Sfinj (Moroccan Doughnuts)

January 5, 2017

Seeing every one of the flames lit on the last night of Chanukah was magical. I was mesmerized by the dancing flames, and my mind was calm enough to contemplate the significance of the moment, of how Chanukah lives within me and not a storybook. This sort of introspection should probably have occurred on the first night, but there was all sorts of busy, and so that it happened on the last was worthwhile just as much. Like a sort of culminating point that made me appreciate the true beauty of the holiday.

Zucchini Latkes with Za'atar Sour Cream

Here I am publishing a few Chanukah recipes after the holiday. Does that make me late to the party? Mostly. But these are a must any time of year. My mother makes these latkes throughout the year and I would too if not for my stance on frying. Hovering over the skillet, waiting impatiently for those edges to brown, having every window opened as wide as its track allows and yet still everything smells of that irritating frying odor, makes the whole cooking task one I just don't like it. Otherwise these would make the dinner rotation because the taste of fried potatoes laced with zucchini and dipped in za'atar sour cream is to be repeated as often as possible.

Vanilla Bean Sufganiyot with Halva, Cookie Butter, Praline, and Chocolate Variations

Would it be unwise to divulge that I don't care much for sufganiyot? I've skipped making these Chanukah doughnuts myself because I was always underwhelmed by the dense, doughy, oily pastry. I never had one that was just so even though I've tried many in the name of holiday cheer. There's always hope that sometime soon I'll fall on the doughnut that questions my opinion. In Israel, the craze starts well before the actual holiday. I held off a single bite despite the enticing flavors and creative combinations. When I finally did have one it reinforced my resolve that doughnuts just might not be my thing.

A Chanukah Table + Menu

December 25, 2016

We're on the second night already. I anticipated kindling the light of Chanukah as impatiently as the kids did. I had plans to decorate, organize games and make new traditions, cook up a list of meals and fry up different types of sufganiyot. That's typical me, starry-eyed and eager to make the holiday my own perfect but reality swoops me back into a place that's true and even sincere. And I let it. I've learned that things simply fall into place and when they don't, we get more nights. That's why building a new lego set with my son made more sense than flipping latkas, it's where I was most needed. I might have even enjoyed it more than him.
I still have plans for things scribbled in different colored ink on scraps of paper. I am sure that this year I will get to the Halva Sufganiyot I've been dreaming about. And you will get my grandmother's Moroccan Sfinj recipe, it's never Chanukah without it. But for now I leave you with a menu to make your table the center of your holiday night. A place for everyone to gather as they share in the glow of the light and the blessings of the holiday.

Winter Lentil Soup

December 19, 2016

Did living in LA 8 whole years make me a Cali girl? Because winter is in full swing here in Jerusalem and I'm longing for that perfect west coast sun. I now own a puffy black coat with a fur trimmed hood and wear three pairs of socks so my toes feel snug. I grew up in Montreal, I know winter. But I've also forgotten those endless, frigid days. Things here and now are a sort of in between the two spectrums, it's cold and damp but no need to hibernate huddled by the fire. Though you'll likely find me close to the stove, warmed by the steam of a simmering soup. A winter evening demands you stay around the table with your fingers interlaced around a bowl of something hot and comforting.
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