happy new year from mallorca

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 Idealista.com) 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.

Love,

Shelly Continue Reading…

shelly’s humble kitchen is in Mallorca now

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.” Continue Reading…

Black bean kibbeh

 Honestly, I don’t know what to call this dish. I think Kibbeh is the most appropriate name for it other then experimenting with black beans – I had about two cups of cooked black beans that I mixed with onion, herb and spices that I wanted to make veggie burger with but couldn’t because I over-processed the beans and added a large egg, which made the mixture too mushy to form patties.    

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Veggie burgers with melted tahini

The first time I had a burger was in the beginning of nineties, in Israel. It was soon after I moved in with my twin friends. David, their New Yorker dad/excellent cook made them for lunch. 

The first time I had a veggie burger was in 2000 at a restaurant in New York. I don’t remember in which restaurant but I remember it was disgusting. Ten years later I decided to give it another try. It was when we moved to Los Angeles, at a burger joint, The Counter. That time I wasn’t disappointed. 

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Vegan kale and pepita pesto

Alex: Mommy, if Anthony Bourdain came over to dinner at our house, do you think he would like your food?

Me: I think he would, but he might need to go eat some pork belly or lobster fat afterwards.

I actually have a few things I wanted to say to Mr. Bourdain: Continue Reading…

tom kha gai soup (thai coconut soup)

Since we moved here five years ago and rediscovered Vietnamese, we have been neglecting Thai cuisine. Actually this isn’t the only reason. As much as I love Thai food, most it is cooked with a lot of sugar. Sugar is unhealthy for most people but especially for my body, which is an optimal greenhouse for fungus).

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Radish and carrot salad

I came across this brilliant recipe while I was flipping through a beautiful cookbook in Barnes & Noble. Unfortunately I didn’t write down the title of the book so I can’t credit the author. I made this salad because I needed to do something with all the radishes and carrots I had in my fridge. I normally make a similar root salad but I felt like trying something new. Thank you, anonymous author, your salad recipe was a big successes.  Continue Reading…

hand-crafted chocolate bars

I think my purpose in life is to make chocolate bars. I would love to make honest good dark chocolate bars for living. Just like those crafty bars Dick Taylor or Dandelion make. I’m salivating just thinking about pure, rich, slightly bitter and mildly sweet chocolate. I prefer chocolate that is made with two or three ingredients, cocoa and sugar and without emulsifiers or artificial flavors. A high quality dark chocolate could easily convert you from being a milk-chocolate person to a dark-chocolate person.  Continue Reading…

French lentil and mushroom soup

Who the hell makes a lentil soup when it’s eighty-something degrees out?……………… I do

 I was craving something warm and earthy. Luckily or lucky my guests, the temperature in Los Angeles in the evenings gets cooler. 

I adapted this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories blog. Their recipe call for Chanterelle mushrooms but (a) I didn’t have any and (b) the price here for one pound (half a kilo) chanterelles is $42. I’m sure it tastes divine but the the humble crimini mushrooms make a good job as well.   Continue Reading…

vegetable tagine with chermoula sauce

Chermoula is a marinade that North Africans use in their cooking. It is usually used to flavor fish or seafood, but it can be used with legume and vegetables. Very healthy. 

It’s strange, for someone who grew up in a Moroccan home, I only discovered chermoula  in my early twenties. I discovered it in Mogador, not the Moroccan city, where my grandmother was born but the Moroccan cafe/restaurant in the East Village in New York.

Café Mogador is where I started to embrace my Moroccan roots. I was amazed by how our friends were fascinated by the north African cuisine that for me was trivial and barbaric. 

My mother did cook and braise many dishes with the chermoula ingredients but she didn’t grind them into a paste. Grinding the herbs and spices together creates a pesto like sauce that has a strong and rich flavor.  Continue Reading…

Chocolate mousse

Really, Shelly? Avocado? Come on.

Why not? Avocado is a fruit. In South America they eat avocado with sugar, so why can’t it be good with chocolate?

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Roasted sweet potato salad with tahini

The first time I had this salad was at a Thanksgiving dinner with our beautiful – literally beautiful – friends, Isabelle & Serge.

The food that night was delicious but I was mostly attracted to this salad. I was charmed by the combination of sweet potatoes, their tenderness and the spicy, crunchy onion and, the nutty flavor tahini. I made sure that it stays on my side of the table. 

Since Serge gave me this recipe I’ve made it at least five times (at some point we started to get sick of sweet potatoes in general; We have been eating them almost every day for a month to improve some digestion problems that I had.)  Continue Reading…

Braised chickpeas with amaranth

There’s a traditional Moroccan fish recipe that my mother, and the rest of the Moroccan Jews around the world, without exception, make every Friday for Shabat dinner. It’s called cooked fish. Basically, it’s a fish (such as Branzino or Sea bass) cut into pieces and braised with whole garlic cloves, red or green hot peppers, lots of cilantro, and paprika that was mixed with oil. Sometimes they would add carp roe to the dish, which I loved as a kid because they were crunchy. I’ve never met anyone, who grew up in a Moroccan home that doesn’t get nostalgic about this dish. If you ask them who makes it the best, they will all say my mother or grandmother
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Omelet with fresh herbs

“No iPad today.”

“But why not?”

“Because you don’t use your brain anymore.”

“Yes I do.”

“Not enough.”

“Okay, so can I use the computer?”

“No, Daddy said no electronics today.”

“What if I clean my room or take the garbage out, can I use it then?”

“No.” Continue Reading…

Rice bowl with swiss chard and barberries

Before I say anything about this rice bowl/salad, I want to get something out of my system.

Hi, my name is Shelly and I am addicted to TED talks.

It started after I turned forty a few months ago. I didn’t mind turning forty, not at all, but my mind did. It felt foggy and confused. It asked a lot of questions and was worried about the future, more than usual. To cope with the overwhelming thoughts and doubts, every evening I turned on the Roku, clicked on the Ted icon and watched people talk about their powerful inventions,  journeys, researches & discoveries; the universities and schools that they founded; how their art projects made a difference in the world; their education revolutions, and more. Continue Reading…

Mexico, Playa Del Carmen

The first time I visited Playa Del Carmen was fifteen years ago (f&#$ I’m getting old!). After spending six months in America on tourist visa, I had to leave in order to extend my stay. In New York I met an Israeli girl who had just gotten back from a month in Playa. She described it as an inexpensive heaven and mentioned that her friend Natalie is still there if I’m interested. How do I find Natalie? I asked. It would be easy, Playa is small. She said. The next day, I walked into an STA travel agency (remember travel agents?) and booked a roundtrip ticket to Cancun (which is about a one-hour drive from Playa). Continue Reading…

Dates and walnuts dipped in chocolate

Would it be a terrible idea to send you dates stuffed with walnuts in your lunchbox?

Beyond terrible! Embarrassing! Dates look like cockroaches.

No they don’t! They look like dried fruits. Wait… but what if they are covered with chocolate?

No, they’re still dates.    Continue Reading…

Cabbage and scallion frittatas

Yes, I am alive, and today, after six hectic months, I can finally say, “alive and well.” I survived the move from our two-bedroom-one bathroom townhouse to a three-bedroom- three bathrooms townhouse!. Two-and-a-half bath, technically. Now we each have our own bathroom, almost.

I survived middle school madness. If you live in Los Angeles, you know what I am talking about. Here (like most major cities around the world), if you don’t live in a good school zone you are screwed, unless you get lucky and win a school lottery. Thank God or the universe or both, Leo got accepted to the SAS (School for Advanced Studies) program at our local middle school, which is considered as a good option, and also won two lotteries for two good charter schools. We chose to go with the smaller charter school between the two.

I also survived the long flight to Mallorca and back. I always swear that I will never fly again then a couple months later I find myself squished in economy, cursing my inability to remember how much I hate long flights. It’s the fucking air turbulence, they make me so edgy.

My stomach survived the food in Mallorca. As much as I love Mallorca, I wish it would have been easier to find cafes that have healthier food on the menu. They all serve the same type of Bocadillos (sandwiches);  jamon (ham), queso (cheese), atun (tuna) and the famous tortilla Española. I love the Spanish frittata but the problem is that they fry the potatoes before and so does the tortilla. If you eat it once in a blue moon it won’t kill you but every other day is another story. 

This recipe is much healthier. You can make a large one or if the batter contains a few vegetables, and is heavier, you can make several small ones, so the frittata doesn’t fall apart.  Continue Reading…

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