Saturday, 31 December 2011

2012 Manulife Walk For Memories

I have been blessed with eidetic memory - I have extraordinarily vivid and detailed recall of past events. 

I can still picture the moment when I discovered that something was wrong with my Bubbie Lou - a moment that, in hindsight, would clearly indicate the arrival of Alzheimer's Disease.  I was 18 years old, and visiting my grandparents in Palm Springs.  Mom and I had gone to friends for a pre-dinner "cocktail" (remember, this was the late 1980's LOL) and Bubbie Lou made an odd reference to my right hand.  I was hurt at the time but, on reflection, I recognize that she had lost her words and used the first one that came to mind. 

I can also recall the moment when I knew something was wrong with Mom...I was in Becca's nursery, rocking my new baby girl to sleep while reading a story to my then 4-year-old daughter, Sara.  I was on maternity leave and Mom had replaced me in the office.  She kept phoning me, over and over, for direction on an easy office task.  I can still remember the feeling of dread that came over me as I pushed back the panic building up inside me that something was terribly wrong.

Mom and her granddaughters (2001)
It took 4 years before anyone else saw what I did that autumn morning of 2001, and another year after that before we finally received medical confirmation that my mother did, indeed, have early onset Alzheimer's Disease ("AD").  What a shame that we were not able to do anything sooner...perhaps if we were, Mom would be with me now, helping to record her memoirs. 

It is for this reason, as we bid 2011 adieu and look toward a new year with hope and anticipation, that I am asking you to take a moment and make a difference in the fight against AD.

On January 28th, 2012, I will be participating in the 2012 Manulife Walk for Memories. My father, brother and I, along with our families, will be participating in this fundraising event to help find the cause, and hopefully a cure, for this horrible disease - a disease which has robbed us of our matriarch.  Please consider taking part - whether you want to join the My Mother's Treasure team and walk with us on January 28th, make a donation to a worthy cause (Support The My Mother's Treasure Team), or help spread the word and ask others to support our efforts.

Together, I believe we can make the difference!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Latke Making 101 promised, here is my latke making sorry it took me so long to post this!

Heat the oil (medium high)

Grate the potatoes (10) and onions (2), squeeze out excess juice

Cumin, Parsley, Pepper, Salt (1 tsp each)

1 egg

1/4 cup flour

Add egg to spices and mix...

Add flour, egg & spice mixture to grated potatoes & onions

Start frying (squeeze out excess "juice" before placing in pan)




Serve with either apple sauce or sour cream...Mmm mmm good!  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Making of a Bean and Barley Soup...and memories too!

It's funny how things work this case, when G-d closed a door with my mother's illness, he opened many windows, some of which I am only now discovering.

Forgive me, for like my mother, I tend to repeat myself and my well-worn stories.  As I am sure I have already shared with you in an earlier post, this blog was born of loneliness, and a need to fill the deep void Alzheimer's left when it visited my mother.  First, I wrote to her, then I wrote about her, and ultimately I wrote for her.  And along the way, I was blessed with a modest following of fans, who enjoy my stories and recipes, and are getting acquainted with Mom with each new post. 

Then I regained some long lost family, and forgotten ties were renewed.   I also gained a new family we did not know existed...the long-lost branch of Chaliffs which numbers over 800 people!  The Phyllises came into my life and I would dare say that the connection was instant.  Sometimes blood ties really are that strong....

But that was not it.  I met my "rock star" online - yes, Norene Gilletz actually knows who I am!  And I became a part of her online family - Norene's Kitchen - and met many amazing people.  I have "clicked" with some of them too, and they have filled a space in that void.

Then my friend Ellin, an amazing lady and wonderful journalist, decided to write about mothers and daughters and food..she met with Norene yesterday morning, and came here last night to document "The Making of a Bean and Barley Soup".  So I tried to polish up the kitchen as best I could (lest we forget that this kitchen of ours has been in overdrive for the past week, preparing for the holidays) and make myself look presentable as I chopped onions, carrots, celery and flanken!  It was a whirlwind of activity and very exciting.  The article and video will appear in the Toronto Star next week...I will let you know when it does, and post a link to it as well!

And don't think that choosing the dish to be featured was an easy feat...for it was not.  I polled the mishpucha (family) during our Chanuka celebrations on Monday night.  Davie and Sara were pulling for Rib Roast, but it is not something that can be prepared in 1 hour.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that Davie and I share the same fond memories of Mom's dishes, and also share many of the same favourites - Chili, Spaghetti Sauce, etc. - but ultimately it was Carlo who came up with the perfect recipe - Mom's Bean and Barley Soup.  What better way to warm your bones on a cold winter's night (on which we had the first snowfall of the year!) than Mom's B&B Soup?  It really does capture the essence of my Jewish Mother and her nurturing and loving yesterday I left work early and ran to Sobey's to ask Danny (the butcher and my "go-to" guy for all things meat) for some flanken and beef sugar bones...then came home and tidied up.  

By the end of the evening the soup was made, but not yet ready to eat.  I was (and still am) exhausted and Carlo took us out to dinner at the Pickle Barrel ("What does a nice Jewish girl like me make when she doesn't feel like cooking? Reservations!"). Tonight I am standing beside the stove stirring my soup pot which is slowly heating up this liquid gold, and marvelling at my many blessings. 

Today another handful of surprises awaited me.  I got a call from a lawyer who was returning my dad's the end of the conversation she asked my name, and then asked if I was Moishe's daughter.  It turns out she and mom were good friends a lifetime (mine to be exact!) ago, and we will be meeting up for lunch the next time I am in her neck of the woods.  She is happy to fill in some of the blanks of my mother's life as a young woman in 1960s Toronto.  What an exciting discovery for me! 

And then I got a FB friend request from one of my mom's dearest friends, who shared not only her life, but also her birthday!  Many of the slips of paper I have found in the Golden Treasures cookbook belong to Ethel M., and I cannot wait to share them with you in upcoming posts. 

Meanwhile, I owe you, my handful of fans, a slew of posts, and I promise I will start to catch them up ASAP.  For now, here is the Bean and Barley Soup that Bubbie Lou got from her sister Adele, and made for my mother....which my mother made for me, and which I now make for my family. 

From my family to yours...I wish you a wonderful evening filled with family, fun, friends and fantastic food!  B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Louise and Carol's Bean & Barley Soup

  • 1/4 lb beef short ribs (flanken)
  • 4 marrow bones (or beef sugar bones)
  • 1 package small mushrooms (fresh are best)
  • 4 large carrots, cut into rounds
  • 4 large celery stalks, diced
  • 2 medium cooking onions, chopped
  • 1C pot or pearl barley (I always use pearl)
  • 1C navy beans
  • 1 cooking spoon of salt
Method: Cut meat, place into stock pot with marrow bones.  Fill pot with water (2 inches from the top).  Bring to a boil.  Skim off all the scum.  Once it reaches a rolling boil with no scum forming, reduce the heat and clean the sides of the pot.  Add salt, beans and barley.  Stir.  Add mushrooms, carrot, celery and onions.  Reduce heat.  Allow to reach a boil (on the lowered heat), further reduce the heat and let simmer for 2 hours.  Refrigerate and remove schmaltz (fat) from top.  Reheat to serve. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Latkes...What's Not To Love?

חנוכה שמח
The Holiday Season is in full swing...parties everywhere...Christmas and holiday music on the radio and in the stores...decorative lights on the houses and a crisp wind in the is hard not to get in the spirit of things...

Below are links to a couple of Chanuka songs to get you in the mood...

Growing up, we celebrated Chanuka (so many spellings, so little space).  I can still picture the whole family gathered around the table in our cozy kitchen, grating potatoes & onions, while Mom and my Aunt Freda (Dad's sister) fried up the latkes (potato pancakes/fritters).  My cousins helped me and Davie grate mountains of potatoes and onions, making sure no fingers got added into the mix!  

The smells were intoxicating...and the latkes were out of this world - so delicious.  It was an agonizing wait for the whole batch to be ready - and there was no way you could nibble on them beforehand (there would be none left for dinner!).  

We would sit down to dinner with a huge platter of latkes, a bowl of sour cream and another of apple sauce.  We did not mix meat (fleishik) and dairy (milchik), so there was never any meat served with our meal.  Perhaps a salad was included, but I don't think anyone was really interested in anything more than Mom's luscious latkes.  

Some years we would celebrate the holidays in Toronto, but more often than not, we would be in Regina, with Mom's family, gathered in Bubbie Lou and Zaida Bernie's house, preparing the feast there.  The latke recipe I will make tonight has been passed down from Bubbie Gertie, who undoubtedly learned it in her mother Clara's kitchen over 100 years ago.  As always, I would encourage those wanting to learn about Jewish  holidays to consult Chabad Aurora.  To learn more about Chanuka, click on חנוכה.

Stay tuned for our latke-making pictorial to be posted later today, along with our family "recipe" (if you can call it that, it's all about a dash of this, and handful of that, and a splash of something else for good luck!).  Chag Sameyach (translates: Happy Holidays)!

Until later today, I wish you a wonderful day filled with family, friends, fun and fantastic food!  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Bubbie Lily's Coffee Cake

I am making Shabbat dinner, and need a dessert...pronto!  I am thinking about making Bubbie Lily's Coffee Cake.  You may recall me mentioning Bubbie Lily in an earlier post (Full Circle: Frittata for Jack & Becca).  She was not my Bubbie - she was my cousin Michael's Bubbie - but as far back as I can remember there have been stories about the Jampolskys...they were my grandparents' friends, neighbours, and eventually relatives by marriage. 

My grandparents - Louise and Bernie - lived 2 doors down from the Jampolskys.  Their families grew up together, and eventually their daughter Anita  married Louise's youngest brother Paul.  Two generations later, Louise and Bernie's daughter Carol (Mom) moved to Toronto.   Twenty years after that, Paul and Anita's son Michael moved to Toronto.  There is a generation gap between Carol and Michael - he is actually just a few years older than me.  So our families reunited around Carol and Moishe's Yom Tov dinner table.  Michael and Kate's daughter Lilyanna was born 5 months after our daughter Sara.  Our daughter Becca was born 5 months after their son Jack.  Paige ... well, we stopped at 2, but my brother David & his wife Lena obliged by having a little girl, Abby, who is becoming a fast friend of Paige's.  The family ties run deep.  Almost 8 years ago, Carlo and I fell in love with a house that just happened to be 2 doors down from Michael & Katie's!  And so, the relationship between our 2 families has come full circle, and 2 generations later, our families are living 2 doors apart again! (I know....lots of 2's!)

Enough of the family history lesson....many years ago Mom made a Bubbie Lily coffee cake.  It was out-of-this-world delicious!  So, I quickly got the recipe and made it so often people started referring to it as Nomi's Coffee Cake.  A couple of years ago we submitted the recipe for the kids' school cookbook, but this time it was known as Sara's Coffee Cake...

Sara's school cookbook submission

So now, as I make it and send the recipe out into the blogosphere, I must give credit where credit is due...I hope you enjoy Bubbie Lily's Coffee Cake as much as we do...3 and 4 generations later! 

Mom's handwritten recipe (notice she refers to it as Aunty Lil J (not Bubbie Lily)
 Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with fun, friends and fantastic food!  B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

PS - I am just too beat to whip up the cake tonight...hopefully will find the energy tomorrow and will upload the photos when it's done!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Auntie Etta's Chili Con Carne

Louise & Etta (1925) 

Some of my nicest childhood memories are of visiting my mother's family out west in Regina.  My Bubbie Lou was one of 6 kids...3 girls and 3 boys.  Her sister Adele died when I was very young.  Consequently, I never got the chance to know her.  Her younger sister Etta was like another grandmother to me.  All my memories of Auntie Etta are of a loving, nurturing and kind woman whose face always wore a smile, and whose arms were always ready to give you a big hug.   

Louise & Etta (1930s) 

She lives in Winnipeg and, like my mother, is in the latter, severe stages of Alzheimer's Disease.  Bubbie Lou, Auntie Etta and Mom all share a unique characteristic atypical of classic Alzheimer's - they remain kind, timid and loving as they fall deeper and deeper into the abyss of dementia.  I like to think this is reflective of their amazing spirit.

Louise & Etta at the cottage (1950s)

So..I dedicate this entry to my beloved Auntie Etta, whose chili recipe was a staple in our household growing up.  Davie and I always loved this meal so much that Mom could never make it ahead of time for fear of us devouring it on the sly.  I am sure she discovered the pot half empty on more than one occasion and had to improvise when mealtime came around!

Auntie Etta & Uncle Harold (as I remember them)

What follows is the recipe, written in my Bubbie Lou's hand, and a step-by-step pictorial of it's preparation.  From my family to yours, I wish you a wonderful day filled with fun, friends and fantastic food.  B'Tayavon & Buon Appetito!
The Recipe

Chop onions & celery, add mushrooms and saute until translucent
Meanwhile, add kidney beans...
and tomato soup to crock pot set on high...
brown the ground beef...

add sauteed veggies to crock pot...

add meat...stir well and in a few hours (approximately 3 on high, 6 on low) dinner is ready!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Spectacular Squash Soup

I grew up in a house of carnivores, where some kind of meat was served at least 4 times a week, and often, Mom would quarter a butternut squash, scoop the seeds, put a dollop of margarine and a couple of shakes of nutmeg in the centre of each one, place them in a Pyrex and bake at 350° for a ½ hour.  While I am not a huge fan of meat, I loved the squash side dish...Yumm!

But...Carlo hates squash.  Needless to say, squash is rarely on the menu in our home.   I savour the rare occasions where squash is served – my mother-in-love makes a lovely pureed squash dish every holiday meal, and I eat tons of it. 

Last New Year’s Eve we attended Carlo’s cousin’s wedding.  It was a fabulous evening of fun, friends, family and fantastic food!  It was an Italian wedding in a lovely hall in Woodbridge, with a 10 course meal.  The starter dish was an incredible squash soup.  Sara went wild for it.  Funny, the last time I had enjoyed squash soup before this wedding was at our friends Tony & Zelia’s wedding 14 years earlier, when I was pregnant with Sara.  I went wild for it then.

So...what is the point of all these stories?  Sara has been asking me to please make her a squash soup.  I tried to make one last summer.  I cannot recall where I got the recipe, but it was thick, like a stoup, and erupted on my arm when I was stirring it – I have the burn scar to prove it!

Fast is December, and winter is at our door.  Sara has been pining for squash soup, so I added squash to my grocery list, picked up a beautiful butternut squash at No Frills on Sunday, and whipped up a batch of Norene’s Carrot Soup (there is a note on how to substitute squash for carrots) on Monday after work.

Sauteeing the onions and red peppers - boy does our house smell good!

Add broth, squash & potatoes, let simmer for 1/2 hour

Mmmm good!  Better than Campbell's any day!

Yesterday we trekked out to the doctor for our annual flu shots and picked up a beautiful sourdough bread from our local bakery on the way home.   Carlo had the soup warming on the stove, and I put together a chunky Greek salad.  We sat down to dinner, and it hit me – Carlo hates squash.  Oy and vey!!   I looked around our dinner table at my beautiful family, and not a word was being said.  Sara was devouring the soup, Becca was gobbling up the salad (it’s her favourite) and Carlo looked up at me, smiled, and said it was delicious!  The real proof is in the pudding – or in this case, the soup – he went back for seconds! 

I guess Carlo doesn’t hate squash after all!  The recipe can be found in Norene’s Meal-Lean-I-Yumm cookbook, I believe it is page 85 (? - I am nowhere near home as I write this :S), and is so easy.  The only thing I will do differently next time is double the recipe – we haven’t any leftovers for lunch today!

Until next time, I wish you a wonderful day filled with fun, friends and fantastic food!  B’Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Creation of a Cheesecake - Part II

As you may recall, I had a culinary catastrophe last week, and my cheesecake turned out to be a lumpy pudding...the kids tried to cheer me up, but I suffered a serious blow to my cooking ego.

Fast forward to Sunday (yesterday).  As I slowly wandered the aisles at No Frills - one of my favourite things to do (I know, I need to get a life) - I stopped at the cheese fridges, and stared down a 250g block of light cream cheese, debating whether I was ready to try my hand at Bubbie Lou's cheesecake recipe again.  Not one to back down to a challenge, I picked up the cream cheese, and bought another tub of cottage cheese to boot.

I came home and started cooking.  As I made dish after successful dish, I built up my resolve and decided there was no time like the present.  I pulled out my old, battered cheesecake spring form pan and all the ingredients needed to make the cheesecake. 

Out of the far so good

The only differences between my first attempt and this one were:
  • I reduced the recipe by 50%
  • I increased the baking time by 20 minutes
  • I left the cheesecake to chill for 24 hours before attempting to remove it from the pan

And today I crept to the cantina, pulled the cheesecake from the fridge and returned to the kitchen to survey my handiwork.  I slowly opened the latch and gingerly raised the pan through the mold...SUCCESS! 

It's holding!  At this point, my daughters' faces are frozen in shock & amazement LOL!

After they got over their initial shock that I CAN MAKE A CHEESECAKE, my kids cheered for me and eagerly stood by as I cut them each a piece for their after school snack. 

The finished product...yumm!
So...the moral of the Creation of a Cheesecake story is twofold:
  • If at first you don't succeed - try, try again; and
  • I CAN make cheesecake!

Now I am off to have a piece myself...wishing you a wonderful evening, filled with fun, friends and fantastic food!  B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Bubbie Lou's Cheesecake

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1¼C graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼C melted butter

Filling Ingredients:
  • 1C cottage cheese (small curds)
  • 1C cream cheese
  • 1C granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cream

Preheat oven to 375˚.  Combine the crust ingredients and press down to bottom of spring form pan.  Using the mix master, blend all filling ingredients and pour into spring form, on top of the crust.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove and let cool and set (for a few hours!) before removing the spring form.

Bubbie Lou's Chocolate Chip Cookies

The finished product - yumm!

I LOVE BAKING!  Nothing leaves me feeling more content than seeing all my cookie jars filled with fresh baking, and watching my family munching on home-made treats.  So…after I finished grocery shopping and unloading/washing up everything yesterday I went on a cooking/baking frenzy.  I made 3 dinners for this week, in addition to a batch of banana-caramel-chocolate-coconut muffins, cheesecake and mint chocolate chip cookies. 

Today I will feature the chocolate chips cookie recipe - these cookies are fantastic! Just to shake things up a bit, I added mint chocolate buds this time – delicious!

Ready, set, bake!

They are nut-free, so they can go to school, and while they are light, they are really satisfying – 2 will suffice and should quell your sweets craving. 

As far as the cheesecake goes, I will have to let you know if it was a success this time around – it is chilling in the fridge and waiting to be topped with fresh blueberries and served this evening.  Stay tuned for Creation of a Cheesecake – Part II.

In the meantime, wishing a wonderful day filled with friends, fun and fantastic food!  B’Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Bubbie Lou’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • ¾C brown sugar
  • ¾C soft butter or margarine
  • 1¾C flour
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 300F° - 315F.  Mix butter & sugar.  Mix dry ingredients separately, then add to butter & sugar mixture.  Add vanilla.  Once batter is completely mixed, fold in chocolate chips or chunks.  Place1 tbsp scoops 2 inches apart on a baking sheet (I always use parchment).  These cookies don’t spread much as they’re baking.  The recipe calls for 10 - 12 minutes.  My cookies were rather large, so I baked them for 20 minutes and they came out perfect!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Holidays Came Early This Year!!!

I have been waiting for this day for so long...the Cuisinart Wholesale! 

My refurbished food processor died a couple of months ago, and I have been waiting for this sale so I could buy a quality "tool", as my Carlo would say. 

The sale lasts 2 days, and I guess I have been prattling on about it, because Dad went so far as to tell me I could close up the office early yesterday in order to make the sale before having to assume my "Momma Chauffeuse" duties.  But, as luck would have it, work got in the way (imagine that!) and I did not have time to get to the sale.

So....I used my Leo skills of persuasion to convince Aviva to join me at 8:30 this morning, and off we went to the sale.  First stop - Mochas from McCafe...surprisingly delicious!  Next stop - meet up with Davie and my beautiful niece Abby for a visit and chocolate milk at Timmy's.  Somehow, I managed to convince them this would be a fun trip, and they joined us too.  Off we went to the Cuisinart sale...thankfully Davie had his GPS, and once he took the lead in our little caravan of 2, we made it there in record time.  He even found us 2 primo parking spots so we wouldn't have to walk far!  Once inside, it was a foodie's heaven! 

Getting our bearings...

We got Abby settled in the cart with a strip of bubble-wrap.  Davie taught her how to pop the bubbles, and for the remainder of our expedition, we listened to her delighted cries of "I popped ANOTHER one!".   We leisurely strolled the aisles, discovering many items that we did not need but could easily find use for, and then we saw it!  Across the aisle, beckoning me to take it home was the 12 Cup Die Cast Elite Food Processor!  We put it in our cart and continued meandering through the aisles, admiring the many griddles, mix masters, popcorn makers and coffee makers, and then it appeared before me - the 14 Cup Die Cast Elite Food Processor...and reduced by almost 50% the MSRP!  Needless to say, I took the larger capacity processor (I will be a Bubbie one day and have a huge family to cook for) and off we went to the checkout line. 

Happiness is.... going to the Cuisinart sale with a friend!

A couple of hours have passed since our warehouse sale adventure. Sara has lovingly unpacked our newest kitchen "tool" with me, oohing and aahing over every piece and attachment, and we have found it a home on the kitchen counter.  The best part (other than the fact that I won't be grating 20 pounds of potatoes by hand later this month!!!) is that Carlo came in and said our's looks like a Cook's Kitchen - like Mom's did.  And so, the traditions continue into the next generation(s)...

It's here!!!

Let the cooking begin!
 I cannot wait to find a recipe in Norene's Yellow Food Processor Cookbook and create something yummy for dinner this week, but it will have to wait until tomorrow or Monday...we're off to Marisa (Carlo's sister) and Tony's for dinner tonight. 

Wishing you a wonderful weekend filled with fun, friends and fantastic food...B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tomato Tuesdays ... Pizza!

Well...I sure do blog in fits and spurts, don't I?! 

OK... tonight was one of my all-time favourite dinners - homemade pizza!  If you saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love, you may recall a scene where they are in Napoli and Julia Roberts' character is eating the most delicious-looking slice of gooey, drippy pizza...well, this scne resonated with me, and the thought of that pizza drives me to make it from scratch every few weeks!

I found prayer as a child in parochial school.  I found love with my wonderful hubby, Carlo, 20+ years ago, and again with each of our daughters.  But I only found food, or at least discovered my love for preparing and eating food, in my later 30s and 40s. 

On this Tomato Tuesday, I had a hankering for pizza, and so tonight's menu was decided!  I have a recipe for pizza dough that is quite easy and delicious, but tonight I cheated and bought pre-prepared dough from the Nino D'Aversa bakery (it takes at least 2 hours to make dough from scratch - too long on a work day -  you have to let it rise, punch it down and rise again).  But I did make my own sauce!

Combine 1 diced onion, 1 tsp minced garlic, 2 tbsp canola oil and 1 tbsp margarine

Saute until onions are translucent

Add 28 oz tin of herbed diced tomatoes and 1 tbsp salt, simmer for 20 minutes

Meanwhile, knead that dough!  The more you knead, the more pliable it will be
Roll out dough on floured surface, then place on pre-heated, oiled pizza pan

Top with tomato sauce

And then with mozzarella cheese

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (or until bottom is golden brown)

Hope you enjoyed your Tomato Tuesday!   Until next time, B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!

Fantastic Falafel on Meatless Mondays

OK - I feel the need to redeem myself after my cheesecake debacle - so here are some photos of last night's Meatless Monday meal.

All the fixings for falafel night

The final product

I love falafel.  Growing up, I attended a Jewish Day School, and our "cafeteria" was catered by Mati's Falafel and Pita Shop.  Once a week our class was permitted to buy our lunch from Mati.  I can remember the growing excitement and anticipation as I waited in line to buy my half-falafel, slice of pizza and bag of Wise chips.

Once I graduated from junior high I would happily make the trek uptown to Mati's Bathurst Street storefront to buy falafel and a slice.  And funny enough, it always tasted as delicious as I remembered it being when I was a little girl.

Fast forward to 1987, and the summer I spent  in Israel.  My Sabra (Israeli-born) friends all laughed at me because I constantly ate falafel, at least one a day.  (A comparison would be someone visiting Canada and eating a hot dog from a street vendor every day of their trip).  

Mati closed up shop in the late 1990s or early 2000s, and it wasn't until we discovered Me-Va-Me that my falafel cravings could be satiated.  And then, last spring they opened a second restaurant in the north end of the city!

Now I am able to pick up fresh pita and hummus to compliment my home-made (from a mix) falafel, Israeli salad and tehina.  Give me time to get a new food processor, following which I have every intention of making my falafel and hummus from scratch!

And so, for Meatless Monday, I whipped up a batch of falafel, tehina and salad, and we sat down to a delicious, filling, dinner - which is a good thing considering my cheesecake debacle left us without dessert! LOL!

Stay tuned for a pictorial step-by-step of  home-made pizza night for Tomato Tuesday!  Until then, I wish you a wonderful day filled with fun, friends and fantastic food....B'Tayavon and Buon Appetito!