EAT

An afternoon delight

Sometimes, I wish I could live in “Downton Abby” days – having afternoon tea, eating on fine china while dressed in ball gowns. Then, I remember how much I love my espresso machine and amazon prime.

So, I decided to take out the fine china and macaroons and have an afternoon tea.

I made cucumber sandwiches with ricotta cheese and dill, mini puff pastry rounds with goat cheese and balsamic reduction and of course macaroons (that I did not make. I am not that ambitious).  To decorate the table I used  mini Gerber daisies that I found at a local flower shop and mini fabric flags I ordered from Etsy.

The china, silverware and crystal glasses are all family heirloom. They belonged to my husband’s grandmother. I never met her, but always heard the stories of how much she loved to entertain and have family and friends over. I’m honored to have some of her treasured dishes and I love the idea that we are keeping her tradition alive (with some modern twists).

Afternoon tea was simple, elegant and full of fun. Perfect way to spend an afternoon.

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Photos by Kate Bolt

 

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EAT

Salad and Company

There is nothing better in this world than good friends and good food. The combination of the two is what I consider my “happy place”. So, naturally, I had to write a post that brings the two together. I love a big salad that has a little bit of everything. The way I prepare a salad is by looking at the fridge, taking whatever looks good to me at the moment, toss in a bowl and hope that it will taste good in the end.

I told Kate (my partner in crime) that I have the perfect salad for a fun morning. While my kitchen is undergoing some cosmetic changes, I showed up at her doorstep with a basket full of goodies.

We had a lovely time, and  for the first time since forever, it was warm outside enough for me to wear shorts!

Kale, Beets, Green Beans and Tuna Salad (for two):
2 Small heads of lettuce, chopped (I like to use one red and one green, doesn’t matter what kind)
5 Kale leafs, chopped
1 Can of Tuna in olive oil
1 medium size Beet, peeled and 1/2-inch diced
4 “Almost” hard boiled eggs, halved lengthwise
A nice size bunch of Green Beans
Olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Wrap the beet in tin foil without peeling and place in a baking pan, bake for about an hour until tender. Allow to cool and peel.

Boil eggs for 5-6 minutes. Place  green beans in rapid boiling water with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Place the lettuce and kale in a large salad bowl and add the beets, green beans and tuna. Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar and toss well. Arrange the eggs gently on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Photos by Kate Bolt

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EAT

Easy Fix

On my previous Book Worm post I shared snapshots of my favorite books. This post is about a recipe from the cookbook “OTTOLENGHI”.  Yotam Ottolenghi is an Israeli chef who owns a group of restaurants in London. Along with his head chef, Sami Tamimi, he published two other cookbooks: “Jerusalem” and “Plenty”. I am a little bit obsessed with his books. I find his recipes simple, easy and delicious. Follow them and you have a bullet proof dish!

That being said, I must confess that I like “minimum work – maximum show” recipes! Oh, and that I don’t really need to follow them step-by-step, but can make a few shortcuts. I’ve prepared the following dish several times: as part of a brunch, a light vegetarian dinner or lunch date with a girlfriend.

Here is the recipe with my notes, enjoy and bon apetit!

Sweet potato galettes

3 Sweet potatoes, about 12 oz/350 g each.

9 oz/250 g puff pastry

1 free range egg, lightly beaten 

6 1/2 tbsp /100 ml sour cream

3 1/2 tbsp /100 g aged goat cheese

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 medium-hot chile, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skin for 35 to 45 minutes, until they are soften up but still slightly raw in the center (check by inserting a small knife). Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into slices 1/8 inch /3 mm thick.   Note: I peel the sweet potatoes and cut them in advance. I layer them on a cookie sheet, and bake them for about 20 minutes. Taking this shortcut makes this recipe a quick prep and in my opinion does not influence the taste. 
  2. while the sweet potatoes are in the oven, roll out the puff pastry to about 1/16 inch / 2 mm thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out four 2 3/4 by 5 1/2-inch / 7 by 14-cm rectangles and prick them all over with a fork. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, place the pastry rectangles on it, well spaced apart, and leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour. Note: I use “Pepperidge Farm” puff pastry sheets which comes in two folded squares. I just cut each square into half. If I am in rush I skip the wait in the fridge. 
  3. Remove the pastry from thE fridge and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Using an icing spatula, spread the thin layer of sour cream on the pastries, leaving a 1/4-inch / 5-mm border all round. Arrange the potato slices on the pastry, slightly overlapping, keeping the border clear. Season with salt and pepper, crumble the goat cheese on top, and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and chile. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through. Check underneath; it should be golden brown. Note: I often make this dish for my husband and girls, so I omit the pumpkin seeds and chile.  
  4. While the galettes are cooking, stir together the olive oil, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt. As soon as the pastries come out of the oven, brush them with this mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Note: I use a Cuisinart Mini Prep Processor to chop the parsley and garlic together. I am a big parsley fan so I use a nice size bunch. The Mini Prep is my “go-to” kitchen tool for all herbs. It makes chopping a quick task.

I hope you will enjoy it with your family and friends!

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 All photos are taken by Kate Bolt 
 

 

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OUT & ABOUT

From Paris with Love

Exactly a year ago today I went to Paris with my best friend to celebrate my 30th birthday. Spending 5 days with no husband or kids was something I have never done before. I was beyond excited!

T, my partner in crime, has been my friend for 10 years. It was an instant hit when we met the first day of Law School. We share the same passion for cooking and eating great, amazing, delicious food. We also share the same passion for nice things (this is me trying to say in nice words that we LOVE to shop together ;-)). I knew we are about to enjoy everything that Paris has to offer.

The first thing we did upon arrival was to book restaurants for every night. We used the concierge at our hotel to help us. Next, was to make a rough plan for our stay. We decided to spend half of each day on museums, galleries and walking around and the other half – enjoying the wonderful stores of paris. I loved touring the beautiful streets and admiring the history and the architecture.

This is my favorite list:

  • Eating my birthday dinner at L’Avenue. The Art-Deco design, the location on Av. Montaigne, the Burrata salad and the steak made it a perfect celebratory dinner.
  • Coming back to our hotel suite after a long day to discover that my Husband sent me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and  birthday card all the way from Michigan.
  • Standing in line for the designer sale at Galeries Lafayette and scoring a beautiful Gucci clutch, a purple Furla bag for spring and a cross body Mulberry bag in the perfect shade of brown.
  • Discovering french brands such as Maje, Vanessa Bruno and Comptoir des Contonniers. I bought some of the most beautiful, wearable and useful items in my wardrobe from those designers. Now, available in US department stores such as Bloomingdales.
  • Buying clothes for my girls in different shades of grey and pastels at Petit Bateau, and trying to convince my then 3-year-old that a grey dress is much prettier than a pink one.
  • Mama Shelter – we heard so many great things about this restaurant that we knew we had to check it out, but we couldn’t get any reservation for the time of our stay. So, T came up with the brilliant idea of going and pretending we had one. It worked! It’s amazing how confidence can get you anywhere. The vibe and the food made it a really fun evening.
  • Eating macaroons all day long from Laduree and Pierre Herme.
  • Spending a day at the Louver and then walking across the Seine river for lunch at Cafe de-Flore and walking around the streets of Saint-Germain-Des-Pres.
  • Spending a beautiful morning at Jardin des Tuileries and Musee de L’Orangerie admiing Monet’s Water Lilies.

It was an amazing trip full of food, laughter, rest, happiness and really good company. That is all you need in life!

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OUT & ABOUT

Last days of summer

Every year we prolong our summer days by vacationing in Israel.  This time we stayed at the “Royal Beach”, a new hotel  recently built on the Tel Aviv promenade overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. It was wonderful! The weather and the atmosphere in Tel Aviv was great.

We tried two new restaurants recently opened in Tel Aviv. I have been reading different reviews about those two places, so I decided that this time we must check them out. I was not disappointed. The buzz was there for a reason.

The first place we went to was “Shulchan” by Chef Omer Miller.

HaShulchan offers a fresh creative cuisine, urban lively atmosphere, as well as intimate feel. Chef Omer Miller presents a menu of personal interpretations of the local modern cuisine: colorful clean presentation, multiple combinations of very few products, minimal processing and hints of familiar flavors.”

We went to Shulchan with close friends for an evening of great company and great food – it was more than that. The restaurant had a fun vibe to it. Full of young, beautiful people enjoying a night out. The food was creative, fresh and simple. I will definitely go back!

The second place we went to was “Taizu” by Chef Yuval Ben Neriah.

Taizu – Asia Terranean Kitchen, A new concept restaurant based on chef Yuval Ben Neriah’s personal interpretation of street foods of five countries in South East Asia – India, China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Taizu was a different experience… We went to the restaurant with another couple to celebrate our 6 year wedding anniversary. The decor was amazing, very contemporary but inviting. The food was so different from anything I have ever tasted. It changes its flavor while you eat it! Very unique. Not sure that it’s on my “must have” list of restaurants, but definitely a place to go at least once.

Here are a few snapshots from the trip:

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