plan to strip and stain them white, to match our older cafe chairs, got me thinking about drapes. Long simple ones, in a pale greyish blue. And painted furniture. And new pictures for the walls. And, before I knew it, I realized where I was going:

Gustavian design (Swedish country dolled up for the city-dwellers).

For example:

Isn't this great? Can't you imagine sitting here and having a leisurely scone and cup of coffee, with no children to interrupt you or job you have to go to? (I'm pretty sure those perks come with the look. As does the butler who brings your scone and coffee.)

In the next shot, I think the chairs actually have the same fabric we have on the old cafe chairs. Ours, however, are re-habilitated remnants from a coffee shop that Bad Cohen bought on sale shortly before we met. I re-did those (they used to have turquoise plastic covers) about eight years ago.

Something about the pale, painted wood and chandeliers says, "Hell no, you don't have to scrub the bathtub today!" This particular layout also comes with a maid who will keep all the toy cars and trains neatly put away in the separate children's wing.

And really, is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Karpas Munchies Ideas

One of the hardest parts of the seder for the kids (and anyone who forgot to have a big lunch) is the long interval between Karpas and Matzah, when we tell the story of the departure from Mitzrayim, with nothing to eat but parsley. With 20 potentially grumpy guests this year, I'm heading off trouble by adding a bunch of Passover-friendly veggie appetizers.
  • Mini stuffed peppers
  • Olive oil potato chips
  • 2 dips: roasted eggplant/pepper and guacamole
Note: if you ever have a vegan over for dinner, these are all acceptable foods.

Mini Stuffed Peppers
(based on this recipe from Epicurious)
I will use all mini-peppers as the cups, and substitute quinoa (technically a berry) for the bulghur, or maybe just leave that out entirely.

Olive Oil Potato Chips
I will probably cheat and buy some that are listed as containing only potatoes and olive oil as ingredients, but if you're really frum you can make them from scratch. Just slice the potatoes very thin and fry in olive oil, or toss with oil and bake on parchment paper at 450 for a few minutes, checking and turning them ever couple minutes until they're crisp. You will need to drain them pretty well, and keep an eye on the oil for flare-ups - olive oil has a low smoke point, so they will be a little greasier than regular chips. You can also make planked potatoes this way, which are a little thicker, but you'll want to let them cool and drain all the way before storing for the seder, or they'll just be floppy.

Roasted Eggplant and Pepper Dip
(this recipe is in Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food so check there for spice measurements. Or maybe I'll go look in the book if I remember and update the post.)

Prick an eggplant all over with a fork, then roast it with 2 bell peppers of any color in the oven at 450 degrees. Take the peppers out after 1/2 hour, and leave the eggplant in another 20-30 minutes.

Cover them lightly with foil, let them cool, and then remove peels (it's very easy). Remove seeds and stem from peppers, then cut eggplant and peppers into 1 inch pieces, or so.

Heat a pan with extra virgin olive oil, add 2 cloves mined garlic, some cumin, some sweet paprika (I also add some Spanish smoked paprika), and warm until fragrant. Add a tiny bit cayenne if you like things hot. Add the eggplant and peppers, squeeze 1/2 lemon over it, and cook about 10-15 minutes. I think Roden also has you add water, but I don't.

Serve at room temperature with your favorite bread or chip - we'll use olive oil chips for Pesach. This is truly an AWESOME, AWESOME, dip. During the rest of the year I eat it with sesame flatbreads.

Umm, if you can't Google a good recipe, how did you find this blog? ;-}
Basically: avocados, lime, tomato, garlic, red onion, cilantro, cumin, chilis (we like a little jalapeno and ground up dried anchos). Yumm.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Passover Food Pyramid

Friday, March 06, 2009

Passover is coming

I know, we're supposed to be thinking about Purim, but Purim really just means it's time to get ready for Pesach! So here's another edition of

The REAL 4 Questions:

  1. What exactly was I smoking when I agreed to host the entire extended Bad Cohen family seder?
  2. Will they notice if I don't make matzoh ball soup?
  3. How do we keep a certain uncle from bringing beer to the seder?
  4. How much food from the freezer can I stuff into the family this weekend to make room for all the Pesach foods we'll be putting in there?


1. Crack. Must be. Or maybe just too much chocolate.
2. Yes. The soup is mandatory.
3. Still working on it.
4. Anyone want to come over for dinner this weekend? We'll be serving fish sticks, frozen peas, ice cubes, veggie sausages, lekvar (hey, wait, that's for the hamantaschen, oh good), and, umm, maybe large jars of hot paprika. Yum.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

So anyway

this morning the Toddler and I are sitting on the couch, cuddling, sharing a bowl of warm oatmeal, and I remember I need to pay some bills. This is the first time he's seen me deal with the checkbook, I'm pretty sure, since we normally put this off until after he's asleep (or hell freezes over, I forget which).

It's hard enough to explain how using a debit card at the grocery store equals paying money. Now try explaining that some things you get first, and then have to remember to pay for later. Good thing they send these nice little reminders. Or not so nice little reminders, by the time it's the third notice...

Somehow we segued over to talking about tzedakah, and how we were going to bring in all the tzedakah money we've been putting in the jar ("for the hungry people" he interrupts - ok, so something is sticking) for our Tzedakah v'Chesed committee the day before Purim.

Turns out he knows the money is for other people, that's the whole point, but now he's upset about "sharing" it.

Kid doesn't really have any concept of what money is yet (I can tell by the way he responds when we tell him we're out of something - "go buy some at store"), so I think this is really about the sharing issue in general.

Turns out he wants to make sure we get to keep the jar, so he can keep putting money in it before Shabbat. (Awwww... yes, he's that cute)

I suspect it will be a much harder sell "sharing" the hamantaschen when we go to deliver the mishloach manot on Tuesday.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Proof that the gov't hates Jewish moms

One of the brilliant commenters at Ask Moxie has nicely pointed out that this year's change to Daylight Savings Time coincides with Purim.

That's right.

We'll be trying to get our kids to go to bed an hour earlier than their bodies think they should, while plying them with every possible refined sugar known to man.

Excuse me while I go sob quietly under my desk for a while.

(On the bright side, our tomato and chamomile seeds have ACTUALLY! SPROUTED! LITTLE GREEN THINGS! Somehow this seems absolutely miraculous.)