Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Israel II

And now...the long-overdue conclusion to Israel Week.

Cliff Notes version:  We ate stew, then we ate chicken.

Right.  So, there seems to be a lot of tradition involved in Israli and Jewish cooking.  As we rolled into the weekend, there were Sabbaths and things to think about.  For one thing, Angel made Challah bread -- traditionally two loaves are made, one to give to the Rabbi, and one to eat with dinner on the weekend.  The twins helped.

Ellie Excited About Challah

Lucy Kneading Challah Bread

As we don't have a Rabbi, we ended up eating both loaves of bread, and they were darn good.  Challah is a mildly sweet bread, braided on top, and (I swear) just made to soak up yummy butter.

Kosher Cholent Stew, with Challah Bread and Red Wine

For Saturday's dinner, we had Kosher Cholent, a stew of beef, beans, barley and potatoes.  It roasts in a 200-degree oven for over ten hours -- I swear the longest time I've ever seen anything roasted -- and when it came out, the beef was so tender, I could cut it with my spoon.  Absolutely delicious.  We had the Challah with it, and a nice red table wine.

Roast Chicken, Rice, Challah Bread

Sunday's dinner was chicken roasted with oranges inside the cavity, with an interesting cinnamon/raisin rice.  There wasn't any chicken left after dinner, especially since petite-looking Evie turns into a ravenous jackal when roast chicken hits the table.  The instructions said to pull the oranges from the chicken after roasting, quarter them and serve them.  Which we did.  Mmm...warm oranges, all ferment-y tasting and stuff.  Tried it.  Didn't like it.

And as if the meals weren't enough, we made home-made hummus and baba ghanoush for snacks.  The hummus was very easy, and with the home-made pita bread from falafel night, it was stupendously tasty.  From what Angel says, the $5 tubs of hummus in the grocery deli sections are outrageously expensive, given the price of a can of chick peas, garlic, oil and tahini.

The baba ghanoush, on the other hand, I can't say much about.  It's basically hummus from eggplants, not chick peas.  We roasted a pair of eggplants, peeled them, seeded them, pureed them...did you know that eggplant innards look disgusting?  They do.  I realize that I've only ever had eggplant cut into slices, breaded and fried.  I love it that way.  but after roasting and peeling them open, the seeds look just like fish roe, when you clean a fresh-caught fish.  We made the stuff....but we never took the first bite of it.

Looking back at our Israeli week, we're left with several impressions.  The first is that there seemed to be a definite focus on making very filling meatless dishes -- the falafel, the soup with matzo, everything during the week left us (or at least me) feeling stuffed to the gills.  Second, the dishes were relatively simple and there was a lot of roasting -- Angel reported that we really didn't have to buy any special ingredients, and that a lot of the recipes were basically "throw ingredients in a pot and roast them for a while," and hence easy to cook

And while we're pausing to celebrate Thanksgiving -- we didn't have to make Indonesian Scuttle-Bugs or something for Turkey Day -- we resume in a week or two in our new country...Italy.



1 loaf
  • Water -- 1/2 cup
  • Margarine -- 1/4 cup, or 4 tablespoons
  • Sugar -- 3 tablespoons
  • Salt -- 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Active dry yeast -- 1 (1/4-ounce) package
  • Lukewarm (110°F) water -- 1/4 cup
  • All-purpose or bread flour -- 3 to 3 1/2 cups
  • Eggs, beaten -- 2
  • Egg yolks -- 2


  1. Add the water, margarine, sugar and salt to a saucepan and heat, stirring until the margarine is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  2. Mix the 1/4 cup warm water and yeast together in a small bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.
  3. Add 3 cups of the flour to large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, warm sugar-margarine-water mixture and the beaten eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and bring the dough together.
  4. Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead, adding extra flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands and is silky and elastic. Remove the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm corner until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch it down with your fists to deflate it. Cut the dough into 3 equal-sized portions. Roll each portion out into a log about 15 inches long that is tapered at each end.
  6. Lay the three logs next to each other, and starting in the middle, braid them together. Pinch the ends together to make them stick and tuck the ends under. Place the loaf on a baking sheet and cover it lightly with a clean towel. Set aside to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes
  7. Beat the egg yolks with a tablespoon of water. Brush the top of the challah all over with the egg yolk wash.
  8. Place the challah in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the challah and brush it again with more egg yolk wash to get any of the newly exposed places on the loaf. Return the loaf to the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the challah is golden brown on top and has a hollow sound when you tap on it. Remove and cool before serving.
~ From the Whats4Eats website.



  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds chuck roast, cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup dry kidney beans
  • 1 cup dried pinto beans
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
  • boiling water to cover
  • 2 (1 ounce) packages dry onion and mushroom soup mix
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large oven safe pot or roasting pan, saute onions in oil over medium heat.
  2. Add meat, and brown well on all sides.
  3. Mix in beans; stir continuously until the beans start to shrivel. Stir in the barley. Add potatoes, and add just enough boiling water to cover the meat and potatoes. Mix in dry soup mix and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes on stove top.
  4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (95 degrees C).
  5. Cover pot tightly, and place in preheated oven. Allow to cook overnight for at least 10 to 15 hours. Check periodically to make sure you have enough liquid to cover; add small amounts of water if needed. Do not stir; stirring will break up the chunks of potatoes. 
~From the website 
Rice Dish (un-named)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup basmati rice, soaked in water for 20 minutes and drained
  • 1 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes and drained
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, slivered 
Combine olive oil, rice, boiling water, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and salt to taste over high heat.  Cook, uncovered, until all of the water is absorbed.  Stir in raisins, lower the heat to the lowest level possible, and cover tightly.  Cook for 10 minutes, turn off heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Place a small skillet over medium heat.  Add almonds.  Toast for 5 - 10 minutes or until they are just golden and they release their aroma.  Stir almonds into rice, and keep covered until serving.

~From the website.

Israeli chicken stuffed with oranges (off memooleh betapoozim)

  • 1, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 onions, peeled
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Pat dry.
  3. Place chicken in a roasting pan. Cut lemon in half and rub one half over surface of chicken.
  4. In a small bowl, mix salt and spices together and sprinkle over chicken.
  5. Squeeze juices from lemon half and from one of the oranges into roasting pan and add water. Place remaining orange, whole and unpeeled, in chicken cavity. Cut onions in half and add to the pan.
  6. Cook chicken for 15 minutes, then baste with the pan juices and lower heat to 350 degrees F. Cook for 1 hour, basting after 30 minutes. (*)
  7. Remove orange from cavity of chicken. Cut orange and onions into wedges and serve with chicken.
(*) When checking chicken for doneness, it's a good idea to cut it open gently to make sure the meat is white, not pink, all the way through.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 1 1/4 hours
Serves 4 to 6
~From the website

Roasted-Garlic Hummus

  • 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 19-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons sesame tahini
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives, minced
  • Assorted crudites, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place garlic cloves on a small piece of foil, and lightly drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Seal foil to form a pouch, and roast garlic in oven until soft, about 20 minutes. Remove the garlic from the oven, and allow garlic to cool slightly; peel and transfer to the bowl of a food processor. Add the chickpeas, and process until finely chopped.
  2. Add lemon juice, sesame tahini, water, salt, cayenne pepper, and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and process until the texture is light and fluffy but not entirely smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in chives, and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with assorted crudites, if desired.
~ From the Martha Stewart website...I hope she doesn't sue us! ;^)

Baba Ghanoush


  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. Place eggplant on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a fork. Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft. Remove from oven, and place into a large bowl of cold water. Remove from water, and peel skin off.
  3. Place eggplant, lemon juice, tahini, sesame seeds, and garlic in an electric blender, and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer eggplant mixture to a medium size mixing bowl, and slowly mix in olive oil. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. 
~From the website 

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