Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

I have always found graduations moving.  Just hearing that first note of Pomp and Circumstance makes my eyes well up with tears, but listening to a young group of male and female rabbinic students, including my older son, walking in to their ordination ceremony singing Ozi v’Zimrat Yah was stirring.  We were watching a new generation of rabbis marching down the aisle, stepping forward to carry on the traditions.  As wonderful as it was, having family and friends join us to witness the occasion, made it even more special.

Being in New York City was great, even during a week when the sun rarely shined.  Taking long walks each day, exploring the city and, of course, eating.  Here were some of the highlights.  An exhibit at the New York Public library celebrating the 100th anniversary,  going to the High Line in Chelsea, breakfast at Clinton Street Baking Co. , a wonderful brunch at my daughter’s new apartment in Williamsburg, and dinner at Pulino’s.  The post-graduation dinner was a success, catered by The Kosher Marketplace ,  it included Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs, one of David’s favorite dishes.

When it came time to return home, I found it incredibly hard to say goodbye.   The gloomy weather reflected my mood.  Just after arriving at the airport in Newark we bumped into Stephanie S. whom I had met in Houston earlier this year, close family friends of my soon to be machatunim.   Travelling with her family, she had one child asleep in the stroller, another child in tow, and was overloaded with bags, toys and drinks.  We chatted while standing in the security line, and as I watched her I was flooded with memories of travelling with my own children at that age.  I wanted to tell Stephanie to cherish the moment because I know something that she doesn’t, that in the blink of an eye she will be attending her children’s graduations.

David’s Favorite Meatballs

2 lbs. ground turkey

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 large eggs, beaten

2 cloves minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

Mix ingredients and make golf ball sized meatballs.

Sauce

1 can whole cranberry sauce

1 jar chili sauce (about 1 1/2 cups) or ketchup

2-3 Tbs dark brown sugar

2 Tbs fresh lemon juice

Combine sauce ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add meatballs and cook over low flame for about one hour.

Serves 6-8.

Enjoy,

Irene

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Last week, in the middle of an ordinary Tuesday afternoon I received a call from my close friend Susan S. who said, ” you are going to be jealous. ”  Why?  Susan was just sitting down to have lunch, a warm blue corn tortilla, (that her mother-in-law had brought from Mexico City) filled with shredded chicken and topped with homemade guacamole.  I shrugged off her comment but guess what, I could not get the image of that blue corn tortilla with the green Haas avocado and the soft well seasoned shredded chicken out of my mind for the next two days.   Is it the power of suggestion or am I still the same little girl who craves what everyone else has for lunch.  I wanted to eat exactly what Susan was eating, but my mother is not here to complain to, and she wouldn’t know how to make chicken tacos anyway.  So I made them myself, but I did have to substitute the pretty blue tortilla for a white one.

Shredded Chicken Tacos  (adapted from the New York Times)

1 whole chicken

1 large white onion, peeled and quartered

5 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 bunch cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a soup pot and add water to cover.  Turn heat to high, bring to a boil, and skim off foam that rises to the surface.  Partially cover and lower heat to a simmer.  Cook until chicken is done, about 30 minutes.  Remove chicken from soup and cool.  Take the chicken meat off the bones and remove skin.  Shred chicken with fingers. Add about  2 Tbs of chicken stock to shredded chicken and season to taste.  Serve with guacamole and salsa.  Serves 4-6

Enjoy,

Irene

Crepes

Last night I went to meet a jeweler who is doing some work for our family.  Although I had spoken on the phone with Sol several times, I had not had the pleasure of meeting him.  From his accent, I could tell that Sol had grown up in a country where he had spoken French so I was already curious.  As I pulled up in front of his home, Sol was waiting for me outside, tending to some flowers in the garden.  He greeted me as if I were an old friend and put me completely at ease.  Once inside, he introduced me to his wife but before we discussed the reason for my visit we spent some time getting to know each other.  Sol told me that he and his wife were from Egypt and showed me a newspaper article which featured a photograph of the synagogue his family belonged to outside of Cairo.  We talked about his family, his home, his synagogue and his community.  Although Sol’s wife did not say much, she exuded warmth, had great presence and was a gracious hostess.

When I left, I felt fortunate to have met this lovely couple, not only because he was able to do what I came to ask of him, but because I was able to observe the loving and adoring glances that he gave his wife.  She was the mother of his children and he spoke to her in the same gentle manner that he used when speaking with me.  I left with a smile on my face for two reasons. Knowing that our son and soon to be daughter-in-law would have the bands that they wanted,  but being a true romantic,  I was also smiling at the thought of Sol who clearly celebrates Mother’s Day every day, even on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon.

Wishing you all a very Happy Mother’s Day.

Crepes are a perfect food for Mother’s Day Breakfast.  The trick is to make sure your pan is hot before you add the batter.

Crepes

2/3 cup flour

2 eggs

1/2 tsp sugar

3/4 cup low-fat milk

1 Tbs oil

Combine all ingredients in a  large bowl. Whisk until batter is smooth.  If batter is too thick, thin with small amounts of additional milk.  I pour a little bit of oil on a small plate and dip a paper towel in the oil.  I grease a small skillet with the paper towel, and heat pan over high heat.  Take a large spoon and add batter, tilting pan so batter covers bottom of pan.  Cook for about one minute and then turn over and cook on the other side.  I like them with lemon juice and powdered sugar but the possibilities are endless.

Serves 4.

Enjoy,

Irene