Sunday, March 25, 2018

Palms and Passover

                            A pre-Passover meal, a post-Christmas party and Palm Sunday were weekend highlights.
                             The Passover, or Pesach, observance was at a family home with guests from several faith backgrounds. We all read parts from the ceremony as the hosts explained our actions. We all leaned to the left as we partook of wine or grape juice because it was historically thought that this position of reclining at table aided digestion.
                             Other tidbits I learned were that the man of the house traditionally shreds the spicy horseradish and the act represents tears he may have caused his wife. Homemade matzo should be prepared in less than 17 minutes to signify the haste with which the original meal was made.
                             This experience, with singing and guitar as part of it, was emotional and lovely as new friends were introduced to new traditions.
                             The Christmas affair was at the home of a friend who missed celebrating the holiday, because of Harvey. She’s back in her home and couldn’t pass on setting up a tree. Christmas music, Tex-Mex flavors and a white elephant exchange made spirits bright. The funny part is, beach bags and towels were fought-for prizes at this Christmas party. Hey, it was snowing to our north, but we Texans are ready for the shore.

                             “A Taste of Pesach 2”
                             Pesach If you know how to plate gourmet, you don’t have to cook gourmet. That’s purpose of the spread in “A Taste of Pesach 2,” picturing how slices gefiltefish becomes artwork beside a row of sliced cucumbers, spiralized beets and a clear dish of pink condiment. Stacked plates go high, brushstrokes of sauces are background for ribs, fruit cups are layered like stained glass and cakes get a swipe of puree on the side. All these nuances transform a meal into a celebration. I’m getting useful ideas for plating leftovers. Potato-stuffed chicken capons, doughless potato knishes, spinach nests jalapeno sole, apple-apricot kugel and matzo kugel are some tastes cooks can create from this book. The photographs and recipes make this book stand out. It’s a project of Yeshiva Me’on HaTorah, a dormitory Mesivta High School and Beis Medrash, founced in 2005 in Roosevelt New Jersey. The group strives to help young boys develop into budding Torah scholars. Pesach, or Passover, is from March 30 to April 7 of this year.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Joy goes green and Karrie stays frozen


                  Joy goes green for St. Pat’s
                            I had the pleasure of being invited for some original live music at a spiritual community. The Rev. Joy Walker, minister, invites everybody, every week. When I heard there are sometimes potlucks, and the one in March would be comprised of green foods, I had to get there.
                             The music, hospitality and message all combined for a lovely morning at Unity of Southeast Texas. Walker’s Easter season message comes from Paul: “ Be ye transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
                             After the program everyone gathered at a long table covered with shamrocks and gold coins after helping themselves to the spread. Greens with bacon, cabbage, guacamole, salad with kiwi and a stunning green gelatin with grapes that shimmered like emeralds kept the fellowship going.This potluck was like a pot of gold on St. Patrick's Day.
                             The community features a labyrinth open to the public from sunup to sundown. Joy Walker invites everyone to learn more by emailing


 Let it go... frozen 
        Karrie Truman is chill. Frozen, actually. Truman, of gives us “Seriously Good Freezer Meals,” which is a totally different take on what ‘80s mamas cooked up. Not knocking casseroles here. Truman has modern takes on those and a tempting array that goes way beyond.
                             I was taken by a photograph showing colorful, flat bags of prepped vegetables and sauces all stacked up for freezing. It brings out the best of OCD cooks. She begins with myths of make-ahead meals (they don’t have to be bland and mushy and she’ll show you how). Remember to label and date your creations and consider meal swaps with other creative cooks. Truman assures you can freeze chocolate, avocado with no skins, raw eggs with no shells and tortillas. Don’t try it with mayonnaise (it separates), radishes or cucumbers. What’s for dinner?
                                         Cauliflower Crave Soup, with bacon bits and fresh herbs sprinkled on top, sounds satisfying. Want to make a batch? Or five batches? Easy. Seriously Good Chili, Cashew Basil Chicken, Chicken Pesto Parmesan Shells and Peanut Perfection Pad Thai photo spreads definitely do not look like the freeze ahead meals you may be conjuring from past experiences.
                             The Island Pork page shows an aerial view of what looks like a pineapple with “skin” on lovingly flavoring the top layer of your future dinner(s). And there’s Bacon Carbonara Pasta Pie. Should I go on? Recipes are marked with a cent symbol when they are of great economic value and easy-to-read charts show how to make a large quantity or an even larger quantity. She’ll take you through breakfast, “meatless mains” and desserts in this Robert Rose book.