Jamie Geller's Blog

 

Joy of Israel 5 – City of David Tour

 

Contributed by:

 

18 comments | Leave Comment

 

I had lots of trouble writing this intro because my experience at the City of David, Biblical Jerusalem was so extraordinary, so moving, so breathtaking, so meaningful and so emotional. So… instead of continuing to try and put it into words I figured I would just show you. Watch this.


 

9 Tips for How to Be Your Own Sous Chef *Giveaway*

 

Contributed by:

 

32 comments | Leave Comment

 

Getting ready for holidays doesn’t have to be stressful. Follow my 9 tips for preparing and planning ahead and you will be cool as a cucumber.

Starting with Rosh Hashanah and prepping for a months’ worth of holiday meals for the masses can be  mentally and emotionally overwhelming even before you step foot  into the kitchen.  I find the best way I can help myself is to be my own sous chef.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #9 – Always Have Dressings,...

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

On any given day my fridge is filled with no less than 3 homemade dressings like this Carrot Ginger Dressing or this Caesar Dressing or this Asian Cabbage Salad Dressing or a Mustard Green Bean Dressing.   I make triple and quadruple batches of dressing, store in sealable containers so I am ready to toss at a moment’s notice.  Similarly there is always a bag of Homemade Whole Wheat Croutons (made from my leftover challah) and sliced sundried tomatoes in the fridge alongside sliced scallions and chopped herbs plus all manner of cut up veg (see #5) to ensure an exciting salad is always a possibility.  Also, my favorite spice rubs like this MSG Free Homemade Onion Soup Mix makes making chicken as easy as pie. (Which really is not as easy as making chicken, but you know what I mean.)

Phew OK so these were my top #9 tips for helping yourself with holiday cooking.  Now it’s your turn.  Share the love and post at least 1 tip with all of us in the comments below.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #8 – Time and Place For Day...

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

With all these prep ahead tips there are still dishes or elements of dishes that should be made day of.  Point here is to pre-prep the patchke stuff and leave the last minute cooking for dishes best served fresh and finishing touches.  I like to think of the day of work as assembly day.  I grab a my already cleaned and cut chicken, already in the baking dish, from the fridge, add a handful of already sliced onions, and rub with my ready-to go homemade rub (see tip #9).

Being organized like this including the essential step of having prepped your veg (ever notice how much longer a beautiful salad takes than a Brisket!) will save you from making each visit to the kitchen epic.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #7 – Label, Label, Label

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

When you freeze label with detail: the dish, the date, and how many it serves. If I know I am having 15 for one meal and 25 for another meal I write “Fricassee for 25” or “Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup for 15”. This way I don’t get confused and pull out Creamy Coconut Carrot Soup for 8 when I am expecting double the number of people.

An InLinkz Link-up



 

Holiday Prep Post #6 – Cook Thematically

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

It’s good to organize your cooking and prep work by theme:

Day 1 wash and prep your veg


 

Holiday Prep Tip #5 – Chop, Chop, Chop

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

Now is when you really earn your sous chef stripes.  (Say that 10 times fast!)  I chop, cut, slice, dice, ribbon, julienne and more about once a week.  I think about my menu and cut accordingly. I often have carrots 3-ways in my fridge: in coins (for roasting and snacking), julienned (for stir fries and starchy sides) and ribboned for salads.

I filet my bell peppers (includes washing and removing the seeds and ribs) and slice them into strips so I can easily grab a bunch and use them as is and/or quickly dice without having to wash and clean.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #4 – Don’t Be Scared...

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

Now that I live in Israel most meat comes frozen. There are fresh butchers here and there but for the most part I buy my roasts, chop meat, and stew beef, frozen. Similarly whole sides of salmon and fish fillets come frozen. Fishmongers are harder to come by than butchers. And because year-round I don’t have time for a big shop more than once a week I buy lots of fresh chicken – on the bone, in cutlets, in strips, ground – and freeze that as well. This way, I can just shop from my freezer before cooking.

An InLinkz Link-up



 

Holiday Prep Tip #3 – Organize Your Shopping...

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

Now that you know your menu, including intended repeats organize your list by shelf stable and fresh produce.  Have you ever noticed that stores start to run out of stuff as the end of the holiday draws to a close?  Of course this is most prevalent on Passover but it happens during the High Holiday season as well.  We usually do 1 BIG and by BIG I mean HUGE shop at the start and then fill in with perishables and last minute items throughout the month.  This way you have everything (or most things) you know you need at the ready.

When you organize your list though, be sure to include any perishables you need for bulk cooking within that first shop.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #2 – Consider Encore...

 

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

When planning your menu, consider your company and time between each holiday meal and don’t shy away from serving the same thing more than once over the course of the month.  Serve the same soup the first night of RH and the first night of Sukkot or the same brisket Shabbos of the 3-day Rosh Hashanah Yom Tov and Shabbos Chol Hamoed (Sukkos).  Point is, don’t make 3 soups, 5 briskets, or even 8 desserts.  Cook in bulk by doubling/tripling/quadrupling recipes that freeze well.

Freeze in portions the size of your crowd and pull from the freezer in advance of the meal.  This way you are not starting from scratch before each holiday.  Alternate your menu based on company (so you don’t repeat food with repeat guests – although that wouldn’t be the worst thing) and proximity of meals.


 

Holiday Prep Tip #1 – Plan Your Menus Now

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

By now, I mean right now.  Tomorrow is ok (now is better!) but just don’t let it wait a week.  Plan your menu for the entire holiday season at once, the earlier the better, from the first Rosh Hashanah meal to the last Simchat Torah seudah.  Crazy Fact: There are at least 16 meals if you live in Israel and 20 meals if you live outside of Israel.


 

Brown Bag Lunch Ideas

 

Contributed by:

 

12 comments | Leave Comment

 

A while back I went looking for brown bags in Israel, not for lunches for a project that I can’t even recall now, and guess what?  I’m still looking.  So if anyone knows where I can find some just say so in the comments.  Maybe by then I’ll remember why I needed them.

But in terms of interesting “brown bag” lunch ideas for our linkup this month we always have dribs and drabs of leftovers in small little cute Snapwear containers in our fridge.  Not enough to feed the whole family for dinner (again) but just enough for one or two lucky customers.


 

The Best Way To Use Leftover Chicken

 

Contributed by:

 

7 comments | Leave Comment

 

My husband has this thing he’s always saying. Ready for it?

He’s always telling me to “eat the house”. It really drives me nutso. It just sounds so barbaric. When we were younger my sister always said “busted” when I was caught with my hand in the cookie jar. I always thought “busted” especially the way she delivered it sounded kind of truck driver-ish. And I pretty much thought nothing could annoy me more than her “busted”. Comes along hubby with “eat the house” and I almost forgot about “busted” until now.


 

DIY Cake Decorating

 

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

I’m not an artist by any stretch of the imagination. Yes you can call me creative, however I am creative in a theoretical sense. But when it comes to hands-on artistry I cannot be relied on to do much more than color in the lines. I never took a course (or even a class) in cake decorating nor do I own my own set of pastry bags and tips. I always borrow from my kind and patient neighbor Robin. She is patient because sometimes it takes me days to return her cake decorating equipment and she is kind because she never says anything about it.

When it comes to my kids’ birthday cakes, I feel so much pressure. People can’t wait to see what I turn out. They expect cakes of grandeur and beauty, cakes that are whimsical and delicious and most of all professional looking. But I wasn’t trained for this. Suddenly you become a mom and you’re expected to be able to do something fun with frosting. But because I am creative in the theoretical sense, I’ve figured out a way to make my kids and myself look good. Now with no skill or fancy equipment (other than an offset spatula) you can too!


 

Family Dinner, A Must

 

Contributed by:

 

7 comments | Leave Comment

 

My parents are European.  Which means lots of things, for instance, we yell a lot.  When I’d ask my dad “why are you and mommy and grandma and grandpa and Aunt Pat and Uncle Frankie and everyone always screaming at each other?”  “We’re not screaming” he’d answer loudly, “this is just how we talk.”  Apparently we’re a rowdy bunch.  My AMERICAN husband is always shushing me.   Making that lower-your-voice-waving-motion with his hand when I talk to him, on the phone, to the kids, I like to think I am just full of joie de vivre but I guess I do kinda come across as noisy.

I also inherited the old country habit of eating the day’s main meal EARLY.  On the weekends we always ate dinner (which was really lunch you see) at 2 o’clock and on the weekdays we ate dinner at 4.  Which means during the week we almost never ate together as a family, with my dad, cause he was ALWAYS at work.