Category Archives: Drinks

A fruity toast to the New Year

L'chaim and a Sweet New Year

A proper New Year’s celebration often includes the symbolic consumption of a fruit that you have not yet tasted this season. Pomegranates are often used as they are just reaching their full ripeness at the end of summer. Often this involves messy digging about in the flesh of the pomegranate for the small seeds or arils that are the only edible part. While my kids love this (and often make a huge mess- this stuff stains!) I am ready to move on to something a bit more elegant.

As this thought was rolling around in my head, one of the food blogs I follow ran a short piece on doing infusions using a whip cream dispenser. Since I have one around that I never use, I thought it would be time to find a new use for it. Before I give you the link to the infusion post, let me recommend that their post on wild meat should be avoided if the sight of whole cooked animals makes you queasy.

Now, this whole infusion business has become the trend of the moment (witness the NYT’s is telling you that it is) and I hate to pile on… no I don’t.

First a few words about pomegranates in Jewish life. Regarded as one of the Seven Species on the Land of Israel (the others being wheat, barley, olives, figs, grapes and dates) they pop up frequently in the bible. The shape was (and still is) used on decorative pieces. The head of the high priest’s staff was a pomegranate as are the decorative handle covers of a Torah cover.  The pomegranate is said to contain 613 seeds, corresponding to the number of commandants (or mitzvot) in the Torah. Of course you know you have a Jewish pomegranate when the calyx (or tip) is a perfect six pointed star.

On a more prosaic note. The English word grenade is a corruption of the Spanish for pomegranate- granada (as in, granada de mano or hand grenade). In Hebrew the same cognate is used and both the fruit and the weapon is a rimon. So be careful what you ask for at the market!

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Filed under Drinks, Fruit and Vegtables, Gadgets and Gear, Holidays, Rosh Hashana

Beer, and some cheese

Painstaking research was conducted

What does a Jew do for Christmas? Well this Jew travels to cold weather (which we lack around the Bay) and enjoys the holiday in the company of his non-Jewish relations. I actually did some of the cooking for Christmas dinner this year. I made a roast turkey, gravy from turkey fat, and a Bailey’s Irish cream cheese cake.

But, how could I journey to the heartland of America, Wisconsin and not talk about beer. Now, California has a great beer culture with dozens of small craft brewers offering their wares at Whole Foods and Bev Mo. But during a quick two day run from Racine to Lone Rock took us past several small breweries, all worth the trip.

Most of these places don’t even Pasteurize their beer. This means it cannot not be stored at room temperature and therefore generally doesn’t get shipped more than an hour’s drive away. But if you ever get out to Madison, then point the car west and make a beer and cheese run.

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Filed under Drinks, Goyish, Other Stuff

Honey

With Rosh Hashana approaching I’ve been contemplating recipes with honey (including honey cake, but more on that later). When I realized just how much honey I was going to need for baking over the next week, and looked in my pantry, I came to the conclusion that I have a little bit of a honey problem:

lots o'honey

lots o'honey

I love honey. I love honey in any sweet item. I love topping vanilla ice cream with honey. I love honey in my tea. I’ve been know to occasionally stick a spoon in a jar of honey and lick it.  Due to my ridiculous hay fever, I have also developed an obsession over local honeys, because someone once casually mentioned to me that it might be a homeopathic remedy.  Seriously, set up a stand at my farmers market, tell me its local and I’ll pay way more than I

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Filed under Drinks, Rosh Hashana