Saturday, February 4, 2017

ABOUT THYME!   and so, here I am, in my characteristic sporadicity...
SHABBAT  Feb 3,  2017  chez Mather

Shabbats are intensifying as we sprint toward Selim's Bar Mitzvah.  Yayy!

And celebrating MorMor's return from, and Fred's (successful, k'nehora, Mashallah) completion of shoulder surgery.  

Ha Table השולחן

The Table according to Naveed:

Ha Family  המשפחה
Naveed, Rumeli, Dreese

Q:Can you find Cyrus? 
Clue: Mikej, Alanya, Cyrus, Selim Naveed.

Ha Menuהתפריט

Muj'dera with Cauliflower Rice [+yogurt, lemon, mint, parsley]
Zucchini-pasta with garlic butter and spinach
Grilled feta in ripe tomatoes
Famous House Salad
InFamous [hip widening] Mather MacCheese

 RECIPES are at the BOTTOM
Muj'dera with Cauliflower Rice [+yogurt, lemon, mint, parsley]

Muj'dera is lentils and rice with carmelized onions, and sometimes spices such as cumin, coriander and cinnamon.  I used cumin and coriander.  In an attempt to lower the carbs, I replaced rice with roasted cauliflower rice, and served them un-mixed so that carb-watchers could sin according to desire.

Toppings were lemon, caramelized onions and yogurt.   
Parsley and mint were already sprinkled on top.

                Zucchini-pasta with garlic butter and spinach

The original recipe called for spinach and fresh basil, but I didn't have the basil, so added some dried.   The plan was for this to be made with zoodles, but my zoodler wouldn't zoodle, it would only produce flat spirals.  Next time, I'd do that again.

 Grilled Feta on a bed of ripe tomatoes, garlic and capers
A few weeks ago I made an Indian tomato sauce with Mozarella balls (couldn't find Paneer and was too lazy to make it.)  It was just as gorgeous as this, but not as good.


Kale (and this time Alanya added toasted pumpkin seeds and avocado) with Rumeli and Cyrus' dressing, now used by all of us and coveted by everyone in the world except Fred.  


I think this recipe came to me via Alanya, but it's now naturalized Mather.  I'm trying to find something else to make for the Boysies, but, other than Pizza (though Dreese opts out of Pizza,) this is the only sure-sell besides ice cream.


We had plenty, and some left over.

6 onions: chopped not too finely and carmelized, but not overly,, in about 1/4c canola oil.
Towards end stir in (or more to taste)
1 heaping Tb ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
½ t salt
Add 1 C water, bring to boil, and simmer till onions are really soft.  A few minutes

1 ½ cups of small lentils in
3 cups of water til almost done… still very al dente

stir in half the onions from above

1 lg bag from Costco (2 lbs? gotta check)
mix with olive oil to moisten
add (or more to taste)
1 heaping Tb ground coriander
1 t ground cumin
½ t salt

Spread on parchment lined backing sheets
ROAST at 375 till golden …. 15-20 min?

Mix in the rest of the browned onions.

Slice 2 onions in thin half circles
Caramelize till crispy -but not burnt- in a few TB of olive oil

You can mix the “rice” and lentils, or keep separate.
Sprinkle with mint and parsley
Extra mint and parsley, lemons, yogurt and crispy onions to taste.

Zucchini-pasta with garlic butter and spinach
from MasterCook

6 zucchini, spiralized or sliced thinly
6 tablespoons butter
4 cloves garlic, minced (use 6 if you love garlic like me)
2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves, chopped
5 large handfuls fresh baby spinach, chopped
[omitted but will use next time]
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

Heat one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add zucchini noodles and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until zucchini noodles are tender but still retain some crunch.

Let the zucchini strips or slices or noodles rest for about 3 minutes so that they can release all of the moisture. Transfer noodles to a colander and drain the excess water from the pan.

Wipe the pan and melt the remaining tablespoons of butter over low heat. 

Add minced garlic and saute’ for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.
Keep an eye on the garlic the whole time, you don’t want it to brown or it will turn bitter.

Add chopped [basil - I wish! I added 2 tsp dried] and spinach to the skillet and stir until wilted about 1 minute.
Turn the heat to medium-high, add zucchini and saute’ for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.  {we didn’t add cheese because there was enough cheese in the dinner already.}

                            Grilled feta in ripe tomatoes

                                                            My take on Once Upon a Chef


1 lb block feta cheese, sliced horizontally in 2 pieces

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2lb Roma tomatoes, halved {cherry would be better, but none available)
          2nd thoughts: next time (and there will be) I will roast the tomatoes first.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
¼ tsp allspice
1 tsp Pinch sugar
3 tablespoons tablespoons capers, drained

Preheat the broiler and set the oven rack in the top position.
Place the feta in a flat baking dish and set aside.

Heat the oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
            Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
            Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar; 
                        Cook on hight, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are softened and starting to burst, 2 to 3 minutes.   They will release juices
            Remove from the heat and stir in the capers.
Scatter the tomatoes around the feta and broil until the feta is softened and browned.

Mather Mac
                                                                         via SmittenKitchen

Since the recipe was “only” for the kids, I made it as below in an 8” square metal pan [lined with parchment, always!] but I usually double the recipe for a 9x13 x3" metal pan.

•2 tablespoons butter

•1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)

•2 cups milk (not skim)

•1 teaspoon dry mustard {I used 1 tsp Dijon}

•1/4 t paprika

•Pinch nutmeg
•½ teaspoon salt
•¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
•1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, {I’ve used extra sharp tilamook, or pre-grated cheese from TJs., or , my favorite: Dubliner!}
            grated {I just cut in large chunks}
•½ pound elbow  or other pasta, uncooked.

•Heat oven to 375 degrees and position {unless you are using glass, in which case 350}  an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter the pan if you want, but ALWAYS line completely with parchment.. No clean up!

•In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together.  [or just mix well.]
Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese [or just cubed cheese] , milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.  {if no foil, put a baking sheet on top.]

•Uncover pan, stir gently [oops, I’ve always forgotten to do that], sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter [which is does not really need.]
 Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, or until browned.

Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.


I made banana bread, but nothing to rave about.  We also had fresh strawberries and cream.

 Made it to the bottom of this post?  Your reward is the news that Fred and I have a new cooking blog.  Check it out!  CookingTogetherSeparately

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Chicago Christmas Day

And in the East (or, was it the Midwest?)
 there was a star...................
(or could it have been a neon sign?)

and lights 
and palmtrees
 and drinks 
and good cheer.

the bubbling white grape juice from Steve was like Sauterne, only better.

Fred reached for my hand.

Lucy and Lou came in the afternoon

Steve came for the day and for dinner

Terin and Neil to sing Carol's in the evening

all lovely

Best of the menu, and worth repeating?:

One-Pan Sage and-Onion 
  Chicken and Any-kind-of- Sausage Casserole
      (chicken, pork, etc.)

A Nigella Recipe, but I got it and adjusted it from here.

In a pyrex pan, mix

one-half a cup olive oil (no morality check: does not have to be a virgin. In fact, fruity non-virgins are preferred.)

2 teaspoons French Dijon style mustard (or German, who cares.)

1 tablespoon dried sage (I only had ground; it was fine)

juice of 1 lemon, then cut up the rind and add it. (use some of your Pickled Lemons if you have them)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Add and stir
1 large onion or 2 small onions,  peeled and cut into 1/8ths or chunks

Put in
3 lb chicken thighs and legs, at least some with skin,
and mix to coat.

Sprinkle with

Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. 

Turn chicken once if you can, or at least when you take it out of the frig to bring to room temperature. 

Have the chicken with skin on top of the non skinned.

Tuck in
20?  Breakfast link sausages.  

sprinkle with
2-3 TB tablespoons chopped or whole fresh sage leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 for A glass pan,
425F for tin.

cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  could be more.

Turn everything over halfway through to color  evenly.

I served this on slices of day old (ok, 2 day old) French bread.  The juices made this taste like stuffing.

Serves 6.

FOR DESERT: HANNA (Mrs. Officer)'s CRANBERRY BREAD.  Wonderful.
 (I'll try to get that recipe) but her blog suggests this is it...

And speaking of the Officers....

Alex graduated from the Police Academy on Dec. 21st.
 Mr and Mrs Officer (married only 3 months before)

Professor Fred and Officer Alex


Friday, December 7, 2012

Sugar Boys


Selim and Naveed 
and Cupcake Bake 
on Mather.

With Dreese arriving in the morning...

stay tuned for text, but the recipes were not memorable.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Just me and Mom and Rumeli and Dreese....  
           and a surprise of flowers from Michaelle....

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Honeycake secret is out....

 Sept. 17th,  Oakland  
Happy  Rosh Ha Shonah
      hold tight,  more pictures and commentary still to come.

......and the Honeycake secret is------:   Whiskey!

All these years, I had it wrong. 
Apparently the whiskey goes in the cake... 

So this time, it tasted just like Ma's
Ma's Honeycake

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teasponn baking powder 

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm strong coffee
1/4 cup rye or whiskey

Preheat oven to 350°F. (325°F. for glass pans).

 Generously grease pan(s) with cooking spray.

For flat pyrex, tube or angel food pans, line the bottom of the pan with lightly sprayed parchment paper, cut to fit.   Lightly oil bundt pans and then dust with sugar.

Sift into a large bowl:
 flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.

Mix in blender:
oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee and whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

 Pour wet ingredients into center of dry ingredients and mix with an electric mixer on slow speed, or just stir together to make a well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom and there are no pockets of dry ingredients.  

The batter will be wet.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). 

TIP: Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center.  Hopefully the edges and the center will all be done at the same time, but better to let the center be moist than the edges too done. 

For angel, bundt and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, minimum;
loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes.

For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.  Or don't remove it from the pan.

--> I have followed and re-followed my Grandmother’s hand written recipe for years (coffee, honey, sugars, eggs, spices and vanilla).  But mine never had the depth of flavor hers had had.    I remembered once that she had added jam, so I tried that (fig, apricot, marmalade), or more oil.   This year, still hopeful,  I found one just like hers---- except for one additional ingredient: whiskey. This recipe comes from SmittenKitchen .  I followed it exactly except that I forgot to put in thfe 1/2 cup orange juice she called for.  It was so good, though, I won't do it next time, either.  

But just like Smitten's, mine sank in the middle.  We decided that the crater was symbolic of the volcanoes that the clever Jews managed to avoid in the desert.   

Next time: After several tries, it's clear that smaller pans do best.  Otherwise the center stays raw. SO:  smaller pans, and, since I used pyrex, 325 instead of 350 degrees.  

Make it a day or so in advance if you can.  It improves with age… I think. 

Speaking of AGE...  the honeycake doubled as a birthday cake

What else was on the menu?  and who ate it?

Heather and Danny, my son-outlaw and his side-kick.  Aren't they cute? Paola took the photo.

Also there my MoM: Manya/Noni;  My kids: Alanya, Mikej, Selim & Naveed; Rumeli and Sandrees (Cyrus was in Madrid, Howlin with Howlin' Rain, but his folks were here from Florida: Annie and Smiles;  My cousins: Paola, Steve & Marco.

Carel’s Zatarlives (that’s Zatar plus Olives)
 Steve loved these--said they were worth a trade of his version of Rosalie's pickles.

This is actually a "studio shot."
Steve (or Paola?) photographed the olives after they had made it to his house because I had forgotten to archive them.

Carel’s Zatarlives (that’s Zatar plus Olives)

1 cup green olives with pits
1 cup black oil-cured olives
(I used market olives in jars … the green were called Cracked Green Olives, but they weren’t cracked so I made slices in them; the others were the dark, small, shiny oil cured ones.)

Rinse and dry the olives.

Toast in dry skillet for 45 seconds or until fragrant
2 TB zatar
1 TB sesame seeds
add to olives in bowl

¼ cup olive oil
    heat till very hot
4 really large (or equivalent) cloves of garlic,  smashed
   Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute to soften. Do not brown.
add to olives

Mix in:
3 Tb peel of Moroccan preserved lemons
3 TB fresh lemon juice

Mix thoroughly. Store in refrigerator for up to one month. Serve at room temperature.

Next timemore sumac in the zatar mix.

[[  Curried Vegetables from HERE.   You'll see photos of this in my slow cooker. They were very easy, but still not worth the work.  So no recipe here. ]]]

The Eggplant, on the other hand, was a hands-down winner.  Totally exotic.  Totally simple.   Yes, I always have Pomegranate Syrup on hand. 

Eggplant with Pomegranate Glaze.

I used Kirsten Lindquist's Recipe, which I am sure is perfect, but I decided not to use cumin seeds as I was not feeling cumulative.  Also, this got me out of mortar and pestling.   It's sour, heady, herby and remarkable.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a large bowl, whisk into a glaze:
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
1/3 cup good olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 large eggplants
Cut ends off eggplants and cut into 1/2 inch slices and then cube into 1/2 inch cubes.  Add to glaze.  (I let mine sit in a glass bowl most of the day, till I was ready to cook)
Spread eggplant on parchment or foile lined baking sheet and bake 30 minutes or so until soft and edges of eggplant begin to brown and crisp. Remove (carefully!) from baking sheet and toss with

1/3 cup fresh mint, loosely packed, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, loosely packed, minced
sprinkle with
3 TB toasted sesame seeds

Serve immediately or at room temperature.  I let mine sit on the counter for at least an hour and it was just lovely.

Carel’s Ginger Coconut Rice 
(in the rice cooker at the top)

I have been making this for ev-er.  It’s always wonderful (umm, note first ingredient…)

1/4 lb butter
2 med white onions, sliced
2” pc of ginger, grated (about 1 heaping TB)
            sauté till onion is transparent
3 C white basmati
            add and sauté till rice is opaque
4 ½ c chicken or vegetable stock
¾ c fresh or unsweetened coconut --actually, sweetened is quite good here, too_
        add to rest and put in rice cooker or cook on stove top till done

can top with crushed black ilachi
(PS. this makes a TON.  Half would have been perfect.)

Peanut, Carrot, and Cabbage Slaw
it's on the right in the photo.. .   A simple and crunchy side.

Fresh, Asian and Crunchy. 
The original is HERE.

For the dressing:
6 tablespoons peanut butter
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
 Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously.

For the salad:
3 cups napa cabbage, shredded (from one head of a cabbage)
4 large carrots, grated
6 green onions, sliced thinly
6 large radishes, sliced thinly

I prepped the above the night before and put in plastic (sorry, Alanya) in the frig.  Then tossed the salad at the last minute. But it stands well; in fact it's fine the next day.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss with the dressing.  

Decorate the top wih, or mix in
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (fry in a dry pan. Still waiting for the electric sesame-seed pop-up toaster..)
1/2 cup finely chopped (or blitzed) roasted and salted peanuts

Next time: More dressing, but a little less vinegar and perhaps a touch of sugar.

Apples, Honey, and Nazar Boncuklar.   Our Ducks are all in a row for the new year.

Everyone left with charms for their napkins.  (Huh?) The idea is to have guests put an identifying charm on their cloth napkins.  Selim put the charms on evil-eye/nazarlik pins.  The nazarlik magnetically attracts the soup to your napkin, keeping it off your white shirt.   

 Noni and Marco

Rumeli, Heather, and Annie
Annie's Smiles!

 Steve and Paola
Mikej and Alanya

Smiles, Rumeli, Danny and Heather

Birthday girl and Nephew (1st cousin twice removed?)  Marco
SELIM in Baseball Cap

Meanwhile, OUTSIDE on the porches..
Rumeli, Dreese and Marco

THE ROCKET SHIP... Naveed and Marco

The ROCKET with Naveed and Selim