Sunday, January 31, 2010

Exploiting The "Shidduch Crisis"

ProfK has a 'spot on' piece up about about the newest ploy to cash in on the "Shidduch Crisis" and fuel the flames of panic that are being spread to our singles.

In my mind it qualifies as a must read.

She discusses the insanity of self described (quasi) "professional" Shidduch Coaches.
My favorite lines are these:

"...if you need someone else to tell you what to look for in a spouse then you are just plain not ready to get married. If you can't trust your own judgement about what qualities are right for you in a marriage, then you are just plain not ready to get married. If you need coaching by a "professional" (and reading the qualifications for the two people on the site, that "professional" designation is theirs, not mine) on what to talk about, about what to do, about how to act, about what to think when on a date, YOU ARE JUST PLAIN NOT READY TO GET MARRIED."

Well said, as always, ProfK.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Delurker for Dinner

Thanks to Delurker Day, we had the opportunity to meet and spend a wonderful Friday night dinner with "Brad" this week. And in return he was treated to an eagerly awaited first taste of gruenkern soup (of course it doesn't reach its peak of flavor until Shabbos morning, but he was very understanding).

An added bonus was that "Brad" already knew some of our other guests so it was like one big happy family, sitting around and catching up on our lives. (I must say that some of us have more colorful lives than others (with police and FBI involvement) - - - those guests should REALLY have blogs of their own, I tell you....!).

We were also excited to have Louisa, who is in the United States for a brief visit, reclaim her rightful place as our havdalah girl (now woman?). Since this was Joey's first week back at Yeshiva, it sure lessened the void.

All in all a pleasant Shabbos (with lots of leftover dried fruit so come on over!).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Today Is My THIRD (!!!) Blogiversary

Can you believe it? Three whole years of having this virtual online community for Dinner.
I hope you've been entertained and I hope I've left you smiling, or thinking, or both.
So much has happened in those three years.
I've made so many new friends through this blog and I've learned many new things. I've enjoyed having many of you to "actual" dinners as well. I hope to continue all of this.
Even if you've never commented before, please consider leaving a comment on this special day. I know you're enjoying the blog because you keep coming back, but actually writing something helps give me the encouragement to continue.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tu B'Shvat Higi'ah

As I mentioned in this post, I was looking forward to imitating Creative Jewish Mom's Tu B'shvat decorations and here is the result.

I made a few adaptations, namely, using only pine cones in varying sizes instead of cedar pods and choosing not to spray paint everything gold because my light fixture is already gold and I thought it would be "too much". I only sprayed the smaller pine cones and left the larger ones "au naturale". I also chose a darker shade of raffia. All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Now on to the dried fruit platters. (I did a short research study at Oh! Nuts and made mental notes of my favorite "design ideas".....)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recipe For Gruenkern Soup

I was hoping to be able to upload some photos with this post but judging from the comments, instant messages and emails I've been receiving the readership seems to be quite eager for a taste of Gruenkern, so here goes the recipe, without the beautiful prep footage:


1 lb. whole Greunkern kernels
1/2 - 1 lb. spicy meat (Salami works well cubed. Kielbasa is also good. Corned Beef would work...)
1 large onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
onion soup mix (a.k.a. "the Jewish spice" if desired... you can bet they didn't use that in Germany!)

Yes folks. I'm almost embarrased to say "That's it!".

Wash and soak the Gruenkern the evening before.
Sautee the onion until brown.
Combine the Gruenkern, onion, water and spices in a crockpot or pot. Bring to a boil for an hour. Add the meat and cook for another half hour. Taste and adjust the seasonings. You will obviously need less seasonings (if any) with more spicy meats. Check the water and add more, if necessary. It should have a very thick soup/stew consistency. Continue cooking over Shabbos and enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Buy Gruenkern...

Regular readers of the comments section of my blog (that's where some of the best action is, by the way) might recall that my darling husband, who seldom asks for anything, requested Gruenkern for Shabbos lunch. This occurred during the course of a discussion which took place as a result of this post. As you can see, I agreed to make it as long as he did the legwork and bought the ingredients. Well, he came home this evening with the meat in hand, and I figured that I should at least meet him halfway and buy the Gruenkern.

You might say that I took the "long way" to the store. Scraps and I decided that the night was far too beautiful to waste so we walked the span of George Washington Bridge after dark. This is the view from the New Jersey side. Pardon the blur, but on camera settings suitable for night photography, you realize how much the bridge shakes!

More photos taken on previous bridge walks are viewable here, here, here and here... (hmmm.... does something tell you that I think this is a worthwhile excursion?)

Update: The recipe for Gruenkern is now available here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The KAJ - Breuer's Bris Milah Menorah

We had a bris today in our shul (well, not technically in shul, but that's a post all to itself).

I thought this might be a good opportunity to give you a brief history of the Bris Menorah which stands on the side of the Aron HaKodesh opposite the Chanuka Menorah. (To see both menorahs in one photo, refer to this post.)

The Bris Miloh Menorah in our Bais Haknesses contains three sets of lights to accomodate the possibility of three bris milos taking place on one day or within three days of each other.

Each set of lights consists of one large center light surrounded by twelve small ones. On the day of the bris all the lights are lit. On the second and third day only the center light remains lit.

The twelve small lights represent the twelve shevotim. With the bris miloh the little boy is now officialy a part of Klal Yisroel. The center light represents a light of shemiroh (protection). We know from the Torah that the first three days after the miloh are the most critical and this light serves as a protection over any danger that might occur.

In Frankfurt, the Bris Miloh Menorah had a gas light in the center and was surrounded by twelve candles. I have been told that after davening, the mohel used to take the twelve candles and use them at the Bris Miloh seudoh.

When our shul was located in 90 Bennett Avenue, across the street from its current location, the menorah had an electric bulb in the center which was surrounded by twelve candles. When the new shul was built the menorah was completely electrified.

Guess What's Being Served For Dinner

This Friday night, my Tu B'shvat menu will once again try to incorporate all Shivas HaMinim, the seven species listed in the Torah as being special to Eretz Yisroel.
I will enumerate them here and notate how they will be incorporated into my dinner menu:

  • Wheat - challah
  • Barley - baked barley and mushrooms
  • Grapes - wine and grapes on the dessert platters
  • Figs - on the dessert platters
  • Pomegranates - pomegranate juice
  • Olives - condiments with the meal
  • Dates - on the dessert platters

There will of course be many more delicious fruits and nuts, both fresh and dried, in abundance throughout the course of the meal. Almonds are customary as well because although they are not one of the seven, they are the most visible sign of the arrival of Tu B'shvat in Israel.

The almond trees' pink flowers are ubiquitous on the hillsides of Israel at this time of year.

Stay tuned for photos of how the decorations turned out as well!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I had the opportunity last night to attend a performance of the Broadway musical Wicked, and I will say that it was an *amazing* show that totally changed my entire perspective on The Wizard of Oz forever. I will also mention that this show is rife with clever word play and more importantly, very deep messages about who is truly powerful, good and evil and how public perception and group thought shape our reality.
My favorite quote of the evening:

"The truth is less about fact or reason
And more about what people believe in."

So much to think about.
Highly recommended.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Can We "Hold the Boxer" Please?

In my continuing preparations for Tu B'shvat, which begins a week from this Friday night, I thought I'd share my thoughts on the Tu B'shvat fruit we all love to hate: BOXER (also known as carob).
It doesn't look like anything edible. It doesn't even taste like anything edible (little known fact: It isn't edible when fresh... which is why there is a question whether or not you can make a "Shehecheyanu" {blessing for a new [fruit]} on it). And yet ... for some inexplicable reason, it is standard fare on Tu B'shvat platters and packages everywhere.

OK..... whose STUPID idea was this anyway?!?!? Kids all over the world are cracking molars right and left!

I've heard it said that carob is a symbol of endurance and survival, because if you keep it dry, it lasts a long time. Who are we kidding? It lasts a long time because NOBODY WANTS TO EAT THE THING!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saw Them On Shabbos

Back in November, I advised my readers of a fledgling website called See You On Shabbos.

You can register on the website as either a "host" or a "guest". You can specify whether you want to host any combination of "boys", "girls", "couples" and/or "families with children". You also specify whether or not you can provide lodging, which day of the week you prefer notification by and any other pertinent information.

This week we received our first meal request via See You On Shabbos and I am pleased to report that the system worked flawlessly! Our guests were lovely and engaging and we enjoyed their company immensely.

Why not try it out yourself. C'mon... as the website says - - - help someone "find their challah"!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's Delurker Day!

Come out, come out wherever you are.....
I know you're reading. I see you hiding there (and I know who you are). But SO MANY of you never say "Hello", let alone leave a bona fide comment.
Why not come out today, on the Official Delurker Day, and tell me what you think? Leave a comment. Or just a smile :)
That means YOU TOO!!!!

(Hat tip: Hadassah)

It's Catching On!

Catchy phrases have a way of taking hold, don't you think?

(Hat tip to ever vigilant blog reader tnspr569 for sending this my way)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Molten Chocolate Chip Cakelets

Ask and ye shall receive.
I mentioned these little treasures on a previous post of mine. ProfK asked for the recipe and I figured, why should I be the only one packing on the pounds? Besides, these are so worth it and since they are individually portioned, it's hard to overindulge.

Molten Chocolate Chip Cakelets

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2 1/4 C flour
1 Tbsp baking powder

1 cup margarine
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla exttract
1 tsp salt

1 package chocolate chips, separated
1/4 cup chocolate syrup

Mix flour and baking powder and set aside.
In a separate bowl, cream margarine and sugars.
Add the eggs one at a time while beating, then add vanilla and salt. Stir in the flour mixture.
Take 1 cup of choc chips out and mix the rest of the bag into the dough.
Melt choc chips with syrup (just until melted... don't over cook this or it
will thicken)
Grease ramekins Fill 1/3 to 1/2 (depending on how deep they are) with dough leaving a well for the chocolate. Put a tablespoon (more or less) in the center of each one, then cover with another layer of dough make sure that your choc center stays in the middle and doesn't extend to the edges.
Bake for about 25 minutes until the tops are golden. These can be served immediately or rewarmed in a conventional oven (microwaving is tricky) and served at a later date (if they are not served warm, you lose the effect of the molten center). If I am going to rewarm them, I store them in a tightly sealed container at room temperature.

(Hat tip: My friend Ruthy, who does all the tinkering and experimenting, and I get to use her recipes when all the kinks have been worked out of them...)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Zagat Review - BadforShidduchim Style...

Yes, folks!
We have another satisfied customer.
It seems that Bad4 was kind enough to "review" her Friday night dining experience on her blog, and I post it here to whet your appetites ummm... drum up business for your reading pleasure.

Guess Who Came for Dinner?


It was Blobby’s idea and Scraps’s execution and I just came along for the ride. Or the food. Good food, I should mention. If you are ever in Washington Heights, I cannot recommend enough that you drop in on G6 for a bite.

G6 is one of the few people you can describe as ebullient; she was positively aflutter with excitement when an unexpected party dropped in around dessert time and she had made an extra dessert!!! (I’ve only ever seen one other person actually flutter in excitement.) So, if you want to make her happy, I recommend you drop in around dessert time. It will make you happy too.

‘Course, it ain’t all about the food. The company and conversation were good, and we were loath to leave, and I might have consequently conked out on their table (my bedtime is 10:15 pm and we definitely passed it) if Scraps hadn’t been perceptive enough to excuse us.

Til next time!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Who's On First? I Don't Know. Third Base!

This past week, conversations in my house had taken on the tone of a bad Abbot and Costello routine as I eagerly awaited our mystery Shabbos guests.

Me: I think it's probably BadforShidduchim but it could be Something Different...
Avram: What?
Me: Our Shabbos guest.
Avram: If it's not Bad4, who could it be?
Me: Something Different
Avram: How different could she be?
Me: No that's her name....

I was pretty sure that it was Bad4, and I was tempted to pre-schedule a post to go up on Shabbos with my final guess posted for all to see. I didn't for two reasons:
  1. After my sister-in-law questioning me about what I am doing up at 2 a.m. blogging, I realized that not everybody is aware of the possibility of "scheduled" posts and it might seem like "ma'aras ayin" to have a post go up after Shabbos begins. (Despite what it may look like, I don't blog from work either. Who would do such a thing...?)
  2. Ignore reason #1. The overriding reason was the fact that I was only about 90% sure that it was BadforShidduchim and my pride couldn't take the hit of being wrong for all to see.

Well, suffice it to say, that after Scraps walked in with our two other guests, one with a gleam in her eye and the same impish and clever attitude that she exhibits on her blog, there was not a doubt in my mind that I was talking with Bad4. Guest #3's blogdentity (is that even a word?) remains a secret at her request.

We had a wonderful evening and even had a short stint playing Jewish Blogger Geography (which Bad4 wins hands down, since I am at a distinct disadvantage because I'm banned from her Manhattan Ice Cream Meetups due to marital discrimination).

Once Scraps used the term "funsies" at the table, we knew we'd have to do this again sometime. I had never heard that word out of anybody's mouth other than Joey's and truthfully, my train of thought was derailed for a good five minutes...

So now the only question that remains is...... WHO'S NEXT?

(Baked Lecho Dodi? "Fake" Lecho Dodi? Something Different?)

Friday, January 8, 2010

For Creative Jewish Moms Everywhere

Readers of my blog know that I'm a sucker for celebrations and the decorations that go with it.

I wanted share with you this post by Creative Jewish Mom. Above is a photo of her very lovely Tu B'shvat decorations, which I am tempted to recreate this year in my own home. Tu B'shvat falls so nicely on Friday night this year (Jan 29-30), allowing for many wonderful Shabbos applications (in the past, I've attempted to serve all 7 "minim" at the Friday night meal. I may do that again). I'm curious as to all of your plans. Send ideas my way! Please!!

Jen had a lot of fun making the no sew fleece pillow also detailed on CJM's website (see photo of Jen's creation below). Check out some of her other posts as well. There's a lot of worthwhile content on her blog.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

In My Own Little Chair

I'm not one who usually salvages items left out on the street (though when I see the "treasures" that other people seem to find, I often have second thoughts...), but when I saw this perfectly good, little wooden chair all forlorn and alone on the street, I knew I had to take it home and spiff it up for my Kayla.

Off I went to the hardware store for sandpaper to smooth out the rough edges and some pretty pink paint.
Although, I have grander schemes of putting her name on it, and it still needs another coat of paint, I think it's looking a lot better already.

I think every little girl should have her own "little chair", for reading, relaxing, imagining or just simply 'being', don't you? :D

(Kol Isha warning....)

Now if it turns into a "time out" chair, I'll be mighty annoyed ;)

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I was contacted last week by Scraps, who asked to come for a Shabbos meal. She told me that she will be bringing two friends, one of whom was, in her words, a "more well known" blogger than herself, who wants to remain anonymous for the time being and specifically requested an invitation to "Chez G6".

My excitement is twofold:
1) One more reader is a big enough fan of the blog to want to experience 'Coming To Dinner'.
2) Said fan is a fellow blogger whose work I likely read and admire and....I'm going to get to meet her!!

There are so many bloggers who I want to meet IRL. But I have to think about this logically.
It's a girl blogger.
She knows Scraps.
She reads my blog.
There are so many exciting possibilities! Could it be Something Different? We've talked about getting together (mostly for cooking) on more than one occasion. Or perhaps it's Bad4Shidduchim (even though she wouldn't include me in the Great Manhattan Ice Cream Meetup [single girls only])? Maybe (though I think it unlikely) it's Material Maidel (I don't even know if she knows Scraps. I've only included her because almost all male Shabbos guests who read my blog want to know if I know their "holy grail", MM...). The one blogger that I can rule out is frumcollegegirl because she's already been here.

But patience and reveling in the anticipation for its own sake is a skill that comes with age.
I remember when I was a young teenager and my grandfather, who was a big supporter of a certain Yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel, always received from them each year as a token of appreciation, a choice esrog hand picked especially for him. My grandfather prized this exceptional esrog and awaited its arrival every year. One year I was present when the esrog was delivered. My grandfather thanked the delivery man and gently set the box on the sideboard. "Aren't you going to open it, Opa?". My grandfather chuckled and explained that as I got older, I would understand that the anticipation was part of the excitement. At the time I thought he was nuts. Now I understand....

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's Time To Say Good Shabbos...

Thanks to aNDy, who snapped this photo (click for detail) on the Via Natzionale in Rome and was kind enough to share it with me.

Wishing everyone a good Shabbos, no matter where they are in the world :D