Tag Archive | Beatles

Pareve Pumpkin Pie

photo found on marthastewartliving website

photo found on marthastewartliving website

Everyone in my nuclear family loves LOVES pumpkin pie. And for only the second time in 12 years, my pumpkin-pie eating little family of five will not be going over the NY Thruway and through any tunnels or bridges to New York City. Nope, as much as we love seeing the family and sitting in 10 hours of traffic, this year, we are staying put.

When you are Transplantednorth, there are some disadvantages of being a nuclear family in a town where it seems you are surrounded by friends who all have extended family in town. Come holidays like Thanksgiving, you once again become the disappearing transplant.

I’m not complaining, really. This was my choice to stay “home.” But can a place be home where there are no extended family within 300 miles? The rest of the year, Rochester indeed feels like home. Come holidays, without aunts, uncles cousins and grandparents around, it can feel like how the Ingalls family must have felt on the wild, windblown frontier.

But this is a story about pareve pumpkin pie.

One small advantage of staying put (okay my kids will think a big advantage) is that at our Thanksgiving table, we’ll have pumpkin pie.

As much as she has tried to like it, my mom does not like anything pumpkin. My kids, however,  can’t get enough of the orange stuff. I put it in breads, waffles and pancakes. I even made a pumpkin challah just so I can make pumpkin challah stuffing.

But, most of you know that pumpkin pie calls for milk, cream, condensed milk, or some other dairy ingredient. This poses a challenge to Jewish families like ours who observe the dietary laws of keeping kosher.

There are ways to get around the dairy dilemma by finding pareve ingredients.

What is pareve? Not many know. It is so esoteric, the word does not appear in the WordPress spellcheck.

It’s a term meaning food that is neither meat or dairy. It’s neutral. Like Switzerland. Does it taste as creamy and delicious as real cream? No. But, I’d rather have an imitation dairy dessert any day than serving a Tofurky at my Thanksgiving feast!

Here is the recipe. I based it on a recipe used from Martha Stewart Living, I just replaced the dairy ingredients with some stuff called Coffee Rich, found in the frozen section of most grocery stores. For those of you in upstate New York, I found this chemical-laden substance at Tops, and not Wegmans this year. But I still love you, Wegmans.

All-purpose flour, for surface

  • Pate Brisee for Traditional Pumpkin Pie
  •                                         1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  •                                         3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  •                                         1 tablespoon cornstarch
  •                                         1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  •                                         3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •                                         3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  •                                         1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  •                                         1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •                                         3 large eggs
  •                                       1 Cup Pareve Nondairy Creamer, like Coffee Rich
  •                                         Ground cloves
  •                                         Whipped cream, for serving

Directions

  1.                                         Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll pate brisee disk 1/8 inch thick, then cut into a 16-inch circle. Fit circle into a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold edges under.
  2.                                         Shape large, loose half circles at edge of dough, then fold into a wavelike pattern to create a fluted edge. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  3.                                         Cut a circle of parchment, at least 16 inches wide, and fit into pie shell. Fill with pie weights or dried beans.  – Buy a premade Pareve piecrust. Bake until edges of crust begin to turn gold, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.
  4.  Meanwhile, whisk pumpkin, sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, eggs, creamer, and a pinch of cloves in a large bowl.
  5.   Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into cooled crust. Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 50 to 55 minutes. (If crust browns too quickly, tent edges with a strip of foil folded in half lengthwise.) Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours (preferably overnight.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, the Beatles are Immortal

beatles

In my crazy rushed day, my son added to the craziness by declaring that, yet again, his glasses were in desperate need of repair.

I didn’t get my workout in.  I had a little over an hour before my Hebrew school class.  

I was really stressed.

 But my son’s nose, without the proper padding that had fallen off his glasses, was really scratched. So, I said I would take him to the Twelve Corners Optician only if we ran there.  So we did. We ran because I knew  that picking out another pair of glasses was going to take much more time than I had, and time was running short.

We were making good time, until we arrived at 12 Corners Plaza. A group of high school boys were slowly walking in front of us. Slowly, as if they had nowhere else in the world to be. And at 16 or 17, that’s the way one should look upon an after-school afternoon.

I started getting annoyed that they were in my way, until I heard one starting to sing.

This kid, born decades after the British Invasion, born two generations after the Beatles first landed at JFK International airport, was singing a Beatles tune. He wasn’t rapping or singing some horrid contemporary pop tune, but a song that was older than he and would outlast anything on the radio now.

Instantly I was calmed.  And I couldn’t help but harmonize walking behind him, until his friends told him that he could NOT sing in the pizzeria.

Remembering John – and James

Today marks the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.

That day also ended my childhood and woke me up to the harsh realities of the world, realities that couldn’t be imagined away.

On December 8, 1980, I was in the 7th grade. I can’t remember when I started listening to the Beatles. My cousins were into them, and one of them won the Rubber Soul album (yes, not a CD, or a mp3 download, but a vinyl LP) from 101 CBS FM.   When playing cards or games at his grandmother’s apartment in Coney Island, if you made a move against him, he would break into lyrics from the song You Can’t Do That –  “I told you before — nooooo, you can’t to that!”

So I was well familiar with the Beatles by age 12, though maybe not who the individual Beatles were, or what John Lennon was all about.

I had just received my first radio alarm clock and my radio was tuned to an AM station 77 ABC – with  Don Imus in the morning. Don Imus spoofed everything and was always reporting fake news. So when I woke up on that dark December morning and heard that John Lennon was rushed to the hospital for a gunshot wound to the chest, I thought he might be joking. Sure, Imus, I thought, as I went downstairs to get my breakfast.

Then I went down to the kitchen and saw the news on TV – the pictures of Yoko Ono on her knees by the Emergency Room entrance and the announcement that John Lennon was dead.

That day also brings me thoughts of a classmate from the 7th grade. His name was James. I had a bit of a crush on James, though back then, in the brutality of junior high school, liking the wrong boy could get you teased to no end.

James was not exactly what other girls in the class thought of as cool or cute. He didn’t dress cool or act cool. He had thick unruly hair and thick glasses.

But what James  had going for him in my book was that he was SMART. Ahead-of-his-time smart.

For a seventh grader, he was certainly up on his politics. After all, what other seventh grader could write poetry that included references to Mohammed Ali as Cassius Clay or Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick incident? What other seventh grader could argue with our social studies in defense of Richard Nixon when most of us barely knew what Watergate was at age 12? James made Nixon impersonations all the time. And he drew great political cartoons. His other idols: Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather of CBS News, a network where he swore he would someday be gainfully employed.

If James was born 20 years too late and had a fascination with the 60’s, his favorite band was of course – the Beatles. So on the morning of December 9, when the world found out that John Lennon was dead, there was an announcement in home room to observe a moment of silence for the slain musician.

At that moment, James did another mature thing that could have a seventh-grade boy drawn and quartered.  He cried. Right at his desk, right there in front of everyone.

Now, remember I had  a crush on James, who didn’t seem to care that I existed. Who made fun of me about as much as anyone else in the seventh grade. But I couldn’t bear to see him cry. So, seeing that he had no tissue, I got up out of my chair (which I think was against home room rules), crossed the room, put my hand on his shoulder, and offered him one.

“I’m so sorry,” I said.

He looked at me, took my tissue, and thanked me.

It truly was a Wonder Years moment that still remains an entry in my adolescent diary.

And now, 30 years later? I still miss John Lennon and wonder what more music he could have given us, what more he could have taught his son.

Now: my own kids love the Beatles. They sing and listen to their music. They have been to Strawberry Fields and have stood outside the Dakota.

Now: For a fifth grade biography project, Nathan, who is now 12,  found a book in the young adult section of the library that ironically was published three months before Lennon’s death.  To accompany the book report, we made a milk-jug headed John Lennon puppet, complete with the signature round framed glasses, long wavy hair and a New York T-Shirt. Nathan’s playing the guitar now, and I’m sure It Won’t Be Long until he will be asking for a Beatles song book.

And James? Last time I saw James – in person – was at an SAT prep class held at Wagner College back when we were in High School. The class was held at the student union, and one day, a Beatles cover band was playing in the cafe. James had a great time singing along.

I have seen James since, but on TV:  James is a news correspondent: though on FOX, not CBS.

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