Post 63: A very rollercoaster Friday; Recipe: Leek, Potato & Fennel Soup

The events of Friday February 6th, just one day ago, keep reverberating and ticking in my brain. This was definitely an A.D.D. day. So much happened that I am still digesting the events two days later and will probably have them in my head for a while. This post describes up until noon before the roller-coaster started. I will continue (B’N) the story in my next post) on Sunday.

If there was a color to describe the day, it would be the blue of the window frame, and the window box bar of the restaurant on Agron Street. The arrangement reminded me of a shadow box. Many moments of the owner’s box jelled into an artistic composition.

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Roses are in bloom in Jerusalem
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An entrance reminded me of a long married couple, lying in two adjacent beds. The lower right side of the blue doored entrance contains a small swinging horizontal opening, probably for a cat to get out.

My Yoga class at Inspire Yoga was due to start at 10:30. I always take my trusty red Playmarket shopping wagon on excursions. I only mention that because it had a roll to play, later that morning. It was left in the yoga studio. With fifteen minutes remaining before the class I decided to stroll over to the grand Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which is down the block from Inspire Yoga and look at the art work in the lobby. My red “play wagon” would just attract too much attention. My plan was to visit a clothing swap in Rehavia and perhaps buy some extras for Shabat at Heimishe Essen. Why do we make so many plans?? That’s part of the A.D.D. or F.O.M.O.

The hotel boasts a large collection of contemporary Israeli art. I asked the slim grey silk suited male reservation desk clerk (men and women wear  the same color silk suit), for a list of the paintings in the hotel. The doorman at the entrance tipped his Mad hatter top hat (also grey). Another staff member and I chatted a bit.  I asked whether the painting above the desk was a reproduction. The consensus was that yes the painting was not a reproduction after checking out the stretcher sides, which had a rough uneven texture. While this exchange took place another staff member left briefly and returned with a printed list of the hotel’s art collection and the contact information for the artists. I shared that I was a painter. Not unusual in a country with 40,000 working artists. This meeting was to also prove significant.

Then I  hustled back to Inspire Yoga, at 22 Agron for a total body stimulating yoga workshop  lead by Cheryl Nayowitz.

( From the Inspire Yoga Site), referred to as “the worm” in the hospital nursery where she was born, Cheryl has always been a person who couldn’t stop moving! She began dance classes aged 3 yrs old and continued on with Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary & Hiphop dance.  Cheryl studied “The Integrated Being: A Look into Mind Body Dualism” at Gallatin, the School of Individualized Study. She completed a 200 hr (RYT) yoga teaching certification with Atmananda Yoga, a 2nd teacher training in prenatal yoga with MA YOGA, then studied towards a Dance/Movement therapy Masters at Pratt University.  Cheryl has taught at various studios in downtown New York City.  She made Aliyah to Israel 2 yrs ago and is now sharing her extensive knowledge and expertise in movement with us at Inspire studio, combining her love of dance & yoga by teaching a classical dance-yoga fusion class and a rhythm-based-yoga class! When Cheryl isn’t on the mat, she can be found with her 4 children ages 2 to 9!

Elisheva Silver (on drum) and Rose Pollard (acoustic violin) accompanied our all women class in a frenzied yoga flow (zarem in Hebrew). I along with nine other women warmed up as jasmine incense infused the 45 meter dance studio. My first impression was of patchouli oil, but I was politely corrected. 

During the course of the class, Cheryl lead me to an awareness of the tender spot on the side of my left knee. I tried to perform the asanas that she demonstrated and described at a pace that I was able to easily follow. In a few minutes the tenderness disappeared.

Every teacher that I have been introduced to at Inspire Studio has an abundance of dedication to their craft and to their students. In a brief time they know each student’s needs for correction and potential. I suppose if there were an app for yoga which projected a self adjusting method for a student, it would be given by either Elisheva, Cheryl or Roy speaking to them. 

I remember as a youngster grappling with a mathematics problem and using the memory of my teacher’s words. I found myself using that method under the guidance of the Inspire Studio instructors.

There is a pot of tea warming on the fire. It is  offered before and after class with a varying array of sweets, each day a  different. I find myself marveling how perfectly timed one class merges into the next. I recommend trying a class and you will soon be hooked:

Private and Group Classes: Booking on line through Facebook

Inspire Yoga: http://www.inspirejerusalem.com

Phone: 052-358-5126  | Email: info@inspirestudio.com . Send  a message/text and they get back to you very promptly.
OPENING HOURS

Mon – Thu 6AM – 7PM

Friday 6AM – 9PM

Saturday  7AM – 9PM

Sunday  7AM – 7PM

ADDRESS: 22 Agron Street Jerusalem, Israel, easy to find between the American Consulate and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, through an arch.
Recipe: Leek, Potato & Fennel Soup

 

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This soup is comfort in a bowl. I love serving it with chunks of buttered rustic bread as an easy supper. Thick, creamy and fragrant, with the deliciously salty crunch of bacon, this unusual leek, potato and fennel soup is equally at home at an everyday dinner or at an elegant dinner party.

Added fennel to give this classic leek and potato soup a little twist. It adds a sweet anise flavor that really lifts the soup and makes it different from the usual.

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Leek, Potato and Fennel Soup

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 leeks, tender white parts with a little green only, thinly sliced
1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large potatoes, scrubbed, peeled, and chopped into small dice
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
Fresh chives, snipped, to garnish

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks, fennel and garlic along with a generous pinch of salt. Cook without browning just until the vegetables soften.

Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the potatoes, and stir. Add the stock, and bring it up to a boil. Turn down the heat again, and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are all very soft.

Let the soup cool until no longer steaming, and then blend the soup using a hand or stand blender until it has a smooth, velvety consistency. Season generously with salt and pepper, and stir in the heavy cream (if using).  Gently reheat the soup, without letting it boil. Ladle the soup into bowls, and crumble bacon and sprinkle over chives, to serve.

Recipe Notes  For vegan, (macrobiotic) version, use vegetable stock and skip the cream. Substitute cauliflower, jerusalem artichokes, kholrabi, fennel for an interesting variation.

  • I love using cream as it adds a delicious velvety texture to the soup. You can skip the cream if you’re watching the calories, or stir in a couple tablespoons of creme fraiche or greek yogurt.
  • This soup can be frozen. If freezing, don’t add any cream to it. Defrost, reheat, then add cream, after which you can re-adjust the seasoning to your taste.

 

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