Friday, September 15, 2017

Weather It Is (Nice Weather!)

After high heat, the weather is certainly more pleasant with temperatures forecast to be this coming days in the upper 20s, near 30 C.  This will bring us to Erev Rosh HaShannah, which looks to be quite pleasant.  It's not fall weather, but more of a transition weather.

This Friday morning actually shows a chance of light showers over the northern part of the country, and some showers off the southwest coast.  Weak low pressure to our east will move east, while weak pressure develops over the Mediterranean.  The counterclockwise flow around the Mediterranean low will be sure to keep our winds from the west, which keep temperatures lower, but humidities a bit higher.

All in all, a good weather way to head into the new year!

I'd like to follow up, briefly, on my recent post concerning health care in Israel. Perhaps -- some would call it ironic -- I developed the worst pain I can remember about two weeks after my surgery. After a visit to my family doctor, I was off to Terem. Terem, for those who don't know, is a way station on the way to the emergency room.  For the most part, those who go there are well enough to be healed without a visit or stay in the hospital, with basic, but not major intervention.  Anyone can come, but for a small payment, and receive quick and efficient care.

After a series of tests, I was quickly referred to the public emergency room.  We decided to go to Hadassah Ein Karem, instead of Sharei Tzedek. There is a new road to Hadassah, so getting to one hospital compared to another is not that much more difficult, and parking is easier at Hadassah.

Moreover, it turns out that Hadassah has an obvious physical separation and treatment plan for those who come on their own compared to those (unfortunate) who do not (who are wheeled in and left with the "mob."). This is a great idea, and I was much appreciate of it, and in the end I received the care I required.

Yet, I arrived at about 11:30 in the morning and was discharged about 9 PM.  All the while, my wife was running back and forth reminding the staff that I needed treatment (for those who come by themselves, this can present a problem).  While I sat in a chair waiting, I noticed a sign that said: "tell us about your treatment?"  The more I waited -- while the doctors I needed to see flitted in and out of the treatment center -- the more this sign grated on my nerves.  Had I felt any better, I would have been more than angry. Moreover, the nurses confirmed that my "wait time" was typical!

There are those who might respond to what I've written with: "don't complain -- what do you expect from a public service?"  This would be my point exactly.  Timeliness and the dignity of the patient should be paramount, and this is a failing -- for those who support public health service (I do) -- that must be corrected by hiring more staff. Must our standards be low?

After a difficult two weeks, I would like to end this blog on a happier note. The foods of the Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) present us with both challenges to be like the head, instead of the tail of a fish, for example.  Another food we eat are carrots or in Hebrew Gezer (my favorite); by doing so we wish that negative decrees against us will be annulled.

For those who like to bake, one of those challenges is making Challah.  Hence, I present my recipe for holiday Challah, which I think I've finally got right.

Weather It Is (Just the -> Perfect Chalah Recipe

This makes two large challahs (round or oblong) and 4 small Challah rolls). For half a recipe, add 1/2 TB of salt, instead of 2 1/4 tsps (as below).  You can add raisins to the dough before you roll it up after the first rising (you should put the raisins along the middle of the dough and then fold it over, so the raisins don't cook on the outside of the dough).

You can preheat the oven to 190 Celsius (about 375 F).  If you do, you probably only need 25 minutes of cook time.  Turning the oven on, though, when you put the dough in allows the dough to quickly rise a bit more.

Set aside 6 cups bread flour (and 2 cups whole wheat flour) and then sift to remove any bugs.

In a mixing bowl.

1) Add 2 cups warm water.
2) Add 1/2 cup light brown sugar.
3) Add 1/4 cup honey.
4) Add 3 TB instant yeast.

--> Mix with an egg beater or fork.

5) Add one cup flour -- let rest until bubbles form (yeast needs to "warm-up").

--> Mix with an egg beater.

6) Add 1/2 cup gluten.
7) Add 1/4 cup oil.
8) Add two eggs.
9) Add one cup flour.

--> Mix with an egg beater.

10) Add 2 1/4 tsp of salt.  Don't forget the salt!

--> Attach bread kneading device (or use your hands).

11) Knead bread and add enough flour (about 5 cups) until bread is dry enough to handle with your hands (and a bit elastic). I usually let this go on about 5  (over beating can break down the gluten).
12) Remove from mixing bowl and knead a few minutes with your hands, adding enough flour to keep bread from being sticky (but don't add too much flour to make the dough dry).
13) Return to bowl.
14) Spray with canola oil. Cover with wax paper, and a light wet towel.  Put in a warm oven (60 C).
15) About 45 minutes later, the dough should have doubled in size.
16) Punch it down, and then use 2/3 of the dough for making two loafs, and the rest for making rolls. You can add a little bit of flour to keep it from being sticky.
17) Grease pans.
18) Spray dough with Canola oil.
19) About 45 minutes later, the dough should have doubled in size again.
20) Cook for 28 minutes on 190 C, until outside is hard to the touch.
21) Remove from oven, cool on racks until warm and then remove from baking pans.  **Enjoy**

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