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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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for those of you who dont know about the experimental cuisine collective, its a pretty cool organization i belong to. i like to call it a “club” and pretend like theres a secret handshake, but people there look at me funny when i grab their hands and twirl them before tapping them on the bum. a few weeks ago (i know, so neglectful!) the ecc hosted their annual day long symposium, hosted by jeffery steingarten.  click here to see the program for the day.

now, on to the audience, which may have been even more eclectic than the speakers:

in front of me sat a larger lady who sat perched on the front of her seat (and the one next to hers), and leaning forward as to rest her forearms on the seat in front of her. she was jovial and loud, and should probably host a cooking show one day on pbs. perhaps that was her mission as she handed out business cards to any one who would make eye contact as she spoke at a decibel just too loud. at one point she told a story about having to sign a contract agreeing to never sue for sexual harassment… although i doubt that would have been a problem for her.

in front of her sat a small precocious young girl, just out of college, who boasted of supporting herself by making vegan-sprinkles, and hosted her last dinner party by serving “bloody-mary-ravioli”. she yearned to return to the kitchen, but will likely not return soon, as she is busy applying to a masters in architecture-theory at columbia university.

beside me sat a middle-aged suburban lady, without any discernible connection to food, science, or publishing, who would alternate between talking energetically and (lucky for me) dozing, as did our emcee for the day: jeffery steingarten.

now, we all love jeffery steingarten, don’t get me wrong: the way he talks as if he has marbles in his mouth, and the way his rudeness and self-involved-ness is charming and comical rather than frustrating and off-putting. however, was i the only one in the audience who did not understand some of his jokes? such as his opening phrase: “i didn’t prepare anything to say, and i have never been to an ECC event before”? the rest of the audience giggled. Read the rest of this entry »

i have been neglecting my readers (hello you 3!)! i will update with recipes and some not-so-amazing photos in the near future. promise.

but in the meanwhile, please enjoy the video below in honor of my favorite grandpa simon. Read the rest of this entry »

when i was a kid i used to beg my dad to drive me to the local pizzeria/italian spot in town, gino’s pizza, and buy “giant rice balls”.  thankfully giada de laurentis educated me that the proper name (and pronunciation) of giant rice balls is actually arancini!

one day recently after getting slightly too involved with the real housewives of new york, and allowing my quinoa to overcook ever so slightly, it occurred to me that these arancini can be made slightly more healthy and interesting by making them out of quinoa!

quinoa arancini can be stuffed with anything from cheese, to sauteed mushrooms, to butternut squash!  the recipe below are for quinoa arancini filled with a sauteed mushroom & shallot mixture and goat cheese. mmm. my mouth is full, so its easier to just call them “goat balls”.

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my friend grumpy jokes with me that i am like cher, and wish to turn back time – because i have so few readers that my blog is really a livejournal circa 2002.  so what does one do to announce their blog to the world? throw a dinner party and invite too many people!

but the truth is, if i may say, this may be the best meal i have ever prepared!  i know how narcissistic that sounds, but as sammy said, “kiki (my sissy) may have gotten the sparkle gene, but you definitely got the domestic gene.” don’t get me wrong, the prep came with plenty of problems. the first: how does one cook a dinner for 25 in a manhattan-size apartment? and who cooks for at least 3 different diets (gluten-free; kosher; and no-red-beets diet)? and who decides the first time they attempt to cook short ribs, they should cook 20 of them?!

but 20 ribs and 3 chickens later i learned several lessons:

1. cooking in minimal clothing as to not dirty your shirt is only done in movies because in real life people can get burns on their belly.
2. cheese is always better when sprinkled with edible glitter! (thanks sammy!)
3. it is unproductive to buy giant serving dishes that do not fit into your cupboards.
3. a meal is only as good as the company you eat it with.

now, off to the menu!:

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as a baby i was bald, had a drooling problem, and was quite fat. i was so round, i was unable to lift myself enough to crawl, so i invented a way of scooting myself around on my tushie.  despite being the “fat one”, it was my sister who used to eat butter like it was an ice pop.

luckily i learned to walk, and got that drool under control. and my sister now eats crackers with her butter…so…slight improvement there. good job sissy!

* video courtesy of my friend, grumpy.

 hello. i am sharoni. welcome to my blog.