Sunday, March 11, 2012

DST, Purim Pix, Busy Life, Recipe, ETC

Questions, recipe requests, blog post demands. They’ve been coming in.

It’s been busy, this last month. What’s been going on? Off the top of my head, I
- am taking a coaching course (spontaneous decision).
- spoke to my daughter’s kindergarten class about my birth work (was really fun).
- attended a beautiful birth (incredibly rewarding).
- provided support at a miscarriage (hard). 

- have stopped using agave. Too much conflicting info on fructose, etc. Junior bakers in this household were furious (don't ask me questions, I don't have the answers).
- broke the news to my father in law that his brother was no longer alive (really hard) and learned more than I wanted to know about the shiva process.
- have been doing gemstone therapy and Anat Baniel Movement with my child (fascinating).
- visited Fairway (all the fuss about nothing).
- planned and executed a fabulous purim menu (pix to follow).

My coaching lessons played an active role in all these. I’m learning great new things. Hope to share some of them soon.

While I haven’t been as actively blogging as I would have liked, I have been writing. Raw, uncensored writing. From somebody that exposes herself, when I tell you it’s stuff you don’t want to read, trust me. Grateful for my discretionary abilities, and back with lots of little things to share.

First things first, I really need to get this out of the way: I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of how/why it was instituted, I just want to say that my internal body clock is NOT digital and does not adjust so easily. I love the spring, the summer, the sunlight. I do not love that the day never ends or that Shabbos starts so late. I propose banning DST. In the meantime, as with my winter worries, I plan to “accept what is” (read about it here). Thanks for listening.

Onto Purim. Remember last year? I prepared an Indian menu and wore myself out making it happen. (you can read about it here). This year I planned a Persian menu and hired help. Yes, I totally rock. There was still a lot of effort on my part, but I was not drained by the effort. I really enjoyed the process.

So, Purim food pictures, but first the menu.

Barbari Bread - a Persian flat bread topped with nigella seeds
Persian eggplant salad - pulp of grilled eggplant stewed with onions, garlic, tomatoes and turmeric. Seasoned with salt, pepper and lots of lemon.
Gondi - turkey balls with garbanzo flour - they look like matza balls
Savory Sanbouseh - persian kreplach 
Sweet Sanbouseh - nut pastry - recipe included
Kubide -  ground beef sausage
Chicken Kabob - baby chicken with persian marinade
Persian Rice I - basmati with carrots, currants and saffron
Persian Rice II - basmati, steamed Persian style
Zucchini - seasoned with dill and cumin
Shirazi salad - (the Persian name for Israeli salad)
Olive tapenade - olives, walnuts, mint, parsley, pomegranate juice, garlic
Stuffed Grape Leaves I - vegetarian - filled with rice, parsley, mint, onions, in a lemon sauce
Stuffed Grape Leaves II - filled with rice, beef, onions, parsley cooked in a tomato based sauce


filling for vegetarian grape leaves

grape leaves in the process

persian rice in assembly. Layered basmati, carrot mixture, saffron. repeated until the pot is full.

said carrot mixture. Onions, shredded carrots, zante currants cooked in olive oil and turmeric

saffron, toasted, ground in my trusty mortar and pestle. Water added so I could sprinkle it uniformly(ish)

tables in the setting process


barbari bread

not persian, not on the menu. Pinny made sour dough bread with chunks of chocolate. Soft and delicious.
chicken kabob 

meat stuffed grape leaves

vegetarian stuffed grape leaves - recipe and instructions here

Persian rice with carrots, currants and saffron

birds eye view - or view from a chair:)

Sanbouseh - the kreplach version

I promised you a Sanbouseh recipe... adapted from the Food of Life cookbook I borrowed from the library. (if anybody wants to buy me a present) UPDATE: as of 4:00 on Tuesday afternoon, I own this book. Somebody did buy me a present! My fans are quick. Thank you.

The Dough (This is the best puff pastry style dough I've ever made. I frequently avoid recipes that call for rolling dough, but this was the most pliable, user-friendly dough, EVER.)

2 egg yolks
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used Wildwood probiotic unsweetened soy yogurt)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cup spelt flour

Mix, adding flour gradually until it does not stick to your hands. You may need a bit more flour.

The filling:
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rose water (i omitted because I couldn't locate with a hechsher. I've since heard that Pomegranate carries it)

Refrigerate the dough for 3 hours.

Prepare the filling. Toast chopped nuts in a small pot for a few minutes until nuts are fragrant. Add maple syrup and mix well. Remove from heat and add cardamom and rose water. Allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350.
Roll the dough using a rolling pin.
Create circles using a glass.
Drop 1/2 teaspoon of nut mix into the center.
Fold the circle and press into crescent shapes.
Bake until golden 16-18 minutes (depending how thick the dough is)

Remove from oven and brush with more maple syrup.
I garnished with chopped pistachios.
the nut mixture

 ...and there you have it folks. Hope I won't make you (or myself) wait another month for another post. A lot going on in this head of mine. Will to try to sort it out and post again soon.

Until then,

to good health,


PS. as usual, all the photos are taken with our super duper canon 60d. Go ahead and buy yourself one, you know you want to. And a special shout out to Pinny for putting up with my mishagas, taking pix, editing unmentionables, and being a great sport about it all.

PSS. Almost forgot, this could almost be another blog post, but I'm not giving it that much attention. This time of year I'm frequently asked how my "poor" kids cope with Purim, with the treats, what I 'withhold', etc. This is how it goes. People that love them buy them treats that they eat. For example: my mother bought them sushi and grape juice. Good friends send spelt pretzels, Stretch Island fruit leathers, pure juice boxes. My daughter's teacher gave her a box of strawberries - she was THRILLED! Everybody else's stuff goes into a huge box that goes home with the housekeeper. My kids get paid very well for their stuff and I have not heard a peep of disagreement in many, many years. In the early years, when we were first starting out with a healthier lifestyle, every kid chose 1 thing to keep and the rest of the  stuff went on a scale. I paid them $1 per pound of junk. This money does not go to the bank. They get to spend it as they please. I still pay them, but do a rough guess. It's about $15/kid. WORTH EVERY PENNY. Hope this clarifies. 


  1. As someone who was lucky enough to be at this incredible feast, I can attest that every. single. thing. on that table was out of this world delicious!! Thank you so much for having us Chani, it was truly wonderful

    1. Incredible feast. Sounds magnificent. Thanks for your comment Mussy. We love having you here. Come back quick.

  2. `Great post and all looks so healthy and delicious! please share more about agave? i've been happily using it as a sugar substitute...

    1. Hey Chayale. Thanks for the comment. Did you read the part about not asking me because I don't know? I just don't know. My personal opinion is that agave is better than sugar, in small quantities. We were not using small quantities, so I decided to completely remove it.

  3. Wow what a feast. Just wish I could have had the pleasure of being there and enjoying it, I know I would have! - Benny

    1. Thanks Benny. Looking forward to sharing a feast with you too.

  4. great post! totally with you on the DST! and maybe next year you can expand your catering to include one fairly close chabad house who could do with such beautiful-looking and surely delicious-tasting, Purim fare!

    1. Thanks for your comments Yaisef. Maybe we could form a DST support group? Probably not catering for any Chabad house, but appropriately flattered. Thanks for the compliments.

  5. Thanks for having us at Ur Purim Seudah! Was great company and amazing food as usual! Every bite brought another pop of flavor! Yum! Can u write the recipe for the eggplant pls.

    1. Thanks for coming Cheved. and for taking the time to comment. The eggplant: Grill eggplant as for babaganoush. Saute an onion in olive oil and turmeric and cook until it's very soft. Add chopped garlic. When the eggplant is done, scoop it out and drain the liquid. add to the onion and garlic and keep stirring. When all the liquid is absorbed add chopped tomatoes or tomato puree. Cook until everything is well blended. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. If you like it spicy you can add fresh jalapeno pepper or cayenne pepper.

  6. Wow! Incredible photos--the food looks delicious and your table beautiful. That's one thing I can never get right--getting the table to actually look nice during the meal. I am so with you on DST and enjoy your ruminations on everything else. Thanks for another wonderful post...and recipe!

    1. Thanks for the comment & compliments Bella. Very much appreciated.

  7. Do you have a good birthday cake receipe that will be enjoyed by my One year and guest, without too much sugar, agave etc; ?

    1. The Classic chocolate cake in the purple cookbook is one that converts easily. Do you know which one I'm talking about?

    2. Thanks so much.