Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘food blogging’

Being a long-term expat gives a person a unique perspective, as you well may imagine – an outside eye with insider access – and in the case of these bloggers, the ability to be ambassadors to the world at large.  It’s been a while since I focused on food myself, and I want to highlight to whoever may be reading, a review of some incredible blogs – AND – their very special qualities.  I’ve chosen and linked some specific posts to shed a light on the diversity of boutique dairies and cheeses, markets, spices, comfort foods, and out-of-the-way corners/villages/eateries that guidebooks would never even know to mention.  Enjoy!

Milk, Dairies, and Cheese

Israelis love their cheeses, eaten (much to my chagrin, actually) very fresh.  For fresh cheeses, however, they’re extraordinary.  A huge variety of cow, goat, and sheep cheeses are produced by the largest and smallest boutique dairies all over the country.  Baroness Tapuzina told us about her visit to the Ein Kamonim goat far recently.  Sarah Melamed of Food Bridge posted about a comparison between camel, cow, goat, and buffalo milk, oh my!  To add my recommendations on Israeli cheese, I adore the Markovitch Dairy – run by a sweet couple, on their own, with their goats, near Petach Tikvah – they make a cheese very similar to Camembert, with a blue center – during events they cater, they stuff big majoul dates with a softer goat cheese – to die for.  A bigger better-known artisanal cheese-maker is the Jacobs Farm – they make a hard cheese with pimento and caraway seed that is so incredibly different – it took me a while to like it, but I adore it now.

Markets and Places

Pita with zatar

My friend Liz, of Cafe Liz fame, is truly a market connoisseur.  Actually, most of these bloggers probably are, but I as know Liz well and we hang out in Tel Aviv quite a bit – she has been my personal ambassador to some gems.  Here, she tells us about Ramle, an out-of-the-way melting pot of a little town near the airport with an incredible history.  Here, a foray into the Levinsky Street market, undoubtedly the best place to buy spices in Tel Aviv – a bizarre 2-3 blocks of storefront if you’ve ever seen one.  And in a post I highly recommend, Where to Buy Food in Tel AvivLiz compared the prices of several basic food items at the shuk (market), and several commercial and organic stores around town – with very interesting findings for the consumer.

Sarah has a whole page devoted to shuks (markets), that you should really check out.  She’s written about Nazareth on a couple of occasions, somewhere most of us urban-folk would never venture.  The food scene is incredible there, and the New York Times recently featured it in an article, “Nazareth as an Eating Destination.”  A great pictorial is Spice Up Your Life in Nazareth, and a more complete anecdote is Nazareth Shuk: A Kaleidoscope for the Senses.  Another great post is by Miriam Kresh, the veteran blogger of Israeli Kitchen, also littered with fabulous photographs.  Miriam’s knowledge of the natural foods around us and the making of such basic (yet to us, complex) processes such as wine-making, soap-making, lotion-making, olive-pickling, and much more is astounding.

Comfort Food Around Us

Stuffed peppers

The new Jerusalemite among us is Ariella, of Ari Cooks.  A trained pâtissière, I love reading through her recipes.  A recent post of hers focuses on soups, Soups for Thought, and it was so so so good. So apt for the winter, so cold this year, making up for last year’s heat wave.  She links to several other soup recipes, so it’s an excellent resource.  Miriam has a great post on pickling olives at home, a local staple, olives are.  Sarah is hands down the kubbeh expert among us, and if you don’t know what these lovely semolina dumplings stuffed with meat are, do click her link.  Here is also Sarah’s excellent, beautiful, and brief journey through Israeli foods, including the ubiquitous falafel, foreigners so know us by.

I have skipped so much and focused on too few blogs — the amount of recipes, the innovation of this cooking, this east-meets-west, foreign-domestic, old-new, always fresh outlook displayed by the food bloggers of Israel is inspiring.  If you live here, I hope you choose to eat well and eat interestingly.  If you don’t live here, when you visit, make food a priority.  It’s so special and vibrant and fresh here.

Have a great week, all!  Here’s to getting through the winter!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Mazarine:

  1. Of or pertaining to Cardinal Mazarin, prime minister of France, 1643-1661;
  2. a deep rich blue;
  3. a deep rich blue butterfly;
  4. a silver strainer fitting over a meat dish and used for draining the water from boiled fish;
  5. the first Bible, and perhaps the first complete book, printed with movable metal types; – printed by Gutenberg at Mentz, 1450-55; – so called because a copy was found in the Mazarine Library, at Paris, about 1760.
  6. A forcemeat entrée.

Mazzarine – patisserie & chocolaterie artisanale

Israel’s English-language food bloggers, a cheery private dining room, a couple bottles of fume blanc, good conversation, and Tel Aviv’s finest desserts – last Thursday was a deliciously wonderful evening.  I’ve been overly-exhausted with work, and thus have gotten behind in all the things I want to write about. The other ladies have indeed beat me to the punch, and rightly so.  In any case —

It was delightful to meet Michelle Kemp (Baroness Tapuzina), Miriam Kresh (Israeli Kitchen), Sarah Melamed (Foodbridge), Liz Steinberg (CafeLiz), and Yael (Apples & Honey – an Israeli food blog in Finnish).  We spoke about so many different things, it’s difficult for me to recall them all now.  Arab markets, local ingredients, local winemaking, local dairies and cheeses, blogging, travel, cook books, genealogy, freelance food writing – you name it – just what semi-pro expat foodies in Israel would talk about.

I have long since discovered that food blogging (all blogging really, but here more significant that most) depends upon drop dead gorgeous photography.  My colleagues’ photos are far superior to mine (I encourage you to visit their blogs), as I decided to break in my new uber-bells-and-whistles cell phone.  These are great photos for a cell phone.  But I’ve learned auto-focus is more than somewhat lacking…and these ladies are exceptional with a Nikon, one even coming with a fancy long lens.

Seared tuna, chive pancakes, jasmine rice, soy reduction sauce

The dinner was OK.  Creative options, certainly.  Their pastas superior to the fish special I ordered.  Some homemade gnocchi, one with artichoke, another (a special) filled with plum (prune) in a portabello and shitake sauce.  The soup was a clear veg broth with mushrooms (I believe), salmon pieces, and large homemade pasta squares blanketing the top.  My seared tuna with some sort of chive pancakes and jasmine rice with a reduced soy sauce was a bit of a downer.  Others enjoyed it but found the sauce too salty, something I agree with.  But the fish was cut into strips with the “pancakes” interspersed between each slice.  The pancakes were hard as pita crackers, and the fish was nearly cold when served to me (and was well stone cold long before I got into the middle of it).

By far the best part of the culinary experience of the evening was the dessert. Mazzarine is an incredible patisserie.  I had the above cake, the “Ebony,” a 70% cocoa chocolate covering a dark chocolate mouse with some sort of meringue inside, a truffle on top, and a meringue glued to the side.  The others had similarly decadent chocolaty, layered, glossy, rich concoctions.

To tell you the truth, the best part of the entire evening was communing with some extremely lovely friendly women.  We had common interests, we all had seen each others’ work online, and it was almost therapeutic to meet in person.  In years past before blogging, before the web, meeting in person was commonplace.  Besides talking on the phone or writing a letter on a piece of paper, we met.  Not anymore.  It’s strange to be cooking such interesting foods, drinking such great wine, and feeling as though I don’t have too many people with whom to share it with.  Not that I don’t have friends.  But we don’t pop on by unannounced.  We’re all busy.  And weeks go by sometimes when I don’t have meals sitting down at an actual table sitting in front of a real person instead of my computer.  The meeting was delightful.

A great thanks to Miriam and Michelle who organized it.

Read Full Post »