it is 5:00 p.m. in the holy city of zefat. i hosted 4 guests for a festival lunch yesterday. i went over to friends for the holiday dinner. i had sampled my lasagna and cheesecake at around 4:00 p.m., so eating a large meal was out of the question.
i got up at around 7:00 a.m. on tuesday morning. my grandson came upstairs and entered my bed at around that time. he didn't stay long so i got up and started my food preparations. in the old days, i would have made a white cake in the shape of the ten commandments. i would have made a cheesecake, an eggplant quiche and or eggplant parmesan, blueberry cheese blintzes, and a lasagna. i would have made a beef roulade in wine, meatballs in tomato sauce and some turkey meat for the evening meal , plus several kinds of kugels. that is when i had a crowd.
all i could muster up was a cheese lasagna and a cheesecake, this year. i bought some low fat creamy goat cheese, goat butter and lox. instead of a fruit platter, i served grapes and cherries. i also made a tossed lettuce salad with garlic and dill mayonnaise dressing, and served black olives. it seemed more than adequate. i served two types of icecream with the cake.
i found a recipe on the internet for n.y deli style cheesecake. it called for cream cheese and sour cream and a cookie crumb crust.. i usually make one that uses soft cheese, pudding, sour cream and whipped cream and no crust. this was a new day. a new era. a new me. a new recipe was called for. i got out of bed and entered the kitchen. i put my caramelized biscuits into the the mini food processor. in the past, i would have used a hammer and gotten out all of my aggression. this is a new zelda. i then melted my butter. the recipe called for a spring form pan. i don't own one. i used a large round aluminum pan. so from the start, it wasn't going to be as high as an authentic n.y. deli cheesecake. shame on me!
i reclaimed my electric hand mixer from my daughter-in-law, who was keeping it safe in her closet for me. i used the mixer to beat up the cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. i told you this is a new zelda. i then baked the crust for 10 minutes and let it cool off. i was following the recipe, religiously, something new for me. i even added the eggs, one at a time. i finally folded the cheese mixture into the pie crust and it was time to mix up the sour cream and lemon juice.
usually, the sour cream is incorporated into the cake. and then a lot of times, it is used as a topping for the cake and added at the end of baking time. this recipe called for the sour cream to be added from the beginning and baked for the entire time. the temperature on the recipe seemed too low and the amount of baking time also, seemed inaccurate. i tried to readjust the two. i let it sit in the toaster oven for two hours, with the oven door ajar, as the recipe stated.
in the meantime, my son took me to the supermarket below. i needed fruit, challah, drinks, coffee and milk. i got back and refrigerated the cake. it didn't sink very much. i started to grate my cheese. i couldn't find mozzarella with the appropriate kashrut, so i used the regular israeli 'yellow' cheese. we have precooked lasagna noodles here. they are rectangle blocks. you fit 3 across the pan. i started to make the sauce. i simply, used tomato paste. i added some olive oil, oregano and garlic powder. i have always used fresh garlic, but i couldn't be bothered. it also doesn't agree with me anymore. i quickly, assembled the lasagna and put it in the oven.
i had a long phone conversation with a good friend and then washed the floor. i tossed around tons of soapy water. at 4:00 pm, my son came home from work demanding cheesecake and lasagna. i was flustered. i took out the cheesecake and started to slice it , when all the cream came running out. i was flabbergasted. the cheesecake was a disaster. i panicked. i cut up some lasagna for my son and wife. i wondered where could i possibly buy more cheese to make a new cake at that late hour.
i asked my girlfriend the baking maven, if i should re bake it. i gave it another 20 minutes and it seemed congealed. the only problem, was that it had cracked in a million places. it looked awful. if only, i had some whipped cream or jam to cover the top. i found about 3 tablespoons of sour cream and i smeared it all over the top of the cake. i baked it for about 10 minutes and voila! it looked okay. thank goodness, my son was such a nudnik. i would have served raw and runny cheesecake to my friends.
when the time came to go to my friends for dinner, i was utterly exhausted. it was freezing outside, too. i wore my woolen cape and i was cold. i wasn't very hungry, having sampled a good amount of runny cheesecake in a cup. i passed on the chicken soup and other dishes and only ate some chicken. i didn't have room for dessert, either. as soon as i got home, i changed into my robe and literally, passed out. i woke up at 3:00 a.m. i couldn't remember falling asleep.
i woke up at 7:00 a.m. and drank some tea. it wasn't very cold outside so i sat on the porch. i had some cheesecake. it was marvelous. suddenly it started to thunder really loudly and a torrential rain erupted. i couldn't believe it. it never pours on shavuot. i sat and watched for a while until it thundered so loud, that i jumped up and ran back into the house. the dogs were beside themselves.
i washed the lettuce and fruit, cut up the cheese and lox and set the table. i opened the dry red wine. i made it look very festive. i used my mother's fancy dairy dishes and champagne glasses. i had picked roses and greens the day before. i bought pretty napkins, too.
if poured for a few hours. finally, at around 11:00 a.m it slowed down a bit. i made my move and hurried to shul. i met my friends there. we arrived home at around 1:00 p.m. the sun finally came out around 12:00 p.m. you didn't smell any barbecues going this year.