Thursday, May 31, 2012

Breuer's In Bloom - An Article In Mishpacha Magazine

I waited the full week, as per Mishpacha Magazine's request and for all those who commented, emailed, Facebooked, what have you - thank you for your patience.
I have embedded the article about Avram's work on the Shavuos flowers at KAJ.
In the lower right of the embed boxes is a small icon that when clicked, will open the document in full screen so that you don't have to scroll around. (You can "right click" and select "open in new tab" if you want to keep this blog post open.)

... and in this week's issue, this letter to the editor:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shavuos Flowers Go Up At KAJ - Repost

Some things bear reposting year after year.
This video is one of them...

Thanks to all the blog readers (and others, of course) who have donated so generously to make this happen. Even those of you who live more than TEN THOUSAND miles away... (you know who you are)

The work commenced last night and will continue until shortly before Yom Tov begins.

{If you happen to be readers of a certain Jewish magazine, you may find an article published there this week about my husband and what he does in this regard for Yom Tov}

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Food Photo Friday - Early Edition - Cranberry Cheesecake

I'll do a lot of things for you, my readers.
Cutting into a freshly made cheesecake before Shavuos isn't one of them, so you'll pardon the less than stellar photos.
I will, however, post Food Photo Friday on a Wednesday, to give you all a chance to share the yum.

For many years I made two cheesecakes: the classic fluffy cheesecake with the world's best graham crust that my mother always made, and one "experimental" cheesecake. Chocolate. Peanut Butter. And others (leave it at that, OK....). But once I perfected my Cranberry Cheesecake, there would be no more experimentation. In my opinion, the tangy "bite" of the fresh cranberries, lends the perfect balance to the sweet, dense creaminess of this (2 lbs. [!!!] of cream cheese) cake.

So off I go each year and purchase more cream cheese than should be allowable by law.

This is not even ALL of it - since aside from 2 cheesecakes, I make a sweet dairy noodle kugel.
Then there's the hunt for the ever elusive Cholov Yisroel sweetened condensed milk.... (they call it "cream" here.... just to be "heimishe chic")

What emerges after a fair amount of whipping and folding is my most delicious cranberry cheesecake. (recipe follows)

For The Crust:
1 1/2 cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

For The Filling:
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk or one jar of the "fancy heimishe stuff" shown above
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 large eggs (since the heimishe stuff is 4 oz. smaller, I compensated with extra large eggs)
1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Sugared cranberries and orange peel strips, optional

In a bowl, combine cinnamon graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and slightly up the sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth. Beat in lemon juice until smooth. Add eggs and sugar; beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in cranberries. Pour over the crust.

Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F (160 C) for 60-70 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with sugared cranberries and orange peel if desired.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My (Grand)Father's Clock.....

"Is your father still alive?", I hear the clock maker say as I stare into the empty cherry wood shell of my father's grandfather clock. I shake my head sadly and he replies, pointing to the casing, "Oh yes, he is!" I smile, because he's right.

Few household purchases are as unusual, and as emotional, as a grandfather clock. Jim Pearl, president of Pearl Grandfather Clocks was quoted as saying, "People don`t buy one because it's a decorative accessory. They buy it because of what it represents--a very strong tie to the past. It is roots... heritage."

My father's grandfather clock commemorated his 60th birthday. He enjoyed it immensely for the next 13 years. It's sonorous chimes marked moments and memories both good and bad over the years, silenced (unlike the song below) only when my dear aunt slept over (or couldn't sleep, as the case turned out....).

Several years following my father's death, the clock was generously gifted to our family and my husband has become a most worthy caretaker of this stately timepiece.

As we have since learned, these clocks, not unlike pianos, require regular professional maintenance for peak performance. Following our recent stint with the painters (shudder), the clock has been losing time at an unacceptable rate (that is to say - as I lie in bed at night with my eyes closed, suffering from insomnia, I'm never quite sure how badly I'm going to feel in the morning.....).

Russell Andrews to the rescue. Russell's family is now THIRD generation clock repair. Russell understands the nostalgic tug elicited by this cherished timepiece. He cradled the inner mechanism that he removed for service as a parent holds a newborn, resting each piece lovingly on a cushioned bed for transport. Russell encouraged me to write down the story of the clock and offered to put it inside when he returns on Erev Yom Tov to restore the mechanism into its housing. I think I may just do that......

.... but for the next few days, the house will be eerily silent.... missing my father's "voice".

Friday, May 18, 2012

Food Photo Friday - Wine Braised Beets

In my ongoing quest for Shabbos salads and sides that don't wilt before the Friday night meal is over (and perhaps can be served again at Shabbos lunch...), I tried this recipe for wine braised beets this week. They tasted so yummy fresh out of the oven, that I highly doubt there will be any leftovers to last past the first meal :)

2 bunches medium beets
8 shallots, peeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel the beets and cut each one into 8 chunks. Mix the beets and shallots together in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.

Toss the olive oil and red wine and season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the beets are just tender, about 1 1/4 hours.

Stir in the brown sugar and red wine vinegar. Bake uncovered stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and glazed with the sauce, about 15 to 20 minutes more.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In Lieu of Food Photo Friday...

Since the stuffed mushrooms are still in the oven, I thought I'd usher you in to Shabbos with another table photo. Fragrant peonies remind us that even though it's been a grey week, spring is here. The Sefiras HaOmer box reminds us.... well.... to Omer.
Wishing every one a peaceful Shabbos.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Scene Around Town - Sunset In Ft. Tryon Park

This is the perfect time of year to head out to Ft. Tryon Park at sunset. As the birds give their final calls for the day and the leaves rustle in the trees, the lamps begin to light as the sun sets over the Hudson River.
If you haven't gone out there yet, I suggest you do.

And don't forget to stop at this sign and smile.
It's meant to keep people from plucking the beautiful array of flowers which include, lilacs, peonies, roses, tulips and much, much more.
I prefer to think of it as a metaphor for life.