Thursday, June 27, 2019

Pishers' Guide to Jerusalem #31, Pisgat Zeev Mall, Awful Loo

This is a continuation in my ongoing series about public toilets in Jerusalem. See #30#29#28#27,  #26,  #25,  #24,  #23#22#21,#20#19#18#17#16,  #15a#15,  #14#13#12#11#10#9,  #8#7,  #6,  #5, Saved by The First Station aka #4a#4#3#2 and #1

I was awfully disappointed in the horrendous condition of the public toilets in the Pisgat Zeev Mall. No upkeep/repairs, no toilet paper and no paper towels.

Also, the locks on the stalls are very tricky, which is a problem.

They've been repairing the public toilets on the main floor for ages, so you have to go upstairs, and this is the situation one floor up.

Considering that there aren't any other public toilets nearby, many of us have to rely on the mall, which is near the Jerusalem lightrail and many bus lines. Besides buses to the rest of Jerusalem, most of  the buse lines to the Shomron and Mateh Binyamin have stops nearby, so this is the best/crucial location for WCs.

The only compliment I can give is that they seemed to be clean, not something to be ignored. Just remember to always have lots of tissues on you, since one can never rely on finding toilet paper in Jerusalem's public toilets.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Caption This!


Your chance to star, but there's no prize.

If you can think of a "caption," please add in the comments, thanks.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Israel Museum, Peter Pan


The big exhibit now in the Israel Museum is about Peter Pan. I found it very interesting, though the "Peter Pan" I grew up with, singing along all the songs, wasn't included. I'm of the generation of Mary Martin's Peter Pan.  I would watch it every year on television. My mother bought the album, and I'd play it, sing along. Even today I know almost every song, and certainly can sing along, picturing it in "color," even though tv was black and white.

Visit the Israel Museum, and tell me what memories Peter Pan awake in you.








Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Perfectly Simple Stuffed Squash

I'm not the "strictly plan a menu and shop" type of person. I decide what to cook according to what I have, or spontaneously when seeing something special in the shop.

So, when I saw these squashes, almost mini-pumpkins, which were just perfect for stuffing, I grabbed a couple. Then I got some ground turkey, even though ground beef or chicken could also be used. Years ago when I was the cook for the local day care center, we learned that turkey had more minerals than chicken and less fat than beef. It was highly recommended, so I started cooking with it more than before.

I mixed the ground turkey with diced onion, granulated garlic, dehydrated dill and a small container of tomato paste. That was it. Of course you can add whatever seasonings you like or have in your pantry.

With a strong knife I split the squash and emptied the halves of seeds. Then I stuffed them and baked on a Pyrex type of baking dish 180c (360f,) though any baking pan would do. I have a fan oven and turned it off when I could see that the meat was done and the squash "bubbly."

If you're serving the stuffed squash as a simple meal, just add a salad and carbohydrate, if you eat carbs. They also reheat very well.

Enjoy, and let me know if you've tried the recipe and how you changed it, thanks.


Saturday, June 15, 2019

Double-Tweaked My Challah Recipe, Better Results

I made two changes to my usual challah recipe. One change I made in my challah recipe was intentional, and the other was accidental, but the results were phenomenal. For the longest time, even though my challot tasted great, the texture was problematic. My husband complained that the sandwiches I made him with the leftover challah crumbled terribly.  I tried leaving out the eggs, but there wasn't any real improvement.

On Friday, when I made my latest batch of challah (usually enough to last a month or more, since we don't eat much bread) I increased the water to four 4 cups. And for whatever reason, I forgot to add the pinch of salt.

I used the same whole wheat flour as usual, but the challot ended up almost double the size, much softer and better texture.


This is the newly tweaked recipe:

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar (I use dark brown)
2 Tablespoons or a bit more of dehydrated yeast
approximately 2 kilo flour (I used 70% or 100% whole wheat extra fine)
4 cups of warm water
1 cup of any vegetable oil
1 egg for painting to make a shiny challah

Instructions:
Mix sugar and yeast in large bowl.
Add the warm water.
mix
Cover with plastic.
When it looks all bubbly and has risen add the oil.
Mix
Gradually add flour, mixing all the time, until you can knead it.
Knead for about 8 minutes.
Coat completely in a bit more oil.
Cover and wait until doubled in size, anything from 20 to 40 minutes depending on the weather and quality of yeast.
Punch down, then cover and wait again.
"Take a piece of challah" for the blessing.
Punch down and then shape on baking pan, covered with baking paper. The shaping as you can see in my photos can be very simple.
Paint with raw egg and let the challot rise a bit.
Bake. *Start in a hot fan/turbo oven 180c (360f), and then lower temperature when you can see the challah begin to brown a bit 150c (300f).
It's ready when hard on the bottom and has a hollow sound when tapping the bottom.
Let cool out of the oven.

Enjoy for Shabbat, Jewish Holidays or whenever you want a special bread. PS They freeze well.

*There are too many factors to predict exact baking time.

Monday, June 10, 2019

"One Pot Meal," Dairy Vegetable Kugel

Notice that I used a different, for me, shaped pan, so the frozen kugel will be easy to recognize in the freezer, without having to uncover them.

Since my husband and I found ourselves eating alone on the Shavuot holiday, when it's traditional to eat dairy meals, I tried to come up with practical foods.

I used this Dairy Vegetable Kugel as a side dish, but with the addition of a fresh salad, it (certainly the leftovers) makes a perfect and tasty "One Pot Meal." An additional advantage is that you can make more than one at a time and freeze them.

Ingredients:
1 package broad noodles, (you may use any pasta)
1 package cottage cheese
6 eggs
3 fresh mushrooms
1 large onion
1 squash
2 tomatoes
seasonings to taste
You can vary/change the vegetables to your liking and what you have in stock.

Instructions:

  1. boil the broad noodles
  2. while they're cooking cut of the vegetables
  3. Put the vegetables, cottage cheese, eggs and cooking/rinsed noodles and a large bowl and mix. Add whatever seasonings you wish.
  4. Pour the mixture in baking pans. Optional to line with baking paper.
  5. Bake in moderate oven 160c or 320f until firm and "bubbly" on sides. 
  6. that's it
  7. serve with salad if you wish
I used to make a sweet version of it, adding fruit, apples, raisins rather than vegetables, seasoned with cinnamon and sugar.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Shavuot Menu, Keeping it Easy

Maybe someday I'll still do it. A number of years ago, I started writing a cookbook which I named:
The Lazy Cook Cookbook
For some strange reason, people told me that the title is awful. Am I the only person who looks for easy ways to prepare food? I don't like recipes that have too many steps and too many ingredients. Those of you who have seen my recipes already, must have noticed that they're pretty minimal.

Those of us who live very Jewish lives, according to halacha, Jewish Law, will be celebrating the Shavuot Holiday immediately after Shabbat. That means that since it's forbidden to do any preparation, whether cooking, setting the table or even cutting a salad on Shabbat for the Holiday, even the fanciest balabustas, Jewish housekeepers, should keep it pretty simple. The family and guests, if you have any, will want to eat as soon as possible, no doubt.

That's why I decided to serve me and my husband cream cheese, lox and salad. That's not something we have frequently or at all. I may serve a dairy vegetable kugel, which should heat up pretty easily, but I still have to make it today. With the added treat of ice cream for dessert, we should be ready on time to go to a Torah class. Neither of us learn all night anymore. We're not as young as we used to be.

For Shavuot "lunch," after synagogue, I'll make a version of my "one pot baked fish and vegetables" in advance. We don't have any guests for that meal either, so I can cook exactly what we need to eat.

Ever since we both began to "diet," I try to serve us only what we need. The only "unlimited" foods I have on the table are salad and low carbohydrate vegetables. We've never been on "starvation diets." Just the thought of one makes me gorge on forbidden foods. When we have guests, I put out more food, but many of our guests are "repeats" and have the same food preferences as we do.

I bought a couple of special cheeses as Shavuot treats, besides the ice cream. We won't starve for sure.

Soon I'll go to our local swimming pool, and then after breakfast I'll cook, Gd willing.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Shavuot Sameach To All

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Adventures on Public Transportation

We don't have a car, so my traveling is a combination of public transportation and rides, tremps, the Israeli word for hitchhiking. I also call it siyate d'Shmaya kaful, a double dose of the hand of Gd.

Unlike the lies you'll hear in the international media, anti-Israel NGOs etc, there's no apartheid in Israel. Jews and Arabs travel together, at least on Israeli "Jewish" public transportation. You won't find Jews on the Arab buses.

In the afternoon, buses to Ariel from the "coastal plain," Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva, Kfar Saba etc are packed with Arabs. I've seen buses speed past bus stops many times, while Jews and Arabs stand tired and frustrated waiting for a bus that will take them on their way. The Yarkon Junction is one of the most difficult places to get a ride on a bus during that busy time. I've had better luck at the Oranit/Elkana bus stop off the main Cross-Samaria Highway. But that doesn't mean that I can easily get into the bus and find a seat.

The last time I needed to get home via Ariel, a bus stopped there to let a couple of people off, but at first wasn't going to let anyone on. Then the driver saw that there were just a few of us, so he opened the door and asked where we needed to go.
I answered: "Ariel."
So the driver replied: "Pay me and then go in through the backdoor."
That's what I did, sort of. I paid him, and then walked to the back door. He opened it. I could see that the back of the bus was packed with Arab workers. I had already paid and had no doubt that the next bus would be the same if not worse. So, I stepped up and sat on the step. It sure beat standing.
A minute later I felt someone tap me on the shoulder, so I looked up. "There's a seat for you."
"Thank you," I replied.
Yes, one of the Arab workers had gotten up to give me his seat. This has happened before. I've found the Arab workers are very polite to an old lady like me, thank Gd.

A few minutes later, at the Gitit Revava bus stop, the bus emptied almost entirely. That's where most of the Arabs get off. There were just a handful of other passengers traveling to Ariel, where I got a ride home, thank Gd.



Sunday, June 02, 2019

Using Up Leftover Bread, Stuffed Chicken


To keep my weight down, not that I'm all that slim, I have to stay away from bread. We end up with the thick ends of bread, which my husband doesn't like for his sandwiches. So last week, I took four thick pieces of "standard" Israeli sliced/packaged bread and stuffed a chicken with it.

 As you can see, all I added to the bread was some water to soften, plus diced carrots and onion. You can spice it up or add other vegetables that will hold up to long cooking and have a lot of flavor, like celery.

Mix the bread, broken into small pieces, plus water and vegetables into a "mush." Stuff it into the whole chicken. If there's too much, then surround the chicken.
I baked the stuffed chicken in a large, deep dish. As you can see, I sprinkled lots of pepper, paprika and garlic on it.

For the first 40 minutes or so, I had the chicken covered with foil. For the final half hour or more I baked it uncovered, heat from top on turbo 210 degrees Centigrade, which is 410 Fahrenheit.

This is a very simple and tasty way to use up bread.