Monday, July 28, 2014

A Small Sunday Adventure

Yesterday we had a few hours before an afternoon commitment. So we went to this pier on the Hudson and went kayaking.


You can’t take on the whole river, but you are welcome to paddle  between piers 95 and 97. A few minutes before you would have seen my husband and me paddling around.



Seeing both the city skyline and even New Jersey from the surface of the river was pretty wonderful.

Then we wandered our way home. Eleventh avenue is where all of the car dealerships in Manhattan  are. After we crossed 11th avenue one of the windows had a wonderful display of model vintage cars.


On our walk east to the subway we passed this really ugly building.


It’s awesomely bleak, and yes, it is public housing. It probably could have been made less awful without spending more money.


Now that Manhattan is beginning to turn back towards the waterfront, there are now several buildings that look like ships facing the water. This is just one of them.


I was able to peek inside the open windows of an 1870’s church.


This older church, probably from the time of the Civil  Was was across the street.


When it was built it was probably something of a country church, but the city has grown up around it.


I loved the shadow cast by the fire escape.


Today I went back to work.

Friday, July 25, 2014

DIY Cardamom Infused Non Dairy Ice Cream

I swear, it tastes like it is made with cream.


But this pictorial recipe will show you how to make this incredibly delicious dessert.


In a pot, place a few pods of cardamom


add sugar, 1 cup


salt, 1/4 tsp or the amount that fits in that tiny space in your palm



How much you ask?


That much.



yes, the full can.




Simmer for about 30 minutes.


Then, let it cool for a bit, puree in a bender  and put into an ice cream maker. That’s it.  If you don’t let it cool, then you risk some of the hot liquid jumping out of the blender top like mine did today and burning my wrist.

Yes,It tastes really decadent and mysterious and very, very milchig/dairy. It is worth the burned wrist.

You’re welcome.

What to make when my youngest comes home for a visit

The answer to that implied question is Lokshen mit Kaese noodles with cheese made with kale noodles.


My youngest is working as a counselor at the camp my husband attended fifty summers ago. The same camp where my sister worked as a baby sitter and as a counselor, where my aunt worked as camp librarian and teacher and where my cousin worked as a teacher. I worked at a different branch of the camp for two summers.

I believe that my son took the job purely for mercenary reasons. What I think my son didn’t expect, and I certainly didn’t expect is that this job as a counselor to rising fifth graders made him grateful  for his parents and his teachers who were mostly patient with him during his years of maximum bone headedness. 

I think my son now gets why we yelled at him, now that he has to explain to a group of ten year olds why using a Super Soaker is a really bad idea inside the bunk.

This is not what I expected from this summer.

It was delightful seeing him last night. I made him one of his favorite meals. It is very comforting food.I made this batch  of noodles with kale because my youngest tends not to eat vegetables. I finally figured out how to properly grind up the kale .

Green Lokshen mit Kaese

Cook one cup of frozen kale ( collard greens or spinach are fine here too)  and allow to cool

Puree the greens in a blender with two raw eggs

Put three cups of flour in a large bowl

Add the egg/greens  to the flour mixture

begin mixing with your hands

Add one more egg and  knead the mixture until it is a smooth mass. If it is sticky mess add a bit more flour. It’s important to knead the mixture well to develop the gluten in the flour. cover the bowl and go away for at least an hour. The dough needs a rest. You can also put the dough into the fridge over night and roll it out the next day.

After you have leaned you counter , and let the dough rest it is time to roll out the dough. Old cook books talk about rolling noodles out on a noodle board. a flour dusted tea towel is a great substitute for a noodle board ( ( and I don’t exactly know what a noodle board is ). That is it makes rolling the noodles out easier and clean up is easier as well.



Cut the noodles in a shape that makes you happy. I use a pie crimper to get a rippled edge. A pizza cutter is fine, a plain sharp  knife is fine as well.

Let the cut noodles sit for 20 minutes or so before you boil them. You want the outer surface to dry a bit before cooking. These noodles cook quickly and may be done in 5-7 minutes.

Drain the noodles when they are done. return them to the pot with a healthy knob of butter. Add more butter if you are feeling decadent, less if if  are not. Turn the heat under the pot to medium. Let the butter melt. Add about a pound of cottage cheese (no, not  the low fat kind) to the pot and stir. If you have farmer cheese or ricotta cheese in your fridge you can add that. Then break three eggs and mix them well, add them to the pot and turn the heat down to medium low. Add salt to taste and lots of black pepper.

Serve with a green salad, because all of that dairy NEEDS a green salad to balance it out.

Yes you can use a different vegetable puree. I have made beet noodles and I suppose that in the fall I will make orange squash noodles.


My son claimed that he wasn’t hungry after his late afternoon snack of half a dozen dinner rolls with cheese. But he did sit down with us and eat a few servings of Lokshen mit kaese.

After doing four loads of laundry, watching TV, playing Guitar Hero and sleeping in his own bed, he went back to camp.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today’s Ironing Tally

Well, not counting the three dress shirts, it’s five table cloths.


They are from top to bottom, 

  • A 1940’s era printed cotton  60 inches square, from my mother in law. The print is of pots and pans.
  • A circa 1970 hand woven cloth that had been my mother’s.
  • Another 1940’s era cloth from my mother in law. I have mended it several times. It is a large scale vaguely Hawaiian floral print.
  • A table cloth I made out of blue and white printed home dec fabric. I had stained it badly and dyed it with Rit dyes to mixed success. I don’t love the dye job.
  • A heavy cotton waffle weave. It is a bear to iron. I bought the fabric. I have no one to blame but myself for this choice. It looks good on the table.


Why so much ironing? Because it was hard to get it done from the ER last week.

Why do I bother ironing my table cloths? It’s a matter of storage. Un-pressed clothes are space hogs.  If I didn’t press the cloths, my life would be worse with generations of table cloths tumbling all over my dining room.


My head is now full of my daughter’s health issues(she’s not critically ill but the medical mystery is as yet unsolved), the situation in Israel and the fact that my child hood synagogue will soon be demolished.You can see what is in the path of the wrecking ball here. No wonder I knocked my iron to the ground twice today.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Brightly colored memories

Growing up my parents used to regularly take us to visit museums and galleries in Boston. it was with the same reverence that they used to take up to visit Design Research in Cambridge.


The late 1960’s and early 1970’s were a time when really wonderful innovative design was coming out of Scandinavia. Visiting DR (as the store was called) was a heady visual experience.


One of the joys of our visits was checking out the Marimekko fabrics.  My mother had basic sewing skills and used to buy a half yard top cover a square down pillow she had inherited from her mother. My mother would hand stitch  the simple cover.


In the early 1970’s one of my sisters learned how to sew and my parents bought her a sewing machine.  My sister decided that she wanted to make herself a dress out of Marimekko fabric. It was an expensive endeavor. Today a yard of Marimekko fabric costs more than $50 per yard. I seem to remember the cost as being $25 per yard, although I might be mistaken.

My sister purchased a Vogue pattern that could be made with just a yard of fabric. It was a simple darted shift with an extended shoulder that made a simple cap sleeve.


My sister, a perfectionist worked carefully. I remember one magenta dress with orange and red concentric circles and a green dress where she added the optional bell sleeves. My sister was thin in those days. The fashion for skirts was short, even at the Orthodox day school that we attended, so making a dress out of one yard of 60 inch wide fabric was doable.

Today, those of us who love the look of Scandanavian design but aren’t ready to pay $53/yard for fabric to be made into a summer dress, IKEA is a great alternative.

I went to IKEA a week ago Sunday to buy racks to use at the Women’s League show.  I found the racks I wanted in their damaged/last chance/seconds room. I also found a length of terrific fabric that cried out to be made into a summer dress.

IKEA fabric is always a bargain, but this was three yards for $10.  I brought it home.


I made this dress.


Yup it has 1973 written all over it.


I could have seen several of my teachers wearing it

(OK with short sleeves, because while short skirts were acceptable at my school sleeveless was verboten, or with a white rayon cardigan worn to cover the shoulders)


I didn’t make this with a short skirt. I can’t carry off a short skirt.

Wearing this dress I am filled with nostalgia. My mother bought a few Marimekko dresses ( on clearance) that she treasured. She always used to say that they were cool to wear and wore like iron.


I love the crazy green and the giant leaf print. I feel; like an academic wife from 1973 when I wear the dress. It makes me feel like I have to start a co-op day care center before I go to the anti-war rally, and after I get home from the consciousness raising group.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A complicated week



In addition to all that is going on internationally, things have been busy here on the home front as well. This is my oldest.


Monday she called me saying that she was experiencing chest pain, numbness in her left arm  shallow breathing and dizziness. She had gone to a walk in health center who checked out her vitals, did and EKG and suggested strongly that she go to an ER.


I met her at Mount Sinai Hospital.The ER there is busy. The gurneys are stacked three deep in each little curtained cubicle.  Other gurneys with sick folks are stashed away in hallways.


The ER staff first determined that my daughter was not just having a panic attack and began monitoring all of her vitals and began testing her heart in various ways. The episodes my daughter kept having looked like what in the 19th century might be called The Vapors, . if she were a fragile sort of a girl I would have not paid a whole lot of attention…but she is a tough cookie, a strong girl in mind and spirit.


By  early evening they moved my daughter to the relative luxury of the observation ward. Lots of different kinds of testing was done to my kid. She was hooked up to various sensors that kept track of all of her parts. This think that felt like something bad in her heart showed up as perfectly normal numbers and ratios.


Her potassium numbers were a bit, but not alarmingly low they gave her a dose of potassium ..and her symptoms immediately improved. Yes, we did all make Borat jokes and commented that she needed to move immediately to Kazakhstan for their excellent potassium.


My very independent girl wanted me to stay with her. So I spent the night. We discovered that two adults can not sleep on one hospital gurney. I began the night on an uncomfortable metal chair . At 2:00am a nice nurse took pity on me and brought me a comfortable chair. After another day of testing, they sent my daughter home.


We know that the problem isn’t her heart, we just don’t know yet what it is. They symptoms are somewhat less…but are still bothersome. She went to a primary care doctor today and she will explore in a less stressful way what is going on. The nice thing is that what she has isn’t fatal. The hard this is that it seems to be one of those fuzzy unclear things that make your life a little harder to lead and an answer as to what is going on isn’t all that easy to reach.

As one might assume, spending the night sleeping in a chair in a hospital isn’t all that restful. But Wednesday , instead of sleeping or just hanging out of the couch watching endless episodes of Toddlers in Tiaras I had to get ready to exhibit my work. I had made a commitment to exhibit at the national convention of Women’s league for Conservative Judaism in Whippany, NJ.

It’s a big job to get organized for a show. I was wiped out.. I did the best I could. Meaning lots of stuff just didn’t get done.

My saintly husband drove me and helped me set up and even helped me set up a slide show of my work. He was also a really good sport when I realized after we were driving on Route 80 that while I had packed the car with my display stuff…I had forgotten to bring my suitcase full of work so we had to go home to pick up my work.

So while I didn’t sell a whole lot at the show. It was pretty extraordinary for an entirely different reason. we all know the expression “six degrees of separation”. I think that in the Jewish world it’s more like two degrees of separation.

So over the course of yesterday I spoke to a woman who used to go to shul with my great aunt and uncle in their small town when she was a kid. I spoke to another woman who was a dear friend of a couple who were very dear to my parents in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I last saw them when I was five.


I had a lovely conversation with a much younger colleague of my father’s who had worked closely with him  in the 1970’s and 80’s on the publications committee of the Rabbinical Assembly.


And in the middle of all of this I reconnected through Facebook with one of my friends from middle school who I haven’t seen since she moved back to Israel in the early 1970’s.


So in many ways, it’s been a crummy week. It’s been crummy  in my family, it’s pretty awful in Israel and in Gaza. It was really terrible for the folks flying over the Ukraine in the plane.


And yet, there were some nice things that took place as well. ( Including the fact that my son made Shabbat dinner after he realized that I wasn’t home to cook it)


Shabbat Shalom. Hoping for an upcoming week of health and peace for all.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Food Friday

It’s hot out. I have been making spring rolls. basically it’s a salad wrap.


Finding the rice wrappers is pretty easy in my neighborhood. I lay the wrappers on a wet dinner plate for a about a minute before I fill it up,

This batch had shredded cabbage, carrots cucumber, basil leaves, alfalfa sprouts and marinated tofu. Last week I had made rolls with fake shrimp and some cold cooked fish along with the shredded veggies. Last night we dipped the rolls in Hoisin sauce.


Eating the same vegetables might be a bit dreary. Wrapping them makes them into something of a party.


Tonight we are having London broil with a coffee rub.


This is the coffee and spice mixture. As far as I can remember I put in coffee, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne and coriander and cloves.

After cooking it looked like  a charred lump.


Once it is fully cool I will slice it up and put it back in the oven for reheating with a sweet/savory sauce.


My son made the challah this week.


I am also making a salad ad potatoes cooked in the chicken fat from a previous week.


If you are spending Shabbat in my neighborhood, I’m giving the D’var Torah tomorrow.

I hope that this Shabbat brings peace.