To update all you loyal readers: this is the eighth attempt at publishing this blog, as I’ve had nothing but glitches with this WordPress site. So let’s hope all goes well this time. My husband, John, underwent an extensive surgery last month and was set to be transferred to a convalescent hospital almost two weeks ago. Our health care group would only pay for four hospitals in the North (the periphery). All were overcrowded, understaffed and not as clean as I’d like. So we petitioned the doctor to let John do shikum at home. We’ve had a nurse come to show me how to do wound care and apply dressings and give medications; a physical therapist who gave exercises (that turned out to be way to advanced at this time); a social worker and a dietician.
Together with the dietician, we worked out a specific meal plan with foods that are low in acid and fiber, are easily digestible, high in protein and soluble fats, red meat free, grain and seed free, salt free, cruciferous veg free…. Plus I wanted to serve him a diet high in probiotics and prebiotics to replace his gut flora. He lost 22 pounds, so they wanted to put him on Ensure and other highly processed drinks and shakes. I wanted to keep the diet as natural as possible. Yes! Challenge accepted!
Healthy recipes here we come! As soon as we got home, I made a 48-hour bone broth in the crockpot. I took beef bones with the marrow, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, bay leaves, ginger, peppercorn, garlic and cooked it until the marrow was completely melted into the soup. High in protein, probiotics and collagen, super delicious, it would be a base for other soups once strained and frozen. There was zucchini mushroom soup, chicken soup with matzah balls, potato leek soup and two varieties of the quintessential Israeli Marok Katom orange soup, so named for its bright orange color. Every household has their own version of orange soup which uses any of an assortment of orange veggies and spices. I made one of a large bag of peeled carrots, a peeled sweet potato and water with some cloves and nutmeg. My favorite (I’ve given the recipes in past blogs) uses a sautéed onion and peeled apple slices with roasted sweet potato, butternut squash and carrots. This gets a can of coconut milk, grated orange peel, a hefty tablespoon of curry powder and water. All the soups are well blended with an immersion blender until creamy.
For breakfast John I make a smoothie. I like to buy as local and as fresh as possible… from our local farmers. We are so blessed to have free-range goats and goatherds throughout the Galilee. Fresh goat milk products are amazing- not at all ‘goaty’ or ‘wild’ tasting. The milk is very mild, sweet, and easily digestible. We have more than a few artisanal goat dairies in the vicinity, so I eat a cup of goat yogurt every day and use it in smoothies. Recently, I found a new superfood called fonio. It’s high in protein and minerals and low glycemic. The closest I can describe it is that it is a bit like cream of wheat when cooked as a breakfast food. I add a scoop of PB (peanut butter) protein powder that I order from the States, goat yogurt, cinnamon, honey and banana. It’s very tasty!
Roasted, peeled beets are extremely high in antioxidants and iron. Another superfood. You can find them prepackaged in the supermarkets (and in the US, at Trader Joe’s). I developed this recipe with a couple Israeli/ Mediterranean twists. I use a goat feta that is very very low in salt and very firm and mild. It comes in a block submerged in water, and can be cut into smaller cubes. Hopefully you will be able to find something quite similar. Fresh dill is found in many recipes here, as is mint. The two together make this salad really fresh and the dressing is a twist on the Israeli lemon juice and olive oil.
Mediterranean Beet Salad
- 3-4 medium beets, roasted & peeled, or 1 pack pre-cooked beets
- 1/2 cup goat feta, as fresh as possible
- 2 TBSP freshly chopped dill leaves
- 1 TBSP freshly chopped mint leaves
- Vinaigrette , recipe below
In a large bowl cut the roasted beets into bite sized cubes. Add the fresh feta, cubed. Add mint and dill. In a small bowl mix together the vinaigrette until it forms a creamy emulsion. Pour over salad and mix thoroughly.
- Juice of 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
I’ve made a big casserole of Mac and Cheese from scratch, and several egg dishes including this one quiche. Usually coming up with new recipes is successful, but there are occasional flops. The tuna quiche was one of those disasters. It was crustless with a sliced potato base. I loaded it up with spinach, peeled finely grated carrots, cheese, and a lovely custard. Coming out of the oven it looked absolutely glorious, but it smelled and tasted like cat food. It was pretty gross, and the neighborhood felines had quite a treat. So much so, that I believe I’ve made a new friend. She comes around to my kitchen window every morning now.
Eggs have become a really important part of John’s diet. After all these years, I just found out he hates hard boiled eggs by themselves. Who knew? I love that after over 40 years together, we are still discovering new things about each other. He loves fluffy scrambled eggs, in Hebrew – mitgushgeshet. It reminds me of the Netflix “Somebody Feed Phil” episode where his father insists on fluffy eggs. It’s even on Max’s tombstone: But are they fluffy? I’ve come to love the Israeli chavitah pronounced kha-vee-TAH. Its origins are from kibbutz days. They were made in the main kitchen en masse for the agricultural workers. The scrambled eggs are cooked very flat and very crispy then folded into a rectangle. That way they could be quickly put between pieces of bread, wrapped up and taken into the field. The IDF soldiers are still fed this way in the field. Add an Israeli salad of chopped cucumber and tomato with a drizzle of olive oil and a spritz of lemon juice and you’re good to go.
- 1 TBSP butter
- 2 eggs
- splash of milk
- 3 TBSP assorted fresh herbs, chopped finely. I used parsley, cilantro, dill and chives
- 2 TBSP finely chopped red onion, optional
- 1/4 cup feta cheese cubes or crumbles
Melt butter on medium high flame in medium sized pan. Scramble the eggs with a splash of milk. Finely chop all the herbs and the onions. The onions should be a teeny, tiny, mince. Put the eggs into the pan and let sit. The edges should brown slightly. As bubbles for they can be popped. Sprinkle half the herbs on the eggs, which should be undisturbed and completely flat. Flip the eggs and let brown slightly on the other side. As they are cooking, sprinkle the feta and remaining herbs and onions over top. Fold the edges over so the eggs look like a rectangle or fold blanket. Slide onto the plate. It can also be put into a sandwich with a sh ear of cream cheese and mustard. Really!!!! Try it. The combo is surprisingly good!
The next recipe is a variation of my mother’s salmon loaf recipe. So it’s a real comfort food to me as well as being protein rich and high in Omega fatty acids. I used canned salmon, which is easy to find here and much cheaper than fresh. It’s boneless and skinless, so there is little waste. The dish can be served hot or cold and makes the best sandwiches the next day. In the photo below are my Mrs. Meyer’s products. I order them from the States because they are my favorites. They do a fantastic job, are ecologically friendly, and the scents are heavenly… it’s a bit of a comfort of home for me.The loaf pan was made by my son, Max, when he was 14 and took a ceramics class. It’s one of my favorites. My dill is in a little earthenware crock from England. That’s how fresh cream used to be delivered in the late 1800s….it’s just so sweet! I’d been looking for one for decades and found it in Scotland for £6 at an antiques store.
- 3 200g cans boneless, skinless salmon, drained
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 1 large carrot, peeled and grated finely
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 2 TBSP chopped fresh dill
Preheat oven to 170*C/350*F. Line a loaf pan with parchment/baking paper. In a large bowl combine all the above ingredients, mixing with your hands, until it quickly comes together. The mixture should be moist and malleable, but not overly wet. If it seems too loose, add a bit more panko breadcrumbs. Place in the loaf pan and form into loaf. Make a deep well down the center and fill with ketchup. Bake for about 40 minutes and salmon is gently browned on top. Garnish with extra dill sprigs. Enjoy!
My pour neighbors have been totally helpful and understanding. My next door neighbor went and bought a little chair for the shower. Other Friday of Shabbat, he brought over a full dinner. Complete with challah, wine and candles! It was the sweetest thing ever.
Our other neighbor, a Ukrainian refugee who is living with her host family, brought over a wonderful Apple Charlottka, which was kind of like a pancake, but different. She serves it with a dollop of sour cream. Amazing! I got the recipe and made one after this was rapidly devoured. It’s really easy to make, and the ingredients were on John’s diet list.
Ukrainian Apple Charlottka
- 3 green cooking apples
- 3 red cooking apples
- 1/freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 TBSP sugar (I use coconut sugar)
- 4 cup yogurt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten free baking flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (you can use regular, but this is low glycemic)
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 3 TBSP white or sanding sugar
Preheat oven to 200*C/400*F. Line a springform pan with baking/parchment paper. Peel the apples and slice thinly. In a medium bowl, toss apples with lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar. In a large bowl, mix the eggs and sugar until thick and lemony yellow. Mix in the yogurt and almond extract. In separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Whisk to incorporate the air and make light and fluffy. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Stir until smooth. Fold in the apples. Pour into the pan and bake for 25 minutes until the top is golden. Remove from oven. Pour the melted butter over top and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the cake. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven. Loosen the pan. Remove ring after 10 minutes. Let rest until transferring to plate.