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Posts Tagged ‘soup’

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!

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Corny, I know.

But it was a long day. Vaguely productive. But long.

After completing an article about Tu B’Shvat for a new English-language magazine, running a bunch of errands, cleaning the house, and doing some work, I was hungry indeed.  So hungry, that I needed it to be very fast, or it would have been cookies or a hunk of cheese crammed down the gullet.

Here’s what happened:

I boiled 1 litre of water in my kettle, got a pot ready on the stove, and readied the following ingredients:

  • 1 serving green tea buckwheat noodles
  • 3 tbs soy miso
  • soy sauce
  • seaweed flakes
  • 1/4 cup cubed firm tofu
  • chili flakes
  • pepper

After the water had boiled and transferred into the pot (turn heat on high), I threw everything in, in just about that order.  And I got a very decent miso soup with noodles (not exactly traditional) in about 5 minutes.  Boy, was I happy camper.  Healthy as heck, very flavorful, and on this winter day (granted I’m not snowed in like my family stateside) it was perfect in my drafty heater-less rooftop (= windy) Tel Aviv apartment.

Overexposed and not fit for tastespotting, but it was an awesome surprise of a pancake

Later at night, I felt even “lower tech” at dinner hour, and I couldn’t fathom even a five-minute soup.  One egg was left in the fridge (went marketing yesterday, spent a minor fortune, and didn’t get eggs!?!), not quite enough for a satisfying meal, but it was a start.  I decided to go with an omelet-esque idea, and I whipped the one egg (not with milk or cream…oh no) with three big tablespoons of low fat sour cream.  It got nice and creamy.  I added a dash of salt, pepper, chili, and a couple shakes of dried basil.  It then occurred to me that it might be a good idea to add a starch to bind the very goopy mostly dairy  concoction.  I sprinkled in about a quarter cup of flour, mixed well, and then realized I had made myself a dinner of savory pancake mix for one.  I diced a handful of hard white cheese (cheddar or similar – we call our generic hard cheese “yellow cheese” here in Israel – embarrassing, I know), poured two medium sized pancakes into the frying pan, lightly coated with some extra virgin, dropped the cheese onto the tops, flipped them over when the bottom side had browned, and proceeded to make two perfect, very satisfying savory cheese pancakes. An accident.  A fluke. Kitchen improv at its best.

To review:

  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbs sour cream
  • dash each of salt, pepper, chili, dried basil
  • handful or two of flour
  • handful of small cubes of a hard cheese

Enjoy the pics folks! You too can make meals out of whatever’s left in the fridge! I promise.  No fear! That’s the key.

A better angle...

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