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Mourning

I look back over the last year, and many problems we had were solved, or are at least in progress. My toddler broke her leg, but within a month she was running. My eldest had serious trouble in school, but after going to a bazillion therapists and psychologists we seemed to have found something that makes him happy.  My middle boy is suffering from stomach aches and is undergoing testing for celiac, but if he’s celiac we’ll manage – I love baking, after all, and nowadays you can get practically everything gluten free (for a price…). And at least he won’t be in pain all the time.

But my brother is still dead; and nothing can bring him back.

Simple Comforts

I’ve been going at full speed the last few days, so today I took things easy and worked from home. One of the perks of working from home, for me, is to take the time to make and eat a proper breakfast, with a cup of earl grey and milk, and a good book.

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The epitome of peace

So we have a mushroom, herb and cheese omelet, toasted whole wheat bread and butter. For some reason, I  never pack a butter sandwich, or a cheese omelet to take to work.  For me, this is the essence of taking it easy.

Mushroom, herbs and cheese omelet 
Heat oil (can also be olive) in a frying pan. Place sliced mushrooms in one layer in the pan. When browned, turn over and pour eggs mixed with milk, a dash of salt and some snipped herbs (I used parsley and dill, use what you have). Wait until firm and brown on the bottom, then flip over. Place two slices of cheese on half the omelet, wait a minute the fold in half over the cheese. When cheese is melted, move to a plate and eat immediately.

If I’m still hungry, another small pleasure I usually don’t take time for is a tomato and cucumber salad, cut small, with a large splash of good olive oil, a small splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. Simple, but I’m the only one in my family who eats this so I make it only when I’m eating at home alone. You can imagine how often that happens. ;)

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So simple, so good

Sometimes the simple things are all we need…

It’s Shavuot, and Shavuot means cheesecake. I always make my MIL’s cheesecake, but this year I decided to make, in addition, a quick cheesecake to take to the Tikkun (all-night Torah study, see link above). I saw a recipe that I liked, tweaked it, and voila! Easy and tasty.
However, I can’t bring myself to call it a cheesecake as it doesn’t look like a real cheesecake – you know, white and creamy with perhaps some crumbs or fruit on top. In this cake the cheese is mixed with all the ingredients and everything is baked together. Easy? Definitely.  Real Cheesecake? Not so sure. ;)

Based on “Ugat gevina bhusha” (literally “stirred together cheesecake”) from Chef Magazine.

Ingredients
1/2 cup vegetable oil
110 gr sugar
125 gr white cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, whatever (I used ricotta)
2 eggs
125 gr (1/2 cup) milk
Rind from one lemon, grated
10 gr (1 packet) vanilla sugar
175 gr (1 1/4 cup) self raising flour
1/2 cup blanched sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. In a food processor, mix oil and sugar until light. Add cheese and process again. Add eggs one by one, mixing well between. Add half the milk, the lemon rind and vanilla sugar and process again. Add half the flour, mix, add the remaining milk and flour and mix again.

Pour into 18×18 cm pan,  sprinkle almonds on top and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool and eat!

I used a 22×22 cm pan, it came out excellent.

 

 

Couldn't resist :)

Couldn’t resist :)

Happy Shavuot!

A friend of mine needed to bake a dessert without eggs. I gave her the recipe of my oil based chocolate cake, and she did something absolutely amazing with it:

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Yup, that’s the same recipe :)
She used chopped up bittersweet chocolate instead of chocolate chips and used a piping bag to make cookies. After they were baked she  made cookie sandwiches with icing. Absolutely detectable! Go Talya, you rule!

Do you have any delectable tweaks? Shabbat shalom!

How is it possible that I take off two socks in the evening (and yes, I’m sure I had two) and can only find one in the morning? Do the socks take turns to visit their ailing grandma? Is there a bloody war between tribes of socks that take hostages? Where do they go?

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Where?

And the last Passover installment: only one of my three children likes potatoes (what’s not to like? Kids are weird). However, they all like french fries. I refuse to deep fry at home – the mess, the smell, the popping oil, dire warnings of trans fats and using up a whole bottle of oil each time you want french fries turns me off. So I tried this recipe for oven baked french fries, and it was a rousing success! Just be warned: It takes about an hour and must be eaten fresh.

One potato per person
Olive oil
Salt
Other spices to taste (I think sweet paprika would be great, but as I said, kids are weird).

Slice potatoes into chips (1 cm thickness about). Put in pot with water and salt.

cutting-oval

Bring to a boil. when starting to boil, drain (this was difficult as we didn’t think we would need a pasta strainer for Passover, so we didn’t have one. Next year). Wash with some cold tap water if you want. Add some olive oil and salt, mix well so that the chips are well covered in oil. Spread in one layer on baking dish lined with baking paper. Grill at 200 °C for 20 minutes, or until brown. I tried once grilling at 230 °C, but it got brown without cooking properly.

Brown

Brown enough for me

Transfer to a serving dish and eat immediately (well, when it cools down a bit of course :) ).

Don't forget the salt!

Don’t forget the salt!

Next Passover installment: Passover chocolate chip cookies. These came out delectable enough that I’ll be making them during the year as well. They’re based on ground almonds and potato flour, and thus have a higher nutritional value than regular chocolate chip cookies.

2 eggs
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 packets vanilla sugar (total 20 gr)
400 gr finely ground almonds
1 cup potato flour
1/2 package chocolate chips (150 gr)

Beat eggs and sugar together. Add rest of ingredients and mix. Put in freezer for 20 minutes so the dough won’t be as sticky. Create small balls (about the size of a walnut in the shell). Preheat oven to 160 °C. Set dough balls on baking paper. Press down with a wet fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. Middle will look uncooked, that’s OK! If you wait till they look cooked through the cookies will cool down hard. These cookies don’t spread in the oven, so no need for more than 1 cm spacing when flat.

You can also try skipping the freezer step and using two spoons to place the dough on the baking paper. However, because the cookies don’t spread much you will get interesting shaped cookies :) If anyone tries it please let me know if it turned out OK.

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Edit: I completely forgot to add oil when writing hte recipe, and I baked a second batch based on this recipe – without the oil. It turned out much better and less heavy, the almonds have enough natural oil of their own. So this is an oil-free recipe :)

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