Saturday, August 11, 2012

Talk about nachas!

Last summer, I emailed my mother-in-law in Calgary a copy of my most basic, Reliable Challah Recipe (incidentally, the same one I made this week) so she could make it while the big kids were there for their annual visit.

She didn’t.  But this year, yesterday, Elisheva decided to make challah for their Shabbos together…

I haven’t gotten a report on the flavour, but honestly, and objectively, I think they look BEAUTIFUL!

Elisheva's CHALLAH 2012-08-10 014 

What a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Don’t forget the PIZZA!

DSC03809I know pizza sounds like a terrible choice for a hot summer day, but somehow, I find short bursts of oven use, however hot, more tolerable than long hours of baking.

So – pizza takes a 500 degree oven, but only for about 12 minutes and then it’s DONE and you can switch it off.  And in terms of prep time, it’s perfect hot summer food because it’s very, very easy.

I didn’t even start the dough for this one at 5:00, and by 6:30, okay, maybe 7:00, it was piping hot on the table.

DSC03801Now, I do wonder why it is that when I am absolutely SLAVING over pizza, like last time, when I actually had to deliver it to another family, it turned out absolutely awful… and then, when it’s just you and there’s nobody to impress, it turns into the best pizza you’ve ever had???

Well, I will say this – I love tasty bread and all, but this pizza used a quick-rise dough and I don’t feel at all guilty or ashamed because under tasty toppings, it’s REALLY hard to tell.  In future, for pizza, I’ll probably go for easy kneaded dough over fiddly no-knead dough.

Anyway, Ted and I each did one.  His had tomatoes, fresh garden green peppers and fried mushrooms.   He tried to make half “cheese-only,” but I wouldn’t let him. 

His philosophy involves protecting the children from interesting and/or tasty food experiences – mine involves plunging them in headlong.  I am truly my father’s child; this is the culinary equivalent of tossing his children off the diving tower at Sandbanks Provincial Park (which, thankfully, he never did to me so I never had to develop a lifelong fear of water).

My pizza had – okay, just listen respectfully as I describe my inspiration:

  • fresh garden mildly-hot peppers (lightly fried first to further tone them down)
  • fresh Ontario freestone peach, sliced
  • fake crab, shredded
  • frozen corn kernels

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YES, it sounds awful, and I’d never order it in a restaurant, but it felt like some ghostly chef was calling to me and begging me to add those toppings.

Baked 12 minutes to awesome perfection! 

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Ted’s pizza (in the background) was a little soggy on the bottom.  I blame those storebought tomatoes, which make up in water what they lack in flavour.  A lot of people don’t realize that loading up a pizza with toppings can water it down and make it soggy no matter how hot you cook it.

Speaking of which, the tomatoes didn’t fully cook, either, making the pizza hard to slice.

Mine, on the other hand, was crispy-toasted perfection, top and bottom. 

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I wish so many of my posts didn’t have to end with a simple “mmmm…” but just like news anchors have their famous “taglines,” like Walter Cronkite’s “That’s the way it is,” maybe my tagline will be, “mmmmmm….” 

I’ll be famous!  Life will be good… unless, as I’m tempted to say, it doesn’t get better than this.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Welcome! (and kosher label FAIL)

DSC03742If you’re here from Jamie Geller’s Joy of Kosher blog spotlight (and managed to find my URL hidden there at the very bottom) – welcome!  Take a second to click LIKE up above and join my blog empire!

Does this happen to you???  You start with a perfectly lovely kosher kitchen label… like this one:

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And then you use it for years and years and after a while, it starts to look more like THIS one:

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As the kids say…or said, a couple of years ago… FAIL.

Now, this is an actual unretouched photo.  I have done nothing to this label except wash it with a cloth in soapy water every time the bench scraper it happens to be attached to gets washed.  Notice that the label a) is cracked and peeling, and b) is illegible (there are a few flecks of green left on the label, but that’s all).

Well, in case you weren’t here to read my post earlier this week, I’ve finally found kosher labels, from Oliver’s Labels, that actually WORK (click the link to enter to win a set of them and MORE!) – and today I am attaching this gorgeous new “Parve” label to the bench scraper so it never accidentally gets mixed up.

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Now, this label has just gone on, which isn’t exactly a fair comparison with the old one…  but here are some which have been attached for a year and a half and they’re still beautiful and going strong.

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Here’s a couple of labels I attached to my keychain in January of 2011.  They have been handled constantly, unconsciously, roughly, just about every day since then. 

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Though you can see there’s been some wear and tear, those labels are NEVER going to come off.  They’re not peeling, cracking and the text is not a bit smudged (I’ve erased it for privacy).

Anyway, I guess this is a weird way to say welcome, but I was so exasperated when I was washing the pareve dishes and noticed the state of the label on that bench scraper, which I love a lot, so I use a lot… but which could, without a proper label, be used or stored in the wrong place at any moment, because there are five other people living here and sharing the kitchen.

So – once again… click here to win a set of these labels for yourself, along with another bonus gift from Oliver’s Labels!!!  And if you’re a regular reader, I promise – I will stop going on about these labels… really, I will.

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