May 2, 2012 § 10 Comments
I’ve been struggling lately.
There is a commenter on this blog who keeps looking for an argument – from the safety of his keyboard that is. Sometimes his points have merit, other times he just sounds like an ignorant fool.
As the owner of this blog though, I vacillate between the idea that all voices should be heard and the idea that I should delete his inflammatory contributions.
But then I had a realization.
April 28, 2012 § 1 Comment
A friend I admire is a reporter and I often wonder how he stays on top of all that goes on in the world. In the past, I’ve asked and, now that I am thinking about it, never really got a clear answer. I think I’m hoping for an easy osmosis-type information download. Ahh well… life in the information age.
When I first started asking about how those I consider super informed got their information it was long before I started writing this blog. Now not only am I writing here but have an opportunity to greatly expand my reach causing me to consider the age-old blogger question: What the heck should I write about???
I could write more about adoption, about my learning of Islam, about being Jewish, or about how I like my coffee (very, very strong). However there needs to be a theme, at least some element that unifies. So here is my theme…
The elephant in the room.
Identifying the elephant in the room is what I do professionally. If everything is aligned than one will be successful. What does that mean? That means the business that truly knows what the customers need and how they need it can customize their offering accordingly and voila — success! I help people and businesses understand those needs and how they can best meet them.
But this isn’t work, this is my personal blog. So what is my elephant?
I guess I should start figuring that out.
April 20, 2012 § 4 Comments
A few days ago, the community in which I live and worship experienced a great loss. L. was a force of nature. Truly. If something needed to get done he made it happen. If a difficult truth needed to be voiced, it came from L. This man was an unexpected source of learning and spirituality in addition to having guided our community towards a new century with his unique leadership style.
But he is gone. And frankly, death sucks. It is painful (of course), infuriating (think the several stages of grief), and it leaves a hole where, in this case, a larger-than-life soul once stood. All of those things aside, death also brings with it a ridiculous amount of stuff!
February 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
This morning, before I head to the ICNYU conference, I went to my temple to listen to my rabbi speak about conversion. I was converted to Judaism as a baby and grew up in the Jewish faith. I became bat mitzvahed (oh yes, i just verb-ed ‘mitzvah’) on Masada in Israel and have a Jewish home. Today it was discussed that if my conversion was not done according to orthodox Jewish traditions than my boys would not be considered Jewish by some Jews.
This begs the question, who has the authority to define who and what we are? I wonder if deep down my Muslim family considers me a ‘lost’ Muslim due to my being born into Islam. Learning about my heritage has caused me to question my faith and basically chosen Judaism. But is choosing enough?
Right now I am on my way back to the conference to learn more about the American Muslim perspective. It will be telling to see what choices this group is making and more importantly, if they realize that they are making the choices themselves after all.
February 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
In about two and a half hours I will be surrounded by Muslims. On Shabbat.
Tonight marks the beginning of the third annual ICNYU Conference – The Islamic Center of New York University. From the conference webpage, we learn that:
The Islamic Center at New York University invites you to hear leading American Muslims engage the pressing challenges of our present and the great potentials of our future. Over a course of two days, thinkers, scholars, leaders and artists will debate, discuss and explore our embrace of the mainstream. http://www.icnyuconference.org/
Embrace of the mainstream — this will be fascinating.
In the spirit of full disclosure, part of my professional duties are to attend conferences and analyze every single aspect to discern not only the public messages communicated but the strategies that lead to those messages. For example, it is notable that the conference program is not complete the day of the first event. Not to be tough on the organizers but it’s my profession – can’t help it.
So… here are some questions I have going into this:
February 7, 2012 § 6 Comments
Thanks to everyone who sent kind notes about my foray into the world of yummy spices! I would like to send a special thank you to one of my uncles who kindly recommended I have a certain pink bottle handy – how prescient!
The tikka masala turned out delicious and even Thing 2 ate it which is no small feat. Although, in the spirit of full disclosure, the first ‘real’ food Thing 2 would eat was chicken biryani made by his Farhana Chachi. Do I sense a trend?
The recipe hails from Shehzad Husain & Manisha Kanani’s Healthy Indian Cooking (Hermes House, 1997).
1.5 lbs. chicken breasts, skinned & cut into 1″ cubes
6 tbsp tikka paste
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tbsp neutral oil (used grape seed)
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed (I used 3 and minced then)
1 green chilli, seeded and chopped
1 one-inch piece ginger root, grated (I used a heaping tbsp of ginger paste)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 cup water
a little melted butter (I used none)
1 tbsp lemon juice
fresh coriander sprigs, yogurt, and toasted cumin seeds (I forgot ALL of that)
Naan, to serve (didn’t have any so used brown rice)
1. Remove any visible fat from the chicken and cut into the cubes. Put 3 tbsp of the tikka paste and 4 tbsp of the yogurt into a bowl, mix together and add the chicken to marinate for about 20 minutes.
2. For the tikka sauce, heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and fry the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger for 5 minutes. Add the remaining tikka paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, thread the chicken pieces onto wooden kebab skewers. Pre-heat the grill.
I had no intention of grilling chicken because 1) I don’t have a grill, and 2) this was already a bit labor intensive so I just threw the chicken into a heavy skillet with a bit of oil to brown and then added it to the tikka sauce.
4. Brush the chicken pieces lightly with the melted butter (hence, no need for the butter) and grill under a medium heat for 15 minutes, turning the skewers occasionally. I think the authors mean this step to be broiling rather than grilling.
5. Put the tikka sauce into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Return to the pan.
6. Add the remaining yogurt and lemon juice, remove the grilled chicken pieces from the skewers and add to the sauce pan, then simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh coriander, yogurt, and toasted cumin seeds and serve on naan bread.
February 4, 2012 § 4 Comments