I Gave Up Jesus And All I Got Was This Cadbury Creme Egg

French Toast with Blackberries and Peaches

On the 5th day of Elul in the year 5773 I became a Jew. That's August 11th, 2013 for you kids still on the Gregorian Calendar. For a refresher on the event check out what happened here

I gave up Jesus. I stayed with the same G-d that I was used to over that the Catholic Church. Downsized my reading by 50%. Took on some new holidays. And separated myself even further from those around me. Don't get me wrong. My family and friends have been more supportive than I could have ever asked for. But every once in awhile (let's be honest, around the holidays) I realize that my choice made my life a little more lonely. 

Please don't take that as a plea for sympathy. It took me many years to come to the conclusion that I am a Jew. And it took many years after that to make it real. I knew going into it that I would be giving up some things. But I also knew in exchange I was bringing myself closer to who I am on the inside. 

One thing I did not take into account was the novelty of conversion for some and how it would come into play in my day to day. If/when I am asked about my religion I say, "I am Jewish". If, and only if, it comes up do I speak to my former life as a friend of Jesus. More often than not it is my friends who out me as a convert. And it is those moments that the Jewish side of me becomes less than. An anecdote at the bar. I look around the table and wonder who now thinks I am some zealot out for blood?

On more than one occasion in the past 6 months I have been outed like this.

"Oh! He's a convert!", with an extra beat on the 'con' to make it feel even more scandalous. I know it isn't malicious. And the people doing it are more often or not my most supportive friends.

Recently I was picking up some cannolis in a strip mall with one of my four Jewish friends (a Jew by birth). I told her of my recent experiences of being outed by others. She reminded me that once converted, I am a Jew. I am not a convert, I am a Jew. No questions asked. I never told her but that statement meant as much to me as the moment Rabbi Zimmerman welcomed me to the tribe on that summer day in 5773.

I don't wear my yarmulka all the time. I haven't been to Temple in over a year because I feel awkward going by myself. I don't ask for Jewish holidays off at work because I am one of two Jews in a sea of Baptists, Mormons, Catholics, Lutherans, and Adventists. Everyone who I want to see this Passover is either in New England or Seattle. So instead of unleavened bread and bitter herbs this upcoming Passover I am making french toast from some homemade bread and chasing it with a four pack of Cadbury Creme Eggs.

As I said earlier I am not looking for sympathy. I knew taking this on people would have questions. And I am very happy to answer and discuss. I like to think that I am Jew with training wheels. Slowly adjusting to the terrain around me. With hopes that someday I am simply described as "that cranky old Jewish man who lives next door. If you're nice to him he gives you Cadbury Creme Eggs."

Happy Easter.
Happy Passover.
Happy Just Another Weekend In April.

Classic White Bread
(as used in french toast above)

Recipe from Betty Crocker Cookbook

6 to 7 cups all purpose flour or bread flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons softened butter

2 packages regular active yeast or fast acting dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)

2 1/4 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees F)

2 tablespoons butter, melted, if desired

1. In large bowl, stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, softened butter and yeast until well mixed. Add warm water. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle. 

2. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Kneed about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Grease large bowl with butter, shortening, or pan spray. Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched. 

3. Grease bottoms and sides of 2 (8x4- or 9x5-inch) loaf pans with shortening or cooking spray. 

4. Gently push fist into dough to deflate. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into 18x9-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side. Press with thumbs to seal after each turn. Pinch edges of dough into roll to seal. Pinch each end of roll to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place loaves seams side down in pans. Brush loaves lightly with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 35-50 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. 

5. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in the center of oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake 25-30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to cooling rack. Brush loaves with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter; cool. 

Gay Jew's Gone Wild (on Netflix), Guinness Chocolate Cake, and Greatest Story Ever Told

Ummmm...Check out Tab Hunter's sausage. 2. I am pretty sure Old Roddy there is giving Tab a Guinness Chocolate Cake and C. The cake picture is courtesy of my friend Nigella

Ummmm...Check out Tab Hunter's sausage. 2. I am pretty sure Old Roddy there is giving Tab a Guinness Chocolate Cake and C. The cake picture is courtesy of my friend Nigella

I rolled awake sometime around 3 am to find a text from Black Kelly informing me that she would be swinging by my bach pad the next day (Easter) to pick me up for an Easter Brunch at Irish Car Bomb's home. Not one to turn down a trip out of the house I rolled over and continued to have dreams involving quasi-friends going back to school for architecture (please leave dream analysis in comments). 

As I rolled awake around 5 am and proceeded to watch clips of cartoons from my youth on YouTube with one eye closed (all seriously visually challenged people will understand the no glasses one eyed lifestyle) I decided that I really couldn't crash an Irish Easter Brunch empty handed. And getting up at 6 am to bake a cake is far more fun than rolling over to gently rub the back of Netflix and sweet talk him into morning sex movies. 

So I pressed the little red mic on my Google app and proceeded to hoarsely yell "GUINNESS CHOCOLATE CAKE" because my right arm was safely numb under the weight of my right moob and duvet, making typing on my iPhone not an option.  

Being a day of miracles Nigella Lawson's Guinness Chocolate Cake was the first on my list. There was no more searching needed.

Now having a slight history in food photography I always appreciate a photo with a recipe. This one showed the cake as a one layer with frosting. Being an American who needs everything to be bigger than our former landlords, The Brits, I doubled the recipe. I'm not going to say this was a big mistake. But I didn't need two massive one layer cakes. However, my freezer is now one massive layer cake up on inventory. I'm going to top with my traditional Stolen Swiss Buttercream Frosting.

Mind you the Guinness Chocolate Cake was just my initial search on The Googs. Somehow I ended up reading the plot of The Greatest Story Ever Told (for those of you over the age of 30ish you might get that reference). Which then got me to googling images of a young Roddy McDowall and Tab Hunter. And that brought me right back to poking Netflix in the back. 

Wishing you all a Happy Passover, Easter, Random Sunday in April, and 4/20 (for those of you in states that allow that).  

Creme Eggs, Jake Gyllenhaal, and The Betis...again

This weekend is Passover, Easter and an official mall holiday which means no shopping on Sunday.  Last Easter (which I have somehow blocked out anything I did...I hope it was good?) my cousins took it upon themselves to create a gorgeous Easter themed cake in the shape of a bunny if I recall. Read into those italics how you want. This year I vowed to not make the children experience another Donnie Darko Easter.  

One thing from last year that I do recall...the Cadbury Creme Egg Cupcakes that were brought to my attention. Last week I was asked if I could try to replicate them for this year's holiday resurrection.  

Above you see the final product. They are suppose to look like eggs but all I see are little meringues with lemon curd and a big ol' chocolate accessory. The wonder is what lies within. Inside each basic white cupcake (google a recipe or buy a box mix) I plopped a mini Cadbury Creme Egg. After taking the photo below I was reminded of that awkward conversation between Jon Lovitz's character in Rat Race (remember that classic from 2001) and his daughter in the movie. Whole thing about prairie dogs.  

In the end they are pretty tasty.  I used my favorite buttercream frosting and every cupcake gets me closer to the "betis" with two mini Cadbury Creme Eggs.  

One more gratuitous photo of the final product.  

I hope my reader(s) have a great holiday weekend! Be it filled with spiral cut hams, canned ham, matzoh balls, Manischewitz wine or green bean hotdish/casserole I hope it is a great long weekend. I will be spending a good portion of my Sunday morning searching along with my sister for the many FULL SIZE Cadbury Creme Eggs that my mother still hides for us to find in the house. I am choosing to ignore the fact that I have eaten 14 already this season.  

UPDATE!!!!  I found a copy of the bunny cake from 2011 Easter.  Thank you Facebook.  

Donnie Darko Version

Donnie Darko Version