Sunday at sundown marked the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Judaism is full of symbolism and the food served for this holiday is no exception…apples dipped in honey and raisins in the challah to symbolize the hope of a sweet new year. And the challah bread is often made in a circular shape to symbolize the cyclical nature of life.
My task for Rosh Hashanah was to bring a challah. So with some help from Ina Garten and Smitten Kitchen, I spent most of Saturday making a round challah with raisins tucked in the folds. I was pretty impressed with myself and my instagram post included clever hashtags like #kindaimpressedwithmyself and #shiksainthekitchen. Raised Presbyterian (therefore a shiksa) but married to a Jewish man for 34 years, I am always amazed when my matzo ball soup impresses Jewish guests! And then there was this challah…
I heard my husband bragging to his brother about the bread I made. Score.
This promises to be a sweet year for us since we welcomed our first grandchild into the world three weeks ago. Lila is sweet and perfect and so full of potential. I hope it’s a sweet year for you and yours too!
This eggplant salad was easy and a big hit on Sunday for our family backyard gathering.It’s a Melissa Clark recipe from the NYTimes.
- 1 large eggplant (I used 2)
- 1 plum tomato, diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley (I forgot to add this)
- black pepper
- capers, for garnish, optional
Heat grill to medium high. Prick the eggplant all over with a fork, put it on the grill and close the cover, cook, turning occasionally, until the eggplant is very soft and skin is blistered, about 15 minutes.
When cool enough, scoop out the insides of the eggplant and coarsely chop. Transfer to a bowl and toss with tomatoes, vinegar, salt and garlic. Stir in oil and parsley, season with pepper and more salt if needed. Garnish with capers. Serve with warm pita bread.
Almost all of our old family photos are in the form of slides. Since few people have a way to view slides anymore, I asked my mom to select some so I could have them saved on a flash drive.
The photos were ready today and I have been lost in nostalgia all afternoon. I can’t stop sending photos to my siblings!
Find a local photo shop that can convert slides, photos and old VCR footage to flash drives and save those old memories. And then share them with your family and crack up! You never know what you might find…like this beauty of HAR and CJR!
Every spring, it gets me. When the snow starts to melt, and there’s a hint of warmer weather, I stick my noise in the air like the dog because I can smell maple syrup season coming.
We had a great family operation way back when. And the fillings that take up every one of our molars are no surprise given the amount of syrup and maple sugar we would consume during the six or so week season every spring. We had agro-tourism before it was even a thing, selling maple syrup direct from the farm, offering tours of our operation and serving up an impressive menu of pancakes, tea biscuits and johnny cake – as the carrier for some variation of our homemade maple products. Here are a few shots — from the Maplewood archives.
And maple, well, you know it goes with everything and with every meal. Maple sugar goes in my coffee every morning. Maple syrup is the only thing that ever tops pancakes or maple syrup in our houses. And maple butter is often just eaten off the spoon, or sometimes it makes it onto toast. I might just have an entire shelf in my frig dedicated to maple.
We are off again! We seem to enjoy traveling together because we keep doing it.
There’s our bi-annual wellness week at Rancho la Puerta and hiking in Cinque Terre,
fondue in Switzerland and cafes in Venice,
lobster rolls in Martha’s Vineyard and Prince Edward Island. And lots of laughs, cocktails and various styles of glasses and hair along the way. We are heading to Nevis for a week and will be off the grid but we will let you know the highlights in an upcoming blog. And we are talking about where to next…the Shetland Islands and Norway keep appearing on our radar screen…we’ll let you know!
HAR & CJR
We just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with our aunts, uncles and cousins on our father’s side of the family. Our cousin Pat showed up with some of Grandma’s china that she found in her dad’s cabinet. She knew he wouldn’t use the hand-painted tea cups or dessert plates—hand-painted by our grandmother— so she got creative with some of his dishes. I neglected to ask where the idea came from, but she showed up with several of the tea cups turned into pin cushions!
Pat had also glued two different sized dessert plates together with a small glass to separate them, creating a serving plate. She’s so clever!
I started looking in my cabinet at the pieces I have from Grandma and figured I’d brag a little about her talent and post more pictures of her hand painted china.
Apparently, in 1924, painting porcelain was something young women did…she bought the unpainted porcelain from Woolworth’s and did very elaborate decorations on the dishes. These dishes are 93 years old! Way to go Grandma and thanks Pat for the creative re-purposing.
My youngest son just got engaged! He and his fiance are a wonderful couple that bring out the best in each other. They are happy. We are happy for them. They are our friday favourite!
Every Friday afternoon at Rancho la Puerta they offer a lecture called Taking The Ranch Home. The goal is to help guests adopt healthy lifestyle changes from the Ranch and incorporate them into their everyday life. Since we just arrived home, it seems like a good time to reflect on what we are ‘taking home from the ranch’ this year.
Move early in the day. Hike, walk, swim…do it first thing before life gets in the way. Even better if you can be outside and watch the sun rise.
Eat well. It’s pretty easy to do at the Ranch because every meal includes about 15 different vegetables, a delicious soup and someone else did the work! With a little planning you can make healthy choices for your meals too.
Make time for reflection. The world would be a better place if we stopped every once in awhile during the day to pause, meditate, focus, count to 10, count your blessings…whatever you want to call it.
Spend time with your sister, or girlfriends or whoever listens to you and gets you!
HAR & CJR
For the last dozen or so years, we have a big family pot luck Canadian thanksgiving at a local rented hall. It’s a great time to check in with relatives and celebrate over some great family food.
There are at least 40 of us every year. And we usually salivate over the returning dishes from family – honey-cured ham, roasted vegetables, butter tarts, turkey, scalloped potatoes and more. There are four generations on hand. And there are usually guitars, soccer balls and family trees to add to the conversation.
I love this traditional (almost more than Christmas). It’s simple. It doesn’t take much to organize. And it’s kinda fun to be in a room full of people where you recognize the quirks, sayings and idiosyncrasies as your own.
Hope you had a Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.
CJR & HAR