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Showing posts from August, 2008

Busy weekend

Its been a very busy week and the next few weeks will be no better.  We attended a beautiful wedding on Monday night for one of our neighbors daughters.   Last night, we went to an engagement party.  One of our best friends sons is marrying another of our best friends daughters.  This weekend is a big bar mitzva celebration and my wife and some of our children will be working the event (organization, setup, service and cleanup).
We will not be having guests for meals (other than the usual crowd), but we will be hosting four people who are attending the sheva brochot from Monday's wedding.  Our boys will be busy cleaning our house before they go off to work for the bar mitzva.
My oldest son has decided that working a simcha on shabbat diminishes his appreciation for the day and so he is only on-call as a backup.  But, he did invite one of his good friends to stay over for shabbat.
From a food perspective, its going to be quiet.  About 10 people for each meal.
Shabbat Parshat Rei Dinner …

A change of pace (Kidney Failure)

I have been trying to keep this blog focused on hospitality and food.  God though has other plans for his creations and I find now that I will have to expand the scope to cover new topics.  I'll try to continue blogging about my menus and our guests, but expect more posts that have little or nothing to do with food.
In February of this year, My second oldest son, Asaf was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure. Simply put, both his kidneys are damaged and scarred from some infection or defect that happened years ago.  They will likely cease to function sometime within the next six months.
The good news is that there is no immediate danger to his life.  Kidney Dialysis is a viable option and can maintain his health for up to ten or more years if necessary.  Unfortunately, the process is not easy and there are potential side effects. Given Asaf's generally excellent health and age, Kidney Dialysis is considered only a stop-gap measure and not a long term solution.

The best solution …

Backwards Weekend

While we host many guests for Shabbat, they usually come for Shabbat Lunch.  Our dinners are typically small with 10-13 people. (I know, its relatively small).  Lunch on the other hand, frequently reaches 20.   This weekend is reversed.
Our community is very warm and welcoming.  In particular, new families don't get to eat shabbat meals at home for some time after they arrive.  The community makes sure that they have a place to eat while they get settling in a new country.   We have been inviting one of the new family for some time now, but they always had previous plans.  Finally, we got them to accept an invitation to Friday night dinner.  At the same time, another families plan's fell through, so we invited them also.  Instant large meal.  21 people.  Fortunately for us, no vegetarians, food allergies or particularly finicky eaters.  Good happy omnivores.
Tomorrow, we have a temporary bachelor over for lunch.  His family is in the states and he was left here to work and earn …

Pre-Fast Weekend

This year is slightly unusual.   Of the two major fasts in the Jewish calendar, Tisha B'Av is the hardest.  It comes during the worst heat of summer and lasts from sundown to sundown.  This year, it begins right after Shabbat and ends on Sunday night.  That means that not only do we get to eat too much for Shabbat, but we also get to stuff ourselves just before shabbat is over so that we can get through the fast.  Ugh.  I love food, but as I get older, I need to pay more attention to what my stomach is telling me.  Usually, its "You've got big eyes, there is no way I can hold all that stuff that your shoving down your throat."  I've learnt to listen to my body over the past years.  Its amazing how we miss signals and directions that would make us each feel so much better.
This weekend, is going to be relatively quiet.  We have no guests for dinner and a family of five for lunch.  Most of our regular seduat shlishit (literally, the third meal) guests are eating at …

Better Late Than Never

It was a nice weekend.  I apologize for not posting before Shabbat.  I was distracted with another writing project (more about that in a few weeks).
We had a quiet shabbat with my cousin and his wife.  It was very nice to visit with them and we really enjoyed singing at the end of shabbat.
My cousin brought a Yerushalmi kugel.  It was very nice, particularly since I don't usually make kugels.
I was reading one of my cookbooks and I came across an technique for cooking chickens that I haven't tried before.  The first step is to split the chicken.  I started with two whole chickens. First, I cut out the backbones and necks with a pair of heavy scissors.  Then I split the chickens to make them flat.   
For the first chicken, I mixed up two tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of crushed garlic and a teaspoon of fried rosemary.    I spread this all over the chicken (top and bottom) and put some underneath the skin.  This I let sit for about 30 minutes.
For the other chicken, I put in…