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A Bissele History

 

A Bissele History (Randyjw; May 15, 2017)

 

Here’s a “bissele” history of the Middle Ages of the Jews in Europe, which is fairly representative of the treatment of Jews in every place, at most times, with the exception of Jewish reign in Israel at all times.

 

This article was researched and written by Dolly, and includes a bonus recipe. Enjoy!

 

(https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/preserving-jews-and-all-sorts-of-fish-escabeche/)

 

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Randy’s Recipes: Meals of the Mediterranean: Pasta Sauce and Tabouleh

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Randy’s Recipes: Meals of the Mediterranean: Pasta Sauce and Tabouleh (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)

 

These two recipes share the same ingredients, amplified in the tabouleh, yet taste very different.

 

My cupboards were bare, so I combined running my various errands with a major shopping spree to buy all healthful items. I did rather well, with that mission, although I spent a minor fortune, and I forgot that the market in that area was a small, somewhat-limited one, in scope, so I was not able to purchase everything fresh, so I’ll write the recipes for fully-fresh, as well as including the pre-packaged items I used.

 

For so much effort, one may as well prepare everything with fresh, whole ingredients, but it also shows how we can begin to enhance our heat-and-eat home preparations towards something tastier and, likely, more healthful for us.

 

So, here are two dishes you can prepare, which will stretch far, and which will be ready to eat when your time is more pressing. Both are the fare one thinks of when dining in the Middle East and Mediterranean: Pasta Sauce and Tabouleh. I’ll give the recipe for tabouleh first (which is how my prep went; the pasta sauce was a last-minute quirk I came up with).

 

Randy’s Recipes: Tabouleh (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)

 

This is basically a Greek-influencd tabouleh, jazzing up a simple tabouleh with the addition of Greek-style elements, such as cucumbers and feta cheese. The recipe is basically the same, and not many twists are to be found; but, nevertheless, even exact recipes can taste quite different in the end product, dependent on a chef’s techniques and tools, etc.

 

So, this is my own recipe, at present, possibly to fluctuate, with its adjustments and additions, but it is similar (but, of course different) to that recipe which is found on the box of Near East brand tabouleh, whose company makes many great products, which I use. I didn’t really measure out my ingredients, and so, as usual, I’m recreating, by my guess, an approximately hopeful likeness.

 

This makes approximately 5 quarts (four, when the ingredients have had time to marinate, meld and wilt down, a bit).

 

Ingredients:

2 supermarket bunches of fresh parsley, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

Handful spearmint leaves, chopped fine (set aside a small portion, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

3 or 4 tomatoes, salted and diced fine (cut an additional 4 or 5 tomatoes, or so, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

2 cucumbers, finely diced

Tiny bottle, extra virgin olive oil (minus two or three tablespoonfuls set aside, if also making pasta sauce; see below)

Bulgur wheat (if using boxed brand, like Near East brand, then use two boxes with its included seasoning packets) (here, I used the boxed version)

Onion; Any color; use vertical wedge cut from one large onion, sliced into thin, smallish slivers (set aside an additional small handful, if making pasta sauce; see below)

Dill; fresh, chopped fine; or, dried: about 1/8th teaspoon, or one smallish pinch

Pepper, to taste

Juice from 1/2-to-1 lemon, to taste

8 oz. (set aside 1 or 2 tablespoonfuls, if making pasta sauce; see below) feta cheese, crumbled

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Combine all ingredients, then sort into lidded quart containers. Shake to blend. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy.

6.8 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Pasta Sauce (Randyjw; September 27, 2016)

 

Ingredients:

Approx. 2 or 3 tablespoonfuls Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Garlic; 1 or 2 cloves, smashed; or about 3/4-teaspoon dried, to taste

4 or 5 large tomatoes; diced fine and salted (adjust quantity to suit your needs); or, 1 large can Hunt’s tomato sauce

Onion; White or Yellow best; wedge cut from large onion, sliced into thin, smallish slivers

Hand-pinch fresh parsley, chopped fine

Hand-pinch fresh basil, chopped fine

A few leaves fresh spearmint, chopped fine

Pasta; approx. 16 oz., your choice (in this serving suggestion, I used bowties)

Pepper, to taste

Parmesan Cheese, Shaved/Sprinkled (serving suggestion, for topping)

Feta Cheese, crumbled (serving suggestion, for topping. This was excellent! I put it on after sprinkling parmesan on top, apres-photo)

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In a large pot, boil water for your pasta. Add a small shake of salt, if desired, to taste. Add your pasta; stir, bringing to slow boil.

Remove leaves from plants, and stems from herbs; wash and set aside.

Pour oil into skillet.

Add garlic, and begin heating, to blend.

On a cutting board, chop your tomatoes, and salt them as you would, if eating plain. Pour off the running tomato juices into the pan, and let blend. Heat for a short bit.

Add your tomatoes, or tomato sauce, and let cook until bubbling for a short bit.

Add your slivered onion.

Sprinkle in herbs and let heat through.

Drain and plate your pasta.

Ladle sauce over top.

If using parmesan, feta, or other cheeses, sprinkle on top.

Enjoy!

7 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Yogurt Ambrosia

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Randy’s Recipes: Yogurt Ambrosia (August 20, 2016)

 

This light and delicious fruit salad makes a delicious lunch, pot-luck or dinner party dessert addition, and it’ll be a winner for second-rounds. Simply add flavored yogurt to any cut fruits, and you’ve got an exotic taste treat, which is like another little slice of heaven.

 

Cut fruits: quantity to suit (melons work well; here I used honeydew. Everything works! Bananas, peaches, plums – try it all!)

Yogurt: quantity to taste (lime works great, as does lemon, or substitute other flavors to go in a new direction.)

 

Cut fruits, straining-off liquids, and leaving as dry as possible to accept the yogurt as a coating. Pat dry, if need be, and place into bowl. Stir-in yogurt, using more than seems needed, as it thins out. Therefore, only add it as close to serving time, as possible.

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You can also try additional add-ins, if you like: marshmallows, marshmallow creme, honey, coconut, etc., only limited by imagination. An extra squirt of citrus, such as lime, or a juice, sich as orange, might be nice.

 

8 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Lychee Iced Tea: Easy And Fresh Versions

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Randy’s Recipes: Lychee Iced Tea: Easy and Fresh Versions (Randyjw; June 25, 2016)

 

Easy: Approx. 12 oz. (approx. one-half of 23 oz., tall, $0.99¢ can) AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey (adjust to taste)

Pour approximately one-half of liquid from tall can into a large container or pitcher.

Fresh: Fresh green tea leaves, packed into tea steeper, or placed into container (powdered green tea may be substituted); Approx. 2 small slices ginseng, thinly sliced; Approx. 1 or 2 tablespoons honey (fragrant kind, such as orange clover, etc., best) (All amounts adjusted to taste)

Heat water to before boiling, cool slightly, and pour over green tea leaves to steep (or, if using steeper, place tea leaves into steeper and place steeper into heated water and steep; green tea powder, adjusted to taste, may be substituted). Add two small, thin slices ginseng; Once steeped, add approx. 1 or 2 tablespoons honey, adjusting all amounts to taste.

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Easy: Approx. 1/4 – to – 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or to taste)

Stir in cardamom to cold AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey, and whisk well to distribute.

Fresh: Approx. 3/4 tablespoon fresh cardamom (or to taste)

Rub cardamom slightly between hands and drop into tea mixture. Stir well.

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Easy: Approx. 2 dashes cinammon (to taste)

Sprinkle a bit of cinammon into mixture and whisk well to dissolve.

Fresh: 1 cinammon stick

Put cinammon stick into mixture and allow to steep well.

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Easy: Approx. 1/2 teaspoon dried chamomile (to taste)

Rub slightly between hands the dried chamomile and sprinkle onto tea mixture, allowing to infuse for several minutes.

Fresh: Approx. 1 teaspoon chamomile (to taste)

Rub slighly between hands the chamomile and sprinkle onto tea mixture, allowing to infuse for several minutes.

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Easy: Pour into separate container, straining separated spices and removing large pieces.

Fresh: Pour into separate container, straining separated spices and removing large pieces.

 

Easy: Reserved liquid from 1 can lychees in syrup

Stir lychee syrup into tea mixture. Chill and serve (it’s nice over ice).

Fresh: Reserved liquid from 1 can lychees in syrup

Stir lychee syrup into tea mixture. Chill and serve (it’s nice over ice).

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8.9 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Vanilla-Chamomile Ice Pie

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Randy’s Recipes: Vanilla-Chamomile Ice Pie (Randyjw; June 6, 2016)

 

Ingredients:

1 box Nilla wafers, crushed

1 plus 3/4 sticks salted butter, melted

4 REAL tablespoons lemon-sugar slurry

2 REAL tablespoons water, if needed

1/4-cup coconut milk

1 REAL tablespoon coconut cream

7 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk (approx. 3/4- cup)

1 banana, mashed

1 REAL tablespoon dry, crushed chamomile

3 REAL overflowing tablespoons cream cheese

6 oz. vanilla yogurt, or your favorite flavor


At least 1/2-day to 1-day prior, prepare a lemon-sugar slurry infusion by cutting the peel from a ripe lemon with an edible peel (a Meyer works well, but you can choose your own) that is soft and can be eaten. Stir into a jar or container, with copious amounts of sugar, repeating several times to form a thick slurry paste. Set in the refrigerator to infuse overnight, if possible.

 

When ready for preparation, begin with the crust. First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the butter in a small saucepot at low heat on the stovetop to melt. Transfer the Nilla wafers into a large plastic bag and crush fairly fine (small pieces are okay). Mix in the melted butter, in small batches, to coat the crumbs. Add in 4 tablespoons of lemon-sugar slurry, including the peels (make sure they’re edible, first; if not, just use the slurry). If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water, to hold the crust together. Coat your pie/baking dish with a light dusting of flour and baking powder/soda (if you want to grease it first, you may). Press crumb mixture into the baking dish or pie plate using a 1/2-cup measuring cup to press the crumbs evenly around and up the sides of the dish, and to smooth. Bake crust for approximately 11 minutes at 350°F, then remove, and turn oven down to 325°F. Run a knife down along the dish edge to loosen the crust to make it easier to slice, later.

 

While crust is baking, prepare the filling. Mix coconut milk, coconut cream, condensed milk and chamomile together. Mash banana into mixture. Stir in cream cheese, then yogurt. Pour into pie crust and bake for about 6 minutes at 325°F, then raise heat to 350°F again, and bake for another 4 minutes, or so. Remove from oven and let cool. Freeze to set.

 

Garnish with fruits, whipped cream or meringue, nuts, coconut or chocolate shavings, or interesting spices. Hope you enjoy!

9 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Green Zeitim

 

“Zeitim” is Hebrew for the English word “olives”. One most associates the old olive trees in Israel with the green variety, some trees living for thousands of years back to the times when all three monotheistic faiths could witness their growth, both the trees and their religions, through the Jewish lens of Jerusalem and Judah/Israel. Both the trees and the Jews were there to witness these births and the impacts they have had on humanity — and, not to mention, on the Jews and the trees, themselves.

 

The Jewish people, and its faith, believe that the Messiah will arrive to usher in the G-dly reign by walking through the double gates in the city walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, opposite Har HaZeitim, or, as it’s English name is called, “The Mount of Olives”. This physical site is the rising mountain located next to and over-looking the Beit HaMikdash, the Jewish Temple, which stood upon the Mount opposite, which now is home to the famous gold-domed and silver-roofed house of Islamic prayers.

 

Because we believe that the Messiah will arrive  at that spot, it has behooved us to build our graves there, so that we can be closest to meet the Messiah, at that time. In life and in death, we believe in G-d. It is for this reason that Har HaZeitim, the Jewish cemetery, is situated directly across from the expected arrival spot. Har HaZeitim is the oldest known cemetery in the world. It’s gravestones are graves of stone.

 

Stone has a lasting permanence; it is what G-d has chosen in creating the bedrock and mantle of the crusts of the earth, and of its many interesting geological formations in the composition of the mountains. A small rock or pebble is placed atop the gravemarker upon visiting the site of a Jewish grave location. The tectonic plates which are pushing against one another as they slowly contort the landscape might be riding on the waters which separate firmament from firmament, and from the waters above of the firmaments above. Careful reading of the Bible would show this as a possible meaning to the wonders of our worlds — things we only don’t discover until much later, if at all.

 

The love of the Jewish people for the words of G-d, and their belief that the land He delivered them and the place that He requested as His abode, within the Beit HaMikdash (Jewish Temple) upon its mount, resting on the bedrock of Jerusalem, in the land of Judah/Zion/Israel/etc., has prompted the correlation by the derivative monotheistic faiths to develop tandem, or occasionally, replacement-based theological viewpoints, sometimes leading to major movements.

 

These three evidentiary details should be clear proof that the Jewish claim, not only to the site of the Temple Mount, but to the land of Israel, is legitimate: the Jewish cemetery built on Har HaZeitim to greet the Messiah shows that the Jews cherish and respect the Holiness which G-d accorded it. The cemetery is the oldest in the world, continuing to serve its intended function as a Jewish cemetery. This precedes any possible other claims, being an original, archaeological physical proof, as well as a faith-based demonstration of the Jewish spiritual reality and attention to its fulfillment. The retaining wall to hold the Temple Mount in place has been known as the “Wailing Wall” to successive generations of faithful believers (the “Western Wall” to Jewish sources, translated from the Hebrew “Kotel HaMa’ariv”) who have undertaken specific pilgrimages of faith to visit there throughout the centuries. It is known in extant extraneous sources of written literature attesting to these travels to the revered site in Jewish history and its lore from a broad range of faiths and people throughout history. These documents are being ignored in ceding the site to Arabs, but should not be. The site was built to support a massive structure, requiring the placement, right down to the very bedrock, of 144-ton stones to support the distribution of weight across its surface and to raise it upon its pedestal. There is nothing built below bedrock — no other culture found below this level. It’s walls rise up through the striations of following levels of human existence, but it remains rooted to the earth at its very foundation level. Knowing its importance in relation to the Jews’ perceived relationship with G-d, other faiths built there to receive the glory, as well. It is the reason for the abundance of structures of all faiths, throughout the centuries, enjoining that they receive their share of spiritual accord, too. Some, such as the Arabs, meant to take all the glory away from the Jews; during the time of their actual reign here, too, they made certain to stop the Messiah’s arrival, which would bring the Jews back to their glory, by blocking-up the entry-gates of the walls to the city through which He is supposed to enter. The difference in workmanship, and that this bricked-up addition to already existing entrances to a much older structure, should be obviously apparent (– but, it’s ignored).

 

The wood of the olive tree has had major Biblical significance, as well. Because of the olive tree’s significance, mentioned throughout testaments of varied faiths, it and its wood, used in the Bible, are extremely revered and imputed with hallowed significance in the industry built up around its usage for keepsakes. Carvings from its wood are especially helpful as a means of employment, particularly among the Arabs who carve and sell such figurines from its wood to the burgeoning Christian pilgrimage visitors, as well as casual tourists, visiting Israel’s sites. Olives are among the species of Israel listed in the Bible. Its oil and the millstones and vats used for its pressing are found in ancient archaeological excavations around Israel.

 

My first encounter with a green olive occurred many, many years ago. Our family was the home where Thanksgiving took place, and my cousin coaxed me to try one. Perhaps it was profaning the sanctity of its species in a secular observance which embittered its taste in my mouth, and my reaction was rather exaggerated and it had to go; and go quickly it did, in a rather irrational manner.

 

My next attempt to try one came directly from a tree in Israel at the site called Gan HaShlosha (or, “Garden of the Three”), a paradaisical oasis of natural hot springs, date palms, olive trees and unbelievable beauty in the sandy desert-like conditions mostly surrounding it. A pool containing the visible portions of this spring has been built to enhance its comforts, and it is definitely a must-see place to visit. It also has another name called Sachne Oasis. I tried the bitter offering of the olive straight from the tree before being brined or preserved, and again, had the same reaction; I wasn’t alone in this — the entire group did, as well. But that was, again, a less commital exertion, on my part, to comply reasonably with facets of our faith’s practices and observances — So, no-go.

 

Then, when I had the right intent, or at least the best of intents on my part to commit further to Israel, the olive became an agreeable and loved and adored foodstuff from G-d that I crave in my diet and which provides me so much sustenance. Thank you, L-rd! And this came about in the most secular manner, by the way. I had visited a mall and there found a Kosher Domino’s pizzeria inside! Fancy that!? It was sortof expensive and I was going to have none of that, but somehow the pizzamaker had convinced me I needed to try it, and that was that. I don’t recall exactly, but I think that we were also debating the merits of an Israeli Jewish staple, at least in terms of pizza toppings, as pepperoni, sausage and bacon do not aspire to the list. It wss an “Ode to the Green Olive” (my title theme eventually to continue in the future, so I claim it as mine — no grabsies). Past occurences notwithstanding, there it was — now on my plate before me. He was right. I don’t recall whether I agreed or whether I received it by “accident”; but, perhaps, maybe there are never any real “accidents” in life. Perhaps this represents an ascension, an accedance, to the realm of the metaphorically-relevant existence operating in G-d’s spiritual realm.


This dish can be eaten as a side accompaniment, as a meal in itself, or used raw or cooked in entrees and hors d’oeuvres, like a tapenade. It’s flavors are spicy. Mixed with sweet apple, as I did here, it became a melding of perfection — peppery bite with underlying temperedness of sweetness. It reminds me of the Yiddish embodiment of Jewish expression.


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Green Zeitim (Randyjw; May 18, 2016)

 

Lemon rind (washed, ripe, edible — can be substituted with other edible citrus peels or the zest from non-edible rinds; other substitutes, and your favorites, might work, as well), cut fairly small

Sugar (any kind; I used white, granular; to be the base for the sweet, syrupy slurry that will be infused with the aroma of the add-in; other substitutes, like agave nectar or honey, etc. can be utilized additional to, or in place of, the sugar)

Green Olives, chopped

Cinammon, sprinkled

Apples, sliced (optional; never-ending adds: on toast; over rice; as a stock-starter to jump off on other dishes, etc… Also: on lettuce, as well as on lettuce and with a garlic-pasta all-together)


At least 1/2-day to 1-day in advance (it’s better this way, but if you must proceed otherwise, don’t let that stop you), prepare the slurry by zesting the peel (if hard and inedible) or cutting the edible, soft, ripe, washed rinds of citrus or other matter you are turning to a liquid-derived, flavor-infused slurry into a container and coat with sweetener, several times stirring and adding, until a thick slurry has formed. If you can, allow it to infuse for a time, overnight in the fridge, or so. Remove when ready to begin next steps of preparation. Using a bit of the slurry that has hopefully had time to “marinate”, add this to some chopped green olives in a bowl. Sprinkle and stir-in a couple dashes of cinammon — the flavor will really come alive and bloom by opening it up to the addition of the cinammon, just like an Israeli sabra in the desert.

9.1 Yums Up (Green Zeitim/Fuji Apple Version, only)

Update: Substitutes can also be used, though, the recipe is really just meant for the Fuji apples. Here, I used pears, and, since it needed a flavor changer/enhancer, I added about a half-jigger or so of Marsala wine. I made this version especially to show to Jyotee, who does not love apples (still, I think it should be apples, but…)

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Afterwards, I then turned it into a piecey poached-pear chutney, of sorts, here:

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Here it makes a delicious dressing atop plain iceberg lettuce:

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and, then, it was love at first bite when I threw-in a garlic-butter-pasta-green herbs side dish, (which had been uninspiringly dry as its plain, old left-over self):

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It was wonderful mixed with sliced peaches:

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Additional Reading (Added June 25, 2018):

 

Flatow, Stephen M. “‘Un-Settling’: The Royals Understanding of Jerusalem”; Reprinted in secondary source by JewishPress.com from Jewish News Syndicate (JNS); June 25, 2018:

http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/un-settling-the-royals-understanding-of-jerusalem/2018/06/25/

 

 

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Randy’s Recipes: Ramen A-Go-Go

 

I’m a laugher. At just about everything. Including myself. I enjoy, and often succeed at, cracking myself up. That’s a good thing, as life has way too many sadnesses, of which I probably have more than someone’s fair share. So, I laughed at putting this up on the web as a recipe and at the name I decided to give it. Maybe this is what happens when you live by yourself for too long and really don’t get out much.

 

Randy’s Recipes: Ramen A-Go-Go

 

1 packet beef-flavored Ramen noodle soup

1 packet chicken-flavored Ramen noodle soup

Peanut butter (roughly Two tablespoons, or per taste)

Garlic (powder, or per preference) – a good shake, to taste

Wasabi (roughly 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, to taste)

(Update: My wasabi is a blended wasabi/horseradish one from brand: Silver Spring. It may make a difference in the outcome. So, you can use wasabi, or horseradish, or both. The one I used really livened up the soup).

Options to add-in: chopped scallions, soy sauce, coconut milk, curries or other spices, lemongrass, ginger, vegetables, fish, shrimp, chicken, meat, nuts, etc…..

Break noodles in half and add to water filled under halfway point of a medium saucepot. If using vegetables, or other items needing cooking, you might want to add these in now, also. Slightly past boil-point, turn stove to medium low and finish cooking noodles. Add packet seasonings at end. Pour into large serving bowl. Add good shake of garlic, peanut butter and wasabi. Crush down peanut butter with fork to dissolve and mix through soup. Add options which don’t need cooking here.

 

Whether Masala or Marsala, the ramen soups make a nice base stock from which to jump off and depart to flavors of other places: Korean, Chinese, Japanese, etc.

5.1 Yums Up

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Randy’s Recipes: Pistachios and Cool Whip (Mom’s)

 

Charity Begins At Home

My Mom claims to have not even known how to boil water when she first started cooking. Luckily, by the time of my arrival, she was practically a gourmet chef. We have a very large extended family, many members of which I barely know, if at all. One relative on my Father’s side had married three times, and had about ten children with each wife (or so I’ve heard; recently another cousin said it was about eight with each — I don’t know). I never could quite follow the descriptions of our connections, and gave up in my youth to figure out such complications. So now, they’re basically what I would call “cousins”; beyond that, I couldn’t deign to relate (or should I say, “relate”).

 

My Mother spent considerable time with a particular female relative, and they learned many crafting techniques together: beadwork, various artwork, and others. They discovered the places to shop to make a home, the clothing to wear to adorn themselves as beautifully as their countenances deserved, and the dishes to prepare to please their husbands and families. Both women were accomplished cooks, and my Mother’s style and recipes were greatly influenced by this particular cousin. They were equally impressive in their service work, in their positions of employment, and in their efforts to assist other humanitarian and charitable organizations and endeavors.

 

The husband of this cousin of mine was a “gabbai” for the Conservative temple and prepared children for b’nai mitzvah (their bar- and bat-mitzvah services). He also helped me prepare for my own bat-mitzvah. He was strongly in favor of female participation in Jewish rites, as well as in assisting people who wished to convert to Judaism.

 

I grew up in the same region in a time of strong, emerging equality issues, including for those of women. Conscientiousness was being raised about the way in which we treat people (or rather, about seeing with new eyes the way we HAD been treating people), and to try to change it through raising both our awareness and our standards, in the formulation of new laws and new ideas. These were rising in movements such as the Civil Rights movement, Feminism, Disability rights, and others. My mother and my cousins helped pave the way with their actions. While I may have reticence about the necessary impact this will play on our society and in our religion, I cannot escape that it has been made a part of me, even with my change to a modern, more Conservative outlook today.

 

One of the earlier jobs my Mother held was working for a non-profit agency. It helped advocate for people with developmental delays, as well as providing a place for such children to learn and grow. Many laws, due to the advocacy of organizations and grassroots advocacy such as these, were created and passed, and form the basis for our existing precedents in these areas.

 

That workplace, in addition to teaching skills to some of the program’s participants, was a large home and had the atmosphere as such. At Christmas, they set up a tree with decorations, and it lent a sentimental, nostalgic, and homey feel to the place. I sometimes played with the children upstairs, or learned to type using the fantastic, new-fangled IBM Selectric III typewriter (and occasionally typed letters there) — a fondly remembered and still-favorite (were they still to be around) choice of office equipment.

 

I loved all of the workers there. It was a small group of about five or six people. I remember how particularly brilliant and compassionate the program worker was. She was a Hindi woman, whose son, I believe, was affected with these issues. We lost her at a young age — she who had shown the way — she who had so much to give to the world — instead given over to cancer. Our own family was touched by these issues, as well.

 

One of the workers there had been my “fake” Aunt. She and my “fake” Uncle are no longer living. When my “Uncle” passed away, they named one of their fund-raising events in his honor. In order to help the programs and the functioning of the building and the assistance to people needing and creating resources for those with disabilities, funds were needed to sustain them. They often created multiple, large-scale efforts, which became almost a vanguard in fund-raising events standards and in raising the bar.

 

They devised major marathons and garnered the participation of local media and celebrities. They secured corporate sponsorship and partnership with the entities to make it all happen: water from bottlers; ice from the ice house; signage, security, everything. They put together golf classics and tennis tournaments. My “Aunt” developed rapport with generous people such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and others, who were the most gracious, kindest people you could imagine — always helping out for these events (sadly, I never met them, but their pictures with my “Aunt” and my Mother hung on our walls). Frank Sinatra has been so kind to the Jewish people, and we loved him so much. His name adorned the international student center at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It was very sad that a Hamas terrorist from east Jerusalem committed a bombing in the cafeteria inside that center, killing students just making a start in their lives by trying to better themselves there. Update: I think here is the appropriate place to insert the sad news of the sudden passing recently of Frank Sinatra, Jr., son of the man honored above. The Jewish people lose, in the Sinatra family, people who have cared greatly, in compassion, not only for us, but for the world. The children give much when the family is a part of the American story in such a public way. Thank you for being with us every step of the way. You will be greatly missed.

Here is a link to a brief summary of Frank Sinatra’s work with the Simon Wiesenthal Center:

http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/s/content.asp?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=4442915&ct=14807077#.VvdGCacpCSw

 

So my childhood was spent oftentimes in the kitchen, alongside my Mother, helping her with chores to prepare meals. I can’t say it ever really “took” in me, but only now, in the second half-century of my life, are the things I’ve been making something I could actually enjoy, and say, hmmmm… that was actually delicious (surprise, surprise)!

 

We were forever the home of large gatherings and dinner parties, and I’d be enlisted to offer hors d’oeuvres, clear and set new courses, and dry dishes as she washed, sometimes until 11:00 p.m., or later. She was such a dedicated homemaker, in addition to working full-time, with additional side jobs as well, and she kept an immaculate, impeccably decorated home. She slaved away to scrub the floors on her hands and knees and ironed our clothing after washing them at 2:00 in the morning, after an already full-day’s work.

 

A two-income household in those days was fairly rare; little did we realize it would become practically a necessity in today’s day and age. Women were mostly the home-makers, and for many, that was their sole job. But my Mom did it all.

 

She instilled in me the practical outlook of a hard-working work-ethic, and I worked at a young age for family friends or contacts secured for me, back when it was permissible to do so without screamers of child-slavery, a totally different matter, changed the country’s relationship with work, in general. Today’s “kids” sometimes don’t start their first jobs until they’re in their mid-twenties!

 

It’s important for young kids to spend time with their parents, in the mundane chores as well as in the special outings or events. This provides family continuity and cherished memories they will look back on and impart in special anecdotes to their own children. I recall the hours of cooking preparation spent with my Mother; I wish the osmosis would have imparted my Mothers’ special touch to me.

 

I had to pick up my clothes, keep my room and house neat, make my bed and sometimes that of my parents or to help with it, sometimes help fold the laundry or linens, set the table nightly and clear the dishes, and sometimes help wash or dry the dinner dishes.

 

One of my food chores was to grind walnuts into a can to use in various baked goodies, such as butter-horns, apple coffee-cake (some people say apfelkuchen), and other yummy things. These ground walnuts feature in many of the baked items my Mother made.

 

So my Mother learned her trade craft in various manners and means. Many of her recipes come from my cousin mentioned above. One of the many fund-raisers for the agency where she worked also included the compilation of a cookbook, which was sold to raise money for the agency. My Mother contributed many of her own recipes to it, as well as calling up all her friends for theirs. And if those friends had friends who were cooks of any decent stature, they, too, would contribute recipes. The director’s wife was a great cook, and contributed many of her own recipes, as well. So, there are a couple of cookbooks whose recipe authors are people I know, and may have touched my life in some way: family friends, acquaintances, and more.

 

They were transcribed many times over (and often taste-tested, first). After publication, they were often re-written out and dispersed to even more friends. I, myself, spent weeks and months, recently, transcribing maybe four-dozen recipes for an old school-friend who requested it. Sometimes I might err and can’t figure out whether the “t” of my Mother’s recipes means “teaspoon” or “tablespoon” (if you find out I was wrong and I haven’t found it, I hope, perhaps, you’ll let me know). Sometimes, treasured family recipes get lost. That is a huge devastation. Sometimes, someone might have it that you passed it along to. Sometimes you have to settle for a different, not-as-good version. Occasionally, they come from published sources. Due to many moves, and many copies along the way, I hope that the sources haven’t become too obscured or garbled. If I print a recipe in this manner, it is assuming safe authorship, with the hope it isn’t accredited beforehand elsewhere. If so, it is unintentional.

 

With so much build-up, you would think that I am going to prepare you for a complex entree worthy of the fanfare leading up to it. But, below you’ll find just a simple, easy, non-gourmet dessert that’s easy, and throw-together, and light. In a way, it is a tribute to my Mom (who’s still with us, thank G-d). Her favorite ice-cream flavor was pistachio. The pistachio nut is an ingredient mostly associated with Iran/Persia, as well — basically out there in the relative proximity to the Middle East. So, I think it will be brought out to you, here, in this measure, with that in mind.

B’teh Avon!

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Randy’s Recipes: Pistachios and Cool Whip (Mom’s):

 

1 package instant pistachio pudding

1 Large can crushed pineapple with juice

1 Large can chunked pineapple without juice

Walnuts, chopped

6 Tablespoons Cool Whip (or other whipped cream-like topping)

 

Put all together and add Cool Whip last.

8.1 Yums Up

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