Trying to get Dessert Right

Living in Israel exposes us to many different types of people from various cultures. Over the past few years the French have moved to the neighborhood. Where my other sons had many Anglo friends, my youngest hangs with the French. He recently returned from ah shabbat meal at one of his friends and remarked that they really invest in the desserts. He said the meal was ok but the desserts were just AMAZING. I realize that I invest so much time in cooking the shabbat meal that my desserts do fall flat. One night I was on the phone with a friend from Boston. She described the baked apples she had just put in the oven. My mother in law used to make baked apples but I had never tried it.

Remembering all of the maple syrup I have, I googled baked apples with maple syrup and a few recipes popped up.

I decided to just try my own thing and here is what I did:

I tried both red apples and granny smiths. Core the apples and cut the bottom a bit so that they can stand flat. I filled the core with raisins. Place the apples in a pyrex dish. I then drizzled them with maple syrup. Into a preheated oven 375 F for 45 min (check the apples and if they are not soft may need a few more minutes)

The apples were divine. The granny smiths were a bit more tart than the red apples so keep that in mind.

You can always top the baked apples with whipped cream, ice cream etc and a perfect dessert! So I have now taken my shabbat meal to the next level-ending with a great dessert!

Baked apples

An Accidental Shabbat

I was looking forward to a Shabbat off-invited out for both meals. For those of you who may not understand how liberating this is let me explain. This changes your grocery shopping, it means that Thursday night can be a relaxing evening and I can enjoy my Friday-which in Israel is supposed to be like Sunday (NOT!). As I am enjoying coffee at a local Jerusalem coffee shop with a friend visiting from the States, my phone rings. It is my son who is currently serving in the IDF and his wife is 9 months pregnant. They live in a community about an hour away from the nearest hospital and they do not own a car. So there I was enjoying my coffee, and telling them that of course they could come for shabbat. He told me he would let me know. At 12:30-while celebrating my granddaughter’s 2nd birthday-he calls to confirm that they will be coming. Great, that solves the problem for my almost 17 year old who really would not enjoy either of our invitations. And at that point other family members joined in to say that they would love to have dinner at my apartment with the brother and sister in law they rarely see.

At this point is is 1 PM and Shabbat begins at 4:17. Quickly run to the local supermarket and pick up 2 whole chickens and meat for Cholent. I had my Orange Soup on hand and happened to have done some baking the night before.

So in less than hour here is the menu:

My made up pumpkin soup

Jamie Olivers whole chicken

Kasha and Varnishkes  I grew up with this side dish and it is still a favorite in our household-easy, quick and delicious

Cholent  This is a fabulous easy and delicious meal in one for Shabbat lunch. I use a crock pot.     Spray the pot with an oil spray so as to decrease the sticking on the side. I dont like to use the liners although my sister swears by it. I throw in some onions and the meat-sprinkling with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add 3/4 cup of barley and another 1/4 cup of mixed beans. (I recently discovered a cholent bean mix at the supermarket). Cover with water. I also add a can of baked beans and some bbq sauce to give it a bit of a kick.  Add potatoes-I keep the skin on the white potatoes and also add a sweet potato. You can add pareve kishke as well. Add seasoning and a bay leaf. I start on high and then lower it right before shabbat.

I received rave reviews for the meal and it took an hour to prepare. The siblings enjoyed eating without us around. I can only imagine the conversation.

Shabbat meal