Well we did it. We moved to Los Angeles. We live in Los Angeles. I can’t honestly believe it. The last month has been some of the loveliest time of our family’s life. I’d say the only thing keeping us from calling it ‘pure bliss’ is the fact that my beloved grandmother, and last living grandparent, passed away a week and a half ago and the fact that the world is hating on Jews right now (I mean, more so than normal). As result of the increase in the world’s hate of Jews, myself, along with some fellow kosher foodies, have experienced some serious anti-Semitism over the last weeks for no other reason but for being Jewish and/or using the word, “Israeli” in a recipe post. So, you know, not quite ‘pure bliss’.
So, OK, aside from the fact that I’m scared for my people and I miss my grandmother, July 2014 has been amazing. We left Miami on July 1 at the crack of dawn. We were stressed. We were emotional. The kid had a tantrum in the middle of the Fort Lauderdale airport at 6 am, the likes of which I had never seen before. You could see the fear in our fellow passengers’ eyes, “Please don’t let that screaming kid sit next to me. Please don’t let that screaming kid sit next to me.” Luckily, after 20 minutes of pure rage, she got out what she needed to and went back to being herself though we were on edge for the first two hours of the flight. So yes, leaving was rough. At one point, after boarding and before take off, I locked myself in one of the bathrooms on the plane, called 3 of my closest girl friends and just let it all out—the fear, the anxiety, the stress. I guess you could say I had my own little tantrum, though mine was in the privacy of a tiny airplane restroom. By the time we landed at LAX and realized we could step outside and not immediately break out into a sweat (so long Miami), things started looking up. All of our stuff, including our car, arrived the day we landed. Within 48 hours of landing, we were unpacked. Our goal was to create as much order in the chaos as possible in as quick of a process as possible so that the kiddo could feel some peace. And then of course, we could find some peace. I think it worked. At least it worked for the time being until her dad goes back to Miami for 2 months and we go right back to another transition.
But let’s get to the part about how awesome July 2014 has been. We took a break from life. The hubs, the kid and I just took a break. After all the planning and the stress of the move we took the last 3 and a half weeks to enjoy life. We ate ice cream . . . a lot. We took long walks and went on road trips and explored new beaches, drank good wine (OK, the kid didn’t but she had some lovely water), saw whales and slept. Oh, did we sleep. I don’t know if it’s because our new place has a lot more shade (unlike our old place in Miami, which had so much direct sunlight beaming into our windows it felt as though we were, in fact, LIVING on the sun) or what, but the kid sleeps later here. I mean, there was one day when we slept to 8:15am. Did you hear me? I’m a mother of an almost 2 year-old and I slept in until 8:15! I’m telling you, the 3 of us, this little family of mine, we were on vacation.
And yet, with less than a week before my husband goes back to Miami for a couple months, leaving his ladies to continue on in Los Angeles without his silliness and comfort, the real world seems to be creeping in. I’ve been dreading this for so long it’s almost to the point where I just need to rip the band-aid and get it over with. Thank Gd, we’ve already started to make friends here. I must have done something right in this life because we got blessed with some amazing neighbors. Just two floors up is the sweetest family with a young daughter just 6 months older than my kiddo. Siona is officially obsessed with her and I’ll be cooking our first family/neighbor Shabbat dinner for them this coming Friday. Lord have mercy, I gotta start menu planning.
The chicken recipe below is something I cooked up last Shabbat dinner. Since going kosher, I have missed my fair share of creamy chicken dishes and casseroles. But then the fine folks in the health food industry created dairy alternatives and some of them are actually good. For this recipe I used good ol’ fashion Tofutti sour cream. To be honest, Tofutti doesn’t have much flavor, which is kinda a good thing for this recipe. It does, however, provide a lovely texture and creaminess. I like to break out this recipe to impress folks (and by folks, I mean my husband). Works every time.
(Scenes from a Pacific Coast Highway road trip)
- 1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 thighs)
- 1 medium white or sweet onion, diced
- 4 bulbs of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 carton of button mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 3 - 4 Tbsp Earth Balance margarine
- 1/4 cup white cooking wine
- 1/4 cup of veggie or chicken broth
- 1 giant spoon full of vegan sour cream
- 2 Tbsp chopped chives
- 2 Tbsp chopped dill
- 1 Tsp of kosher salt
- 1 Tsp of ground pepper
- Using a Dutch oven or heavy pan with a lid, place 3 Tbsp of the margarine in Dutch oven and place on stove top on medium heat. Once melted, place the chicken thighs topside down and let them brown on each side for roughly 3 minutes, sprinkling salt and pepper on each side. You're not wanting the chicken to cook all the way at this point, just brown. Once brown, take out of Dutch oven and place on a plate lined with paper towel.
- Next, making sure the heat is still on medium, place another Tbsp of margarine in the Dutch oven.
- Place onions in the pan and stir for roughly one minute or until they are translucent.
- Next, add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for another 2 - 3 minutes.
- Add the white cooking wine and stir, making sure to get all that good crispy brown stuff that has cooked onto the bottom of the pan mixed into the wine. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for a few seconds.
- Put the chicken back into the Dutch oven (topside down) with the onions, garlic, mushroom and wine mixture. Pour the broth into the pan, make sure the heat is on low, stir the pan a little bit and cover, letting the mixture cook for roughly 10 - 15 minutes.
- Once chicken is cooked through, remove from heat and stir. There should be about an inch of liquid left over in the pan.
- Stir in the vegan sour cream into the Dutch oven with the chicken. Once all combined, taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.
- Mix in the fresh herbs to the mixture. Serve over rice or Israeli couscous.