Category Archives: Celebrations

Meat, Greet and Good Friends — Israel’s Independence Day 2012

Illuminated Israeli flag at Azrieli Center on Independence day, Tel Aviv, Israel
© Hanan Isachar / SuperStock

Tonight is the beginning of Israel’s 64th birthday celebrations.  All over the country people gather together in public parks to listen to music, dance a little, watch the fireworks and basically party.  And tomorrow?  Tomorrow the whole country heads outdoors for the national sport of Israel, barbecuing, or in other words, the art of mangal.

We get together with our friends in Ra’anana every year, and it can become a bit rowdy…

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Expanding the Passover Table

When you have a blended family the holidays can either be full of happy noise as your ever-growing family fills the house, or it can be sadly quiet as it’s the other parents’ turn to surround themselves with the children.  Ju-Boy and I have experienced both situations, and we can assuredly say that it’s so much more enjoyable when the table expands to accommodate children, grandchildren and friends.

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Miriyummy Has Been AWOL, And Why?

October has been a busy month.  Between family reunions, the High Holidays and a multitude of family celebrations which have not yet come to an end, I’ve been insanely busy.  Sometime in August, anticipating this busy time, I voiced a request to fall into a coma and to be woken up in November.  No such luck…

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Dip Your Apple

Available as a greeting card from http://www.rotemgear.com

It’s a known constant in my life that man plans, God laughs.  Yesterday I said in my Honey Honey blog post:

So I could leave you with a cute little video of buzzing bees or those singing worms in the apple wishing you a happy new year, but I won’t.

Wrong.  Sort of.

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Unique

Class of 1980 -- hanging out at the back of the class, as usual

 Last week was my high school reunion, the first time we all formally got together as a school unit in 31 years.  I was a bit cautious about seeing everyone again.  In my mind we were all still 17 years old.  Did I want to see my old friends as middle-aged women?  It turns out not a single one of us has aged a day since we all graduated back in January 1980 and set out to conquer the world.

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Isn’t It Romantic?

This Friday Ju-Boy and I are celebrating having survived six years shackled to each other in matrimony. 

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Fifteen!

Continuing in the vein of the Miriyummy tasting menu restaurant reviews, I’d like to tell you about the amazing meal Ju-Boy and I had at Jamie Oliver’s flagship Fifteen restaurant in London.  It was amazing!  Who knew unkosher food could be this delicious? 

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A Little On The Cheesy Side — 5771

Black Forest Blintzes for Ifat — the quality control department (me) tested this sample and claims total success!

The wonderful holiday of Shavuot is coming up, it starts tomorrow night, culminating with cheesecake overload on Wednesday night.  And then you have just a mere 48 hours before you begin to stuff yourselves with the wonders of Shabbat.  Ju-Boy and I have been planning our menu for a while now…

Arsenic and Old Lace

How can something be so delicious, so delicate, so yummy, and yet so deadly?

Sometimes the stories that shape my life happen without me, and have nothing to do with me.  Such is the case of Ju-Boy and the Deadly Almond.  It happened before we met, but for the last almost-seven years has shaped the way I’ve cooked, or haven’t cooked, to be precise.

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Theory of Relativity

Once upon a time About three months ago I had a birthday.  I woke up to presents, birthday cards, and even baked my own cake.  But way off yonder, in the Frozen North (London), my daughter Sassy and her Sabraman had their own idea for a present.  In the most clandestine of operations, money was transferred into Ju-Boy’s bank account, and he was supposed to take me out for dinner.  It was meant to be a surprise.  And… it was meant to be for my birthday.

As is the case of most of my life, man plans and God laughs.  Dinner plans were made.  First I canceled, then Ju-Boy canceled, then I canceled again.  At one point Ju-Boy decided to almost fly over the handlebars of his bicycle, and instead of going out to dinner I watched him get a few stitches in his leg (he asked the nurse for a lollipop for being such a brave boy).  What I didn’t know was that all this time Sassy was waiting for a report as to how I enjoyed her birthday present.  Ju-Boy finally confessed, and plans were made again, and canceled, and made again.  And canceled…

Do you have a wish list?  I do.  Spending a few days at the Carmel Forest Spa was at the top of the list.  That’s been checked off.  I’d been wanting for years to go to Stonehenge.  Ju-Boy made that dream come true in 2005.  One of my mini-holy grails has been to eat at MC², a gourmet vegetarian restaurant in Bitan Aharon, just north of Netanya.  Reservations were made, and canceled, made again, canceled again.  Finally, this past Monday, which just happened to be Valentine’s Day, it looked like this was going to get checked off my list as well.  We don’t normally celebrate Valentine’s Day, Jews have their own lovers’ holiday, Tu Be’Av, and we celebrated that back in August.  But I wasn’t going to let a little kid in diapers carrying a bow and arrow ruin my birthday evening, no matter how many months after my birthday it was.

The restarant was offering a special chef’s tasting menu that night in honor of Valentine’s Day — 15 courses.  We thought we were going to be in for a night of gluttinous gorging, but the courses were small, tiny, even miniscule, and yet by the end we were stuffed.  And so it began:

 

We started with some crostini with tri-color peppers, and what the restaurant called a "wheat shot" on the side

 

(Coarsely) julienned carrot sticks with a pomegranate sauce. We were underwhelmed by this dish.

Hot foccacia with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil dip -- at this point we were still hungry and fought over the dip.

Each table had a menu printed out specifying each of the courses.  At this point, consulting the list, we realized that the restaurant had skipped a course, the almond pate.  We asked the waitress and she said she would bring it immediately.

It seems that we thought immediately meant right now.  The waitress wasn’t using our dictionary, it seems.

 

The restaurant called this dish Enamored Eggplant. It was topped with tomato sprouts which tasted a lot like coriander. The cheese was feta. This was quite possibly my favorite dish... so far.

Rothschild Salad -- wilted lettuce leaves, tasteless boiled beets, bland ricotta cheese and a few caramelized pecans. I enjoyed the pecans. That's about it. Ju-Boy declared this the worst dish on the menu.

Little circle of goat cheese with nigella seeds, and a dab of pepper puree. We were starting to get bored.

Did I mention that each course, each tiny course, was brought to us and then cleared away before they brought the next course?  It started out as cute.  By the time the goat cheese dish had arrived we were losing patience.

 

Grapefruit and Campari Sorbet — this replaced the eggplant as my favorite dish. I so need to find a recipe for this!

Um… we’ve just had our palettes cleared by the sorbet, we’re ready for the main part of the meal, but where’s that almond pate?  Once again, we asked a passing waiter.  He promised to bring it out…. immediately.

 

Pea soup with walnuts, creme fraiche and chili oil. Ju-Boy loved this! You could just taste the fresh peas, although considering the fact that it was February, you could just taste the frozen peas.

At this point Ju-Boy decided to excuse himself (you know what that euphemism is for).  He came back and told me I just had to check out the restroom, so I went to freshen up (yet another euphemism).

Isn't the bathroom pretty?

This is what happens when you have a restaurant in an old building on top of a nature reserve.

I returned to our table to find that the soup had been cleared away and that Ju-Boy had inquired yet again about the almond pate.  It was coming… immediately.

 

Ravioli in a pear and cream sauce -- delicious! This is probably the one portion I would have liked supersized.

 

Basmati and wild rice, with marinated tofu, sunflower sprouts and a mint and yogurt sauce. This was delicious! Ju-Boy cleaned his plate (and a bit of my plate) and he's not a tofu lover at all!

It was just about now that a very large and beautiful beetle crawled across our table.  It was very colorful and looked like a piece of Egyptian scarab jewelry.  It was quickly whisked off our table by our waiter who apologized and said, “That’s what happens when you are right in the middle of a nature preserve.”  I was fascinated, but unfortunately, our unexpected dinner guest was gone before I could take a picture.

Surprise, surprise! Almond pate! It was NOT worth the wait.

 

The end of the “main course” part of our meal: Root Vegetables in silan (date honey) and olive oil. This was delicious, although we did get into a discussion whether a tuber is a root vegetable or not. Such a romantic meal… hmmmmm…

Dessert was not listed as a course on the menu, but we knew it was coming, and we were ready!

Fruit skewer with chocolate and vanilla sauces. We had to fight over share this. It got ugly.
Affogato: vanilla ice cream and whipped cream with some hot espresso to pour on top. Nice, but nothing to write home (or blog) about.

We had started our meal with a nice glass of shiraz each, which I didn’t photograph.  Ju-Boy ended his meal with an “upside-down” coffee.  We  well-fed and ready to go home.

On the way home, cozy and warm in the car which was lightly pelted with rain, I called Sassy and Sabraman to thank them for my birthday present.  It’s nice to still celebrate your birthday three months after the fact.  Do you think I can drag the event out for the whole year?

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