Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Table has Left Us

When I found out that a neighbor's table collapsed on the first day of Passover, I offered our old one, actually my parents' old dinette table. It has been living in our "machsan," storeroom under the house. It was bought by my parents when I was a baby to use in their first "real apartment," the small first apartment in Bell Park Gardens, not far from the flag pole.

It had blonde wood, but my parents had it coated with Formica when they realized that three kids would age the table too quickly.

That was our table for a good part of my childhood, actually most of it. It followed us from apartment to apartment in BPG. It became the kitchen table in the house in Great Neck. That was until they "did" the kitchen with a built in table.

Then the table was sent to us in Israel. It became our dining-room table in Jerusalem and in Shiloh, until I bought a nice round teak one in the Danish Interiors "seconds" store.  Yes, the new table still rocks a bit, but the table is nice. OK, nobody sees the wood under two tablecloths.  Hmmm I guess it wasn't necessary to get such a nice table.

Today my neighbors and I pulled it out from under other "stored away" stuff.

I'm sure the table wants to be used. No doubt it will enjoy its new home.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Back to The French Press for My Morning Coffee

I must say that the Starbucks Medium Blend packs more wallop when perked, but nothing beats the simplicity of my French Press to start the day. Also, sometimes the second cup tastes stronger. The sugar is now in a glass jar, and the counter is no longer covered.

We have lots of leftover matza. I didn't need to buy the second 1 1/2 kilo package. No tragedy; I can always make my husband matzah brei over the year.

On with my day... Have a great one!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Back to "Normal" After Passover

If only we could just press a button that would unwind all the closet switching and magically get the Passover stuff back in "storage" and the chametz back where they belong...

May G-d give us strength and good health to finish this task in humor and success.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Passover Cooking

I've been wracking my brain to remember what I'd been planning on blogging. I just thought of one topic about how nice my neighbors are, but that can be blogged about anytime. Since this Pesach is almost over, I'll stick with a more timely topic, Pesach or Passover Cooking.

Here are series of photos I took when cooking for Shabbat Chol Hamoed when we had the kids over, and I needed lots of food. Click under pictures for the recipes.

Historic moment, quinoa on Passover.  Checking 3 times

My husband and nephew making charoset

Savta Brei, half-cooked

Savta Brei ready to eat

eating baked geffilte fish
same ingredients, just baked instead of boiled


vegetable kugels out of the oven

vegetables for kugels

40 year old blender, only used on Pesach

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lots o' Matzah and Blogs, Too, Plus Another Picture in the Jerusalem Post!

The latest Havel Havelim is on Shiloh Musings. Read, enjoy, comment and share, thanks.
Since blog carnival hasn't been functioning, we're organizing via our facebook page. That's where you can find out who's hosting and volunteer to host one of the editions of our weekly international Jewish blog carnivals aka Havel Havelim. Next week's host is Esser Agaroth. Send your posts to  EsserAgaroth at gmail. dot com.
I'm happy that the Jerusalem Post has published another of my photos:

Tomorrow night begins the last day/s of Passover. Enjoy in good health!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #3, Near the "CBS" Central Bus Station

Jerusalem's Central Bus Station, aka CBS, has been in the news of late due to air pollution. I don't think most passengers are there long enough to be endangered by it, but employees of its many stores, in addition to Egged, are those who must be most affected.

But that's not the reason I'm promoting the public toilets nearby. There are a couple of better reasons to use them if you have the time before or after a bus trip.

  • There's a ns1 entrance/user's fee in the CBS public toilets.
  • They are small and not always in good repair.
So, if you have the time, I suggest going into the "annex" of Center 1, which is the building next to Center 1, which now has the same security entrance. If you're coming in from the direction of the bus station, you can usually enter via the pharmacy, which has its own guard.

The public toilets are near the Cafe Cafe, towards the right of it.

I took these pictures before 10am, so not all of the stores were open.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Down South for Passover Fun, Susiya

I don't have time for a full-blown travel post today, but I'll just give you the gist. Yesterday we went down south, south of Jerusalem and south of Hebron. The highlight was Susiya and their special Passover activities for the "entire family." The activities were geared more for young families, and we were a couple of couples of grandparents. We did enjoy the tours and how the guide, actors and potter got the children to participate.

The entire site is smaller than Shiloh Hakeduma, and the history and activities are different. It was a real treat to be able to see what's new in the Southern Hebron Hills.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Passover Coffee Treat

A very close friend brought me a treat for Passover, good American coffee.

Starbucks, Medium House Blend

Without a few mugs of it this morning I wouldn't be functioning at all!

I perked some up in my rather off-center aluminum percolator, added sugar and milk. And then my eyes opened and my mind started to function.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I'm Not as Anonymous as I Had Thought...

I'm pretty much a nobody, OK, maybe not in the Jewish blogging world. But there really are many people who consider my husband the "celebrity" and expect me to play "Pat Nixon."

This year, when we found that all of our kids had "other plans" for the seder, and none were going to spend it with us, I knew that the time had come for us to somehow either get invited or find a few friends in similar positions and do the seder together. Stage one for this was for me and my husband to answer "dunno," or:
"This year we haven't a clue."
I guess it sort of sounded like a euphemism for:
"We're hoping that we'll be invited by someone."
And in the end a "someone" actually did invite us. Actually a few "someones" by the time Passover had rolled around. It was my husband who landed the winning invitation, and I kept telling people that I didn't know the people. But it ended up that our host and I had been acquainted almost half a century ago. That's even before my husband had met him, and even before I had met my husband. We had a wonderful time there and hope that we were good guests, well-behaved.

Our trip home ended up being more complicated than planned, because we ended up missing the bus by a few seconds and had to tremp. I got the first ride, which took me to Ofra. From there I got a ride to the Shiloh Junction. And from there another ride to the Shiloh-Shvut Rachel Junction, and there I ended up waiting and waiting. I reached the point when I had decided that if one more car passes me without stopping, I'm just going to walk straight up, and believe me it it straight up, to my house. So I zipped up my coat to be ready to march.  It was cold. And just then a car turned and stopped. I didn't know the person, but he almost stammered my name. He used to read my blogs.

He was on his way to see a neighbor of mine and  very happy to take me home.

It seems that I'm a bit more well-know than I had thought.

Monday, April 14, 2014

That "Sponja Gedoila," Pre-Passover Custom

For many, many years it would annoy me that although the house was clean of chametz, the forbidden leavened foods in time for the ceremonial bedikat chametz, when the head of the house checks and finds "planted" chametz, the house would just be a dirty mess. I didn't grow up with this part of Jewish Law. My mother made sure the kitchen was clean of chametz, but not the  rest of the house and my father didn't do any searching followed around by giggling children.

A number of years ago, after about  fifteen years of marriage, if I remember correctly, my husband was in miluim, army reserves and I did some of my Passover shopping in Jerusalem with a neighbor. He told me about his wife's family custom, the "Sponja Gedoila," which she grew up with being from a family that had been in Jerusalem for many generations.

Just before bedikat chametz she washes the floors of the entire house. And ever since, I do it. too. This isn't a thorough cleaning, which had just been done recently. I just quickly go over all of the floors with a damp cloth, Israeli style. In Israel most floors can be cleaned like that. If your home is carpeted, then you'd do a quick run with the vacuum cleaner and wash the toilet and kitchen floors.

And then I sit in my favorite corner of the couch while my husband does the ritual inspection.

Have a Healthy Chag Kasher v'Sameach all of you!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Covered, and Not With Contac Paper, Passover Update

For decades we would spend a fortune on contac paper to cover almost anything when getting the house kitchen ready for Passover. A few years ago I decided that enough was enough, and I'd buy some heavy oil cloth, plastic tablecloth "material" and cut it to size.

So that's what I did, and not only did it cost a fraction of what I used to spend, the pieces  are so wide I needed only one of the sheets I bought and the other became a table cloth. After using it for the week, I launder it, since it does get pretty yucky by the sinks.

For the past couple of years, I've said, that it's time to replace it. "Last year for these pieces."  But then I pack them away and set them up again, like now.  I used to have leftover contact paper which I used on the "peninsula," but that's all finished. I think I used aluminum foil last year. But this year I decided to cut up an old plastic Passover tablecloth.

Here are the pictures. Now I must get some sleep.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Getting Ready for Passover, A Couple of Things

I just want to throw out a couple of ideas.

Persian Rice for Pesach
One is about the big Ashkenaz-Sephardi divide over kitniyot. I blogged it on Shiloh Musings and highly suggest that you read about it. I had debated on whether or not to blog about it here, since this is the "food blog," but I decided that the issue is more than food, so it's on Shiloh Musings. Please read, comment and share, thanks.

My second short topic is an easy to use and effective reminder for counting the omer, aka a sefira reminder. The first time I actually got through the entire 49 days of counting was when I had a free sms cellphone reminder buzzing me every night. I've also signed up for a large number of email reminders over the years. But in recent years I found the simplest solution was just to program my phone to send me a personal "sefira alert/alarm/reminder." Of course this doesn't help us with the hardest night of the week, Friday night or the Eve of the last night of Passover. That's when my phone is off and not with me.

Now to get ready for Shabbat, Pesach and a big football game.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Skipping Rooms as I Clean for Passover

First of all, I'm also "skipping blogs" this morning, since I must leave the computer and start serious Passover cleaning in the kitchen.  Since Jewish Israel's Ellen has posted a very important article (or teaser for the complete one) on my Shiloh Musings about Lincoln Square Synagogue's giving a dangerous missionary a platform to speak to Jews, I'll let that suffice for this morning's post.

Since I don't have much help at home, and Passover is very soon, and I work at a job that does not take vacation before Passover to help the staff. Actually, since it's a clothing store, our workload and work hours are much longer and harder than usual, I'm working more before Passover. I also really want to go to the ISRAEL BOWL VII // Tel Aviv Pioneers vs. Jerusalem Lions on Friday. I need your prayers to get home safely before Shabbat.

So, even though there are rooms in this "empty nest" house that haven't been thoroughly cleaned, I've started the kitchen. We don't eat in the bedrooms. At most I have to find places for chametz pans that have been sleeping on beds. Five out of six "spare beds" have been cleared. No chametz enters the den, which looks like a storeroom.

Closet number one #1 was covered last night.

Here I come with rags, cleaners and rubber gloves!

So, kitchen, I know your number!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Doing Dishes by Candlelight

The other night there were some strange electric outages. Strange, because there was no wind, rain, cold or heat to put strain of any sort on the system. It was a warm, spring night. We needed to neither heat nor cool the house. I was tired after a long day of work, Pesach cleaning and shooting pictures at a neighbor's Bat Mitzvah.

The darkness continued minute after minute. I needed to wash the dishes. The sink was overflowing. So I took a candle and set it up by the sink. I really couldn't see much, but since I also wash by feel, even though I do wear gloves when doing the dishes, I just began scrubbing. I figured that if any were still dirty the next day I could just return them to the sink.

So I did the dishes, and in the end they were all clean. The electricity returned. I have no idea what the cause was of the outage.

All that remains to clean up is the candle.