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).

 

Introduction

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

 

Ingredients

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

 

Directions

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

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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

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