Thursday, May 27, 2010

I want my hummus...more hummus-ey

My friend from childhood, Miriam Gottfried, has a new food article in the Wall Street Journal I highly recommend. Her article, entitled "A Taste for Hotter, Mintier, Fruitier" talks about America's (and much of the world's) need for more bold, innovative and pronounced flavors, and the work that goes into developing these flavors in a wide variety of food products. Its a very interesting read as is all of her posts over at the her delicious food blog The Mango Lassie.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Yesterday I went with my friend Sarah to visit a newly renovated and opened part of Tel Aviv, the Tachana (station). The Tachana is specifically where the old Jaffa train station was located on the old Jaffa to Jerusalem line. For years the area (old Manshiya) was in complete disrepair, but a few years ago the Tachana was renovated and has been used for art exhibits for some time. Only a few weeks ago, however, was the place opened up for private businesses. Today you can eat at several different cafes and restaurants, see a monthly changing photo exhibit, cool down on a hot day with ice cream, and also peruse through an organic farmer’s market each Friday.

The market is called Orb/ganic which is a play on words. Orbanic combines the obvious “organic” with “urbani”, which means urban in Hebrew. Hence an urban organic market. There are not a lot of vendors at the market, but you can find some really good heirloom tomatoes, greens of all kinds, potatoes and much more. I bought some nice looking swiss chard, and I’m still thinking of exactly how to use it. I’m leaning towards making a rice dish where I cover the rice with the swiss chard as it cooks, but I’m open to any suggestions. Have a look at some of the pictures of the market.




Savor Israel


Monday, May 10, 2010

The Hummus Wars Continue!

The Lebanese have done it...for now. This past weekend the Lebanese set a record for cooking the world's largest bowl of hummus. The bowl's weight came in at......wait...I forgot... who gives a sh$*t?!?!

Not only did they make a ton of hummus they set the world's record for largest falafel dish. The expansion of the absurd sizes of bite sized food wars to falafel, which is considered Egyptian in origin, threatens to spread this war to Egypt as well. If Egypt gets involved it is impossible to tell how severe this situation may become. The Turks may make the largest doner kebab, the Iranians may make the largest bowl of persian rice, and we might have a world food war before we know it. 

I have no doubt that this latest episode will not be the final battle in the Hummus Wars, so stay tuned...


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Rising Star

Congrats to Yonatan Roshfeld for being named Food & Wine Magazine's #1 rising star chef worldwide. I am a little embarassed to say that I have not eaten at either Herbert Samuel nor Tapas Ahad Ha'am, but I've heard really positive things about both, and will try to visit at least one shortly.

If you've eaten at either please feel free to leave a comment on your impressions, which dishes you liked or disliked, etc...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Choresht Sabzi

Written by Alon Lewin-Espstein:
Growing up in an Ashkenazi house, I was not exposed until much later in life to Sephardic/North African cuisine, such as Kubeh, Jachnun, and Sabich which are some of my favorite dishes these days. Fortunately, it is easier to find restaurants or eateries in Israel that serve Sephardic inspired dishes than Polish, Russian or Romanian restaurants.

It was when one of my good friends, that is half Persian himself, took me to an authentic Persian restaurant in southern Tel Aviv, that I discovered the unique flavors the Persian kitchen has to offer. That day we went to a little place called Salimi, which is on Nachlat Binyamin street, caught right in the middle of the bustle of Tel Aviv.

The place is small with not many tables, and has a tiny kitchen where the whole extended family who owns the place crowds in together. There is always a long line of people outside waiting for the next table to leave, eager to grab a precious seat.

Salimi during lunch is quite hectic and if you take your time on deciding what to order you might find out your waiter had already done it for you, which was what happened in my case. However, since my knowledge regarding Persian dishes wasn’t vast, it worked out pretty well for me. Among several dishes we had, one of my favorites was the Choresht Sabzi, a beef stew served with red beans over rice with an extraordinary green sauce made from a large variety of herbs including mint, cilantro, dill and celery. The dish brought such a circus of flavors to my mouth that I had to look for a recipe and cook it myself.

Choresht Sabzi

750 grams of beef (cut up to chunks)
100 grams of red beans (soaked over night)
2 cups of washed and dried cilantro
2 cups of washed and dried dill
1 cup of washed and dried parsley
1 cup of washed and dried mint
300 grams of washed and dried spinach leaves
2 stems of washed and dried celery
1 peeled and washed celery root (diced)
3 peeled onions (finely chopped)
1 tbl of dried fenugreek leaves
4 black dried Persian lemons
4 regular lemons (squeezed)

1. Put all the herbs in a food processor and blend by using the pulse function until they are finely chopped (be careful to not reach the point where it gets pasty)
2. Heat an oiled frying pan and add the diced celery root and the finely chopped herbs. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes until the liquids have evaporated. Take off of the heat and let it cool
3. Oil a big pot and put it on high heat. Stir-fry the chopped onions until the liquids have evaporated (do not wait until they turn golden)
4. Add the beef chunks and sear them until sealed
5. Add the beans
6. Add 2 liters of water and let cook on low heat for about 3 hours until the beans are ready and the beef is tender
7. Add the chopped herbs mix and the fenugreek leaves and cook for another 30-40 minutes as the liquids reduce
8. Add the Persian lemon, salt and pepper to taste, the squeezed lemon juice and cook for another 40 minutes on low heat
9. Serve on white rice


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Not only humans enjoy Tel Aviv's culinary scene...

so do bats!!!!!!!!

One of the coolest things about Tel Aviv, in my opinion, is the large bat population that can be seen flying around the city at night. Tel Aviv has a large number of ficus (fig) and other fruit trees that feed a large bat population. The bats also feed on the mosquitos, preventing what would be an intolerable mosquito infestation in the city without them. The fruits of the fig tree are in full bloom at the moment and the bats are everywhere, proof that Tel Aviv is a great food city for humans and bats alike.

Here are some pictures I took the other day of figs blooming in the middle of King George St.