Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Another Hit

it is midnite in the holy city of zefat. my tu b'shvat seder/ soiree was a big hit. i spent the entire day, from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., arranging the fruits and table. i woke up at 9:00 a.m. and got right to work. i never had a coffee. it was like getting ready for the real pesach seder.

i started the morning with making turkey meatballs and cooking barley and wheat. i de- pipped the pomegranate and decided to count the pips. i got up to 27 and gave up. they say that there are 613 pips in every pomegranate. i vow every year that i am going to count all the pips. who knows? maybe next year.

when we were growing up in brooklyn we used to call pomegranates, chinese apples. i think that i actually, believed they came from chinatown. who knows? maybe they did. i also remember, that in hebrew school, they gave us a piece of carob and an apple for tu b'shvat, every year. they called it buxor. we never ate it. it was dry and really hard and you could break your teethe on it. it also tasted horrible. i love it now.

last night i took care of sahar for a bit, because gal got the flu again. sahar came home with very red cheeks. i guessed he was sick again, too. i rocked him back and forth until he fell asleep and put him in his crib. i quickly, got back to my seder preparations. he woke up shortly after, but his mom took care of him. i stayed put in my kitchen and made a sephardi tsimis with prunes, raisins, apricots, walnuts and peaches. they make it with a lot of fried onions and grease. it is tastey! i added a bit of cinnamon and a bit of tumeric but i didn't add any sweetener. the onions were sweet enough.

at 12:30 a.m. i made a flourless cake for tu b'shvat. one of my guests is off gluten. it was a recipe that i found on the net, last year. it is basically: 2 cups of shredded coconut, 6 oz. of carob powder, 2/3 cup of coconut milk, 1 egg and 4 tbs of date honey. it really was a cake. very rich, chocolatey like, sweet and very satisfying. the recipe called for honey and cocoa. i made the switch.

i made these very cute, miniature potted plants, for the party favors. i had been to the seniors' center yesterday and saw something like that, which truly inspired me to make some, too. i improvised and used little plastic shot glasses for the pots. i filled them up with crushed carob and a whole pecan nut, for the dirt. i used half of a dried kiwi for the leaf and a dried cherry for the flower. i used a toothe pick to hold the two fruits together. it looked like a real succulent flower.

i was still inspired so i then made fried lychee 'donuts'. they were more like tiny fritters. i also made an orange, almond, bulgar and quinoa salad. i played around with the table setting and decided to opt for real dishes instead of paper. i made a couple of floral arrangements in large brandy snifters out of the myrtle and mini roses.

suddenly around 12:00 p.m. i felt really sick. i realized that i had gotten the flu. i was dizzy and achey and i just wanted to collapse on the sofa. i was only expecting a few guests and i thought about cancelling. at one point, my arm went numb and i thought that i was having a stroke or heart attack. somehow, i muddled through for another 6 hours on my feet. i even washed the floors and polished all the furniture. i took a whole lot of flu remedy. i started to halucinate just before my guests arrived.

a couple of hours before the seder, i started receiving phone calls from women who wanted to come. one woman brought a friend, another woman skipped a wedding, another woman decided to brave the cold, etc. i ended up with 10 guests. i started to panick that i didn't have enough food. i was in no shape to do another thing. i decided that what i had was enough.

almost everyone had the chestnut soup and some had seconds. it is always a huge hit. the lychee donuts were nice. i also stuffed some lychees with hazelnuts. the fresh fruit salad with kumquats, papaya, kiwis, tangerines and persimmon was lovely. i think that i was the only person who ate it. the spicy, lychee, coconut, tomatoey, turkey meatballs was just enough. some had alot and some didn't want any. i made some poached fish for the gluten free, turkey free guest, who really enjoyed it.

i did all of the washing up before i hit the blog. there was no way that i was going to wake up to that mess, tomorrow morning. the 4 small shots of wine cleared my brain. now i'm just tired. i invited everyone to come back for a purim party in a few months. i have time to plan that out. maybe i'll make a theme. i could tell everyone to come dressed in 50's or 60's clothes. that's an idea!

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