Thursday, March 14, 2013

Israeli street food and tapping a tree


Sometimes I feel like I find ways to get myself into "predicaments". Really. You looked shocked. NO, it isn't moonshine. It is sap from my maple tree. I had a tap sitting around and I decided to use it. I bought it about 2 years ago at the Maple Syrup Museum.


This museum is in Vermont (duh) and was really fun to go through. Little did I know when I bought that tap, that it would actually work.


After 2 weeks of emptying the mason jar (shut up! I didn't have a BUCKET) in the rain, snow, and all that, I collected enough to boil down.


I got this much from the first round. I have to filter it again. At this rate you all are invited over for that one stack of pancakes that this might cover. I am sticking to it (har har) until the end of April. Next year I will get more taps and I will tap all the neighbors trees in the middle of the night.


Lets move on. I was jonesing for some Israeli food. I really felt like an israeli salad. I also felt like a Israeli street food that is called a Mixed Grill.


The Israeli salad is just a bunch of vegetables cut up really small. I found this recipe on David Lebovitz's blog. I liked the idea that it had all kinds of seeds and nuts in it.


I also made Babaganoush. I roasted the eggplant and did my thing with it. I just realized that blogging about Babaganoush isn't really a good idea. It looks really ugly. Ok, but it tasted good.


Not that good though.


However, the Mixed Grill was fantastic and one of my very favorites. I made Tahini to go on it.


Ok, I am tired of writing now. I just did this because it is Julie's birthday tomorrow and I didn't want to disappoint her and not have a blog post. She loves me so much that she actually gets disappointed when I don't blog. Really. I mean it. Ask her. JULIE HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW. I didn't forget! I love you!

Israeli Salad
Adapted from recipe by Maya Marom

1 ripe tomato
1 medium cucumber, or 3 small ones
1 medium carrot, peeled
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
5 red globe radishes
half a small beet, peeled
half a small kohlrabi, peeled
large handful of arugula (lettuce can be substituted)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

2/3 cup mixed nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, sliced almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds – coarsely chopped)

1/3 cup crumbled Feta or firm goat cheese

2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more)
2-3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (or more)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Chop all of the vegetables into the tiniest cubes you can manage. Preferably 1/4 inch thick (or Brunoise, as the French call it). Gather the arugula into a tight bunch and slice into thin shards. This makes the salad fluffier and easier to chew.

2. Toast the nuts in an empty skillet (no oil required) over medium heat, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, taking care not to burn them (watch out for pumpkin seeds, as they tend to ‘pop’ while toasting). Toast until the aroma is released and the nuts take on the slightest bit of color. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, mix all of the chopped vegetables with sliced arugula, toasted nuts, and dress with the lemon juice, olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste (don’t forget that the cheese is salty).

Check for seasoning and add more lemon juice and olive oil to your liking. Top with the crumbled cheese and serve immediately.

Jerusalem Mixed Grill

2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. allspice berries
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 lb. chicken hearts, halved and rinsed
1/2 lb. chicken livers, rinsed and
roughly chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh pitas, for serving
Amba and pickled peppers for serving

1. Combine turmeric, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder; set aside. Heat a dry 12" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add chicken breasts and cook, flipping once, until browned but not cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl; set aside. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add chicken hearts and cook, flipping occasionally, until browned but not cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Transfer hearts to the bowl with the chicken breast. Repeat with chicken livers.

2. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add the oil; add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and slightly charred, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved spices and chicken and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. To serve, cut slits in the tops of the pitas. Fill pitas with chicken mixture; top each sandwich with some of the amba and pickled peppers.

SERVES 4 – 6


  1. Oak? Never heard of tapping one. How's it taste?

  2. Maple. Maple not Oak ;--)

  3. It's not my birthday, but I still love your blogs.

    Sounds great and perfect for my new diet. Did you make the Amba, and if so whose recipe? When oh when are we getting a blog about the cassoulet?

  4. I blogged about cassoulet! No Amba this time around.

  5. You are a riot. Yes - you should tap the neighbors trees.

  6. I'm so excited about that tap! Wonder if I could do it on one of the trees here. I'll have to hunt for a maple. {Also, I used to work around the corner from Rami's in Coolidge Corner. I'm perpetually craving this.}