Goodbye Busy Summer

AriCooks, Dairy Free, pasta, Vegan, vegetarian

This summer was very full. I cleaned and cooked for a lady from Boston, waitressed and baked at the cafe, taught cooking classes at a local culinary school and for religious teens outside the city, worked the Jerusalem Wine Festival as a wine steward for the Golan Winery, guided for Israel Food Tours, and taught a women’s ballet class during the month of July. Quite a ride.

Yossi, Orit and me (center), pouring tastings of the winery's Gamla wines in the Israel Museum's beautiful art garden.

Now that Autumn is arriving, I am trying to simplify life while still keeping things interesting. My full-time job involves baking, waitressing, and setting up the website at Cafe Belinda in Rehavia (stop by and say ‘hello’!), and I am remaining on staff at Israel Food Tours and the Winery.

Deep Chocolate, Caramel Walnut, and Apple Crumble tarts for sale at Cafe Belinda.

Working on the cafe’s site has inspired me to come up with some new ideas for my own blog. My favorite Tel Aviv vegetarian blogger, Liz, has been brainstorming with me on ways to make our blogs more utilitarian for people trying to get to know Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from a food-perspective, and her recent post on shuk shopping versus supermarket shopping was quite an inspiration.

Liz, gathering a few light-skinned cucumbers from Chayim the Vegetable Seller, In Machane Yehuda

Although I am keen to take advantage of living so close to one of the country’s most exciting and vibrant shuks, I felt like I should pay a little homage to the city in which I became the food-nut that I am today. At the top of my blog’s home page you can now find my list of favorite restaurants, cafes and markets in and around Boston. Please feel free to chime in and share your own, and keep an eye out for my list of Jerusalem’s culinary treasures!

Sampling cheeses from around the world, at Basher in Machane Yehuda

The tough (and ironic) thing about life being so full of these great food-centric jobs, is that I have less time to cook for us at home. Luckily, years of collecting cookbooks and food-magazine clippings left me am armed with an arsenal of quick recipes, such as this creamy vodka pasta. You can expect more like this in the months to come, enjoy!

Pasta with Vodka Sauce, adapted from Amanda Hesser’s, Essential New York Times Cookbook

serves 6 

1 1/2 lbs. penne or ziti (I used whole wheat)

7 Tbs unsalted butter/margarine

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

3/4 cup, plus 2 Tbs polish or Russian vodka

1 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes

1 cup heavy cream/soy creamer

1 cup freshly grated parmesan (I always substitute pecorino for parmesanbecause I prefer sheep’s cheese)

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a casserole or saucepan large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Add the red pepper flakes and vodka and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and cream and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt.

When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the hot sauce. With the heat on low, add the cheese and mix thoroughly.

Note: When you are making a thick sauce for pasta, it’s always a good idea to reserve a cup of the pasta water before draining the noodles, you can add that starchy, salted water to the sauce if it needs a little more liquid.