Fun with pretzels!

I love this:

Fun with pretzels, Israeli style!

The generic Supersol brand wants you to know all about the awesome fun you can have with pretzel rings. It explains that “pretzel rings are the most fun way to eat from your hands!”

“Do you want an idea of how to truly enjoy pretzel rings? Please: put on the rings (and you can put them on your friends) and nibble them straight from your fingers (you can also do that from your friends’ fingers).”

Raunchy! And I love the little diagram that goes with it. Love it.

Brand new Bamba for the same old Sabra.

Last week someone introduced me to a brand new concept for the makers of a very old concept:

Nougat cream filled-Bamba.

Bamba has been around for decades, having been created by Israelis for Israelis. I suppose that’s why its maker, Osem, decided to issue a brand-new flavor around the time of Israel’s 60th birthday.

It’s actually really really awesome (Osem?) and I would suggest trying it out. I’m not much of a Bamba eater on a regular basis but once in a while, a little taste of primitive Israel is nice.

Here are a few facts about Bamba:

  • Osem created strawberry flavored Bamba, shaped as spheres, a few years back.
  • The snack has survived since 1963 with no decline in sales.
  • It contains no cholesterol, food coloring or preservatives.
  • Remember when I had a dog? She really liked Bamba.

 

Ma nishtana ha Pessach ha ze?

What makes this Passover different from all other Passovers? It’s the first one where I’m making my own seder while combining the traditions I grew up experiencing with someone else and his own traditions.

I feel like this is the type of thing we all think about and wonder as kids (ok maybe just those of us who grew up with the Orthodox upbringing): when we get married, what traditions will our husbands have? Will we stand united, stay separate but equal or be dissolved into one another?

My husband and I have a fun mix of Ashekenazi and Spehardi between us; it’s cause for all kinds of different foods and we like to be multicultural about it. Now that it’s Pessach, we’re learning new customs, foods and Ma Nishtana languages from each other.

For example, one of the staples of the seder is the haroset; the ugly but yummy dip we use to remember the bricks our forefathers built in Egypt. Ashkenazi haroset is usually constructed from apples, walnuts, sugar, honey, cinnamon, sweet red wine. Sephardi charoset is more focused on dates, raisins, apples, and some kind of nut. That is why we will have two different charosets at our seder table this year.

haroset

Can you guess which is which?

I have never been a fan of Ashkenazi charoset. It’s kind of awkward to me and looks like chopped liver, another Ashkenazi food I try to avoid. In my house growing up, we all fought over the amazing, sweet pasty charoset my Sephardi grandmother prepared for us. Every year the amount she made grew, and every year, it seemed more like there was not enough.

Well, I replicated it this year and I can proudly say that my Polish husband fell in love with it instantly… although, to be fair, he has decided to have his mum’s version at the seder because it wouldn’t be the same for him without it.

Pessach is definitely my favorite food holiday and it’s probably in the number one spot for all-time favorite holiday. I feel honored to be cooking the dishes my grandmother spent years serving us, carrying on traditions… and even picking up new ones.

A little thing about home(land) cooking.

There is something so completely special – when you can look past the depressing, lonely, sad aspects – about being an olah in Israel, cooking your family’s traditional Passover recipes for your own seder with fellow olim…

My grandmother is far far away, but here I am, across the world, continuing her delicious traditions and recreating her dishes in my very own Israeli kitchen. Like so much of the population before and around me, I am an immigrant here, bringing my own brand of Judaism and Jewish food to this true melting pot of a country.

Today's word: שוקו ולחמניה

It must be Israeli food day at work. They just brought us a classic Israeli snack, and as one coworker remarked, “what are we, in kindergarten?”

It’s שוקו ולחמניה, a white roll with “shoko b’sakit”, or chocolate milk in a bag:

shoko lachmania

I realize how weird that may sound, but I guess that weirdness was broken for me years ago when I spent a summer here and an Israeli friend of mine said we were getting breakfast and he walked into a makolet and came out with two white rolls and two bags of chocolate milk.

Nostalgia is like a box of chocolates.

A coworker, upon returning from vacation, brought a box of chocolate to share today, as per the office tradition. I don’t think she realized the excitement it would cause; she’s an olah like me. We found it very cute to watch the Israelis get excited about her choice:

elite retro chocolate

It’s a retro-style box of Elite chocolate bars; Elite is the Israeli brand that brings us the series of “cow” chocolate bars. Apparently, they recognized he retro-ness and enjoyed the nostalgia.

Let’s face it; we’d do the same with Hershey’s.

Israeli beef cuts explained; no more freezing hands.

Finally! After all the guessing and examining and asking and hand-freezing while trying to figure out, I just received an email with a few ways to figure out the Israeli meat-cut system.

A Yahoo group called Israel Food compiled a list as seen below. The blogger at Israel Easy took it a step further here. And finally, for Hebrew speakers, this explanation with cow diagram is a great education.

Israel Food’s guide to Israeli beef cuts:

#1 in Hebrew: אנטריקוט - Entrecote, Steak Ayin, Vered Hatzela.
Ynet says for steaks and roast beef.
JP says suitable for roasting and grilling.
Known in the U.S. as rib and in the U.K. as forerib.

#2 in Hebrew: צלעות עורף - Rifaan, Tzlaot.
Ynet says for cooking in sauce, roasting in a net, for cholent and for grinding.
The JP says suitable for slow-roasting, e.g. pot roast and braising.
Known in the U.S. and U.K. as chuck or blade, in France as basse-cote.
Make great goulash with this cut.

#3 in Hebrew: חזה - Brust, Chazeh.
Ynet says for pot roast, oven roast, soup, goulash and pickled meat (corned beef?).
The JP says it’s the favorite cut for salt/corned beef, known as brisket or front poitrine.
Cheap here, lean and delicious after being roasted in a slow oven for a few hours.

#4 in Hebrew: כתף מרכזי - Katef, Katef Mercazi.
Ynet says for pot roast, cooking in sauce, goulash and grinding.
The JP says pot roast and braising, known as rib or back rib in the U.S. and U.K.
Plates de cote to the French.

#5 in Hebrew: צלי כתף - Tzli, Tzli Katef.
Ynet says for pot roast, cooking in sauce.
The JP says the same as for #4.
This is a great piece for slow roasting at low temp.

#6 in Hebrew: פילה מדומה - Falshe, Fillet Medumeh.
Ynet says for pot roast and cooking in sauce.
The JP says nothing but that it’s good for the same as #4 and #5.

#8 (or 7) in Hebrew: אוסובוקו/שריר הזרוע – Polo (folo?), Shrir Hazroa or simply Shrir
Ynet says for goulash, soup, cholent; with a bone -osso bucco.
The JP just says suitable for soup.

#9 in Hebrew: אסאדו - Shpundra, Kashtit. (top rib)
Ynet says for cholent, goulash and soup; with a bone – assado and spare ribs.
The JP says for using in soups or boiling, known variously as flank, poitrine or short plate.

#10 in Hebrew: צוואר - Tzavar.
Ynet says for goulash, soup and grinding.
The JP says suitable for soup.

#11 in Hebrew: סינטה - Sinta, Moten.
Ynet says for roast beef and steaks.
The JP says suitable for roasting and grilling.
Known in the U.S. and U.K. as sirloin or porterhouse and in France as contre-fillet.

#12 in Hebrew: פילה - Fillet.
Ynet says for steaks and carpaccio.
The JP says simply “hard to find”, suitable for roasting and grilling.

#13 in Hebrew: שייטל - Shaitel, Kanaf Haoketz.
Ynet says for shnitzel, steak, skewering and oven roasting.
The JP says suitable for roasting and grilling.
JP says cuts 13/16a are known in the U.S. are the round, in the U.K. as rump and in France as romsteak.

#14 in Hebrew: אווזית - Katchke, Ovazit (sp?).
Ynet says for goulash, pot roast and grinding.
The JP clumps together 14, 15 and 16 and says suitable for braising.

#15 in Hebrew: צ’אך - Chuck, Yarcha.
Ynet says for pot roast.
JP says suitable for braising.

#16 in Hebrew: כף – Kaf.
JP says suitable for braising.
Ynet says for steak, shnitzel and roast.

#17 in Hebrew: פלדה – Plada, Kislayim (sp?).
Ynet says for rolada, goulash and grinding.

#18 in Hebrew: שריר אחורי - Poli, Shrir Achori.
Ynet says for goulash, soup and cholent.

#19 in Hebrew: ויסבראטן - Weisbraten, Rosh Yarcha.
Ynets says for pot roast.