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Monday, April 14, 2014

Pesach “balloons” of happiness…

IMG_00004379 Welcome to my shiny-weird Israeli Pesach kitchen.

I’m calling it a kitchenETTE.  Notice I’ve brought our transformer into the kitchen… I left behind most of our kitchen appliances in Canada, but decided to pack along the Pesach mixer and hand blender, for some reason.  I’m grateful to have them.

A few night ago, I started worrying.  Why?  Our balonim.

Huh?  Balloons???  Yup, gas balloons. 

Basically, in Canada, when you have a gas stove, dryer or any other appliance, the gas comes in a pipe from some mysterious unknown place.  The supply is pretty much infinite, like turning on tap water. 

Here, it’s not quite so simple.  Instead, every home owner or apartment renter, if they want gas, contact one of several gas suppliers to obtain “balloons.” 

I first learned about balonim courtesy of Batya over at me-ander, in this post.  As she points out, there are occasional problems – like the “off” one can leak and empty itself out without warning.  But it’s not a bad system; just weird to get used to if your gas supply has always been infinite before.

(In the merkaz klitah, there were no balonim; just a “mains” gas supply, like in Canada.)

The gas company give you two canisters – one on (ie connected to your apartment), one off.  When the “on” one runs out, you switch to the “off” one and order a new one to replace the empty balon.

There is no coordination between neighbours, either, so outside every single apartment building, you end up with a motley collection of mismatched balonim:

This one’s actually pretty tidy.  Ours is a real mess.  I don’t know what the “hood”  over the top of the balonim does, either.  Ours is just about the only one in the neighbourhood that doesn’t have a hood.

So after I read about them on her blog, I pretty much forgot everything… until a few nights ago when I lay awake thinking of all the cooking ahead for Pesach and wondering, “how long do these things last, anyway???”

We moved in in late January, and now it’s April.  And a quick facebook poll revealed that three months was pretty typical.  Eek.

Happily, I sent Akiva out there today to check and it seems like we have plenty; one full and one with “enough,” he said, to last through yom tov.  Phew!  He also tested how to switch them and said, “it’s easy.”  Phew again!

NOTE TO SELF:  Don’t ever forget the “balloons” again.

And now that the worry is past, it’s time to cook and cook and cook and cook…

In our teeny-weeny kitchen, we have 2 shelves loaded with Pesach food.

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And what’s cooking?

Lemon dessert in progress…

Here’s the crust (crumbs of a marble cake at left, mixed with a little coconut oil and baked into a crust at right):

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And here’s the filling – lemon curd (underneath, made last night), 3 egg whites to mix in to make the main filling, 4 more egg whites to make the meringue.

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Wondering where all the extra egg yolks go???

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Egg lokshen!!! 

When cool, I’ll roll these up and slice them into “noodles.”

Chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons! 

(super-easy, no whipping – here’s the recipe!)

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Eggs for the seder, puréed squash for tomorrow’s soup, and roasted beets (unpickled; the pickled ones are on another shelf).

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Last post before Pesach; a lot is done already, but there is still much to do.

Best, best wishes from the Holy Land for a happy freedom festival!

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