background: fig honey challah; foreground: rosemary apricot challah.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have “normal” foods in the house. For “normal” foods like poptarts or Kudos breakfast bars I would have to go to my best friend’s house down the street.  I thought carob was just bad chocolate until I was about ten when I wizened up.  According to my mother, everything had MSG. So I was forced to drink the organic sodas (i.e. flavored seltzer) and eat tofu pudding.  Her tofu spaghetti  was what I disliked the most.

Tofu spaghetti, you may ask, is exactly what it sounds like: Make some spaghetti (in her case, it was probably soba or whole grain too), then make a marinara sauce, and mix it up with crumbly tofu.  Serve.  My sister loved tofu spaghetti!  In fact, everyone seemed to love tofu spaghetti…twenty years later I am still convinced I was being punked.

So when I came home one day when I was eleven years old and wanted to make a challah, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we didn’t make any regular challah, but a whole wheat sugar free challah.  It was a complete and utter failure.  Have you ever tried to have yeast rise without sugar?  I can’t even remember if we gave it the time to fully rise or it very obviously didn’t, so my mother kindly “lied” to me and said it was supposed to look like that.  We left it on the counter for the second rise for hours while we went out for dinner. When we returned, it almost looked necrotic.


I decided from that moment on that I would never bake challah ever again.

But something about being away from home, I forgot about my failed challah…  There’s a metaphor in here somewhere… Read the rest of this entry »


Advice:  Ladies and Gents, forget what you’ve been told about how to win a guy/girl.  This is all you need.

You can wear something sexy, and bat your eyelashes, or you can invite a special someone over to your house while you’re baking this bread, and it will be a sure panty-dropper (Please note, this is merely a hypothesis that has yet to be tested).

People have said the key to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and these people were clearly baking this bread.

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I have a list of letters I need to write… if I can ever find the time…

And while I find these letters of utmost importance to write, I seem to never have the time!  But perhaps documenting them on the world wide web counts as having written them?

  1. WWF (World Wrestling Federation, not the Wildlife Foundation – they’re great):  There is a wrestler (I’m not invested enough to actually know his name) who wears little black undies with red jewish stars, whose shtick is to be straightedge. And every time he loses, a forty-something year old man dressed in leather pants, no shirt, and a bedazzled leather motor cycle jacket comes and pours liquor / beer all over him.  That sends the wrong message to children!  … not that the rest of the wwf sends a great message, but that’s of secondary concern. (*Note: I don’t actually watch the WWF, so my facts might not be entirely correct).
  2. Home Depot: Why is it in the city that never sleeps, the home depot is only open until 8pm on Sundays?  And why was the air conditioning not working?  You’re home depot.  You should be able to fix that.
  3. Murray’s Bagels:  Murray’s takes bagels to a new level…

    a perfectly canoodled bagel.

    of crotchetiness.  They won’t toast your bagel, they won’t hollow it out, and they don’t make mini bagels.  But my favorite thing about bagels (as you recall, I don’t typically like bagels) is the taste of a plain bagel after it has canoodled with the other spiced bagels. So I plan to write Murray’s a letter, not to request that they toast my bagel, or use less cream cheese, but to request that they make canoodled bagels.  Do you think Murray’s will canoodle my bagel for me if I ask?

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Imagethis post is quite delayed… my bad.

I tend to be pretty good at holidays:  I’m certain to wear stretchy pants and a shirt/dress with an empire waste to allow for bloat.  Independence Day has never been a holiday that I gorged on, until this year, so I was unprepared in wearing stretchy pants!  What a feast was had at Perry Street!  I might not be a Japanese tourist, but that didn’t stop me from photographing our feast!

Unfortunately it was too hot and sweaty to meander by the Hudson for the next hour upon completing our dinner (we tried to dilly-dally at the table, but the manager on duty gave us the stink eye) to wait for the fireworks with our bloated bellies.


these arent the real 4th of july fireworks, but im going to pretend they were.


One thing I do not appreciate, however, is that I can see all of the fireworks reflected on the buildings surrounding my apartment, but when I look out the window, the sky is clear!  Stop messing with me ‘Merica!  Who can I write a letter to about moving the barge down (or up) to the two block gap of the Hudson I can see when I lean out my living room window? The list of letters I will be writing is getting increasingly lengthy (will explain at a later date).

But that’s not here nor there. The problem is that my decision making skills on July 4th were incredibly out of wack.  For those of you who know me well, you know I am the most indecisive person ever. So aside from not wearing stretchy enough pants, I also decided it was an appropriate time to bake cookies. At first I wanted to bake momofuku milk corn cookies, but after spending $20 at 3 grocery stores and still missing one ingredient, I decided to change course and bake brownie cookie sandwiches with salted caramel frosting.

My first mistake was obviously deciding it was okay to turn on my oven when it was already 95F degrees outside.  The second was making cookie sandwiches.  The frosting kept melting, and the cookies kept slip-sliding around! I finally got them to set after resting in the refrigerator overnight, but the second I took them out… sigh…

They were still delicious.

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ImageOh Olympics, I wish I knew how to quit you!  You nearly made me miss my train!  But don’t worry, I blamed the “traffic”, I would never blame you.  Your men’s volleyball team strangely has cheerleaders in striped onesies, your gymnastics gym is decorated in magenta – for both men’s and women’s! (way to exaggerate the stereotype!) And you have a sport called “trampoline!”.  (Or the Tramp for all of you stick it fans).  And can anyone explain to me why Dressage is even a sport? Horses aren’t humans!

I have cancelled plans for you, and stayed home eating macaroni & cheese from the pot just to watch you like a true addict.  I have dealt with the racist jokes of the NBC staff, and the time delay that causes Us weekly magazine to ruin the results (even though I am only on Us to hear the updates on the Trampire gossip), but I still cannot stop watching you!

But on the day I made this dessert, you disappointed me Olympics.  Spain lost to Honduras in men’s soccer! Spain lost! Unbeweevable! The Olympics are supposed to be where dreams are made! Spain has nothing- no economy, and the good restaurants are closing; all they had was soccer! And yeah yeah, it was the under twenty-three team, so not a huge surprise, but where was Bojan? Maybe Bojan could have saved you?

So although this dessert was made in honor of my mother, I dedicate this Hazelnut Pudding to Spain. Read the rest of this entry »

this photo is a mess even after i instagramed it…

I once dated a guy who never wanted me to cook breakfast.  Or anything really.  For a while I thought maybe it was because I was a bad cook? But I think cooking is one of the only talents I will never ever really question (please pardon my ego, but im just.that.good). I think he meant it as a way of being sweet: “no honey, I don’t want you to have to cook, let’s just order bagels”.  I later told him after we broke up that I actually don’t like bagels (truth). Yes yes, I know, I’m a terrible New Yorker. I only really crave bagels when I am out of New York actually.  Example: the second after I stepped off a train in Washington DC last week, I immediately craved a bagel!  I mostly crave the taste of a plain bagel that has canoodled with an everything bagel (I wonder if I could order that at Murray’s?)

What this guy didn’t understand was that cooking is the way I express my affection.  (Please wait while I take a mental note to remember “man allows me to cook them breakfast” as a necessity in future relationships.)  My dream would have been to cook breakfast while he put on the CBS News Sunday Morning (I love Charles Osgood), and then we sit in our pj’s sipping coffee out of giant mugs, and cheating to complete the nytimes crossword… Therefore, because most weekend mornings were spent with him ordering bagels I never mastered the art of “family breakfast” (However, bridal shower brunch for 50 women I have mastered).

But recently, after scouring my empty cabinets for something to eat, after I finished the last nibble of the Trader Joes pumpkin granola left over from Thanksgiving, I settled on continuing the breakfast theme.  Breakfast for dinner.  I read about people preparing breakfast for dinner constantly, but the concept was off-putting for me. My friend grumpy is constantly preparing breakfast for dinner, but for some reason it took me nearly 27 years to try it out myself (im weird).

What I learned was to how to poach an egg. Can you believe it?! I have never until that fateful night ever poached an egg! (Truth be told I had to call my mother a couple of years ago to confirm how to boil a potato).  It was much easier than I had anticipated, and I only over cooked it slightly.  And the best part about breakfast for dinner? Eating it with beer!

Now I only wish I could prepare this for someone special one sleepy Sunday morning, while my hair is still a.mess. and I’m still wearing my pajama socks, because he knows, I don’t like bagels. Any takers? Read the rest of this entry »

ImageThere are many things about me that my friends find funny, and I find bewildering.  I never knew there was a game called “Candy Land” (I played “Kosher Land” at home) until I was twelve; I never ate a hamburger until I was 22; I have never seen an episode of the Simpsons; I’m 50% middle eastern but I do not tan, and I hate cilantro; and surprisingly, despite greatly enjoying preparing desserts, I do not actually enjoy eating them.

One thing that isn’t strange is that I absolutely love chocolate. 

When I was a wee little girl, while my sister was still eating desserts of “plain yogurt with raisins” at birthday parties (my mother had her so fooled!), I went to an adult party, and tasted my first piece of chocolate.  It was given to me by my mother’s dear friend, and I laid it on my tongue and savored it.  As the story goes, I walked up to my mother and stuck out my tongue to show her what I had just found.  It was delightful, and my life was forever changed.  Until I was 15 years old and I decided to “quit” chocolate cold turkey a week before Halloween.  I was a much stronger person then.  Now I don’t even have enough self control to not call someone I shouldn’t be calling, or press send on an email I wish I didn’t send.  Sometimes, don’t you wish you could rescind that email before/after it was read?  Like “poof!” it disappeared! How did that happen? … I hope someone reads this blog post and writes that app… because if anything, it would be an iphone app, right?  But I digress, this “non-chocolate” phase lasted until Valentine’s day 2007, when my boyfriend tricked me into eating some after I got into college… that was a good day. 

I made these for family Hannukah party we held on Christmas Day many months ago.  It seemed a bit sacrilegious to be celebrating Hannukah on Christmas, when we should have been celebrating Jewish-Christmas (i.e. Chinese food and a movie).  I went back to the kitchen just to wash my hands, and when I returned, “poof!” they disappeared… if only my emails could do that… Read the rest of this entry »

After viewing a digital photo my papa took of my grandparents, my grandma replied “oh si, look how old we look!” “you! you look old!” he quipped back.

So I know when it comes to dessert, he will tell it like it is.  The last time I made dessert for my grandpa, a coconut panna cotta with a guava mousse and roast pineapple, he told me “you’ve done better”.  For the last father’s day I will be spending with my family for a few years, I knew I had to make something memorable… something that will stand up to his all time favorite orange jell-o.

After the entertainment portion of the meal, an accordion performance courtesy of my papa, grandpa sat at the table which only had fruit, and said “is that it?! I want cake!”.  So even before my mother was done with her very short (and emotional, duh) toast my grandpa was already spoon deep in his cake.  “how is it grandpa?” I asked before even taking a taste myself: “very good.” He said without looking away from the nearly empty glass. “Very very good”.

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every saturday my grandma answers the phone “shabbat shalom whoever you are!”. and this started off as any normal friday night shabbat dinner…

…any normal tapas style middle-eastern meats eastern-eastern potluck Shabbat dinner: the motzi over challah, labne dip with marinated white beans, grilled chicken kabobs, and make-your-own-spring-rolls. What it turned into was something entirely different. There was a hanging palm tree, followed by birthday crowns, and a birthday surprise.  It devolved into a facebook-profile-picture photoshoot with a sequin backdrop, a-morir eyewear, and direction of “You’re a tiger! You’re a tiger!”  It was one of those nights that can’t be accurately described in a blog post, or even by photographs. it was amazing and warm and lovely: a celebration that could only be shared amongst sisters (even if they were from two different families).

The “amazing candle” (if you do not know what this is, then you have not lived) was the only appropriate way to top the birthday cake, and yet it seemed almost not quite special enough. When the amazing candle isn’t special enough, then it must be quite a special day.

We ate the cake while standing, sitting, lounging on the counter top, ladylike from our plates, then straight from the cake with a fork, and eventually just with our fingers. The night ended, and unfortunately, I was a bit sad. “sad?” you may ask? Yes, sad. The night had ended, as all things must, yet in the moment, I wished it would go on forever.

Make this dessert for your sisters.

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