Passover

passover.thumb Passover is around the corner. In the past, thinking about cleaning out my cupboards, omitting all the Chametz(anything made with wheat, barley, rye, spelt, or oats or any product that is made with these grains and left to stand raw for longer than eighteen minutes) was a daunting task. No cereal, bread, waffles, pancakes, and most cookies for 8 days. Matzoh is the “grain” of choice and there are only so many ways one can eat matzoh (before it totally clogs up your system – and we all know how that goes).

Over the past few years I have become much more rigid in observing Passover. Mostly because I wanted my children to respect the holiday, understand what it means to sacrifice, and hopefully teach discipline through our values and our heritage.

Regardless, it can be a constant struggle. Yet, by the 3rd day, they all settled into the challenge at hand (not dissimilar to a cleanse) thus, their consciousness rises to the occasion. This year it is going to be much easier. Most of what we give up for Passover has already been omitted and almost forgotten as we lean more toward a gluten free lifestyle. But still, gluten free means we can eat rice, legumes, and most grains. Not the case during Passover.

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bloomseder.jpg I tried to be religious at college and while I hit more frat parties then holidays at Hillel, I did my fair share to keep my faith. There were long services in make-shift synagogues on campus, and awkward dinners with friends of friends relatives in the greater Providence and Boston area where people actually came back to the table after the Seder meal (a foreign site to me as once my family hit the matzo, it was a fast feast all the way to the afikomen.)

There were valiant attempts at fasting for Yom Kippur and signing off bread for Passover observance; the yeast in Natty Lite beer didn’t count, right? But, nothing was quite like my senior year Seder spectacular.

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haggadah_14th_cent.jpgPassover is one of mankind's oldest continuously performed traditions. And it's still legal in most states! A time-honored tradition when family and friends can gather and argue and eat and think and eat and complain and eat.

So, while we are supping tonight, remember this is much more than a meal. It's a chance to remind each and every one of us just how much more miserable we could actually still be!

So, from being the "low man," to shopping at Loman's. This is our story of perseverance and faith. Belief and strength. Hope and Crosby. (It is a "road story" after-all)

It is also a story that must be told every year.

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sorbetdonutsAs a kid I always loved eating chocolate-covered jelly rings by the handful. I eagerly looked forward to that time of year when the grocery stores stacked towering boxes of them in the Passover aisle. I still love eating them, but now am glad that I can only find them once a year, otherwise I'd eat them all the time.

Last spring my friend Caroline introduced me to Uncle Louie G's Italian ices and ice cream shop in Brooklyn. Their many flavors are astounding, but what caught my eye that first visit was the chocolate jelly ring Italian ice. I knew right away that I would love it and there was no doubt that I would order it. As Passover rolled around this year I saw those towering boxes of jelly rings in the supermarket and the first thing that popped into my mind was that I had to make a dessert with them.

Here is my kosher for passover dessert, a rich chocolate sorbet made with high-quality melted chocolate and an entire box of chopped jelly rings stirred in. It's a bit different, and some of my Jewish friends may have thought I was crazy for doing it, but once you have a taste, you will surely understand my obsession.

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noodle_kugel.jpgIt has to be the unsexiest of all Jewish foods, the Noodle Kugel.  If you say kugel with a nasally tone, it’s even more unsexy than previously mentioned.  The word kugel itself reminds me of kegel, another less than sexy term.  Maybe that’s the problem.

However, if you were to challenge me, indicating gefeltifish in a jar is the unsexiest of all Jewish food, I might secretly agree with you.  But for the moment, I’m going with kugel.

Now, with all of that said, I would like to go on the record proclaiming this particular Noodle Kugel, in all of its high piled noodle glory, as having the sexiest TASTE ever.  If you take a peek at the list of ingredients, you’ll see there is no way it could taste bad, it’s like dessert.  There is something about the crispy-sugared edges of the baked noodles on top that send you to kugel nirvana.  It’s sublime.  And please don’t try to tell me there is no place called “kugel nirvana” because I’ve been there.

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