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Truffled Vichyssoise with Video Demo!

Let me tell you something, it is HOT in Tel Aviv right now.  Not that I ever had any doubts that summers in Israel were anything less than scorching, but after a year in the climate-controlled comfort of suburban New Jersey, weeks of 90+ degree weather (Fahrenheit, or about 32C for the rest of the world) with more than 70% humidity can shock the system.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love the summer – days spent on the beach, cool drinks, warm nights, and everything that comes along with it –but it also means trying to find ways to beat the heat without 24/7 air conditioning.  This mostly involves well-placed fans, icy cold drinks, and meals that taste good cold. Enter vichyssoise.

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Any Veggies Will Do (Soup)

I’ve previously called this soup “Clean Out the Fridge Vegetable Soup” which is a little more accurate to the situation at hand when I made this. The process of choosing what to put in this soup mostly consisted of grabbing all the veggies from the fridge that needed to be cooked immediately and layering them into a deliciously tasty (and warming soup). I also bulked it up with some barley (you can use rice if you’re gluten free) and chickpeas. This is a soup with all the comfort of a winter meal that is healthy to boot. The best part is, it really can be made with whatever you have on hand. Feel free to substitute potatoes for the sweet potato, or squash if that’s what you have. Add spinach instead of the cabbage, and maybe some bell pepper instead of the tomato. Really, it’s up to you!

Topped with some techina and cilantro

Topped with some techina and cilantro

Recently, I haven’t been using premade broth in my soups, rather, I’ve just been adding water and seasoning well with herbs, spices and salt. This way, the flavors of the vegetables you use really come through, and you have even more control over the amount of sodium in your food.

Bubbling away

Bubbling away

Any Veggie Minestrone

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 c carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 small to medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, quartered (for easy removal. Chop if you actually like celery)
  • 1/2 of a cabbage, shredded
  • 3/4 c chickpeas, soaked and drained
  • 3/4 c barley
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until translucent.  Add the carrot and the sweet potato and sauté another 5-7 minutes.  Add the mushrooms, sautee until slightly reduced, then add the tomatoes and do the same.  Season each layer with a little salt as you go.  Add the rest of the ingredients and the cover with water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for about an hour, or until the chickpeas are tender and the barley is cooked.  Adjust seasonings and serve.