Monthly Archives: June 2016

North African Meatball Stew 

 

North African Meatball Stew

We are slowly digging out from under with our boxes. I have yet to fully unpack and comfortably organize the kitchen.

In addition, the move has brought up many emotions in my family. 

Last week, I found myself writing more on my non-food blog, coffeeklatchinsight.wordpress.com.

So, if anyone is interested in knowing how my week was last week, please stop by and visit!

I am open to feedback: I periodically think I should only have blog. But, my understanding of blogging rules is that a blog is best suited to one subject. Many readers find it too disconcerting to keep switching gears.

What is other people’s experience?

In the meantime, my cooking is even more rudimentary than before the move.

I am slowly getting up to speed, much to my family’s delight.

This is a dish that was inspired by Mona at healthyindiancooking.wordpress.com’s recipe on Easy Meatball Stew. The link is here for anyone who would like to see the original:

https://healthyindiankitchen.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/easy-meatball-stew/

It is a wonderful blog, full of my favorite food. I highly recommend  that you stop by for a visit!

However, although I love the original recipe, I had already packed up most of my spices. What was left were my spice mixes and the very basic spices. So, I combined Mona’s recipe with my previously posted North African Meatballs recipe. I am happy to say that this version is much better. “The potatoes and carrots give more flavor and texture to the sauce,” according to Raizel, my budding gourmet.

Ingredients 

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground meat

1 tablespoon North African Spice Mix, or to taste

1 clove garlic crushed 

North African Spice Mix:

1 tablespoon salt, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, garlic powder 

2 tablespoons paprika 

1/2 teaspoon pepper, cayenne, cloves 

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 

Sauce

1 onion, chopped 

3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal. I prefer to keep slices on the larger side.

3 cups water or broth 

1 can diced tomatoes 

3 oz. tomato paste

Alternative: I have only used 6 oz. tomato paste, with success. It all depends on what I have available.

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

Optional: chopped fresh parsley and/or cilantro 

Instructions 

Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot. I usually add the crushed garlic at the end.

Blend all ingredients for the meatballs together. Shape into balls and place in sauce.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add crushed garlic and adjust seasonings to taste.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Less water is required.

In pressure cooker: 4 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done.

This week, I made it in the crockpot overnight. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work.

Fresh herbs always add a gourmet touch, but I am not up to that yet.

Here are the pictures:

 

all set and ready to go in the crockpot


voila! the final product.

Everyone was soooooo happy!

I made it for this past Shabbat, and everyone wanted to have some. It was a hit!

Thank you Mona at healthyindiancooking.wordpress.com! 

And thank you to all my fellow bloggers for sharing your wonderful recipes. I feel like I am able to have a virtual glimpse of the kitchens of so many, all over the world!

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Off-Topic: Happy Father’s Day 

While I was contemplating what to post on Father’s Day, I had an interesting conversation with my husband and girls on the phone. (I am working today and I am writing this on my lunch break.)

Neither my husband nor I grew up with much fanfare around Father’s Day. 

Both my parents believed that everyday was Father’s and Mother’s Day. My mother-in-law (A”H), however, LOVED Mother’s Day. 

So, I asked my husband, Yaffa and Raizel, “why do you think that Mother’s Day was so important to Grandma, and Father’s Day was not so important to Grandpa?”

Raizel’s interesting response was “because Grandpa loved Grandma.”

It was almost like she intuited this quote:

My husband’s response was interesting: “because fathers do not need the same things as mothers. Mothers need more acknowledgement for what they do.”

Hmmmmm…….. It made me think that perhaps there was some merit to Freud’s statement, “biology is destiny?”

Clearly mothering and fathering cannot be limited by biology.

Traditionally, men are the initiators and providers and women are the nurturers and builders. However, I believe that anyone who nurtures and provides for the growth and development of another is both a mother and a father.

Raizel, my little cutie ended the call saying, “Happy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to both of you!”

I laughed. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

On a more personal note, my father (A”H) was an extraordinary person. I want to take this time to say, “Thank you Dad for everything! I am truly blessed to have you as my father.”

Just for fun, I also thought I would share this funny picture that a friend sent me:

Happy Father’s Day to everyone who creates and initiates and provides for the growth and well-being of others!”

Pan Roasted Green Beans

In our last house, I enjoyed the use of 2 fabulous fridges and 2 great ovens. 

In this house, I do not have that same luxury. 

So, unfortunately, some of my green beans froze in the fridge. In order to rescue the green beans, I pan roasted rather than steaming them. 

This is made similar to the cauliflower, that I already posted.  

I find pan roasting even more flavorful than steaming and something a little different. 

It was fast and easy and only required one pan to clean. 

Ingredients 

Green beans, trimmed  

Salt, pepper and fresh minced or crushed garlic 

Optional tamari or soy sauce. I did not use this in order to keep the sodium level lower.

Instructions 

Spray oil the pan and add the green beans. Sauté until beginning to soften. Then, add salt and pepper to taste. 

Begin cooking with a medium to high heat. Then, add water as necessary to avoid burning the green beans and garlic.

If desired, add soy sauce, tamari and crushed fresh garlic. Sauté until desired texture. 

beginning to cook, before adding garlic and water

near the end of cooking, adjusting spices and texture

It came out great! No one noticed that some of the beans had been frozen. 

Simple, fast and easy.

Enjoy!

Bean There Done That – A simple and tasty Lima bean recipe 

Bean There Done That — A simple and tasty Lima bean recipe 

The title of this post was suggested by my husband, who seems to have a knack for creating funny and catchy titles. Thank you, Jay!

We made the somewhat stressful decision to move 2 days before the holiday of Shavuot. 


For those who may not know, Shavuot, “The Festival of Weeks” celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai and is the second of the 3 major Jewish harvest festival holidays. It occurs 7 weeks after Passover, hence the name.

For some reason, this is one of the lesser known holidays. It is celebrated by many customs but few actual commandments. One of the more well known customs is to eat dairy foods, especially cheese cake and to stay up all night studying the Torah.

With so much in transition, I really did not have time to cook and prepare. 

Fortunately, we were invited out for half of the meals. I made this very simple bean dish for one of the days. Although simple, it is very tasty.

Ingredients 

1 onion, chopped 

3 carrots, sliced. 

2 cups Lima beans, but any white bean will also work

Water to cover

1 tablespoon salt, adjust to taste

1 teaspoon pepper, to taste

2 bays leaves

Optional: 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed. I used garlic powder 

Instructions 

Sauté onions. Then add the spices, carrots and beans, and continue to sauté until fragrant. Add water.

I made this on top of the stove, but it can easily be made in a pressure cooker or crockpot.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add garlic and adjust seasoning.

Pressure Cooker: 12 minutes to pressure and then release the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Less water is required.

Since I made this during the holiday, I was only able to take this one picture:

The final product


By the next day, it was all gone!

Although it is a very simple and easy recipe, everyone thought it tasted great. This is one of my maximum taste for minimal time dishes.

Enjoy!

Growing Up In The Kitchen 

Raizel wanted me to post on the blog her first attempt at using a sharp knife and cutting up a cantaloupe. 

Many people take for granted the ability to use a shape knife and cut. However, it really involves a lot of skills. This is a major accomplishment for Raizel. She is very proud!

Comfort Food: Eggs Over Hard

I wrote this at the beginning of the week. But, with the move, I am only posting it now. 

So, please think of this as being posted 5 days ago.

We are still in the process of transitioning to our new house. Boxes are everywhere and it is getting difficult to maneuver.

On top of everything, Raizel and now my husband both caught a very nasty stomach bug.

So, I had a week of packing boxes and doing lots of laundry.

In light of our household activity,  I thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts on how to eat when affected by gastroenteritis, or vomiting and diarrhea.

As a nurse and an acupuncturist, and a mother of medically challenged children, I have lots of experience with this subject area.

When I was in school, I remember it was commonly recommended for people to follow the B.R.A.T. diet: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. 

Personally, I do not believe that one needs to be strictly limited it to the B.R.A.T. menu. I believe that people should eat easy to digest food that is gentle on the stomach.  

In my experience, food should be introduced as tolerated. I have found oatmeal or cooked cereal, potatoes to work as well.

The most important thing is to stay well hydrated. 

When Yaffa was a baby, we used to give her pedia-lite through her feeding tube. I think it prevented multiple hospitalizations many times. Thank God, our feeding tube days are in the past. 

If not using electrolytes fluid replacement, I  recommend ginger, chamomile or peppermint tea. As I have shared, tea is very important and even medicinal in my book. And, of course, chicken soup is truly “Jewish Penicillin.”

I consider it to be somewhat miraculous that I so far (knock on wood, or “poo poo” as we say) I did not catch have this very nasty bug. 

Since I ran out of herbal tea, I started drinking hot water with a fresh squeezed lemon. I do not know the mechanics, but I believe that there is something very medicinal about fresh lemon juice.

Parenthetically, I also used ammonia and/or borax and soap to clean up. My theory, as yet unproven, is that any potential contamination was killed by the acidity of the lemon juice together with the ammonia or borax.

So, while Jay and Raizel were sick, neither of them had much of an appetite. As they were beginning to build up an appetite, Jay was only interested in eating eggs. 

This is not necessarily unremarkable. 

The only problem is, I have an airborne egg allergy. It is one of those strange allergies that really affects my life. 

So, cooking eggs for everyone was an act of true self sacrifice. I had to open up the windows in the kitchen and put on the fan to avoid “eau d’egg.”

Eggs over hard are my husband’s favorite way to eat eggs. My husband says that eggs over hard means breaking the egg into the frying pan, and, while it is still cooking, break the yolks prior to flipping it over.

These are my husband’s instructions for making these eggs:

  1. Fry the egg until the edges are a little crispy
  2. Break the yoke and let it run a little bit.
  3. Using a spatula, flip the egg over
  4. Cook until the edges are more crispy

 

Here is my attempts:

Frying the egg and breaking the yoke and letting it run a bit.

Almost done: flipped over

Round 2 of eggs and lightly frying bread

The final product: over hard eggs with fried bread.

The final product: over hard eggs with fried bread.

My husband and Raizel were soooooo happy. I made them 2 days in a row. I also added fried bread since our toaster was packed. I was so happy to see them eating again!

Not only that, the open window and using the fan seemed to work — no ill effects from being around eggs while they are cooking!  

My next goal is to teach Raizel how to make them herself, so I won’t have to worry about avoiding the fumes.

Enjoy!

The Door Is Still Open — Moving Day

The Door Is Still Open — Moving Day

The movers are here and the big day has arrived. I guess this is my final picture of this house.

The bright side is that I took the week off to pack and unpack. It has been really nice to be home and spend the time focusing on the girls and my husband.

Frankly, I have been so busy arranging our move that I marvel how everything gets done in addition to working full time. I consider it an open miracle!

My friend, Rachael, suggested a wonderful metaphor for our change in location.

Rachael said to equate the move to the transition stage of labor: we are giving birth to a new baby house.

Infinitely more positive than a tornado or a cyclone.

So, I am happy to announce the arrival of our new home!