Thanks to my two fantastic Jewish roomies in LA, when fall rolls around, I get excited for the Jewish holidays and their gift of out of this world food traditions.
Do you think I married a Jewish man by accident?! I think NOT.
Al’s favorite traditional Jewish foods include; matzo ball soup and potato latkes.
Last year I attempted matzo ball soup from scratch and accidentally added so many cloves that it was a bigger culinary bomb than anything I’ve ever attempted. This year I planned to redeem myself, but I’m suffering from a MAJOR case of preggo brain (32 weeks!) and ended up ordering from Manny’s Deli.
HOWEVER- I did re create my famous latkes which are honestly so stupid simple, that anyone can make them. And now I’ll share them with you.
The Wifey’s Shiska Potato Latkes
What You Need/Grocery List:
- a bag of frozen hash browns (they should be left out to thaw before starting your cooking)
- a small yellow onion
- two eggs
- vegetable oil
- salt and pepper
- sour cream/greek yogurt and or apple sauce for dipping
- a strainer
- a slotted spoon
- a large plate and paper towels
What To Do:
- pour your vegetable oil until it’s about a half an inch in a large pan and heat on low/medium. you DONT want it to burn but it needs to pass the sizzle test when ready. (drop a piece of hash brown in there and if it sizzles then it’s ready to go)
- put your thawed bag of hash browns into a strainer, cover with a napkin or paper towel and smash them down till most of the water has drained
- chop your yellow onion into small pieces (you can also buy pre chopped onion)
- dump 3 tablespoons of flour into a bowl
- good job! now add your two eggs, and chopped onion, plus a dash of salt and pepper and stir it all up.
- it should mix pretty well and look like this. now add your hash browns and give them a bath of your egg mix
- now is a GREAT time to check your oil since we’re almost ready to start cooking.
- now is also a great time to get out a large plate and line it with paper towels for blotting.
- oil is perfect? great, use your hands and roll these little bad boys into little balls- about the same size as if you were making cookies. (not huge, but not tiny)
- now, CAREFULLY lower about 3 of the potato balls into the oil at a time. If you drop them, the oil will fly everywhere, ruin your cute outfit and burn like hell…so don’t. then flatten them into “pancakes” with your slotted spoon.
- let them cook for about two mins- please resist the urge to check them every 10 seconds or they will fall apart.
- after your 2 mins are up , then you are allowed to pick them up with your slotted spoon and take a look at the other side- are they golden brown? great- then flip them over. if not- wait another 30 seconds or so and check again.
- depending on how you and your love like them cooked, they should look something like this. if you prefer more well done, let them sit longer (duh).
- let the pancakes sizzle for around two mins on the other side, do a check and if they look ready, ONE AT A TIME- use your slotted spoon to lift them out (let the oil drain thru the spoon) and put them on the plate with paper towel, blot them.
oh hey, aren’t I pretty??
- you’ll want to serve these right away – unless you are cooking for a ton of people and in that case, cover them in foil to keep them warm
- serve them with dipper of your choice and watch everyone fall in love with you as they eat them. MAZEL.
our holiday table for two
Let’s be honest- having people over is stressful…unless:
A: You are a total dude (like my husband) and you think a few bags of doritos and burger patties =’s party central
B: You are a gazillionaire and have party planners, caters, and servers
C: You just don’t give a snake’s rattle and you enjoy things as they come (if this is you, let’s talk…I’ll $$$ for your info on how you do it)
You have The Wifey’s Survival Advice!
I used to attend BBQ’s like a deer in headlights- stunned by my friend’s abilities to put on a culinary show and was terrified to try to follow their efforts.
Then I realized something: people like to eat. And drink. And enjoy themselves. If you serve them enough to fill them up they will be happy.
Also? People love tacos. Which is how I came up with Wifey Fiesta Night- a DIY extravaganza. And now I’m sharing the wealth*.
You ready? Let’s Get Wife’d Up!
What You Need/Grocery List:
- fish/shrimps/meat/chicken of your choice (I like to get pre seasoned shrimp and fish from the counter if they have have it)
- tortillas (I polled the ladies and flour wins every time) – a package of flour tortillas is perfect
- salsa/pico de gallo- it’s your choice (I’d include a mild and medium…if you serve a pico de gallo- you also get your onion serving in there)
- gauc- make your own or buy pre made – *I like to buy pre made
- cheese- Mexican blend cheese ideal
- sour cream/greek yogurt
- hot sauces of choice
- tortilla chips! ( I like to have a low fat/organic option and an old stand by as well)
- put out every hot sauce you own- the more the merrier
- I like to serve a fruit salad as well, for those who don’t feel like Mexican
- cut up a few avocados and serve those – they make everything look a little more fancy
- a tequila drink or Coronas with cut limes
What To Do:
- KNOW YOUR GUEST ARRIVAL TIME- For a fiesta- most things need to happen right before or as guests arrive
- fire up your grill
- put our your guac, hot sauce, salsas, cheese, sour cream/yogut, chips…..
- set out tortillas in tin foil and put to the side ( they will go on the grill for 2 mins per side at the last moment)
- grill ears of corn for about 10 mins on medium, turning every 4 mins or so, season with salt. pepper and a little butter. Cut off ear and serve as a side.
- microwave a bag of instant Spanish rice (90 seconds) and serve in a fancy bowl
- Amy’s brand refried beans (or any brand really), is so simple to make- put the beans in a microwave safe dish, nuke for a min or so and stir, serve in a fancy bowl
- cut some limes up for people to squeeze over the shrimp/fish/meat and beer
- throw your shrimp on the grill, cook for about 2 mins per side or until shrimp isn’t pink or translucent
- toss foil wrapped tortillas on – 2 mins per side- then serve on a plate or in a basket , covered with a napkin
- set everything else out with some pretty plates (paper or not), silverware and napkins and FIESTA!
Today I had my first foray with raw meat in the slow cooker. It didn’t go well…at first.
I dumped my package of pre sliced tenders into my croc pot, poured some Famous Dave’s BBQ sauce in there, mixed it up and set it on low for 7 hours.
About 5 hours into the simmer sesh- I smelled a combo of delish bbq (I know I don’t eat meat but I like the scent- whatever) and burnt something.
This is what I saw when I opened the lid:
What did I do? Oh maybe salvage the chicken in the center and pull it out- NO. I decided to stir the pot around and see what happened.
I dipped my pinkie into the sauce and bravely took a taste (even though it had been doing the tango with the chicken) and it tasted like B.S.
Now, at this point I had to make a serious decision – do I scrap the whole thing and saw we should order dinner in or run out to the grocery- buy more chicken and try a different tactic?!??
I am NO quitter, I promised Alex dinner so I ran out and got some more chicken.
This time I mixed 2 cups of Dave’s with a cup of Italian dressing, 1/4 cup of brown sugar and a dash of worstescher sauce and set the croc on high for 3 hours.
This is what happened:
OH HELLS YES.
I served it with some rolls, broccoli, cheesy instant rice and asparagus. And he loved it.
Well …to be fair, he said the sauce could have been a bit thicker- I’m thinking that tomorrow’s lunch will be the perfect consistency.
I hope at least.
I steamed the broccoli then roasted it for a bit in the oven with some lemon olive oil and seasoning
another glamour shot of the bbq chic
Hey Wifey’s! Are the holidays killing anyone else’s waistline or is it just mine??
The parties, cocktails, endless apps and obligations- kill me now, right?!?
Here’s the Wifey Tip of the week; enjoy the party food and when you’re not spreading holiday cheer- whip up this Detox Shili to eat and share.
WIfey Detox Shilli (Soup/Chili)
What You Need:
- two cans of fire roasted tomatoes * in the canned veggie isle*
- a can of corn or bag of fire roasted corn *same isle or the freezer section- I love Trader Joe’s fire roasted frozen corn*
- a can of kidney beans
- a can of black beans
- a can of navy beans
- a can of chick peas
- 1/2 tsp of cumin or taco seasoning *in the seasoning or ethnic isle*
- fresh rosemary, thyme and sage or dried- 1/4 tsp each
- 1 tsp salt
- 1tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 2 tsp olive oil
- parmesan cheese- shredded
- a large pot
What To Do:
- put the 2 tsp olive oil in the large pot and heat on low
- open all cans
- dump all ingredients into the large pot and stir
- add cumin or taco seasoning packet, salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme and stir
- add a dash of cheese, if you wish…serve, and eat with no regrets
Cooking can be confusing-watch me make this here
Everyone likes music, right?
And the great thing about music is that it transports us to moments and connects us with memories of people.
My brother Kyle turned 30 this week and hosted a dinner party at Michael Mina in SF for 35 of his closest friends and family.
I hijacked the paperless post invite months ago and sent each guest a direct message, asking them to send me a song that reminds them of Kyle. I then planned to present these menu-style on each place setting and surprise him at the dinner.
After some Google time, I found the site: MenuMustHaves and used them to create and print the menus. They were prompt, arrived on time and looked great. Plus they make it pretty simple to create any form of menu you can dream up.
Here is the finished product:
NOW, what I didn’t plan for was Kyle to also make menus (with the meal on them) for the table, so I had the servers bring mine with the first course- which worked well if you want to do both types of menu.
Kyle also had personalized coasters for each guest with their name on them (served as place settings) and what they meant to him on the back. He said he had them done thru Etsy and let me tell you- they were an EXTREMELY thoughtful touch.
I would show you the back of Alex’s coaster, but it’s very personal and thoughtful
He also gave everyone “Birthday Mad Libs/Advice” with a bowl of pencils and a cigar box for people to leave them in when they were done.
Next time you’re throwing a dinner party or event- try these little touches that both the guest of honor and party guests are sure to remember… they may even forget what you used to look like.
Me and Kyle at ages 12 and 7??
Kyle’s friend Alex took this at the dinner