I just reread your letter and am again reminded of why I am so intimidated. Your pictures are transporting, your recipes mouthwatering and I have to restrain myself from kissing the computer screen when you treat me to a rare photo of your oh-so-happy-in-this-precise-moment face. I know you torture yourself with life’s unending questions…while you are fully engaging with every bit of life around you…but I am so proud and happy that you pursued this crazy dream. Even if it changes you…and takes you to places out of my daily reach.
In the meantime, here I am in Birmingham, struggling with my own particular brand of self-torture. In the past 4 months, I have gotten down and dirty in the process of packing and unpacking other people’s lives (yours included) as they let go of the old to forge new lifestyles and pursue yet unfulfilled dreams.
It’s easy for me to help other people clear their closets of outdated ill-fitting clothing and give away the precious junk they thought they couldn’t live without. I support, encourage and reassure anyone with the guts to try on a new life. And I get paralyzed just thinking about throwing out clothes I haven’t worn in ten years!
Immersing myself in the messiness of other peoples’ moves has made me take a hard look at all the mess and stuff in my life…how burdened I feel by it all…and how difficult it is for me to let go.
Your bedroom has been sitting in limbo for two years…part shrine, part overflow storage, part crash pad. The bedroom of your childhood is obsolete. I have been talking about a master bath retreat for years. There aren’t many years left. It is time for me to just do it. I want to behave as if we are moving…culling, throwing, giving away…leaving only the essentials. I have been practicing on everyone else and now I am ready to let go! Maybe…
Cooking offers a convenient distraction.
Wedding showers, shabbat luncheons at temple…friends for dinner Saturday night and more family and friends for brunch Sunday morning…then an afternoon spent trying to replicate the Bubbe Blintz. I needed to use that Farmers Cheese that has been in my freezer for…I can’t even tell you how long. The pull of the kitchen is obviously stronger than a pared down closet. At least I am cleaning out my freezer!
We leave for a week at the beach this Wednesday and come back only to turn around and go to South Carolina for Karen’s wedding the next weekend. Then it’s Memorial Day and Dad and I are going to an Acoustic Cafe Music Festival in some small town in Alabama. We’ll be camping out and practicing yoga and sitting on our old-people’s-outdoor-concert-folding-chairs-in-the-bags. Our trip to NYC to meet you is right on the heels of that corner. There is no end to the diversions and attractions that keep me away from those closets!
Maybe next month…when I run out of things to do that I really want to do.
P.S. Can’t wait to see you in NYC…even if it is only for a few days. I promise…I’m working on letting you go!
Bubbe’s Blintzes were a family delicacy. Her freezer was not complete without a reserve stash of blintzes waiting for a surprise visit from the out-of-town relatives or a local grandchild dropping in for lunch or a snack. Eating only one was practically an insult. She would defrost 6 and make you eat at least 5 before you even had a chance to protest. Bubbe could whip up 100 blintzes in an afternoon, seemingly effortlessly.
These are not the typical sweet blintz that you might find at a deli or in the freezer section at the grocery store. They aren’t savory either. They are just the perfect combination of a buttery crepe wrapped around a smooth creamy cheese filling with the faintest hint of vanilla. Bubbe served them with sour cream, strawberry jam or apple sauce. I love them plain with nothing extra!
*(Special thanks to Ruth who watched Bubbe make hundreds of Blintzes in her kitchen in NJ. Ruth learned the art from Bubbe and passed it on to me.)
Bring all ingredients to room temperature. This recipe makes 3 to 4 dozen depending on how much cheese you use and how thick your blintz skins are.
Blintz Crepe Batter
- 3 Cups flour
- 6 – 7 Cups skim milk
- 7 Eggs
- Pinch salt
Mix ingredients in a blender or in a large deep bowl using an immersion stick blender until there are no visible lumps. Let batter rest for about 30 minutes.
Use a non-stick or stainless steel crepe pan or small frying pan. Heat pan over medium heat before smearing butter lightly on pan. I use wax paper to hold the butter and lightly spread it on the pan.
Pour about ¼ to ⅓ cup of batter into the pan and swirl it around the bottom of the heated pan to cover the pan with a thin layer of batter. It may take a few times to get the pan to the right temperature and the right amount of batter to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin coating of batter.
Cook on one side only until you can see little holes popping through and the edges come away from the sides of the pan.
Flip the crepe out of the pan onto parchment paper or brown paper sacks uncooked side face-down.
Repeat process until all the batter is gone. Don’t be discouraged if you mess up the first few crepes. They are delicious plain, so enjoy your mistakes.
- 3 pounds Farmer Cheese* (it looks like very small curd dried cottage cheese) *It can be stored in the freezer for a very long time if it is vacuum packed…and it is as good as new when defrosted!
- 3 Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Mix all ingredients together by hand or with a stick blender or electric beater.Once the crepe is cooled.
Place a couple tablespoons of the cheese mixture at the bottom of the circle of dough on the cooked side of the dough.
Roll the dough over the cheese to form a tube about the size of a roll of quarters. Roll the dough over once and fold the sides in.
Then continue to roll the dough until the blintz is formed. The uncooked side of the dough should form the outside of the blintz. Place the completed blintz with the seam down on a fresh piece of wax paper on a metal baking sheet. You can use more or less cheese filling based on your preference, but don’t overfill.
At this stage, the Blintzes are ready to be sautéed in a small amount of butter until both sides of the Blintz are lightly browned.
Blintzes may also be flash frozen prior to sautéing and placed in freezer bags to be prepared and served at another time.