The Sukkah City Competition

The Sukkah City Competition.

An international sukkah competition is just too cool!  Gotta love the names of the contestants too: Fractured Bubble, Sukkah of the Sings, and my favorite – Blo Pluff

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West Indian Cooking: Roti

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Currently playing in iTunes: Ready For The Weekend by Calvin Harris

One of my favorite cooking blogs is TriniGourmet— kosher caribbean food at it’s finest! All these years, I never attempted to make a roti. Tonight, the urge hit me and I live nowhere near kosher Caribbean joint so here I am. I knew roti meant different things in India, South Asia, and the Caribbean.  I learned from TriniGourmet is that roti is not the same everywhere in the Caribbean.

What I really need is a tawa:

A tawa is a flat skillet using in Indian cooking. Notice, there are no raised edges on it. Since I don’t have one, I used a regular non-stick skillet.

Anyway, back to the roti. Since, I’m half-Guyanese I looked for a Guyanese roti recipe. Considering it was my first attempt, my roti came out 75% correct. I found a few problems. One, I couldn’t find my rolling-pin (yes, I know that’s really sad.) Two, I found that I was using too much heat and oil. Finally, I realized that I wasn’t rolling them out thin enough. That’s why the first roti came out like an export cracker and the second one burned. You can make roti either dairy (using butter or ghee) or pareve (using margarine and/or shortening and vegetable oil)
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Summer Shabbat Menu

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Anyone that reads my blog can figure out that I’m not the typical Ashkenazi chick. When it comes to cooking, I definitely fall in the fusion culinary school. Why? My mother was from the Deep South and my father was a Sephardic Jew from the Caribbean. So I was exposed to tons of different cuisines that I found use similar ingredients. Toss in my love for Mediterranean and Asian cuisine and you can see my very interesting pantry.

So for my first food post, I’ll do a modified version of a traditional Ashkenazi Shabbat dinner. Still heavier than every day, but no hot soup or cholent in the summer. For me this is important since I don’t have an air conditioner 🙂
Check out the menu after the jump!

Tips for Summer Shabbat cooking

Currently playing in iTunes: Ready For The Weekend by Calvin Harris [tweetmeme source=”frumfashionista” only_single=false]

The temperature is rising and my food is cooling down. One would think that summertime Shabbat meals require less prep but that is not true. However, I learned that EVERY Shabbat meal requires prep.

During the summer, I use fresh produce to my advantage. Salads and simple fruit desserts start emerging.  I hate cooking in the summer so I tend to pare down my recipes accordingly. Here are some of my tips:

  1. Cook at night/early morning. Why slave over a hot stove in the heat?
  2. Bake once. Make a double batch/freeze. I do this especially with kugels, desserts, and meat dishes.
  3. Use the stovetop. Oven put out tons of heat.
  4. Try one pot meals.
  5. Go to the backyard and use the grill. I live in an apartment so this doesn’t apply to me.
  6. Cook foods that taste good at room temperature.
  7. Salad, salad, salad. It’s cool, refreshing, and easy to prepare.
  8. Fruit!  I love melon , grapes, and strawberries during the summer.  I even freeze grapes and use them as ice cubes!
  9. Turn off the lights. During the summertime, I turn on my fluorescent lights because they are cooler than incandescent lighting.
  10. Don’t make chicken soup and/or cholent. I can see some people passing out at the thought of no cholent, lol. Alternately, you can make cholent in a crockpot (less heat output.) Some people make a lighter version of cholent so it won’t be as heavy. It depends on your creativity and comfort level.

What are your tips for summertime cooking?