Category Archives: food

Rosh Hashana Menus

We’re out for the two day meals, but that still leaves two evening meals to cook for. Here are my menus:

Rosh Hashana Night 1

Apples and Honey plus All Simanim
Gefilte Fish w/ Tomato mushroom sauce
Hearty Vegetable Soup
Roast Turkey with Cranberry Sage & Chestnut stuffing
Homemade cranberry sauce
Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows
Roast potatoes
Steamed Green beans
Sorbet / lemon cake / fruit pie / cinnamon buns …..

Night 2

Gefilte Fish
Minestrone Soup
Mashed Potatoes
Chicken Nuggets
Fresh Garden Salad
Sorbet / lemon cake / fruit pie….

HSM is Guest Blogging over on Kosher Eye

Click on image to be taken to the site.

7-11 Hot Dogs – Two (Messy) Thumbs Up

We just returned from 7-11 where we ate supper. Yep. The local 7-11 in Monsey has started selling Glatt Kosher hot dogs for their kosher-keeping consumers.

It felt extremely weird to walk into a 7-11 with the express intention of buying hot dogs, almost as if I was doing something wrong. But there are signs everywhere that the kosher hot dog counter is under the rabbinical supervision of Rav Zushe Blech.

My boys, being kids, order plain boring hot dogs (one had a spicy sausage but no condiments) but they said they were great. I ordered the Jerusalem dog which came with chummus, coleslaw, pickle chips & sweet pepper strips. You can choose what type of hot dog – Hot & Spicy, Polish Sausage or Regular. I chose Hot & Spicy.

Four hot dogs, excuse me, four kosher hot dogs – $14.80. Not bad, not bad at all. I can see the kids now asking me not only to shlepp them there for slurpees but for hot dogs too. But they are not the healthiest thing on the planet, so it won’t happen that often.

However, I can definitely see that 7-11 hot dogs will be a positive reinforcement in the boys’ life – keep your room clean, and we can go get hot dogs at 7-11; fold your laundry – hot dogs; good school report…. you get the picture.


Well, I was in Montreal, and I just had to have poutine. I haven’t had poutine in close to two years and I dreamed of it, I salivated over the idea of it and finally this week I squeezed in a quick visit to Pizza Pita and ordered my poutine.

It did not live up to my high expectations. I would even go so far as to say it was “meh”. I expected to be transported to gustatory nirvana. Didn’t happen. Well, I guess I am finally cured of eating a “heart attack in a bowl”.

Sad sad sad day.

WWYD – Feelings vs Kashrut

A friend was recently visiting relatives who put out some yummies for kiddush Shabbat day. There were cheeses and chocolates, pastries and cakes – the table was groaning under the weight!

My friend happened to walk into the kitchen for a glass of water, and saw an empty package from one of the foods. She saw that the hechsher was Tablet K – a certification that she has been told is not trustworthy. (Full disclosure – in the HSM household we don’t hold by that hechsher).

She tried to call her husband into the kitchen, so that he should know that he should stop eating, but wasn’t sure how to go about it without drawing attention to the issue.

Everyone kind of gravitated toward the kitchen, having eaten their fill, and were clearing the table. She caught his eye, and surreptitiously showed him the package. It was one of those moments when everyone goes quiet at just the wrong moment. It was a very awkward silence.

What would you have done? Would you have just waited until later and spoken to your spouse in private, risking him eating something you don’t consider kosher? And then, how do  you go about dealing with the fact that now you are not sure that you can trust the kashrut in this house? What if you feel it’s just ignorance, and that this person does not know the hechsher isn’t widely accepted? Do you broach the subject?

What would you do?

Chicken – it’s what’s for dinner!

Last night’s chicken dinner was awesome. In fact, my 15 year old son said to me, “no offense Ima, but this tastes better than anything you ever made”. Ouch. But that was after he said “Mmmm, this chicken tastes………DEAD” so you can’t necessarily trust his opinion.

I did technically cook the chicken – but it came from Empire Kosher. And I cooked it in the microwave. It’s great – it’s a whole 3 lb chicken, pre-seasoned (garlic and hhhhherb*), you take it out of the packaging, pierce two small holes in the special microwave wrap that’s around the chicken, put it on a plate, in the microwave, press 20 minutes and DONE. No muss, no fuss. Easy Shmeasy. The way I like it! For busy parents, this is an easy dinner on a school night – just throw together some sides, and you have a great nutritious meal in TWENTY MINUTES.

Very soon after I put the chicken in the microwave, the delicious aroma of the cooking chicken wafted through the house, bringing boys running from all quarters. By the time that chicken came out of the oven the boys were salivating.

It really does look like that. Except no grapes and greenery!

I carved up the chicken – juices were leaking everywhere, which is a good thing! I served dinner – the chicken along with starch and a veggie, and we dug in.

The chicken was moist (“Wet” as one as the kids said…oy) and tender, flavorful and just plain perfect. Seriously. The only problem was that there wasn’t enough of it. It’s a 3 lb chicken. I have a husband, THREE teenage boys with hollow legs, and a nine year old. Plus myself – and we all know I love to eat. Luckily the oldest teen wasn’t here, or there would not have been enough.

The verdict was unanimous. Delicious and please can we have it again tomorrow.

So here’s what I have to say to the folks at EMPIRE. Awesome product – thanks for sending it to me. My kids had a blast telling their friends that we received a chicken in the mail. I am so thrilled to hear you have a BBQ version coming out soon – we plan to try that one as well. I hate carving chickens and turkeys and ducks – could you perhaps use the same awesome microwave technology and sell these fine fowl in pieces? Also – for those bigger families – can you sell bigger chickens – like 5 lb-ers – so that there is enough to go around?

Folks – this “microwaveable” chicken retails at around $10.99 in my area – which is good value seeing as it is pre-cleaned, pre-seasoned, pre-prepared and all you have to do is press a button or two on the microwave.

So from us here at the Hearts / Diamonds Palace – five thumbs up! (or should that be ten?)

*there is an H at the start of HERB – it needs to be pronounced.

Note: I was given this product free of charge. My review expresses my honest opinion and I was not paid in anyway for it.

AWESOMENESS – was just informed that this fall / winter season there will be microwaveable cutlets available – cook for 2 minutes 15 seconds each.  Those will be perfect for my son that eats lunch and supper in school!!

Don’t Touch My Cake!

I have been resting up, and generally not overdoing things (too much) but at some point this afternoon I had a hankering for a piece of the Devils Food Chocolate Cake I had made for Shabbat.

I went down to the kitchen to find that SOMEONE had eaten it all. There was nothing left for me. Just a few little crumbs and a shmear of frosting left on the cake stand.


I found out who the culprit was and I ordered him into the kitchen. I told him that seeing as he finished the cake that I wanted a piece of, it was now incumbent on him to bake me a new cake. He cracked up laughing, this son of mine. However, I made it easy for him. He didn’t have to make it from scratch – we had a cake mix in the pantry.

The house smells divine – cake’s almost ready to come out. I will have him frost it too when it has cooled down.

So, do you think he will ever eat the last piece of cake again, or will he have learned his lesson??

They need the chicken to change

I don’t want to change. They want my chicken soup to be different. I have made it this way for 17 years. Lots of clear broth and lots of veggies and lots of chicken. They want me to liquidize it all together once it’s cooked. I say that that would kill the spirit of my chicken soup. If they want something like that, I will make them a vegetable soup – and puree it. Or the really awesome butternut squash soup I have made many times. My chicken soup is MY chicken soup. It is world famous. Ok – maybe not world famous, but my recipe has been requested by many a guest.

What say you? Compromise my chicken soup principles or tell THEM to take a hike?

Rabbis Sound Alarm Over Eating Disorders

The NY Times ran an article yesterday “Rabbis Sound Alarm Over Eating Disorders” that brings to light the suffering of many young women in the Orthodox world that are suffering from eating disorders. This paragraph jumped out at me.

“There are a lot of mixed messages,” said a 27-year-old woman from a strict Orthodox community in Brooklyn, who once carried less than 100 pounds on her 5-foot-6 frame. “My grandmother would see me and say, ‘You look so good, you’re so skinny — come eat, eat.’ ”

Our world revolves so much around food and celebratory holiday and Shabbat meals, but unfortunately there is a lot of focus put on the girls to be skinny. One of my Boro Park charedi cousins once told me “you can never be too rich or too skinny” and she totally believed it.

I find it interesting though, that this obsession with being thin does not seem to apply to the boys. Very few mothers of girls are asking the boy’s waist size or weight when they are discussing a shidduch.

Size shouldn’t be a consideration in shidduchim – health is more important. Let me tell you something, being pregnant takes a lot out of a healthy body – if the body is starved of nutrients beforehand in order to maintain that size 2 that got a girl married – that will only lead to problems in the pregnancy and perhaps long term.

We need to focus on health, and how to maintain good eating and exercise habits – but how are we going to get this message through to those who need to hear it? How are we going to help those already suffering from eating disorders as a result of the peer pressure? How do we remove the shame and stigma associated with mental illness in our communities? How can we teach self-acceptance to those who are unwilling to learn?

The YU Cholent Cook Off

On Thursday April 7 2011 YU held its annual Cholent Cook Off where groups of students congregated to demonstrate their cholent-making prowess. Previously, on Wednesday April 6th, they had all convened in Belfer Hall to assemble their cholents, as these dishes need plenty of time to cook. This being YU the teams were all male – and the people assembled in the hall were all mostly male, with a token female here and there.

Walking into the building on Thursday afternoon the cholent aroma hit me like a wall of beans. But all the judges came prepared (hopefully with cast iron stomachs) to taste SIXTEEN different cholents. I hope they knew what they signed up for. The teams had named themselves with much ingenuity – “the Maccabeans”, “the Cholent Pot Heads” and “The Golden Ladles” to name but a few.

There was a wonderful atmosphere in the room as the judges were given their instructions, and started the task of sampling the many variations of this traditional dish. I was glad I wasn’t judging – it’s against my religion to eat cholent on any day other than Shabbat. After each taste test, the judges raised their score paddles and the scores were tallied. At the front of the hall was a huge scoreboard to help everyone keep track. When the first 10 was awarded a huge cheer broke out.

The judges – Jamie Geller, Dr Esther Joel, Elan Kornblum, Elana Newhouse, Alan Riesenburger, David Samuels and Chef Avram Wiseman – went from table to table, sampling and tasting and digesting all of the different cholents arrayed in front of them. I would have quit after the fourth or fifth, but they were such troupers! The previous year there had been a Smores cholent and one with mango…. That’s enough to turn anyone’s stomach! This year though, the entries were much more traditional – no barf bags needed.

At the end of this epic cholent tasting all the results were tallied, with team “Mofongo” being the winners. They each won an iPod touch for their efforts. Team members were: Jonathan Adler, Achihud Adamit, Nelson Gruszczynski, and Zach Mammon. Well done, boys!!