Chag Sameach!

I’m about to veg out, literally. In a few minutes I’m going to be stopping by the store just up the street to collect a large amount of tomatoes and other veggies that won’t still be good on Tuesday when stores re-open. I went by there this morning to get some eggs and instant coffee and the store manager (who was tickled pink last week to see pictures of the celery growing in my garden –celery I’d bought from them) told me to come back at a quarter to 5 and he’d have all the veggies that they didn’t sell today ready for me to take home and eat or, those that are too far gone, compost for the garden. One of the things I really like about living in Bnei Brak are the connections I’ve made with folks in my neighbourhood — this little store, the post office folks, and many of my neighbours.

The neighbours, by the way, are really happy about the flowers I’ve put in. Everytime they see me, they are like wow, you are making the yard so pretty. This afternoon, while out watering, the vad bayit came up and asked if I could think of something to put in the area at our entrance to the apartment. So far, everything that is there has died, including the two impatien plants I’d put in (well, one of them is near death, the other totally toast — he was like, what happened to the pretty flowers you put here? Eh yeah). The problem is, that particular spot gets no direct or even dappled sun. Ever. So the evergreens that line our entrance do okay everywhere else along the line but not there. Dead as doornails. I really thought the impatiens would do ok there because I’ve grown them in ‘no sun’ locales before and they did great so long as they got enough water. I can’t tell whether it is a case of this just being too deeply shaded or whether it was because when the vad waters he isn’t exactly gentle about it with the nozzle-less hose (except for those two plants, I water everything else I put in myself with my little watering can).

I’d really like to get some flowers (preferably perennial) there to brighten things up but am open to other suggestions, so long as it isn’t bushes etc because of the cost. I’m wondering if thyme would do okay. Any ideas from you more handy gardening folks? 🙂

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12 responses to “Chag Sameach!”

  1. tddpirate says :

    I hope you also asked the vad bayit to do better work supervising the landscaping guys next time they come to weed out woods.

  2. Lynne says :

    I’m going to send you an assortment of seeds of plants to try there 🙂

  3. israeliminx says :

    Ema thank you!!!!

    Pirate, I definitely did! The problem is, the poor man wouldn’t know a non-blooming ok plant from a weed and has no idea about plant care, pruning etc –and clearly the landscapers didn’t either. If I had the right tools (at least a set of those long-shear choppers) I’d definitely tell him I’d take over the whole yard-care for what he pays them when they come twice yearly.

    I wish I had a pressure cooker for canning! I’ve got nearly 100 cucumbers, 40 large tomatoes, and two peppers now –and that is after I shared with two sets of neighbours upstairs! I’m about to embark on refrigerator pickle making (lasts 4 days) and spaghetti sauce that I can freeze.

    • tddpirate says :

      Looks like your vad bayit hired “חאפרים” (people who are in it for the quick buck and do not bother to invest in learning the business and becoming professional in it) as landscapers.

    • reader says :

      israeliminx, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers are fruits, they do not need to be sterilised. They can be bottled just like jam, so a big pot made from stainless steel or enamel and jars with new twist-off lids will do.

      The tomatoes could go into a napolitana sauce or together with some additional peppers into shakshuka base. For the latter, an Israeli will not need a recipe 🙂 For the napolitana sauce, this one would be a start:
      http://www.recipelover.co.uk/recipe/222/napolitana-sauce-recipe

      For cucumber pickles, I’d remove the watery inner part and recommend a good 5-7% vinegar and acid-proof twist-off lids. Recipe:
      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/emerils-homemade-sweet-and-spicy-pickles-recipe/index.html

      • israeliminx says :

        Reader hi! I’ve made pickles using the waterbath method before when I lived in Georgia but I didn’t realize you could also can tomatoes that way. The canning pamphlet I’ve got (yes I am a serious pack-rat, I’ve still got that sucker in with my cookbooks) says tomatoes should be done in a pressure cooker because they have a higher-than-other-fruit/veg risk of cultivating botulism. Canning them using a pressure cooker reduces the risk significantly. I’ve never tried canning tomatoes (and I used to have a pressure cooker) because the whole botulism thing freaked me out too much, heh.

        The sweet and spicy pickle recipe you linked to looks incredibly fabulous I’m a pickle fanatic and here you can only find two kinds: in a salt brine or in a vinegar brine. Bread and butter and sweet and spicy are my two favourite kinds of pickles. On Friday I’m going to hit up the ACE and see if they carry canning jars and lids and if I can get my hands on some, that recipe you sent along is the first I’ll try.

        I’m hoping this summer my cucumbers will produce enough that I can also try my hand at making relish — you can’t get it here and that is just criminal because hot dogs and hamburgers (even of the veggie variety) just are not real food without a generous topping of pickle relish on them! Sweet relish, spicy relish, Helluva relish….ahhhh! If I had a way of making and marketing relish here, I’d so do it, because I think it would be a hugely popular seller here if available.

        • reader says :

          Hi israeliminx, to tell the truth, I do not even “pasteurise” fruits. I just boil the clean empty jars and lids in water for about ten minutes, fill the first jar with the scalding hot preserve-to-be, wipe the rim if necessary, screw the lid on and then go on with filling and sealing the next jar. In the very rare case that the cooling process does not produce a proper seal (the centre of the lid did not sink down), I store the jar in the fridge and eat the content within three days.

          Usually, I use empty jars from bought preserves for years and just buy new lids. (In Europe, twist-off lids are available in household stores, supermarkets and online, e.g. here: http://www.freemanharding.co.uk/category.php?id_category=97 Jar lifters and canning funnels are usually sold at the same places.)

          Enjoy canning, gardening and eating pickles 🙂 (Not much can beat a cheese sandwich with pickled cucumbers or zucchini from your own garden. O.K., maybe a rye bread sandwich with eggs, chicken or tuna and spicy tomato relish.)

        • reader says :

          P.S. The reasons why I do neither sterilise nor pasteurise fruit preserves (pickled or cooked tomatoes included) are the following:

          The proteolytic types of C. botulinum bacteria digest proteins in food and are a danger when canning low-acid food with a certain amount of proteins, e.g. meat, sausages or vegetables like beans. Those types produce rather heat-resistant spores which are not killed below 112°C. The spores of the nonproteolytic C. botulinum types do not tolerate normal boiling temperatures.

          In order to germinate and grow, the C. botulinum spores need an anaerobic environment with a pH > 4.5 (not much chance in proper pickles) and a certain temperature range. Proteolytic types grow at temperatures between 13 and 50 °C, non-proteolytic types between 3 and 45 °C. The toxin itself however is inactivated at 80 °C held for 6 minutes. So even if C. botulinum bacteria should cling to the tomatoes, and even if some of them were not killed by the heat and the acidity of the boiling salsa, reboiling the preserve thoroughly before serving will deactivate the toxin with a high probability. – Nevertheless, not even I would eat preserves of any kind from a jar with a bulging lid, a strange odour or taste or with mould in it. Not even after reboiling.

  4. WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

    The story of Pesach should remind us of several facts, among them it should remind us of the Egyptians and that the Israelis should never ever have given the Egyptians their trust and that the Israelis should never ever have agreed on a “land for peace” agreement with the Egyptians because this agreement will NOT succeed LONG-TERM because it was done with Egyptians, a people the Jewish people was enslaved by them and therefore a people that should never ever be trusted, no matter what, not even (or should I say especially) to make a peace treaty with them!!!

    Chag Sameach to the Jewish readers of Yael’s blog.

    • israeliminx says :

      Chag Sameach to ALL readers of my blog, Wipe.

      • WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

        As much as I like to always include ALL the readers of Yael’s blog in this Chag Sameach statement for Pesach (Chag Sameach is a Hebrew expression that could be translated as joyous festival and it is pronounced Rag Sa-me-ar), I simply focused on the Jewish readers of Yael’s blog because I assumed (in fact wrongly, see further below) that this festival does not have much meaning for people of other religions.

        Having said that, you are nevertheless right Yael to correct me and I am wrong on this matter.
        Truth be told, according to the New Testament and assuming that Jesus had ever existed (a fact that I doubt very much, especially when several Christians have acknowledged that Jesus was just a literary character as Thomas L. Brodie did quite convincingly in “Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery”), the Jew Jesus himself celebrated Pesach and ALL the other Jewish practices and festivals and the first Christians not only practiced Pesach but in fact they also practiced ALL the Jewish festivals!! Later on, at the very beginning of Christianity, Christians decided to get rid of most Jewish customs and Jewish festivals despite the fact that the Jew Jesus had practiced them all his life according to the New Testament!!

        Therefore, as Yael said, Chag Sameach for the Jewish festival of Pesach to ALL the readers of Yael’s blog and especially to Christians (but also to those of other religions) who read Yael’s blog.
        The lessons that Jews learn regularly from the Jewish festivals can also benefit people of ALL religions.
        Thanks Yael for correcting my statement.

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