who's in the kitchen

Sukkot is here, ready or not


As I sit here writing this article for Sukkot, I find it hard to believe that Sukkot is already here. It seems like it’s been just a few months since the sukkah was stored away.

Oh, wait, it has been just a few months.

October 2017: “Jerry, let’s take down the sukkah and store it away soon.”

On the Sunday after Sukkot he took down the s’chach, took off the canvas and disassembled the sukkah, but left all the poles on the ground in the backyard. I believe the New York Giants were about to play and he didn’t want to miss the game, so he said he would do it later. Later usually means later in the day, but in his case I hoped it would at least be the following Sunday.

Unfortunately, one Sunday followed the next; the leaves began to fall and it starting to get colder. Then the seasons changed. The wind was harsh and the snow began to fall, and there were all those poles — and there were many, because our sukkah measures 12 by 20. The poles remained outside, slightly visible poking out of the snow.

By January, it was “Jerry! Seriously, get those poles into the garage!”

February sounded like, “This is ridiculous, what is your issue?!”

He always responded very apologetically and said he keeps forgetting but he will definitely do it the following Sunday.

March sounded like — well, I can’t print that in a family paper. The weather warmed up and the trees began to bloom, and there were those poles, right where he’d left them. One might say that he forgot they were there but you could not miss them.

April showers and warmer weather were upon us, and I gave up. Early one Sunday morning, when Jerry was sleeping, I dragged all the poles (with bulging discs in my neck, a pinched nerve, and a herniated disc in my lower back) 160 feet to the garage, dropping them as hard as I could onto the driveway in front of it. After the first few loud heavy metal sounds, I figured he would jump out of bed and run down to do the rest.

But no such luck. He came down about two hours later. I asked him if he noticed something outside that was different. He didn’t. I then asked if he’d heard noise in the morning; he said he thought it sounded like construction. I filled him in.

He got very upset. I should have let him do it; it’s really too heavy for me. I shouldn’t have been impatient and done things that would hurt my neck and back.

“Impatient?” I shouted. “Really?? I waited six months and kept reminding you, to no avail. And why? Because you couldn’t miss the start of your Giants playing? The way your Giants played last year, it would’ve been a lot more fun to take down and put away those poles.”

Don’t get me wrong, Jerry is a wonderful husband. He’s caring and considerate and kind. But as most of you know already, he is disorganized and never on time. Although he really believes he will do something at a certain date or time, that is never the case.

So if you could all do me a favor, my Five Towns friends, at the end of Sukkot, and remind him that the sukkah should be put away in its entire day on the Sunday following Sukkot, I would really appreciate it.

And for all the Jerry fans out there, especially those who want to know if Jerry gets upset when I write about him, he takes it all in jest, and actually reminds me of stories I can write about. (Yes, the stories are all true — not one bit is exaggerated.)

On a positive note, this past Sunday morning Jerry had all the poles outside to put up the sukkah early when our close friend Harry Fink and his son Elliot came by to help. Maybe he’s turning over a new leaf, maybe this will be the year that he becomes organized and on time, and maybe this will be the year that the Giants succeed. But as much as I love Jerry, I’m secretly glad that the Giants lost last night, because I picked the Cowboys in my NFL pool and I’m in first place!

Here are two creative and delicious side dishes that you can serve this Sukkot.

Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Preheat oven to 350F.


12 mini pumpkins (Trader Joe’s in Hewlett)

1 lb cooked carrots

3 eggs

1/3 cup white sugar

1 Tbsp. flour

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cinnamon 


1/2 cup chopped  pecans

6 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

1/2 cup corned flake crumbs 

4 Tbsp. melted unsalted margarine

Slice a thin layer off each pumpkin and save the “hats.”

Scoop out all the seeds and place pumpkins on a tray sprayed with Pam.

Bake approximately 40 minutes or until soft but still firm so they hold their shape. 

Let cool.

Place the cooked carrots and eggs in the blender or food processor and blend. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend till smooth. Pour into an 8x8 pan.

Mix all ingredients for the topping. It will be moist, but will crisp up during baking. Crumble the mixture over the entire top of carrot mixture. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until center is set. Let cool. This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated.

Cut circles out of the carrot soufflé and stuff into the center of each pumpkin.  If that’s too time-consuming, you can cut squares or just spoon the soufflé into the pumpkins. Top with hat you sliced off earlier. This can be made up to 2 days ahead.

Warm before serving, or serve at room temperature if you prefer.

Stuffed roasted peppers

with red quinoa

Preheat oven to 350F


6 large peppers of your choice (I use 2 each red, orange and yellow)

2 cups Trader Joe’s organic red quinoa 

1/4 cup craisins

1/2 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. sugar

4 Tbsp. thinly sliced honey roasted, sugared or plain almonds

Wash peppers and carefully slice in half so that that each half has half the stem. Remove the seeds and rinse. Place on sheet pan that has been sprayed with Pam. Bake for about 20 minutes or until slightly soft, but shape is maintained.

Prepare 2 cups red quinoa (Trader Joe’s) according to directions. Add the craisins, salt and 2 Tbsp. sugar. Once cool, add thinly sliced almonds — I use the honey roasted, but you can use plain as well.

Spoon the quinoa into the cooled pepper halves. Can be made up to 2 days ahead.