Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Criss Cross Applesauce

I'm the type of person who loves to bake but doesn't necessarily like to eat the baked goods. However, today my body was craving something sweet, some sort of delectable baked good but not your typical chocolate chip cookie or fudge brownie, instead I was aiming for a healthy, sweet, delicious dessert and that is exactly what I got. Since I am not really into cooking with butter, I began to do research for recipes with butter/oil substitutes and I stumbled upon the perfect replacement - applesauce! Applesauce as a replacement for butter? You probably think I am crazy! And I might be crazy, but this recipe was legit and it did not need an ounce of butter or a drop of oil. 
A friend and I decided to tackle this recipe head on - we began with a large mixing bowl and glanced at the instructions, but rather than following them...we eyeballed it. We poured about a cup and half of golden yellow applesauce into the bowl and followed with a large scoop of all-natural chunky peanut butter. Next came 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract, this was the only direct amount we followed from the recipe, and then sprinkled cinnamon throughout the mixture as we stirred. Then it came time for the dough of the cookies, old fashioned rolled oats! I'm not really sure how much we put in, but we tried to match it to the amount of applesauce so the dry and wet ingredients were harmonized. If you thought I was crazy before, you probably think double that amount right now, but trust me, the outcome was amazing. To add some more sweetness we tossed in some luscious red dried cherries to the batter. We balled up the cookies into a cookie tray and trickled more ground cinnamon on top of the circle shapes. We allowed them to cook for 10-12 minutes and let them cool for about 5, anxious for the taste test. At first bite, our teeth sank into the cookies, the gooey oatmeal mixture melted in our mouths. The golden brown cookies were sweet and tangy from the juicy bursts of the cherries that were bites of pleasant surprises as they were layered into the cookies. What I love about these cookies is the versatility they have - instead of dried cherries, you could switch in dark chocolate chips, walnuts or various types of dried fruit...even all three! Additionally these are non-guilt cookies, perfect around the time of the holidays - they can be eaten for breakfast since they're made from oatmeal, or as a snack, and of course, for dessert. You know what they say - an applesauce oatmeal cookie a day, keeps the doctor away!

Thursday, October 30, 2014


So it's been a while, give or take about 6 months since my last blog post, but I am a back and I hope ya'll are ready for it - because this one is about to blow your mind and inspiralize you to go raw. Side note - If you know me, you know that a. I'm picky and b. I like weird concoctions of foods, meaning that I will go out of my way to eat any type of pasta that isn't actually pasta. Because why would I like anything normal? Just my luck, a couple nights ago, my vegan friend invited me over to make some zucchini noodles (zoodles). I could hardly contain my excitement as I sprinted down the street to her house with my packaged tofu in hand (that ingredient will come in handy later). Needless to say through the excitement, we began to prepare immediately. I started the process by chopping a large lush red bell pepper into small chunks and diced a red onion into tiny slivers. Next it was zoodle time (stop, zoodle time! Like hammer time). We sliced off the ends of four small zucchinis and stuck them into the spiralizer, one at a time. Once the zucchini was stuck in place we winded the handle over and over again as thin layers of dark and light green zucchini spirals flowed out.
One small zucchini made so many noodles, I could hardly contain my eyes, let alone my taste buds. After the zoodles were finished, we poured a jar of Arrabbiata sauce into a stove-top pot and let it heat up, then we added the chopped onion and pepper into the pot (if you were wondering who put the pepper in the was me...if you catch my drift). We let the vegetables cook, folding them over in dollops of the tomato sauce. Next we sifted the zoodles into the mixture and continued to stir it around with the the other ingredients. Once the veggies were cooked and the sauce was bubbling, we added in crumbled tofu (the tofu again makes an appearance) for some protein. After about 10 minutes more of cooking, we deemed the masterpiece ready and added some of our leftover zoodles on top for a garnish. We placed the pot on a table and immediately dug in, I could hardly contain my excitement as I tasted the spice from the sauce, the sweetness from the peppers, the crunchy bites of onion and the zoodles, which were soft and tender. I can taste the flavors as I write. I was inspiralized by the spiralizer and cannot wait to make the next batch of vegetable noodles.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

My (is)Raeli Good Breakfast

What I've realized my last week abroad is that any food I can get in America (i.e., sushi, thai food, Chinese food, Italian food, etc) I can wait to eat until I get back to America. Any food that is strictly Israeli-style or Mediterranean, I will eat my last week abroad in Israel. This morning, I was able to cross off a cafe on my list of recommended places to eat, called NOLA: American Bakery. Now, I know this is quite ironic seeing as I just said earlier that I'm not eating American food until I go back to the US of A, but this is an Israeli version of American food restaurant, and I can assure you my meal was anything but American.
One of the things most people look forward to when they come to Israel is the Israeli Breakfast. Unfortunately during my time abroad, I haven't had all the opportunities to eat an Israeli Breakfast but today after my morning, I realized it was worth the wait. Usually at some restaurants I have trouble trying to figure out what to order - but at NOLA, everything looked appealing and I had no issue picking my meal - the Healthy Breakfast. The best part of this breakfast was that it came with a cold drink, a freshly squeezed juice perhaps...which is exactly what I ordered. One Healthy Breakfast with a chopped vegetable salad of colorful ingredients like cucumbers, red and yellow peppers, red onion and red cabbage, a side of bulgur wheat grains drizzled in a lemony-vinagrette with parsley, some chunks of feta cheese, a thin egg-white omelette and two slices of toasted whole-grain bread. And for my juice? A freshly-squeezed orange and carrot juice mixture. My juice came out in a small mason jar, the bright orange color was vibrant and glistened in the sun. The jar was so cute and the juice fizzed at the top from the citrus.
I really love carrot juice and the tanginess of the orange mixed with the sweetness of the carrot, such an unreal mix of flavors, I never even knew the two would go together - but they definitely do, and that's my new usual. As for my meal, well that was a different but seriously amazing story. The plate looked almost too good to eat - but that wasn't going to stop me. The omelette was airy and fluffy and served as the perfect starter palette as it allowed me to spread some creamy feta cheese on top and eat it along with my crunchy salad and soft bulgur wheat. One of my favorite foods is salad, and the best part of the breakfasts in Israel are the salads they give you on the side. Well really, that's the best part of any meal in Israel. The ingredients were so fresh and tasty and seasoned perfectly. I got just the right amount of flavor in every bite. Hopefully I'll be able to find or re-create my Israeli Breakfast in America, but if not, NOLA I'll be back for you.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Meating Place

Sometimes I joke that one day I'll be a vegetarian, I even once told my mom that I was going to try to be one - except on the days when I wanted chicken, turkey and even on occasion brisket. Simply put, vegetarianism is not for me...because I like poultry and I like meat. I also like tofu and seitan but that's another story. For this post lets focus on the meat side of the relationship. One of the best things about living in Israel is the availability of kosher meats; I don't keep kosher, but I prefer kosher meats because they taste better. Last week, a couple friends and I went out to celebrate one of their birthdays and her food of choice? Meat. Meat. And more meat. So we decided on רק בשר which means, "Only Meat". The restaurant, located in Jaffa, is unlike any place I've ever been to. As we walked into the restaurant we were greeted with complimentary tasting glasses of red wine (check 1), and the decor was beautiful (check 2). The walls were made of tan gravel rock, it looked like we were eating in a cave which made the restaurant that much more interesting and appealing.
As a food blogger and foodie, I did a little research before hand on the best things to order - with the help of an article on the Jerusalem Post, we started with the roasted eggplant appetizer which came out covered in a tehina and tomato salsa with a Balsamic vinegar drizzled on top. The mixture of smokiness from the eggplant with the juiciness of the fresh salsa, the tangy vinegar, and the creaminess of the tehina was a flavorful sensation in my mouth - the appetizer was amazing.
Already very impressed by the appetizer, I was excited for the next part of the meal...the MEAT! The way this restaurant works is each table goes up to the "meat bar" to choose their desired pieces and cuts of meat - I chose a garlic and parsley marinated slice of chicken, a small circular piece of a lamb kebob mixed with cilantro, salt, pepper and garlic and a vegetable skewer. The meat came out on a portable grill (check 3), sizzling with steam and bursting with color. My chicken was cooked to perfection, with bits of crunchy parsley. I didn't want it to end, each bite was better than the next. The lamb kebob was equally as tasty, the salt was balanced out by the spicy black pepper and I even got some pieces of raw garlic too, which I love. Plus the addition of my vegetable skewer was anything I could ever want, and yet so much more. One of my favorite parts about grilling food is the vegetables - grilled vegetables (okay, really grilled anything) are the bomb (.com) . Mixing pieces of pepper, onion and tomato with my meats made this meal twice as good.
I think it's important to eat all the colors of the rainbow in your meals - it makes the experience so much more fun. As I write this post, my mouth is watering and my stomach is grumbling...this was a meatrageous restaurant with outrageous flavors. Go meat, ya'll.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Som-ting Yum-mee

Last night I was adopted into my friend's family for dinner-time. They were here visiting her in Israel and I was just lucky enough to join the family for a night out on the town at this asian inspired restaurant called Zepra, on Igal Alon 96 (everyone plug this restaurant into your might be a far walk, or drive, or flight, but it's worth it). And yes, in Israel, the numbers come after the street names. Anyhoo, back to the food, because that's why you guys read my blog posts...for the food, am I right? At first glance, the menu was overwhelming - filled with different course sections, different asian-fusion categories. The waitress wanted to make it easy for us, so instead of us ordering, we were presented with different options for appetizers, main courses, and of course (because we're legal in Israel, even though I'm legal back home) drizzyyyy Drinnkzzzzz! My friend and I decided to be adventurous and order some cocktails, I chose a rum inspired ginger, lime, mint drink that was filled to the brim with little ice cubes.
The ginger was spicy, the lime tangy and the mint refreshing. It was such a good little cocktail that I didn't feel like I was drinking alcohol and as an alcohol connoisseur I believe that's the way it should be. As we casually sipped on our drinks, the appetizers came out - we didn't know what was coming, which was part of the fun experience, each dish was a surprise. For appetizers we had Sashimi, the Healthy Buddha salad and a Tapioca dumpling filled with chicken and various vegetables. The fish was fresh and the pieces melted in my mouth, the sauces on top were a little spicy, it was a perfect mixture of fiery spice with the delicate taste of the fish. The Healthy Buddha salad was a top fave - a combination of one of my favorite foods and one of my favorite cuisines: salads and Asian. The thinly julienned pieces of daikon, carrots, and cabbage were crunchy and then there was the crispy bean sprouts and the sharp pungent mint to cleanse the palette. For the Tapioca dumpling was a bright what?!? It was a soft outer layer that encompassed a tasty chicken/asian vegetable mixture in the center, with each bite, more gooey goodness came.

Within 10 minutes, out came the main courses. Although our stomachs were saying "no more food", our mouths had different ideas, and our eyes were in constant shock by the beautiful colors of the food. Out came a full white fish covered in a redish brown chili sauce covered in mint leaves...bear in mind that I'm not a huge fish fan, but when it's disguised with other flavors, I enjoy it. And this piece, I thoroughly enjoyed.
For the meat lovers out there, the next dish was a veal chop dish with sautéed spinach and red lettuce.
I was blown away by this meal. Every single bite was filled with delicious flavors and it was nice to dine with a family, even if it wasn't mine. It reminded me of the comfort of home and the food I love, which I can safely say, I can definitely find in Israel. Catch ya on the flip side. Nomz out.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Full Moon

Last night I finally got my sushi fix, and it was completely worth the wait. So far, being in Israel I've had sushi two other times, neither to my liking, but last night - the restaurant Moon, on Bograshav Street hit the jackpot. The restaurant was small, but packed with both Americans, Brits and Israelis - plus it's gotten great recommendations, so I was very excited to try it. The menu was filled with different appetizers, colorful rolls, sushi sandwiches, pouches of rice/tofu filled with fish and vegetables, sashimi - the list could go on. The menu was overwhelming, but everything looked sooooo good. Plus, they had the option of brown rice, it was 2GOOD2BTRUE!!!!! I decided on two rolls - the spicy tuna; a mixture of tuna and avocado rolled in rice, wrapped in a slice of cucumber, with a spicy radish mixture drizzled over the top. For my second roll, I chose a Japanese tofu pouch stuffed with Yellowtail, avocado and sesame seeds sprinkled on top, with a side of a thinly julienned daikon and carrot salad. I picked up a piece, slathered on wasabi, dipped in gooey Eel sauce, Spicy orange mayo and a final splash in the dark brown Soy Sauce. This piece was legend, wait for it, wait for it...dary. Probably the best meal I've eaten out so far in Tel Aviv, and that's saying a lot because I'm a picky eater, especially when it comes to Sushi. I really don't like fish, but I really enjoy it in Sushi. The fish was fresh, the avocado melted in my mouth, the spicy radish pieces, along with the spicy mayo/wasabi mixture, left me with a fiery incense in my mouth - my eyes were watering...this is a great way to clear out your sinuses (in case anyone was wondering). The tofu pouch was sweet, it provided a tasty contrast with the salty fish and pungent taste of the avocado. I just couldn't get enough of that yummy in my tummy sush, and we washed it down with some warm Sake.
I drank the Sake in honor of my mother, her favorite type of was the first time I've ever had it before, the rice based alcohol is not my drink of choice, but it was the perfect pair with the meal. Because my schedule has been different, somewhat off, I'm usually snacking throughout the day, and starving at meals. Yesterday though, I was able to really appreciate my food, I had the opportunity to eat slowly and really take in all the flavors. I can't explain how good this meal was, my only recommendation is if you're abroad in Israel, to try it, if you're sitting on your couch back in the states, get on a plane to Israel and head to Moon...but make sure you make a reservation first, they get crowded.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Iron Chef: Abroad

Greetings from halfway across the world. I know that all my devoted followers have missed my food blogging, so I am here with some happy news - here comes the first food blog post abroad in Israel! My living conditions are not amazing, therefore, it's been somewhat difficult to cook for myself. Although as many of you know, I LOVE to cook, so the challenging circumstances were just going to have to do. I figured that the easiest thing to make in small, tight, kitchenette quarters was of course, a stir-fry: otherwise known as my go-to meal, both home and abroad. With the help of a friend, we started to prepare: chopping green cabbage into thin strips, breaking apart the broccoli and cauliflower florets from their stems, slicing a small cube of tofu into little chunks and dicing/seeding a red juicy tomato. Tomato in a stir fry...say, what? Actually it was pretty delicious. We began by sautéing the broccoli and cauliflower, and then trying to be quick, I tossed in the strips of cabbage before I realized that the vegetables were overflowing...tight kitchen quarters: 1, chefs abroad: 0. Anyway, we let the florets steam and when they seemed to be cooked down, I added the cabbage, the pieces melted into the other vegetables we folded them over each other with the spatula. Tofu is one of my favorite sources of protein, and it's been hard to find it here - but with the hope that it would be good, we tossed it in. It was equally as delicious as the surprise tomato we threw into the stir-fry. The vegetables cooked down, the tofu was added, and some Teriyaki and Soy Sauce were drizzled over the mixture of ingredients, for flavor, along with some granulated Garlic powder. The tomatoes were the last addition, because they cook the quickest. Once all the separate parts were combined together, it was time to eat. The stir-fry was steaming hot (just the way I like it) and surprisingly, all the flavors were there. The tofu was firm, the vegetables were soft and delicate, cooked to perfection - with a touch of crunch from the cabbage. The tomato added a sweet flavor and the red color peaked out from the normal whites and greens. I would say the final product produced a win for chefs abroad, and especially because we came out with left-overs! I can't wait to prepare this meal again, with different additions as well as many others. Watch out TLVeats, I'm coming for ya...homecooked meals and all.