Sunday, May 31, 2009

Fire Grilled Tilapia and Eggplant with homemade teriyaki sauce

 When in doubt on what to eat………Just fire up some coals……

Sometimes I find myself thinking about the ideal situation or place to enjoy a meal.  This has become even more prevalent due to the fact that TV constantly gives imagery of stranded Islands, I.E. Survivor and Lost, where people are set with the task of catching their own food, which is then set upon a fire….Such a simplistic existence resonates…..

 If only I could live in such a fantasy based on fresh and abundant fish roasting over a blazing fire……

But alas, I have realized that such a life is the one in which I live…..

Upon debating what to eat I was reminded of that beautifully and skillfully grilled fish, with crackling skin and soft pulp, which is forever eaten in the alternate world that is referred to as Japan.  I am reminded of the simplicity, yet luxury for which is enjoyed and revered by those who appreciate such an art.  The setting is on the Island, but down a set of stairs, beneath a building, in the middle of downtown, and placed in an upscale Japanese restaurant. 

But again, alas,  I have realized that I do not need to upscale my life to reach such simplicity…..

I can just fire up some coals, unfreeze some fish, and Grill to my hearts delight.


Tilapia Fillet



Date/bee honey

Soy sauce

Rice Vinegar

Sesame Seed Oil

Olive oil

Get the coals going on the grill.  In the meantime mix the Soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and sesame seed oil.  Use the Soy, vinegar, and honey to taste and add just a little bit of sesame seed oil.  Wisk together and let sit.  Cut the fillets in half and place a wood grilling stick.  Cut the eggplants and the zucchini into one centimeter thick slices, put on separate grilling sticks and cover with oil.  Cook the veggies first and if the fire is hot then it should take 10 to 15 minutes.  When they are done remove them from the fire and place the fish on, skin side down.  IT should cook in a matter of minutes.  Flip the fish once so both sides are grilled.   Take is off the grill splash it with the extra sauce and enjoy......

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tishbi French Riesling 2007

Here is a new review on a delicious and refreshing wine, with a great price tag, and goes with just about anything.....


Jack's Grandson

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Organic Brown Rice Udon, and Sweet Seaweed Salad.

Dried Wakame Seaweed

If you have a Japanese flair and are in the mood for something light crisp and sweet, this salad will touch the palate just right… 

I always find it rewarding to use seaweed in my cooking, as the seaweed leaves a wonderfully fresh taste on the food.  Especially for this recipe, I found that all the ingredients came together quite nicely.  In hindsight the salad could have used something else, maybe chunks of tofu, or even diced sweet potato, but besides that this was an enjoyable meal.


Organic brown rice udon

Dried Wakame Seaweed

Organic spinach

One small white or green onion

Date or bee honey

Fresh lemon juice

Soy sauce

Rice vinegar

Sesame Oil

The first step is to the soak the seaweed in water, as most types come pre-dried.  While the seaweed is soaking, heat a pot of water and when the water begins to boil turn down the heat all the way and add the udon.   Udon usually takes around 5 minutes to cook, but I would advice you to check the package instructions.  While the Udon is cooking, mix together the date honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and thinly chopped onion. When the noodles are done, shut off the water and ad a bowl of roughly chopped spinach to the pot.  After one minute drain the udon and the spinach together.  Rinse the udon with cold water until the noodles are cool.   Drain the Seaweed and mix it in a large bowl with the udon and the sauce.  Sprinkle with some sesame seeds or flavored sea salt and enjoy with a light white or rose wine.

Organic Brown Rice Udon, and Sweet Seaweed Salad.

Total price for two servings:  $5-6 

Recommended Wine:  Barkan Emerald Riesling 

Friday, May 15, 2009

New wine Review, 2007 Shiraz, Galil Mountain


I have my second wine review all ready to go....

2007 Shiraz, Galil Mountain, Israel 


Thursday, May 7, 2009

First wine Review

Check out my first wine review at my new Wine Blog

enjoy friends......

One more piece of cheese, please.

Since I was already in Sfat I figured that I might as well stop by the Hameiri family Dairy.  This was the same dairy that I visited a month ago.....

I could not help myself and went for some of the red wine encrusted Sfatit cheese.  This is by far one of my favorite cheeses in the world.  Fortunately they had just brought in a new batch of goats milk, so I was able to watch the process a bit....

Friendly as ever Ms. Hameiri, the older lady with short hair on the far left side of the picture, also set me up with a couple samples before I decided on the aged pecorino.   A little more crowded then the last time, so I did not get that free cup of coffee.....

Tasting notes:

Pecorino:  Extremely pungent, with hints of mellon, wild herbs, and citrus, followed by creaminess and a smooth after taste.

Wine encrusted Sfatit:   Light notes of merlot, with hints of butter sautéed mushrooms and sea salt.  Finishes with a tart creaminess reminiscent of an aged feta.   

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This week I ventured up to the north of Israel, again.....

I had an interview at Dalton winery, so I decided that I might as well do some photography. The light was generally gray, with tid-bits of rain, which gave off the right effect on the photos. 

Most of these were taken in an open field, right next to Lake Dalton, which is just behind the mountain city of Sfat.   The rest are random shots from inside the mystic city.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yom Hatzmaut (Israeli Independence Day)

It has been 61 years since Israel has declared its independence as the homeland of the Jewish people and like most Israelis I spent my holiday partying in Tel Aviv. Like the last three years I decided to go to Kikar Rabin (Rabin square), in Tel Aviv, for the night time concert and fireworks show. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed due to the fact that last years 60th birthday was off the hook fun, and well……It seems they spent all their money last year because the music was bad and the fireworks show was short. Never mind that…..

After the show I made my way to Florentine St., which is Tel Aviv’s most trendy and urban neighborhood, along with every other 20 to 28 year old in the Tel Aviv greater area. One not to disappoint, the Florentine Independence Day street party kept to its name and could have rivaled the best of any Mardi Gras. Packed to the brim, with walking space scarce, this part hipster hang out, part old-timer hang about, really showed off the power of the Tel Aviv night life. The funny thing is; as an American I am used to being uneasy at a large public gathering, due to the fact that there are always a lot of fights and always someone with some sort of weapon. Well, Tel Aviv does not have that problem!!! Not only were there around 50,000 young people at this party, but there were probably more girls then guys, and I don’t think a single fight broke out.

Borekas #1

In the middle of Florentine street there is this very old bakery that has been around for at least 40-50 years and on Yom Hatzmaut they make sure that they are open for the Drunks. Crispy, flakey, salty, buttery, oily, and delicious. This is the only way to describe this Israeli treat. Eaten by most people, all the time, Borekas is the Israeli version of a salty strudel. Made from a layered dough similar to Filo, they are usually filled with cheese, mushrooms, or mashed potatoes.

The Day:

During the day I decided to hit up the Tel Aviv beach for the Israeli Air force Show. A little disappointing compared to last year, but still fun….. Here is a couple shots for those who like weaponry.

Borekas #2

After the beach I stopped by this famous Borekas place on King George Street. This time I had a cheese and olives Boreka with the traditional side dishes. Sliced Israeli pickles(which are the best in the world), a puree of raw tomatoes, spicy sauce made from red chilies, a hard boiled egg, and OF COURSE TAHINA.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Egg, Date Honey, Mustard, and basil Sandwich

Egg and Date honey Sandwich

  • Two hard Boiled eggs
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Spicy mustard
  • Date honey or Bee honey
  • Fresh Basil

This is a very simple and delicious sandwich that is fast, filling, and flavorful.

Just spread the mustard and honey directly onto the bread, lay the basil leaves on the honey side, roughly cut the egg over the bread, and enjoy

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ein Kimonim Cheese Farm

After having fun throughout Sfat, I made way Eastward towards Ein Kimonim, which is a private goat cheese farm on the way from Lake Kinneret to the Mediterranean.  After turning of the main highway, in a dangerous and quite precarious exit, I slowly drove up a one way dirt road till I arrived at the cheese store.  Upon parking my car in the lot, I noticed some moving creatures in the embankment just behind my car.   They were sitting on the rocks and just starring at me with a gaze, almost to fake to be real.  After grabbing a couple of shots, I moved closer to get a better look, at these rodent like creatures.  Later I would find out from a waitress at the adjacent restaurant, that in Israel they are called “rock bunnies” and are found all over the north or Israel.

            Upon entering the store I was pleasantly surprised to see a grand refrigerator counter filled to my hearts delight, with fresh made goats cheeses.  However, the cheese could only fit such an atmosphere, as the small store resembled that of any Tuscan deli, that could be thought of in a dream.  Waiting for my turn, as snacked on a bowl of complimentary olives, which were picked on the property, and had to be some of the best I had ever eaten.  (I bought about 5 packages of sealed olives to go..)

  When it came my turn to order I went with their flag ship cave aged goat cheese, which had a pleasantly sweet must, with a creamy bite that filled the palate and left a mild after taste.  The other cheese I bought was a red wine incrusted goat cheese, with a 3-4 month age.  It was sweet, salty, creamy, and quite enjoyable paired with a Tishbi French Colombard.

I have to say that I will go back…..

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cheese in the Mystical city of Sefat, Israel

                                       An artist studio in the Mystical city of Sefat

Back to writing finally…. The last couple weeks have been a bit hectic as I traveled my way up and down Israel, tasting the many pleasant foods that this country has to offer.

Once in Sfat (Safed) I searched for the famed Sfat cheese store.  This place has been open for around 150 years ( maybe more) and has seen its share of wars.  It has belonged to the same family for 7 generations and I was happy to see it at full capacity and open!!!  It seems that every other time I had been in Sfat the place was either closed or under renovation.  Finally, I made my way inside and was happy to see a table full of wonderful cheeses, home made halva, and fresh local olives.  As I entered the owner cam up from behind me and asked me to sit down at a centrally placed round table, for a cup of complimentary coffee,( a pleasant surprise) I must have been the first of the day or they are just this nice to everyone.  Even the coffee was delicious, perfectly mellow with a very nice hint of Cardamom.   Delicious indeed…..

I ended up going with the goat cheese in wine, which was pleasantly mild with a lingering after taste.

After I had finished enjoying my coffee and purchases, I moved on to take a look at their Sfatit (French cheese) aging room.  These spongy and salty cheeses are made of fresh un-pasteurized cow milk and stay about three months in the cellar.  There was a moldy scent in the room which reminded me of everything great……..

After having some cheese I made my way to a very special and unique place. At the main Kabbala center in Sfat there is this guy named Ronin, who makes the most delicious and flavorful things that I have ever tasted.  I had been there a couple times in the past so I knew what to aspect.  They are the equivalent of Yemenite tortillas.  They start out as these pancake type patties and then he adds and assortment of tomatoes, spices, and chilies.  He gives it a toss in the air, covers it with a splash of home made Yemenite salsa and rolls it up for eating.  This is actually a centuries old recipe that was in his family and that his parents brought with them from Yemen.  These things really are wonderful….. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Well it is finally time to begin my mission to understand the depth of sesame seed paste and show the culinary world what a diverse ingredient it can be in any kitchen.  Since this is my first recipe I feel I will start it off light and go with one of my favorite ways of preparing tahina.  I mix it with fresh date honey, which lucky for me is in abundance in Israel and a little bit of lemon juice. This goes great with just about anything, but I think I will try something a bit more complex, just for fun. 

Warm beet root and sweet Potato salad with cool tomato, Arugala, and feta medley, topped with a poached egg and sweet date honey Tahina.


Sweet Potato, Red Tomato, Green Tomato, Red Beet, Arugala, Micro Bean Sprouts, Feta Cheese, Egg, Sesame Paste (Tahina), Date Honey, Lemon, Olive Oil, Kosher Sea Salt, Hawaiian Red Salt

 Throw the Beet into a pot with Boiling water and a pinch of sea salt. (Do not peel the Beet) Do the same for the sweet potato and boil in pot with a pinch of Sea Salt.

While they cook take two heaping spoon fools of tahina and mix with one heaping spoon fool of date honey.  Mix into thick paste and add very small amounts of water till desired thickness.  Add a small splash of olive oil, a small squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.  Wisk to smooth and let sit.


Wash and cut both types of tomatoes into square inch pieces and put in bowl.  Cover with a squeeze of lemon juice.  When the Beets and Sweet potato are soft remove them from the water (Do not throw away water, leave on heat). Crack an egg and poach in the water of the Sweet Potato.  

While the egg cooks remove the skin from the beet and the sweet potato and dice into cubes. 

Plate it up:  Place beat and sweet potato on bottom of plate as a base.  With your hands break feta into small pieces into tomatoes. Give them a mix and place over the beet/potato base.  When the egg is cooked to desired level place on top of tomatoes, cover everything with the tahina and sprinkle with the Hawaiian red salt.



Price: varies depending on what is fresh

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Organic Food Market at the Old Port (Tel Aviv)

This was an enjoyable friday morning at the old port in Tel aviv for some photography and a walk through the organic farmers market.

Nothing like a nice Fresh Espresso to enjoy the view