Tag: Deb Perelman

put on your yarmulke.

Fresh Scratch, Menorah, HanukkahI didn’t grow up celebrating Hanukkah. It’s one of those things I’ve created space for in my life as an adult. I was drawn to it years ago when I noticed on my family tree that my great-oma’s last name was Morowetz. I pieced together a story somehow, and that story led me to purchase the gorgeous menorah in this picture, hand-forged in Vermont by some blacksmith in his barn. Because – come on! – this is my menorah we are talking about. It simply had to be folksy.

Long, long ago, somewhere up my family tree – maybe past what I can see – these eight nights were a big deal. I don’t want to forget that. I want to remember it and honor it. A lot was lost for these celebrations to continue. It feels more right each year that I should make space for these flames.

It’s funny what we come to know about ourselves. Some of it takes so long to rise up to the surface. When my girls and I light these candles at sundown during this season of hustle and bustle, it’s like my soul sighs a sigh of great relief. Everything goes quiet and still inside of me. It is indeed a holy time for a girl whose idea of “holy” is generally pretty unconventional. It feels right.

These candles and this ritual that we hold for just a hair over a week center me somehow. They pull me into myself. They pull me out of myself. The stillness makes me feel a gratitude that moves me. When the shamash is lit each night, I almost feel a memory that is not mine. It exists further back. I feel tethered to something that’s hard to explain. It’s the weird deja vu feeling I get when I am in eastern Europe; it somehow feels connected to the way I love the grittiness of those cities and towns because the grittiness makes the beauty sparkle all the more. It’s kind of like life, isn’t it?

So this is my menorah in my new front window. I think it looks best here of all the homes it’s been in. I will take that as a bit of holiness, as well. Look what happens when we just feel our way through everything – we stumble sometimes into the divine.

The runner-up to lighting these candles every night of Hanukkah? Hanukkah dinner. I do not even know if this is a thing. But I have made it quite the thing, so let’s just go with it. I just finished up the dishes from tonight’s big feast {dish duty was accompanied by a dog at my feet and this! podcast! with! bruce!}. My cousin Evie and her family were over earlier, and kids were running around, we were drinking wine, I burned my hand in the oil… and we still managed to feast on brisket, noodle kugel, and latkes with applesauce. If you could scratch and sniff that photo for the smells all around that menorah, you’d want to write home about it.

There is absolutely zero I change in these recipes when I make them, so we will call them “borrowed.” Just click on the links above – the brisket goes in the crock pot all day and couldn’t be easier, the noodle kugel isn’t much more than mixing some stuff with some par-boiled noodles and throwing it in the oven, and the latkes aren’t too scary to make, even if they are from a Martha recipe.

There’s one more night left, homies. To quote Adam Sandler, “have a happy, happy, happy, happy Hanukkah.”

Or whatever it is that brings you quiet deep down in the places that matter.


ms. fresh scratch



monday meal madness!

Dorie Greenspan's gougeres

Monday morning the day after “springing ahead” is not the ideal time for one’s eldest daughter to decide to get up twenty minutes early to make everyone waffles for the first time, as I am writing, but, um, at least she got up early for it. Send good vibes out for us…

It’s Monday. And Monday means sharing our week in dinners with you. Here’s what was cookin’ in the Fresh Scratch kitchen:

The Pioneer Woman's Whiskey Peach ChickenWhiskey peach chicken {courtesy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier} and some mashed potatoes hit the spot last Monday night. Technically this was whiskey and bourbon chicken, but who cares? It was tasty.Spaghetti with ZucchiniI saw that the Mister had spaghetti on the menu, and I was so excited! I do love a good, simple plate of the stuff.

However, I sat down to this. It was a bit greener and more healthy than I had been looking forward to. Dang you, Mark Bittman {recipe from The Mini Minimalist: Simple Recipes for Satisfying Meals}!

{the cool placemat is on loan from local shop, Red Door}

Dorie Greenspan's gougeresI tried my hand at making gougeres a couple weeks ago. They were weird enough that I didn’t want to make them again. But when I added the fabulous Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours, into my rotation and saw them near the front of the the book, I decided to try again. After all, Dorie lives in France half the year and knows what she’s talking about.

Wow – these were like night and day with those by Deb Perelman {whom you know I love!}. Light, airy cheese puffs – they went perfectly as the star of my French plowman’s dinner.

A “plowman’s” meal is basically just a cleaning out of your fridge – a little of this, a little of that.BLT with homemade mayoI had another very at-home weekend while it poured buckets outside, so I decided to try my hand at homemade mayonnaise from The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making. Easy, especially with an immersion blender to help out.

The mayonnaise lent a lovely flavor to our blts one night, and I believe that homemade mayo is the secret to the mayo served with the fries in France. Mystery solved!chicken with coconut riceMark Bittman redeemed himself last night, as Matt made this chicken and coconut rice from The Mini Minimalist: Simple Recipes for Satisfying Meals. Very, very tasty and filling.

I think that rice will make a nice breakfast this morning if this waffle experiment goes south…

{black tray in the last two photos also on-loan from Red Door}