Showing posts from October, 2007

Lech L'cha

We had an interesting Shabbat this week with a lot of conversation centering on G-d choosing Avraham to be the father of the Jewish nation. I heard this question at my weekly parsha class on Tuesday, and thought that it was, indeed, a good question. I mentioned the question to my oldest son, who is studying in yeshiva, and he got back to me on Friday with a 4 page written essay. He wrote it beautifully but I did not feel that it actually answered the question of why G-d chose Avraham, but rather justified His choice post facto.
Friday night we ate at a neighbor's house with another former neighbor who happened to be visiting. When we got around to my question of the week, "Why did G-d choose Avraham?", we were forced into Midrash-land to look for answers. The furnace came up, as well as other interesting Midrashim, but no answer that was based on the bare text. I presented my current idea that G-d called many people at that time (there was a lot of movement of trib…

Go there weekend

Ok, its Parshat Lech-Lecha, literally "you go there". As it happens, we were invited out for dinner! Yippee! On the other hand, we have a major crowd tomorrow. Our current count stands at 7+7+5 = 19 with another possible 3 or 4, pretty much maxing out our table at 22.

For some reason, the usual stream of post-high-school kids has not started yet. Every year is different. Given that the holidays just ended, it may take a few weekends before they start to explore the country and find themselves in Hashmonaem. We're patient.

So I only need to cook for one meal. Leiah has made it easier by purchasing some prepared food (cold-cuts) for one of the mains. This leaves at least two more mains to cook. So here goes.

Parshat Lech-Lecha
Lunch - 19-23?
Cold cuts (1.6 kg)
Garam Massala Pargiot ( two packages, about 24 pargiot)
Chicken Breasts stuffed with Rice and Spinach ( 1 packages, about 8 servings)
Dessert - brought by guests

Shabbat Noach - Recap

One change to this weekends menu was the addition of a poor mans jambalaya. Just sausages, poached chicken breast and rice with a little red pepper flakes. Not so great color wise, as its too white, but ok as an extra main course.

The rest of the meal was just fine and the conversation was interesting as usual. Noach is one of my favorite parshiot in the Torah. I happen to have some rather un-conventional theories about it. The challenge is to expose them only to friends who are receptive. Fortunately, our friend Dov was up for it and the evening was a smashing success.

Shabbat Noach

This is going to be an easy Shabbat. We have a full house because some of my cousins will be visiting, but they will be eating with other relatives here, so I don't have to feed them. Furthermore, we were invited out for lunch! So, I only have to make dinner. Its a bit challenging because one of our dinner guests does not accept the Heter Mechira (see previous post). Since on principal, I do not support any of the other options for Shmitta produce, we are left without the use of any fresh vegetables. We can still use frozen or canned vegetables since they were grown before the Shmitta year.

One of our other guests has agreed to handle the side dishes if I can deal with the mains and the starches. I'll give it a try.

Parshat Noach
Dinner - 14
Corned Beef
Cola Chicken
Roast Potatoes
Vegetable sides (brought by guests)

Shmitta Observance

This weekend is a bit unusual. One of our old college friends is visiting for Shabbat. He is not sleeping at our house, but he is eating dinner with us. Back in school (many years ago), I was one of the more religious amongst our friends, but as times change others have taken over that position. This has an impact particularly because this year is the 7th year of the shmitta cycle. The Torah specifies that every seventh year, the land of Israel should rest. The Jewish people should allow the land to lie fallow (uncultivated). The times of the Torah and Talmud, were based on local agriculture and animal husbandry. During this year, farmers were allowed to collect fruit that had grown on its own. They were also allowed to graze their flocks anywhere since all growth is explicitly ownerless during this seventh year. Given the relatively small populations and the fact that most people lived off the land anyway, the year presented a rest for farmers and a change of pace, but not…

Shabbat Breshit

Its a new year and time to get back to a regular schedule. OK, so this particular Shabbat we have no outside guests, but we did invite a family for dinner and we will have two guests for lunch. Our dinner guests are great cooks and they offered to make some of the food! What can I say, its going to be lots of fun.

Shabbat Breshit
Dinner - 14
Chicken Soup w/ Vegetables
Chicken Chilli w/ Rice
Morrocan Chicken Breasts
Honey, Garlic Soy Chicken Wings
Ensalada de Col (red cabbage salad) from The Border Cookbook pg. 135

Lunch - 10
Chicken Adobo from The International Garlic Festival Cookbook pg. 120
Baked Chicken
Mashed Potatoes
Sicilian Broccoli
Green Salad

Simchat Torah - recap

It was a quiet holiday for us. No guests. The family was pretty tired of the endless vacation. Food wise, the enchilada casserole was great! Really nice way to use partially dried out tortillas. The Zuchinni Con Queso was very soupy. Either I put in too much milk, or I should have put in more cheese.

My chichen chilli for lunch also turned out rather soupy. I put in only one cup of barley and two cans of baked beans. Next time, I need to add more barley. I'm re-using this dish this weekend by mixing in cooked rice. The rice will soak up the liquid.

Iraq Blogging

One of my neighbors is an American Soldier stationed in Iraq. I've linked to his blog here and in the sidebar so that you can see what its like. I'm most impressed that no matter where we find ourselves, hospitality and welcome are appreciated and valued. May Victor return to us safe and sound after his tour of duty.

Simchat Torah

Its been an eventful week. Just before Shabbat last Friday, we finished our second gas balloon. Where we live, there is no natural gas pipes to the houses. Instead, you contract a supplier to bring you gas canisters that are called balloons. Most houses have two balloons. When one finishes, you manually switch over to the second and call the supplier. They deliver within a few days, so you should never run out. Oh well, this is probably the fourth time that I can remember running out. Since it is a holiday, we could not reach the gas company to get a new delivery. We were sure that Simchat Torah and Shabbat would be cold meals prepared in the microware or stove.

The wonders of the Internet are that you can send mail even if you can't get a person by telephone. We sent email to the gas company and they tried to call us yesterday. Unfortunately, we were on a hike in the desert. But, I got the message this morning and called them before 9am. The person who answered the p…