Sunday, February 1, 2015

Recipe: Tagliolini Colla Crocia, aka Ruota di Faraone

This is a delicious and simple meat and noodle kugel that was traditionally served by many Italian Jewish families on the Sabbath when the parsha of Beshalach is read (Shabbos Shira), as it includes the story of the Egyptian Pharaoh and his army being drowned in the Red Sea.

I'm including a really incredibly simple modern version here, and then a version of the original adapted from "The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews," by Edda Servi Machlin.

Simple modern version first:


1 jar of Italian style pasta sauce, ideally meat flavored
1 lb ground beef (not extra lean)
1 lb beef salami OR beef or goose sausage OR pickled tongue
1 lb egg noodles, medium or wide
1/4 cup olive oil, schmalz, or goose fat PER PAN
(optional) 1/2 cup of any or all of the following: raisins, pine nuts, chopped almonds

Pans: you can use 2 8" round pans, 2 10" round pans, or 1 10" round pan just filled quite high for a deeper casserole


Boil noodles per package instructions until soft, then drain. Brown the ground beef but do not drain it of fat when you're done. Chop the salami, sausage or tongue into cubes. In a large bowl, mix the noodles, ground beef and its fat, meat, and pasta sauce.  Pour 1/4 cup of oil or fat into each dish you will be using to cook the dish in and make sure it greases the sides of the dish as well as the bottom. There will be a lot of fat or oil, that's okay, it will all be taken up as the food cooks. Pour the mixture of food into the prepared dish or dishes, and bake at 350 F for 1 hour (if cooking in two dishes) to 1 1/2 hour (in one deep casserole). It should be pulled away from the sides of the dish and crispy all around, as well as golden on top.

It can be served immediately, or it can be chilled and then warmed for the Sabbath. The liquids are all bound up in the casserole and don't leak out and the dish is baked, so I have had no halachic issues with putting it on a k'deirah warmer for the Sabbath day meal.

Now for the original version:


homemade egg pasta--made with 4 eggs and about 2 1/2-3 cups of flour, sliced into long 1/8" wide noodles, boiled one minute
3 cups homemade meat sauce, use recipe of your choice with plenty of ground beef or goose
1/2 cup diced tongue, salami, or sausage
1/4 cup marrow or schmalz 
(optional) 1/2 cup of any or all of the following: raisins, pine nuts, chopped almonds

The directions are basically the same: boil your noodles, cook your sauce, chop your meat. Use the marrow or fat to grease the pan and leave any leftover marrow or fat in the pan. Combine all ingredients, and bake at 350F for 1-1 1/2 hours until golden.

Other themed dishes we prepared for the same Sabbath:
A Splitting-Of-The-Sea cake decorated by my 7 year old (yes, there are little fish sprinkles)

Sandwich cookies, homemade, representing the tambourines used by the women to accompany their singing

Thursday, January 22, 2015

At last!

It's just two bobbins of wool. Two bobbins of slightly purple, very textured lace weight singles. Spun from some roving I bought at MDSW'14 from Karen Schlossberg of Avalon Springs Farm here in Mt. Airy, MD. I wasn't even all that thrilled with the roving as I spun it--there were large chunks of damaged, undyed tips scattered throughout, and bits of 1 cm cuts of what looked more like nylon than mohair, and very little "glitz." But it's a decent yarn, and there wasn't an absurd amount of waste compared to other rovings and batts I've bought, really only little bits I kept having to put aside. It wasn't for making the smooth, plied yarns I usually spin.

But it's 6 ounces of yarn, spun. Hopefully around 800 yards or more. I spun it, it came out beautiful, it's yarn. It's the first yarn I've successfully spun since spring 2014. My legs are working; my shoulder isn't at all but it doesn't interfere with my spinning since I draft with my right hand in both short and long draws.

Now I have a gradient top pulled out. I've changed in the last year, and it's not really my color scheme anymore, none of what I bought is. That's okay. I can spin.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Every day since May

Every day since May except for the actual day of my surgery, I have worn what to me are beautiful scarves, wrapped with care and precision in what has been the most self-pleasing and self-validating look I have known in my life.
Today this is me, just wearing a droopy black snood.

I woke up and my shoulder hurt so badly (this is still from the surgery in early November, which left nerve damage and scar tissue that needs to be broken down daily) I just can't do it. All I could do was pull on a snood.

So today I'm in pain and frustrated. I can't spin either because my shoulder is too stiff. I may just go nuts. And tomorrow I have a major medical event already planned at 9 am, so I can't just see about running over to my doctor. I don't know when the scheduled procedures will be done and I will possibly just want to come home afterwords. 

Maybe Tuesday. Of course, I'm hoping beyond hope by then it will be feeling better.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Wow, I'm too old?

Someone on the Wrapunzel Facebook group posted that she had tried to convince a friend who covers her hair to start wearing scarves (I don't know what the woman wears now, turbans, wigs, something else). The friend's response was that women over about 40 don't look right in headscarves (referring to herself, not criticizing the rest of us, was the inference). So all of those of us who "qualify" jumped in to show ourselves in scarves, feeling good, not feeling "mutton dressed as lamb!"
So here's what I posted, from the previous few days' outfits.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I can almost hear myself think!

My husband left about half an hour ago with most of the kids, and I'm actually HOME ALONE for a few more hours. I don't believe it. I haven't been alone in the house by myself for months, no joke, not for a single minute I'm fairly sure. There might have been a couple times when the only people home were kids in their own rooms, but never has no one been here.
Me this morning knowing I am finally going to get alone time

It's such a soothing concept. I crave time alone and more and more I don't get it. I can't explain why I need it so much, but it's like finally plugging charger into the wall and getting my battery recharged when it was down in the red zone and turning my whole self-device off automatically.

Unfortunately I don't think I'm going to get nearly as much of this as I need, but any is better than none. And I'm not expecting to accomplish anything in particular; I'll be playing on the computer and my phone, spinning, and possibly napping. Not exactly high productivity!  Given that my brain is still truly recovering from long-term oxygen deprivation and whatever else it wasn't getting when my lipoma was affecting my carotid artery, and that my shoulder is still killing me, I'm not going to be able to do any of the major cleaning and picking up that should be done.

I'll just be here, sloooooowly recharging bit by bit. Maybe I'll have another cup of coffee.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New beginnings

I realize it sounds like a rehab site, but you know that's what I mean.

It's been a really long, hard year. Hospitalizations for one child repeatedly, medical issue after medical issue for me. Problems with other kids' needs and services. And just real life that always overwhelms us. 

This is me now, today.

This is what I was able to do so far today--spinning for the first time since last spring. First my repeated blood clot interfered, then hospitalizations, then holidays, then gout, then cognitive problems, then surgery, then post-surgical complications.

But today I took off the bobbin of what I was spinning (which was hand-combed fine wool I want to spin at least 6000 yards out of, but which requires hand combing I can't do now) and put it away with notes, and got out some ready-to-spin fiber; it's BFL with a little mohair and glitter, with hints of purple. I'm spinning it into a lace weight single yarn to make a lace scarf.

More medical stuff continues. With the huge lipoma out of my neck, there's no longer ongoing damage to my carotid artery, brachial plexus, trachea, and esophagus, all of which were being compromised by it. But the pain from excess scar tissue and muscle and nerve damage continue, and yet another new medical problem has begun (but I'm not going to go into detail right now except to say I have MORE expensive, invasive testing and biopsies next week).

And I'm making a commitment to try to post at least every other day, if not every day. At least a little bit, a few sentences. I write, I need to write, I should write, I will write. Come along for the ride with me.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mostly on hold, so PIE!

My life, that is, is mostly on hold. My surgery was a big success, though it turned out that I had a double-lobed fatty tumor, with one branch the size and shape of a large banana reaching from the back of my neck under the muscle, around several nerves, and compromising the esophagus; and the other reaching over the muscle out to the shoulder and impinging on the nerves there. But it wasn't really growing through the muscle tissue much, so it was easier and less damaging to extract it all than it could have been. The problem for me is that I still have a lot of neck and shoulder pain two weeks out post surgery. I can't lift anything over a couple of pounds, can't turn my neck easily, can't lift my arm above the horizontal plane of my shoulder with any strength, and driving leads to pretty intense pain afterwards. But I have yet another doctor's appointment tomorrow and can follow up more then.

Today I am making pie.

I saw a tutorial a few weeks ago on making cinnamon-sugar swirl pie crust, and loved the idea. Naturally now that I'm ready to make pie I can't find the recipe. So I improvised. I used my regular recipe for a double pie crust (because I almost always do--I'd much rather have a little extra to discard when all it is is flour and shortening than have trouble getting the pie crust big enough and perfectly shaped), and I rolled it out into a big blob:

Then I gave it a very little big of oil and a LOT of cinnamon sugar, and started messily rolling it up:

I cut it into thin slices and put them in the pie pan, then when I had them all in I pressed them in to make sure there were no holes:

And finally in went the filling:

And the finished pie, baked and cooling:

This, obviously, is pecan, but I can see this being delicious with apple or pumpkin pie, or many other choices too. There's no reason why you couldn't do it as a pre-baked pie shell for a chiffon or meringue pie as well.