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An Easter and Passover Letter to our Clients

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Apr 12, 2017


Dear friends,
I love to read. I have two books I am reading at work, three books at home, an audio book in my car, a paperback in the glove box and I read at least three books to my son Lance every day.
Reading promotes tranquility and sharpens the mind. It transports you to wonderful places in history and your imagination. As a florist, my eyes widen when I read about the roles flowers play in history and fiction. Glenn Stout tells us in Fenway 1912, that pots of flowers greeted fans at the grand opening of Fenway Park in 1912. Vanessa Diffenbaugh's Language of Flowers tells a magical tale where the Easter Lily (Lilium Longiflorum) is a symbol of majesty.


Easter and Pass over are holdays filled with symbols and traditions. Flowers on the table are a tradition and these symbols leave us with memories to pass down from generation to generation.


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with respect and gratitude,
Your florist, Rick Canale

Tags: Easter Flowers, Easter Traditions, Jewish Holidays, Holidays, Passion Flower

Tasty Treats for Hanukkah

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Dec 17, 2014

The Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, consists of a wonderfully eclectic variety of cuisine that can be easily compared to culinary art at its finest.  Traditionally based on foods containing oil (one cruse lasting for eight days) and cheese (based on the book of Judith), the selection is endlessly yummy and includes favorites such as latkes, donuts and scrumptious challah bread.  From family to family, there are amazing variations of dishes, bringing in their own story and personality to the table.   Recipes are passed down from each generation in the hopes that some of our ancestor’s time honored recipes will be included in the celebration of the Festival of Lights.  Here are few of the top rated Hanukkah recipes that are not only customary to this holiday feast but have been praised as mouth watering delicacies by Boston’s top chefs.

 

Parsnip Latkes

PARSNIP_LATKES                                                                 Photo credit: bettycrocker.com

Here’s a great spin on the customary fried potato latke where parsnips and sweet potato are used as the main ingredient.  Start by grating 2 large parsnips and 2 large sweet potatoes in a food processor.  Combine root vegetables with 4 egg whites, 3 thinly sliced shallots, 1½ teaspoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of dried thyme.  Mix together thoroughly.  Heat a frying pan with canola oil and place a quarter cup of the batter on the pan, pressing down to brown the cake with a fork or spoon for 3 minutes per side.  Place on paper towel to relieve the latkes of excess oil.  Makes up to 20 latkes and can be served immediately or kept warm in a low temperature oven. 

 Jelly Donuts

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These are so good and wicked easy to make!  Grab three eggs and combine them with ¾ cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, ½ cup of sugar and mix together well.  In another bowl, add 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1½ cups of flour with a teaspoon of salt mixed in as well.  Combine the two bowls slowly making sure that a smooth doe is formed to make a sandwich like shape.  Heat a deep fryer at 375 degrees with canola oil and add a precooked donut that consists of two layers of doe with a layer of jam in the middle.  I prefer strawberry but any kind will taste superb including raspberry and blueberry.  Making sure not to overcrowd the pan, fry donuts for about 4 minutes each until they reveal a golden color.  Let them cool on plate and sprinkle with confectionary sugar for an attractive presentation. 

 Maple Applesauce

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This is a wonderful recipe for tart applesauce with a little kick to it that also pairs well with a large variety of main courses.  Gather 8 peeled apples with a sour taste (such as Jonathan apples or Granny Smith’s) and 3 sweet apples (such as Golden Delicious).  Slice apples into small pieces making the process of cooking them easier.  Place in ½ cup of boiling water and reduced heat to medium allowing the apples to soften until they begin to pull apart.  Once ready, mash down the apples to a desired consistency and then add 4 tablespoons of Vermont Maple Syrup (only use the good stuff).  Once you have thoroughly mixed the sauce, add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to add zip to the flavor.  Refrigerate the dish until the desired time of serving.

suze Suzie Canale, Union Oyster House, Boston, MA August 2014

Suzie lives in Westwood, MA. She is avid chef and makes an amazing New England clam chowder.

Tags: Jewish Holidays, Hanukkah Decorating, Holidays, Chef, cooking

Hanukkah Flowers - What is Hot ?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Sat, Dec 06, 2014

Great Colors for Hanukkah Arrangements

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Hanukkah is a special time to celebrate with friends and family where the festivities include beautiful candles, delicious foods and elaborate decorations, particularly floral centerpieces.  Traditionally, the colors used within the arrangements made for The Holiday of Lights are blue and white but that doesn’t mean that we can’t step out of our comfort zone and try new palettes of design!  Hanukkah demonstrates an explosion of color throughout the flickering of menorah light and scrumptious homemade cuisine so why not incorporate these two concepts together?  Now, you’re probably thinking that contemporary vase work ideas will be too ostentatious, perhaps composed of chartreuse and hot pink, a combination maybe be unsuitable for your holiday table but I assure you there is another way…

How about we mix and match using some of the more recognized colors with a new flash of color!  Although there are millions of combinations, these are my favorites for Hanukkah celebrations!

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Blush, cream and white are extraordinary together because they compliment one another to blend a stunning and elegant floral presentation.  Beautiful as a larger center centerpiece or utilized within small accented bud vases, these tones create the ideal dining décor by promoting a stately but relaxing visual appeal.  White flowers are numerous in many species but hydrangea, lisianthus and roses are excellent choices.  Hydrangea also works well within the cream category as well as roses and lisianthus.  For your blush, spray or garden roses are very sweet or you can pick gerberas as the pink accent, which can be bought in many varying shades.  If you still think your vase needs a little added color, carefully tuck a conservative amount of greenery sporadically throughout the arrangement.  My go to greens are usually October weed, lady’s mantle or lambs ear.

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You’d be surprised but blue can be easily intertwined with yellow so keep this in mind as a possible option for your Hanukkah florals.  The bold colors are sensational and reflect the theme of light, joy and happiness quite well.  If the pairing is too bright for your taste, try mixing in a few stems of white or cream to soften the look.  September weed, freesia or lace flower are great choices because of their breezy and flexible appearance.  Stay away from larger headed blooms such as white pom poms, tulips or lilies because they will clump up the piece and deter from the grandeur style that we’re shooting for.   For your blues, try stocks of delphinium, mountain thistle, statice or hydrangea.   Possible yellows could include roses, freesia, sunflowers, lilies or even football mums but this shade is also available in a massive selection so select something that really reflects what you love!

all photos in this blog post can be attributed to Flower Factor and Aboutflowers.com

suze Suzie Canale, Boston MA Summer 2014

Suzie grew up in Andover, MA and is a graduate of Salem State College.

Tags: Jewish Holidays, Holiday Decor, Hanukkah Flowers, Hanukkah Decorating, Holidays

Three Great Children's Books Celebrating Hanukkah

Posted by Suzie Canale on Tue, Dec 02, 2014

There are thousands of children’s books that are perfect for teaching the course, traditions and cuisine experienced during the holidays.  Authors have been writing for decades about wreathes hung at Christmas time, hearts drawn for Valentine’s Day and eggs decorated during Easter in the hopes to inspire excitement and a deeper knowledge for the reasons why we gather together for these festivities.  One holiday genre that possesses a sensational list of books is “The Festival of Lights” also known as “Hanukah”.  Many of the stories include extraordinary images and written phrases that explore popular customs such as lighting menorahs, spinning dreidels, making potato latkes and most importantly, celebrating love with friends and family.   Bookstores hold a wide array of authors who have accomplished this within their tales and here are three that I’ve found to be fantastic reads to honor the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

 hanukkah childrens book

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes

The author, Linda Glaser, pens this witty children’s book about an entrapment plan of a girl named Rachel when she refuses to accept an elderly neighbor’s refusal to attend her family’s Hanukkah feast.   Drawn with the intricate illustrating techniques of Nancy Cote, the plot thickens when Rachel’s mother runs out of potatoes for the holiday latkes, which gives life to a brilliant idea.  The tenacious girl decides to visit the woman living next store and asks to borrow the vegetables for the mea hoping to coax the old woman by involving her in the cooking of the meal.   Although the neighbor agrees to give the ingredient to Rachel, the girl must use her cleverness to convince her that she must celebrate “The Holiday of Lights” with her entire family.   I loved this book because not only do you get a glimpse at the wonderful tradition of preparing potato latkes but you also are able to experience a smart and hilarious relationship between two unlikely but soon beloved neighbors. 

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The Trees of the Dancing Goats

Patricia Polacco has done it again within the heartwarming book, “The Trees of the Dancing Goats” which explains the selflessness of a young girl named Tricia who helps her neighbors in need during the holiday season.  When the scarlet fever plagues the village, Tricia and her family are unable to enjoy their festivities knowing that everyone else cannot partake in their Christmas celebrations.  Plagued with scarlet fever and unable to decorate their houses for Christmas, Tricia and her brother sacrifice their Hanukkah presents to decorate the homes of those families which have fallen sick.  Since Tricia and her family are the only people not affected by the illness, they take it upon themselves to help those in need, thereby showing the true meaning of community.

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Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah

This is a sweet story geared towards young readers that captivates the beauty of color seen during the eight days of Hanukkah.  Written by Sylvia Rouss, this is a remarkable tale about a spider that watches Josh Shapiro during a special eight day span where he lights the candles of the menorah and receives beautifully colored dreidels.  Sad because he does not have a toy to spin, Sammy’s mother makes sure that he gets his own spun, webbed rainbow to celebrate Hanukah.  Illustrated by Katherine Kahn, the author has provided a wonderful story explaining “The Festival of Lights” and has also written a multitude of other similar tales in celebration of Jewish holidays including “Sammy the Spider’s First Shabbat” and “Sammy the Spider’s First Passover”.

suzie-1 Suzie Canale, Big Red Chair, Chestnut Hill Mall

Suzie works in the children's department at the Westwood Public Library and has also written four children's books through her Beantown Tales. 

 

Tags: Jewish Holidays, Childrens Book, Holiday Memories, Kids, #EXFL, hanukkah

Ever Want to Learn About Passover, But Were Afraid to Ask ?

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Apr 10, 2014

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Have you ever wondered about those “kosher for Passover” shelves that crop up in your local grocery store when Spring arrives? Are you one of those people who like to eat the “matzah crackers” your Jewish friends choke down this time of year while you’re obliviously munching on chocolate bunnies? Or are you simply curious about the “Seder” dinner that you’ve been invited to by one of your Jewish colleagues? Well, wonder no more, you amongst the hebraically-challenged! The sandwich guy is here to ‘splain all about the holiday of unleavened bread with his “Passover Primer”!

 

Passover, or the Feast of Unleavened Bread, is one of the three major pilgrimage festivals on the Jewish calendar.  These festivals are so named in light of the historical pilgrimages Jews made from all over the world to the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate these special holidays. Passover commemorates the Exodus, the part of biblical Jewish history where the Israelites were freed from generations of enslavement at the hands of the Egyptians to travel for forty years in the desert (yes, even back then, men refused to stop and ask for directions despite the protestations of their wives) on their way to the Land of Milk and Honey, otherwise known as Israel.

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The holiday lasts eight days, during which Jews observe a special diet absent foods made with leavening agents. These dietary sacrifices were inspired by the unleavened bread, (or matzah) the Jews prepared in their haste to leave Egypt once the Pharoah had finally been convinced to grant them their freedom. The aforementioned haste was a result of said Pharaoh’s multiple renegings on similar promises. The Jews were taking no chances that the Egyptian leader might change his mind again, and anyone familiar with the parting and closing of the Red Sea allowing the Jews to flee their Egyptian pursuers who were swallowed up by the swift unparting of those same waters understands their haste.

 

The first two nights of Passover Jews conduct Seders, ritual dinners that retell the story of Passsover by incorporating song, prayer, stories, and food. Seder literally means “order” referring to the many parts of the meal that must be observed in order to tell the story of Passover properly. The dinner is participatory by everyone in attendance, from youngest to oldest, ensuring that all involved participate in the retelling of our past enslavement and by doing so on an annual basis become less likely to forget where we came from.

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Passover is a time for all Jews to be grateful for how far we’ve come and what we’ve gained during that journey. But you don’t have to be Jewish to engage in that exercise. Just send flowers! After all, what better way to show your gratitude and humility than by sharing nature’s beauty with those you care about!

 

Jonathan Bornstein The Sandwich Guy Want to read about great sandwiches ? I am your sandwich guy.

Follow me on Twitter @Zucrow

 

 

 

Tags: Passover Flowers, Traditions, Jewish Holidays, Jon Bornstein

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