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!