The past few days have been filled with worry, not always at the forefront of my mind, but ready to surface at any given moment. As Hurricane Irma began to pound Florida, those of us who are far away feel powerless, and all we can do is stay-tuned and pray for the best. My sister and brother-in-law made their way inland to Coral Gables from their home in Boca Raton and are currently holed up in a hotel. I had begged, pleaded, yelled and enlisted the help of others to try to convince them to evacuate, but to no avail. And so rather than resort to one of my “go to” responses to stress, ice cream and potato chips, I chose to be productive and cook. On Friday I made chicken soup, zucchini and mushrooms stewed in tomato sauce, schnitzel, and garlic chicken. At 4:00 a.m. this morning I woke up to get an update from the news, fell back asleep for a short while, and not wanting to be far from the phone or T.V. decided to stay home and spend more time in the kitchen. Norm hung around too, and so between the two of us, we managed to make 70 kreplach, cooked up a restaurant size pot of chicken soup, and baked four challahs.
The reality is that Rosh Hashana is also looming and no matter what happens in the next few days, we know that we will be going to Shul and having festive meals. We pray that everyone will be safe, and that this is a case of the storm before the calm. Wishing everyone a peaceful, happy, healthy , sweet, and uneventful Yontif. Shanah Tovah!
I decided to try something different after being inspired by a conversation we were having yesterday about date syrup. A young woman visiting from Israel said her family uses it with chicken and so I decided to try it on challah. Using my basic challah recipe, I made a thick spread made with the syrup, dried Greek figs, and some fresh orange zest.
I cup dried Greek figs diced into small pieces
1/4 cup date syrup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp freshly grated orange zest
Place diced figs in small pot with syrup and water and cook till tender, about 10 minutes. Place in Cusineart and blend till for a minute or so till you have a paste. Add orange zest and remove to bowl. Roll out challah dough to rectangle shape and spread mixture across. Roll up and create round challah.