Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Kosher Cafe with Atmosphere


My husband and I shared a uniquely pleasant lunch today, the third anniversary of our immigration to the Holy Land. My husband chose the location - Cafe Hagiva (just a few bus stops past my daughter's school, where we had a meeting this morning). The outside looks like an old warehouse, but the inside is spacious, with post-modern art, and a large bar. An eclectic mix of heavy wood chairs and tables fills the dining hall and trails through the sparse grove out back.

The weather was perfect, so we took our chances and sat outdoors. (I can't stand cigarette smoke!) We had the most pleasant meal I can ever recall.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tofu Pad Thai

There is something about the end of December that puts Jews in the mood for Chinese food, or at least Asian food as it has evolved in the diaspora. If you find yourself with a block of tofu or some leftover chicken, you can whip this meal up from things you probably already have in your pantry and freezer. (You could also add scrambled eggs for protein.) NOTE: Instead of me writing "optional" on all the ingredients, just assume all the ingredients are merely suggestions.

For tofu, start by slicing or cubing the whole block. Put it in between paper towels or tea towels. Lay a cutting board on top and put some cans or other heavy things on top to squeeze out the water. This works best if all the slices/cubes are the same thickness, thus squeezed equally. You may need to switch the paper towels if they are soaked.

While the tofu is draining, mix the marinade. Use your own taste and what you have in the house, but something like
  • terriyaki sauce
  • soy sauce
  • ginger - fresh grated or powder
  • garlic - fresh grated or powder
  • silan (date syrup), molasses, or sugar

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sufganiot Gallery and Ode to a Great Mocha


My family took our first ever family vacation last week. We rented an apartment in Jerusalem for five days and four nights. ( I would highly recommend At Home in Israel for apartment rentals.) After the restaurant we had planned to go to turned into a sushi bar, we wandered into Shosh Cafe.

The restaurant and menu looks like your average Israeli dairy restaurant/cafe. However, the ingredients, flavor, and presentation had that extra something you don't get from a chain. All the food was delicious, but what really stood out was the REAL mocha. I think cafe mocha should be a cross between good cappuccino/cafe latte and good hot chocolate, but it is usually only one or neither. It should be based on good espresso and good chocolate. I've had many good "cappuccinos" and many great "shoko-ham"s (hot chocolate), but never the two shall meet... until today. Now I've only been to Shosh Cafe once, so I can't promise it wasn't a fluke. Maybe the barista was just in a good mood and tossed some extra chocolate in my drink, but this was good espresso with steamed milk and real chocolate. The milk was hot enough to melt the chocolate and the proportions were perfect. Maybe Jerusalem just has higher standard for their hot drinks.

The first day of Hanuka I took my kids and a friend to the "big mall" and the "big park." I was overwhelmed with the variety of sufganiot, filled donuts, on sale. All the pictures are from English Cake, a bakery chain with a store in the mall.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Easy Peasy "Pashtida" - Dairy free

You can call this a quiche, pie, casserole, or pashtida. I call it yummy.

Ingredients:

  • Something sweet and starchy (butternut squash), cooked to soft
  • Something green (frozen peas and corn)
  • bread crumbs (preferably Panko Japanese bread crumbs)
  • About 5 eggs
  • About 1 cup of soy milk
  • salt
  • garlic powder (optional)
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  1. It starts with something you need to use up. I had two butternut squash that I peeled and steamed/boiled in my pressure cooker. Mash well.
  2. Then look in the freezer and add something green. I mixed about two cups of peas and corn into the hot squash. Baby peas, broccoli, and spinach would all be good choices.
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