2011: A Foodie Odyssey parts 2 & 3 Israel and Egypt
So here we are again. This is weeks 2 and 3 combined. We will be visiting Israel and Egypt. As I was not able to post last week we will be having breakfast in Israel and desert in Egypt.
Let's start with Israel. This country has a very fascinating history. It is the religious hub for several religions, and it's location make is somewhat of a melting pot. Originally Palestine, it was given over to the Jewish state in 1948 as many Jewish people were left homeless after WWII. Needless to say this has created friction between the original inhabitants and the refugees. Marked now by constant conflict, many people don't even think about the food. It's politics and religion when we talk about Israel. That's to bad really because it has a very diverse and budding culinary scene.
In the past there wan not much focus on food for obvious reasons. Hard to worry about food when your watching overhead for bombers. Israel drew heavy influence from northern African, and it's middle eastern neighbors fro culinary influence. But as peace in more frequent now they are well known for growing fruit.
We will be having Shakshouka. While not containing fruit it is a dish originally from northern Africa, and adapted by Jewish settlers, and is now very popular in the new Israel. It is much like a Mexican dish by the name of Huevos Rancheros. All fresh vegetables and very little spice this is as close to a vegetarian dish as I will get. This recipe packs a lot of flavor and is easy to prepare.
Here's What You Need:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup thin sliced bell pepper, any color
2 cloves of garlic minced, or to taste
2 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 hot chili pepper de-seeded and chopped, or to taste
Preheat your pan with olive oil. Suttee onion, bell peppers, and garlic until tender or onions become translucent. In a mixing bowl add tomato, chili pepper and spices and stir briefly. Simmer until the juices have cooked off. Make an indentation for each egg and add, trying not to break the yolk. Cover and cook eggs to desired temperature. I like mine firm, I'm not a fan of runny yolk. That's it your done!
See what I mean, a trip to Israel with your taste buds at low cost and quick cooking time.
Next we venture to Egypt. I could spend hours writing about Egypt! I am a history buff and Egypt has kept some of the best records of it's ancient past. Many famous Kings, Emperors, and Generals have passed through this link between Africa and the Middle East. The resting place of the Great Pyramid, a mystery of ancient architecture and the Nile river, a wonder of mother nature.
This is a variation of Blancmange, a pudding desert commonly flavored with almonds, ours will be mango! Mahallibyah as it is called in the Arabic world is not as thick as pudding. It can be flavored with fresh fruits or nuts and is delicious! I don't have much experience with desert so this is OUT OF MY BOX. It was fun and gave me some confidence in my desert making.
Here's What You'll Need:
4 cups milk divided, 3 and 1
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup mango juice, the more fresh the better
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix sugar with 3 cups of milk and heat until in boils. Be careful! Milk will froth up quickly so be ready to reduce heat! Mix cornstarch and remaining milk and slowly add to boiling milk. Stir very swiftly, you don't want the milk to burn on the bottom of your pot so stir for you life! Add your mango juice and continue to stir quickly. Turn down heat and simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the water and vanilla and cook for three minutes stirring the entire time. Pour into individual dishes and chill, you want to serve as cold as possible. Garnish with what ever you please and eat!
Another trip to a foreign country right from the kitchen. This one was awesome for me! I love mango! So I had no problem eating more than I should have, sometimes limits must be broken.
I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have. I get bored with food and this has been an exciting experience for me. I want to reiterate that in most cases, my blog posts are my first experience cooking these recipes. It's not as difficult to cook great tasting and eye appealing dishes, you just gotta go out on a limb. I will admit I have had some failures as I have gone along, and I intend to do a post on them some day, but I just consider it a learning experience and move on to Top Rammen! Don't forget to cast your vote for next weeks featured country!
What's the most exotic thing you have cooked? I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment at the bottom of the page and tell me your story! Who knows, it may end up featured right here!