Title EggplantSo I’m having an affair. I am 100%  falling in love with the State of California. Seriously, Cali, where have you been all my life!? Ok, well, I actually know the answer to that previous question but whatever. I guess the more appropriate question would be, where have I been this whole time?! I mean, I figured I’d like California in general and kind of like Los Angeles but I never thought I’d like it this much.  I mean, this morning I was at the farmer’s market in my neighborhood and tonight I’m going to Drag Queen bingo. I mean, what’s not to love in a city that offers a mommy that kind of diverse Sunday Funday?!

Choppin'

Choppin’

But in all seriousness, being away from my husband has been extremely hard and draining, but this city (along with my daughter and my mom) has kept me company and I’m so grateful.  This week at work has been full of orientation meetings, CPR training, more meetings, ice cream and then even more meetings. My ‘mommy guilt’ has only increased with every work day that passes by. Even with my mom here, I still feel incredibly guilty every time I leave the house.  I know this feeling is completely useless but it’s still very real for me.  Tonight’s night out with my dear friend, Jessie, is a huge personal triumph.  I’ve tried several times to attend a workout class with her during the week, after work, but once I’m home the idea of leaving the kiddo again just tears at my heart-strings. I’m hoping that once she’s at school and she has a more engaged daily schedule, I won’t feel so guilty if I leave for an hour or so in the evening in order to take care of myself.  I am such a frikkin’ hypocrite right now because I am the first one to advocate for self-care and here I am completely ignoring my own advocacy pitch. I’ll get there.  I’ll get there eventually, right? So far, my nights have looked a lot like me putting the kid to bed by 8pm and then climbing into bed with a mug of Trader Joe’s vanilla soy ice cream (covered with sprinkles, obvs.) and watching reruns of Parks and Rec, which, by the way, is my new favorite show (sorry Nashville). I’m not sure where I was around  5 years ago when everyone was on board with this show but whatever.  I’m here now and I’m completely obsessed with Ron Swanson, Leslie Knope and the whole lot.  So yes, I guess this means I’m now 3-timing my husband with the State of California, the City of Los Angeles and a hilarious NBC mockumentary.  That doesn’t make me ‘loose’, right?

This Week's Highlights: Ice Cream at Carmela's, Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies for New Co-Workers; Siona's First Love; Chickpeas in Spices

This Week’s Highlights: Ice Cream at Carmela’s, Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies for New Co-Workers; Siona’s First Love; Chickpeas in Spices

So the recipe below is for my go-to Shabbat lunch and/or picnic favorite meal. It’s been revealed recently that some of my favorite people don’t like eggplant because of the texture, but I’ve decided to keep them in my life, despite the CRAZINESS of not liking eggplant. I L-O-V-E  love eggplant.  It’s my favorite vegetable of all time. This recipe is easy, delicious and doesn’t need to be assembled until the day of Shabbat so it’s great for the last minute Shabbat meal scramble (y’all know what I’m talking about). Enjoy and have a wonderful week. Jewhungry eggplant kosher rollups

Herbed Cream Cheese + Roasted Eggplant Roll Ups.

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 medium whole wheat tortilla or wraps
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced to 1/2 inch thickness
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt (for getting out excess moisture from eggplant)
  • 4 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro OR chives (OR BOTH!)
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tbsp table salt

Instructions

  1. Place sliced eggplant on paper towels so that they do not overlap. Salt each eggplant and let soak in salt for at least 30 minutes in order to draw out excess moisture.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. After 30 minutes, place eggplant on baking sheets and brush each eggplant with olive oil.
  4. Place eggplant in oven for 20 - 30 minutes.
  5. While eggplant is roasting, prep all over the other ingredients for your wrap.
  6. Place cream cheese in a bowl. Add in cilantro, garlic powder, ground pepper and additional table salt. Mix until well combined.
  7. Once eggplant is finished roasting, stack your eggplant and slice for easier bites.
  8. For wrap assembly: Spread herb cream cream mixture onto a wrap. Lay diced avocado on top of cream cheese and mash for an easier rollup (try to keep all toppings off from the direct sides of the wrap. This way they won't burst out when you actually roll everything up). Place eggplant on top of the avocado and any left over herbs that didn't make it into the cream cheese.
  9. For rolling: Tightly tuck in one end of the wrap and roll, tightening along the way. Slice the finished wrap into 2 inch rolls.
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Cake for Two

Cake for Two

Hi dear readers! First and foremost, I’d like to start off this post by wishing my sweet Miss Siona Mae a very happy birthday.  Yep, another year has gone by and the kiddo is 2.  I’m kind of shocked at what we’ve gone through together in the last 2 years.  We’ve traveled to Montana, North Carolina, Kentucky, New Jersey, California, and a few other states I’m probably forgetting.  We’ve had to say good-bye to her great grandmother while also meeting some of my oldest, dearest friends.  She’s learned how to walk, talk, swim, sing, feed herself, and ask for what she wants (while remembering her manners . . . most of the time).  She’s obsessed with Pharrel, sand and and the color purple (the actual color, not the book or movie.  Give her time people).  Forgive the extra layer of cheese with this paragraph, but I’m just so proud to be her mom.

WOW

WOW

 

My favorite picture of all time -- in our custom-made Jewhungry aprons.

My favorite picture of all time — in our custom-made Jewhungry aprons. The face she has is too much.

 

Ok, quick update before getting into this delicious guest post by the incredibly talented Molly Yeh of, My Name is Yeh.  When last we spoke, we were gearing up for husband to go back to Florida.  Well, the band-aid has been ripped off and he is officially back in Miami.  Saying good-bye was ROUGH.  I did my very best to keep the tears from flowing so that I could appear somewhat strong for the kiddo, but once we were outside and waiting for the Super Shuttle to arrive, the tears just came.  I wrestled with how I should present myself for the sake of the kiddo for so long.  Should I hold back the tears and stay ‘strong’ for her so that it wouldn’t freak her out to see mommy upset or should I just let go and let flow? Ultimately, what I realized was that it didn’t matter what I ‘decided’ was the best course of action for in that moment, I was going to feel what I was going to feel.  I want Siona to know that it’s OK to feel things, ALL things, whether good or bad.  I want her to know that emotions are not something to be ashamed of but rather, it’s what we do with our emotions that truly makes the moment.  And so, some tears came down and I explained why I was sad and where the tears were coming from, and then we immediately marched ourselves right upstairs to our neighbors apartment so that Siona could play with her bestie and mama could have a big ol’ glass of wine.  We now fill our days with lots of phone calls and FaceTime (I love technology).  I truly don’t know how folks existed before FaceTime.  I really don’t (**this post was in no way sponsored by Apple.  I just really, really appreciate technology).

A family portrait taken in the forests of Limekiln State Park

A family portrait taken in the forests of Limekiln State Park

My mom is in town now to help and I’ve had to hire a babysitter for a couple hours a day to take care of Siona during this time that I’m at work and her school is still not in session.  I keep thinking about good ol’ Hilary Clinton’s message about how it takes a village to raise a child. One never really understands how true that statement is until you move, leave your  established village behind and realize that the only way you’re going to survive is to hire a village. We’re in the beginning stages of this temporary single-parent situation and I’m balancing the emotions of panic and guilt. How fun! Guilt for every time I walk out the door to go to work and leave her with a babysitter and panic because I work at a school and there are back to school nights and parent luncheons and grade-level trips and how the @#*$ am I supposed to do all that when it’s just me? I miss my Miami village.  I miss my hubby.

Jewhungry the blog kosher birthday cake

 

Jewhungry the blog kosher birthday cake

my heart.

my heart.

But, enough of that.  There’s a cake to get to! An adorable cake made by Molly Yeh! If you’re living in a cave (albeit with amazing WiFi because you’re reading this post) and you’ve never heard of Molly Yeh before, let me please introduce you to her.  She’s got more charm in her pinky finger than I could ever hope to dream for.  She’s a Juliard-trained percussionist, recently engaged to her egg boy (MAZAL TOV!) and lives on his family’s farm in North Dakota. She also happens to be incredibly talented in the art of baking/cooking and photography.  We became modern-day pen pals when she wrote a comment on my shakshuka post and I couldn’t breathe all day because Molly Yeh had read my blog! I decided I should write to say ‘thank you for reading’ and several months later I got the balls to ask her if she’d write a guest post for my beloved Siona’s 2nd birthday.  To no surprise at all, because she’s that selfless, she said yes! Below is her birthday cake for Siona. It seems like such a yummy, user-friendly recipe I might actually attempt it myself.  Happy birthday to my Siona and thank you Miss Molly.

Jewhungry the blog kosher birthday cake

 

A Birthday Cake for Two – A Guest Post by Molly Yeh

TO ASSEMBLE: You could do anything you want. You could spread the frosting on the cake and call it a day. This would be the easiest way. You could wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze it for an hour, and then either cut three equal rectangles or use a 2-3 inch biscuit cutter to cut out small round layers and frost in between them, for a little layer cake. Or if you’re wanting a challenge, you could do what I did and wrestle with a simplified miniature version of momofuku’s birthday cake. (the steps are here, under “birthday layer cake” http://milkbarstore.com/main/press/recipes-and-how-tos/). I subbed a biscuit cutter for the cake ring, parchment for the acetate, and omitted the cake soak and crumbs.

*taking a cue from Momofuku’s birthday cake recipe, I prefer Mmccormick’s clear imitation vanilla because of the nostalgic flavor that’s reminiscent of a boxed cake. It’s silly, I know, but taste it and you’ll see what i mean. you can of course use all-natural vanilla instead.

a necessary last step: sprinkles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 7 tb cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tb butter, softened
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla*
  • 1 tb vegetable oil
  • 2 tb whole milk
  • 1/4 c sprinkles, optional
  • FOR THE FROSTING:
  • 6 tb butter, softened
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar, or more to taste
  • a splash of vanilla*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease and line the bottom of a small loaf pan with parchment. i use a tapered loaf pan that is 6 inches by 4 inches at the bottom.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until combined. whisk in the egg, vanilla, and oil.
  5. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until combined. add the milk. if using sprinkles, gentle fold them in.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan. i highly recommend using a cake strip (an easy diy one here: http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2013/03/15/how-to-bake-level-cake-layers-diy-cake-strips/#comment-84116) since this recipe is so small—you don’t want to have to level any off.
  7. Bake for 12-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then turn onto a cooling rack.
  8. To make the frosting, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy (See the very top of recipe for assembly instructions).
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title

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’.

chicken 2

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.

chicken 6

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.

collage

 (Scenes from a Pacific Coast Highway road trip)

 

Live from L.A. – Creamy Chicken with White Wine + Mushrooms!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Next, making sure the heat is still on medium, place another Tbsp of margarine in the Dutch oven.
  3. Place onions in the pan and stir for roughly one minute or until they are translucent.
  4. Next, add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for another 2 - 3 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Once chicken is cooked through, remove from heat and stir. There should be about an inch of liquid left over in the pan.
  8. Stir in the vegan sour cream into the Dutch oven with the chicken. Once all combined, taste, adding salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Mix in the fresh herbs to the mixture. Serve over rice or Israeli couscous.
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chicken 5

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