Mejadara / Lentil-Rice with Caramelized Onions and a Leben Cucumber Dip

Summer! Summer is here. Even though we spoiled LAers have sunny skies and warm rays all year long, the days between June and September are worthy of their own distinctive excitement. The long days, no school, beach tanning, BBQing, pool-hopping, park squatting marathon that is at once exhausting yet preciously rewarding is what I look forward to all year. But also for the sweeter-than-candy succulent summer fruits that we can’t help but enjoy raw, juices dripping from the chin and all. I heart summer.
This season beckons simple dinners. My favorites are one-pot options that are easily reheatable and sufficiently filling. If they turn into lunch, that’s an added benefit. This Mejadara fits right in and is one I love preparing and eating.
I was first introduced to mejadara when my father-in-law made it sometime after I got married. I was instantly hooked. There is so much to love about puffy rice and lentils laced with sweet caramelized onions. Lots of sweet caramelized onions. Four onions worth of fried onions. Then you top it with some cucumber leben and it all fits cozily in a bowl, ready to be enjoyed by the spoonfuls.


I hope you’re enjoying your bright summer days.

hello, again!

It’s funny how 6 weeks can turn into 6 months in what feels like 6 minutes. I had blogging somewhere on my schedule but I just kept on bumping it to the next day and the next. I also wanted to shift back to a slightly slower pace, where I could be more mindful and present and connected to my family, especially my kids. If the to do list wasn’t getting even one cross-off, I wouldn’t stress. It’s been amazing seeing the shift back to a more calm me.

I used to get frustrated at myself if I didn’t complete my mile-high to do list in a day’s time, and that frustration would pool into the next day and the next. So I stopped. I tuned into a “whatever, there’s always (Gd willing) tomorrow” attitude and it’s been great. I never strove to be supermom, I just naively thought that I really should somehow do it all or at least do a lot, i.e. cook, clean, bake, host, photograph, edit, blog, organize, shop, learn, socialize, breathe. All that with an infant who seems to thrive on little sleep, a 4 year old who loves to sing at the top her lungs when aforementioned infant finally closes her eyes in exhaustion, and a 3 year old boy who is so discreetly mischievous you’d be puzzled if you two met and I’d share with you his shenanigans.

So while this season of my life is blessedly full, I’m learning to prioritize. Responsibility makes me feel like I’ve crossed into “grown up” category and I feel like stomping my feet, reclaiming my hours and spending them languidly at the farmer’s market or the mall. But then again these little people are too cute and have captured my heart (understatement). I can’t have my cake and eat it too.

Talking about cake, I’ll recap a little to the past few weeks.

My little boy turned three! We chopped off his sleek golden locks as is customary in an upsherin/chalakeh and he donned his kippah and tzitzit for the very first time. yey!

I made this cake for him. He beamed when he saw the “chou chou” train.




I also had a few posts up on Joy of Kosher.

Strawberry Mozzarella with Balsamic-Thyme Sauce


I can imagine this to be the perfect appetizer for the upcoming Shavuot holiday, especially with the bountiful strawberries in season. Recipe here.

and this Classic Margherita Mozzarella Pizza

recipe here

there was also this Root Vegetable Chips sponsored by Sabra


you can find the recipe here

I have lots of goodies to come, thanks for sticking around. xo.


If I'm not back by then, Chag Shavuot Sameach!







Roasted Carrots with Tahini-Harissa Sauce

Time is rolling right by me and as much as I try to keep it still, I feel like it’s racing faster than I can keep up. Apparently it’s normal given the season in life I’m in: small kids and a never-ending to do list. I’m not complaining, just lamenting over the slow decrease of precious “me” time, when silence reigns and my hands get to be free to do as they please rather than be tied up in some serious multitasking. Imagine holding a delicious infant, balancing a cutting board on the counter and slicing an apple so that the older kids can munch on something to keep their little mouths occupied and out of trouble. Ah, the blessings. 
It’s taken a few kids for me to come to the realization that I need to create my time. By habit, I like to do things on a whim. I’m the non-planned, always-late type. Not a virtue, just a reality. It’s worked quite well for the past twenty-some years, allowing for carefree spontaneity and a laid-back approach. Things just fell into place, and they still do, except now they come tangled with stress. So I’m still working on my resolve to improve my time management skills (from two new years’ ago)
Despite it all, I’m still cooking and photographing, I just don’t get to share as quickly. So let’s pick up where we left off and talk about these carrots. I got this beautiful bunch in a CSA box. Their freshness was incredible and their smell intoxicating; sweet and aromatic. They were probably the most perfect carrots I’ve ever gotten. I knew they needed something special to bring out their best side, other than enjoying them raw. I roasted them to bring out their natural sweetness and topped them with a spicy, creamy sauce. A truly remarkable side dish. I served them along with a Mediterranean tilapia, which we’ll talk about soon, and they complemented each other beautifully. This recipe comes together in no time, which is especially beneficial when you are the non-planned, laid-back type.

I did just realize we are 3 months into 2014. So, happy belated 2014, and tu bishvat, and president’s day, and soon-to-be Purim!


Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup


The weather in LA has been a little unpredictable. One day I'll be wrapping a knitted scarf around my neck and snuggling the littles in hooded jackets, and the next I'll be reaching for summer shoes and a light sweater. By nightfall though, the air is crisp and chilly and I long for a comforting dinner. It usually comes in the form of a steaming bowl of soup that I can wrap my hands around. It's amazing how instantly it warms me up.

This cherry tomato soup was simple to put together yet bursts with flavor. Roasting the tomatoes brings out their natural sweetness and deepens their flavor. As well for the onions. You simply cook it in stock for a few minutes, season with salt and pepper, and you get quite the tasty soup. We paired it with pumpernickel grilled cheese and a small salad, and called it a successful dinner.

(Click the link to check out "Comfort food" recipes from other bloggers in this month's Kosher Connection Link-up.)

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