This past week we drove Max down to NATBAG (the Israeli abbreviation for Ben Gurion Airport) so that he could make “khool” (the Hebrew slang for khootz l’aretz, going outside the country) to summer camp in upstate New York. He’s gone for the past four years: this year it will be as one of the Israeli representative ambassadors. It’s something we’ve all looked forward to for months. This is the first kid-free time my husband and I have had for almost 30 years. We had planned lots of little field trips, just the two of us, but the day after Max left, the heat set in. They say it’s an Apocalyptic heat wave. I hate that term for anything!!! But it is khamsin out: triple digits all week; extreme humidity; few breezes. Everywhere you go people keep saying “shoteh harbeh mayim!!!!” drink lots of water – and “zokhair et ha cremah haganah” remember the sunscreen. It’s definitely NOT the time to be cooking, and I’ve been experimenting with some amazing light, cool, and juicy summer salads that can be eaten anytime during the day. As soon as we moved into this house, I started preparing the huge window boxes outside each room, and the planters that surround the mirpesset (balcony). We are now enjoying summer’s bounty, which keeps the exorbitant food costs down as well as providing us with an amazing assortment of organic veggies. It’s amazing how much produce can be grown in even the tiniest of spaces. I even recycle the gray water from cooking to water the ‘garden.’ Also, because this is the Shmittah, or Sabbatical year for letting the land rest, balcony and container gardening are perfect!!!
So, this experiment turned out gloriously. The first salad is bright and colorful – juicy, naturally sweet, crunchy, healthy – and just plain happy in all its simplicity. I picked the carrots and beets from the garden.
For those in the States who might be following: I keep a Kosher kitchen. One of the interesting dietary rules is that milk products and meat products are not mixed in any way. This means separate dishes, silver, cookware, drainers, storage on shelves, freezer, and fridge, and separate prep counters. Parve foods, which are neither meat nor dairy can go both ways, and are much more flexible. Another reason to love those fruits and veggies!
Beet, Carrot & Apple Salad (serves 4-6) (Parveh)
- 2 beets (I used one deep red and a hot pink and white Choggia)
- 3 carrots
- 2 green apples
It’s that simple. Thickly grate the ingredients using a box grater. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Fresh Citrus and Cucumber Salad (serves 4) (Parveh)
I got the cucumbers, mint, and radishes from the little garden. When I saw oranges and limes at the produce stand, I knew I had to act quickly. You never know what you’ll find here, or if or when you’ll next see it. Limes are a rarity in these parts, so I bought 2 kilos to freeze and defrost for later use. The oranges are sweet and juicy. Great in this heat for rehydrating a parched soul…
- 3 medium cukes, washed, & sliced
- 6-8 radishes, washed & sliced thinly
- 2 whole oranges, peeled and segmented (save the juices that drip down into a bowl)
- a handful of fresh mint leaves, washed and julienned
In a medium bowl, add the sliced cukes & radishes. Toss in the orange segments with reserved juice. Add the fresh mint, toss, refrigerate, and serve cold! It’s that simple!!
Asian-Inspired Kohlrabi Salad (serves 4) (Parveh)
I must admit, I’d never tried Kohlrabi until I moved to Israel. These ugly little root vegetables are everywhere, and in Shmittah year, when the shuks and produce stands are low on variety, well…this bugger certainly stands out. There are two kinds: pale green and deep purple, with absolutely no difference when you peel them to reveal the white inside. Potato? Apple? Radish? What the heck is it? The closest thing I can compare it to is the southwestern jicama. So if you can’t find kohlrabi (in the cabbage/broccoli family, Brassicaea), don’t sweat. Use jicama.
Almost all of my plug in kitchen utensils were given away or sold (still can’t believe I let my Cuisinart, mixer, ice cream maker, blender, Vita Mix, juicer, yogurt maker, waffler, etc. go for less than $300 for all!!!). As it turns out, you just can’t use the same voltage for appliances here. They burn out. Anyway, I have my handy-dandy $15 Homegoods mandolin slicer and I sprung for an immersion blender once I got here. Coming from my gourmet kitchen in the US, this is kind of primitive, but works.
- 1 medium sized Kohlrabi, peeled and julienned into thin strips (you can sub jicama)
- 2 large sweet green apples, washed, and julienned with peel still on
- 1 Tablespoon juice from pickled ginger in a jar
- 4 large pieces pickled ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1 teaspon sesame oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Julienne the apples and kohlrabi, mix together well in serving bowl. Add sliced ginger and juice, sesame oil, salt & pepper. Toss. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (as a variation, the ginger can be omitted. Instead use 1 tsp thinly sliced green onion, white part only. Can use black sesame seeds for white as a contrast in color…)
Refreshing Mango-Chard Smoothie (serves 2) Parveh
So, I have a friend in the Golan who has a mango plantation. Yup. She grows mangos and lychees for the Israeli and European (before the Boycott/Sanction/Divest from Israel movement started) markets. I have never tasted a fruit, the Maya variety of Mango – so delicious. I can eat it all day! She serves it cut up into ‘porcupines’ on a huge serving tray with a roll of paper towels. Dig in!! In fact, you’ll see it pop up again in my post next week in a delicious salsa.
This smoothie sounds disgusting. I don’t like drinking green things. But with MS, I have to eat right and take care of my body. However, this is so sweet and smooth and refreshing, that even my dear husband will drink it- he loves it as a quick, pre-Ulpan breakfast! Great for breakfast, and if you want, you can add a cup of fresh goat milk yogurt (for those in the states, available at Trader Joe’s), but it will then become a dairy drink for those concerned with Kashrut law…. BTW, I just use my immersion blender, and it works fine!
- 1/2 cup apple juice, fresh pressed, whole, if possible
- 1 whole mango, peeled and sliced
- 4 large rainbow chard leaves, washed and chopped
- 1/2 tsp honey
- Large handful fresh, washed mint leaves
- 1 cup ice (or 1 cup plain yogurt, preferably goat milk, if dairy can be eaten)
Put all the ingredients into a blender – or use the hand-held immersion type. Serve immediately.
My last recipe is quick, protein packed, easy, and deeeeelish! It makes a great snack, and is my take on the typical American PB&J (peanut butter & jelly) sandwich. A real kid pleaser! This summer was the first time I had fresh dates (thanks A. & M. for stuffing my tik full at the restaurant when you visited!!)
Stuffed Dates (parveh)
- Fresh dates (in the US, you might only be able to find the dried variety)
- Peanut butter, cashew butter, almond or sesame butter
Slice the date and take out the pit. Stuff with nut butter, your choice on variety. Makes a great snack or rich, parveh dessert. B’tayahvon! To your appetite!