Thursday, August 30, 2012

what a caccia!

this post is so borderline september, that i may as well hand in my resignation. 
but just today i got a little message and reminder that there are a handful of folks who have actually read and extracted something gainful from this humble blurg. i can't even describe how much pleasure that gives me. 
so yeah, i'm keeping my low-reaching rules intact and once per month, a shiny blog pearl will continue to appear in this vast ocean of the self-published internet. 

and now, our feature presentation!

so, it's a no-brainer that dating a good cook and general food-lover has its benefits. but let's not pretend that it's all good in the hood when the guy you're seeing happens to make really really good focaccia dough and is willing to do so whenever the "need" arises. this is actually a serious curse in disguise, but go tell your hungry 2am self that. rrright.

this 2am focaccia was crispy on the outside and perfectly chewy on the inside. and with tons of olive oil, cheese, olives, and jalapenos and a broken egg that got baked on top, this was a meal and a half. or 3. i can't figure out the math on something this sinful.

ok, sure, it's threatening the ol' girlish figure. but it's also nice that the same patient and gentle hands needed to handle the wet focaccia dough, are attached to a patient and gentle human being who happens to want to make you dinner in the middle of the night.
no complaints.

Monday, July 23, 2012

be prepared!

admittedly, i am not one for planning. 
as opposed to the scouts' m.o., i believe in an innate ninja-ness that can be tapped into for enacting quick responses to unforeseen and trying situations. and yes, that i posses it. 
what others may call "slacker style" or "dumb luck", i call ninja-ness.
stay with me here folks.
on a recent camping trip with the broski, i learned about a little clause in my otherwise bullet-proof theory. 
1.1-a: winging it will get the job done, but it won't be the best.

DAMMIT! just kidding, everyone knows that, right?
so to put that into practice: when you're going on a camping trip, don't just throw a bunch of crap in a cooler the morning of and imagine it'll all come together. 'cause it won't. not without the help of a fully-stocked pantry and a nearby supermarket, which, guess what! is a 2 hour canoe ride and a portage away.

not to say that we starved. i probably gained weight eating a half a pack of bacon for breakfast and sausages for dinner. but as a couple of food loving kids, we could have done better had we done a little pre-game meal planning and shopping listing and the suching.

good thing we brought water. and nuff bacon.

so we ate a lot of crackers and hummus...whatever! the fare may not have been the best, but it was still the best company, best weather, and the best camping trip. and 3 out of 4 bests ain't bad.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

hunger strike

listen, i know we're all thinking it, so out with the truth.. it's been too long since i've expelled a numbered stream-of-food-consciousness list into cyberspace! 

1. it is balls hot in tel aviv right now, but everyone says this weather is still considerably "nice". oh boy.
2. this kind of heat does not drive one's appetite to go up. in fact, the humidity and sun combo pretty much sits on your appetite until it suffocates and dies. its last sound a whimpering beg for a popsicle. so long appetite.
3. it's important to eat. without food we become super thin die.
4. the meat here is yucky. no offense kashrut (kosherness), but you took something really good and made it pretty dismissible. anyway, it doesn't matter, i'm not hungry.
5. oh my god lentils are so cheap and never go bad.
6. there is a crap-load of produce in the fridge. that does go bad.
7. i should eat.

...and this is the product of such profound thinking. 
black rice pasta and summery green lentil bolognese: fried garlic, zucchini, tomato, salt, pepper, nutmeg, dressed in chopped dill and mint, lemon juice and olive oil..and of course green lentils. a lot. like, whoa protein and probably farts too.
vegan de-light. get it? it's light. also it's gluten free. for those people. (jk celiacs!)
ok. the torment ends here. 
as you were.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

brief debrief's the last day of may, and my last chance to post before skipping a whole month. better make it happen!
it's been nearly 4 weeks since the opening party at mitbachi and although things are still fresher than the yet uncut watermelon i'm going to reward myself with for writing this blog post (yep, like a dog), things have been happenin', people have been poppin' in, and food has been a-cook-in'. fun!

i'll give a quick retrospective on mitbachi's first month (a vital time in the development of babies and businesses as much as it may look like all they've done in that month is gain weight/drain resources.

this month! 
after the opening party, which was a nice way to see family and friends and introduce them to mitbachi, the festivities continued with a staff party for 35 club promoters, a group of tattooed, tanned and toned hip twenty-something-year-olds, who ate chicken tacos, refried beans, and guacamole and drank beers and seemed to really dig the feeling of being in their mom's kitchen. legit bad-asses.
we had a night of cooking with friends (my way of testing out the group cooking capabilities of the place-and y'know, cooking and getting drunk with friends)...a veggie cooking class, turned 'vegan asia' with everything from miso soup to lemon "chicken" to banana tempura... an "open kitchen" evening for cool folks to cook dinner, eat, and drink in a communal kind of way, everyone made friends. aw!.... a demo class for moms starting down the weaning path (there was lots of mashy mash and 8 real live babies in mitbachi all at once!)... a wine-tasting of some of israel's delicious boutique wines... a surprise birthday party thrown for a british guy by his american/israeli wife and his japanese and argentenian parents ... and me sitting in a wet towel-as-pants typing on my lap-top in mitbachi, for all to see (this is happening now).
oh, and this itty bitty piece in time out tel aviv!

classic 'one hand on lap, one hand on lemon' pose.
so, there's some action, and hopefully soon there will be some more action..
(now i've gone and let my sophisticatedly devised business plan out of the bag). 

xo's and dry clothes,

me and mitbachi.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

i make mitbachi

it's ironic that the past month and a half (maybe 2 months, but who's counting?) that i have spent building a kitchen-centred business have been the least appetizing. (stress induced nausea and lack of free time are total food mood killers).
another irony, (boy, isn't life just full of 'em?) is that with all the excitement and busy-ness, i haven't had a chance to write a blog post, or update friends, or share the experience with the gentle people back home! and it is, after all, something that i'm very, very excited about! now that i am set to open the place, i want to, y'know, s'plain maself and what's been preoccupying my
time/energy/thoughts/dreams/worries/hopes, etc.  
so enough about me, and more about mitbachi!

i feel as though an introduction is in order. i want you all to meet my new  baby  business. i named it mitbachi. in hebrew 'mitbach' (that's a strong horking sound on the end) means kitchen, and 'i', well, it's just like the sound in timmie, or kitty, or the name of a ridiculously large dead rapper. mitbachi is a former restaurant that i've turned into a fully-equiped kitchen in a very central tel aviv location. its got a long wooden island with bar stools, some alternative seating, a patio, and a chalkboard wall! a kitchen in which will take place cooking classes, food seminars, and company 'fun days' and which can also be rented out for private functions, special events, chef nights, and whatever other fantastic things that can take place in a kitchen.

food, as is evidenced by this blog, is one of my great loves. and i love mitbachi like a shrimp cocktail ring. meaning, like a child. no doubt it's hard work being a tyrant  starting a business. hiring and firing and calling and painting and waiting and organizing and .. that was just setting up the place! now comes all the marketing and registering and buying and shmoozing and teaching and accounting...ah, but alas. this experience is the best school a girl or boy could ask for and i am trying to enjoy every moment of the process and remind myself that i'm building a place that will certainly change my life and hopefully touch some others'.

so, that's where i've been. passionately pursuing a dream and losing sleep.
i promise to post photos and updates of the place on the facebook page as soon as humanly possible. in the meantime. keep cookin'! xo 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

while you were out

hey friends.
if you're heading out on vacay sometime in the near future and you need someone to take care of your place/pet, consider me your gal. it'll only cost you the contents of your fridge. but that's it! cheap.
i was house/dog-sitting this past week and didn't really get around to grocery shopping quite so much. and what's that saying about invention's ancestry? it was sort of like that. but really laziness seemed to be more of a driving force than necessity.
i managed to scramble this dinner together with just the ingredients accessible to me in a kitchen i'm unfamiliar with. scavenger hunt!
i found: (!)
-fresh ravioli stuffed with..i want to say cheese, but i can't even remember.
-a half bag of brussel sprouts hiding in the freezer door.
-garlic, onion, butter, rosemary. y'know, around.
-sha-men-ett: a 15% milk fat cream product somewhere between cream cheese and sour cream.
-salt and pep
-oh, and just a splash of that expensive looking white wine in the fridge..sorrs!
with these simple ingredients i was able to fashion myself a dinner that the dog looked slightly jealous of and that i enjoyed. so, thanks for that. and for the cable tv that i got to watch in bed. it was a treat.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

eggplant one on me

so, here's something purple.
an eggplant.
it's washed, cut in half, then placed skin down on a tin-foiled baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, salt, a spoonful of raw tahini paste and lemon juice. then baked at 185 C until the flesh is mushy to the stab of a fork. (approx. 30 minutes)

not an egg, but a plant. this is one tasty treat. 
it's soft, nutty, healthy, and filling. 
good as a side dish or a snack to eat.
i like the skin, but some aren't so willing.

oh boy. i'm pulling at strings today.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

the last supper

while literally fighting with myself to sit down and write a post, i realized that it was not merely laziness that was making this otherwise fun task so daunting, it's that i haven't had anything all too exciting to share in the food preparation department in a while. 
maybe it's because i miss my spacious kitchen and my sole-ownership of everything in it. or maybe it's the fact that there is no chinatown in this city. who knows? maybe i'm spoiled rotten from eating at work (ah, the perils of waitress life), and yes, the possibility has not escaped me, that maybe i've just been cooking crap meals.
february, albeit 29 days long this year, is soon going to evaporate into spring (fingers crossed), so i figure there is no more time to sit around and wonder how i can write a blog post about peanut butter.
anyway, having dug into my archives, i present you with the last dinner i prepared at my apartment before i moved. 
single tear.
these are some tried, tested, and true items that i've made again and again, and they always taste good. winners!
the salad is arugula in a melted goat cheese, balsamic and honey dressing.
the basmati rice is cooked in the oven with garlic, dried parsley, and a couple of omani lemons/persian dried limes. they give off a really yum, strong lemony taste. when that flavourful rice comes out of the oven it's spruced up with toasted pine nuts. (oh my goodness, the subtlety of that tree word-play is killing me).
the sweet chicken thighs balance the sour/bitter of the rice. they are coated in a bit of oil, then cinnamon and minced garlic then pan fried for a couple of seconds all around before being placed in a cooking pan with dried apricots and other dried fruit if you please, and straight into the oven.
the resulting meal is a little bit of everything and a whole lotta good. nostalgic and fresh at the same time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

a halava saturday!

saturday morning is an interesting phenomenon in israel. even in tel aviv, a city that hardly ever takes a moment to breathe, saturday morning is so quiet you could hear a fork drop.
according to the ol' testament, it's the day of r&r. but all religious belief aside, you don't have to tell me once to take a day off. really, not even once. i'm a self-motivated chiller and relaxer.
this sunny saturday morning felt like a good opportunity for a fun sit-down breakfast with the roomies and my guest from t.o. 'mf', who had the incredible idea to make halva french toast. brilliant! genius! borderline illegal! *halva is a confection made with tahini (sesame paste) and tons o' sugar. a VERY popular treat in these parts.
so, mf and i went for a walk in the quiet streets this morning to gather our supplies, and then made the best breakfast ever with just some brilliant innovation and unfeigned team work..and eggs, milk, tahini, honey, challa and chocolate halva floss. wha?mmmm!whoa.
clearly still on a sugar high, i will explain this before i get back in bed and crash. (not necessarily in that order).
2 pieces of medium-thin sliced challa bread (egg bread), dipped into a mix of eggs, raw tahini paste, honey and milk, stuffed with shards of chocolate halva floss, and fried.
served with pears cooked in butter and cinnamon and fresh pomegranate, banana and strawberries.
the halva shreds (both stuffed in the french toast and as a garnish) and the tahini batter create such a rich and delicious sensation without being overly flavourful. creamy and perf.
so perf it almost didn't need any maple syrup. almost.
ok look.

justice will never be served to the food i photograph, if only because i am the world's crappiest food photographer and looking at food only gets you so far anyway, but hopefully a fraction of how tasty and decadent this breakfast was will be able to overcome these sensory blockades.
and a testimonial might help? 
"the best thing ever" -my roommates.
ok back to bed.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

pom pom

oh man, do i like my own cooking.
i know! how dare i compliment myself so outright? well, i dare.
even with 2 roommates and a house-guest, i found myself eating dinner alone tonight and sometimes, don't tell anyone, that's the most yippee of all. especially when it means only peeling half a pomegranate instead of a whole one, and doing things to a cornish hen that would probably make peta pretty upset and regular folk with table manners totally grossed out.
the dinner, comprised of 3 items, didn't take long to make and was as tasty as more tasty than the awesome restaurant food i've been gorging on and accustoming my palate to.
1. the cornish hen was an easy fix. stuffed with half a lemon, parsley and chopped onion, slathered in olive oil, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper, and surrounded by sliced onion and bell pepper that turned roasty crispy. that chick went into the oven for about 45 minutes at 220C. pretty hawt.
2. the rice, also pretty easy. in a pan, i fried chopped garlic, coarsely crushed coriander seeds and red pepper flakes in a bit of olive oil (spicy ricey). i then added that concoction with some brown short-grain rice and water into a rice cooker for some no-work-required cooking.
3. salad. i peeled half a pomegranate (they grow in this country!), added some fresh baby greens and chopped mint, and tossed it all in a tiny bit of olive oil, vinegar, and salt and minced garlic. simple town.

this dinner-for-one reminded me that even though toast and cottage cheese is super awesome, i love to cook, and i love to eat, and i love to eat my own, maybe once in a while i'll grab my pompoms, become my own cheerleader, and treat myself to not cottage cheese and toast.
give me a U, give me a CAN, give me a 2!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

goulash of the gods

if there was ever a word that warmed the cockles, it's goulash. at once both incredibly fun to say and full of the warmiest warm ingredients, enjoyed the eastern european world over.
now! here are a few fun facts about me that will maybe culminate in a story or recipe.
- though the weather in tel aviv is well above zero, my unheated room with its uninsulated walls gets quite frigid. i'm often cold.
-besides running a generally tight ship, one of my roommates also insists on keeping a kosher kitchen in the house. this has me slightly confused and fearful of mixing meat and milk utensils...not to mention desperately longing for pig. i've been avoiding eating/preparing any meat in the house as a coping strategy.
-i had the day off of work today. fun!
-my other roommate is a vegetarian. whatever, it's a choice.
sooo, i was walking around doin' some groceries and stuff, and i happed upon some frozen, cubed, kosher, stewing beef in the organic health food store. this was an obvious sign from mastilla, the made-up hungarian god of homecooked meals. "goulash" it (don't be fooled by the name, it's an androgynous god) whispered into my belly.
and goulash it was!
right. so, in one of the 'meat only' pots, i fried some garlic and chopped spanish onion until soft. i then added the slightly defrosted meat to brown. i threw in some sweet paprika, salt and pepper and a splash of regular white vinegar, because i didn't have balsamic. as a thickener, i added some flour to the bit of liquid in the pot, then i covered the meat with water and let it simmer for about an hour. the stewing meat has all this connective tissue and fat that needs to be cooked until it dissolves. trust, you don't want to bite into that stuff, it's way tastier when it liquifies.. then you can just lap it up. mmm.
after that lengthy sit in the hot tub, the meat can be accompanied by some cubed veggies. i had potato, zucchini, carrot, yellow pepper, mushrooms, also some tomato paste, and then keep on cooking the soup until it's good and cooked. like, when the veggies are soft, the meat is fall-apart-y and mastilla tells you "your work here is finished." (don't worry, it's just talking about dinner).

on that note. i may have lost my mind...but at least i'm warm!