Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Designing Menus

It was so nice to be asked to do a "Jewish" menu again for next fall for Oak Cafe at American River College.  After blogging through Marlena Spieler's Jewish Cooking a few years ago (with lots of help from my *co-bloggers), I was asked to do a menu for them.  What a blast.

If you've never been to the Oak Cafe you MUST go.  All of their menus are excellent.  

The food is carefully and expertly prepared by the culinary students under the guidance of Chef Teresa Urkofsky.  She is a peach of a woman.  A real mensch.  The ingredients are top notch.  The cost for a 3 course meal with beverage?  $15.00 bucks.  Make reservations though!

I decided to honor my grandmother and use several of her recipes that we grew up eating.  Of course, we didn't know it was traditional "Jewish" it was quite the secret that her folks were Jews. My grandmother came from Romania at age two..through Canada and then down to the Dakotas. Her folks (my great-grandparents) came from Poland, through Western Russia and then onto a slow boat from Romania. 

We had the holishkes, the fish fritters, the matzoh ball soup...sometimes with noodles.  We had the brisket, the cholent, the challah, chopped liver, and lot's of fermented stuff.  Did I mention the rugelach?

So..coming up with a menu is fun and a challenge too.  I have to come up with the instructor and students can choose what they want to make.  No dairy with meat?  I admit, I don't know all the rules as we surely were not Kosher.  I learn.  I learn.  What else am I gonna do?  I hope I don't plotz over it.

*Eileen Makishima Thornton

*Shankari Ascot

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The Musselshell's "Dead Man's Bend"

When I was a child, maybe 4 or 5, my mom would take us to rivers and lakes to swim.  She was a strong swimmer.  We would sometimes go with friends to "dead man's bend" on the Musselshell River outside of Roundup, MT..where we lived.  One hot summer's day, the 4 of us Elliott kids were with some of the Harper kids.  We had all been swimming along the shore with my mom and Mrs. Harper..and they admonished us NOT to go under the water.  Mom must have been in her late 20's at the time.

Suddenly we heard a cry for the middle of the river.  It was Pam Harper..about age 7.  It was a blur but my mom threw off her robe and jumped into the river with her cat-eye glasses on.  I recall I was worried about her losing her glasses.. at first.  We watched her swim toward Pam and then the current which had taken Pam quickly, took them both downstream.  We watched them bob up and down...Pam was screaming but I never heard my mom yell.

All of us kids ran along the banks of the river...we were crying for mommy is all I know.  It was about 2 blocks down that mom finally drug Pam up on the shore...falling next to her amid tall grass.  Pam was blue and mom's lips were blue..but she had those glasses on...that I loved so much. I will never forget.

Mom turned her over and hit her on the back...Pam threw up..a lot!  She was breathing and wasn't blue for much longer.  My mom was shivering.  I don't recall much more..except going to Dairy Queen after.

We drove asked everyone what they wanted.  When Pam did not get what she wanted she said.."I wish I would have drowned"...and my mom's arm came around from the front seat in a rush and her hand smacked Pam across the face.  Not another sound was heard as we took the Harper family back to their house.

The story ended up in the local newspaper...Mrs. Harper called it in.  When we showed up on Sunday (at church) everyone was telling my mom she was a saint...and her cheeks turned the same red as her lipstick, but she remained very humble.  That's when I matter what my mom ever did, she'd always be my hero.  (and we all learned to swim..very well).

P.S.  I still will not swim in a river.  Underwater currents scare me.

Friday, July 05, 2013

The Heat is Off

Sacramento just saw 7 days of triple digit heat.  I got sick on day 5 and I betcha the heat was partially to blame.

Today, it felt great to pull back our heavy thermal drapes and let the sun shine in.  I don't know about you, but I NEED sunshine in my house.  Let there be light!  The cats are sitting in the windows...a breeze is coming in and all is right with the world once again.

I did not test my blood sugar at all last week but I did weigh and have lost 4 lbs.  I probably threw up most of what I, we didn't feel like cooking or eating.  Dave was recovering from knee surgery and is back to work today..but is on limited movement.

So, am happy to be feeling much better and am headed to my fave store to buy a few things that will be good for us to eat.

We are having friends over Sunday for lunch..and I will be attempting my version of Indian food.  I might "chicken out" though and make Vietnamese...maybe do an all veggie meal.

I love is my favorite.  I could live on it.  But..won't be good if it is 100 degrees out!  Maybe some lettuce wraps or rice paper spring rolls. Hmmmm.

I will be making a meyer lemon/mango/ginger sorbet...that is for sure.

Sorbet photo by The Culinary Chase