|Hummus and Tahini from El-Ajami|
I last visited
30 years ago. Even though I’ve not changed a bit (hahhah) Israel has. One area that has really morphed is in the food arena. Goodie for me! Israel always had great fruits and vegetables but now they have even more. Where ever you go you see beautiful food. Pastries galore, cafes, falafel, health food, artisan bread, cheese and fresh pressed olive oil. It is not hard to be a gourmet here. Israel
So-it’s a story! (A favorite friend of mine says that). I have many, but let me start with a bit of hospitality. After a week of Israeli comfort food my tastebuds were ready for a change. It began with friends/family planning a glorious day in the lower
Galilee. Meggido Junction to be exact. Somewhere near there is where Armegeddon is supposed to occur but it didn’t happen when I was there. If it had my tummy would have been perfectly satisfied for what happened was a divine feast of food and Arabic hospitality.
It began with this man. Doesn’t he look like he belongs in the movies?
He knew my friend and was very welcoming. And then he heard I had a food blog and he became even MORE welcoming. We barely had time to look at the menu, which I couldn’t read anyway, before the mezze started arriving. Quickly, so quickly I’m amazed I was able to eat and take photos. But this was a meal I wasn’t going to miss out on. And good thing because it was heavenly. (Have you noticed all my biblical adjectives?)
Red Turnip Pickles and Olives
Grilled Meat (The best crispy part)
Rice Pilaf with Pine Nuts and Almonds
Below - Turkish Salad (a tomato, spiced concoction that I loved)
Mezze are really appetizers or tapas chosen not only for taste but by their color and texture. A whole meal can be made of these so one must be careful to not go overboard. Well, my man went overboard and it was sooo much fun. He brought out 12 different salads and pickles and you name it. There were only 5 of us and 2 that need to learn how to try new things, (you know who I’m talking about?!) but I love them anyway! I had already ordered an entrée as they specialized in grilled meat. I ordered grilled chicken which came butterflied, smoky, charred and delicious!
A Major Beef Kebab
My grilled Chicken
I already told you about the chicken. But I haven’t made it to dessert or mint tea yet and thinking about this meal is making me hungry and homesick. Those will have to wait for another blog though I will tempt you with pictures.
Coconut and Pistachio Baklava
Coconut and Pistachio Baklava
This comes from The Best Of the Mediterranean - A Cookbook
It calls for dry chickpeas and soak them overnight. Not on my watch.
2 cups canned chickpeas, save 1/2 cup of the liquid from the can
2/3 cup tahini
2/3 cup lemon juice
3 to 4 garlic cloves
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
Put chickpeas into food processor. Add tahini, lemon juice, garlic cloves,
cumin, salt and the 1/2 cup liquid.
Process until smooth.
Usually best to put in fridge for a couple of hours to get less liquidy, although
I have no problem eating as is.
Put some olive oil and paprika on, and voila. Dip with pita or chips or veggies.
Note the empty hummus plate
Gabi and Mr. Hollywood