Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Um, What's Up, Doc ?

Carrot Soup.

A local bistro, a longstanding establishment of 13 years (which is quite a bit, in our unstable culinary climate), called Orna Ve Ela (means - Ora and Ela - which are two women's names, named after the owners of the bistro), recently published a cookbook of all of its recipes.

I chose a relativly simple recipe - carrot soup. I'm quite ambivalent about carrots - I'm not a huge fan of them in my vegetable salad, I'm used to having them finely grated, then topped with a sprinkle of sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice, sometimes with raisins. This was a popular lunch dessert at my Parents house, when I lived with them.
As far as cooked carrot, my immidiet thought is Tzimmes, a holiday specialty, which my mother makes with carrots and raisins, which is far too sweet to me. I'm not a fan of overly sweet as a side dish.

This soup, while quite easy to make, is spiced with curry, corrinder and ground corrinder.

It takes the complex taste of carrot, and pulls it as far as possible from the sweetness, leaving a carrot-ie taste, but none of the sweet. The color is unmistakeable orange, with a few sprinkles of green - fresh corriander. The serving suggestion was with homemade croutons and/or creme fresh. I had it with neither, and had a fab time.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

My New 7'' Chef Knife

This here is my new Arcos chef's knife, which I got for absolutely free, winning an online quiz. Never thought you win anything online, did you ?
I picked it up from the store Thursday evening, and procedded to cut the salads for dinner with it. I learned 2 things -
It cuts through tomatoes like hot butter
I have no idea how to use a chef knife.

And so begins my journey, to dream the impossible dream (um, wrong quote, sorry), my journey - to learn how to use one of these beauties without losing a finger (or two).
A quick online search turned out this link, demostrating a few basic cutting techniques. Now I'm looking for something more knife-centric: how to hold the knife, where should pressure be applied, etc.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cape Seed Loaf

My favorite cooking magazine constantly hails the Tatti Bakery, which is only a few minutes drive from my apartment. It recently featured their new artisan bread - the Cape Seed Loaf, named for its origins in Cape Town and its seedy nature.

A visit to this magical bakery was overdue, so yesterday I left work early, made a few wrong turns, and found myself parked across Tatti coffee shop its adjoining bakery. The latter is a small shop filled with cookies, coffee cakes and bread. They had a bunch of different cookies out on display for tasting, and olive bread slices you could dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I snooped around and found myself face to face (so to speak) with a tray load of seed loafs and banana bread loafs. The sales person explained that this was the famous Cape Seed Loaf. It looks like a rectangular coffee cake, but is covered in, well, seeds.

I paid (14.9 NIS), had it sliced and took it home to taste, not quite sure if I'll like something so alien. The loaf is incredibly moist, in a banana bread (or muffin) sense, slightly sweet, with an essence of yummyness, that makes you want to take another one of its small slices. Boyfriend asked if there were walnuts in it, as it has a nutty flavor, but I looked it up and no - it is only country grain, flaxseed, poppy, sesame and sunflower seeds.

We had it with some light cream cheese flavored with onion and sumac, but I think it would be ideal with butter. The sales clerk said it could be complimented by either sweet or savory spreads, but I have a feeling jam or honey would sensory overload combined with the sweetness of the bread.

The most surprising part is that it is quite unGoogleable: there are only a few hundred results when attempting to Google it, most of them recipes or recipe requests, so there was no further research to be made on this fascinating discovery.

Tatti Bakery
53 Hashalom Rd.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Linkage: StarChefs Visit Israel

I had a lovely surprise last Friday afternoon, as I was going over the weekend editions of my favorite newspapers, and found a mention of this.

The newspaper article said that the StarChefs visit to Israel was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, but heck, if it gets us good publicity, I don't really mind.

The feature is one of the most favorable things I've read about local food in any international website/publication for awhile, and it sure makes me feel proud about the local food scene.

The last two years have seen a HUGE increase in tourism here, and I hope that when people look back on their visit here, they'll remember the cuisine as one of the better parts of their trip.

I know we are a very long way from France or Italy, in the sense that people who come here don't book restaurants weeks in advance, nor do they expect the food to be fabulous. I'm hoping our reputation (at least in this field) improves, and that a positive buzz will start to pick up some pace.

Edited to Add: Here is a short discussion of the article on eGullet.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Tri-Color Tuna Salad

I am a devoted fan of Clotilde Dusoulier, creator of the lovely Chocolate and Zucchini. Hers was the first food blog I had ever come across, and it is certainly the one I hit "Refresh" on the most, checking if there are new entries or new additions to her Moblog. She was my main inspiration in creating this blog.

I spent Saturday morning at the gym, and while walking home I was reminded of her salade de concombre au crabe (crab and cucumber salad). It was a hot day, and the salad seemed like a great idea. I replaced crab with tuna (crab isn't Kosher), and my seasoning was lighter than hers, but it turned out just as refreshing and light as I had hoped.

* 1 can tuna (I used tuna in water)
* 1 small cucumber
* 1 very small purple onion
* freshly ground black pepper, fleur de sel

Chop and mix, season according to taste.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Behold, the Krembo

Ah, the small pleasures of life. The Krembo is a winter delicacy here in Israel. Your heart jumps a little when you spot the first ones, when they hit stores in early September, because you know autumn is fast approaching. It is not sold after February, as the heat might melt it before it can reache stores, the poor thing, as it is so fragile.
Krembo, defined: biscuit, topped with egg cream, and the combination is covered in chocolate (mmmm). The cream has several flavors - vanilla being the most popular (coffee is the runner up).

It can be eaten in several ways - first the cream, then the biscuit / biscuit then cream / or just stuffed unceremoniously into your mouth.

When selecting the Krembo at the grocery store, you try out your x-ray vision, and attempt to see through its aluminum foil cover, whether it is cracked or broken. There is nothing more upsetting than unveiling the foil and finding a crushed, hurt Krembo. The sight is sad.