Show-n-Tell Ceramics, A New Bowl

I have more Ceramics to post. This bowl was my attempt at making a larger, handmade bowl with a carved design that encircles the piece. Despite sealing all of the seams, a small crack appeared after glazing. My teacher suggested re-glazing and re-firing. The crack remained though it doesn’t go through to the bottom.

I consider this bowl a metaphor for me. I keep trying to seal the seams of doubt, “re-glazing and re-firing,” but the crack remains. Maybe this bowl is a metaphor for all of us, flawed but interesting and oh-so-pretty.

Hon, just like my manuscripts, some ceramics pieces were practice, some were thrown away, and some will be polished and glazed another time. But, I’m happy with these small vases and bowls. I especially like the carving on the vases and the throwing lines on one of the bowls.

Wishing me and you places to go in our minds, practice and work where creativity keeps us in the moment and allows anxiety and self-doubt to disappear into the background.

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Roasted Cauliflower with Date-Parsley Gremolata

Shout out to my daughter Morgan and her new cookbook Eating Out Loud, Bold Middle Eastern Flavors for All Day, Every Day by Eden Grinshpan. I love it when Morgan cooks dinner!

Of the cauliflower– ‘Its deep, roast-y deliciousness is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet, herbaceous date-parsley gremolata. You are going to be blown away by how much brightness you get from the preserved lemon and how the dates balance the tartness with their dense texture.”Of the cauliflower– “Its deep, roast-y deliciousness is the perfect counterpoint to the sweet, herbaceous date-parsley gremolata. You are going to be blown away by how much brightness you get from the preserved lemon* and how the dates balance the tartness with their dense texture.’

Eating Out Loud by Eden Grinshpan

Roasted Cauliflower with Date-Parsley Gremolata

Roasted Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Gremolata

  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted Medjool dates (about 5)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • approx. 1/2 lemon juice, squeezed from fresh lemon (*The recipe calls for preserved lemon, but Morgan used freshly squeezed lemon juice.)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and salt. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet (or two-you want to make sure the florets have room to breathe so that they get cartelized and crispy instead of steamed) and roast until the cauliflower is golden brown, 20 – 25 minutes.
  3. Make the gremolata: In a large bowl, mix together the dates, sparsely, olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. If making this ahead, leave out the vinegar until just before you serve.
  4. Scatter the gremolata over the roasted cauliflower and serve.
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Show-n-Tell Ceramics, 2021

Hon, just like my manuscripts, some ceramics pieces were practice, some were thrown away, and some will be polished and glazed another time. But, I’m happy with these small vases and bowls. I especially like the carving on the vases and the throwing lines on one of the bowls.

Wishing me and you places to go in our minds, practice and work where creativity keeps us in the moment and allows anxiety and self-doubt to disappear into the background.

Passover Fudge Bombs Recipe

Passover, like Thanksgiving, is a lots-of-cooking holiday. Figuring out what to cook for dinners for eight days is one topic of conversation. Next topic? Desserts! Shout out to Marci Charm for sharing her easy recipe for Fudge Bombs, and shout out to Just a Pinch Recipes for further recipe info. These meringue-ish cookies live up to their name. They’re super chocolatey and, according to my kids, even better when heated up for a few seconds in the microwave.

Happy baking, hon.

Passover Fudge Bombs

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla sugar (can be omitted)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (only egg whites are needed for this recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Whisk together sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and salt.
  3. Add approx. 2/3 of the egg whites, stir, and add remaining egg whites. Mix until combined and batter is thick and glossy. It takes a bit of stirring before the batter gets to the correct consistency.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Drop spoonfuls of batter onto 2 parchment lined cookie sheets, about 5 cookies per sheet. Leave plenty of room between cookies, as they spread while baking.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until tops look slightly cracked. Let cookies cool COMPLETELY on baking sheet and do not move them. When cool, transfer to airtight container for 3 days, or freeze.

Passover Seder, Easy Charosets Recipe

Charosets and desserts are usually my contribution to our extended family’s Passover seder. But, due to the pandemic and worry over COVID, this is the second year we aren’t all gathering. I always thought Charosets on the seder plate was a representation of mortar enslaved Jews used to when they were forced to build those gorgeous pyramids in Egypt. Little did I know there this dish’s significance was up for discussion!

Meaning 

Charoset (חֲרֽוֹסֶת, pronounced ha-row-sit) is a sticky, sweet symbolic food that Jews eat during the Passover seder every year. The word chariest derives from the Hebrew word cheres (חרס), which means “clay.” 

In some Middle Eastern Jewish cultures, the sweet condiment is known as halegh.

Origins 

Charoset represents the mortar that the Israelites used to make bricks while they were slaves in Egypt. The idea originates in Exodus 1:13–14, which says,

‘The Egyptians enslaved the children of Israel with back-breaking labor, and they embittered their lives with hard labor, with clay and with bricks and with all kinds of labor in the fields—all their work that they worked with them with back-breaking labor.’

The concept of charoset as a symbolic food first appears in the Mishnah (Pesachim 114a) in a disagreement between the sages about the reason forcharosetand whether it is a mitzvah (commandment) to eat it at Passover.

According to one opinion, the sweet paste is meant to remind people of the mortar used by the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt, while another says that the charoset is meant to remind the modern Jewish people of the apple trees in Egypt. This second opinion is tied to the fact that, supposedly, the Israelite women would quietly, painlessly give birth beneath apple trees so that the Egyptians would never know that a baby boy was born. Although both opinions add to the Passover experience, most agree that the first opinion reigns supreme (Maimonides, The Book of Seasons 7:11).

by Ariela Pelaia, Learn Religions, June 25, 2019

Charosets

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups walnut pieces (or finely ground walnuts)
  • 3 large apples
  • 4 Tablespoons sweet red wine, or to taste
  • 4 Tablespoons honey, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, or to taste
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon, or to taste
  • dash nutmeg

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, process walnuts until finely ground, then transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Peel apples, core and cut into quarters. Process in food processor until finely chopped. Place in mixing bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Combine well and taste to correct seasonings.

Passover Apple Cake

Passover starts Saturday, March 27, 2021 and the entire holiday is focused on food! There’s what we can’t eat:  bread and anything that can rise bread-like, such as corn. And there’s what we can eat:  matzah, better known as crunchy cardboard (unless it’s soaked in eggs and milk and fried into Matzah Brei). Recipes that turn matzah meal, cake meal, and other Passover products into something edible–maybe even delicious–are coveted and shared. I substituted flour for matzah meal and converted an Apple Cake recipe to Pesadich, the term for food that’s allowed during the holiday.

If I have time in between cleaning out my fridge and cabinets and cooking for the holiday, I’ll post more recipes.

Hag Semach or Happy Holiday, Hon!

To make enough Apple Cake for 12 people, I tripled the ingredients, listed below, and added two batters-worth to a bundt cake pan and one batter-worth to the recommended 8″ x 8″ cake pan so that there will be enough dessert for 12 people.

Passover Apple Cake

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I divided this into 3/4 cup granulated sugar to be mixed with eggs and 3/4 cups combo granulated sugar and brown sugar to be mixed with spices.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (It may have been redundant to add this, but I had it in the house, so figured why not?)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more for baking dish
  • 5 medium apples, such as Golden Delicious or Crispin, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
  • 3/4 cup matzo cake meal (I ran out of matzo cake meal, so I added rice flour to make up the difference.)
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack set in the center. Lightly spray an 8-inch-square glass baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. (I used a metal, square baking dish.)
  2. Mix together walnuts, 3/4 cup sugar (combo granulated and brown sugar), nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cardamom, and clover in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat eggs on medium speed until well combined. Slowly beat in remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, until mixture is thick and foamy. With the mixer running, slowly pour in oil. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in matzo cake meal.
  4. Pour half of the batter into prepared cake pan. Add a layer of apples (just add them haphazardly), sprinkle raisins and half of the walnut/spice mixture. Pour remaining batter in pan. Top with remaining apples and sprinkle remaining walnut/spice mixture over apples.
  5. Transfer cake to oven and bake until the sides of the cake pull away from the baking dish very slightly and topping begins to caramelize, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove cake from oven and let stand for several hours until completely cool, before cutting. Keep cake covered tightly with plastic wrap for up to 2 days, as the flavor improves with age.

Yield: Makes one 8-inch square cake.

What is Storystorm?

STORYSTORM is the brain child of Tara Lazar, a children’s book author and mentor whose blog Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) is a source of information and showcase of personality. In Tara’s words:

The Storystorm challenge is to create 30 story ideas in 30 days. You don’t have to write a manuscript (but you can if the mood strikes). You don’t need potential best-seller ideas.

You might think of a clever title. Or a name for a character. Or just a silly thing like “purple polka-dot pony.” The object is to heighten your idea-generating senses. Ideas may build upon other ideas. Your list of potential stories will grow stronger as the days pass. Eventually, you will have a list of ideas to flesh out into concepts, premises and manuscripts in the coming year.

On this blog, daily posts by authors, illustrators, editors and other publishing professionals will help inspire you. By the end of the month, you’ll have a fat file of ideas to spark new stories.

Tara Lazar

This year, STORYSTORM inspired me to start a new journal in which I’m collecting ideas. Some may turn into stories and some may not, but one of the takeaways from this year’s authors and illustrators is to see where your creativity takes you. I’m up for the challenge!

I create with clay, yarn, fabric and, of course, ingredients. I imagine worlds with words.

Hon, where does creativity take you?

Easy DIY Play Dough

This week at preschool, the theme is Senses. What better way for young children to engage with touch than playing with Play Dough? I’d never actually made Play Dough before, but it was easy! I added cinnamon to the recipe on The Best Ideas for Kids. We’re going to smell “spicy.” Fun!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • food coloring

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and cream of tartar. Mix well.
  2. In a separate bowl, add food coloring to the water. Then add the colored water and vegetable oil to a large pot. Mix together.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to your pot and mix.
  4. Cook over low to medium heat until the dough starts to form and becomes drier, stirring often.
  5. Once the mixture starts to form a body and looks fully cooked, take it off the heat. (Tip: Spoon it onto a plate or surface to cool.) Let the dough cool first before touching. 
  6. Once cool, knead the dough for 5 minutes to make the dough soft. If your dough is not soft, continue kneading for another 5 minutes. If you find it is still too dry add a little bit more oil and knead in.

Tips from The Best Ideas for Kids:

How to Keep Playdough Soft

First wrap your playdough in saran wrap then store in an air-tight container. You’ll notice that playdough will go hard if left out – so the less air that can get to the playdough when storing, the longer it will last!

How Do I Make Playdough Soft Again?

If your playdough dries out and turns out to be a little dry after making it, try adding in a little more oil first. You can knead the oil in with your hands. You can also knead in a little bit of water.