ES Has a Religious Experience (About Food, Of Course)

This summer, I took at little break from food-blogging to go explore my birthright in the Holy Land. While other trip participants got excited about being away from their parents for the first time, swimming in the Dead Sea, and joining the Israeli army, I clearly was just in it for the food. Broadandpattison has already told you about omni-dip, so here are a couple more Israeli food shots (sorry for the massive delay – have been waiting for pics from my travel companions)…


Jerusalem marketplace –  olives, pickles, and olive’d and pickled everything


Got this at a lunch counter in Tel Aviv – no idea what it’s called. It’s an omelet topped with diced veggies and fried eggplant, and stuffed in–what do you think–a pita.

While we’re on the subject of pita, I have to talk about how they eat falafel…

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Oh Yes, It’s Ladies Night

Editor’s Note: As gansie and I were both M.I.A. for a couple of days there, we’ve of course been bugging our friends for some recipe posts. Loyal ESer Maidelitala came through and then some. Here’s her latest fully-veggie meal plan.


byline: Maidelitala

Recently I had a dinner at my new digs JUST for LADIES: A much needed, and barely-belated fête to welcome two new additions from dear old Macalester to town. Unfortunately the date I picked for the ladies’ dinner conflicted with the premier of this season’s Project Runway, excluding a troop of women friends, and reducing our numbers to a mere gaggle of eight (and not the veritable multitude who I might have otherwise mustered…what? I’m not bragging, I just know a lot of AMAZING women in the District). WELL, apologies to the PR premier crowd, because our dinner was frackin’ fabuloso.

Despite a heart-wrenching snafu with mole-roasted cauliflower (I couldn’t force down more than a bite, so I tossed it before the invitees arrived and were forced to endure my shame), and with spirited contributions from the guests–including a mouth-watering and apropos mango salsa–I executed a tasty, stuff-yourself-into-a-food-coma spread for the ladies.

I served a summery dish of red cabbage and roasted cashew salad, homemade spicy hummus, and a flavorful fresh tofu and vegetable curry over steamed brown rice (the curry was a last minute stand-in for the mess of a mole-roasted cauliflower). As ya’ll will no doubt note, the meal was wholly vegetarian and lactose-free, and by all accounts delicious. Devoted Project Runway fan Gansie even missed the PR premier to sample the goodies. Anyway, the contents of our conversations over copious amounts of wine (provided by some of the guests) is not for public consumption, but the recipes (and amazing photos courtesy of the harrowing efforts of my girl Elenora) are available below for your perusal.

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The Holy Hummus


After spending 2 weeks in the Holy Land, only one thing is for certain: if something can compete with dipping french fries into buffalo sauce and ranch, it is dipping pita into hummus and tahini.

While Israel (my experience, at least) doesn’t offer the variety we are used to here, what they do, they do right.

Top 5 Holy Land Food Facts

1) It is healthier – instead of sausage and bacon with breakfast, there is cucumber and tomato salad. Instead of french fries and onion rings, there is hummus and pita.

2) Hummus comes with everything – literally. I had hummus with 26 straight meals, and the amazing part is I never got sick of it. In fact, I had to create a word to describe it: omnidip. Anything can be dipped into it, and consequently, improving that bite, including: chicken, potatoes, pita and vegetables. It’s the Israeli version of cheese.

3) Balance – nice balance of meat, vegetables, salad, soup and dessert. Always a hearty meal and never overdoing any of it. Problem is, many meals offer the same meat (chicken, lamb, tongue), vegetables (broccoli, green beans), potatoes (almost always broiled), and well, of course, hummus.

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Battle of Evil Death Match: Michelle Malkin 1, RayRay 0


When Hezbollah Tofu popped up on the scene a few months ago, we quipped that with Anthony Bourdain now occupied, Rachael Ray must be in search of a new nemesis. Well the queen of all B-list media hasn’t disappointed, nailing down a top-notch enemy: none other than right wing blogger Michelle Malkin.

Malkin is upset with RayRay’s latest Dunkin’ Donuts ad, but it’s not because she thinks sugar is making American kids obese (only nannying liberal ninnies would think something like that).

Michelle is upset because Rachael is shilling DD coffee while wearing a black and white paisley scarf that the Malkster points out looks almost like a keffiyah, the headwear previously popularized by such global celebrities as Lawrence of Arabia, Yasser Arafat, and um, Meghan McCain.

The keffiyah’s traditional role is to protect its wearer from the dessert sand and sun, although it has more recently become a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Oh, also, it’s just a fucking scarf.

As ridiculous as it is to suggest that the ad should be pulled because of RayRay’s neck accessories, it’s worth pointing out that Rachael Ray isn’t even wearing a keffiyah; she’s wearing a designer scarf. But to Malkin and others in search of terrorism at every corner, she might as well have changed her name to Rachael Hussein Bin Laden Ray.

Michelle Malkin demonstrates how much real Americans love donuts

Now we could all laugh this off as hilarious post-post-9-11 hysteria, expect for one rather disturbing fact: Dunkin’ Donuts has bowed to Malkin’s protest and pulled the ad in question!

You. Must. Be. Joking.

via SoGood

Hott Links: Appeasement Edition


Be an appeaser!! Learn to cook like the enemy!

Eat like Mahmud Ahmadinejad []

Want to cook a whole pig in 4 hours? Try a Cuban roasting box []

Make some traditional Venezuelan Arepas [Washington Post]



Earlier this month, good-friends-of ES Vi and Jerry Sizzler visited me in Brooklyn, and of course the weekend was focused on food-related activities, including a visit to Sahadi’s. This 60-year-old mostly Middle Eastern market is Brooklyn’s answer to Zabar’s – a sprawling complex of meats, cheeses, breads, and unique food items from around the world.

The bulk section is the most intense – a crazy array of nuts, beans, dried fruit and snacks. You can’t serve yourself, but instead have to take a number and wait in line, which assures plenty of pre-purchasing salivating time.

Clearly, Vi and I had to sample the weirdest-looking thing we could find, which turned out to be the “half-citron,” the sweet and slightly tangy dried fruit pictured above that looks like it came out of Ghostbusters. It was quite the moment, the servers said “Really? You want the half-citron?” and other customers applauded our bravery, demanding to know what we were going to do with this mysterious fruit.

Clearly, I have no idea what to do with it. It can be easily sliced with a knife or shaved off with a potato peeler, and is pretty tasty, but I’m not about to eat that whole giant thing plain. Any insight/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kids in the Halloumi


I first discovered halloumi cheese in South Africa last year. A trendy SA chain called News Cafe serves an avocado salad with fried halloumi, grilled brinjal and peppadews. Since I didn’t know what any of those things were, I had to try it. I ended up making several return trips for this amazing fried cheese.

For the record, brinjal is just eggplant, and peppadew is a spicy red pepper native to South Africa. But that’s beside the point, because halloumi was the real discovery. This super-salty, extra-firm-but-slimy goat/sheep’s milk cheese is actually from Cyprus, and if you try to say otherwise, the Halloumi Police will get you.

I’m not sure why it’s so prevalent in South Africa, but I have never noticed it stateside before, so when I spied it at the co-op last week, I jumped for it.

In taste, it’s probably most similar to a queso blanco, and like that Mexican cheese, it’s most exciting because it can be fried or grilled. A few recipes around the web recommend dipping it in flour, but I just tried it straight up and got this nice golden brown after frying thin slices for about a minute each side in extra virgin. The outside is a crisp golden brown and the inside is just a tad melty.

Since I didn’t have any peppadews lying around, I made my own version of the salad, with roasted red peppers, cucumbers, and of course, pine nuts.

*This post is tagged both Greek and Middle Eastern for redundancy’s sake, not as an attempt to fuel any cheese-related territorial conflicts.

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