Kosher Jewhungry blog scones Apple cheddar title

 *The bit o’rant below was submitted to Kveller, who said they liked it (maybe that’s true?) but ultimately, apparently, was not selected for publication as it’s too similar to another post they published last year, which makes me sad not because I got denied (ugh), but because as a community, we are no where close to answering this question of connection. Anywho, I decided I’d post it on my own blog, so there. 

Recently, Kveller posted two incredibly intriguing blog posts regarding whether or not one should force their kids to attend synagogue during the High Holidays. I found these posts intriguing not because this question of whether or not someone should force their child to attend synagogue is particularly interesting to me at this stage of my parenting life (I have a 2 year-old. There’s no way she’d make it past the first self-inflicted chest pound of Yom Kippur).  Rather, I found these posts interesting because lately, as I’m adding up the costs of my child’s preschool attendance at a local synagogue’s Early Childhood Center with the costs of other Jewish community memberships (i.e. Jewish summer camp, women’s mikvah in LA, synagogue, and/or JCC), I realized, we can’t afford the High Holidays this year so it doesn’t matter if we are a family who would force our kids to attend synagogue, we can’t afford to have an opinion on the matter.

Eileen Price wrote in her post, “. . . practicing Judaism is not a punishment; it is a privilege and a gift.”  It certainly is a privilege.  My family lives in Los Angeles.  I work at a private Jewish Day school as an administrator. I make a pretty decent salary.  My husband currently lives in Miami where he is finishing his Ph.D. He does not make a pretty decent salary. Our budget for the year includes rent for 2 apartments, 2 grocery bills, 2 utility bills, you get the point. This year is tough for us in many ways, not just financially. That being said, we are in no way NOT privileged. Our apartment in LA is in Beverly Hills, for crying out loud (90212, technically the ‘slums’ of Beverly Hills)! We knew going into this year that things were going to be tight and we would need to account for every penny. What we did not take into account for our budget this year was the astronomical costs of attempting to pray with a community during the High Holidays.

apple cheddar kosher scones Jewhungry blog

When we first moved to LA in July, my husband found a synagogue in walking distance that offered him all the comforts of home (home being Teaneck, New Jersey) while also having play groups for our kiddo and a women’s section that was almost the same size as the men’s section. I was in. So when he looked into tickets for High Holidays we were floored when we found out the costs: $500 for membership (young adult discount!) plus an addition $175/person for High Holiday tickets (more discounts!). Yes! For the discounted cost of $800 we could be a part of a community for the High Holidays. When that was immediately vetoed, I called Chabad. Here’s how that went:

Me: “Hi. Do you require tickets to attend your Rosh Hashanah services?”

Chabad: “Not at all!”

Me: “Wonderful! What time do services start?”

Chabad: “You can, however, reserve a seat for $300 otherwise, you can stand.”

Me: “Kthanksbye”

apple cheddar kosher Jewhungry blog

 

It’s now the Tuesday post-Rosh Hashanah and my husband ended up davening alone in our apartment.  He did walk to that Chabad but there were so many people crowding the entrance he couldn’t hear a thing.  He finally made his way to another shul where they literally had a velvet rope affixed in front of the door and a person with a clipboard checking names. After consulting with a club membership director, they actually let my hubby in to hear the shofar (I think it helped that he had our 2 year-old with him) and then left. He came home feeling humiliated and let down by our community, which, of course, brought me back to those previous Kveller High Holiday posts.

5775 Family Photo

5775 Family Photo

We’re at a turning point in our community. We keep asking the question of why our young people are marrying outside the religion and why our young couples are unengaged. Maybe the answer to that question is because it’s too dang expensive to be a part of the community. Maybe it’s because practicing Judaism really is a privilege when, in fact, it should be a given. Families like mine are having to make choices between saving for retirement and paying for a day school education. I’m not saying I have the answer to this.  My husband suggested maybe an exchange of goods.  Rather than have synagogues pay out the nose for guest cantors and Rabbis, he’d be happy to lein Torah in exchange for High Holiday tickets. I’d be happy to provide childcare several times or cater a kiddish lunch or two throughout the year in exchange for tickets. Whatever the answer, I’d like to see conferences and workshops dedicated to figuring out how practicing Judaism can be something that doesn’t require membership to a certain tax bracket. Or how synagogues can meet their budget requirements without alienating the community. It’s time, y’all.

apple cheddar scone kosher jewhungry blog

 

Balsamic Apple Cheddar Scones

Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 12 Tablespoons Cold Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Small Cubes
  • 1/3 pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Cut Into Small Cubes
  • 2-3 Medium Red Apples (Red Delicious or Gala will do just fine), peeled and cubed.
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (for apple sautéing)
  • 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 3-4 Tablespoons brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Using a large frying pan, melt 3 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium high heat. Once melted, add cubed apples and sauté until golden brown, roughly 5 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar and sauté for another 2-3 minutes or until vinegar is mostly absorbed by apples. Set aside.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Add cubes of butter and use a pastry cutter to completely work the butter into the dry ingredients until there are no large chunks of butter visible. (Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Add the cheddar cubes and apples with vinegar and toss to coat.
  5. Mix together the cream, milk, egg, and honey.
  6. Pour over the flour/butter mixture, stirring gently, until the dough all comes together. (It will be slightly dry/crumbly.)
  7. Turn out onto a floured surface.
  8. Flour a rolling pin and roll out until 1 inch thickness.
  9. Flour the rim of a larger round cookie cutter (I used a large juice glass) and cut into roughly 20-25 circles.
  10. Spread melted butter on top of each scone and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  11. Transfer to a baking sheet lines with a baking mat or parchment, then bake for 14-17 minutes, or until lightly golden. (Cheese will bubble out a bit. This is fine!)
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Kosher Jewhungry chicken wrap

 

Team, it’s that time of year again.  Yep, the High Holidays are upon us.  Now that the kid and I are living it up in LA while the hubby in is Florida, I honestly haven’t thought much about the High Holidays because, well, we don’t know that many people so I’m not doing a lot of meal planning like I normally am. Of course, I say that now but check in with me by the end of this week and chances are I would have invited half my work place to a meal during Rosh Hashanah and/or Sukkot, especially if I spend any significant time on Pinterest, which always gets my creativity flowing.

 

Kosher Jewhungry chicken wrap

 

Kosher Jewhungry chicken wrap

 

The thing is, with working full-time and parenting full-time, I don’t have a whole bunch of time to prep for Rosh Hashanah this year. On top of that, it’s still 95 degrees in Southern California, much like it was when I celebrated the High Holidays in Miami over the last 3 years.  So though I’m very happy for the rest of you East Coasters/Midwesterners and your love of all things “apple” and “pumpkin-spiced” for your Rosh Hashanah, us folks living in extremely hot weather tend to crave cooler menu items.  No crock pot for me and forget about the brisket, it’s too heavy when the thermostat is reaching 100!

So, OK, though I’m feeling a little crunch with time this year, what will get me through with planning (while keeping my anxiety down to a minimum) is remembering some tips I’ve developed over the years for having an organized, delicious and stress-free holiday, freeing me up to remember that, in fact, this holiday is more than just apples and honey.  It’s a celebration of the creation of the beginning of our Jewish community and I think it’s safe to say that now, more than ever, the Jewish community is in need of coming together.

Whit’s Tips for Minimal-Stress Holiday Planning:

1.  Don’t be afraid of letting the kosher markets do a little of the cooking—-see recipe below: Keep your eye on the main dish, the prize, and bring the side dishes in from the store. This will give you a little more time to perfect your brisket (shout out to my East Coast/Midwest readers).

2.  Organize a meal exchange:  Get together with a few of your friends and organize who takes care of what meal on what day. For example, you can be in charge of first night dinner, host 3 of your friends for that meal, and then they each take another meal for the rest of the holiday.  You’re in the clear for the holiday and only have to make one meal! Score!

3.  Stick with what you know:  Trying to make the perfect kosher version of Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon the week before a 3 day holiday isn’t the greatest idea.  It will up your anxiety while also potentially upping your High Holiday food budget.  Stick with what you know and maybe try experimenting for when you have the time.

4. Make a menu: I know it sounds tedious. I mean, we barely have time to make it into the shower before the holiday comes in, much less make a friggin’ menu but I’m telling you, if you make your menu about a week or so in advanced, you will be a lot less overwhelmed PLUS you will save a lot more cash when it comes to grocery shopping for the big holiday. Organize is key!

5. Leftover are your friends: Not every meal during a 3 day holiday has to be completely different.  Make extra rice for first night dinner and use that again for ‘build your own tacos’ for second day lunch (my best friend during these three day holidays is the ‘food bar’, i.e. build your own taco or burrito quinoa bowl.  All you have to do is chop your veggies in advanced and store in the fridge until ready.  And, if you get one of those delicious Winn Dixie rotisserie chickens, you don’t need to pre-cook your chicken.  Just chop and serve  cold with tortillas, rice, avocado, corn and other taco-worthy toppings).

 

Kosher Jewhungry chicken wrap

My need to have a meal be quick, easy, delicious and refreshing was the inspiration for this post.  It’s as easy as picking up an already made rotisserie chicken from your closest kosher market (back in my Miami days, this was Winn-Dixie. Sigh, I miss my Winn Dixie chickens.  Mmmmm, rotisserie).  The combination of juicy chicken, spicy curry and cooling coconut milk yogurt makes for a delicious (and easy) High Holiday meal  . . . or any meal, really.  Happy New Year, y’all!

This post is part of a Joy of Kosher paid High Holiday campaign with Winn-Dixie, all opinions are my own. Also, make sure you check out other ways Winn-Dixie can help make your holiday great at http://www.joyofkosher.com/winndixie.  Plus, you can download an ebook version Jamie Geller’s Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes

 

Curry Chicken Wraps w/Coconut Milk Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of rotisserie chicken breast and thighs
  • 1/2 cup of cooked basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of veganaise or regular mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tbsp of kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp of curry powder
  • 1 tbsp of tumeric
  • 1/2 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1/4 tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 cup of loosely packed salad greens
  • 4 - 6 wraps (depending on how much for you put in each wrap)

Instructions

  1. Cut the cooked chicken into cubes (or the closest you can get to 'cube').
  2. Combine the coconut milk yogurt, veganaise and spices into a bowl in a small bowl and mix well. Make sure you taste as you go and adjust seasoning to your preference.
  3. Place chicken and rice into a large bowl and top with the coconut milk yogurt mixture, cilantro and raisins. Mix well.
  4. Roll out the wraps, top with a handful of salad greens and top that with the chicken mixture. Roll up, cut in half and enjoy!
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jewhungry kosher hot pocket blog I am astonished at how quickly this whole thing is happening. The month of August has come and gone and so has my mom who was here the whole month to help take care of Siona while I was at work.  As I type this, my beloved husband is on a plane headed to us for a week of family love time. As much as I am thrilled that he is coming, I can’t help shake the thought that he’ll be leaving again in just 6 short days. I know that sounds pretty pessimistic and I don’t normally have that kind of outlook on life any more, but once we drop him off at the airport again it’ll truly just be me and the kiddo.

I swear some of them turned out looking like Midwestern States . . . and one Georgia.

I swear some of them turned out looking like Midwestern States . . . and one Georgia.

 

hot pocket 4Now please don’t get me wrong. I’m borderline obsessed with my kid so it’s not the thought of being alone with her that scares me (although I was singing a different tune when she was a wee baby. Being left alone with her scared the s*%# outta me. Ahh, how unprepared I was). No, it’s not being alone. It’s the exhaustion. It’s always been about the exhaustion. I’ve learned how to run errands with a two year-old (snacks and books, LOTS of snacks and books). I’ve learned the fine art of  dropping everything in the middle of the aisle and bailing when I feel that a toddler tantrum coming on. I’ve learned how to do laundry while simultaneously feeding her, vacuuming the apartment and responding to a work email. The thing I haven’t learned to do is fight the fear of exhaustion. I go to bed so dang early because I’m scared of being tired with nowhere to run and no one to step in. I know that seems silly but that’s my thing.  I’d like to stay up passed 9 pm one of these nights. I’d like to start crafting or reading again but I’m so physically and mentally drained that I just can’t do it.jewhungry kosher hot pocket blog     jewhungry kosher hot pocket blogThus, the homemade Hot Pocket. These are so easy and so NOT time consuming. I used to eat the s#%{ outta some Hot Pockets as a broke 20-something year old. It was absolutely normal for me to come home at 3 am from a night out at the club, turn on reruns of Sex and the City (ahhhhhh, 2002), and reach into the freezer for that delicious pocket of chemical cheesiness. The fact that you had to microwave it in a cardboard sleeve should have been a big red flag for me but I was living in DC on $25k/yr during the height of my Hot Pocketness so this was no time for pickiness. The thing is, I love any food in pocket form and as my beloved friend, Jessie, pictured in this post with my beloved kiddo, pointed out so do most cultures in this world. You got the samosa, the empanada, the krepalch, the pierogi, the dumpling, etc. Food in pocket form is just tasty and since the trashy eater inside of me yearns for a Hot Pocket but the smart, homemade cook inside of me knows that s{*# ain’t kosher or good for me I decided to make my own Hot Pocket. And the best news? Thanks to frozen puffed pastry dough, it takes about 10 minutes to make.

Epic pic - Between the creepy baby doll, Siona's neon band-aid and Jessie's boob. EPIC picture.

Epic pic – Between the creepy baby doll, Siona’s neon band-aid and Jessie’s boob. EPIC picture.

Homemade Black Bean + Cheddar Hot Pockets

Ingredients

  • 1 package of puff pastry dough
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1/4 cooked rice (I used basmati)
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup canned corn
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Defrost puff pastry dough according to directions on package
  3. While dough is defrosting, combine ingredients except for cheddar into a medium bowl and mix well.
  4. Once dough is defrosted, sprinkle a rolling pin and flat surface with flour and roll out dough until about 1/8 inch thickness (basically until dough nearly doubles in length and width).
  5. Using a pizza cutter, cut rectangles into dough. Rectangles should be about 2 inches across.
  6. Using a tablespoon, put about 2 tbsp worth of cheddar in center of rectangle. Top with about 1 tbsp worth of bean mixture (I REALLY like cheese).
  7. Crack the egg into a small bowl and mix with a bit of water. Using this egg wash, wet the edges of each rectangle, one at a time, and press edges together to form your pocket. For added flair, roll edges as if making an actual pie crust. The egg wash acts as a paste for the dough so if you're finding it's not sticking, feel free to keep dipping and sealing until your edges stick.
  8. Once you've made all your pockets, brush the top of each with the remaining egg wash.
  9. Place pockets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes.
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kosher jewhungry hot pocket .

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