Archive | September, 2011

The making of a culinary Jew

30 Sep

I grew up going to Sunday school and had my Bat Mitzvah at 13–like any good Jewish girl. But over the years, I felt myself drawn much more to the cultural aspects of Judaism than to the religious ones. And so I started spending fewer hours at shul, and focused more on celebrating the holidays with friends and family. I had become a cultural Jew.

Years later, I’m still very much a cultural Jew–though I now prefer the term culinary Jew.

Because let’s be real, Jewish culture is very much about food and wine.

So today, on this second day of Rosh Hashanah, I’m here at home surrounded my dirty pots and pans with flour dusting my counters and clothes. On the menu, my grandmother’s chocolate roll and apple cake, round challah, kugel and brisket.

Round challot

It’s turning into a busy day, but it’s worth it–because it means that I’ll get to celebrate the Jewish New Year with food, friends and wine.

  • I use this challah recipe, shaping it into round braids (to signify a smooth New Year);
  • You can find my kugel recipe here. I use low-fat sour cream and cottage cheese to make it a bit healthier;
  • I usually use my aunt’s brisket recipe with onion dip mix and BBQ sauce, but tried this one for the holidays and really liked the garlicky flavor;
  • I’ll post my apple cake and chocolate roll recipes on the blog. I’m actually attempting to make the apple cake gluten free this year so that my friend with Celiacs can enjoy it too!

Vintage chic

29 Sep

Back in college, I did everything I could to give my apartment a clean, modern feel. I wanted black furniture, crisp edges and minimalism. How times have changed…

Now, if you were to ask me to describe my style I’d probably tell you that it’s “vintage chic modern.” Because I still love clean lines and a crisp feel, but I’ve started to lose some of the minimalism and bring more colors and tchatchkis into my style. Take West Elm and CB2, add in some estate sale flair, and you have my perfect apartment.

My apartment, which I share with my design-ambivalent boyfriend who let’s me decorate at whim, is still a work in progress–but I’m loving exploring the city and blogs to get more ideas.

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Peanut butter/chocolate/pretzel/caramel goodness

29 Sep

My office is very serious about birthdays.

When I first started here two years ago, there was a woman Sarah who baked something for every birthday. When she left DC a year ago, she approached me with a very serious request that I carry on the tradition and bring in birthday treats for every birthday. We’re not a big office (30 people in the DC office), but it was really important to her that we have something for every birthday–and don’t do monthly celebrations.

And so the torch was passed to me.

It’s been a year, and I think I’m doing a good job of filling the big shoes that Sarah left behind. Some of my favorites have included mini cheesecake cupcakes, samoas bars, chocolate Guinness cupcakes with peanut butter frosting, and today’s peanut butter/chocolate/pretzel/caramel things. I don’t really know what to call them, but they’re pretty damn great!

Peanut butter/chocolate/pretzel/caramel goodness

Not only are these tasty treats extremely rich and delicious, but they’re also pretty simple to make–although it’s a bit time consuming to make 50 of them.

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What happened to brunching?

29 Sep

At a Nats game

As many of you know, this isn’t my first blog. Back in the day my good friend Emily and I had a brunch blog. And so we wrote brunch reviews, and we wrote about making brunch, and we wrote about what makes brunch brunch. But writing about brunch can be somewhat limiting, especially when traditional brunch is reserved for the weekends. With so much brunching, plus our jobs and our other hobbies–we got a bit burnt out, and the blog died a slow and painful death.

But I’m back! And my DC is going to be about so much more than brunching–because my DC doesn’t stop at brunch. my DC includes jazz in the park, Screen on the Green, Crafty Bastards, estate sales, dinners out on the town, happy hours, plays, shopping, weekends trips, fixing up the apartment, hosting out of town friends, cooking, exploring and so much more. Why limit myself when my DC is bursting at the seams with adventures to do be had?

So join me on this adventure as we explore my DC!