Forced Family, Forced Fun, and Forced Fed

RH Buffet 2015

It's Rosh Hashanah time again! 

For all you Jebliers (Jesus fans) out there that means today is the Jewish New Year and the start of our holiday season. It's one of two times a year you have to go all American Ninja Warrior at temple to get a seat. 

Unfortunately this year I am not physically close enough to my blood family to force them into eating my food and pushing my Jew-bulousness (Jew Fabulousness) upon them. I am also not physically near my Jew Bestie Forever and her family to get my Russian Jew fix. 

Fortunately for me I am in a living situation surrounded by new friends who are willing to eat whatever I put in front of them with the promise of alcohol. So this year I forced all my new Southern friends to come over to my pied a terre where I filled what little counter space with all the cheeses. All of them.

This week I spent my down time scouring cookbooks and stalking middle aged female celebrity chefs online. Then two days ago I had a Me Moment with my platters. I hadn't spent any one on one time with my platters for months. So like a good 80's romantic evening I lit some candles, put on a Carly Simon album, poured a La Croix, and reacquainted myself with all my favorite lovers. After a few hours I totally started to understand the point of view of the mother from Flowers in The Attic. Some of my lovers ended up back in the pantry with the promise to see the light of a buffet table at a later date.

Starting early on Saturday I got to work with what I feel covers everything a Southern Jew Rosh Hashanah Brunch needs. Needless to say finding smoked salmon options in a medium sized Southern non coastal city was not easy. There was one. It wasn't bad.

I filled all my baking dishes and sheet pans (and my mouth periodically). Ran the dishwasher twice and wrapped up a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. All in all a productive day. 

The menu ended up with the following: 

Smoked Salmon and Dill Quiche with Feta

Cinnamon Kugel

Traditional Challah Bread

Deviled Eggs

Mini Honey Bundt Cakes

Meat and Cheese Platter (Pimento Cheese included)

Spring Green Pomegranate Salad with Almond Halva Dressing

To recap I will say for being the only Jew in the room I was very pleased to be able to share this New Year with the kids at Melrose Place. However my new goal is to get @crazyjewishmom to find me a new Jewish doctor who still has a mother around to cook a Rosh Hashanah meal for me. 

Wanted: Bubbie For Hire or How I Made Hamentashen Last Week

Chocolate Hamentashen


We (me) here at Benjamin Plante are looking to hire a bubbie for a long term contract position. The ideal candidate will be able to tell if I am eating enough just from a single phone call. She will be suggest I eat more but also remind me that I've put on weight since the last visit. Which was exactly 54 days ago.

She will grill me on my non existent social life reminding me at the same time she will never have great grandchildren. She will set me up with Ada's son from Temple (he's a doctor). When that doesn't work out she will set me up with the gentile at the grocery store (as long we raise our children Jewish).

She will expect me to call every week. She will be at my door in a matter of hours when I am sick. She will always suggest I wear a coat no matter the weather. She will openly judge my tattoos and badger the rabbi on where they can bury my body because of them. She will threaten her own life or my own should I think of getting another tattoo. 

You know Ruth from Temple? She will take me to Ruth's suit guy because he's the best in town and will not cheat you. She will be patient with me as I try to learn mahjong. She will fight the butcher for the best brisket on my birthday.

She will have endless hugs that leave me winded and covered in lipstick smears. She will have a story that will make no sense at first but 45 minutes later have the answer to whatever problem I am presently having. 

This position pays with weekly phone calls. Visits to Boca, Baton Rouge, New York or the Shalom Home as needed. Compliments to your cooking and letting you know Mrs. Schwartz's matzo balls are dry. Making sure the temperature is always ideal in my apartment when you visit. And the promise that I'll name my future unborn children after your brother Saul. 


A lifetime in the kitchen and mastery of the mean streets of life. 


No knowledge of technology whatsoever. When using Facetime I must be assured you will disconnect at least five times and yell as though it were a transcontinental call from 1930.

And the ability to work effectively with a novice jew feygele.

Referrals welcome. 


Last week I was in the kitchen during a Southern Snow Day baking hamantaschen and pondering life's mysteries. After a couple attempts I found myself swearing at the dough. I couldn't get it the right consistency. And in a short moment of self pity I found myself wishing I had a grandmother (bubbie) to call and tell me what I did wrong. Though a basic recipe I was convinced there was something only a bubbie could get right. I could be wrong. 

Grandparents seemed to exit stage left rather quickly in our family. My memories are not of time spent on grandma's lap or the dinner table. But of stories as told by our parents. 

I'm only in my early to late 30s. There is still time to find a bubbie to make me feel fat while overfeeding me. 

Chocolate Hamantaschen


Prep: 1 Hour

Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes

Yield: Makes 50 Cookies

Dating Dylan McDermott, Drunk Baking and Dramatic Jew-motional Eating

Hello Jackson - If you need a shoulder to cry on...I am here. Just take what wedding ring off.

Hello Jackson - If you need a shoulder to cry on...I am here. Just take what wedding ring off.

Well this week flew by - after a whirlwind trip up North and a full week in the sock factory I find myself having to get ready to get back on the road for work. And with Passover approaching next week I have food on the mind. Passover is the food best-t-est holiday the Jews have. I mean Thanksgivinukkah was amazing but Passover involves a lot of booze. However it does involve not eating leavened bread. So guess who has been Jew-motional bread eating for a few days? This Jew. That's Jew.  

This got me I am cleaning out the pantry before I go on yet another sojourn south of The Mason-Dixon I want to get rid of some cheese - Grilled Cheese for dinner and probably a bad movie on Netflix. And because I am not going be here to cook for Passover I decided to use some left over croissants in the southern classic of Bread Pudding. With a Jew twist of course.

Considering I have to spend a lot of upcoming time getting my Steel Magnolia's on, tonight is going to be spent eating - this is a food blog so that shouldn't surprise you.  Excuse me while I go all Diabetic Shelby on this...

Steel Magnolia Jewish Non Kosher Passover Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

(adapted from the internet and my emotional needs) 2014

I'll be in the corner crying for that poor baby of Shelby's. I mean how horrible to be raised by Dylan McDermott. I mean it's horrible because, as kin, they cannot date. I thank God everyday that I am not related to Dylan McDermott so when the time comes I will be able to date him. Date him so hard.  

Love and kisses.  

One more thing! If you enjoy reading this every week ( and I know at least 8 of you do ) please consider following my blog using the email sign up in the upper right corner of the page. Those special people get first word of my genius work.  

Friend Thanksgiving, Firestarter and THANKSGIVUKKAH: Greatest Holiday Ever

Fab lighting for Drew, all my supplies (including Star of David shaped pasta thanks to SAGL), Martha's stock photo of Matzo Ball Soup, and my pumpkin meringue pie from Friend Thanksgiving

Fab lighting for Drew, all my supplies (including Star of David shaped pasta thanks to SAGL), Martha's stock photo of Matzo Ball Soup, and my pumpkin meringue pie from Friend Thanksgiving

This week I was walking down Minneapolis’s own Champs Elysees, Nicollet Mall, when two I tell you two people stopped and asked why I had not posted on the blog for such a long time. After I assured them they had the wrong person out of pure shame I scurried to my glamorous corner office on the 24th floor overlooking the bubbling Mighty Mississippi. 

Doesn’t my life sound painfully spectacular?

In reality two friends who do read my blog kindly pointed out that I have been absent online as of late. I will confess of general food malaise and a crammed schedule of bunching man panties for work.

However in my defense this Thanksgiving post has been rattling around in my head for a while now. Mostly because it is one holiday that I see very little tradition with regards to me.

It is the eve of Thanks (and my first night of Hanukkah as a Jew) and I am in bed stricken with some demon illness catching up on Netflix. I kindly slept through The Truman Show and plan next to view the classic After School Special: Valley of The Dolls. Pass the pill box sweetie…daddy needs a pick me up.

Back to Thanksgiving and all the emotional stuffing that comes with it. In thinking of my own Thanksgiving pasts I can only recall three really. The first being with my father’s family at my childhood home, passing the relish tray to my right I look up to see my North by Northwest Uncle with two giant green olives shoved up his nose and a Cheshire grin so wide you would think he was Steve Martin with an arrow through his head. After composing ourselves the memory fades.

Others have come and gone. Some with a lingering hurt of heartache (spent in penthouse luxury) and others with the awkwardness of looming infidelity. Not I mind you. But some crazy couple I knew when I hosted in my Vermont pied a terre.

He was sleeping with his professor. Quelle Surprise.

This year I had the pleasure of attending another Friend Thanksgiving. I brought along a "date" who I gladly brought up to speed on the history of Friend Thanksgiving and how I became a part of it. However we were most excited that this years hostess was three days from her due date and I had money riding on a pre pumpkin pie slicing water break. I did not go home a winner.

A few weeks ago I did reach out to The Matriarch, Aunt Sunshine and Just Joni to get the family history of Thanksgiving. They wove romantic tales of chasing Granny’s apron strings while she made homemade stuffing, mincemeat pies and rutabagas.

Aunt Sunshine disclosed her novice mistake of leaving the giblets in her first turkey for her own family.

Just Joni recalled a tale of an ER doc that crashed her mother’s Thanksgiving and had to leave because a local man decided to take on the snow blower with his hand and the snow blower won.

This year brings some extra special Thanksgivingness to the table. As noted above it is also Hanukkah. According to the venerable news source Buzzfeed, “Thanksgivinukkah”, is the greatest meshing of holidays ever. And I am partial to agree.

Not one to force my Jewity on people this is a chance to get a BOGO on holidays. And we all know Jews love a deal. So this Black Friday (Sister is keeping the villagers across the river safe tomorrow from deep fried fires) my family and a few friends are gathering at a classy IKEA table (seriously it really is IKEA and you would never know) to light the lights and pass the cranberry sauce. We will at once be thankful for the oil that allowed the Jews to see for eight long nights and a bunch of pilgrims “sharing” land with Native Americans.

Traditionally I post after the holiday in hopes that you bookmark the page and try the recipes that I try.

This year I am going to post before.

The day before. So you can rush to your local gas station tomorrow morning and try to create what I plan to test out in two days.

Thanksgivinukkah 2013 (it will never happen again in my lifetime):


Lee’s Celery Sticks:

1 part Roca Blue Cheese (find it in the Velveeta section of the store), 1 part crumbled blue cheese, 1 part Philadelphia Cream Cheese, 1 part chopped walnuts. Smear the mixture down the gut of a celery stalk and enjoy!

Turkey Matzo Ball Soup

At the request of my Brother In Law this is just a mild twist on the classic Matzo Ball Soup. Please Google Martha Stewart’s Matzo Ball Soup. I’ve used it once before. She is a God.


I have never stuck to one recipe for the bird. And this year I might go classic and just use an herbed butter rub and baste the shit out of it. Because the jury is still out on basting. This holiday is very young.

Thanksgivinukkah Sides:

Cranberry Latkes – they just sound amazing.

Thank you Bon Appetit for this one.

Again – GOOGLE.

Gluten Free Cornbread Stuffing:

Gluten free cornbread, onions, garlic, crumbled bacon (soooo not kosher), celery, parsley, eggs, chicken stock and kosher salt (trying to take away from the bacon).

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pastrami and Pickled Red Onion:

It’s all in the title. Learn to experiment.

Horseradish Chive Mashed Potatoes:

Again you have all made mashed potatoes before. Just add what’s in the title.

Can you tell the drugs have kicked in? I’m about to take a Nyquil Cocktail and prop my pillow up so I don’t choke on my own tongue.

French’s Green Bean Casserole:

This is Sister’s favorite and it has been requested that I just not put it on the table and she will come to the kitchen and help herself so as to make sure it’s all hers.

Chorizo – Almond Stuffing:

Cubed bread, butter, onion, celery, garlic, chorizo sausage, toasted almonds, oregano, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper, chicken broth.


Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

If the crust works out it will come with a meringue top. I did a test run on Friend Thanksgiving. If you follow me on the Instangrams (benjaminplante_) you saw what I can do with a hand held torch. Don’t piss me off. I will go Drew Barrymore Firestarter on you.

I kid. Maybe.

Damn cold drugs.

Spiked Coffee:

This is coming from a dark horse attendee. She insisted on bringing Frangelico. Who could say no to booze.

And I will probably make some chocolate chip cookies so I have something for dinner this week.

As my head gets cloudy with OTC meds and Jacqueline Susann suggests the inappropriate on the iMac I should sign off. Tomorrow is a big day for all of you. I plan to stay in bed and do dirty things to Netflix and anticipate this looming death of a cold will be gone later in the day so I can cook.

Happy Thanksgivinukkah! It only happens once so as RuPaul says, “Don’t F*** It UP!”


BAM! I'm a Jew: Sandwich Loaf, Showers, and Sweet Sweet Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch, his chest, and a punch bowl

Benedict Cumberbatch, his chest, and a punch bowl

If you have ever read this blog you know that I NEVER talk about my personal life. Like ever.

And that folks is ACTING! Or perhaps just a lie.

To bring you up to speed (as I missed last week and am very very sorry about that):

It is shower season here in the Mighty Midwest. I’m not talking about those very personal moments with the shower head, Sade crooning in the background and a lovely scented candle. I’m talking about baby showers, wedding showers and any other reason under the sun to gift someone you love a spice rack or breast pump.

I’m not sure how things go in other regions of our fine planet but here in Minnesota we don’t fuck around with showers (forgive the language but I wanted to convey how important we take showers here). I mean when else can you gift a breast pump?

Last month I was 1/3 of a planning committee for a shower honoring my wonderful friend, Finer Film and her upcoming offspring (whose name has yet to be disclosed but I’m pretty sure it rhymes with Tenjamin…fingers crossed). After what was probably close to a thousand emails, multiple carrier pigeons and few smoke signals I was able to work out a meal plan for Finer Film’s baby shower.

Her other two besties were in charge of games, providing a place to host and added food.

Which by the dubs was amazing.

2/3 of the planning committee made a to die for frittata (eggs from the backyard chickens – makes me think of that only Portlandia episode I watched where they go to meet the organic farmer who’s chicken they are about to eat at a restaurant) and 3/3 of the planning committee managed to create baby shower games that didn’t make me want to perform my own vasectomy.

I took this opportunity to share with my baby making crew a long held food tradition from the hinterlands of Minnesota – The Sandwich Loaf. This goliath of an entrée looks like a dessert but tastes like the whole friggin’ deli exploded in your mouth. Traditionally funeral food up North I have seen this beast whipped up for all occasions.

Imagine if you will layers of squishy white bread, egg salad, more bread, ham salad, more bread, olive spread, more bread (you’ll be backed up for weeks), and wait for it...covered in 4 pounds of cream cheese.

I maybe got lazy and used actual deli salad from Lund’s. Chicken Curry, Turkey with Gruyere and my own egg salad. Because I don’t trust anyone's egg salad but my own.

People take Sandwich Loaf seriously in my hometown. There are classes at the community ed center to learn how build them. That’s right build them. You don’t just make a Sandwich Loaf. You build it.

Are those Large Mouth Bass Dinner Plates? Why yes they are!

Are those Large Mouth Bass Dinner Plates? Why yes they are!

Now not to be left out of the shower scene I kinda had one of my own today. 

P.S. DO NOT GOOGLE “shower scene” unless of course you want to see Benedict Cumberbatch in the shower on the Enterprise. Which you do. And then I suggest the shower head, Sade and a scented candle.

Long story short I converted and joined the Jewish ranks today. What started out at as joke that moved to mild curiosity, eventually led me to some classes at my local temple and BAM! Today I am a Jew. There are those out there that won’t buy it. And there are those out there who will wonder what I had to sacrifice to get into one of the coolest clubs on the planet. And there are those out there that should watch out for me on J-Date. Bitches Imma about to updated my profile.

But what better reason to host a party (we're going to call it a shower) than my conversion?

Earlier today I gathered with some of my dearest friends. Some who have been with me the whole Catholic to Jewish path and some who I truly just met last week.

Alongside my conversion buddy (we normally don’t get buddies but this just worked out thanks to our hometown connection and God wanting us to be Jew Besties For Life) we took the final steps today and converted. After what seemed like a lifetime of butchering the Hebrew language in front of our Christian mothers we walked out of the building for the next natural step in becoming a Jew.


Or in my case unhinging my jaw and just inhaling.

JBFL went with her family out to a little local joint they got all schmaltzy about when I asked. You see that? Slipped in a little Yiddish for you.

Jew now.

I took my posse back to the swinging bachelor pad for some kibbutz and nosh.

More Yiddish.

Thanks to the aid of my former Work Wife and Food Styling Arch Rival I had a wonderful spread of savory treats (ham included for the gentiles).

Just Joni was kind enough to bring what is basically Scandinavian Crack in a cake pan. If you know a Minnesotan you know we love our almond extract. And this cake is pure almond extract.

As with most of my Page Six reportable parties this one was a who’s who of the blog.

And if you were kind enough to shower me with a gift (which was completely unnecessary) you will get your due thanks in the mail.

And if your gift was showing up and standing with JBFL and myself (which we’re not sure but think we might have been married while up there – our Hebrew is rusty) I thank you for coming. I’m going to Nancy Drew journal this shit and someday it will be a movie. So if you were at the shower start thinking about who would play you…Benedict Cumberbatch is playing (with) me.

And for the record unlike the other club I belong to I don’t get a toaster oven for converting friends.

So I will not be shoving matzo down your throat. Unless of course you are at one of my fabulous Passover meals.

People kill for that invite…