Jewish Journal


April 15, 2011

Joke, Chocolaty Passover Dessert and Window Boxes from The Handy Hazzan



The Handy Hazzan installs a window box holder

STORY: As Moses and the children of Israel were crossing the Red Sea, the children of Israel began to complain to Moses of how thirsty they were, after walking so far. Unfortunately, they were not able to drink from the walls of water on either side of them, as they were made up of salt-water. Just then, a fish from that wall of water whispered in Moses’ ear that he and his fishy family heard the complaints of the people and through their gills, they could miraculously remove the salt from the water and force it out of their mouths like a fresh water fountain for the Israelites to drink from, as they walked by. Moses accepted the kindly fish’s offer. However, before the fish and his family began to help, they told Moses they had one demand. They and their descendants had to be always present at the Seder meal that would be established to commemorate the Exodus, since they had a vital part in the story. When Moses agreed to this, he gave them their name, which remains how they are known to this very day, for he said to them, “Go Filter Fish!” B’ dum bum.

FOLLOW UP TO LAST WEEK’S YOU TUBE DEMONSTATION: Here’s The Handy Hazzan’s contribution to your Passover dessert table.  (See live demonstration on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6KWdL_rEa4.) I also call them “Chocolate Matzoh Wine Rolls.” This recipe is very simple to execute, and the results just as delicious.  I thank my dear Hebrew teacher, Vered, who taught me when I was in seminary at the Academy For Jewish Religion, for this recipe. Make these no later than the night before.(Remember that we serve dessert BEFORE the Afikomen, which is the real dessert!)

eight matzohs,
I cup sweet wine,
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate,
½ cup milk,
2 tblsp cocoa,
1 cup sugar
3 tblsp brandy
1 tsp instant coffee
I stick margarine

Over low flame melt together the chocolate, cocoa, sugar, brandy, coffee, and milk. (I like to add in the milk after I’ve melted the other ingredients together and I’ve taken the saucepan off the stove. Remove the combined ingredients from the flame and mix in margarine (and milk).

While the chocolate mixture is melting, crumble the eight matzohs into little pieces and soak in the sweet wine… i.e soak the matzohs.  (I didn’t mean that you should take a bath in sweet wine.) Add in the yummy, chocolaty stuff and combine well.  In heavy-duty aluminum foil - sorry if that is a little uncomfortable - create two rolls of the completed mixture, wrap up and tuck them into the freezer for the night.  Shortly before the guests arrive, remove them from the freezer (hee hee… the dessert, not the guests) and cut into individual pieces.  Serve as petit fours in those little, paper cupcake thingies.  There’s enough sugar, alcohol and caffeine in there to keep you up all night talking about our deliverance from Egypt. 

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MORE DO-IT-YOURSELF FOLLOW-UP: Last week I made a list of some items that needed fixing around the house before welcoming guests to our home for seder.  I’ve begun to test the “Nature’s Miracle” solution on the carpet to remove the stains donated by our cat, Arnold.  The good news is that you’ll do better if you saturate the area with the solution immediately after the kitty saturates the area with his solution.  The longer you wait, the less effective the results. Or just get your cat diapers and be done with it. That ‘s a better solution.

WINDOW BOXES – This is EASY TO MODERATELY EASY. Tools and materials you’ll need:  electric drill with bit slightly smaller than the screws you will be using, flathead or Phillips screwdriver, tape measure or ruler, carpenter’s level, pencil, holder for the window box, tray to place between window box and holder to catch water. 

I put up two boxes and here’s the way I did it.  First, I purchased ready-made redwood boxes.  Redwood stands up well to the elements, and I decided to stain them with an additional redwood sealer/protectant.  I already had a black, metal garden hose holder with a fleur de lis design at the top, and I was happy to find the same design on the black, metal window box holders I chose.  Since I was putting the box in front of French windows (opening out), I knew that I had to attach the boxes low enough so that I could plant flowers and still possibly open the windows.  I was also willing to forgo opening these two windows, as there are four more in the dining room.  (We DO open the windows in summer, as I am not a big fan of air-conditioning.  We have the original 1913 roller screens that pull down from inside the top of the window casing.  They are so cool! I’ll show you sometime this summer.) Choose your plants based on the amount of sun exposure to the area.  At least one plant that trails or cascades – like a trailing geranium (full to part sun) looks really nice.

If you have French windows as we do, simply center the window box holder so that the middle of it corresponds to the spot where the French windows meet in a closed position.  I chose to drill mounting holes in the bottom of the window casing itself.  Others instruct to drill holes in the wood siding below the window frame.  I didn’t want to drill into wood shingle. The choice is yours, and both ways are fine.  Once I centered the holder, it was easy to place a pencil mark inside the top of the screw mounting holes of the holder.  These mounting holes are smaller at the top and larger at the bottom, so that the holder will “hook” onto the screws.  Be sure to measure from the smaller, top hole.  That is where the holder will hang. 

First pre-drill one hole using a drill bit slightly smaller than the size of the screw you are using.  I would use at least a #8 screw, brass or galvanized, as probably only two screws will be supporting a holder plus wooden box filled with earth, occasional water and plants.  Insert one screw into one of the holes, turning it until it is in about half way in.  Hook the appropriate mounting hole over that screw.  Swing the other end of the holder to what looks like a level position and then place the level on the holder to find the exact level (horizontal) position.  I put the tray on the holder so that the level would lie more easily. Never use a level before?  It’s easy.  When the little bubble shows up in the middle of the glass tube, you’re level! With your pencil, mark the spot for the second drill hole.  After drilling, insert the second screw about halfway into the window casing.  At this point the holder will be at a slight angle vertically, with the bottom of the holder closer to the house than the top of the holder.  Check the level again.  If it’s good, turn your screws until they are all the way in.  That’s it! Place the planter tray on the holder and then, after arranging your plants and adding potting soil, place your window box on the tray.  Make sure all is well watered.  Enjoy your new window box.  See photos. 

You’ve still got time to put a bit of Spring into your Passover with a new window box…. and also make that great dessert.  Tikkun Olam starts at home.  You can fix it! - HH



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