Thursday, August 31, 2006

Back to School

elouai's doll maker 3

Not ready to get out of vacation mode just this very minute? Me neither. I reluctantly admit that I had way too much fun making this little doll of myself with Elouai’s Doll Maker. Body type and head size not quite to scale but those ankle socks? Bingo.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטש־ליכט

אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטש־ליכט

A teyrets far di bentsh-likht

A dreadfully lame excuse (literally: an excuse for the Sabbath candles)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shishito Peppers

From Yuno Farm. These peppers are medium hot, but also very sweet--almost peachy.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

תּפֿילה און טשאָלנט בײַ ייִדן

איך האָב זיך גאָרנישט נישט פֿאָרגעשטעלט. אָט געפֿינט זיך זײער אַ כאַפּעװדיקער פֿילם װעגן דאַװענען (און טשאָלנט) אױף ייִדיש. איך האָב פֿריער נישט געהערט װעגן „זכרון משה” אין ירושלים, און איך װײס נישט װאָס הײסט אַז זײ זוכן אַ מנין „24/7“. דאָס דערמאָנט מיר אָבער אין עפּעס װאָס די באָבע ע"ה פֿלעג זאָגן װעגן דאַװעװען אין דער אַלטער הײם. אין ראָפּשיץ, האָבן זײ געהאַט אַ קרעטשמע אױפֿן „קיסר־װעג“, פֿון קראָקע קײן לעמבעריק. װען אַ ייִד איז אָנגעקומען עסן, האָט ער געװאַרט נאָך אַ צװײטן, און אַ דריטן, און װען נײַן אַנדערע זענען שױן געװען, האָבן זײ אַרײַנגעכאַפּט אַ מנחה און אַװעק. דער נעקסטער ייִד װאָס איז אַרײַן האָט אָנגעהױבן װאַרטן אױף 'ס'נײַ. אַזױ האָבן זײ געהאַט כװאַליעס פֿון מנינים אַ גאַנצן טאָג.

Interstate highway? (kayzerveg)

Friday, August 18, 2006


Photo by Michael Boursier

I am up on my wheels for the first time in three years. Wheeeee!

I had been worrying about how sharply my bicycle velocity and range had fallen off. It turns out my rear-wheel brake has been constantly engaged. I think this is another instance of dissertation-karma seeping into EVERYTHING I try to do.

וחקל תּפּוחין קדישין

אַז מע רעדט װעגן עסן און װערטער בײַ ייִדן, רעדט מען שױן װעגן זמירות. אָט זענען די זמירות װאָס געפֿינען זיך ביז אַהער אין מױל אַרײַן. איך װאָלט זײער געװאָלט הערן װעגן אַנדערע.

וחקל תּפּוחין קדישין
And the Field of the Sacred Apples

רױז רױז, װי װײַט ביסטו

לא תבֿושי

אַ גאַנץ יאָר פרײלעך

װאַרפֿט אַװעק איעדן יאָך


ישׂמח משה

אַז נישט קײן אמונה

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I Like to Make Pancakes

I don’t spend all day looking for stuff like this. I really don't. It was just there. Serendipity, you know?

Recipe for the chocolate clafoutis is here.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Mondays in August: baskets and armfuls of lush, heady, perfumed fruits. Tuesdays in August: baskets and armfuls of lush, heady, perfumed fruits that should probably get used up pretty soon.

I got a whole lot of those tiny red plums from my CSA, and one of the things I wanted to make was a pound cake. This is very similar to the recipe by Marian Burros that runs almost every year in the New York Times, their periodic threats to suspend the practice notwithstanding. I make it a bit cakeier.

Pound Cake with Plums

½ pound (1 cup) butter at room temperature

½ pound (generous 1 cup) sugar

4 eggs (that’s ½ pound of eggs!)

½ pound (2 cups) flour

two handfuls tiny red plums, other small plums, or blueberries (about ½ pound after you remove the stones)

Butter and flour two six-inch springform pans or one nine- or ten-inch pan. Heat oven to 325 or 350 (350 would probably be better, but I had some slower cakes going at the same time).

This one is easy to mix by hand. Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, then beat in the flour. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pans and arrange the halved plums or berries on top. Bake for about 30 minutes. These cakes need no vanilla or cinnamon or leavening. The butter and eggs shine on their own.

I am still working on a chocolate prune cake. I think I’ll have a blog-worthy recipe for you probably in time for Rosheshone (It is a chocolate honey cake in its current beta-version).

I also made some red plum and cantaloupe smoothies with organic whole-milk buttermilk from Hawthorne Valley farm and a squeeze of wildflower honey. That’s pretty much the whole recipe. The Yiddish word for smoothie is shoymke, which means “foamie” if you translate it literally back into English.

For Sweetnicks. Happy Independence Day to India, a surrogate homeland to all devoted to the pursuit of deliciousness.

antioxidant-rich foods

Monday, August 14, 2006

Napa Cabbage and Hempseed Kofta

Need some hemp recipes? I’ll make some hemp recipes. Hemp seeds turn up in traditional Lithuanian cooking, and in some older documents from Poland. They seem most likely to have been used during lent and times of scarcity. I tried this hemp milk recipe, which makes a nice enough milk, and I probably won’t be able to resist the carrot coffee on the same page. I just love this sentence: “Store dried carrots in a tightly covered container, so that they are always at hand when desire for carrot coffee arises.” I was tempted just now to write something skeptical about the likelihood of a desire for carrot coffee arising, but I know as soon as I did that I would be haunted by a desire for carrot coffee day and night. You know how that always happens.

Most of the hemp seed recipes I was able to find on the web are connected with hemp advocacy sites and really, the less said about all that the better. As Kenny Shopsin says in a recent documentary about his restaurant, “I’m not saying I have high standards or anything, but they’re gonna put this in their mouth!”

For my first try at hemp seed cooking (not counting hemp milk), I decided to try to adapt one of the amazing recipes from Yamuna Devi’s 1987 masterpiece The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking, originally published as Lord Krishna’s Cuisine. I would love to be able to write recipes like these. You can tell from the photo that I’ve put quite a few miles on this book in the past nineteen years. I hope to write a little more soon about how important this enormous, inspiring, and consistently reliable cookbook is to me.

This recipe is very close to the recipe in Devi’s book. I used Napa cabbage rather than head cabbage, and I took the extra step of salting the cabbage overnight only because I had a particularly bitter batch. You can probably skip that step, but the salted cabbage is softer and easier to handle. I reduced the amounts of coconut and chickpea flour in the original and added toasted hempseeds, which you can find in health food stores and from

It seems like lots of work, but all you really have to do is shred the cabbage, combine the ingredients, and cook them.

Napa Cabbage and Hempseed Kofta

Adapted from Yamunas Devi’s Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking

About one generous pound Napa cabbage or other cabbage—4 cups shredded cabbage

¾ cup hulled hemp seeds, also called hemp nuts or hempseeds, one tablespoon set aside for garnish

2 medium jalapenos

3 tablespoons grated coconut

1 teaspoon each turmeric, garam masala, salt, and baking powder

about 5 braches cilantro—generous ¼ cup chopped leaves, one tablespoon set aside for garnish

1 cup or so vegetable oil in which to fry the kofta. I used peanut oil

¾ cup chickpea flour (besan)

Shred the cabbage as finely as possible (I was very glad to have a processor for this task), and sprinkle it lightly with kosher salt. Allow the cabbage to rest a several hours or overnight and squeeze out excess liquid. If you are in a hurry, you may skip this step.

Heat a cast iron skillet over a low flame. Toast the hemp seeds in the skillet, stirring constantly, until they are a light gold and have lost their bitter smell—about ten minutes. Do not allow them to get darker than a pale gold.

Remove seeds and veins from the chiles and cut them into a tiny dice.

Combine the ingredients except for the chickpea flour and set aside. Heat the oil in a round-bottomed pan like a wok. When you are ready to cook the kofta, add the chickpea flout to the cabbage and form the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Fry the kofta, about five at a time in the hot oil and set them aside to drain on brown paper or paper towels. Serve them with chutneys and sauces of your choice and sprinkle with reserved seeds and herbs. Devi suggests a wonderful seasoned tomato sauce recipe.

Sorry the delicious kofta were camera-shy. I will have to make these again soon and take a picture.

Have a look at Weekend Herb Blogging for other herbal adaptations.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

די ייִדן און די װעלאָסיפּעדיסטן


A Jewish bicycle factory in Grodno
הײַנט בין איך געפֿאָרן אַ פּאָר בלאָקעלעך מיט דער ראָװע (װעלאָסיפּעד) צום ערשטן מאָל אין צװײ יאָר. דאָס האָט מיר אַזױ לאַנג שטאַרק אױסגעפֿעלט. איצטער מוז איך זיך אױף ס'נײַ צוגעװײנען צו פֿאָרן אױף די ניו־יאָרקער גאַסן און דעם אמת געזאָגט, שרעק איך זיך אַ ביסל. פֿאַר װאָס האָבן אַלע פֿײַנט װעלאָסיפּעדיסטן?
איך דערמאָן זיך אין אַן אַלטן משל׃ אַ פּאַסקודנער אנטיסעמיט טשעפּעט זיך צו צו אַ ייִדן און מאָנט בײַ אים׃
—װער איז שולדיק אין אַלע מלחמות אױף דער װעלט?
—די ייִדן און די װעלאָסיפּעדיסטן. ענפֿערט אים אָפּ דער ייִד.
—פֿאַר װאָס די װעלאָסיפּעדיסטן? פֿרעגט דער פּאַסקודניאַק, אַ דערשטױנטער.
—פֿאַר װאָס די ייִדן?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Eggplants with Cilantro

Remember these stripy eggplants? I picked them up last week at Maxwell Farm, in Union Square on Mondays. I had half a bunch of cilantro, and I thought I might try to reproduce an eggplant recipe I enjoyed at the Mandarin Café a Georgian restaurant in Sheepshead bay. The recipe would be more authentically Georgian if the eggplants were roasted rather than grilled, and the balsamic vinegar is also a bit of an interloper, but I am very enthusiastic about this recipe. It is so delicious your eyeballs can just explode into atoms. When you grill these little guys, their flesh just melts into the mildest, softest eggplant custard with barely enough volition to hold their exquisite shapes. I think any of the longer “Asian-style” eggplants will most closely approximate these results. The stripes fade when they cook, but they are still gorgeous.

I have since prepared this recipe again with little globe eggplants, and while it was wonderful, they did not have quite the same melting softness.

Eggplants with Cilantro

10 tiny purple striated eggplants, about 13 ounces, or any tender-fleshed eggplant

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

5 cloves garlic, mashed and coarsely chopped

½ bunch cilantro (generous ½ cup chopped leaves)


Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise if they are tiny, or in slices about 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle he cut surfaces with salt and leave to drain in a colander for about an hour.

Pat the eggplants dry, and brush both sides of each slice with olive oil. Heat an iron grill on the stove and rub with a bit of olive oil. Grill the eggplant slices on both sides.

Place the cooked eggplant slices in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Mix together the garlic, cilantro, a little more of the vinegar, and some olive oil and pour the herb mixture over the eggplants. Mix gently, salt to taste, and allow the salad to relax for an hour or more. Serve cool or at room temperature.

More new world fusions at Weekend Herb Blogging.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006


Painting by Mollie Katzen reproduced from Still Life with Menu

מיט קידוש לבֿנה קאָן מען זיך נישט אָפּפֿאַסטן

אַ גוט געבענטשט יאָר אַלע. זאָלן מיר מער נישט װיסן פֿון קײן צער.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More About Carrots

I had to make just one more carrot photo. I have been getting these crunchy juicy carrots from Muddy River Farm, at Union Square on Fridays. The purple ones are the crispest, the yellow ones are sweetest this week, and the orange guys have the fullest, deepest flavor. According to this article at the USDA, differently colored carrots supply different antioxidants (hiya, Sweetnicks!), alpha and beta carotene for orange, xanthophylis for yellow, lycopene for red, and anthocyanin for purple. That can’t be bad, and they are so pretty.

The subject of carrots brings me to the subject of my entire relationship with food, which necessarily begins with my venerable parents. What you need to know is that whenever my venerable mother gave my venerable father a carrot, a favorite snack by the senior Chocolates, he would always say “A triumph of the carrot-peeler’s art!” and he always meant it. Before I was big enough to hold a carrot peeler in my hand I understood that the arts of peeling and appreciating carrots were of earth-enveloping import.

An expertly-peeled raw carrot is a thing of great beauty, but I also cook carrots, even in this sweltering weather. I tried this recipe of Viana La Place’s from Verdura for the first time this week. It was delicious and great fun to make, and the carrots look so civilized in their mason jar. The recipe below differs from La Place’s Antipasto di Carote Piccanti in that I used cilantro instead of celery, and a combination of apple cider vinegar and white wine vinegar because I didn’t have enough white wine vinegar to cover all the carrots.

Marinated Carrots

(Adapted from Verdura by Viana La Place)

1 ½ pounds carrots (I used ¾ pounds each orange and yellow carrots)

3 cloves garlic

2 chile pods

½ bunch cilantro ( generous 1/2 cup chopped leaves)

1 leaf Cuban oregano (or 1 pinch dried oregano)


White wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar

Olive oil

Wash and peel the carrots, and cut them into little batons. Cook them for just about five minutes in lavishly salted boiling water. Place them in a mason jar with the garlic, chiles, and herbs. While they are still warm, pour on enough vinegar to cover and add a bit of salt. Refrigerate overnight. Drizzle with olive oil to serve.

Today is a very special day In Mol Araan. I hope to tell you all about it soon, and what I did with the rest of that cilantro.

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עס לאָזט זיך אין מױל אַרײַן

דאָס ייִדישע עסן איז אַזױ גוט, פֿעלט אונדז נישט געשמאַקע אױסדרוקן

געשמאַק װי די װעלט
Delicious as the world

געשמאַק װי אַ מוציא מיט האָניק
Delicious as a portion of bread with honey

װי אַ װײַניקער עפּל
As a winey apple

אַ מחיה
It revives you

עס נעמט אָן אַ יצר־הרע
It inspires reckless desire

עס האָט טױזנט טעמען
It has a thousand flavors

עס האָט אַ ייִדישן טעם
It tastes Jewish

סאַמע צימעס

It is absolute tsimes

This expression is used to express the deliciousness of any dish, tsimes being the standard of deliciousness

עס איז פֿאַרן קיסר צו שטעלן
You could serve this to the Czar

האָסט עס אין חלום נישט געזען
You haven’t even dreamed of this

אַ ____ פֿון _____ לאַנד
A ___ from ___ land
eg kugl from kugl land

אַ ____ שב_____
A ___ among _____s

עס צעגײט אין אַלע גלידער
It suffuses every limb

אָפּצולעקן די פֿינגער
You could lick your fingers

טעם גן־עדן
Flavor of paradise

עס לאָזט זיך אין מױל אַרײַן
You can stand to put it in your mouth

In Yiddish, sometimes the highest praise is radical understatement. It might be unseemly to tempt the evil eye by admitting to enjoying oneself too much.