Friday, September 25, 2009

Rosh Hashana Dinner

September 18th:

This is the first year Douglas and I have hosted Rosh Hashana dinner! The past 5 years we have been together we had dinner in the following locations; my family in Florida, Chabad of Sonoma and dinner at the Rubinstein's.

With a lot to do, Douglas and I split the menu carefully and put together our action items. Douglas was in charge of the beef, Steve (Douglas' dad) made the fish and finally I was to make all the brachot (blessings in Hebrew). Since I had many components to complete, Jan (Douglas' mom) came over Friday morning to help. Her task was the Leek & Mushroom Quiche.

The week before dinner I could not help and think how easy it was going to be with all the Kosher markets being in driving distance. My shopping day quickly approached and I was a little mistaken. Who knew you needed to call in advance to order a fish head?? So unfortunately I didn't get a fish head :(

To get descriptions of each brachot I Googled traditions. I printed this link and shared the descriptions at my dinner table.

The Menu:
Round Challah
Apples & Honey
Olive Tapenade
Beet Salad
Citrus Fish
Apple Kugel
Squash Quiche
Leek & Mushroom Quiche
Glazed Apricot Carrots with Peppers
Honeyed Roast Beef with Sweet Potatoes
Honey Chiffon Cake

The Guests:
Jan, Steve, Rhonda, Beth and Mariana.

Thank you guests for completing my table and for the beautiful flowers Mariana!!

Shana Tova Umetuka,
The Kruschen Family

Nice to have family close by...

September 11th:

The main reason Douglas and I moved to Southern California was to be near family. So when Jan invited us for a Kosher dinner, I was thrilled! Cooking a Kosher dinner has a lot of restrictions and takes a lot of time. To summarize Jan's effort this Shabbat; beautiful!

Not only was her Shabbat table set up to the nine's, but every dish she made was lovingly constructed with her family in mind.

The Menu:
Peach Salsa
Stuffed Chicken
Apple Strudel

My favorite has to be the stuffed chicken. The stuffing consisted of rice, raisins and honey. This dish is definitely something I'd like to make at my Shabbat table.

Great job Jan! Thank you Jan and Steve for inviting us to your table. Too many more beautiful Shabbat dinners together!

Sephardic Family Cooking!

September 4th:

This Shabbat was spent in New York. Douglas and I attended Shira and Joe Kelmanovich's wedding in Long Island. Shira and Joe are our friends from Northern California. My cousin Ravit invited us to stay in her home while we were in NY. Douglas and I were so happy to have been invited not only to have Shabbat dinner in her home, but to meet 4 more cousins I have never met. Ravit has 2 kids; Jonathan and Itai. Tali has 2 kids as well; Ely and Lily.

As soon as you walked into Ravit and Ilan's dining room you could smell the Sephardic cooking!! I felt like I was home. From numerous salads to the food arrangement everything felt all so comfortable, just like I was in Florida.

First we started with little Jonathan reciting the wine blessing. Then we moved on to the menu salads and the Moroccan Fish. Mmmm the fish was amazing!! after we had ate our appetizers, the table was covered in savory and sweet dishes. There was sweet potatoes and chicken, meatballs and green beans, rice, and the most amazing dish of the night; brisket with onions. this brisket was to die for! It just melted in your mouth!!!

Thank you so much Ravit and Ilan for hosting us in NY. Tali thank you for coming to see us. I know it must have been hard with your recent birth of baby Lily.

Love you and miss you guys!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Caphalon Pots!!

August 28th:

Ahhh how I love my Caphalon pot and pan set! They are sleek and sexy looking. Which makes cooking that much more fun!

With my Caphalon set, I received a very interesting flyer. On the flyer it read that I can send them my old pots and pants so that they can properly dispose of them and in the long run recycle the parts. How cool is that? So I went online to and registered my pot. Printed the prepaid mailing label and mailed it off. It was very easy and I recommend you do the same. PS thank you Jan for actually mailing it off for me =D

This week's guest were:
Jan, Rhonda, Mariana and Sarah.

This week's menu was:
Marrakesh Carrot Salad
Green Salad
Salmon Puff
Honey Lemon Chicken
Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

I normally cook form Susie's Kosher by Design: Lightens Up, but anytime I cook something from her book I'm in the kitchen for at minimum of 5 hours. This week I looked through my recipe binder and found some great recipes. Side note: some of you have showed interest in my recipes. If you are still interested, please send me an email with your requests. I'd be happy to share them!!

My honey lemon chicken and rice was picked out by my hubby. From my profile you will see he likes things sweet and I like things savory. But wanting to please my husband, I let him pick the recipe this week. Let me just say, this is now one of my favorite chicken dishes of all time! At first I was very hesitant and thought about changing the recipe a bit, but am I glad i stuck what it said. My first hesitation was that it would be sweet, next came the fact that it was a one pot dish. I am always weary of one pot dishes because I am scared that the starch wont be able to get my full attention and dry up. When poultry sits on top a dish, you can barley see how the starch is cooking. So with my hesitation I cooked the dish. As I said before it was amazing!! Honey mixed with lemon and herbs slowly cooking in my sleek pot looked just beautiful!

To next week's adventure!

Honey Lemon Chicken


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friday Night Alive

August 21st:

This week Douglas and I attended Temple Etz Chaim's (TEC) Friday Night Alive. Once per month this conservative synagogue has a sing along to their Friday night services. Friday Night Alive was very fun! At times the crowd was dancing all over the room, singing or even shaking custom shakers. Douglas and I will definitely be attending these monthly services!

Before services Douglas and I were invited to TEC's Tot Shabbat Dinner. Sitting with over 30 family members, and eating dinner all while enjoying a puppet show really made me happy to be a part of such a thriving synagogue!

For those who do not know, I have been fortunate enough to have been given the title of TEC's Youth Director. I am very excited and honored to have received this position. My job is to run the 4th-12th grade youth department. I have two employees in my department, one Kadima Advisor and one USY Advisor (the job I use to have in Santa Rosa). I am actually looking to hire a new USY Advisor. Anybody know one in the area?? Please contact me!

This Week’s Shabbat Menu:
Green salad
Eggplant Lasagna
Bowtie Pasta
Veggie Pasta
Ice Cream cups

Most of TEC's events are catered by Pizza Nosh! Both Douglas and I are not eggplant tolerant. Not to Sephardic of me, huh? The other night I attended at a TEC board meeting where they were serving what looked to be like plain lasagna. After taking a bite I noticed something different. Something scrumptious tasting!! I turned to my left and asked the gentleman what was in the lasagna. He said what I didn't want to hear, "eggplant"! I took a moment and thought, "hey, maybe I do like eggplant." I came home that night after the board meeting and told Douglas all about it. He said four dreadful words, "Sharon it was fried!" Hmmm I guess everything does taste better fried!

If you have not yet attend TEC's Friday Night Alive or do not currently attend a conservative synagogue, I urge you to come and visit and see for yourself. We don't bite.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My China's 1st Time

August 14th:

Welcome to Scrumptious Shabbat! I am a newly married wife who loves cooking Shabbat dinner for my husband and our guests.

This blog is different than your average Shabbat cooking blog. What makes this different is my husband is Ashkenazi and I am Sephardic and fusing our likes and dislikes is quite a challenge. Some weeks are successful and some weeks are a one-way street.

Please join me on my journey through my successes and mishaps.

Please email me if you have comments, questions or suggestions.

This Week’s Shabbat Menu:
Gefilte Fish Loaf
Wrapped Asparagus Radicchio
Bok Choy Slaw
Cilantro Rice
Chicken w/Olives, Red Wine and Prunes
Peach Berry Tart

This Week’s Shabbat Guests:
Jan, Steve and Rhonda Kruschen

This past Shabbat was my first Shabbat I was able to use my wedding china. Some might wonder why this was my first time. For those who knew my apartment in Santa Rosa, knew how much space was an issue. Therefore moving into a new apartment in So Cal I made sure to find the space for my china and an extra 100 sq ft of space didn’t hurt =P
I am my own critic. I’ll be the first to tell you that something either didn’t work or didn’t taste the best. Being a “new cook” I am aware I will make mistakes. I really try hard not to make mistakes, but always learn from my flubs.

Being new to So Cal I bought two different types of Challah from the Kosher Bazaar. One brand was Universal and the other brand was Unique. Universal was much sweeter, but Unique was a lot more doughier. Steve, Rhonda and Douglas all liked Unique and Jan and I liked Universal.

My Gefilte Fish was store bought. Until meeting Douglas I had never tried or was served Gefilte Fish at Shabbat. Therefore I bought the loaf and followed the directions on the package. The directions read to boil the fish in water for 1.5 hrs. Therefore that is what I did. After it cooled for a while I sliced the load like sushi rolls. As soon as I was done plating the fish, Douglas made a face. He quickly explained that I was to bake it before serving. Since he was the one eating it, I did as directed. But can someone tell me why it needed to be baked?

The rest of the food was self-explanatory. However this week’s cooking took me about 5 hours!! Usually I average out 3 hours, but anytime I cook using Kosher by Design by Susie Fishbein it takes me much longer. Susie’s style is very elegant and is all about presentation. This week I used her Lightens Up book. I really enjoy cooking from this book! My favorite recipe of the week has to be the scrumptious Wrapped Asparagus Radicchio. It was elegant looking and yummy tasting! I liked it so much I wanted more of it the following week.

Until next week,
Shabbat Shalom!