Pretzel Brownies

December 4, 2016

I’ve been searching for a perfect brownie recipe for a long time. One that would rival the cheap, convenient stuff that comes in a box. It had to be dense, fudgy and chewy with the ubiquitous crackly top that brownies are known for. Most importantly, it had to be easy; really easy. And here it is. This brownie comes together without melting chocolate and I make it sans mixer, which screams convenient. Best of all it is incredibly delicious, with a pronounced dark chocolate flavor and contrast from the salty pretzels.

I can count on one hand the amount of times I've been away from my children. Actually, I would need just two fingers. Both times were postpartum hospital stays and I still got to hug them in the morning. I love my kids to pieces and my heart bursts when thinking of them, but it would be untrue if I told you I never daydream of hoping on a plane to go somewhere, anywhere, alone. At heart, I have an incurable case of wanderlust that isn't so convenient given my life circumstances but it's there anyhow. I often daydream of places I'd like to visit. It makes for nice entertainment against the backdrop of daily motherhood things. And now that I'm off on the quickest getaway I could realistically pull off, I want nothing more than to cancel my flight and stay. Stay through the craziness that is the daily grind. Stroke my daughter's softly curled hair through her nerve-grating tantrums. See them off in the morning with both a smile and a sigh of relief. I love my every day and I didn't think it would difficult to peel me away from it. I even searched inside of myself and could see not a hint of relief or secret joy at the prospect of leaving. I'm amazed myself. Though I won't be wiping away a stream of tears as the plane takes off but the well is forming inside of me, I tell you. It's only a four day trip, with a stop over in Paris, oui Paris!, that gives me enough time to give my college roommate la bise and have a sleepover just like our 21-year-old selves. We'll likely giggle the night away, as we can't help to every time we're together. I'll practice my french with the confidence I don't feel given the many years since I last spoke it fluently but that I've acquired with age. And if the taxi driver smirks at a mispronunciation then I shrug and move on. 

So as I'm off and leaving behind my family, I left them with leftovers of this brownie. I think they'll be ok.

Moroccan Cheek Meat and Oxtail Stew

November 22, 2016

I don't recall a day my mother didn't have a wholesome dinner freshly cooked for us. She made every meal with love and even as a little girl I remember how it made me feel cared for and secure. Now that I'm a mother, I appreciate it so much more, because some days are pure craziness and preparing even the simplest meal feels challenging. I believe rather doubtlessly that my mother's love language is cooking for others. There's a thrill that feeding someone else gives, as if the efforts are nurturing them. And that's a feeling she thrives on, and one I might have inherited also.

Roasted Carrot and Fennel Soup

November 20, 2016

You're probably quite surprised to hear from me again so soon. Not just because I've been posting frequently, but mainly because I'm admittedly an inconsistent blogger. Sometimes I'll be here often, other times things will stay quiet and stagnant, maybe even deserted. I struggle with consistency, probably because I get easily bored and distracted. Or my time management skills consist of making pretty lists over and over again and crossing out an item and then rewriting a new list. I swing from being overly eager to a hopeless procrastinator not uneasily. It's part of my erroneous habit of believing in perfection because anything short just isn't worth while. So I push things off for when I can do perfect, which is never. Somewhere along the way, I settle with whatever I have for the sake of moving on. I'm amazed anew every time I scroll through countless photos and recipes and wonder how I let them be buried. With so much time lapsing, they feel outdated but in reality they're exactly as they ought to be, a delicious recipe that feeds and nourishes. And that's perfect enough. 
I've had this space for a while now (5 years!) and though I love popping in and out, I'm hoping to be here with more intention. I'm not so sure what that will be exactly but I know that in the meantime I'm on a quest to share the recipes I already have, whether I made them for the blog or for the magazine I contribute to.

Let's talk about this roasted carrot and fennel soup. It's a light and creamy soup, perfect as a warm starter come these cold fall evenings. It pairs well with a meaty entree or even a light grilled cheese if you want to go that route. Fennel is one of my favorite root vegetables, mainly for its mild licorice taste, though I hear some people strongly dislike it. I'm not sure we can be friends if you're in their camp, though roasting fennel greatly subdues its sharp taste and brings forth an incredible, understated sweetness that couples well with that of the carrots. I would give this soup a try no matter your opinion on fennel. I'm certain you will love it.

Pistachio Pear Muffins

November 17, 2016

I'm posting again so soon after this roasted chicken. But it's with good reason. I have many, many recipes and images on my hard drive I've been itching to share. So many that I think you'll be hearing from me quite often until I'm all caught up. I've thought of simply letting go and just moving on, creating new recipes, but the ones I'll be posting just cannot be ignored. Like these Pistachio Pear muffins that are my favorite come fall.
The warmth of the pears and cinnamon against the sweet, tart cranberries make these little cakes irresistible. They have a nice texture that isn’t weighed down by the fruit, but rather enhanced by it. And they're made with whole wheat flour making them slightly better for you, or not terribly bad for you depending on where you stand on health matters. I've made them with just maple syrup and love it just as much, just be sure to increase that to 3/4 cups if you go that route. 

Wild Rice Stuffed Pomegranate Chicken

November 16, 2016

I feel fall slipping right by me. I don't feel like I've taken proper advantage of the flavors my favorite season offers. But in my defense it felt like summer up until yesterday. Today I would call the breeze so assertive it qualifies as wind. The days are short and by four o'clock I feel like the sunlight's early retrieve leaves me weary by default and craving cozy. It works well that the kids end school early enough that they're (slightly) tired and spending more time around the table doing cozy with me. 

These early nights are also a reminder of what's to come: winter, holidays, boots. There's thanksgiving on the horizon, though now that I'm in Jerusalem there are obviously no signs of that. In truth, I never celebrated thanksgiving growing up so I'm a touch alienated from the fondness some of my friends feel. But, I get it. The food looks delicious and you get a day off. A regular day off to spend as you wish with friends and family around the table, that's always something to be delighted about. We've done a few thanksgiving dinners at my mother-in-law's but they've been mostly pseudo-traditional. There was no turkey, instead chicken. Shocking, I know. But it was everything we needed; togetherness and good food. And here I have a stuffed chicken, in keeping with the theme, that I make all year because it's always perfectly moist and intensely flavorful. The tart pomegranate molasses and honey against the zesty and nutty wild rice makes a solid pairing. It's the perfect oven to table situation that works well for special dinner, or Shabbat meal. Or thanksgiving, too, if you're the untraditional type. 

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