Jan 312013
 

koshger wine festival jerusalem
The new kosher wine market expands as kosher-keepers discover and taste.

On one occasion I heard a secular winemaker complain how hard it is to maintain a kashrut certificate. Not because of the expense involved but because he isn’t allowed to  be with his fermenting wine. Having known the passion myself, I understand. A winemaker wants to nurse the wine along with his or her own hand.

But it’s encouraging, for a kosher-keeper like myself, to see how many good wineries have gone kosher in the past few years. And it’s amusing to watch the religious crowd, some of them black-hatted and all, opening up to the wonderful possibilities of fine wine.

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Jul 102011
 

DSC_1084 hazan
Nine foodies met in Yaffo for a blogger’s night out. The restaurant planned on was closed, but the one right next door was open for business. We sat down at an outdoor table and feasted on mezze salads, couscous, fish, lamb shishlik, fried potatoes and fiery merguez sausages.

There are better and more expensive places to eat, but I liked sitting where local people eat, liked eating popular Middle Eastern food in the night. In Yaffo, next to the sea and in the middle of the Old City.

image-yaffo-restaurantI hadn’t counted on the street being ripped up for repairs of some kind, but we were a few steps away from the flea market, which was celebrating summer by keeping shops, eateries, and galleries open till midnight.

Behind us on Yefet Street, the illuminated Ottoman clock tower kept time. At nine o’clock it struck nine tinny notes, surprising us. A little later, the muezzin call to prayer echoed and swirled up and down the neighborhood.

There was music in the air while we were eating – loud Moroccan music, coming from somewhere nearby. I got up and wandered past the restaurant and its Moroccan decor, seeking the musicians.

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See the guy in the striped shirt?
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He’s entering a little cobblestoned alley. Set out in the alley are tables and people are eating fish and drinking wine.

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A nargilah and a stack of shesh-besh (backgammon) sets waited for company.

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I drew closer to the source of the music, feeling the plaintive oud, shivery violin, and thump of the darboukah drum in my bones.
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A sign proclaims: Every Thursday: Moroccan Haflah (get-together)! Every Tuesday, Middle-Eastern  Night! Fridays, Kabbalat Shabbat with Oriental Singers! Fish and Mezze Served Free.

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Across from the musicians, an open door. I peek in and behold a magical cavern hung with colorful rugs, set with tables invitingly holding tea glasses and coffee finjans.

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What with the winding, nasal quarter notes in my ears and the lanterns swaying from their ceiling hooks and being full of shishlik, I felt I had been transported to Morocco itself, or maybe a movie version of it.

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The Moroccan Dive, I called it. And went back to the restaurant, asking everyone to come see.

A large man wearing a cap backwards ushered us in, probably expecting us to order an ample meal. But we only had room for tea with sprigs of mint in it, and coffee. It turns out that the Moroccan Dive is managed by the same restaurant where we had dinner.

Four local guys in shorts sat near the front door, clapping and shaking to the music.

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This old man wandered back and forth, dancing with gentle verve, stopping sometimes to talk to his friends.

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We Anglos sipped our hot drinks and just soaked up the atmosphere…

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…confident that we were well protected from the Evil Eye.

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As we left the magical Moroccan cavern, we glimpsed this row of nargilah smokers lined up in the street, enjoying their perfumed tobacco, the smoke of which passes through water and is said to be extremely pleasant (if you smoke).

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Have a nargilah, have a nargilah, have a nargilah, ve n’smecha…

The streets were moving with people seeking pleasure, music, a cold drink, a hot bourekas, something to gawk at. We moved among them.

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No food photos, true. The ones I took were blurry. But you can see the kind of food we had in my previous post on a trip through Yaffo. And you’ll see the street in daylight. As for the restaurant: reasonable prices, food quality good but not exceptional, service obliging but a little lacksadaisical. Once the street gets fixed, it’ll be much more pleasant to sit there. But it was Yaffo, it was a night out with the bloggers, and it was great fun.

The bloggers: Sarah Melamed, Michelle Nordell (and husband Mr. B.T.), Hannah Katsman, Liz Steinberg, Ariella Darsa Amshalem, Mirjam Weiss, Irene Sharon Hodes and myself.

Oct 272009
 

Kosher Cooking Carnival #46

Israeli Kitchen is hosting this month’s KCC, a creation of Batya at Me-Ander.

Recipes, restaurant reviews, and the food thoughts burning tracks through the Jewish blogosphere. The Kosher Cooking Carnival leads you to all of that and introduces you to blogs with which you were, mayhap, unfamiliar. Open up some links and see for yourself.

Vegetables

Abbi at Confessions of A Start-Up Wife improvised a noodle-cabbage dish that turned out a hit for Shabbat…with her husband.

Leah at Ingathered guest-posted a tempting recipe on Cooking Manager’s blog: grilled eggplant and bell pepper dip.

Restaurants

Jet-lagged Batya at Me-Ander found comfort in a NY resto.

Soup

Leah at Ingathered shows us a cross-cultural chicken soup, with an added recipe for the Yemenite hawaij spice blend.

Sweet Things

Frum Cuisine calls it cherry crumb kugel, but it sure looks like a good cobbler recipe to me.

Pesky Settler offers a cinnamon chocolate-chip cake that wowed her family on Shabbat.

A pareve strawberry-cashew pudding features on Leora’s Here in HP.

Shimshonit offers a naughty recollection. And a jam tart recipe that made me want to get up and bake it, right now.

In Mol Araan says a mouthful about chocolate honey cake in her erudite, entertaining English/Yiddish blog.

Jamie on the Kosher.Com blog writes about a huge apple harvest,  puff-pastry apple purses, and candy-coated apples.

Annette at Craft Stew gives us the world’s easiest lemon pie.

Meat Dishes

Mrs. S. at Our Shiputzim re-created her grandmother’s recipe for sweet and sour meatballs made with cranberry sauce. (Thanks for the hat tip, Mrs. S!)

Hannah at Cooking Manager cooked up the most savory stuffed cabbage.

The Russian/English food blog Cooking with Yiddishe Mama / offers elegant recipes with a Russian flair. This recipe for home-made kishke is far healthier than any you can buy.

Zahava of Kosher Camembert went overboard with her brisket. Find out what she did with 10 pounds of meat!

Baroness Tapuzina did a gorgeous Georgian chicken in garlic/walnut sauce a while back.

Speaking of chicken, Israeli Kitchen bought some poussins (baby chickens) and stuffed with them rice and pine nuts.

What Kosher Folks Are Saying

Batya of Me-Ander is shocked to discover that meals on El Al flights have gone ‘way, ‘way down.

Soccer Dad laments the demise of his  favorite kugel-maker.

Baking

Ilana-Davita’s easy recipe for lighter pastry dough is meant for savory fillings, but I think it would work for sweet, too.

My  sweet, light challah recipe is an easy pleaser for Shabbat.

I hope you enjoyed KCC #46. For me, it was a pleasure to put together. Huge thanks to Batya and to each blogger who submitted a post.

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Liked it?

* Why not submit your own recipe for next month’s carnival? Just chose one of your own blog posts and go to the carnival submission form. It’s easy to fill out.

* And since part of the idea is to help publicize each other’s blogs, please link to this post on your own blog. Spread the good word!

* Batya’s always looking for someone to host a KCC. Email her with your hosting offer here: shilohmuse at yahoo dot com.

* Next month’s KCC will be hosted by Pesky Settler.

* So much good food! Browse through the archives of the KCC here:

Sep 302009
 

Do you know the Kosher Cooking Carnival? If you don’t,  it’s time you did.

It’s a collection of links to blog entries discussing recipes, food traditions, stories, Jewish law, restaurant or cookbook reviews – anything related to kosher food. For example, this month mominisrael shows us a cooking ingredient spreadsheet; Pesky Settler presents a psychedelic tie-dyed cheesecake; and I submitted my cholent entry.

Batya at me-ander is hosting this month’s KCC, up now. Be sure to visit and get the full story on what the kosher foodies are talking about and cooking.

And next month’s KCC will be here, at Israeli Kitchen. Submit your link here to show the blogosphere your food thoughts. Deadline for submission is October 25th. Hope to see your link soon!