Monthly Archives: December 2014

Post 43: Why elections are so great?: Water authorities to get canceled from Life in Israel, “Three Sisters” Stew from Vegkitchen

Why elections are so great: Water authorities to get canceled

I love elections.So much more gets done during election season than in 2 or four years of actual government. After elections were called, just a short 10 days ago, we’ve already had a new plan to bring down the cost of living (canceling VAT on basic goods), and now, among other plans announced (such as Defense Minister Yaalon announcing pavement of new roads in Judea and Samaria), Silvan Shalom has announced the cancellation of the water organizations (תאגידי מים).The water organizations have been a thorn in the side of residents. Some function fairly well and efficient and provide decent to good service, but many do not. They all, even the good ones, have caused the price of water to increase tremendously for the consumer – me and you. Automatically, not taking anything else into account, we all now have to pay VAT on our water, which on its own is an 18% increase. Forget that they now have to also pay for fancy offices, salaries, refreshments, furniture, etc.So, Minister Silvan Shalom announced that he is putting an end to the water authorities. Instead of the 55 water authorities around Israel, there will be one government office handling it all. In addition to those savings, there will also be a process to make the systems more efficient, which will effect an additional 9% decrease in the price of water.
source: Ynetso, yes, I love elections. more actual benefits to the citizens of Israel (and probably true in most countries) gets done in the name of elections than at any other time.

Have not even mentioned the building starts in Ramot and beyond.

“Three Sisters” Stew from Vegkitchen

Three sisters stew recipe

It’s somewhat like chili, though more about the squash than beans. In Native American mythology, squash, corn, and beans are known as of the “three sisters” — the very crops for winter. If you bake your pumpkin or squash a day ahead, the stew will come together in a snap. And if you’re not accustomed to dealing with winter squash, or don’t have the time, see the shortcut following the recipe. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet.

Serves: 8 or more

  • 1 small sugar pumpkin or 1 large butternut squash
    (about 2 pounds), or see shortcut following recipe
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, cut into short narrow strips
  • 14- to 16-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) pink or pinto beans
  • 2 cups corn kernels (from 2 large or 3 medium ears, or frozen)
  • 1 cup homemade or canned vegetable stock, or water
  • 1 or 2 small fresh hot chiles, seeded and minced,
    or one 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder or mequite seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro or parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove stem from the pumpkin or squash and cut in half lengthwise. Cover with aluminum foil and place the halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. If your knives aren’t sharp enough, just wrap the pumpkin or squash in foil and bake it whole. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until you can pierce through with a knife, with a little resistance. When cool enough to handle, scrape out the seeds and fibers (clean the seeds for roasting, if you’d like). Slice and peel, then cut into large dice.

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.

Add the pumpkin or squash and all the remaining ingredients except the last 2, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently, covered, until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Three sisters stew

If time allows, let the stew stand for 1 to 2 hours before serving, then heat through as needed. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro. The stew should be thick and very moist but not soupy; add additional stock or water if needed. Adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve in bowls.

Shortcut: If you’re short on time or simply can’t deal with chopping and peeling pumpkin or squash, you can get peeled, cut raw butternut squash. At this time of year, it’s easy to find in the fresh produce department of supermarkets or natural foods stores.

Chocolate Chip Agave Plum Cake from Spark People-Made double this recipe for my grand-daughter’s vort (engagement party).



I found this recipe when I had too many plums and needed to get rid of some! This is a dense, moist cake and a good, kid friendly way to sneak in fruit!

Minutes to Prepare: 10
Minutes to Cook: 35
Number of Servings: 16



1/4 Cup Smart Balance Butter; margarine
1/2 Cup  raw agave syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ripe plums, seeded
1/4 Cup tofu sour cream
1 Cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
dash of salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips



Blend plums in blender or food processor. Melt butter in medium size bowl then add agave syrup, egg, vanilla extract, sour cream and mashed plums and mix together.
In a separate bowl blend dry ingredients together then add to plum mixture. Add chocolate chips. Blend together and pour into an 8×8 sprayed pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.Number of Servings: 16Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user CHRISTINEM777.

Quick, Easy and Seasonal: Try This Udon Bowl with Salmon and Spring Vegetables



If there’s anything better than the Shuk Market to stimulate me to get into the kitchen and create a fresh, seasonal recipe, I can’t think what it would be. We have an abundance of season produce.  This morning I found leeks, garden peas, yellow string beans, green onions and shiitake mushrooms, all of which figure in this light, yet comforting udon noodle recipe. At my local Asian supermarket I picked up a package of fresh udon noodles. Using these precooked noodles makes an already easy dish go together even faster, and I find these noodles to be thicker and more succulent than noodles cooked from dry.  A caution: often these noodles come with a favoring packet full of weird ingredients–just toss it away! Start with a well-seasoned stock, and you’ll end up with a hearty, satisfying lunch or dinner. I’ve added only a little soy sauce, there’s no ginger or garlic or spice or oil, so the favor of the fresh vegetables, salmon and noodles really shines. And I think you’ll appreciate that this recipe requires only one pot, and comes together in under 30 minutes. Happy Winter!

Udon Bowl with Salmon and Spring Veggies

Serves one very generously, or makes two medium servings

Make this gluten free by substituting lightly-cooked wide rice noodles for the udon.  Make it vegetarian by substituting seasoned, pressed tofu for the salmon.

3-4 cups vegetable stock

2-inch piece of leek, washed and cut into thin half rounds

1 small carrot cut into thin half rounds

3-4 fresh shiitake mushrooms (stems removed), cut into thin slices

soy sauce or tamari to taste

one 7-ounce package of fresh (already cooked) udon noodles or cook dry ones

2-3 leaves of a small napa cabbage, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 ounces of fresh salmon filet cut into small bite-size pieces

5-6 fresh garden peas, shelled

3-4  string beans shelled, and skins peeled from each bean

a small handful of arugula (optional, but really good)

1 small green onion, trimmed and cut into thin rounds

1. Bring the stock just to a boil (stock made with good quality vegetable bouillon cubes will be fine)

2. Add the leek, carrot and shiitake mushrooms and simmer for 5-6 minutes.

3. Season to taste with soy sauce (how much you need depends on the salt level of your soup stock)

4. Add the udon noodles and the napa cabbage, and simmer 3-4 minutes more. Once the noodles have absorbed some of the stock, loosen them up using a wooden spoon or a chop stick.

5. Add the salmon and napa cabbage and simmer 2-3 minutes

5. Add the peas and fava beans and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.

6. Add the arugula, if using, and immediately pour into one or two bowls.

7. Garnish with the green onion




Post 42: Short-cuts to holiday preparation; Chanuka dessert: Erin McKenna’s blueberry muffins (with modifications), applesauce from apples,frozen blueberries and cherries, Fish in Saffron Harissa Tamarind Sauce

Short-cuts to holiday preparation:
The reason to start baking on Wednesday or even earlier for a crowd on Friday is that it permits you to go out and enjoy the holiday. That is exactly what I did last Friday. 
Recommendation for shortcuts and organization: I remember one Passover in Queens working with my helper. She had never seen a high powered food processor. I was shredding potatoes. She commented, “it’s like having another set of hands working for you”. Yes, we can appreciate all the tools and appliances that make our lives easier.
 1. If you have on hand the ingredients that are used often, this makes your life easier. Flours can be stored in the freezer. 
2. Other staples can be made very simply in a coffee grinder. I use the Cuisinart chopper mini-mate plus to make oat flour from whole oats, flax meal, and even chia seeds can be ground to a flaky consistency. All of these are rich in protein, iron, dietary fiber and calcium (more so for the chia seeds. All of these are great substitutes for matzah meal in potato latkas.
3.I find roasting sliced zucchini is less hands on than shredding.
4.If you keep batches of soaked  and roasted nuts and seeds in the fridge or on a shelf (short-term), on hand  and  baking will go smoothly and it will be fun. Same idea for potatoes. Peel, keep in zip-locks in the fridge and par boil them in batches for fresh latkas as you want them. That’s how potatoes are delivered to restaurants. No need to add lemon.
5.This method also works for preparing cooked fruits for compote.  Prepare two kilos of peeled cored apples plus frozen cherries/blueberries and a table spoon of apple juice with just enough water to cover the bottom of a pressure cooker, will make a great, no sugar apple sauce, to serve with latkas. If you keep the fruit chucky you have a pie filling. Or the result can be blended with an immersion blender if you like a fine consistency. I prefer to leave the chunks and mash the water that will develop after pressure cooking into the fruit. NO SUGAR ADDED. And my frozen fruits are VERY sour.
4.In an earlier post I suggested that Sufganiyot (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts) are not necessarily unhealthy. Made a batch last year with the help of my grand-daughter-the dough freezes great! We weighed out 40gram balls and took them out to fry on the day that they were served. Sufganiyot (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts).I doubled the recipe for a crowd. Also left some in the fridge to have on hand for guests (grandkids) that missed the first batch!
 6.In almost all of my Chanukah recipes I’ve substituted flax seed meal for eggs. The results in the soufganiot and latkahs have been very successful.
This post Erin McKenna’s blueberry muffins (with modifications)
Servings:Over 8
Difficulty: Moderate
Cook Time: 30-60 min

Who doesn’t love a good dessert? Cupcakes and muffins can be delicious delights for many, but for people with food allergies these treats can cause a lot of health problems. Here is the gluten-free blueberry muffin recipe


  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour or Spelt Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 3/4 cup rice milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1  tab. pure lemon extract
  • 2/3 cup fresh blueberries or 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • or sliced zucchini that has been baked roasted in a hot oven. SQUEEZED dry and run thru the mini cuisinart for 2 seconds.
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews which have been soaked(2 hours)and roasted

Cooking Directions

Preheat the oven to 325/180 degrees . Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Or use silicon loaf pan to make cakes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, flax meal,half the cashews and salt. Add the oil, agave nectar, rice milk, vanilla and lemon extract to the dry ingredients, and stir until the batter is smooth. Using a plastic spatula, gently fold in the blueberries /zucchini just until they are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Top with remaining cashews.

Pour 1/3 cup batter into each prepared cup, almost filling it or divide between two loaf pans. Bake the muffins on the center rack for 22 minutes, rotating the tin 180 degrees after 15 minutes. The finished muffins will bounce back slightly when pressed, and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

Let the muffins stand in the tin for 15 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and cool completely. Store the muffins in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Recipe summary Arlene Groner, a member of Jerusalem Macrolovers presented these Zucchini muffins at a Sukot Kenes a while back. They were received with great enthusiasm. This is a much simpler recipe than the Vegetable in a Cake that I posted earlier.

Main Ingredients: gluten-free baking flour, xanthan gum, coconut oil, agave nectar, rice milk, blueberries

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack, Dessert

More Info: Wheat/Gluten Free

Fruit compote using Pressure Cooker

Winter Fruit Compote

Yield: 3 1/2 – 4 cups

Winter Fruit Compote


  • 1 – 2 navel oranges
  • 1 3/4 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 of a cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 of a star anise
  • 1 large Gala apple
  • 1 large ripe D’anjou or Bartlett pear
  • 1/2 cup dried Calimyrna figs, quartered
  • 1/2 cup prunes
  • 2 tablespoons dried bing cherries


  1. Using a swivel peeler, cut 2 strips of orange peel from the orange and squeeze 1/3 cup of juice from the oranges. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine water, cinnamon, star anise, and orange peel. (The size is important – if you use too big of a saucepan, the fruit won’t be covered by the sauce and it won’t cook evenly.) Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. While sauce is cooking, peel and core apple and pear. Slice 1/4 inch thick.
  3. Stir figs, prunes, and cherries into sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Add apples and simmer for 3 -4 minutes, then add pears for the last 2 minutes. Apples and pears should be al dente – they will continue to cook as the compote cools. Stir in orange juice, cover, and let cool for 20 minutes. Strain compote through a fine mesh strainer catching juice. Return juice to pan, bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 10 – 15 minutes until juice has thickened and is syrupy. Let syrup cool. Pour on top of fruit and serve, or cover and chill.


Fish in Saffron Harissa Tamarind Sauce


Poached fish balls in saffron tomato sauce has added garlic, cumin, turmeric, coriander and harissa. If you like, add 1 tablespoon chopped green olives and 1 to 2 teaspoons chopped North African preserved lemon. Serve the fish stew hot with couscous or fresh bread as a main dish.

 1⁄8 tsp. saffron threads

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

700 g. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped; or an 800-gr. can tomatoes, drained and chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup fish or vegetable stock

1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin

1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander

1⁄4 tsp. turmeric

1 to 2 tsp. harissa (North African hot pepper-garlic paste), s’hug (Yemenite hot pepper-garlic paste) or other

pepper paste or hot sauce, or to taste

700 g. to 850 g. fish fillets, such as cod, halibut or sea bass, cut in 2.5-cm. cubes or in strips


Slightly crush saffron with your fingers and soak in the oil in a small cup about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large saute pan or skillet. Add onion and saute over medium low heat for about 5 minutes or until onion is tender but not brown. Add garlic and cook 1⁄2 minute, stirring. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 8 to 10 minutes or until sauce is thick. Add stock, cumin, coriander and turmeric and bring to a simmer.

Add fish cubes, salmon and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, spooning sauce over fish from time to time, for 5 minutes or until they have changed color and are just cooked through. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning.

Makes 4 main course or about 6 fish-course servings

Faye Levy is the author of 1,000 Jewish Recipes and Feast from the Mideast.

Post 41: My conversation with the substitute pharmacist ;Vegan cream cheese, Egg Substitute, Many vegetable dishes for the 8 days of Chanukah some from India: Savory Vegetable Cake from Farm on a Plate (handvo) and RICE KAYU BREAD

Today I visited the pharmacy of my health care provider, Meuchedet.  I stepped up to the amdah when my number was called. The order took a while to complete. I was in no rush. The pharmacist was very care full to get the order correct. I stumbled over some words in Hebrew and it occurred to me that his Hebrew sounded a lot like the Arabic spoken on my CD. After the transaction was completed, I tried to catch his name from the ID hanging from his neck. Then I asked if he was an Arabic speaker and he looked surprised and he replied with a smile. I shook my head and shared  that I  am an Arabic student. Of course threw in that the ability to speak Arabic is very important. He wished me good luck.
I sure do need it.
Surprising, that evening I received a call from the pharmacist. He had made an error and over-charged me. Then we looked thru the inventory and saw that there was another error. This week many of the regular staff take vacation because the schools are closed and who’s to watch them? This means the chances of getting errors at the pharmacy go up. We’ll see the kinks worked out when Moshiach comes.
This Shabat, Shabat Chanukah is a challenge preparing for guests. Latkas are traditionally served with sour cream. With an eight day holiday I’ll skip the dairy sour cream and  try the cashew sour cream recipe. The chocolate cake is another version of my vegetables in a cake. Today made a compote of apples, blueberries and cherries. It’s a sour mix, and a nice foil for a cake. Included in the menu will be a range of latkas made from potatoes, spinach, and broccoli.
 Vegan cream cheese


Serving: 1 cup

  • 1 cup soft or medium tofu
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 tsp. sweetener
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • or other possible combination
1 lbtofu2-3 Tumeboshi plums4-6 T cashew butter2 t coconut oil1-2 t agave syrup


  1. Make Vegan Cream Cheese Step 1.jpg

    Blend all the ingredients specified in the ingredients section in a blender until the mixture is both smooth and thick.

  2. Make Vegan Cream Cheese Step 2.jpg

    Pour the mixture into a sealable container, and place in the refrigerator.

RICE  KAYU  BREAD My version is imbedded in an earlier blog.


Larger amount makes two large loaves.

Smaller amount makes two small ones.


2C/6C  cooked brown rice (see recipe below) or barley or whole oats, spelt etc may be several days old.

2C/6C  whole wheat flour or whole spelt or mixture of spelt and rice flours etc. must contain some gluten.

1 scant teasp./3 scant teasps sea salt

1C/3C  water or more if needed

  1. Put flour rice and salt in bowl.  Rub rice into the flour with your dry fingers.
  2. Pour in the water and mix until a fairly thick dough is achieved adding more water as necessary to hold the dough together.
  3. Grease one or two loaf pans. silicone needs no greasing.
  4. Place the dough in the pan/s shaping with damp fingers.
  5. Cover with a damp towel and leave for about 3 days in the winter.
  6. Keep the towel damp.  I leave mine on the counter near the stove.
  7. When they have risen, place them in an oven preheated to 150oC. and bake for 20 minutes.
  8. Increase oven to 175oC and bake for another 30 or so minutes.
  9. Turn out leave 10 minutes, slice and eat.  Keeps well in refrigerator or freezer.


1C /3C any rice or barley or whole oats, spelt etc.

2C/6C water

Pinch sea salt

1.Soak rice in water overnight or for up to 22 hours.

2.Bring to a boil in regular pot or pressure cook in winter.

3.Add a pinch of salt and simmer on a low light using a flame diffuser for 40 minutes, 50 in winter.

NB Michio Kushi and Denny Waxman say to use the soaking water.

Recipe adapted from Esther Frumkin Sukkot Kennes Macrolovers Jerusalem. Submitted by Shulamit Slatkin, Macrobiotic teacher

Savory Vegetable Cake from Farm on a Plate

India is a busy place. 1.2 billion people living in one third the size of US makes for a crowded country. The first thing a traveler to India notices about India  is how close everyone stands to each other. Starting from the Immigration and Customs lines at the airport, you can not help avoid an awkward proximity with strangers. If you are still in your “western” mind set, and leave too much space between you and the person in front of you, someone might just remind you to move up in the line a bit! India is a country on the move – everyone is rushing to be somewhere!

IMG_3436 IMG_3454

handvo, a savory vegetable cake made out of semolina/rice/buckwheat & chickpea/adzuki bean flour and fresh vegetables. This is one those dishes that go well with a variety of condiments. I have eliminated the semolina as many people are wheat intolerant.

IMG_3386 IMG_3381

This cake is perfect as a pre-meal, the thing you want to be eating while talking about what you want to eat for dinner! It also travels well,



Savory Vegetable Cake-Handvo

Cook time: 90 Mins

Recipe (serves 6-8):

1 cup coarse rice/ buckwheat flour
1/2 cup chickpea flour/adzuki bean flour
1 cup tempeh steamed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp baking powder

2 tabs. flax meal

Dice all the vegetables finely
1 carrot
1 small sweet potato
1 small onion
1 zucchini
2 scallions
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup shredded green cabbage/ 1/2 cup shredded white cabbage
1/2 cup coriander leaves

1 lemon juiced

2 tbsp rice malt
1 tbsp salt

Pound following ingredients in a pestle mortar/food processor to paste.
2 roasted garlic cloves
1 inch ginger piece grated
3 green chillies-paste
1 tsp cumin seeds

For tempering
2 tbsp ghee/vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp asafotida/Hing

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Peel the carrot, sweet potato and onion, dice them finely along with cabbages and scallions. Add peas  add chopped coriander leaves.

Pound garlic, ginger, green chillies and cumin seeds in a pestle mortar/food processor to paste.

Mix buckwheat flour, chickpea/adzuki bean flour and baking powder in a large bowl. Add mashed steamed tempeh and olive oil and mix well.

Add all the vegetables to the batter omitting the garlic-ginger-chili paste. Add lemon juice, malt and salt. Mix well, batter should be thick at this point.

Next, heat 2 tbsp oil, add the mustard seeds and let them pop (it will make popping sound). Now add the cumin seeds and asafoetida/hing, cook for only few seconds. Add this to the batter.

Add 1/4 cup of hot water to the batter plus the flax seed meal and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Pour the batter in the oil greased cake pan. Sprinkle generous amount of sesame seeds on top. Place in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes than reduce the temperature to 300°F for another 45-60 minutes until cake has a dark brown color and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the pan, cut into slices and serve warm or cold.

Serve the combination garlic-ginger-chili paste cumin seeds on the side as some don’t love the spices.

This dish will stay well in the fridge for up to 3 days.



Adapted from Vegrecipesof India:

Here’s a simple moong dal recipe. This dal is extremely good with some steamed basmati rice accompanied by a side vegetable dish or raita.

moong dal tadka recipe

Moong Dall Recipe

  • ¾ cup moong dal/spilt skinned mung lentils
  • 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium size tomato, chopped
  • ½ inch ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • ¼ tsp red chili powder
  • ⅓ tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water
  • salt as required
for tempering
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4-5 garlic, crushed lightly
  • ¼ or ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • ¼ tsp red chili powder
  • 1 or 2 green chilli – slit
  • a pinch of asafoetida/hing
  • 2-3 tbsp oil or ghee or butter
  • According to Web M.D. Asafoetida is a plant. It has a bad smell and tastes bitter. That probably explains why it is sometimes called “devil’s dung.”People use asafoetida resin, a gum-like material, as medicine. Asafoetida resin is produced by solidifying juice that comes out of cuts made in the plant’s living roots.Asafoetida is used for breathing problems including ongoing (chronic) bronchitis, H1N1“swine” flu, and asthma. It is also used for digestion problems including intestinal gas,upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and irritable colon. Other uses include treatment of “whooping cough” (pertussis), croup, and hoarse throat.Some people use asafoetida for hysteria, insanity, convulsions, and as a nerve stimulant for ongoing mental and physical fatigue with depression (neurasthenia).Women sometimes use asafoetida to restart their menstrual periods after menstruation has stopped for some reason.Asafoetida is sometimes applied directly  to the skin for corns and calluses.In manufacturing, asafoetida is used as a fragrance in cosmetics and as a flavoring ingredient in foods and beverages. Asafoetida is also used in products meant to repel dogs, cats, and wildlife.

    How does it work?

    There is some scientific evidence that the chemicals in asafoetida might help treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and also might protect against high blood levels of certain fats including cholesterol and triglycerides. Chemicals called coumarins in asafoetida can thin the blood.

  • I will not be using asafoetida in the recipe!
  1. take all the ingredients listed under main ingredients except salt in a pressure cooker.
  2. stir well and pressure cook till the dal is cooked and soft.
  3. once the pressure settles down, remove the lid and stir the dal.
  4. if the dal looks thick, then add some water and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  5. add salt and keep aside.
  6. in a small pan, heat oil or ghee or butter.
  7. first fry the cumin seeds.
  8. next add the garlic and green chili and fry for some seconds.
  9. don’t brown the garlic.
  10. switch off the flame.
  11. now add the garam masala powder, red chili powder and asafoetida.
  12. switching off the flame ensures that the spice powders don’t get burned.
  13. you can also fry the spice powders on a low flame.
  14. make sure you don’t burn them.
  15. stir and immediately pour the tempering mixture in the dal.
  16. stir the moong dal and serve hot moong dal with steamed rice or chapatis.
  17. the moong dal tastes better as it is and there is no need to garnish or add coriander leaves to it.


    ~ Wheat berries(sprouted) – 1 cup
    ~ Sprouted moong dal – 1 cup or tofu steamed with spices.
    ~ Garbanzo beans – 1 cup
    ~ Carrot – 1
    ~ Cucumber -1
    ~ Golden raisins – 2 tablespoons
    ~ Balsamic vinegar and olive oil – for the dressing
    ~ Salt and pepper – to taste


From Lovewellblog:

Did you know tofu is an acceptable substitute for eggs in most baked goods?

The process was simple: 1/4 cup of pureed tofu equals 1 egg. I cut the tofu into chunks, threw them in the food processor, gave it a good whirl and added the resulting goo to my recipe at the appropriate time for eggs.

The cake didn’t suffer for it. In fact, it might have been even more deliciously dense. Plus: extra protein. Between the tofu and the zucchini, this cake is practically health food. Eat it for breakfast and start your day off right.


Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup butter/margarine
1/2 cup canola oil/fruit juice
1 3/4 cup sugar or other sugar-dates syrup
2 eggs (or 1/2 cup pureed tofu) or reconstituted ground flax meal/ground chia seed meal
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream or avocado
2 1/4 cup flour (not wheat)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups grated zucchini/or roasted

Cream butter, oil and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy.
Stir in eggs/substitute, vanilla and sour cream/avocado until well blended.
Combine all dry ingredients. Add slowly to batter and mix until blended.
Add grated zucchini.
Smooth into greased 9×13 cake pan.

Sprinkle with a topping of
1 cup chocolate/ carob  chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar/powdered sugar or omit

Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. The cake will be dense and moist but will spring back slightly when touched in the middle.

1. You can substitute margarine/fruit juice for the butter.
2. I have taken to using plain Greek yogurt/avocado in almost all my dishes that call for sour cream. I can’t tell the difference.
3. I often add a tad more than 2 cups of zucchini to the cake, owing to the fact that I’m trying to use up all the monster zucchini I’ve been gifted.
4. Feel free to use your discretion with the toppings. If you don’t like nuts, leave them off. If you’d rather not have so much chocolate, then use fewer chocolate chips.
5. Be creative with your sweeteners use rice malt or fruit syrup.
6. Store this cake in the fridge, lest it get bubbly.

Cashew Sour Cream:




  1. Cover cashews with water and soak for a few hours, or overnight.
  2. Pour off all water, and place nuts in food processor.
  3. Add 1/4 cup cold water, salt, vinegar and lemon juice.
  4. Puree for 3-4 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy in consistency.
  5. Use in any recipe that calls for sour cream.
  6. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.


String Beans and Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 pound green beans, stems removed and cut on the bias in 2-inch pieces
  • Dash of tamari or pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 minutes
  • Total Time: 11 minutes

Heat sesame oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, stir one minute, and add green beans. Stir one minute, add tamari and water, cover, and cook for five minutes or until beans are tender and water is evaporated. Discard the garlic.

Serves 4-6

Copyright 2009 by Jen Hoy

Post 40: My Chanukah Blog: All Soaped Up by Chaim Werdyger: Yiddish Expressions and I can’t believe this is whole wheat challah! (Shayna Chana) Some potato latkas, vegetable doughnut and latkas and Vegetarian Paradise Sour Cream from Tofu. All for Chanuka

I highly recommend subscribing to Chaim Werdyger’s blog,  Someone that’s been had, falls into a bad situation where there’s no way out, made a bad business deal, or someone old that is grey and weak is called in Yiddish
אחד שסידרו אותו, מכרו לו לוקשים, עבדו עליו, נכנס לעסק גרוע ולא יכול לצאת מזה, או מישהו שראשו הלבין והוא חלש נקרא ביידיש
ער איז שוין אַן אײַנגעזייפטער
er iz shoyn an ayngezeyfter
he is already soaped up
מישהו שסיבנו אותו
פון וואַנעט נעמט זיך דער אויסדרוק
גענומען איז דער אויסדרוק פון די פריזירערס. ווען עס קומט אָן אַ גרויסער עולם זיך ראַזירן און ער האָט מורא אַז די אומגעדולדיקע וועלן נישט האָבּן קײַן געדולד זיך דערוואַרטן און וועלן אַוועקלויפן צו אַ צווייטן. זעצט ער זיי קודם אַוועק און זייפט זיי אײַן, יענע מוזן שוין נעבּעך זיצן און וואַרטן נישט האָבּנדיק קײַן בּרירה
fun vanet nemt zikh der oysdruk
genumen iz der oysdruk fun di frizirers. ven es kumt on a groyser oylem zikh razirn un er hot moy’re az di um’geduldi’ke veln nit hobn kayn geduld zikh dervartn un veln a’vekloyfn tsu a tsveytn. zetst er zey koydm a’vek un zeyft zey ayn. ye’ne muzn shoyn nebekh zitsn un vartn nit hobndik kayn brey’re
the origin of the expression
this expression comes from the barber. When a big crowd would show up and he would be afraid that those who don’t have patience, would run away to another barber, he seats them immediately and soaps them up. Now, they don’t have much of a choice but to sit it out and await their turn.
מאיפה הביטוי הזה
הביטוי לקוח מהסַפָּר. כשנכנסים קהל בבת אחת והוא מפחד מאלה שאין להם סבלנות, שיברחו למישהו אחר, הוא קודם כל משיב אותם ומסבן אותם. עכשיו, מסכן, אין לו ברירה והוא כבר חייב לשבת ולחכות לתור שלו
And if you will be in NYC:
         Established 1936




Master of Ceremonies

Fyvush Finkel

DATE & TIME:    Monday, DECEMBER 15, 2014   8:15 PM


             PLACE:          SUTTON PLACE SYNAGOGUE – 225 E 51ST. NYC

                                 (Between  2nd &  3rd AVE)    HANDICAP ACCESSIB

                   TICKETS FOR CONCERT $25


 I can’t believe this is whole wheat challah! (Shayna Chana)

2 kilo light whole wheat flour
2 eggs or equivalent flax seed
4 tbsp instant yeast
3 tbs sugar/ agave (just enough to get the yeast going)
3/4 c olive oil
4-5 c warm water
3 tbsp salt or less
optional addins
zaatar and seeds
cinnamon and raisins
Activate the yeast with sugar and two cups of the warm water. Once it starts bubbling start adding flour, about 5-6 cups. After you’ve made a thick paste, add eggs, olive oil and salt. slowly add the rest of the flour, until fully incorporated. Knead. The dough will be sticky. Let sit somewhere warm to rest for 30 min- 1 hr. Knead and take challah. Braid and let rest again before baking. Baked bread freezes very well.

This second recipe that I’m sharing with you today is  from home cooking blog. It’s probably the most successful veggie burger I’ve made so far: they’ve got the right texture and consistency and a great, unusual flavor, thanks to the combination of adzuki beans, cooked millet, and tangy sun-dried tomatoes. A couple suggestions: if you don’t have adzuki beans at hand, cooked black beans will make a great replacement; and also, if you don’t want to pan-fry the burgers, either grilling or baking them will do, as long as they’re coated with a little olive oil. Having millet and beans as dominant ingredients, I think they’d be quite dense if served in burger buns, so I my suggestion is to serve them in a similar fashion to bruschettas: over a thin slice of grilled bread and topped with fresh herbs and/or thin slices of avocado. If you happen to make these, I hope you like them as much as I do.


Adzuki Bean and Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
Delicious veggie burgers
Author: Joana Mendes
Recipe Type: Main Course
Serves: 6
  • 195 grams (1 cup) millet
  • 750 ml (3 cups) water
  • teaspoon salt
  • 60 grams (about 12 halves) dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • teaspoon salt
  • 400 grams (1 ¾ cups) cooked adzuki beans/black beans or combination
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5 tablespoons plus 3 olive oil
  • freshly grated black pepper
  • teaspoon dried thyme
  • teaspoon dried chives
  1. In a dry skillet over medium-heat, toast the millet for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often, until it turns golden brown and starts smelling toasty.
  2. Transfer the toasted millet to a pan filled with 750 ml (3 cups) water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to low-medium, add ½ teaspoon of salt and cook, covered, for 30 minutes, or until all the water has been absorved and the millet is cooked through. Remove from the heat and let it cool down a bit at room temperature.
  3. In the meantime, put the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl filled with hot water (1 cup – 250 ml – should be enough). Cover, and let the sun-dried tomatoes rehydrate for 15 minutes. Drain them and coarsely chop them. Set aside.
  4. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic cloves with a pinch of salt. In a frying pan over medium heat, warm 5 tablespoons of olive oil. When hot, but not smoking, add the crushed garlic and salt mixture and fry until golden brown – 4 to 5 minutes. Let the garlic cool to room temperature.
  5. In a food processor, process 2 cups of the cooked millet, ½ cup of the cooked adzuki beans, the fried garlic and the oil, the dried thyme and chives, black pepper, and half of the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Process for 2 minutes, or until a thick purée comes together. For macro- biotic dish, leave tomatoes on the side
  6. Add the remaining adzuki beans  to the purée and pulse no more than 2 or 3 times – you want the burgers to have some texture, so these ingredients only need to be broken down a bit. The mixture should now be thick and easy enough to handle and shape. Have a taste and season with a little more salt if needed.
  7. Working with your hands, divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and shape them into patties the size of your hand palm.
  8. In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the burgers when the oil is hot, and pan-fry them for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Alternatively, you can either grill the burgers – in a hot grilling pan coated with a little olive oil – or bake them in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC (350ºF) for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Serve right after cooking with your favorite ingredients or as shown in the picture above: with radishes, thin slices of avocado and, to finish things off perfectly, a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Vegetable Tofu Pancakes


  • 250 g soft Tofu (grated coarsely)

  • 1½ cups Wheat Flour/or other

  • ½ cup Semolina

  • 1 Carrot (grated)

  • 1 Onion (finely chopped)

  • 1 small Green Chili (finely chopped)

  • 1 tbsp Coriander Leaves (finely chopped)

  • 2 tbsp fresh Lemon Curd

  • ½ cup Water

  • ½ tsp Baking Soda

  • A sprig of Spring Onion (with greens, finely chopped)

  • Salt (to taste)


  • Take a large bowl and combine together tofu, wheat flour, semolina, carrot, onion, spring onion, green chili, coriander leaves, curd, water, baking soda and salt.

  • Mix well to form a thick batter of spreadable consistency.

  • Set the mixture aside for 10 minutes.

  • Place a nonstick flat bottomed pan or skillet on fire and heat it.

  • Pour a ladleful of the batter into the skillet.

  • Gently spread to make a ½ cm thick pancake.

  • Cook till the bottom gets crisp and golden.

  • Flip to the other side and cook well.

  • Remove and transfer to a plate.

  • Repeat with the remaining batter.

  • Serve hot with green chutney or sauce.

To Macrolovers:

I have been alerted as to a need for correction.

Sooner or later all of our favorite chef’s recipes get published to Iternet magazines.
Here is the Joan Nathan one: (found on Tablet site); I cut the sugar to half. Used oat milk instead of milk and oil instead of butter. Added some toffuti cream cheese. My flours were rye, spelt and 70% whole wheat. In equal amounts. I whipped up the dough in the food processor and afterwords weighed out 40 gr size balls and froze them. This allows the batches to be done over several days and they can be freshly made. I also just cover the oil and use it again.
Later on I take them out in batches and let them defrost in the fridge, and then gave them time to rise on my counter, several hours. I Roll them around in some flour to make decent shaped balls. I Heat up some oil (about 1.5 inches) and turn them in the oil until a golden brown carefully removing with a fork spoon utensil.
My filling is a combination of carob, cocoa, almond, tahina, and chocolate bits with added oatmilk, combined in food processor. The second part of the stuffing is either frozen mango drained or plum or apple compote (drained). No powdered sugar. No stuffing tool needed.
The combination of fruit and chocolate is great. And they are small so you don’t bite into the bread part alone.
I’d appreciate any ideas for fillings. First wanted to do bourbon flavored-saved that for another time. My husband had 2 of these and his sugar readings for the day were OK.
What can be substituted for sugar to proof the yeast other than honey and agave?
I guess that you could tweet this using, tofu sour cream, tofu, pecan butter, apple butter, bananas or a commercial egg substitute.  All be used to replace eggs. Also, just remembered, did not double up on the eggs.
Chag Samayach,

Sufganiyot (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts)Made these last year with the help of my grand-daughter

Sufganiyot (Israeli Jelly Doughnuts).

I doubled the recipe for a crowd.

1 package dry yeast-.25 oz
3 tablespoons sugar/agave
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk/almond milk
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, spelt, oat (about)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (in addition to the whole egg) you may omit and use an equivalent volume.
1 cup powdered sugar or added powdered cinnamon.
Filling: equal parts,carob, cocoa, almond, tahina, and chocolate bits with added oatmilk/rice milk. combined in food processor. The second part of the stuffing is either frozen mango drained or plum or apple compote (drained) or defrosted frozen cherries or blueberries. No powdered sugar. No stuffing tool needed.

I can’t give amounts because I make the filling fresh with the defrosted batch of soufaniot dough.

The combination of fruit and chocolate is great. And they are small so you don’t bite into the bread


Use this formula to substitute for one egg. Double for two eggs, triple for three eggs, and so on… Zero cholesterol! Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Low Cal, Low Carb, Low Fat, No Sugar, Organic, Soy Free, Vegan.


Combine flaxseed meal and water and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.Add this ingredient to your recipe as you would the eggs.

of flax seed meal and water beaten

Pinch of salt 

Grated zest of 1 lemon

3 1/2 tablespoons butter/oil, at room temperature
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 cup of apricot jam (you can substitute strawberry or any flavorful jam, dulce de leche, Nutella, or lemon curd or chunky cooked fruit)
Confectioner’s or granulated sugar for rolling

1. Dissolve 1 tablespoon yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar/agave substitute in the water, then add the almond milk and pour into a large bowl.

2. Add the whole egg and the yolk/or equivalent flax meal, salt, lemon zest, flour, the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar/agave, and the oil. Mix together with your hands, then knead dough on a pastry board until it becomes sticky yet elastic.

3. Cover the dough in a bowl, and let rise in a warm place for at least an hour. If you want to prepare it ahead, place the dough in the refrigerator overnight, then let it warm to room temperature before rolling and cutting.Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 15 hours.
4- Lightly flour a baking sheet. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch square about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2- to 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 9 doughnuts. I freeze the balls at this point. After defrosting, arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to proof for 2 to 3 hours, or until they are about doubled in height and feel poufy and pillowy.
When ready to fry, line a tray or baking sheet large enough to hold the doughnuts with paper towels. Pour oil to a depth of about 3 inches into a large, heavy saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. To test the oil, throw in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles on contact, the oil is ready. (It should be 350 degrees if you are using a thermometer.) Working in batches, place the doughnuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown. Then gently flip them and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown on the second side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the prepared tray and let cool for a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
5- For sugar coating place 1 cup (200 grams) sugar in a small bowl. One at a time, toss the warm doughnuts in the sugar to coat evenly. As each doughnut is coated, return it to the tray to cool completely. This will take 30 to 40 minutes.
To make the vanilla cream filling: While the doughnuts are cooking, whip the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold it into the pastry cream . You should have about 3 cups.
When doughnuts are completely cooled, poke a hole in the side of each doughnut, spacing it equidistant between the top and bottom. Fit a pastry bag with a small round tip and fill the bag with the filling. Squirt about 1/3 cup filling into each doughnut. Serve immediately.

My filling as written above is a combination of carob, cocoa, almond butter, tahina, and chocolate bits with added oatmilk, combined in food processor. The second part of the stuffing is either frozen mango drained or plum or apple compote (drained). No powdered sugar. No stuffing tool needed.

The combination of fruit and chocolate is great. And they are small so you don’t bite into the bread

Yield: about 2 dozen doughnuts

Ingredients: Quick Potato Latkas-with partially boiled potatoes

Servings: 8

  • 5 -6 large red potatoes, un-peeled (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 1 medium onion, finely grated
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten or combined flax seed meal
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Change Measurements: US | Metric


Prep Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 35 mins

1Place potatoes in a medium saucepan and just cover with cold water

2Turn heat to high and allow to come to boil.

3As soon as potatoes are boiling, put a kitchen timer on for 10 minutes.

4When timer rings, remove potatoes from stove and cover with cold water.

5Drain immediately, then cover again with cold water.

6Let sit five minutes.

7Remove potatoes and pat dry.

8Using a hand shredder or food processor fitted with a medium disc, shred potatoes (with skins on).

9The potatoes should be slightly softened, but still firm enough to produce shreds.

10If the peel separates from the potato, discard it.

11If the peel gets grated in with the potatoes, incorporate it into the mixture.

12I like the hand grater best.

13When I use the processor, I use two thirds shredded then pulverized potatoes and one third shredded for a mixture than is bulky but still has shreds.

14Worth the trouble.

15In a large bowl, blend shredded potatoes, grated onion, beaten eggs, flour, salt, pepper and baking powder.

16Place newspaper on work surface (near frying area) and cover with a few paper towels.

17In a large deep skillet (I like to use a wok), pour in enough vegetable oil to fill about two thirds. You’re looking for a puffy centre while retaining some crisp shreds of potato on edges.To reheat, place latkes on a large wire cake rack

  1. Warm at 250

For freezing purposes, fry them a little underdone to allow for browning in the re-heating stage.

Zuccini latkas

  • 2 medium zucchini (about 7 ounces each), coarsely shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 3 large scallions, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh sheep-milk ricotta cheese/tofu
  • 2 large eggs/flaxseed meal
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, garlic, scallions, ricotta, eggs, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir well, then stir in the flour just until incorporated.
  • Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil until shimmering. Working in batches, add 2-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini batter to the hot oil, spreading them to form 3-inch fritters. Fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve right away, with lemon wedges.

MAKE AHEAD The fritters can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours and recrisped in a 325° oven.


  • One 12-ounce sweet potato
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter/margarine
  • 1/2 cup whole milk/almond milk
  • 1 envelope (.25 oz. ) instant dry yeast
  • 1 cup agave/fruit
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 large egg (use flax seed meal replacement) 
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • 1 cup powdered sugar/fruit syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter/margarine, melted
  • MEANWHILE, MAKE THE TOPPING: Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork and cook it in a microwave at high power for 10 minutes, until tender. Let cool, then peel and puree the sweet potato; you should have about 1 cup.
  • In a small skillet, cook the butter/margarine  over moderate heat until nutty and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Scrape the browned butter and solids into a small bowl and let cool.
  • In the same skillet, heat the milk/almond milk until just warm, about 105°. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Gently mix in the agave, salt, vanilla seeds, nutmeg and rum. Add the sweet potato puree, browned butter and solids, egg and egg yolks  or substitute and beat until combined. Add the 3 1/4 cups of bread flour and beat at medium speed until the dough is evenly moistened, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to moderately high and beat until a soft dough forms, about 5 minutes. Gather the dough into a ball and transfer to a buttered bowl. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place for 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/2 inch thick. Using a 2 3/4-inch round cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible. Using a smaller round cutter (1 inch), stamp out the centers. Transfer the doughnuts and holes to 2 parchment paper–lined baking sheets. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the doughnuts and holes rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
      • In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Put half of the hot doughnuts in a large bowl and drizzle with some of the melted butter; toss and turn to coat. Sprinkle with some of the cinnamon sugar and toss and turn until evenly coated. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, butter and cinnamon sugar. Transfer the doughnuts to a platter; serve.



slow cook winter soup


      1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the ginger, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cayenne, saffron, and a pinch of pepper and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
      2. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker, add the potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and broth, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.
      3. Add the pumpkin or squash, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and raisins, season with salt, and stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook on high until a knife easily pierces the vegetables, about 2 hours more, stirring after 1 hour. Add the spinach and gently mix (do not overmix). Let sit until wilted. Gently stir in the vinegar, taste, and season with more salt, pepper, and vinegar as needed.

Carrot Zucchini Pancakes

Serves 4

      • 2 medium-sized zucchini
      • 2 medium-sized carrots
      • 2 green onions
      • 1 garlic glove
      • 1 tsp salt
      • 3/4 cup or 100 g all-purpose flour or potato starch
      • 1/2 cup or 100 ml water
      • 1 egg/flax seed meal
      • 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
      • salt and pepper
      • vegetable oil for frying

Wash and coarsely grate zucchini, mix with one teaspoon of salt and set aside. Peel and grate carrots into a separate bowl. Trim and chop green onions, peel and finely mince garlic.

Thoroughly squeeze out excess water from the zucchini, then mix them with carrots, onions and garlic. Add flour, egg, and water and stir to form a thick batter. If the batter is too thin and runny, add more flour. Mix in sesame seeds and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat up some vegetable oil in a large pan, scoop batter into pan, about one heaping tablespoon per pancake. Fry pancakes for a few minutes on medium high heat until they are slightly browned. Put them onto a kitchen towel, to get rid of some of the frying oil.

These pancakes can be served hot or cold, either plain or with a dip.

Spicy Soy Sauce Dip

      • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
      • 1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
      • 2 tsp honey or agave syrup
      • 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
      • 1 tsp ginger, powdered or fresh
      • 1 garlic glove
      • 1/2 tsp red hot pepper flakes
      • salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.

From Vegetarians in Paradise:


Yield: 1 1/2 cups (360 ml)

1 12.3-ounce (350g) box extra firm silken tofu
1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

      1. Cut the box of tofu along the dotted lines and drain the liquid. Put the tofu in the food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Process until smooth and creamy. Stop the machine to scrape down the sides of the workbowl once or twice.
      2. Use immediately or chill for several hours to thicken. Refrigerated, Tofu Sour Cream keeps for 1 week.

Note: The extra firm silken tofu helps to create the closest replica to real sour cream. The recipe will work with soft or firm silken tofu but the consistency will be more like a runny sauce. Using non-silken tofu will make the texture and mouth feel chalkier and unpleasant.

Post 39: Rebbitzen Heller: Merit Doesn’t Die and Yemenite Soup Recipe with Beef, Chicken or Lamb, including recipe for hawayej spice blend – Tori Avey

| Dear friends,  First of all I want to thank you again for being in touch and being there so much. I haven’t taken all of the calls you made off the telephone yet because they are so beautiful and meaningful. Things here are much, much better than anyone could have dreamed. Shmuli was released from the hospital on Thursday night and only has to return as an outpatient twice a week. Sleeping in his own bed, being with the kids who couldn’t even begin to express their joy at having him home, and having Miri there to tell his friends to come by later if he is sleeping is a great gift. On Sunday he returned to the hospital to see the plastic surgeon who operated on his ear. He had told us that he didn’t expect a perfect result, but since Shmuli’s hearing wasn’t affected (and he is the 43- year-old father of 9 and not a 22-year-old in shidduchim), we made peace with it easily. Things turned out different. The surgeon was close to tears and unhesitatingly used the word miracle. This isn’t the first time.  His transparent kippah notwithstanding, the surgeon was one of the family. This is how we felt last week Tuesday night when there was a memorial gathering commemorating the end of the shiva. Neve turned over the dining room and the simchah hall above to the organizers. More than 4,000 (you read it right) women came. There was an overflow into the streets. A simultaneous event took place for men at the synagogue where the killings took place. There was a screen in Neve so that in addition to hearing the four new widows speak, we heard the distinguished rabbis who spoke from the synagogue. Rebbitzen Twerski spoke first. She read a deeply moving letter from her husband’s students at Toras Moshe (which some of you know as ToMo). They had never met anyone like him. He was completely dedicated to them, to his family and much more than anything to his service of Hashem. All of this was how they knew him even though he maintained an almost impossible study schedule which turned him into a major scholar. She stressed that divisiveness desecrates everything that is holy.
Chaya Levine spoke about bringing light into the world to drive out darkness, and coming from her the message was more moving and credible than it could be from any other source. Brianna Goldberg told us about her husband’s profound humility. The truth is I knew him from the time that we both worked for Targum Press, me as a writer and he as a director of productions. He had the rare combination of being a straight-shooter and simultaneously unfailingly courteous and pleasant. Even at the time, I knew that the word for this is humility. He knew that he had a G-d given capacity for organization, but he never let it make him feel superior to the people he worked with. In short I thought that I had a grasp of who he was. When Brianna spoke I realized that I didn’t know anything. She told us that only when going through his drawers did the family discover that he had a Ph.D. Of course she knew he attended university, but he never talked about how much he achieved. What is even more amazing is that he also had a Smichah certificate (rabbinical ordination) presented to him by the famed and erudite Rosh Yeshiva Lopian of England. I was forced to redefine humility. Miracles, profound spiritual beauty, loss, pain, what do you do with it all? I tend to retreat into “I don’t know” at times like this. Hashem wants us to move carefully into “What should I be/do” rather than hanging out in “why” land.
The Gra (an acronym for the Gaon Rav Eliahu of Vilna, who was the greatest scholar of his time, which was a star studded era), tells us that there are three things to focus on when you need direction. He speaks of three directions you can go when asking, “Where is this all leading?” One possibility is that the cumulative merit of the true tzadikim of all the generations will finally add up enough to bring about Moshiach’s coming when the merit of contemporary tzadikim tilts the scale. Merit doesn’t die or disappear. All of you have ancestors who chose death or extreme deprivation in order to stay Jewish. Their merit didn’t die when they did. Neither did the merit of Rabbi Akiva, or any of the ancient tzadikim all the way up to Moshe and the Avos (patriarchs). Even one person trying to walk their path may change the balance and bring about redemption. Tzadikim don’t have to be famous, they just have to be real. He (the Gra) says that it is possible that the merit of the tzadikim will do it, but he also says that the second possibility is closer to what the early sources say. The second possibility is teshuvah! That means even an ordinary person (in case some of you aren’t true tzadikim as of today) who is full of flaws can change things by deciding to move on.  Being willing to change gears and reexamine goals and actually begin to live differently is what the era demands of each of us. The third possibility is suffering. Suffering isn’t an end in itself. It leads you to turning to Hashem to help you when no one else can help you. It can take you to emunah (faith) which is the final tikkun. When Sarah said to Avraham, “The son of the maidservant shall not inherit with my son, with Yitzchak”, she was speaking prophetically. In fact the sages say that her prophecy was even greater than Avraham’s.
The Arabs subconsciously recognize that they are the sons of the maidservant who was driven out in favor of Sarah’s son Yitzchak. They know that our return to Israel is permanent and real. They are fighting tooth and nail to hold on to what on some level they know is ours. Yishmael means Hashem will hear.  The sages say that at the end it will be their prayers against our prayers, and that ultimately Hashem will see that our prayers are coming from another place than theirs. Just as surely as the life that Sarah’s son Yitzchak lived was different from the life lived by his brother Yishmael, so the lives that we live as individuals and as a nation are very different from the lives they have chosen. Maya Clausen, a former Neve student, is seriously ill and in Hadassah Hospital.  Please daven for Maya Miriam bat Mery. If any friends can visit her, she is in Hadassah Hemotology, Level 2, Room 13.  Sorry for going on and on. Have a wonderful and meaningful week. Love, Tziporah   |


Compliments of Tori Avey:

The Yemenite Jews are known for their complex spices and rich, flavorful dishes. I was introduced to Yemenite cuisine for the first time at a Los Angeles restaurant called Shula and Esther, owned by two Yemenite women. Their soup was my favorite; it was spicy, rich and delicious. Some days they featured lamb or beef Yemenite soup and some days chicken. Since then I’ve tasted many versions of Yemenite soup, including several in Israel where the majority of Yemenite Jews now live. When Shula and Esther closed (a tragic day for us), I had to figure out how to make the soup on my own. I learned the basic method and ingredients from my friend whose mother has Yemenite ancestry. Over time I’ve looked at various recipes and adjusted the seasonings until I honed in on the distinct flavor that we remember from Shula and Esther.

Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.

Yemenite soup is traditionally served as the entree of the Shabbat meal on Friday evening. The Jews of Yemen typically used chicken in their soup because meat was expensive and difficult to come by. The meat version has gained popularity throughout Israel. I’ve provided a recipe for each version in this blog. The broth of this soup is spiced with hawayej, a Yemenite spice blend that can be purchased at most Jewish markets. ( see below in detail). It’s even better when made fresh and ground from whole spice seeds.

Hawayej Spice Blend - Yemenite Spice Blend for Meats, Soups and Stews

Every Yemenite family has a different recipe for this soup, but the basics remain the same– a meat or chicken broth, marrow bones, onions, potatoes, and hawayej. This soup is generally served with two Yemenite condiments, hilbeh and schug. Hilbeh is a gelatinous sauce made with fenugreek seeds; it takes 2-3 days to make and the process is quite involved. Schug is a sort of Yemenite salsa made from peppers, garlic, and spices.

Note: these recipes have been retested, updated and rephotographed since they were originally posted.

Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.


Yemenite Soup


  • 1 whole 3-4 lb. chicken cut into pieces
  • 4-5 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 beef marrow bones
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bunch of cilantro—cleaned, rinsed, and tied in a bundle, plus more cilantro to garnish soup
  • 1 large onion, rinsed and halved, skin on
  • 2 tsp hawayej spice blend
  • 1 1/4 lb. russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 medium russets), peeled and cut into large 2-inch chunks
  • Salt and pepper


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 lbs beef stew meat, cubed (lamb can also be used)
  • 2 beef marrow bones
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp hawayej spice blend
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of cilantro—cleaned, rinsed, and tied in a bundle, plus more cilantro to garnish soup
  • 1 1/4 lb. russet or Yukon gold potatoes (about 4 medium russets), peeled and cut into large 2-inch chunks
  • Salt and pepper


  • 6-8 quart stock pot, kitchen twine
Total Time: 3 Hours 30 Minutes

Servings: 6-8 servings

To Make Yemenite Chicken Soup

  • Place chicken pieces and marrow bones on the bottom of a 6-8 quart stock pot. Add 12 cups water to the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes, skimming the foam that rises to the top.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.Stir 2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tbsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and garlic cloves into the pot. Add the cilantro bundle and onion, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the soup cook for 90 minutes, keeping an eye periodically to make sure the simmer is low and bubbling but not boiling too rapidly. Stir gently a few times during cooking.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.After 90 minutes, use a pair of tongs to pull out the onion, the cilantro bundle and the two chicken breasts on the bone. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board. Pull the meat from the bones and shred it. Discard the bones and skin.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.Add the chicken breast meat back to the soup pot. Stir 2 tsp hawayej spice blend into the broth along with additional salt and black pepper to taste. I usually add about 1 tsp more of salt, it really makes the spices pop. Add the potato chunks to the broth. At this point, you can also add other vegetables if you wish, including small slices of carrot, celery, zucchini, etc. Bring back to a low simmer and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes more, or until the largest potato chunks are tender (and the other veggies, if you decide to add them).
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.Scrape the marrow out of the bones and add it to the broth, if desired, or serve the marrow bones with soup to anybody who enjoys them. Serve each bowl with a few potato chunks, a chicken leg, and some of the other chicken meat. I usually remove the skin and cartilage from the chicken pieces prior to serving for a nicer presentation. Garnish each bowl with fresh chopped cilantro. This soup is usually served with schug alongside; it can be stirred into the broth to add more spicy flavor.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.

To Make Yemenite Beef Soup

  • In a heavy 6 quart pot, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high. Sprinkle the meat chunks with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the pan and sear it, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.Pour meat into a bowl and reserve. Drain the excess fat from the pot. Add another 1 tbsp olive oil to the pot and add the chopped onions. Let the onions cook for several minutes until they are softened and brown, stirring occasionally and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot as they cook.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.Add meat chunks back to the pot along with the marrow bones. Cover with 14 cups of water. Bring to a simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the top.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.Stir in 1/2 tbsp turmeric and 1/2 tbsp salt. Add the cilantro bundle and the garlic cloves. Reduce heat to a low simmer. Let the soup cook for 2 1/2 hours, keeping an eye periodically to make sure the simmer is low and bubbling but not boiling rapidly.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.After 2 1/2 hours your meat chunks should be quite tender. Remove the cilantro bundle. Stir 1 1/2 tsp hawayej spice blend into the broth along with additional salt and black pepper to taste (I usually add 1 to 1 1/2 tsp more of salt, but we like things on the salty side). Add the potato chunks to the broth. Bring back to a simmer and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes more, or until the largest potato chunks are tender.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.Scrape the marrow out of the bones and add it to the broth, if desired, or serve the marrow bones with soup to anybody who enjoys them. Serve each bowl of soup garnished with fresh chopped cilantro (optional). This soup is usually served with schug alongside; it can be stirred into the broth to add more spicy flavor.
  • Learn to make Yemenite Soup with Beef or Chicken - traditional spicy soup recipe made with hawayej spicy blend. Warming, filling and full of flavor.

Post 38: A Superb article by MATTI FRIEDMAN NOV 30 2014, What the Media Gets Wrong About Israel: The news tells us less about Israel than about the people writing the news, a former AP reporter says.11:18 AM ET including photos you never saw in the news and the blessings of lentils and lentil powder

(The military dress-up photo  was taken at a school in Jerusalem. My comment.

A Reuters truck drives through a bombed refugee camp in Gaza. (Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)

During the Gaza war this summer, it became clear that one of the most important aspects of the media-saturated conflict between Jews and Arabs is also the least covered: the press itself. The Western press has become less an observer of this conflict than an actor in it, a role with consequences for the millions of people trying to comprehend current events, including policymakers who depend on journalistic accounts to understand a region where they consistently seek, and fail, to productively intervene.

An essay I wrote for Tablet on this topic in the aftermath of the war sparked intense interest. In the article, based on my experiences between 2006 and 2011 as a reporter and editor in the Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, one of the world’s largest news organizations, I pointed out the existence of a problem and discussed it in broad terms. Using staffing numbers, I illustrated the disproportionate media attention devoted to this conflict relative to other stories, and gave examples of editorial decisions that appeared to be driven by ideological considerations rather than journalistic ones. I suggested that the cumulative effect has been to create a grossly oversimplified story—a kind of modern morality play in which the Jews of Israel are displayed more than any other people on earth as examples of moral failure. This is a thought pattern with deep roots in Western civilization.

But how precisely does this thought pattern manifest itself in the day-to-day functioning, or malfunctioning, of the press corps? To answer this question, I want to explore the way Western press coverage is shaped by unique circumstances here in Israel and also by flaws affecting the media beyond the confines of this conflict. In doing so, I will draw on my own experiences and those of colleagues. These are obviously limited and yet, I believe, representative.

A rally in support of Islamic Jihad at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem, in November 2013 (Courtesy of Matti Friedman)

I’ll begin with a simple illustration. The above photograph is of a student rally held last November at Al-Quds University, a mainstream Palestinian institution in East Jerusalem. The rally, in support of the armed fundamentalist group Islamic Jihad, featured actors playing dead Israeli soldiers and a row of masked men whose stiff-armed salute was returned by some of the hundreds of students in attendance. Similar rallies have been held periodically at the school.

I am not using this photograph to make the case that Palestinians are Nazis. Palestinians are not Nazis. They are, like Israelis, human beings dealing with a difficult present and past in ways that are occasionally ugly. I cite it now for a different reason.

Such an event at an institution like Al-Quds University, headed at the time by a well-known moderate professor, and with ties to sister institutions in America, indicates something about the winds now blowing in Palestinian society and across the Arab world. The rally is interesting for the visual connection it makes between radical Islam here and elsewhere in the region; a picture like this could help explain why many perfectly rational Israelis fear withdrawing their military from East Jerusalem or the West Bank, even if they loathe the occupation and wish to live in peace with their Palestinian neighbors. The images from the demonstration were, as photo editors like to say, “strong.” The rally had, in other words, all the necessary elements of a powerful news story.

The event took place a short drive from the homes and offices of the hundreds of international journalists who are based in Jerusalem. Journalists were aware of it: The sizable Jerusalem bureau of the Associated Press, for example, which can produce several stories on an average day, was in possession of photos of the event, including the one above, a day later. (The photographs were taken by someone I know who was on campus that day, and I sent them to the bureau myself.) Jerusalem editors decided that the images, and the rally, were not newsworthy, and the demonstration was only mentioned by the AP weeks later when the organization’s Boston bureau reported that Brandeis University had cut ties with Al-Quds over the incident. On the day that the AP decided to ignore the rally, November 6, 2013, the same bureau published a report about a pledge from the U.S. State Department to provide a minor funding increase for the Palestinian Authority; that was newsworthy. This is standard. To offer another illustration, the construction of 100 apartments in a Jewish settlement is always news; the smuggling of 100 rockets into Gaza by Hamas is, with rare exceptions, not news at all.

I mention these instances to demonstrate the kind of decisions made regularly in the bureaus of the foreign press covering Israel and the Palestinian territories, and to show the way in which the pipeline of information from this place is not just rusty and leaking, which is the usual state of affairs in the media, but intentionally plugged.

There are banal explanations for problems with coverage—reporters are in a hurry, editors are overloaded and distracted. These are realities, and can explain small errors and mishaps like ill-conceived headlines, which is why such details don’t typically strike me as important or worth much analysis. Some say inflations and omissions are the inevitable results of an honest attempt to cover events in a challenging and occasionally dangerous reporting environment, which is what I initially believed myself. A few years on the job changed my mind. Such excuses can’t explain why the same inflations and omissions recur again and again, why they are common to so many news outlets, and why the simple “Israel story” of the international media is so foreign to people aware of the historical and regional context of events in this place. The explanation lies elsewhere.

* * *

To make sense of most international journalism from Israel, it is important first to understand that the news tells us far less about Israel than about the people writing the news. Journalistic decision  are made by people who exist in a particular social milieu, one which, like most social groups, involves a certain uniformity of attitude, behavior, and even dress (the fashion these days, for those interested, is less vests with unnecessary pockets than shirts with unnecessary buttons). These people know each other, meet regularly, exchange information, and closely watch one another’s work. This helps explain why a reader looking at articles written by the half-dozen biggest news providers in the region on a particular day will find that though the pieces are composed and edited by completely different people and organizations, they tend to tell the same story.

The best insight into one of the key phenomena at play here comes not from a local reporter but from the journalist and author Philip Gourevitch. In Rwanda and elsewhere in Africa, Gourevitch wrote in 2010, he was struck by the ethical gray zone of ties between reporters and NGOs. “Too often the press represents humanitarians with unquestioning admiration,” he observed in The New Yorker. “Why not seek to keep them honest? Why should our coverage of them look so much like their own self-representation in fund-raising appeals? Why should we (as many photojournalists and print reporters do) work for humanitarian agencies between journalism jobs, helping them with their official reports and institutional appeals, in a way that we would never consider doing for corporations, political parties, or government agencies?”

This confusion is very much present in Israel and the Palestinian territories, where foreign activists are a notable feature of the landscape, and where international NGOs and numerous arms of the United Nations are among the most powerful players, wielding billions of dollars and employing many thousands of foreign and local employees. Their SUVs dominate sections of East Jerusalem and their expense accounts keep Ramallah afloat. They provide reporters with social circles, romantic partners, and alternative employment—a fact that is more important to reporters now than it has ever been, given the disintegration of many newspapers and the shoestring nature of their Internet successors.

In my time in the press corps, I learned that our relationship with these groups was not journalistic. My colleagues and I did not, that is, seek to analyze or criticize them. For many foreign journalists, these were not targets but sources and friends—fellow members, in a sense, of an informal alliance. This alliance consists of activists and international staffers from the UN and the NGOs; the Western diplomatic corps, particularly in East Jerusalem; and foreign reporters. (There is also a local component, consisting of a small number of Israeli human-rights activists who are themselves largely funded by European governments, and Palestinian staffers from the Palestinian Authority, the NGOs, and the UN.) Mingling occurs at places like the lovely Oriental courtyard of the American Colony hotel in East Jerusalem, or at parties held at the British Consulate’s rooftop pool. The dominant characteristic of nearly all of these people is their transience. They arrive from somewhere, spend a while living in a peculiar subculture of expatriates, and then move on.

In these circles, in my experience, a distaste for Israel has come to be something between an acceptable prejudice and a prerequisite for entry. I don’t mean a critical approach to Israeli policies or to the ham-fisted government currently in charge in this country, but a belief that to some extent the Jews of Israel are a symbol of the world’s ills, particularly those connected to nationalism, militarism, colonialism, and racism—an idea quickly becoming one of the central elements of the “progressive” Western zeitgeist, spreading from the European left to American college campuses and intellectuals, including journalists. In this social group, this sentiment is translated into editorial decisions made by individual reporters and editors covering Israel, and this, in turn, gives such thinking the means of mass self-replication.

* * *

Anyone who has traveled abroad understands that arriving in a new country is daunting, and it is far more so when you are expected to show immediate expertise. I experienced this myself in 2008, when the AP sent me to cover the Russian invasion of Georgia and I found myself 24 hours later riding in a convoy of Russian military vehicles. I had to admit that not only did I not know Georgian, Russian, or any of the relevant history, but I did not know which way was north, and generally had no business being there. For a reporter in a situation like the one I just described, the solution is to stay close to more knowledgeable colleagues and hew to the common wisdom.

Many freshly arrived reporters in Israel, similarly adrift in a new country, undergo a rapid socialization in the circles I mentioned. This provides them not only with sources and friendships but with a ready-made framework for their reporting—the tools to distill and warp complex events into a simple narrative in which there is a bad guy who doesn’t want peace and a good guy who does. This is the “Israel story,” and it has the advantage of being an easy story to report. Everyone here answers their cell phone, and everyone knows what to say. You can put your kids in good schools and dine at good restaurants. It’s fine if you’re gay. Your chances of being beheaded on YouTube are slim. Nearly all of the information you need—that is, in most cases, information critical of Israel—is not only easily accessible but has already been reported for you by Israeli journalists or compiled by NGOs. You can claim to be speaking truth to power, having selected the only “power” in the area that poses no threat to your safety.

Many foreign journalists have come to see themselves as part of this world of international organizations, and specifically as the media arm of this world. They have decided not just to describe and explain, which is hard enough, and important enough, but to “help.” And that’s where reporters get into trouble, because “helping” is always a murky, subjective, and political enterprise, made more difficult if you are unfamiliar with the relevant languages and history.

Confusion over the role of the press explains one of the strangest aspects of coverage here—namely, that while international organizations are among the most powerful actors in the Israel story, they are almost never reported on. Are they bloated, ineffective, or corrupt? Are they helping, or hurting? We don’t know, because these groups are to be quoted, not covered. Journalists cross from places like the BBC to organizations like Oxfam and back. The current spokesman at the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, for example, is a former BBC man. A Palestinian woman who participated in protests against Israel and tweeted furiously about Israel a few years ago served at the same time as a spokesperson for a UN office, and was close friends with a few reporters I know. And so forth.

A Palestinian protester escapes tear gas fired by Israeli security forces during a demonstration in a West Bank near Ramallah. (Darren Whiteside/Reuters)

International organizations in the Palestinian territories have largely assumed a role of advocacy on behalf of the Palestinians and against Israel, and much of the press has allowed this political role to supplant its journalistic function. This dynamic explains the thinking behind editorial choices that are otherwise difficult to grasp, like the example I gave in my first essay about the suppressionby the AP’s Jerusalem bureau of a report about an Israeli peace offer to the Palestinians in 2008, or the decision to ignore the rally at Al-Quds University, or the idea that Hamas’s development of extensive armament works in Gaza in recent years was not worth serious coverage despite objectively being one of the most important storylines demanding reporters’ attention.

As usual, Orwell got there first. Here is his description from 1946 of writers of communist and “fellow-traveler” journalism: “The argument that to tell the truth would be ‘inopportune’ or would ‘play into the hands of’ somebody or other is felt to be unanswerable, and few people are bothered by the prospect that the lies which they condone will get out of the newspapers and into the history books.” The stories I mentioned would be “inopportune” for the Palestinians, and would “play into the hands” of the Israelis. And so, in the judgment of the press corps, they generally aren’t news.

In the aftermath of the three-week Gaza war of 2008-2009, not yet quite understanding the way things work, I spent a week or so writing a story about NGOs like Human Rights Watch, whose work on Israel had just been subject to an unusual public lashing in The New York Times by its own founder, Robert Bernstein. (The Middle East, he wrote, “is populated by authoritarian regimes with appalling human rights records. Yet in recent years Human Rights Watch has written far more condemnations of Israel for violations of international law than of any other country in the region.”) My article was gentle, all things considered, beginning like this:

JERUSALEM (AP) _ The prickly relationship between Israel and its critics in human rights organizations has escalated into an unprecedented war of words as the fallout from Israel’s Gaza offensive persists ten months after the fighting ended.

Editors killed the story.

Around this time, a Jerusalem-based group called NGO Monitor was battling the international organizations condemning Israel after the Gaza conflict, and though the group was very much a pro-Israel outfit and by no means an objective observer, it could have offered some partisan counterpoint in our articles to charges by NGOs that Israel had committed “war crimes.” But the bureau’s explicit orders to reporters were to never quote the group or its director, an American-raised professor named Gerald Steinberg.* In my time as an AP writer moving through the local conflict, with its myriad lunatics, bigots, and killers, the only person I ever saw subjected to an interview ban was this professor.

When the UN released its controversial Goldstone report on the Gaza fighting, we at the bureau trumpeted its findings in dozens of articles, though there was discussion even at the time of the report’s failure to prove its central charge: that Israel had killed civilians on purpose. (The director of Israel’s premier human-rights group, B’Tselem, who was critical of the Israeli operation, told me at the time that this claim was “a reach given the facts,” an evaluation that was eventually seconded by the report’s author. “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document,” Richard Goldstone wrote in The Washington Post in April 2011.) We understood that our job was not to look critically at the UN report, or any such document, but to publicize it.

Decisions like these are hard to fathom if you believe the foreign press corps’ role is to explain a complicated story to people far away. But they make sense if you understand that journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories often don’t see their role that way. The radio and print journalist Mark Lavie, who has reported from the region since 1972, was a colleague of mine at the AP, where he was an editor in the Jerusalem bureau and then in Cairo until his retirement last year. (It was Lavie who first learned of the Israeli peace offer of late 2008, and was ordered by his superiors to ignore the story.) An Indiana-born Israeli of moderate politics, he had a long run in journalism that included several wars and the first Palestinian intifada, and found little reason to complain about the functioning of the media.

But things changed in earnest in 2000, with the collapse of peace efforts and the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Israel accepted President Bill Clinton’s peace framework that fall and the Palestinians rejected it, as Clinton made clear. Nevertheless, Lavie recently told me, the bureau’s editorial line was still that the conflict was Israel’s fault, and the Palestinians and the Arab world were blameless. By the end of Lavie’s career, he was editing Israel copy on the AP’s Middle East regional desk in Cairo, trying to restore balance and context to stories he thought had little connection to reality. In his words, he had gone from seeing himself as a proud member of the international press corps to “the Jew-boy with his finger in the dike.” He wrote a book, Broken Spring, about his front-row view of the Middle East’s descent into chaos, and retired disillusioned and angry.

I have tended to see the specific failings that we both encountered at the AP as symptoms of a general thought pattern in the press, but Lavie takes a more forceful position, viewing the influential American news organization as one of the primary authors of this thought pattern. (In a statement, AP spokesman Paul Colford dismissed my criticism as “distortions, half-truths and inaccuracies,” and denied that AP coverage is biased against Israel.) This is not just because many thousands of media outlets use AP material directly, but also because when journalists arrive in their offices in the morning, the first thing many of them do is check the AP wire (or, these days, scroll through it in their Twitter feed). The AP is like Ringo Starr, thumping away at the back of the stage: there might be flashier performers in front, and you might not always notice him, but when Ringo’s off, everyone’s off.

Lavie believes that in the last years of his career, the AP’s Israel operation drifted from its traditional role of careful explanation toward a kind of political activism that both contributed to and fed off growing hostility to Israel worldwide. “The AP is extremely important, and when the AP turned, it turned a lot of the world with it,” Lavie said. “That’s when it became harder for any professional journalist to work here, Jewish or not. I reject the idea that my dissatisfaction had to do with being Jewish or Israeli. It had to do with being a journalist.”

* * *

In describing the realities of combat in the Second World War, the American critic Paul Fussell wrote, the press was censored and censored itself to such an extent that “for almost six years a large slice of actuality—perhaps one-quarter to one-half of it—was declared off-limits, and the sanitized and euphemized remainder was presented as the whole.” During the same war, American journalists (chiefly from Henry Luce’s magazines) were engaged in what Fussell called the “Great China Hoax”—years of skewed reporting designed to portray the venal regime of Chiang Kai-shek as an admirable Western ally against Japan. Chiang was featured six times on the cover of Time, and his government’s corruption and dysfunction were carefully ignored. One Marine stationed in China was so disillusioned by the chasm between what he saw and what he read that upon his discharge, he said, “I switched to Newsweek.”

Journalistic hallucinations, in other words, have a precedent. They tend to occur, as in the case of the Great China Hoax, when reporters are not granted the freedom to write what they see but are rather expected to maintain a “story” that follows predictable lines. For the international press, the uglier characteristics of Palestinian politics and society are mostly untouchable because they would disrupt the Israel story, which is a story of Jewish moral failure.

Most consumers of the Israel story don’t understand how the story is manufactured. But Hamas does. Since assuming power in Gaza in 2007, the Islamic Resistance Movement has come to understand that many reporters are committed to a narrative wherein Israelis are oppressors and Palestinians passive victims with reasonable goals, and are uninterested in contradictory information. Recognizing this, certain Hamas spokesmen have taken to confiding to Western journalists, including some I know personally, that the group is in fact a secretly pragmatic outfit with bellicose rhetoric, and journalists—eager to believe the confession, and sometimes unwilling to credit locals with the smarts necessary to deceive them—have taken it as a scoop instead of as spin.

During my time at the AP, we helped Hamas get this point across with a school of reporting that might be classified as “Surprising Signs of Moderation” (a direct precursor to the “Muslim Brotherhood Is Actually Liberal” school that enjoyed a brief vogue in Egypt). In one of my favorite stories, “More Tolerant Hamas” (December 11, 2011), reporters quoted a Hamas spokesman informing readers that the movement’s policy was that “we are not going to dictate anything to anyone,” and another Hamas leader saying the movement had “learned it needs to be more tolerant of others.” Around the same time, I was informed by the bureau’s senior editors that our Palestinian reporter in Gaza couldn’t possibly provide critical coverage of Hamas because doing so would put him in danger.

Hamas is aided in its manipulation of the media by the old reportorial belief, a kind of reflex, according to which reporters shouldn’t mention the existence of reporters. In a conflict like ours, this ends up requiring considerable exertions: So many photographers cover protests in Israel and the Palestinian territories, for example, that one of the challenges for anyone taking pictures is keeping colleagues out of the frame. That the other photographers are as important to the story as Palestinian protesters or Israeli soldiers—this does not seem to be considered.

A Hamas fighter inside an underground tunnel in Gaza in August 2014, during a tour for Reuters journalists (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

In Gaza, this goes from being a curious detail of press psychology to a major deficiency. Hamas’s strategy is to provoke a response from Israel by attacking from behind the cover of Palestinian civilians, thus drawing Israeli strikes that kill those civilians, and then to have the casualties filmed by one of the world’s largest press contingents, with the understanding that the resulting outrage abroad will blunt Israel’s response. This is a ruthless strategy, and an effective one. It is predicated on the cooperation of journalists. One of the reasons it works is because of the reflex I mentioned. If you report that Hamas has a strategy based on co-opting the media, this raises several difficult questions, like, What exactly is the relationship between the media and Hamas? And has this relationship corrupted the media? It is easier just to leave the other photographers out of the frame and let the picture tell the story: Here are dead people, and Israel killed them.

In previous rounds of Gaza fighting, Hamas learned that international coverage from the territory could be molded to its needs, a lesson it would implement in this summer’s war. Most of the press work in Gaza is done by local fixers, translators, and reporters, people who would understandably not dare cross Hamas, making it only rarely necessary for the group to threaten a Westerner. The organization’s armed forces could be made to disappear. The press could be trusted to play its role in the Hamas script, instead of reporting that there was such a script. Hamas strategy did not exist, according to Hamas—or, as reporters would say, was “not the story.” There was no Hamas charter blaming Jews for centuries of perfidy, or calling for their murder; this was not the story. The rockets falling on Israeli cities were quite harmless; they were not the story either.

Hamas understood that journalists would not only accept as fact the Hamas-reported civilian death toll—relayed through the UN or through something called the “Gaza Health Ministry,” an office controlled by Hamas—but would make those numbers the center of coverage. Hamas understood that reporters could be intimidated when necessary and that they would not report the intimidation; Western news organizations tend to see no ethical imperative to inform readers of the restrictions shaping their coverage in repressive states or other dangerous areas. In the war’s aftermath, the NGO-UN-media alliance could be depended upon to unleash the organs of the international community on Israel, and to leave the jihadist group alone.

When Hamas’s leaders surveyed their assets before this summer’s round of fighting, they knew that among those assets was the international press. The AP staff in Gaza City would witness a rocket launch right beside their office, endangering reporters and other civilians nearby—and the AP wouldn’t report it, not even in AP articles about Israeli claims that Hamas was launching rockets from residential areas. (This happened.) Hamas fighters would burst into the AP’s Gaza bureau and threaten the staff—and the AP wouldn’t report it. (This also happened.) Cameramen waiting outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City would film the arrival of civilian casualties and then, at a signal from an official, turn off their cameras when wounded and dead fighters came in, helping Hamas maintain the illusion that only civilians were dying. (This too happened; the information comes from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge of these incidents.)

Colford, the AP spokesman, confirmed that armed militants entered the AP’s Gaza office in the early days of the war to complain about a photo showing the location of a rocket launch, though he said that Hamas claimed that the men “did not represent the group.” The AP “does not report many interactions with militias, armies, thugs or governments,” he wrote. “These incidents are part of the challenge of getting out the news—and not themselves news.”

This summer, with Yazidis, Christians, and Kurds falling back before the forces of radical Islam not far away from here, this ideology’s local franchise launched its latest war against the last thriving minority in the Middle East. The Western press corps showed up en masse to cover it. This conflict included rocket barrages across Israel and was deliberately fought from behind Palestinian civilians, many of whom died as a result. Dulled by years of the “Israel story” and inured to its routine omissions, confused about the role they are meant to play, and co-opted by Hamas, reporters described this war as an Israeli onslaught against innocent people. By doing so, this group of intelligent and generally well-meaning professionals ceased to be reliable observers and became instead an amplifier for the propaganda of one of the most intolerant and aggressive forces on earth. And that, as they say, is the story.

* This article originally stated that NGO Monitor President Gerald Steinberg was American-born. He was born in the U.K. and raised in the U.S. We regret the error.

Lentil Desserts and Lentil Flour

What? Who wants lentils for dessert? You do! It’s not as strange as it may sound. After all, we use other legumes in desserts and in baking. Try adding lentil puree along with raisins, nuts and seeds when baking cookies or cakes. Substitute lentils for other beans in desserts such as the white beans in these Pumpkin Bean Bars.

Lentils can be used in place of the black beans. Red lentils are the sweetest so choose those for desserts.

Peanut Butter Lentil Cookies:

Just combine ½ cup cooked red lentils, ¼ cup peanut butter, ½ cup maple syrup, agave nectar,  mashed bananas 1/3 cup cooked dried mashed fruit, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 2 tsp. vanilla extract, ½ tsp. baking powder, ¼ cup melted vegan butter, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cinnamon in a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Gradually add ½ cup oats and process until they are incorporated and you have a thick but spreadable batter. With a spatula, mix in ½ cup vegan chocolate chips. Transfer the batter into a baking pan lined with parchment paper and sprayed with cooking oil. Add more chocolate chips to the top of the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool and set up before cutting into squares.

Another way to use dried lentils in baking is by processing them into flour and using them as a healthy and gluten-free alternative to other flours. Lentil flour can also be used in savory dishes like this Ayurvedic Lentil-Crusted Tofu.

8. Lentils for Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so it only makes sense to start your morning with one of the healthiest foods. Make porridge by cooking up some red lentils until they are tender. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, raisins, nuts or coconut. Sweeten your porridge with agave, maple syrup, brown sugar or whatever you prefer. Add cooked red lentils to your next pancake batter for a different spin on flapjacks.

When I was creating my vegan Spicy Italian Sausage recipe, lentils were the first main ingredient I used. Lentils are “meaty” and can be used in place of beans in any vegan sausage recipe. Try using them in place of the black-eyed peas in my vegan and gluten-free Breakfast Sausage recipe.

9. Lentils as a Meat Substitute

Lentils are very popular as a replacement for ground beef because of their rich, meaty taste. My new favorite way to cook lentils is to make a vegan Bolognese sauce to serve over pasta. I saute mashed brown lentils with onions, bell peppers, and garlic until browned. Then I add tomato paste, vegan Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes, fennel, oregano, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Cover the pot and let it cook while you make the pasta. Add some starchy cooking water to the Bolognese sauce, season it with salt and pepper and ladle it over the pasta. Garnish with fresh torn basil and you have a hearty Italian dish that tastes even better than the original. Serve the leftover Bolognese sauce on rolls and you have vegan lentil Sloppy Joes.

Use lentils to make burgers like this Red Lentil Burger with Kale Pesto and this Hearty Lentil and Brown Rice Burger. Green lentils are used to make this amazing Lentil Loaf. Learn how to makeLentil Meatballs and then use them in this BBQ Lentil Meatball Sandwich with Sweet Miso Coleslaw. For taco night, cook brown lentils to make these Lentil Tacos or red lentils for these Double Decker Lentil Tacos. Combine two earthy tastes to make this amazing Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie.

10. Lentil Power Dishes and Soup Time

When you add lentils to a dish, you are adding power. Use lentils for making refried beans the next time you are planning a Mexican feast. Cook one cup of brown lentils until they are tender but not mushy. In a skillet, saute minced onion, garlic and jalapeno peppers. Add the lentils to the skillet and toss with the aromatics. Season the lentils with salt, cumin, coriander and black pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro and enjoy the fiesta.

Prepare for your next big workout by fueling up with this Lentil-Kale Vegan Risotto that is made with pearled barley instead of rice. Add lentils to your next stir-fry. This Turnips with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Lentils dish is a trifecta of health and taste with its fresh turnips, turnip greens and yellow lentils.

Lentil Soup  מרק עדשים

Iris Peleg

Makes 8 portions

1 cup green, black or red lentils, soaked overnight, then sprouted a second night (substitute any bean)

8 cups water (2 liters)

1 tomato

1 onion

1 sweet potato

3 cloves garlic

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1 bunch parsley, chopped

Soak the lentils overnight, then sprout them a second night by keeping them damp in a jar or strainer. Make sure they don’t dry out. This lowers cooking time and decreases the amount of total carbohydrates, which are partially consumed by the sprouts.

Cut onion, tomato, sweet potato and the optional garlic (beans are a good food to use with garlic) into large pieces and add to a medium large pot.

Measure 3 cups of the sprouted lentils into the pot, along with the salt and cumin.

Cook 1/2 hour, first boiling and then simmering.

Remove from flame and add chopped parsley. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Blend with hand mixer.

 3 cups of lentils = 6 units (1 unit is 15 g CO) or 90 grams CO

1 sweet potato = 20 grams of carbohydrates (CO)

1 onion = 10 g CO

Total carbs in 8 portions of soup: 120 g

2 ladles of soup, or 1 cup = 1 unit or 15 grams CO

 מרק עדשים

בכל המרק 8 מנות. כל מנה מכילה שתי מצקות. יש לערבב היטב את המרק לפני מזיגתו.


◦1 כוס עדשים ירוקות

◦1 בצל בינוני

◦1 בטטה (תפוח-אדמה מתוק בינוני)

◦עגבניה רכה בינונית

◦ 3 שיני שום

◦כפית כמון

◦כפית מלח

◦חופן פטרוזיליה

◦8 כוסות מים

אופן ההכנה

1משרים את העדשים בקערה מלאת מים במשך חמש שעות לפחות.

2לסנן ולהשאיר במסננת במשך עוד חמש שעות לפחות. להרטיב מידי פעם.

3להרתיח 8 כוסות מים בסיר שטוח (גודל 3).

4לחתוך את העגבניה לקוביות ולהוסיף לסיר.

5לחתוך את הבצל לקוביות ולהוסיף לסיר.

6לחתוך את הבטטה לקוביות ולהוסיף לסיר.

7להרתיח הכל ולהעביר לאש קטנה.

8לסנן את העדשים ולהוסיף לסיר.

9להרתיח הכל ולבשל כחצי שעה על אש קטנה עד שהגזר מתרכך.

10מוסיפים את הפטרוזיליה לעוד כ 5 דקות עד שתתרכך (אפשר אפילו לכבות את האש).

11לרסק הכל בממחה יד או בבלנדר.

כמות פחמימות

עדשים: 90 גרם (שלוש כוסות)

בטטה: 20 גרם פחמימות

בצל: 10 גרם

סה”כ: 120 גרם פחמימות

כל הכמות מכילה 8 מנות.

כל מנה מכילה 15 גרם פחמימות ושקולה למנת פחמימה (חצי כוס אורז מבושל = פרוסת לחם)

When sprouting grains and legumes, carbohydrates are reduced a bit…. [C]arbs are easier to digest from sprouting, Lectins (plant toxins found in nuts/grains/nightshades which cause many digestive issues) are broken down in the sprouting process.

 A sprouted grain is definitely a whole grain, because all the parts (germ, endosperm, and bran) are still there.

Thanks to Ginat Rice of MacroloversJerusalem for the light,tasty soup recipe

Wow, if you thought lentils were old-fashioned and boring, think again. There is a reason these little powerhouses have been around since ancient times. Have fun exploring all the delicious ways to cook with lentils.


Post 36: My Autobiographical Comic Strip “The Jumping Jogger”, contrasted with The Haaretz Poll about Arab Israeli Attitudes: Are the Israeli Arab’s complaint’s justifiable and Soy sauce substitute for Nori Condiment

This is a rather long post. It covers a lot of territory. The landscape begins with a “Coming of Age” as an Observant Jew. I examine every day that I live against the backdrop of the miracle of Israel’s existence. The miracle emanates from the merit of ALL the Jewish people, both living and those in our collective memory In short, all my bets are on them or rather, us.

I wrote a comic strip a number of years ago for a class called Comic Book Illustration.Scan   It was an advanced course offered at The Fashion Institute in Manhattan. The instructor, Robert Rockwell, was a grand-nephew of Norman Rockwell. At the time making Alliya to Israel was not even a glimmer in my eye. I guess it was there but not in my consciousness. Robert Rockwell was a court illustrator and comic book designer in the “Classic School” of “Steve Canyon” famed series in the New York Post.”Mel, The Jumpin Jogger, An Urban Fairy Tale Production,” was the culmination of the course. We were taught that a comic strip presents a situation where the reader observes an inherent flaw in the main character. This may be compared to a novel. I guess this was my stab at constructing a “Graphic Novel”. I received an “A” in the course and after Professor Rockwell wrote a glowing recommendation for me to attend an MFA in Art at Queens College, I admitted to myself that composing comics that look so darn easy, are really extremely difficult to do. End of Fine Arts MFA embryo. This was also the period of Gay and Lesbian studies and art had to be a political statement.

I  continued at the Educational Alliance Art School on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Our character, Mel, named for my older brother, is   jogging, moving from left to right, past a mini scene of a stranger lying on the ground being attended to by a bystander. This is a glimpse of what’s to come.

Scan 7

The first and second pages of the comic introduce us to Mel and his self preoccupations, the three “E’s”, Ego, Escape and Entertainment.  On the first page he doesn’t appear to have any awareness of his surroundings. He is escaping the problems and  also avoiding his spiritual vacuum. The intra family violence surrounding him in a seemingly idyllic suburb goes by un-noticed as well as  groups of school children and the smell of sewage and decay. He just wants to escape to the CITY.

Scan 8

The second page conjures up memories of the hours one could doze peaceably in a train, sprawled out, returning from a night out along-side other similar passengers. This was especially true finding a seat with heat emanating beneath  it on a cold New York City night.

Scan 9


The third page is the “knock on the head-the wake-up call”. The conductor is trying to throw a lady passenger off the train. She cries out that she has paid her fair. Mel spontaneously jumps up. He feels resounding pain, loss, empathy. His body is bent over in supplication in the face of the conductor.  He volunteers to pay her fair.

The fourth page describes his identification with the “lost one”, “the abandoned one”. He comes to her rescue and steps up to help her from the crowd. He stands up to the bully and diminishes  the bully  who was humiliating her.

Continue reading Post 36: My Autobiographical Comic Strip “The Jumping Jogger”, contrasted with The Haaretz Poll about Arab Israeli Attitudes: Are the Israeli Arab’s complaint’s justifiable and Soy sauce substitute for Nori Condiment

Post 35: The Israeli Government’s 8 point plan to combat terror and my conversation with Arab Israelis on the 19 bus: Rye Pasta From 101 Cooks and Skinnytaste Oatmeal cookies.

I don’t think a bus trip from end to end takes more than 40 minutes. On a decent length bus trip, my basic Arabic book accompanies me. On any given day, many Arabic speakers are on the #19 bus. It’s route thru the Arab sections of East Jerusalem, brings a caravan of mothers and children to shop along on Jaffa Street. The bus climbs to it’s final destination, Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem.

Today, the seat that beckoned to me was next to an older Arab lady and opposite a younger woman, obviously her daughter. An adorable toddler was busy on the floor playing with a cell-phone. I had my Arabic book in hand, and immediately my neighbor peered into it. I comment in Arabic that I am a student. And off we went.

We started with a vocabulary page. The lady didn’t speak Hebrew. We exchanged, “How are yous”. Baruch Ha Shems. ” She pointed up to the heavens. I did too. The vocabulary list contained the Arabic equivalent to Hadassah Hospital. We both nodded to each other when we came to it, and said the equivalent of “Baruch Hashem for Hadassah Hospital.” We laughed and again pointed up to the heavens. People facing us were all smiling.

If I were really fluent, I would have asked if she knows about the plan, being spearheaded by MK Yariv Levin. He is said to have formulated a bill at the behest of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which allegedly will give the police and security establishment the tools it needs to create “real deterrence.” Politicians must think that that the average Joe is stupid. On the books are laws to preserve the rights of protest. The Israel Supreme Court will probably knock most of the points down.

“From revoking the citizenship to baring the Palestinian flag in riots, the bill stipulates eight central moves:”

1-Israeli Arabs caught engaging or cooperating with terror will automatically lose their citizenship – or Palestinian Authority residency, in the case of Palestinians.

(This looks very broad and expedient. Do we really want this without due process?)

2-After completing their prison term, terrorists will be deported from Israel. (Will this really take place?)

3-Those killed during their attempt to conduct a terror attack will not receive a funeral.

4-The body of terrorists will not be transferred to their families, and will be buried in an unknown location, without ceremony and without future access for their families. (I agree with points 3 and 4.)

5-Terrorists’ houses will be destroyed within 24-hours of the attack.

6-Masked stone throwers and those inciting for terror and violence participating in illegal protests in which firebombs or fireworks were thrown will be arrested and held in remand until the completion of legal procedures against them. The same measures will be taken against those who waved an ‘enemy flag’ during the protests, including the Palestinian flag. Anyone convicted at the end of their remand will lose their social welfare benefits and driving license for a 10 year period.

(We certainly have the means to keep demonstrations under 50 people. Can’t we require masks to be removed?)

The Palestinian flag has, unfortunately, become associated with genocidal terrorist organizations like Hamas, and ultra-nationalist Arab supremacist organizations like the Palestinian Authority. Just like flags with the swastika are banned in many countries, one can see how such a symbol can be banned, as waving it is often a sign of support for such hateful groups, and is hence considered hate speech.

I’m not saying the Palestinian flag should be banned, or that swastika flags should be banned. I’m saying that if one can understand why it could be consider reasonable to ban swastika flags, then one can also understand why it could be considered reasonable for Israel to ban the Palestinian flag.

From the Official Charter of the Palestinian people, and their elected government, Article 7:

Muslims will fight the Jews and

kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 0

Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

I think banning their flag is sometimes appropriate. However, if waving a flag helps gives peaceful expression to aspirations, it’s ok.

7-Families of terrorists will lose their citizenship and will be deported to Gaza should they express support for their relative’s deed. Support, according to the bill, can be expressed through public or social media. ( This is really strong.)

8-The bill also includes a clause that would close businesses and printing presses that print posters that support terror or terrorists.

The bill further stipulates that a business can now request the police to inform them whether anyone of their employers has ever been held in relation to a security related offense and give them the right to fire such an employee. Any comments?


Rye Pasta Recipe

December 7, 2014

I’ve switched things up the past few days and have been rolling thin rye pasta. It’s a nice option for the winter months, it freezes well (so I can make a lot in one go), and you can drop tangles of the noodles into a range of restorative winter broths.

These rye noodles boiled, then tossed with a big spoonful of salsa verde, splash of cream, and toasted almonds made a respectable ten-minute lunch topped with a poached egg. They were also good with lemon verbena infused olive oil, roasted crescents of delicata squash, and toasted hazelnuts (left over from this).

A pasta machine makes easy work of a task like noodle making, there’s no reason you can’t roll this dough out by hand. Be sure to allow the dough to rest, then roll it thin on a surfaced floured as lightly as you can get away with. If your dough is at all sticky, dust it with semolina flour to prevent sticking, but avoid over flouring. Fold it over on itself a few times, and slice with a sharp knife. Thanks to each of you who left comments last week. You’re a big part of why I enjoy sharing and exploring ideas and recipes here. I am so very appreciative of each of you.

Rye Pasta Dough
1 cup rye flour
1 cup semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 large egg, whisked
1/4 cup cold water, plus more as needed
special equipment: spray bottle filled with water, pasta attachment to KitcheAide or pasta machine
Making pasta takes a bit of patience and practice. It’s more about developing a feel for the dough, versus following a precise recipe. With this dough, you’re after a specific consistency, not too wet, not too dry. Before rolling out, the dough should be taught and elastic, similar in consistency to the palm of your hand. You get there through a process of kneading and adjusting. Let’s give it a go.
To make the pasta dough, start by combining the flours and salt, turning it out onto a large (preferably wood) cutting board. Form a well in the middle of the flour. Use a fork to gradually stir the flour into the egg yolk, little by little. Do your best not to breach the walls or the egg will run out. If this happens, simply work that egg into the flour. Drizzle the water across, and stir again. I like to use a dough scraper and/or my hands at this point in the process. Work the mass into a ball, kneading a couple of times if possible. You want to add as little water as possible beyond this, but enough that the dough comes together into a cohesive mass. To accomplish this, spray with water (or drizzle), and knead another few times. Repeat, adding more water, until you’re set. Easily prepared with KitchenAide.
At this point you’re going to transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead for a solid five minutes, even better if you can hold out for ten. You’ll sense when then dough is happy, it develops a nice shine and elasticity. Better to err on the long side versus short at this point in the process. When finished, form into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic, and allow to rest, at room temperature, for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. If you have an extruder, this makes a nice dough for extruded pasta shapes, but rolls out into noodles beautifully as well. This is the approach we’re going to talk through today.
Rolling pasta starts by slicing off a segment of dough, perhaps a bit larger than a golf ball. Immediately re-wrap the remaining dough to prevent it from drying out. You can either roll the pasta dough out by hand, and then slice into noodles, or start running the dough through a pasta machine’s widest setting. In either case, after the dough has started to flatten and stretch out (say, the middle setting on the pasta machine), fold the pasta strip on itself every 3-4 inches or so, aiming for three or four layers. Now, roll the pasta to its desired length and thickness. If you’re using the machine rotate the dough 90 degrees so the open edge of the pasta is feeding directly into the rollers. If at any point the dough gets too tacky, simply rub it with a bit of the flour you used in the dough.
Once the dough is at the desired thickness, run it through the cutting rollers on your pasta machine, or loosely roll the pasta into a tube, before slicing with a sharp knife. If you’re cutting by hand, you really want to make sure the dough isn’t going to stick, dust with just enough flour to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Transfer the noodles to a flat surface dusted with semolina flour. With a light touch, fluff the noodles with your fingertips, incorporating a bit of the flour if the dough is sticking at all. Form into little nests. At this point you can cook the pasta in boiling, well-salted water, hang it to dry, or freeze it for later use. I freeze in batches. Then defrost and roll and use in lasagna or pasta omitting the boiling stop for the lasagna.
Makes about 1 lb.
Prep time: 60 min – Cook time: 5 min


Egg free, dairy free, gluten free (use of oats), vegetarian, vegan, kid friendly… what else can I say??

Be sure your bananas are super ripe. I’ve only tested them with quick oats, so I’m not sure how they work with rolled oats. My gut tells me stick with the quick oats.

If you’re on Weight Watchers; each cookie is 1 points plus. Quick breakfast to go; 5 cookies and a piece of fruit = 5 point plus! Leave the nuts out, they are still 1 point each. Replace the nuts with mini chocolate chips… still 1 point. Make these today!

Healthy Cookies
Servings: 8 • Size: 2 cookies • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 2 pt
Calories: 93 • Fat: 3.5 g • Carb: 15 g • Fiber: 2 g • Protein: 2 g • Sugar: 4.5 g
Sodium: 0.4 mg
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of uncooked quick oats*
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a non-stick cookie sheet with cooking spray or use a Silpat.

Combine the mashed bananas and oats in a bowl. Fold in the walnuts and place a tablespoon of each on the cookie sheet.

Bake 15 minutes. Makes 16 cookies.
*Use gluten free oats such as Bob’s Red Mill quick oats to make them gluten free.
Adapted from the Burlap Bag.