May 132013

Shavuot whipped cheese mousse

Rich, yet light, with just the right touch of fruit to make a festive Shavuot dessert.

Even after a rich dairy meal, the gang wants a dairy dessert. And who am I to say nay? I’m a sucker for anything white and creamy, myself. Like the apricot swirl cheesecake I concocted a couple of years ago.

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Jun 182012

Sweet-tart apricots for a sweet-tart tart.

This is my last apricot post for the season. I think.

The thing is, I found the most amazingly deep-colored apricots in the shuk, a variety I hadn’t seen yet. Their flavor is true to the promise of their enchanting color, filling the senses with the essence of fresh apricot when you bite one. It made me realize how often we settle for just a hint of flavor in today’s fruit, accepting fleshiness and juice in exchange for those original strong tastes which go away in refrigerated storage. Or get sacrificed for varieties that travel well and keep a few days longer in the supermarkets.

While happily snacking on the little fresh golden globes, I visualized an apricot tart in a plain short crust. Something to show the fruit off, without a lot of fancy added ingredients to compete for your attention. Although a flourish of whipped cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side wouldn’t distract from the apricotish wonderfulness of  it. (When did whipped cream and ice cream ever go wrong?)

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Jun 102012


I guess I’ll always love Elizabeth David’s cookbooks. Her Summer Cooking has this recipe for apricot ice cream – so simple and delicious, I’m kicking myself for apricot seasons past that I didn’t make it. And it doesn’t have much sugar, so you must reject any fruit that’s green or seems sour – cut a piece off to taste if necessary.

Unlike other ice creams I’ve made by hand, this was soft enough to serve right out of the freezer. I went to the trouble of forcing the cooked apricots through a sieve, just to fall in line with Ms. David’s directions. Although, who knows. Maybe Ms. David would have become scornful, if blending gives the same results with almost no work. The lady had a famously sharp tongue.

Ms. David wrote for her times, when, for example, heating the flour briefly before baking made sense for the British housewife in the chilly kitchens of the 1950s and 60s. Catch me heating flour in my Middle Eastern kitchen. But this business of sieving the apricots, it caught my imagination. Not, let me hasten to add, that I don’t appreciate modern appliances . Just, once in a while, I’m willing to do a little extra, to feel in touch with the past.

The purée that resulted from sieving was as smooth as baby food. Would my stick blender have done that? Well, I thought as I pushed apricot mass through the wire net and scraped it off the other side, Elizabeth David wouldn’t have imagined me thinking of her in Israel, in 2012. But sometimes, and especially when cooking something entirely delicious like this ice cream, I do.

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Jun 042012

How sweet it is. Here’s my home-made apricot marmalade recipe, making breakfast everywhere even more delicious.

And how short apricot season is here. No sooner have you finished your first batch of firm, perfumed fruit than you discover that they’re starting to dwindle in the shuk. Hurry, hurry, get more before they go!

You have to be crafty, though. The first, greenish fruit are sour. You have to taste an apricot every few days until they come into full, golden season. Then the temptation to overbuy is hard to resist. If I buy too many to eat before they start going soft, which I always do, I get out the scale and sugar and make marmalade. Continue reading »

Mar 072012


Do you love hamentaschen? I’m betting you do.

I sure do, but I’m not at all fond of the over-sweet, stodgy hamentaschen flooding grocery stores and supermarkets right now. It’s so worthwhile making my own, that I’m going to interrupt my pre-Purim baking marathon to post this recipe. It’s a real, old-fashioned hamentasch with a delicate cookie crust. The filling is up to you. I’ve kept it pareve to accommodate those eating meat meals on Purim day. But I must say that these hamentaschen are fabulous filled with dulce de leche.

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Jan 252012


It’s really much cheaper to make your own condensed milk. And you can make quantities of it at one time with almost no effort. But it does require time and patience. It’s something to stir while doing other kitchen projects. Like an intensive cooking or cupboard-cleaning session, or a morning of  phone calls you’ve been putting off. Actually, the coolest thing would be to have a magical spoon that stirs all by itself. Lacking that, just old-fashioned patience and time will  do.

Why would I want to make my own condensed milk? Well, here in Israel, all condensed and evaporated milk is imported in squeezable tubes and cans. Living in a dairy-rich country, it seems wrong to buy a milk product that’s been shipped across the planet. That’s Noble Reason Number One.

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Dec 122011


Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. A native New Yorker, she currently calls Be’er Sheva, Israel home.

That’s how Katherine introduces herself on her delicious blog, . But I can say more. She writes the kind of blog you and I love. It’s chock-full of recipes that turn ordinary ingredients into food experiences (like her Sour Cream Smashed Potatoes), and humor, and the most sensuous, mouth-watering photographs. Everything that the ardent foodie likes.

I’m tickled pink that Katherine has agreed to write a guest post on Israeli Kitchen. (I’m telling you, just looking at that photo makes me want to reach into the screen and tear a chunk off that cake.) So please welcome Katherine, and read on… Continue reading »

Aug 012011

Of the edible geraniums (most aren’t), the rose-scented ones are my favorites. Near my building there’s a large patch of them, which I raid for occasionally for divine recipes like this one. Peaches in cream delicately flavored with rose geranium. Just exquisite.

The recipe is from Elizabeth David’s Summer Cooking. You can infuse cream with lemon grass, basil, mint, or bay leaves too. But rose geranium is special.  And if you like to serve berries with this cream, or figs…oh dear.  Too good to describe.

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Jun 052011


Do you have to be Jewish to love cheesecake?

Well, no.

But it helps.

Shavuot  is coming up next Tuesday night. We have reasons  – religious reasons – for eating dairy on Shavuot. For many, that’s cheesecake.

And what, you might ask, rolling your eyes, does cheesecake have to do with receiving the word of G-d on Mt. Sinai?

Well, nothing.

The custom is to eat dairy. Cheesecake is modern tradition, based on the indisputable fact that it’s delicious.

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