cauliflower & herb salad

October 14, 2016

Cauliflower is such a boring veggie, right? It is – unless you roast it like this, or chop it finely and make a beautiful, rich salad, like this one. I promise, after you try these recipes, you’ll start cooking it more often. You can ask my friend Carin. She never cooked cauliflower until she had it at my house two weeks ago.

The secret is to prepare it with ingredients that have stronger flavors. For example, if you roast it use smoked paprika or curry powder (mixed with oil). If you eat it raw, make sure to cut the florets finely, so they absorb the other flavors.

Before you chop the cauliflower, wash it and dry it with a clean kitchen towel. You can slice the florets finely with a sharp knife or with a Japanese mandoline.

And don’t throw away the stalky part. You can chop it fine, then roast it as I mentioned above, or keep it whole, coat it with tahini butter and roast it in a 200°C or 400°F preheated oven. Continue Reading…

New-York Style Bagels

October 9, 2016

Just so you know: You do not need New York water to make New York-style bagels. It’s a myth. Any tap water will do. Bagels are not a New York invention. They were made by European Jewish immigrants long before they arrived in New York.

And you don’t have to be an experienced baker or to spend a whole day in the kitchen in order to make proper crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside bagels. The process is pretty much the same as making bread, but it requires one extra step: boiling them in water before baking them. This procedure is what gives them their fluffy, chewy texture. Continue Reading…

The highlights of our road trip through Tuscany

September 19, 2016

After my mother confirmed that she was coming to visit in July, I immediately started to look online for cheap tickets for me and Ze’ev to travel somewhere in Europe. (Google Flights and Skyscanner are good places to look.) It’s been a while since Z and I had a child-free getaway. I knew I wanted to go to Italy but wasn’t sure where in Italy. I found a round trip ticket from Palma to Bologna for €60 with RyanAir so I booked it. I knew very little about Bologna, but I assumed that a university town that hosts the world’s largest children book fair must be a place with good vibe and great food. I was thinking about Rome but I had heard from a bunch of people that Rome in the summer is too hot and too crowded. Continue Reading…

Beet soup with vegetable dumplings

June 3, 2016

A shower thought:

If there’s a Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, a Herring Festival in Denmark, a Pizzafest in Naples, and a Dumpling Festival in Hong Kong, then there should definitely be a Kubbeh Festival in Jerusalem. (I even have a name for it: “Kubbebah,” which is what Jerusalemites call the fried kubbeh dumpling.) It would be a gastronomical experience for locals and tourists. All the foodies I know would love to spend an autumn evening in Jerusalem, walking around the city and trying different variations of kubbeh and kubbeh soups. (There are many kinds  in Israel, including Kurdish, Iraqi, and Turkish). These Middle Eastern dumplings need to be introduced to the rest of the world.

I wonder if Nir Barak, the mayor of Jerusalem, and Yotam Ottolenghi, the informal representative of Jerusalem cuisine, would love my idea as much as I do.

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Another shower thought: how about celebrating an International Dumpling Day, where people around the world eat dumplings?

I love all types of dumplings, Jiazi, Buuz, Gyoza or kubbeh. But making the dough and the filling, then stuffing the dough, rolling it into a ball, then cooking it, is a long process that requires two things: (1) Time, which, these days, nobody has (including a whole generation of Iraqi and Kurdish grandmas who have discovered Facebook); and (2) Patience, a skill that has been lost under thousands of selfies and food shots. Continue Reading…

Florence, Italy

April 27, 2016

While browsing my pictures folder, I bumped into the photos from our trip to Florence last summer, which I had completely forgotten about. Although we were there for only a couple of days, we managed to see a lot, eat (mostly) Italian pastries and gelatos, and take quite a lot of pictures.

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People who know me know that I am a serial city lover. I fall in love with any city that has a bit of culture and plenty of good things to eat. So, of course, I fell in love with Florence on my first visit – anybody would – but the difference between me and most people is that I immediately want to move in and spend the rest of my life there. If Z hadn’t insisted on sticking with the plan to move to Mallorca, I would probably have started to look for an apartment in Florence. Continue Reading…

potato salad with herbs

March 10, 2016

Potato-salad-illustratedI love potatoes and anything that is made with potatoes, from Russian potato salad to tortilla Española to Belgian pommes frites to campfire potatoes. Now that we have a fireplace – the second best thing you can have in the winter, a clothes dryer is first! – we roast them quite often.

Potatoes may not be as sophisticated as artichokes but they comfort like the 100% down comforter we bought last week at Ikea. Oh, by the way: We moved again! (in Mallorca!) We moved from our apartment in the old town of Palma to a cute Mallorquine townhouse in a beautiful village in the mountains (Serra De Tramountana), only twenty minutes away from Palma and ten degrees colder.

One of my favorites ways to cook and eat potatoes is to simply boil them with eggs until the potatoes are tender and the eggs are hard boiled. Then I remove the skins and shells, put them on a plate, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and pepper, mush them together and eat them. (My mother makes this dish on the day of the Sedder- Passover. The reason she made this dish was to keep us full for many hours, so we could bear reading the Hagada until it was time to eat). Plain and simple but so damn satisfying.

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sweet potato and butternut squash spread

February 3, 2016
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When baking sweet potatoes, the high heat causes their moisture to evaporate, and leaves their skin caramelized like candy – which is delicious – but overly sweet for me, so I like to mix them with spicy, sour or nutty flavors to reduce the sweetness.  Continue Reading…

Root Hummus

January 4, 2016

I had started to write this post in the summer, while we where visiting Israel, but never finished it for the same reasons I haven’t been able to start or finish any posts since leaving Los Angeles back in June:

  1. lack of time
  2. lack of motivation
  3. lack of concentration.

Today I decided it would be a shame not to post it, because it’s the kind of recipe anyone who is looking to expand their vegetable repertoire should know about.

But before I tell you about the recipe, I will tell you about the restaurant where I ate it, HaBasta. A hole-in-the-wall restaurant next to Shuk HaCarmel in Tel Aviv. Somehow, I hadn’t noticed it on my way to and from the market, until a friend of mine suggested we go there for dinner. To make the HaBasta story short: if the chef were to ask me to assist him, without pay, for a month or two, I would gladly say yes! I thought I knew almost every food/vegetable/plant based combination there is, but apparently I have a lot to learn.

How the hell didn’t I think to make humus with roots and nuts?

Habasta is not the only restaurant in Israel, or the world, that cooks fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients, but it is definitely up there when it comes to unique, quirky, and clever food combinations. Both times I was there I had dishes I’d never had anywhere else, like this masabacha shorashim (“coarse root humus”) and the burekas stuffed with crab meat. 

After wolfing down the second order of masabacha, and several attempts to figure out the recipe through taste alone, I asked our friends (who’ve adopted this place as their second home) to ask the Israeli chef/owner (who by now is their best buddy) what exactly he put in there. Honestly, I assumed that he would find a way to avoid exposing his secret. But, miraculously, he shared it with me! nonchalantly and even mentioned that it can be made with almost any type of root vegetable. Continue Reading…

happy new year from mallorca

January 1, 2016
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Hola everyone,

I thought that by the New Year we would be settled down but unfortunately we are not. The apartment we found and rented (through two months ago in the old town in Palma was only gorgeous at first sight. Two weeks after we moved in we saw it for what it was. A serious pluming problem and a domineering landlord who lives next door and breathes down our necks. 

As much as we love the area and the idea of settling down quickly, we decided to look for a new place. Which now consumes most of our time. I had great intentions to post on a weekly basis, but until we find a new home, I don’t see how I can make it happen.  

For now I am sharing with you some vibrant pictures I took one Sunday at the market in Santa Maria, which is my favorite outdoor market here in Mallorca. 

Enjoy the rest of the week and the holiday break. If you had any.

I wish you an extraordinary year! May all your New Year resolutions come true.



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shelly’s humble kitchen moved to Mallorca

October 15, 2015

Research has shown that moving is more stressful than getting a divorce or a new job. So why the f*** do I do it, on average, every three years? Because I always forget how painful it is. For me moving is like giving birth: I only remember the beautiful, exciting moments. If, each time we moved, we had made a child instead, we’d have twelve kids by now. But also because I’m addicted to the feeling of being enchanted by a new place, a new culture, new foods and produce, a new language, or just by having an opportunity to reinvent myself. Maybe to become a little less “Shoody” – a nickname a good friend of mine gave me, it’s a combination of “Shelly” and “Woody” (as in Woody Allen) and “should.”

I think our latest move from SoCal to Mallorca was especially hard, because we didn’t just fly straight to Mallorca after closing up the shop in Los Angeles. We travelled together, as a family, for three solid months. Sounds romantic and charming, but, trust me, it wasn’t. Being together 24/7 with four very opinionated individuals (myself included) is not always fun. By the time we landed in Mallorca on 9/1, we were all suffering from a severe case of homesickness. Except that we didn’t even have a home to be sick for. That took another month. We’ve been living out of suitcases for four months!

It’s been a month since we arrived, and although we were already familiar with the island and how beautiful it is, we are still in the mode of being fascinated by everything around us, from the markets, to the landscape, to the health system, to the boys’ new school. 

After three days at their progressive, modern, unconventional, creative school, the boys’ homesickness disappeared. My husband never really suffers from homesickness, but me? I’m Shoody. I always miss someone or some place, like a classic immigrant, but at least the anxiety and butterflies in my stomach are gone.

I don’t know if it’s my cellphone brain or my age, but learning a new language is not easy for me anymore. (These days I can barely manage to preserve my English!) Last week I had my first formal Spanish lesson with two other moms from the school, taught by one of the Spanish moms. Lets put it this way, I couldn’t comprehend a lot but we all had a good laugh.

Mallorca is a stunning island. The lifestyle here is still very laid back. They still do siestas from 13:30 till 16:30. The health system here is at least ten times better and cheaper than the US. The organic produce is full of flavor and inexpensive. Unlike LA, there are four actual seasons, which I think is healthier for us. 

Yet why do I have a feeling that in a couple of years we will start to think about moving again? 

God, I hope we won’t! But if we do, where to? Any suggestions? 😉 Continue Reading…

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