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Entries in fruit (3)


Food in Israel: Beyond Hummus

Not long into You Don't Mess with the Zohan, the (really very funny) Adam Sandler movie about the Mossad superagent who quits to become a hairstylist in New York City, there's a great scene in which the agent's father, while mocking him for his new life plan, spoons hummus into his coffee, stirs, and drinks.

He seems to enjoy the café au garbanzo, which shouldn't surprise us, because throughout the scene we see him eating vast quantities of hummus on everything, including scooped directly from the bowl on his glasses.

This isn't far from the truth. And it's fun to tease my Israeli friends about this national cicerphilia (a word I just made up by taking the Latin word for chickpea, 'cicer' and tacking on 'philia').* What makes this so enjoyable is they often don't quite get the joke and become frustrated. They say: "What is this joke? What is this? We have more foods than just hummus!"

It's true, though. This long-winded digression (progression?) gets me to the point of the story: Food in Israel is often superb, always fresh, and more than just hummus. 

Now, to be clear, "food in Israel" is not the same as "food on Birthright" (for those unaware, Birthright is the free-of-charge trip to and tour of Israel for young Jews. I've just returned from staffing a trip). Food on Birthright is generally ok, but nothing special (it's a free trip, after all, and we're mostly eating in hotels).

But then, you hit some restaurants after Birthright (I extended my trip). Here's where the magic happens:

1) Burgers in Israel are Unbelievable

Just, unbelievable. The quality of the meat is the highest, whether because it's kosher (it is) or because the Israeli palate expects it I'm not sure. The meat is so fresh and so much effort has gone into the process that I have few concerns about ordering rare. Buns are freshly made and clearly superior. Toppings are diverse, fresh, and creative. What a treat -- when in Israel, eat a burger.

2) Try Lachuch -- If You Can Pronounce It

Lachuch isn't Israeli; it's Yemenite, which brings me to another point. I'm not sure there's such a thing as Israeli food. Instead, there's just Middle Eastern food to which all the various Middle Eastern nations lay claim, and occasionally sue one another over. Hummus, tabbouleh, baba gannouj, tahini -- it's a shared heritage that no one wants to share. Israel deals with this phenomenon by just adding the world "Israeli" or "Jerusalem" to the front of everything (e.g. "Israeli salad," "Jerusalem Pine"). 

The point! Lachuch is awesome. It looks, sort of tastes, and is cooked like a crepe, although it's leavened, it would seem. The lachuch I tried, made by an insane Orthodox Jew in Tzfat (see above; he also tried to sell me a drink he claimed was made from coca), was stuffed with a blend of fresh-grated goat's milk, sheep's milk, and cow's milk cheese with tomatoes and herbs. Pretty incredible.

More awesome stuff after the jump!**

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Ginger Peach Sangria: Because I Owe You Something Summery

I'm hammering out a quick post today, a) because I owe you something summery and delicious, and b) because in fewer than 24 hours, I'll be on a plane to Newark. Then to Tel Aviv. Then, 15 days later, to Istanbul. Then, in rapid succession, to Tel Aviv, New York, and Atlanta. Then, 14 days later, to Maine. Then, six days later, back to DC. Then for a weekend in Ocean City, MD.

Then the next day, law school starts.


While I'm traveling, expect the occasional mini post featuring grainy pictures of Turkish kahve or falafel. Until then, enjoy this recipe for Ginger-Peach Sangria!

Yes, I know this isn't a superb photo. I think I made up for the noise by going artsy and blowing out the colors and upping the contrast. It almost looks like a photo of a watercolor. Or maybe a watercolor of a photograph. You tell me if it still looks delicious. Recipe after the jump!

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Wicked Good Berry Parfaits and Excellent, Obvious News

Before we dive headfirst into the obvious, mind-blowingly awesome news that is the epic redesign of Hungry Sam, let's take a look at this morning's deliciousness:

Wowza. This is the berry parfait of mine sweet dreams; a healthy, easy, delicious, antioxidant-packed breakfast appetizer the likes of which I've rarely made. And I can't take any credit for the recipe -- this is Lynn's, via Perri, as I understand it; I was just the assembly worker this time. (And I know what you're asking: "What's with Hungry Sam and the antioxidants?") 

(Don't ask; I have an answer, but it'll bore you.)

Perhaps the only challenge here was finding some fresh, ripe blueberries and strawberries in winter. Lynn had accomplished this already, so all I had to do to help prep for brunch this morning was layer it in, arrange the toppings, and photograph the final effect. Here it is again:

BAM. Looks good, no? Recipe below, after the jump.

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