Holiday Hiatus

Apologies for my MIAness. With labor day and the first of the Jewish holidays both hitting this week, I've been running a bit ragged. So, in lieu of my 3 weekly posts i'm going to give you the abridged version: reciperoundup-trending-lifemusing all wrapped in 1.

Recipe Roundup

Challah....duh.

Rosh hashannah means a few things but to me, most importantly a fresh start. But who are we kidding it also means no fasting, apples dipped in honey, and doughey bready goodness.

This year, Josh and I decided to bake the challah for our Rosh hashannah celebration. We have made challah before but were not quite ecstatic with the results, so in an effort to improve, I decided to look for a new recipe. After an evening at temple with his parents in Queens (which started with my car being dead, yay for cars from last decade) we made our way to Westchester and at 11pm set out to try the new recipe. I found the recipe on a challah baking forum #holllllla and after mixing, whisking and kneading we let it rise, punched it down and put it in the fridge to rise again over night. In the morning it had risen so much that it was pushing the top shelf of the fridge up and off (yeast SUCCESS). We once again punched it down, put it back in the fridge and when we came back from temple set to work shaping it. We researched how to create a traditional woven shape and twisted and pinched our dough to perfection. We included golden raises and finished with an egg wash (with a dash of sugar). Now, given our last challah I wasn't sure what to expect so when I say we were wowed, I'm not exaggerating. We were WOWed... this challah was moist, sweet, salty, doughey- AMAZING. Turns out we made 4x the amount needed (that's what happens when you begin bread making at 11pm) so we froze half and made two loaves. I think what made it so killer was the rise over night. From my challah research (because i'm an expert now) this long, slow rise gives the dough a chance to truly develop its flavor. Either way- I'm a convert. I will never again attempt another challah recipe and I will always let my dough rise over night. Get kneading people, it's worth it! And for those who are just dying to try, the recipe is at the bottom of the post! Keep in mind this makes 4 CHALLAHS, yes 4. So divide accordingly, or plan to make a lot and freeze half.

Trending...or lack there of

Patterns are in. Plaid, stripes, checks you name it people are wearing it. Unfortunately for me, I'm not a pattern person. I've never felt truly comfortable decked out in something as loud and distracting as a pattern. If you look in my closet, almost everything I own is a solid. A true solid, a color block, and occasionally a solid with piping (now we're really getting crazy). While I'm all for adopting trends and stepping out of your comfort zone, patterns are just not something I can get behind. Peplum? Sure. Leather? Oh hell yes. Booties? The more the merrier. But patterns? sorry Vogue, you're on your own with this one.

Musings

I love my car. I've had her since I was 16. I learned how to drive with her, hit my first garbage pail with her, went to countless first dates, football games, road trips, and crew races with her. I've even slept in my car when other options seemed less appealing. She's been a getaway car, an air conditioned retreat and even the scene of a few crimes (cue: running over the animal, halloween 2003). My car and I are a team. She is old, often doesn't work "right" and has countless quirks that only I understand. I.e. at the valet when I have to say "oh she wouldn't start...that's ok i'll do it" and 9 times out of 10 i'm able to get it started while the guys who work with cars all day stare at me in disbelief. Lay off me people- she's special. She's a 99 jeep grand cherokee with 120,000 miles on her. Many people don't understand how she's still running- let alone accompanying me on 300 mile road trips. But she is. Every few months something happens. Something that makes me question if I'll have her around for much longer or if our run together has finally come to an end. Yet after every trip to the mechanic, she's patched up and ready to roll. 

It's hard to explain the relationship I have with my car to other people (other than my 3 high school friends who'v been with us from the beginning and truly understand it). Many people think she's unreliable, rickety, a headache and simply not worth the trouble.  It's just a car they say, it's time to get rid of it. And maybe they're right- but to me, she represents so much more than a car. She's been a symbol of freedom and stability for the last 10 years of my life. 10 years. At age 26, that's not insignificant. She's been there for every major milestone from my teenage years to adulthood. She's been there when I've had my heart broken (and cried so hard that I thought the steering wheel would disintegrate), she's been there on first days of school, last days of school, funerals, weddings, multiple moves, meltdowns (and there have been many), 4am crew practices, state line crossings, and even my first job.

So why am I telling you all of this? This week she gave me a hard time. She wasn't reliable. She didn't start either of the times I needed her to without a jump and because of that I felt guilty, responsible, defensive even. She may not be perfect, but I'm not going to give up on her just because she's going through a rough time. She's never given up on me. So yes, to many people she's just a car- a money pit, a gas guzzler, an unreliable mode of transportation, a collection of metal and most definitely not "a she". But to me, she's so much more than that.

*And yes- I do realize I just wrote a love letter to my car- deal with it.




Challah Recipe


Ingredients
3 Cups water
8 teaspoons yeast
1 1/3 Cups sugar
1 1/3 Cups oil
8 eggs
6 teaspoons salt
5 lb flour
Egg Wash
2 eggs
2 teaspoons sugar
Directions (altered based on how we did it)
  • Combine lukewarm water, yeast, sugar, oil, eggs, and half the flour in the mixing bowl. (If you mix it with the regular cake beater (at this point) it kneads much better)
  • Add the salt.
  • Switch to your hands and continue working the flour into the mixture. Once it gets too tough to manage in the bowl, move onto a floured surface and continue to work the flour in until you have a soft ball of dough.
  • Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl, cover with seran wrap.
  • Let the dough rise for one hour. 
  • Punch down
  • Place bowl of dough into the refrigerator and let rise overnight.
  • Remove from fridge, punch down. Return to fridge. (*If you want to bake your challah in the morning- you do not need to return it to the fridge. If so, simply remove from fridge, punch down and let it come to room temperature).
  • Remove from fridge and let come to room temperature
  • Divide the dough into 4 equal sized pieces. Each piece is 1 challah. If you halve the recipe, you should only have 2 pieces at this step, if you quarter it- only 1- you get the idea.
  • Braid the challah and then let it rise for 1/2 an hour in it's shaped form
  • Spread egg wash onto all areas of the challah.
  • Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes
  • When you take it out, tap the bottom. If you hear a hollow sound- it's done!