Tag: dinner

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.

xoxo,

ms. fresh scratch

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a gluten-free dinner? yes!

fresh scratch, gluten free, asian short ribs

fresh scratch, gluten-free, dinner, asian ribs

We have dear, dear friends who can’t have gluten, so I am always on the look out for a really good {and I mean really good as in it shatters the misconception that g-f means grody and blah} gluten-free recipe to turn into a dinner for them the next time we have them over {which is never often enough!}.

Since Matt gives music lessons in our living room every Wednesday until just about dinner time, the crock pot has become my best friend on Wednesdays. I’m busy, he’s busy, and the crock pot allows me the option of taking the girls and getting the heck out of my house until dinner time. I mean, have you ever heard the same chords played week in and week out? Remember when Journey said lovin’ a music man ain’t always what it’s supposed to be?

They had no idea how right they were.

I have an entire Pinterest board related to crock pot things, and I’ve been slowly working my way through it, one week at a time. I’m not even going to try to say I’ve adapted this recipe for Asian Short Ribs by 100 Days of Real Food, because it’s practically perfect in every way. The Chinese 5-spice powder is becoming one of my pantry staples – don’t skip it in the recipe! Also, the prep before you turn the crock pot on is incredibly minimal.

fresh scratch, gluten free, asian short ribs

About 45 minutes before dinner time, I rinse some rice (brown or white), using my trusty-stove-top method to cook it. It makes a perfect bed for the ribs. I also set a pot of water to boil and steam some broccoli. Other firm veggies would be nice, or even a batch of fried rice.  

The secret to what makes this amazing is the soy sauce glaze. Soy sauce can be purchased g-f, so holla’! Double the batch. Trust me. You will want to bathe your broccoli in this, too.

Whip up a cocktail, throw it all on the table, and wow your guests. Let them think it was a lot harder than it was ;).

You’re welcome!

PS: Need some more crock pot ideas? Here’s a post where I rounded up some of my favorites.