Category Archives: Family
I loved most vegetables, but there were always a few exceptions, like broccoli, cauliflower, and a few root vegetables like rutabagas and turnips. Then I discovered roasting vegetables. When the outside caramelizes and starts to scorch, the sugars come out and the texture gets creamy. All those vegetables I was unconvinced about suddenly became favorites.
This week, I had a cauliflower trifecta. It started with the latest recipe for Cook the Book Fridays: Dukkah-Roasted Cauliflower. This recipe from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen one ups simple roasted cauliflower. First, you start the cauliflower florets roasting. After about half an hour, even though I would usually consider the cauliflower done, it’s tossed with dukkah and roasted some more. When it’s done, it’s crusty on the outside and melting on the inside. Delicious!
As for the dukkah, a while back, I bought a jar at Trader Joe’s. We dipped bread into olive oil and the Egyptian spice and nut mixture. It was good, but not exceptional. For the cauliflower recipe, I made my own dukkah (per David Lebovitz’s instructions), and as you might expect it was a completely different story. A mixture of toasted hazelnuts, toasted seeds (pumpkin, sesame, coriander, cumin, fennel, peppercorns) and kosher salt are ground up though not too fine. The fragrance was amazing. I can’t wait to have a chance to try dipping bread in the leftover dukkah!
The cauliflower makes a great side dish. My cauliflower must have been small because there is no way it made 4 servings, only 2. Next time I’ll make two whole cauliflowers to ensure leftovers. This is a definitely new favorite.
The second hit was a whole roasted cauliflower with an almond-herb sauce from the New York Times by way of Joanne Weir’s new cookbook Kitchen Gypsy. The entire cauliflower is roasted in a hot cast iron pan for 1-2 hours until burnished on the outside and melting on the side. I shared it with a friend for dinner, so we just cut it in half, covered it in sauce, and served it with jasmine rice and salad. I’m seriously excited about cauliflower.
This week I’m in Philadelphia visiting my sister. The catalyst was the chance to attend the 76ers basketball game on Harvey Pollack Tribute Night with my sisters, aunt, and cousins. My great-uncle Harvey, who passed away last summer, was a unique character and a basketball legend. He wasn’t a player, rather a statistician, known affectionately in the NBA as “Super Stat”. He expanded what’s collected and “invented” many of the stats in use today (like triple-doubles). Even though the team lost the game, we all had a great time and were proud to be there to help celebrate our uncle’s achievements.
While I’m in town, my sisters and niece and I went to dinner at Zahav, a modern Israeli restaurant in downtown Philadelphia. We enjoyed a tasting menu where each dish was better than the next. One of the standout mezze we had was the fried cauliflower with an herb-and-garlic labneh for dipping. I’m inspired to try this at home with roasted cauliflower, maybe even coated with dukkah.
If you want to know how my friends enjoyed their cauliflower, check out their links here. Due to copyright considerations, I don’t publish the recipes here. You can find the cauliflower on page 224 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen (Dukkah recipe on page 81). Or feel free to drop me a line and I’ll share it with you.
My dad was diagnosed with lymphoma in late July. The prognosis was optimistic, and he started chemotherapy in early August. I spent the first week of September with him, taking him to his second round of chemo and making sure he was settled and comfortable on his own. Admittedly, never having been sick before, he was impatience with the process, wanting to feel better immediately. Last Tuesday morning, September 8, my father unexpectedly passed away in his sleep. The loss to myself, my family and his large circle of friends is unspeakable. Our hearts are broken.
Last Thursday afternoon, we gathered for a memorial service to celebrate my father’s life. The room was filled with our family, our extended family, and many, many friends across all generations. My sisters and I, my brothers-in-law, and two of my father’s closest friends gave tributes to this special man who touched and enriched so many lives.
This gives just a snapshot of my dad, but I want to share the words I wrote and read at his service.
I’m overwhelmed by all of the family and friends that have joined us here today to celebrate my dad’s life. It’s so comforting to have all those who loved him gathered together to share our sadness but also to remember the good things he brought into our lives.
My dad reveled in life’s simple pleasures: top among them, in no particular order, cars, sports, a passion for his favorite foods, and women.
He was fun to have for a father. Time spent with him usually meant some kind of adventure in search of one of these passions (well, not the women). I have so many memories that begin with “taking a ride”, if I was lucky, alone with him in his beloved Corvette, top down, but the ones in the family station wagon were memorable too. We might go out to Baskin & Robbins for ice cream or to a bakery to pick up a special loaf of rye bread or a box of white cream-filled donuts. On a Sunday morning, a particular treat would be to ride to the BagelMaster. This was the one and only time we were allowed to eat in the car, as long as we ate a bagel that was hot.
Even though my dad and I hadn’t lived in the same city for decades, we remained close, talking each week. When he needed help this summer, we spent some quality time together, more time than we had spent together in a long time, both in person and on the phone.
Dad was a wonderful brother. His relationship with our Aunt Alida served as a role model for my sisters and me. Just as with Richard and Alida, Jane, Jennifer and I are not just sisters, but friends who enjoy spending time together. What a gift to us.
My dad was a loyal friend. Look around at how many of his friends are here today. He kept up with friends from throughout his life: grammar school, summer camp, different jobs, different marriages. Once you were his friend, it was forever. He truly loved helping his friends, though he wasn’t as good at being helped. Even so, Dad’s friends went above and beyond in lending him love and support over the past couple months when he needed it most.
And he was good at falling in love. It took a long time, and multiple tries, but finally, he met the love of his life, Susan, on a tennis court in Florida. His devotion and tenderness towards her was heartwarming, and we feel lucky to have Susan as part of our family.
It’s hard to come up with the words for how much I will miss Dad now that he’s gone. A hole was ripped in the fabric of our lives. Over time, I hope to be able to mend that hole by weaving in stories about him, memories of a life well-lived and well-loved.
I love you, Dad, and I’ll miss you every day.
Thanks to everyone who has reached out with comforting words of sympathy. Your support gives me strength to move through the days ahead.