Sunday, February 6, 2022

Garbage Vegetable Broth

6 Adar 5782.

MasterClass has been such a fun and relatively affordable way to fill the seemingly endless time at home created by our nearly two-year (so far) “adventure” of COVID-19. 

I started taking the classes to learn from writing greats such as Dan Brown, David Baldacci, Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, and Amy Tan. A surprise benefit was taking classes from many other experts in their fields, including chefs Roy Choi, Yotam Ottolenghi, and Gordon Ramsay. Each chef taught me remarkable things about making my kitchen a more effective launchpad for excellence.  

Ramsay grew up poor. So a leitmotif in his classes is not. wasting. anything. Ever. When I think of everything I have thrown away that was viable food...! Well, spilled milk, and all that. Now, I am enlightened, and we are saving oodles of money, and “making our carbon footprint smaller,” whatever the heck that means. (I’m joking, I’m joking. Please don’t send me articles on what “carbon footprint” means. Thank you.)

This recipe was born of frustration and the slowly dawning realization that I did not need to remain a victim of said frustration. I often use Imagine Vegetable Broth for recipes. It doesn’t have sugar, as do so many other prepared broths. But it costs between 30 and 50 shekels for 32 ounces (946 ml), depending on where you can find it, and you can’t always find it. So, after I whined for a while... I decided to do what I always do when I can’t find a product easily: I make it from scratch. With that in mind, I will share with you my recipe for Garbage Vegetable Broth, without sugar or ridiculous amounts of sodium, and as organic and as low-carb as you want it to be. 

Save up those carrot peels, sweet potato peels, onion skins, celery leaves, kale and parsley and dill stems. If you really don’t want to use the broccoli stalks and cauliflower leaves for your kugel or roasted veg recipe, don’t throw them in the shemitah bin (this year, or the compost or trash in non-shemitah years). Save them in bags in the fridge or freezer until it’s time to make broth (meaning you have enough detritus with which to brew it).

I like to add other vegetables. Today I added scallions, garlic, celery root, and turnip. Cover your collection of garbage with water and bring to a boil. Add salt and any other spices and any herbs that you like. I added pepper, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Then I let it simmer for a few hours, adding water to keep the pot full.

When the vegetables have given their all, I strain the liquid from the vegetables which now can be thrown in any of the various waste receptacles previously mentioned.

The resulting broth is delicious, costs nearly nothing (when you realize I was going to toss everything but the additional vegetables) and makes me feel very good about myself. Bonus: the Dearly Beloved says it tastes better than store-bought products.

If you’re living in Israel, here’s another tip: I just started doing business with Farm to Family, “Where Quality and Service Meet.” I am very impressed with their service (online, phone and delivery), with their commitment to shemitah and to supporting local farmers, and with their produce (and other products). They have an easy-to-use English site for those of us still struggling with our Hebrew.

Save money! Ensmallen your smudgy little carbon footprints! And feel really good about making your own vegetable broth, and telling the kids it’s made of garbage. 😂 Kids like eating garbage.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Your New Favorite Sushi Place in Jerusalem

8 Shevat 5782.

Word of mouth is a very powerful sales tool, as are quality and service. Thanks to all three, Sushi Mamilla is our new favorite sushi place.

The adventure started when our friend and fellow foodie, Arnie Draiman, raved about a new place we hadn’t heard of in downtown Jerusalem. Since it was in our usual hang-out area, we knew we needed to give it a try before our latest self-imposed lockdown. (Fie on thee, COVID! Give us back our normal routines!)

Shlomzion HaMalka 4

The restaurant was easy to find, located just across the street from Misrad HaPnim on Shlomzion HaMalka. There were several couples and small groups already dining outside; and we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a waitress and by the owner, Naftali. Both took the time to be interested in us as human beings before they seated us and left us to peruse the menu.

As a brief aside, I will say that we discovered another new sushi place not long ago that was just opening. While there appeared to be food available, it was nearly impossible for us to get attention, and that was without a crowd. When we finally did, there was no menu in English and no one seemed to have the time for my slow efforts in Hebrew. I don’t need to have establishments cater to me in English. This is Israel, after all, and it’s my responsibility to learn the language. But I do like to be acknowledged. So, that sushi place is history, as far as we’re concerned. Back to the present...

After pleasant banter with the masked waitress, whose name was Halla, we placed our order. While waiting, I checked out the facilities. The single bathroom is clean and well-appointed, though small (befitting the small restaurant).

Halla brought us a very-mildly pickled appetizer of cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and red peppers with a hint of sesame seeds. Even Coach, famous for avoiding pickles, enjoyed the dish, much to my surprise.

In a reasonable amount of time, our beautifully-plated order appeared. I chose the Salmon Poke Bowl with perfectly sliced and very fresh salmon and avocado, with toothpick-slim sticks of cucumber and carrots as well as sweet potatoes and other perfectly prepared vegetables. The dish was topped with a wonderfully colorful crispy mixture so that I enjoyed a flavor experience from sweet to earthy with plenty of interesting textures. The dish was served on a bed of white rice. Though I am not interested in rice these days, the few bites I indulged in were quite tasty, and just the right consistency.

Coach was in an adventurous mood, and chose the American Pessi Roll with baked salmon, peanut butter, carrots, and sweet potato served with a very interesting, tangy sauce. He was delighted with the combination.

Near the end of our meal, the owner, Naftali, joined us to ask how we were enjoying the food. (We had seen him stop by all the tables outside as well.) We talked about the Old Country, as he came from Long Island two years ago, and we asked a few questions about the restaurant and the menu. It delighted me that many of his dishes are named for his children and children-in-law as well as for grandchildren. Nothing like a love of family to impress the two of us!

Not quite ready to end the adventure, we decided to try one of Naftali’s recommendations: the Falafel Sushi. This dish really brought home the restaurant’s tagline: “Where the Middle East meets the Far East.” There was no loss of taste or texture in the falafel ball cradled within the rice and tempura outer coating. We were glad we tried the “dessert.”

Sushi Mamilla has kosher certification from the Rabanut Yerushalayim, mehadrin min hamehadrin.

All of our encounters with the staff were pleasant and fun, and as we were leaving, we had one more surprise. Our “masked bandit,” Halla, photo-bombed us at the door as Coach was posing with the menu. I really love this place, and I am sure you will, too. We plan to make it a regular stop on our please-God increasing visits to the Holy City.

This gal more than earned her tip!