Whew. Like many things worth doing in this world, that was not easy.
Now that we have arrived I am sure there are many more challenges to come, but I have to say that building a life up (even if it is from near-scratch) has got to be more fun than taking one down. Let’s hope so anyway.
As you may have guessed, it was not much more than 24 hours after touching down in Tel Aviv, that I was on my way to the shuk (open-air produce market), little shopping cart in tow (I am a girl who knows what she loves). Most of my shuk-shopping has happened in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda market, which is near and dear to my heart, but I am happy to report that Shuk HaCarmel, here in Tel Aviv, will suit me just fine. I am looking forward to finding my favorite cheese, olive, spice and fruit guys. Oh the romance of a new market… this will keep me happy for a while.
I wasn’t sure it would be possible to pack this many veggies into a pasta sauce. In fact I almost considered calling this ‘ratatouille’ instead of ‘sauce’, and I’m certain any Italian or French cook would balk at the use of either term applied to what I threw together this evening. It doesn’t much matter however, because when you are cooking with vegetables fresh this fresh, and have even a small amount of culinary know-how, it is tough to go wrong.
Shuk Pasta Sauce and a Cabbage Salad
The kitchen in our temporary apartment is a little …. rudimentary. But I will persevere with many fresh salads and dishes that can be made on a 2 burner electric stovetop!
for the pasta sauce:
one large onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
salt and pepper
medium eggplant, diced
4-5 ripe tomatoes, chopped (you could peel and seed them, but I don’t particularly believe in that sort of thing)
1/3 cup tomato paste
pasta of your choice- we used shells
Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and pepper and saute (slowly) until everything has softened and the onion is translucent, add the garlic, salt and pepper and saute a bit longer. Add the eggplant and chopped tomatoes, and cover until eggplant has cooked through and tomatoes are breaking down. Add the tomato paste (you can pour in a little red wine if you have a bottle open), mix and partially, cover, stirring occasionally, until everything begins to meld and you have something that resembles a sauce. Mix in a handful of chopped, fresh basil and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
for the cabbage salad:
1 medium red cabbage, halved, cored and thinly sliced (good thing I packed my favorite kitchen knife…)
juice of one lemon
1/4-1/3 cup tahini paste
salt and pepper
Put the finely sliced cabbage in a large salad bowl. Mix the lemon juice with the tahini paste and thin with water until you have a pourable dressing, vigorously whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and a bit of pepper. Pour over cabbage and toss to coat well. Let sit at room temp, for a bit, while you cook the pasta- the dressing softens the cabbage nicely.