OyChicago blog

Step Nine: Making Amends

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An alcoholic’s reflections on forgiveness during the Days of Repentance
09/30/2014

Forgive Me_blog photo

Editor’s note: We chose to run this piece anonymously out of respect for the author’s privacy as they continue to go through the process of self-repair and the rebuilding of relationships. If you think that you or someone you care about has a problem with alcohol, visit www.chicagoaa.org or call312-346-1475. A sober alcoholic is on the other end of the line 24 hours a day. The Jewish Center for Addiction also has resources to help and can connect you with the Chicago Jewish Recovery community.

Step Nine: Making Amends photo

Three memories stand out when I think about High Holiday services at my childhood synagogue:

1. Mrs. B’s mesmerizing South African accent during responsive English reading

2. The final shofar blast on Yom Kippur, captivating and heart-stopping as everyone waited to see which congregant could hold the longest tekiah gedolah

3. The choir director’s booming bass as he sang, U’teshuvah, u’tefilah, u’tzedakah ma’avirin et ra ha’gezirah during Unetaneh Tokef

Little did I know that my subconscious was indelibly imprinting those moments into my soul, and the words of UnetanehTokef would decades later become a daily meditation for me as a recovering alcoholic working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

In the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah this year, I had the great fortune to mark 33 months of continuous sobriety. My drinking days were riddled with thoughts and actions that caused physical, financial, emotional, and otherwise tangible and intangible harms to my family, friends, colleagues and myself. Some of these actions and their consequences were evident to anyone within a mile radius of me. Like the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, I was a tornado roaring through town. Other actions and harms were more insidious – a carbon monoxide leak that no one detects until damage has already been done.

Unetaneh Tokef is a Jewish liturgical poem sung during the High Holidays, and the booming words etched into my mind as a child translate to, “But repentance, prayer, and righteousness/charity avert the severe decree.”

For me, this “severe decree” refers not to being sealed in the Book of Life on Yom Kippur; it may as well be active alcoholism, for when I’m drinking, I have no life. In order for me to stay sober and live a happy and meaningful life, I need to pray, act righteously in service to others, and make amends for my behavior.

Making amends is the Ninth Step in AA. It is a process I have undertaken in the past two months (they suggested, of course, that I complete the first eight steps first). As I spend more time at work than anywhere else, the most egregious of my harms were in the workplace. And therefore, the first amends I made were to colleagues and supervisors, past and present.

But how do you approach a woman toward whom you acted with such hostility, including occasional bouts of profane ranting, that you were required to have mediation?

How do you look your former boss in the eye, the one who once asked you point blank whether you had a drinking problem, and to whom you replied with an adamant "no" only to repeatedly text them during 3 a.m. blackouts in the final months of your drinking?

How do you work up the courage to mention once again the unmentionable in your past? How do you quiet the squirrels in your brain that busily attempt to convince you that you had a right, a reason, a justification to act the way you did? How do you swallow your pride, your fear, and everything in between?

Fortunately, there is a somewhat standard script for making amends:

1. Tell the person you’re aware that you caused them harm and outline what the harms were

2. Express regret that you acted in these ways and that they were hurt

3. Tell them how you’re planning to make things right

4. Give them a chance to tell you about any harms you omitted or other ways you can atone for your behavior

5. Follow through on what you said, showing them through your deeds and not just your words that you mean business

The Big Book tells me that if I am painstaking about making these amends, I will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. I will comprehend the word serenity and I will know peace. All sorts of fears will leave me. I didn’t at first have complete faith that the promises would come true, but I did know that anything would be better than the hopelessness, shame, loneliness and despair of my final drinking days. So I shut my eyes and leapt in, embracing the idea that my past was my greatest asset.

And fortunately, everyone I have approached so far has graciously accepted my apologies. All have expressed that the past is water under the bridge, that I am forgiven, and that they are simply thankful that I took the time to talk with them. I hoped for, but certainly did not expect, such compassion and immediate forgiveness. I am truly grateful for this.

Even more powerful and unexpected than the forgiveness from my colleagues has been the forgiveness I have experienced for myself. I’ve learned that telling the truth and admitting when I am wrong, no matter how painful and scary, and no matter the potential consequences, is a freeing experience. And it was, in fact, my past—both the internal mantra UnetannehTokef and all that I had to atone forthat turned out to be an unexpectedly valuable asset. My past is what has brought about this new wealth of freedom. 

To read more posts in the “Oy! Forgive Me!” blog series, click here.

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#SorryImNotSorry

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09/29/2014

Forgive Me_blog photo

Between the High Holidays, many of us are reminded to apologize to our loved ones for our wrong-doings. This fall, I also find myself ruminating over whether we, women, should apologize less in our everyday lives.

After Joan Rivers passed away, I began pondering how a woman so outspoken—and oftentimes offensive—was loved and respected by so many. Rivers’ persistent, unapologetic and humorous approach transcended generations. In the end, we all respected Rivers, no apologies needed.

#SorryImNotSorry photo

While Rivers began her career by paving the way for female late-night talk show hosts during the 1960s, many young people today will remember her as a sassy old Jewish lady with enough shtick to say whatever was on her mind. Rivers was like an amplified and funnier version of the Jewish relatives we know and love. She made us laugh, but more importantly, she also taught women everywhere that it’s OK to speak their minds.

“Sometimes apologies come too easily and too frequently,” said Juliana Breines, a UC-Berkley psychology Ph.D. and author of the PsychologyToday.com article “In Love and War.”

“We apologize for things that are clearly not our fault, not in our control, or otherwise unworthy of an apology,” Breines said. “Examples include apologizing for being hurt by someone else’s offense, apologizing for being over-sensitive, apologizing when someone else bumps into you, and apologizing for apologizing.”

I often find myself guilty of these “unworthy” apologies and witness many other women behave similarly in acts of over-politeness.

Breines went on to cite a study in her article, which found that women may be more prone to over-apologize than men. Similarly, the study found women reported committing more offenses than men. In her research, she also found that men might have a lower offense threshold than women do.

“Women may sometimes be over-attuned, apologizing for perceived offenses that other people do not find offensive or even notice,” Breines said.

I could write a novel about how women are socialized to cooperate and men are socialized to compete—and many books have already been written on the matter. Evidence of these gendered socializations can be found in the minutia of our everyday lives.

A couple of weeks ago at work, I was standing and talking with my coworker and she suddenly sidestepped and apologized as another coworker crossed into her path. She then shook her head disappointedly and explained to me that she had resolved to stop apologizing for the space she’s occupying.

This moment was so simple, but it gave me reason for pause. I apologize constantly: I move aside when I’m already occupying a space someone is entering; I rush to apologize when I nearly bump into someone as we cross paths; I apologize during meetings; I apologize during large-group discussions when I have a point; I apologize when someone stubs their own toe, isn’t feeling well, having a bad day, or even when someone else has treated them badly; and sadly, sometimes I apologize even when the other person has treated me badly. Generally, I apologize too much for everything, and when examined more closely, the word, “sorry,” has lost much of its meaning.

In a June 2014 Forbes.com article titled “Why Are Always Apologizing?” contributor Ruchika Tulshyan examined Pantene’s “Not Sorry” commercial , which plays on the stereotype that women over-apologize and should go forth proudly. Of course, the commercial is about hair, but it’s also a commentary on how women behave.

The commercial opens with various scenarios, in which women apologize for asking questions at meetings, for asking the time, for bumping into someone, etc. The commercial replays itself without apologies to send the message that women should stop apologizing.

“Saying sorry doesn’t necessary equate to showing weakness,” Tulshyan said. “But, the commercial makes social commentary on how women, more than men, feel apologetic about sharing their ideas, or their space, or … everything, actually.

“This commercial specifically highlights moments where women apologize when they’re not in the wrong,” Tulshayn added. “Handing over your child to your partner because you have other things in your hand? Asking a question in a meeting? An apology doesn't seem to fit. And yet, I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve heard a ‘sorry’ in precisely these places.”

I’m starting to think “I’m sorry” should not be a catch-all for expressing regret, empathy, sympathy, remorse, and so on. While women don’t intend for it to be a “tell” of weakness, it certainly isn’t making us stronger in its overuse.

Breines offers alternatives and solutions to blurting out “I’m sorry,” which I found useful. She suggests thanking another person, rather than apologizing for receiving a favor; she advises to save the “I’m sorry’s” for when they count; avoid repetitive bad habits when possible; apologize for your share of the conflict and no more; embrace your own imperfections and don’t apologize for them; and seek support when needed.

With the Jewish New Year upon us, I challenge myself and women everywhere to strive to own the space we occupy, stand behind our opinions and offer them freely, take ownership over our faults and our strengths equally, and apologize in a manner that is proportionate to the problem at hand without compromising our self-worth.

May this New Year give us strength to trust ourselves more and truly make our “sorries” count.

Just remind yourself: WWJD—What would Joan do? 

To read more posts in the “Oy! Forgive Me!” blog series, click here.

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Melt-in-Your-Mouth Brisket

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09/23/2014

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Brisket photo 1

As we speak, Jewish housewives all over the globe are getting out their finest china, their crispest tablecloths and their oldest recipes, all in preparation for the Jewish High Holidays.

It’s these holidays that bring some of my fondest memories with my family. Golden chicken soup with fluffy matzo balls, tart apples with sweet honey and the star of the dinner: the oh-so magical, dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth brisket. Like many Jewish recipes, brisket gets its roots from the need to use up some of the least expensive pieces of meat and transform them into tender deliciousness. As the brisket cooks low and slow, connective tissue breaks down, leaving a tender piece of smothered meat.

Growing up, my aunt always made the brisket in our family. Every year she tried a different recipe and every year her malnourished-looking niece (me) licked her plate clean. Much to everyone’s surprise, brisket was this picky eater’s favorite dish.

It had become a ritual, I always came into the kitchen and tore off a piece of the sacred meat and my aunt always asked me, “So, Mila, is it good?” And every year I nodded in agreement as I sloppily licked the remains of the sauce off my lips. My aunt’s brisket may not have been perfect, but it was hers and it was always good.

As an adult and a graduate of culinary school, my love for brisket has remained the same. I made hundreds of briskets throughout my career and I was constantly searching for my recipe. I wanted a recipe of my very own, and I tried hard to find it. I made smoked briskets, crock pot briskets, French-style briskets and the very worst – dry briskets. I took an idea or two from each recipe and moved on to create my brisket.

This has become my no-fuss, no-muss brisket recipe that I go to year after year.

If there is anything I have learned from the hundreds of briskets I have made over the years, the technique is one of the most important aspects. Go low and slow: low temperature, slow cooking. This will allow the connective tissue to break down and the fat to melt slowly, leaving you with that ultimate melt-in-your-mouth brisket.

There must also always be an acidic component. I use both tomato acid (ketchup) and wine to allow for a deeper and richer flavor in the meat and the sauce.

The best thing about this brisket is that it is one pan and FREEZER ENCOURAGED. Make it ahead of time, freeze it, and let it warm up in a 350-degree oven the day of service. It will be perfection. Something magical happens when you freeze foods like brisket, or my amazeballs. It just works! And it could not be easier!

You can also do it in the crockpot, but my brisket never fits in there when I cook for the holidays. I have 16 people coming over – lots hungry Russians to feed. I like to use foil pans for this because I hate cleaning roasting pans … as do you I am sure. Plus, because I end up freezing it anyhow, it makes more sense to just do it in one pan.

When you purchase your brisket, do not purchase it cleaned. Purchase it whole with the fat still on it. And place the fat side UP when roasting. NOT DOWN.

This year I made it two weeks in advance. Again, 16 hungry Russians and a Russian-style dinner is not an easy task. I take all the precooking help I can get.

I promise people will rave, plates will be licked clean and eager fingers will try and get a slice in before you do. And you will be the ultimate host, with a few less dishes to clean. Perhaps this time, I will even get a chance to sit down and have a slice.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Brisket photo 3

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Brisket
From Girlandthekitchen.com

Ingredients

7-8 pounds of brisket 
1 bottle of ketchup 
1 1/2 cups of dry red wine 
1 1/2 cups water 
1.5 tbsp chicken base (I find it milder than beef base) 
1/4 cup dehydrated onion flakes 
6 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped 
2 onions, roughly chopped 
6 large carrots, cut into large chunks 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions

1. Combine ketchup, water, dehydrated onion, garlic and chicken base and mix to combine.

2. Slather this beautiful mixture onto the brisket sneaking it into each nook and cranny.

3. Let stand in refrigerator for 24 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 275-degrees. Place brisket in the roasting pan FAT SIDE UP. Place remaining ingredients over brisket and tightly seal pan before putting in the oven.

5. Cook for 6-8 hours. Typically, the rule of thumb is an hour a pound. But the true test is when it pulls apart with two forks.

6. Place in refrigerator overnight to cool.

7. Remove fat with a spoon. Slice the meat. Cut against the grain NOT with the grain using the length of the knife.

8. Place in pan FAT SIDE DOWN and pour sauce over sliced meat. Put into 350-degree oven, covered, to warm the meat and sauce. About 45 minutes.

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A Daddy at Mommy and Me Yoga

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09/22/2014

A Daddy at Mommy and Me Yoga photo

I was already sweating when we walked into the yoga studio. We had been running late, as usual, and I had double-timed it from the car to the building. Just before walking in, I remember hesitating. Did I really want to go to Mommy and Me Yoga?

The truth is that I did want to take him there. He had been going with his mom during the last couple weeks of her maternity leave. She had been raving about how much fun he had in the classes. I also knew this firsthand because she had talked me into going with her to one a week earlier. Now, Mom was back to work and I was staying home part-time to take care of the little guy. There was still a week left of yoga classes on the package and I wanted to make the most of the investment. More than anything, I wanted to make the most of my time spent at home with him.

As I walked into the room, staring back at me were eight new moms and their little babies. I was the only dad in the class and was having trouble making eye contact with anyone. I shuffled to an open corner and laid out the mat, the baby and the blanket as quickly as possible. Everyone was sharing their name, their baby’s name and age. I can’t remember any of the other names because until it was my turn, I spent the whole time rehearsing what I was going to say in my head.

It was my first time attending a “baby and me” event all by myself. I was feeling so vulnerable and judged. Did these women think I was creepy? Had they ever seen a dad at one of these classes? What about the other babies, how were they stacking up to mine? That other boy looks about the same age as mine, why is he moving more? Those women are breast feeding, should I signal to them somehow that my bottle has breast milk too? It’s not my milk, of course … I just know that some people can get judgmental of others who use formula.

Then the music started and the teacher calmly directed us into all our poses. My baby laughed when I did a cat-cow and released a huge breath right into his hair. His giggles and smiles melted my anxiety away; we spent the next 45 minutes breathing and stretching together. At the end of the class, the teacher said that she hoped that I would come back. I hope that I will too.

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Our beauty is in our diversity

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09/19/2014

Lia Lehrer photo

I’ve always been a bit of a synagogue hopper.

Right now, when asked where I go to synagogue, I say, “I go to five.” I work at Temple Jeremiah, and I love my community there – meeting all of the congregants has been one of the best parts of my job. I enjoy attending synagogue with my family where I grew up, at Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah in Wilmette. I attend two synagogues in Lakeview, the neighborhood where I live – Anshe Emet Synagogue and Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation. And I co-lead Windy City Minyan, a monthly Friday night minyan in the city.

I love Jewish communities. I love the diversity of customs, melodies, faces, teachings, architecture and emotions.

So it’s no surprise that on Yom Kippur last year, I found myself in three different synagogues in one day. I spent the morning humming the melodies of the High Holy Days while greeting congregants and meeting new faces at Temple Jeremiah; in the afternoon I sat with my mom, listening to my dad, brother, and sister-in-law sing in the choir at BHCBE; and I spent the evening Neilah service with my friends at Anshe Sholom.

That day, I experienced a cross-section of our larger Jewish community, splitting my time between the Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox synagogues. During Neilah at Anshe Sholom, I found myself not paying so much attention to the words on the page, but reflecting on Jewish peoplehood. The Jewish community – our kehillah – is made up of so many different kinds of wonderful, dedicated, intelligent, interesting, and friendly people.

Our beauty is in our diversity.

We Jews are a tiny percentage of the world’s population. I pray that we can come together as a larger Jewish community to be enriched by the uniqueness of our brothers and sisters.

On that Saturday afternoon in September 2013, driving back and forth between Northfield, Wilmette and Lakeview, I had the chance to truly feel the richness of our people; to me, it was like seeing the face of God.

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You got that backwards

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09/18/2014

You got that backwards photo

“So he has dyslexia.”

This is what I had surmised after an hour-long staffing of a bunch of big words and adjectives being thrown around in an effort to explain why our bright child was struggling so much with reading in school.

“Well, yes. But we don’t call it that anymore,” they said.

“OK. But that’s what it is, right?”

“Basically.”

Phew! I felt an enormous sense of relief and gratitude. Relief that his struggles had been noticed and pinpointed with a workable diagnosis and gratitude that qualified help was on the way. What I didn’t factor in was the ripple effect for me.

I’ve written before that I struggled in school, without any explanation as to why, until 7th grade when a math teacher told my parents I was stupid and lazy. (I guess you could do that back then without losing your job.) To be honest, the wicked lady was half right. I had become lazy – as a smokescreen. If I didn’t try, mediocrity and failure didn’t feel so humiliating and it explained quite simply why I had done poorly.

So when my own diagnosis of learning disabilities revealed itself, (outdated term again apparently, but I earned it so I’m keeping it), I felt that same sense of relief I felt for my child. I knew something was funky – for me, for him – and when I was right, I felt vindicated.

Although I could always see that my child was bright and struggling, as a learning-disabled kid myself, I felt differently about my own struggles. I believed when my parents told me I was bright, creative and intelligent, that they were blinded by their love for me. (Translation: “My parents don’t want to admit they have a dumb-ass for a kid.”) But when objective, outside forces and people (with Rorschach pictures, stats and everything!) revealed I was in fact a highly intelligent and capable child, my world changed. I could suddenly hear that. My diagnosis was truly that significant and I began to believe the good stuff.

I am hoping my child feels this way. I’m hoping that the early diagnosis for him may have been so primary, that all the self-doubt, shame and fear around school learning that I felt, didn’t have a chance to nick him.

This whole process reopened a tremendous amount of reflection for me. And like I said earlier, relief and gratitude were the emotions at the top of my list. Also, somewhere in there, I have experienced a tremendous amount of compassion for the young girl I used to be, who spent so much time feeling inadequate and incapable, trying so desperately to cover up my imperfect tracks in hopes of just getting by.

I read this post to my son in hopes he would be okay with publishing my thoughts on his journey. His response?

“I really liked it. I thought it was really good.”

And this girl is left feeling like she’s on the honor roll.           

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Beeting My Girl Scout Cookie Addiction

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09/17/2014

Beeting My Girl Scout Cookie Addiction photo

Being hungry is a funny thing. By funny, of course, I mean crazy. Is there a more apt way to describe the raging forest fire that controls your every move? There really is no better way to qualify it. Hunger is funny. Your last-minute decision to have Arby’s for lunch, the attitude you gave your mother this morning, those salads you’re force-feeding yourself – hunger did all of that. I don’t know about you, but food can make me bark like a dog and cluck like a chicken any old time she wants.

Nearly every day, hunger reminds me that I am not yet a grown up. I regularly have to talk myself out of walking down the candy aisle at the grocery store. Those negotiations sometimes fail and when they do I can be found looking like a third grader who has just returned home from trick-or-treating. The evil 8-year-old in control of my brain often has other plans.

My most recent run-in with my inner child involved an incident with Girl Scout Cookies. In addition to having little self-control, I’m a bleeding heart. I want everyone to win, so when a friend called to tell me her daughter was selling Girl Scout Cookies … I bought a whole case.

A case, like I’m Oprah. As if the way to save the world is by purchasing 24 boxes of Samoas. I am a 38-year-old, grown-ass man. Why do I need 24 boxes of cookies? Why couldn’t I just be a normal person and offer to buy three boxes? Three is a nice sane number. No, I couldn’t do that. I needed 24 boxes. That’s 360 cookies, in case you’re wondering. I bought 360 cookies at one time with no intention of sharing with anyone.

Maybe you’re one of those positive people, and you’re picturing me carefully packing away my loot in a freezer. Twenty-four boxes, that’s a lot – surely he has a plan to ration those cookies for a whole year. Well, thank you for believing in me, but you’d be incorrect. What? I’m supposed to eat a cookie a day for a year except on Yom Kippur? That’s ridiculous. Who has that kind of willpower? Not to mention: cookies can’t go in a freezer; they don’t wear coats. That’s cruel and unusual punishment.

At first I was mostly responsible. I had a cookie or two after dinner. I’d have a cookie as a random snack. Then my crazy inner 8-year-old lost his tiny little mind and declared war on that case of cookies. I couldn’t control myself. Here a box, there a box, everywhere a box. I had a box for breakfast. I ate a couple boxes of Samoas while watching TV. Three boxes for dinner. I was off the rails. I had cookies as a midmorning snack, cookies in the car, cookies in the bathtub. I was a hot cookie-addicted mess.

I’m not sure how hunger works for most people, but mine definitely has a split personality. The 8-year-old is absolutely in control more often than he should be. When he isn’t sitting in the driver’s seat ordering fried chicken and eating bags of Smarties, it’s the princess of kale, Gwyneth Paltrow, who’s in charge. The two sides duke it out on a regular basis, which I think means I have a bi-polar eating disorder.

Gwyneth had been sitting quietly in a corner waiting for the Cookie Monster to do some serious damage. It wasn’t until she noticed that my pants were fitting a little tighter that she sounded the alarm. Gwynnie went into full-blown “captain of the Titanic mode.” She was raising her eyebrow and wagging the stinky finger of judgment in the face of all of my cookie-filled thoughts. Once I finished the case of cookies, and yes, I ate an entire case of Samoas without any help thank you very much, Gwyneth began enforcing very strict rules. She apparently has no respect for goal-oriented eating.

Of course, agreeing to cut back on cookies wasn’t enough. I had to go completely wackadoodle. Our first order of business was to completely rid my life of sugar. The princess of kale is evil. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but they don’t make cookies without sugar. At least not any cookies that you would actually want to eat. This was going to be very hard. I had been subsisting almost exclusively on Samoas and Diet Coke and now I was in Girl Scout Cookie rehab.

Paltrow dragged me kicking and screaming to Whole Foods and forced me to stare at their lush produce. After gawking at piles of dead plants for what felt like an eternity, GP challenged me to prepare a vegetable that I had never cooked before as a way to get my health back on track. I reviewed the options and decided to give beets a try. I choose them because they seemed harmless and when you’ve been deprived of sugar they look like giant balls of chocolate. Challenge accepted.

I whipped out my phone and turned to the queen of the kitchen, Ina Garten. Ina taught me how to roast a Thanksgiving turkey; beets would be a piece of cake, or cookie, depending on where your politics lie. I gathered the beets, fresh thyme, raspberry vinegar and a large orange per the recipe’s instructions and rushed home.

I got right down to work the moment I walked in the door. I peeled and sliced the beets and cut them into quarters. Those little suckers should have come with a trigger warning; they bled all over my kitchen. Beet juice was everywhere. My house looked like the set of slasher film. I tossed the horror scene onto a baking sheet and into the oven for 40 minutes. I spent most of that time scrubbing my hands like a surgeon and performing Lady MacBeth’s sleepwalking scene. “Out, damned spot! Out I say!”

The beets were delicious! I felt like a magician turning those purple mud balls into something worthy of eating. I had eaten beets several times before and loved them but this was different. I guess food that doesn’t come from a can really does taste better. I missed my cookie diet, but I was proud of myself for expanding my menu.

The morning after roasting the beets I got up to go to the bathroom as usual. Apparently taste isn’t the only difference between canned and fresh produce. I had the most gorgeous fuchsia urine the world has ever seen. At first, I was certain that I was on death’s door and immediately blamed the Girl Scouts and their disgusting Samoas. It took me a few minutes to calm my panic attack and realize that the beets had given me this little present. Then later, on my way to work, I get this text message from my husband: “I have purple pee and poop, disturbing yet beautiful …”

So consider yourself warned: Beets, much like hunger, are a funny and sometimes unpredictable thing. The real lesson here is moderation. Life should be 40 percent cookie and 60 percent beets, or is it the other way around? I never can remember.

Roasted Beets

Ingredients

12 beets
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
Juice of 1 large orange

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the tops and the roots of the beets and peel each one with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets in 1 1/2-inch chunks. (Small beets can be halved, medium ones cut in quarters, and large beets cut in eighths.)

Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, turning once or twice with a spatula, until the beets are tender. Remove from the oven and immediately toss with the vinegar and orange juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve warm.

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