After three years of living in Israel, my husband and I are moving back to New York in just a few days. Everyone thought we were crazy to move here, giving up our comfortable lives to venture off to a place we’d never even visited. But I knew it was the chance of a lifetime, and while there have certainly been challenges overall it’s been an amazing experience. The final item on my bucket list of things to do here was to visit the Aida Refugee Camp in Bethlehem and attend a cooking class through an amazing organization called Noor Women Empowerment Group. I finally had the opportunity last weekend, and it was one of the most worthwhile, inspiring experiences in my time here. Continue reading “Helba (Semolina + Fenugreek Cake) and a Bethlehem Cooking Class”
There are lots of pros to volunteering at a community garden. You get to meet wonderful, passionate people who care about the earth and sustainable eating. You get to spend time outdoors in nature, even if you live in a city. You learn about gardening, and are introduced to new types of plants, fruits, and vegetables. And, the best part, sometimes you get to take the fruit of your labor home. I’ve been helping out here and there with an amazing local organization called Earth’s Promise (seriously – they’re awesome, check them out) and this week I came home with quite a haul: potatoes dug fresh from the earth; lettuce I planted months ago and was finally able to pick; and chubeza (חוביזה; aka mallow) a wild edible green that’s popular in Israel and across the Middle East.
Guys, it’s been a long week. The stress of the most recent Israel-Gaza conflict, which went on for eight loud days and sleepless days, was starting to get to me. The uncertainty – and intractability – of the situation was exhausting. But as of Wednesday night, just in time for Thanksgiving, they reached a ceasefire. For that I am beyond thankful. And while I probably won’t have any Thanksgiving leftovers to eat, I came up with this delicious cranberry sauce upside down cake for those of you who will have a few extra cans lying around.
It was getting embarrassing. After living in Israel for two years, I still hadn’t been North of Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Sure, I’ve explored the Negev far more than most people who live in “the center.” I’ve vacationed in Eilat and snorkeled in the Red Sea. I’ve hiked in Mitzpe Ramon, floated in the Dead Sea, and have even explored the tiny shuk in Ashkelon. I know Tel Aviv and Jerusalem nearly as well as I know Be’er Sheva, the city where I live. But I’d yet to make it up North. Everywhere else is just over an hour from me. As soon as you start getting into two-plus hours of travel, and the need for a car, well, it was easier to put off.
Do you have an irrational fear of yeast? Well, it’s time to get over it! See, the yeast does all the work so you don’t have to worry about the kitchen science behind it. As long as it’s fairly fresh, it will do its job. And once you get over that, the whole wide world of baking opens up to you. The Focaccia I made recently is an amazing introduction to making bread and using yeast. This pita is another. Which is why I was excited to finally tackle it when Anuradha from the amazing blog Baker Street asked me to guest post for her Bread 101 series. If you are somehow not familiar with Baker Street, head over there and check it out right now! She posts the most incredible baked goods, including her popular “Muffin Monday” series.
If living in Israel has done anything, it has been to instill in me a lifelong love of shakshuka (also spelled shakshouka). This North African egg dish is an integral part of the fabric that is Israeli cuisine, and it’s commonly eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, served in a sizzling cast iron pan, on a sandwich, or in a pita. Essentially eggs poached in tomato sauce, this is one of those dishes where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And the recipe that I bring you today is from another book that I’m thrilled to have contributed to, Israel To Go: Look & Cook Book Vol. 1 (LunchBox Press, 2012; see it on Amazon here).
It feels like just yesterday that I was announcing my e-cookbook! Well, I’ve had a good few months. I am now excited to announce that the app I wrote for Rama Food Tours has finally been released! Tasting Mahane Yehuda is a self-guided food tour of one of my favorite places in Israel: Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market. It includes stops at five of my all-time favorite places to eat and graze in the shuk, from the best halva you’ll ever eat (seriously, even halva haters can’t resist), to a hidden gem of a restaurant with Israeli comfort food. For only $0.99 it’s worth buying even if you’re not planning on visiting Jerusalem. You know, because you like me 🙂 (download it here)
A few weeks ago I went on a fun foodie outing to a city in Israel called Ramle. Beth (of fabulous food blog Beth Michelle) and I drove up from Be’er Sheva to meet with Liz of Cafe Liz and Sarah of Food Bridge. It’s a fascinating place with a wonderful shuk (market) and a vibrant Indian-Jewish community. I came back with wonderful goodies like curry leaves and tamarind paste! We were in amazing hands with Liz and Sarah, who also happen to lead food tours through Ramle with Israel Food Tours. I have to admit that I’m a little worn out (but happy!) from a week of the in-laws visiting, so I’ll let Sarah and Liz’s blogs and my photos do most of the talking! Continue reading “A Food Tour of Ramle”
When Shulie over at Food Wanderings asked me to do a guest post as part of her Israel Series, I was beyond honored. Shulie is Indian Jewish, grew up in Israel, and now lives in the United States. Her blog is simply gorgeous and is filled with incredible recipes that reflect her unique background. We’ve become great Twitter friends as well, and I urge you to find her on Twitter at @foodwanderings and on Facebook. I decided to write about my favorite culinary destination in Israel: Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda Market. And, because Shulie wanted an Israeli recipe to accompany it I selected one of the most Israeli recipes in the book: hummus. Continue reading “Guest Post: Hummus and Mahane Yehuda Market”
On Monday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending the Sommelier Wine Expo in Tel Aviv at the Nokia Arena. You may recall that I wrote about the lovely wine festival in Be’er Sheva a few months back, but the event in Tel Aviv is the big leagues. Dozens of Israeli wineries were represented, each offering at least three wines each. Thankfully I took extensive notes throughout the night because in the morning I did a tally and in my six hours or so at the expo I tasted over 60 – yes, you read that right, 60 – wines. I admit to suffering from a severe case of palate fatigue by the end of the evening, although my notes tell a surprisingly in-depth story of each wine I sampled. For the five wines I thought stood out from the crowd, check out my article in the Jew and the Carrot. Continue reading “Sommelier Wine Expo 2011”