I attended a day camp called Funland during one summer, or maybe even part of a summer. Most summers were spent in the “mountains” at a bungalow colony in upstate New York. Typically these colonies were filled with Jewish women and children who were escaping the city’s heat and humidity. We passed the time by playing: the women played cards and the kids played with each other. We were always at the club house or at the pool, sitting in a garden glider (porch swing) or catching lightning bugs. Me, my cousin Mel, our friend Roz and her cousin. Not much else was going on and we didn’t seem to mind.
My husband had a similar experience outside of Toronto (of course substituting the lakes for the mountains) at Lake Simcoe and Chrystal Beach on Lake Erie. Long lazy days on the shore. He too never attended sleep away camp until he was old enough to be a counselor. He then spent many summers on staff at a Young Judea Camp in Ontario and, then, one summer at Camp Ramah in Canada. The seed was planted.
In 1994 our daughter went to Camp Ramah www.ramah.org in Ojai for the first time. I am not sure if she loved the camp as much as we loved having her be a part of Ramah. We loved the site, Ojai, the campgrounds, the staff, the kids, and visitors day. Our own memories receded as we saw the rich and rewarding experiences that Ramah offered. Well, among our three children, at least one has either been attending or working at Camp Ramah for over 15 years. There is a specific place where we sat each year on Visitor’s Day, (up on the hill in front of the chapel) catching up with our family, friends and our children’s friends. We will miss it this year (none of our children will be there) but we still feel very connected to all that Ramah stands for. Our hope is that our children feel the same way.
I recently found out that Zach L., Camp Director and one of my favorite people, is an amazing cook and once a week prepares a meal for his hanhalla (senior) staff. Here is one of his recipes.
Caramel Apple Tart
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
2 large egg yolks
Blend flour, powdered sugar, and salt in food processor. Add butter and blend until texture is of coarse meal. Add egg yolks. Pulse till dough starts to form. Gather dough and shape into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill at least 1 hour. (Dough for tart crust can be made 1 day ahead and kept chilled.)
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
¾ cup whipping cream
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Bring sugar, cream, and butter to a boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil until caramel thickens enough to coat wooden spoon, whisking often, about 10 minutes. (Caramel sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill. (Whisk over low heat until warm before using)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
5-6 large McIntosh or Golden Delicious apples (about 2 ½ pounds), peeled, cored and quartered.
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Add apples and toss until evenly coated.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray tart pan with baking spray.
NOTE : You can either
1) Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Cut overhang even with the top of pan. Press sides of dough to bring 1/4 inch above sides of pan.
2) Take refrigerated dough and press it in the pan.
Arrange apple quarters, cut side down, in circle around outer edge of pan, fitting snugly. Cut remaining apple quarters lengthwise in half and place in center of tart, fitting snugly. Drizzle with 1/3 sauce. Bake tart until apples are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove tart from oven; brush with additional 1/3 caramel sauce. Cool tart to room temperature. Re-warm remaining caramel sauce and drizzle tart lightly with remaining 1/3 sauce.
Adapted by: Zachary L.