We put the turducken on the plata
Sunday, December 4, 2011
We put the turducken on the plata
Friday, November 11, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
- Thawed some puff pastry and put it in a pie tin
- Cut up some ripe fruit (nectarines, I think), mixed it with lemon juice, cinnamon, brown sugar and a little salt and put it in the pastry
- Made a topping by blending equal parts margarine, white sugar and flour, and dotting it all over the fruit
- Baked it
Friday, November 4, 2011
- I tried using Supersol brand risotto rice instead of sushi rice. It didn't work.
- If you don't like the texture of your sushi rice when it finishes cooking, try soaking the rice - in the cooking water - on the counter before cooking. 30 minutes in the summer, 60 minutes in the winter.
- Fake crab/shrimp is not available in Haifa, but we filled the fish requirement with lox, which was very good. I also bought some tuna from a fishmonger who told me it was sushi quality. In reality, it was gray and fishy smelling, so I decided to poach it in oil, then mix it with mayo and hot pepper for "spicy tuna". It basically tasted like canned tuna fish.
- For real sushi grade fish, look for "red tuna". It's flash frozen, in shrink wrapped plastic. It comes in small, wedge shaped portions, which is a good amount for a few rolls of sushi. I'd use it. Some people also buy large salmon fillets and make sushi out of this. This strikes me as a bad idea, both because the salmon quality seems less pristine then the "red tuna" and because finding sushi-appropriate tender slices seems trickier. Your call.
- Here are some good non-fish sushi fillings: avocado, cucumber, mushrooms (chopped and sauteed with miso, soy sauce and garlic), zucchini (amazing), sweet potatoes (roasted with honey and brown sugar), omelette slices...
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Who doesn't love popsicles? They're so easy and fun to make. I used little espresso cups and wooden popsicle sticks for the mold but I plan on coming up with more creative molds soon! The bottom half is coffee (instant coffee, milk, sugar), the top half is instant pudding mix (prepared with 3% milk). Let the bottom freeze first before pouring the top half. To get the popsicle sticks to stay in place, cover the rim of the cup with foil and poke a hole through for the stick. Stay tuned for more ideas...
Monday, September 5, 2011
I love making quiche. Not only do I get to make my very own easy pie crust but there are so many variations I can try. And I'm pretty much guaranteed to have all the basic ingredients at all times. Plus, it takes no time at all to prep... This week's quiche - Mushroom Onion Feta. I highly recommend this one!
Approx. 8 oz Mushrooms, sliced
1/2-1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Milk
1. Saute the onions in a little bit of olive oil till they're clear and soft. Remove the onions to a separate bowl and saute the mushrooms for just a minute or two until they start to turn darker in color.
2. Combine the milk, eggs, onions, mushrooms and pepper. Pour into pie crust.
3. Sprinkle the feta on top.
4. Bake at 375F/200C for about 30-40 minutes or until the the quiche is set.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Tiv'ol makes some veggie burgers that , while not as good as Morningstar Grillers, come close. We buy a package every time we do a major grocery run.
Sadly, Supersol was out the last time we went, and we had to suffice with trying Tiv'ol veggie chicken patties instead. Turns out, they leave much to be desired!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
We put the pea falafel in pita and ate it with vetegables, like regular falafel. I personally prefer regular falafel, but this wasn't bad. It was good to try once, though I don't have much desire to make it again. I'd sooner just make another pea soup, which is easier. Plus, anything you make with split peas is going to end up tasting like pea soup anyway.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
You know what food is quick, delicious, easy to make yourself, and extremely unhealthy? Pizza bourekas!
Friday, August 26, 2011
At this point, you can stop the sauce there and season with salt and pepper. It will taste like a creamy milk sauce, which would be kind of bland to just pour on pasta, but is good in this case as a base for the tuna casserole as a whole.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
So you want to have beans for dinner but you forgot to soak the dry beans the night before?
Friday, August 19, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
BreakFast Bagels (with a tangential discussion of regional variation in the gluten content of flour)
Why can’t one get a good bagel in Israel? To answer this question, one must understand something called the Pizza Cognition Theory, as proposed by New York Times journalist Sam Sifton. This theory states that, of the many different styles of pizza available, a person will generally prefer the style which he or she was first exposed to. This style becomes, for him or her, the very definition – nay, the Platonic ideal - of pizza.
The same can be said of bagels. Hailing from New York, that means I like bagels to have a glossy crust that crisps when toasted, and a doughy, dense yet soft, malty center. And poppy seeds, but that’s just me. Rachel’s Philadelphia kosher bagels are, in essence (as well as in name), New York Bagels. So we’re on the same page.
However, the NY bagel is not the only variety. Here in the Israel, the thinner, breadier, sometimes oval-shaped, and always sesame seed coated bagels are as much a local fixture in Arab and Middle-Eastern Jewish cuisine as their Yankee cousins. Thus, I posit that the primary reason one can’t get a “good” bagel in Israel is because most people here prefer what they’ve already got anyway.
That being said, there are plenty of places where you can get NY style bagels, usually in cities and neighborhoods populated by US expats. But any real bagel fan will tell you that the a bagel from Tal Bagels may be tasty, but isn’t the same. So the real question is: why is it so hard to recreate NY bagels in Israel?
No, the answer is not the water. It’s the flour. Israeli flour has less gluten in it, or to be more precise, comes packaged with less gluten in it. This was verified by a recent blog post I read, along with the additional information that Israeli flour is usually processed less and not bromated or bleached (although I usually bought unbleached flour in the US as well), and that US flour actually often has pure gluten added to it directly.
I could have told you that on my own after this attempt to make bagels. I was following a recipe from Peter Reinhart, whose book has so far given me a very reliable recipe for pizza dough, but I noticed that the dough was not developing as I was expecting it to. Undeveloped dough tears apart when you pull it, but proper gluten development gives you a dough that is increasingly smooth and elastic. This takes kneading and time, both of which I applied with my Kitchenaid dough hook. But the minutes went by and my dough was extremely soft, and totally lacking in smoothness and elasticity. It was still tearing.
I knew at once that there wasn’t enough gluten. The solution? Add more flour, I suppose. I kept adding, and adding flour. The dough absorbed it, but despite intense and extensive kneading, it just did not get right. Frustrated, I cranked up my already hot mixer and tried to beat the gluten into submission.
And then my Kitchenaid busted an axle.
The moral of the story is: don’t get frustrated in the kitchen (also don’t take on new cooking projects on fast days, when you are more likely to get frustrated). But although fixing the mixer will surely be an uphill battle, the bagels were not lost. After kneading by hand for a while, and seeing no improvement, I decided to shape the bagels, let them rise for the amount of time stated in the recipe, boil them and bake them. The boiling was done in water with a pinch of baking soda added to it, and the baking was done at some high temperature, with convection, with a flipping step, for an arbitrary period of time until they looked brown and tasty.
Those instructions are kind of vague, and they also leave out the sponge stage at the beginning where a thin, pancake-like dough is set out to ferment with two hours. This is because the bagels, while they tasted good, were not what I expected. The doughiness was too much, they didn't rise properly. The outsides were not smooth and too hard and thick.
But really, they were tasty. I strongly believe that this is highly independent of recipe. Google any bagel recipe, or this one, and make it. It’s probably your first time boiling bread before baking it, but it’s very easy if you just follow the instructions. It’ll taste good because it’s fresh and you made it.
Looking forward, I am going to try and find a place where I can buy pure flour gluten, which I do know is made by an Israeli company. Then it’s just a matter of either research or experimentation until I find the combination I want to recreate US bread flour and US all-purpose flour. The blog post has a suggestion, but since it is in volume measurements I can’t take it seriously. He does recommend sifting, though, which is a good tip.
And like I said before, Rachel and I really did enjoy these bagels. If I don’t find gluten soon I’m probably going to just make them again anyway.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
What to make for dinner is often the most challenging the night before you are planning to go grocery shopping. Since grocery shopping has been a bit of a challenge in our new location, we came up with this elaborate (or not so elaborate but full of well meaning efforts) plan to come up with a whole two weeks of menus (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and basically only go shopping once every two weeks. I can discuss menu suggestions and the challenges of this plan another time.... Like I said though, the day before a groceries trip, the fridge (and shelves) are extremely bare and lacking in dinner options. We can, of course, just have pasta and tomato sauce (or ragu perhaps?) because we seem to always have those in stock. But eh, that's not so exciting. Plus, it's hot. And pasta = heaviness.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
In the spirit of experimentation I tried a new challah recipe this week. Last time I baked challah I was informed that I could just use the mixer to knead the dough instead of doing it with my hands. Thinking that this would make my life so much easier, I began the recipe with high hopes.