Sunday, September 20, 2009

Challah at your girl!

Welcome to the comedy of errors that is my life. Leaving no stone unturned. On Thursday night, I was talking to Thatmom and we were discussing the holiday and my imminent weekend arrival. She mentioned that one of the women in her knitting group had advised her to pick up a brisket for the holiday meal - which is when it hit me. The holiday meal! See, normally the holiday meal is on the erev holiday - the evening when the holiday actually starts, but since this year that happened to be a Friday, when we were all scurrying off work and making our way to the homestead, we decided to forgo a Friday night dinner. Instead we'd have our celebratory meal on Saturday night. And silly me completely forgot that I was probably in charge of making the whole thing. Which gave me 1 day to plan a meal, pick up supplies, and make it up to Thatmom's house.

Because I am super woman, I accomplished this task by whipping by the supermarket after work and securing one of the two remaining briskets. From there, it was just a matter of figuring out what I could serve with it.

Once all that was out of the way, the task became "when in the heck was I going to make all this food?" For those of you not familiar with Rosh Hashannah, the day begins with morning services. Then you get a little afternoon break before Tashlikh - the casting of the sins upon the water. For us, this meant a service held beachside, and it's always been one of Thatmom's favorite parts of the holiday. I decided that I'd use that little break to cook and prep, and then finish everything up after Tashlikh.

So after morning services, I came home and got to work on the challah. Making it was bittersweet. The first challah I made was almost exactly 3 years ago. It was my first bread baking attempt and one I was completely intimidated by. You see, growing up, Thatdad made challah every week. We had a "challah room" where the bread would sit, covered with dishtowels, rising overnight. His challah was sweet, doughy, and perfect. There was no way I could compete. But with a little push and encouragement from Cara, I was on my way to making my very first challah. And it came out wonderfully. Thatdad gave me a few tips, and from then on I was baking bread and experimenting on an almost daily basis. As I began to gather ingredients on Saturday, I was filled with sadness at the thought I don't have either my father, or his recipe for challah. I added more sugar than the recipe called for - his tip from 3 years ago.

And soon after is when things began to go horribly, horribly wrong.

First there was the kitchenaid. I make no apologies. I use the kitchenaid to knead my bread. Not always, but a good amount of the time. It's just so easy to turn it on, walk away and deal with something else while the bread is kneading. Except, on Saturday, when I turned it on - the bowl went flying. Something is terribly amiss with Thatmom's kitchenaid and the bowl refuses to lock in place. Determined not to knead by hand, Thatmom, Thatboy, and I all worked at holding the bowl in place while the kitchenaid rocked and lurched beneath us.

Once the challah was finally in the oven, we ran into the second problem. A black out. Perfect. Not only did the oven shut off, but the electric timer wasn't going to be very useful at letting me know how much time the bread had left. And since we didn't know when the power was going to come back, we decided it would not be a good idea to leave the dogs home while we ran to the beach for Tashlikh service. So we cancelled Tashlikh and I used the "feel" method (ie - I feel like the bread should be ready) to determine when the challah was done.

Right as everyone else was probably watching the seagulls make off with their sin, the power came back on. Quick as a whip I threw the brisket in the oven. And about 5 minutes later, the power went out again. Talk about having a bad day in the kitchen!

Lucky for me, although I seemed to have incurred the ire of the kitchen gods, everything turned out fantastic.

The challah:

The brisket:

Pineapple Kugel:

To show his gratitude (and because he was too hungry to wait for Thatmom and I to get back from our run), Thatboy made breakfast this morning. Since I've known him, Thatboy has never made breakfast. And he doesn't quite know how. When I suggested he make some french toast from the challah, he looked at me with wide, questioning eyes. So I made him up the egg batter, told him to dip the bread and fry it in a pan, and headed out the door with Thatmom.

We came home to a dish of perfectly browned french toasts! Nice work Thatboy!

Thatmom was a little jealous I was taking pictures of Thatboy's french toast, and pointed out that she had made the lattes for our breakfast. The sweet little barista demanded I take a picture of her contribution also.

L'Shana Tova everyone! Happy New Year!


  1. Happy New Year. The food looks so yummy!

  2. I love how your family always do things together...pretty much like my family!!!

  3. Happy New Year and what a delicious way to celebrate!

  4. See, I knew you were superwoman. Everything looks great, but I realllllllly want some of that challah. Happy new year!

  5. Yeah, Thatboy! Nice job on the French toast. Looks perfect to me. Your challah looks fabulous!

  6. Happy New Year! Wishing you joy and peace!

  7. I wish I could hug you--the first part of your post made me cry.

    Your meal looks fantastic--I am impressed by the challah and always knead with the KA too, although now that I have counterspace I will finish by hand.

  8. Happy New Year to you too!! The challah looks great.

  9. Happy belated New Year. Your challah turned out beautifully, despite battle to get it done.

  10. Happy Belated New Year! It all looks fabulous!