Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Passover dessert/ Happy Easter :)

Tonight's Passover meal was lovely. We had matzo ball soup, carrot tzimmies, chicken with orange sauce, potato casserole, some latkes, and for dessert... my apple crisp, and a fabulous chocolate caramel matzo crunch made by a lady who came to the dinner.

The recipe for this treat is all over the internet, originating from baker Marcy Goldman. After having just one piece, I resolved I'd have to make this for myself one day to share with my friends.These beautiful pictures from various blogs encourage me even more to do so. The people at church tomorrow will certainly enjoy the rest of the batch.

Easter Sunday here in California promises to be a lovely day... sunny, clear skies ringing with the laughter and frolicking of children searching for eggs filled with candy.

My mom found these really cute chick and bunny shaped Easter eggs that we filled with Easter grass and little chocolate eggs for the kids at church tomorrow. It seems like almost yesterday that my younger sister and her Easter rival Joe, both in their 20s now, were fighting over who *really* found the golden egg. Best thoughts of luck to the searchers this year.... and a happy Easter to all.

Spring Festivities

This week my family and I have been celebrating Passover. In preparation for our dinner tomorrow night, I made a couple batches of kosher apple crisp based on this recipe. I improvised a bit to suit my own adaptations.

Preheat the oven to 375. Then, peel, core and slice six granny smith apples and divide the apple chunks evenly between two small casserole dishes sprayed with some olive oil. Mixed in with each dish of apples is 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, half a teaspoon vanilla extract, and some orange zest. The next step is to crush up 4-5 sheets of matzo-- I probably ended up using 6 or 7.

Matzo, as you may know, is the traditional Jewish unleavened bread which is eaten on various holidays. In ancient times, the Jews ate matzo because they were fleeing from their enemies and did not have time to let their bread rise. It was sustenance enough to keep them going on their journeys.

Once I crushed up the matzo with my fingers into as small of pieces as I could, I drizzled in some honey. Don't worry about measuring the honey, just make sure it's enough to be able to mix it all together later to form a sort of crust, but not before....

Adding in some spices. The original recipe only has cinnamon, but I used a dash or so of each spice in each batch for extra flavor.

So, mix the matzo, honey and spices till it's nice and sticky and golden....
Then cover the apples with it and put it in the oven for 40 minutes.

Here it is out of the oven. One good thing about it is the matzo is not crushed up too much, so you can enjoy the flavor of the matzo but still get the caramelized honey and spices, and the sweet baked apple.

Can't wait for dinner tomorrow... matzo ball soup, knishes, cauliflower fritters, chocolate and caramel covered matzo, and more. Happy holidays!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Nice Day

Well, my little get together today was very nice. Three of my friends made it over, and I was very happy with my arrangement of the snacks. The weather was also pretty close to perfect so we ate outside at my picnic table.

The whole spread: grapes, raspberries and cheese cubes; a selection of finger sandwiches, including peanut butter and jelly, nutella and banana, turkey and cheddar with pesto, and cucumber with cream cheese; brownies; and a selection of drinks, including iced tea, water, hot tea, or orange juice.

The cucumber and cream cheese seemed to be an especial favorite. I could see why: refreshing, not too sweet or salty, and a classic tea sandwich. I guess my party turned out not so much like a "tea party" but a snack party with board games.

So, we had our snacks, and played Scruples, a "what would you do if...." sort of game, which was really fun and brought lots of laughs. Two of my friends left after a while to go shopping, then my other friend and I hung out for a while longer and watched The Science of Sleep. Very interesting movie, even when this was my 3rd time seeing it. My friend had not seen it before so it was neat to show it to him. His evaluation: "kind of strange but also really good."

I will have to do this sort of thing again sometime. It was really easy to put together, and I pride myself on my accommodating hostess abilities. If I were to attend a party, I would love for it to be just like the party I gave today, or similar. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coming up....

I know you haven't heard from me for a long time... but, well, nothing really to report, except for what I am planning for Sunday. I'm having a little tea party and inviting four friends to have tea, little sandwiches, cheese cubes, crackers, and an assortment of fruit. It should be really fun to get all assembled and take pictures. I don't know what I will bake, though. Raspberry muffins? Maybe. Brownies? Maybe. I wonder if I am offering too many things. Better too much than too little, I guess. My party isn't really going to have a particular theme. I am inviting both guys and girls so it cannot be all girly like my birthday party this year was.

My birthday party was pretty nice. It was all girls and we had cake that I made, tarts, tea, and watched My Fair Lady and had a little fashion show where my sister and I showed off cute dresses we got from Forever 21 and hair accessories. We also listened to some Frederic Chopin and had girly discussions about various topics. It was pretty much the best birthday party I have had in my adult life.

This cake.... was amazing. I almost wish I was making it again for my party, but I already have enough stuff so I will probably make some other easier little dessert thing.

 I used my great grandmother's china set and it was just lovely. It felt so much like a real tea party because I used this set.

It was also fun making little floral arrangements from flowers in my garden. :)

So, yeah, that sort of stuff's not going to work with guys in attendance, haha.We are just going to have our snacks and play board games. Apples to Apples, Scrabble, maybe some cards. Maybe I will be able to find some more around my house, too.

I'll post pictures when the time comes. Meanwhile, hope everyone has a great weekend! :)