• I just saw Herzl at a bar.

    Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl at a bar
    Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl at a bar

    I just saw Herzl at a bar.

    You know, Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl.

     

     

    At first I thought, oh boy, maybe he’s here to drink away his sorrows, with Israel, the modern state he envisioned, forced to fight, defending itself from Hamas’ barrage of missiles, and from ridicules public opinions, blamed for not being careful enough in its fight against terrorists that use civilians as human shields, and want nothing but  killing all Jews.

     

     

     

    Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl Drinking Water
    Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl Drinking Water

     

     

    So I looked carefully. All he drank was water. I thought, hey, Benyoomin, you don’t seem so stressed. What are you really thinking?

     

     

     

     

     

    Then he texted a bit. Maybe tweeted. Glanced at me for a split second. Watched a bit of TV. Looked pretty calm. Not as troubled as he was during the Dreyfus Affair. Interesting.

    Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl Tweeting

    Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl Tweeting

    So it looks like he’s pretty chill. Maybe it’s something to learn from. What’s on his mind? I tried to imagine what he could be thinking now:

    Israel is a strong state. Innovative and creative, highly educated population, with an amazing infrastructure built over the last 66 years. An army that is considered one of the world’s best. Peace-striving yet strong enough to defend itself against most anything.

    Times are tough, no doubt. Civilian targets being attacked day and night by Hamas. Some, from the UN through the likes of Roger Waters and Barak Obama, show different levels of irrational thinking condemning Israel’s actions, while being blind to the facts and actions of terrorists and organizations that threaten not only Israeli, but western life and culture as a whole.

    But Israelis are tough. Their motivation is aligned with right causes and a strong righteous code of behavior. Being Innovative and strong-willed does and will prevail. Naysayers will eat their hats. This cannot result in anything but Israel winning.

    Well Benji, I agree. Now I know why you’re calm. Just as I considered  to maybe walk over and buy him a round of Pellegrino, he walked out, and I thought to myself, if a man that had such an amazing forward looking ability stays so calm, he must have a reason. He surely knows that there is no other way this will end but with Israel on top.

     

    Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl Walking Out Of  a Bar
    Benjamin Ze’ev Herzl Walking Out Of a Bar

     



  • Really Roger? My response to Roger Waters

    This is in response to Roger Waters’  “A note from Roger – July 11, 2014“, and to his overall anti-Israel opinion.

    Really Roger? I’d like to see your reaction if Italians would break into your house and try to butcher your wife Laurie. Or try and shoot your son Jack in his house, or bomb your kids Harry and India’s houses. I’m sure you will say “Hey, it’s fine, Brutus is Britain’s founding father, Italians have the right.” And then when they will poke your eyes out laughing at you while you try to talk sense to them, I’m sure you’ll say “Oh well, it used to be their land after all”. Should Dutch descended Americans justify a Native American trying to scalp them in their home because they were there first? Mexicans bomb Texas at will? I’m sure you loved the IRA killing Brits. Really Roger?

    You are naive Roger. I’m sure you are a good man by heart. But I’m also sure you try to use common sense to analyze Hamas and co.. A big mistake. You assume these terrorists think like you. Can you use your common sense talking with a fanatic suicide bomber? Or a person who brainwashed a teenager to be a suicide bomber? Telling him 72 virgins will wait for him in heaven? Did Americans understood the Kamikaze in Pearl Harbor? Do you justify the fanatics that crashed their plains into US civilian targets on Sep 11 2001 or the ones that bombed London targets on July 7 2005?

    Let me quote from Wikipedia one of the London bomber’s:

    ‘Tanweer argued that the non-Muslims of Britain deserve such attacks because they voted for a government which “continues to oppress our mothers, children, brothers and sisters in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya.” ‘

    So you do you oppose British security profiling and taking action against these terrorists because you think that their cause is justified? This is what Israel is doing. Trying to prevent terror. Israel’s official stand, and the vast majority (there are always exceptions) of its citizens would love to live in peace, and they tried to do so for many years, unlike Hamas and co. Israeli forces are doing their best to prevent civilians getting hurt. You believe Israel should not strive to secure the safety of its citizens? Really Roger?

    Dear Roger. You sit in your $20M house in England and do a white board analysis of a situation you do not understand. I wish that you had the opportunity to talk to one of the terrorist that bombed the Boston Marathon and try to understand from him why he did it, try to convince him it is wrong. You’ll be frustrated by feeling you are talking to a brick wall. I feel for you Roger. They say ignorance is a bliss, but you have too much exposure in this world to show off your ignorance as you do. And your opinions? You are as fanatic as these terrorists, your messages shows you do not try to understand the situation, but rather blindly try to prove a point you dug yourself  into, not trying to understand the situation.

    London has the risk of becoming an extremist Islamic city in the near future. You might think it will never happen. Ask my mother. She and her uncle are the only family survivals of extremists. The vast majority of her Polish-Jewish family did not survive the holocaust. Other than her, her “crazy” uncle that foresaw the future and left to Israel was the only survivor. She was raised as Christian by the family house maid until she was ten, and bought back by her uncle (yes, he paid to get her). You were blessed with easy life Roger (in comparison, so did I). I tip my hat to your success and I’m sure it required hard work, but the fact that my kids can enjoy the Dark Side of the Moon, is due to the fact that my uncle was smart enough to see the trend and save himself and my mother. You read the world wrong Roger. Very wrong. People will die. People are dying. Innocent people. And not the ones you try to protect.

    This should not even be called a conflict. This is Israel trying to prevent terrorism. I don’t think you support terrorism. If I’m mistaken and you do support it, you are part of the problem the world is facing. I hope you’re not.

    Israelis are of the most innovative and entrepreneurial people you can find. They want nothing to do with killing any Arabs. Israelis do not want to spend any time nor effort defending themselves. Of course you’ll find exception, there’s always a crazy person shooting at school because he doesn’t like Mondays (thank you Bob), it doesn’t reflect on the whole population.  Israelis have to defend themselves, they do it out of necessity.

    Serving in the army for a mandatory 3 years (2 years for women), serving in reserve for what is for most a month out of every year, risking life and spending so much precious time because of the need to defend Israel from suicide bombers that target civilizes, from kidnappers and murderers of kids, from barbaric lunatics that brutally kill anyone who think other than them (including their own if they are gay, abused women or anyone who doesn’t agree to be their human shield or is not a Muslim). You really think Israelis shouldn’t defend themselves? Really Roger?

    I don’t expect you to admit you’re wrong. To a man like you who has experienced so much success and feels so powerful, the public humiliation of admitting you are wrong would be devastating to you at this point. Maybe softly toning down will be best. But please stop showing everyone, especially fans of your great musical creations, how you so miserably fail in understanding life. Get out of the Dark Side Roger, and into the light. We want to remember you for what you did best, not what you show us now you do worst.

     

    Bibi Netaniahu
    I was never a big fan of Bibi, but this sentence does capture the situation nicely.


  • Low Carbs Banana Bread

    We love banana bread. Yesterday I looked at the three “riper than desired” bananas on my kitchen island and though that would be their destination, but wanted to reduce the carbs bomb a bit….

    So I replaced the flour with almond meal, a few small tweaks, and it came out so good!

    Almond Meal Banana Bread
    Almond Meal Banana Bread

    You can get almond meal in many places now, I got mine at Trader Joe’s. It’s pure almonds, nothing else.

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups almond meal.
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
    • 3/4 Sugar in the raw
    • 1 tbsp molasses
    • 3 overripe bananas, mashed
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, room temperature

    Note: You can substitute the sugar in the raw and molasses with dark brow sugar.

    1. Mix well all dry ingredients
    2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well
    3. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.
    4. Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350F, until a toothpick comes out “pretty clean”.
    5. Let cool for 10 minutes before carefully turning it out from the pan.

    So good…

     



  • Eggs Bellapepper

    I asked my daughter what she wants for breakfast. She said “food”. That of course narrowed down the options tremendously. This was the result.

    Eggs Bellapepper
    Eggs Bellapepper

     

    Serves 2

    • 4 slices, 1.5″ high, of a big Bell Pepper (3.5″-4″ in diameter).
    • 2-4 pieces of bacon, cut into 1/4″ squares.
    • 4 eggs
    • four tbsp heavy cream
    • two tbsp water
    • 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper (or Cayenne).
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/3 tsp salt

     

    1. Beat the eggs, cream, water, salt and black pepper until uniform.
    2. On a high flame, place the bell pepper slices in a pan, wider opening facing up.
    3. Mix the bacon with the chipotle pepper and place an equal amount of it in each slice.
    4. Let fry for 1 minute until the bacon fat melts and start frying the bacon.
    5. Pour slowly just enough egg mixture to cover the bottom inside each of the pepper slices.
    6. Once the bottom starts to set, pour the rest of the egg inside all slices to reach an equal height.
    7. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium for 3 minutes.
    8. Reduce the heat to low for 2 more minutes.
    9. Turn it back to high for 30 seconds.

    If you have too much egg mix, don’t over fill the peppers! The egg will rise out of control!

    The egg “inflates” nicely and firms fluffy and moist, the bottom becomes crispy and flavorful.

    Can be garnished with parsley, good with anything really – avocado, tuna, bread, hot sauce or harissa, salad of course, etc.

     



  • Spaghetti Carbonara Plus

    My daughter and I try to cut down on carbs, but yesterday I decided to give us a break. And it came out so good I’m writing it down:

    Spaghetti Carbonara Plus
    Spaghetti Carbonara Plus

    Serves 4-6

    Ingredients:

    •  Half a package of thick bacon (4-5 pieces) cut to 1/2″ squares
    •  One very big onion chopped to 1/4″ pieces
    •  One small chorizo (5″ long) cut to 1/4″ cubes
    •  One tbsp butter
    •  Half basket baby bella mushrooms (4-5 good size mushrooms) sliced
    • Optional – a few drops of white truffle oil
    •  4 garlic cloves, chopped
    •  3 eggs
    •  1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
    •  1/3 cup heavy cream
    •  1 tsp black pepper
    •  A pinch of smoked Habanero or red hot pepper
    •  One package of thin spaghetti
    •  Chopped parsley
    1. Beat eggs, add heavy cream and cheese and keep beating until uniform and smooth. Set aside.
    2. Set the pasta to cook pasta with some salt added to the water while continuing with the next steps.
    3. In a large pan on medium hear cook bacon until starts to get brown/crisp.
    4. Add onion, mushrooms and butter and cook until the onion starts to get translucent.
    5. Add chorizo and let all cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring.
    6. Add the black and hot peppers, truffle oil and the garlic, mix and set aside.
    7. Strain the cooked pasta, setting aside a cup of the cooking water.
    8. Mix the still hot pasta with the still hot bacon/onion/chorizo mix until the pasta is nicely coated.
    9. To the still pretty hot mix add the eggs/heavy cream/cheese mix and stir until uniform and creamy. Add some of the pasta cooking water if needed.
    10. Serve garnished with chopped parsley. Add Parmesan and black pepper on top as desired.

    * Note that no salt is added – the bacon, cheese and chorizo are salty, and the pasta is cooked in salty water, so usually there’s no need for any more salt.
    Optional is adding cooked green peas at the end.
    Please be advised that this should be enough for 4-6 people, try to refrain from eating it all by yourself, at least not in one sitting.



  • Smoked Ham Broiled Open Sandwich

    Sometimes you just need a good sandwich that will hit the spot.

    Smoked Ham Broiled Sandwich
    Smoked Ham Broiled Sandwich

    Feel free to modify/adjust as you like… Ingredients:

    • 1 slice of a good multi-grain bread
    • 1 Slice (1/8″ thick or a bit more) smoked ham (the size of the bread slice you’ll use)
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • A pinch habanero or cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • A pinch salt
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 avocado
    • 1/2 Lime
    • 2-4 grape tomatoes slice in half lengthwise, mixed with a bit of slat and black pepper
    • Spicy paste of your choice (I used Green Thai Pepper paste I made) or Tabasco/Cholula etc hot sauce
    • Some coarsely chopped cilantro
    • 2 tbsp shredded mozzarella
    1. In a small bowl mix oil, sugar and all spices.
    2. Cover the both sides of the ham with it
    3. Either sear or pan fry until browned/crisped, just a minute of two.
    4. Lightly toast the bread.
    5. Spread the spicy paste on a few drops of the hot sauce on it.
    6. Spread the avocado on it, squeeze some lime juice on it, a bit salt and a bit of the cilantro.
    7. Place ham on top of the avocado-ed bread and then the tomatoes and cilantro on top of the ham.
    8. Spread some mozzarella over everything, and place in a toaster oven set on broil for a couple of minutes until the cheese starts to brown.

    And then just enjoy…. A side of some more cut grape tomatoes with salt, black pepper, lime and olive oil works perfect with it. Oh, I’m getting hungry.



  • Turkish Salad (Israeli Style) Recipe

    Turkish salad (Hebrew: סלט טורקי) is a common condiment in Israeli restaurants. Served side by side with Humus and  Tahini, this is one of my favorite salads.

    It seems that there are as many versions of Turkish Salad in Israel as there are people who make them. Never the less, my sister and I always agreed on that one Tel Aviv restaurant that had the best one, we were so disappointed when we found out it was closed.

    So what can one do? Make his own!

    Turkish Salad
    Turkish Salad

    This makes a nice amount that will make you smile.

    Ingredients:
    • 1 small onion, chopped to 1/4″ pieces
    • 3 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 large tomatoes chopped to 1/2″ pieces
    • 1 tbsp tomato paste
    • A pinch habanero or cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cumin
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
    • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 tbsp harisa or 1/2 red bell pepper finely chopped

     

    1. Heat oil on medium flame, add onion and garlic (and red bell pepper if used), saute until onion start to become translucent, 4-5 minutes
    2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, harisa if used and all spices. Saute while mixing from time to time for 5 minutes
    3. Add parsley and cilantro, turn off the flame, mix and let cool down
    4. Enjoy


  • Rather Simple Spicy Beef Stew Recipe

    To my firstborn, a future restaurateur and chef:

    Rather Simple Spicy Beef Stew Recipe
    Rather Simple Spicy Beef Stew Recipe

    Serves 4

    • 1.5-2 lb beef 1″ cubes
    • 15 baby carrots or two big carrots pealed and cut
    • 1 large onion wedged 1″ pieces
    • 3 medium potatoes, pealed, 1″ cubes.
    • 1 celery stock, chopped 1/4″ pieces
    • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1-2 hot peppers finely chopped (Jalapeno, Thai green or any other to your likings and taste)
    • 1/4 cup all purpose flower
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tbsp paprika
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • Optional 1 cup red wine (Port or any other).
    • Optional two strips of bacon cut to 1/2″ chunks and fried for one minute between step 2 and 3.

     

    1. In a ziplock or any strong bag place flower, salt, black pepper, paprika and sugar, shake, add meat, shake well to evenly cover meat.
    2. Heat olive oil in a big enough pot over high flame.
    3. Add hot pepper and garlic, stir for one minute.
    4. Add meat (keep the leftover flower and spices mix for later). Stir a few times a minute until meat start getting brown and crisp on the outside.
    5. Add potatoes, stir for 3-4 minutes.
    6. Add onion, celery and carrots, stir for 2 minutes.
    7. Stir in the flower and spices mix that was left.
    8. Add the wine and add water to cover, then add two more cups water. Gently stir.
    9. Bring to a boil, lower flame to medium-low, cover, cook for 1-2 hours.

    If the sauce doesn’t look thick enough after an hour or so, continue cooking uncover for half an hour.

    * Can be garnished with chopped parsley.



  • Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Onions side dish Recipe

    Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Onions

    Is cauliflower a real flower? Are Brussels sprouts from Brussels? Do onions also make you sad? They make me happy.
    Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts and Onion
    Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts and Onion
    This doesn’t look the most elegant, but it does taste most excellent. Easy recipe to make.
    Serves 4 as a side dish
    • 1/2 cauliflower, broken to gulf ball size pieces
    • 8 Brussels sprouts cut to halves
    • 1 large onion cut to half rings 1/4″ thick
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/3 tsp smoked paprika (or regular)
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    • 1/3 tsp salt
    • Pinch of black pepper
    • Pinch of white pepper
    • Pinch of sugar
    • 5 sage leaves
    • 5 oregano leaves
    1. Place oil, spices and sugar in a large bowl, mix
    2. Add the cauliflower and Brussels sprouts and toss to cover evenly.
    3. Place in a deep oven pan and bake at 400 deg f for 45 minutes
    4. Mix a bit and place the sage and oregano at the bottom under the cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts
    5. Spread the onions on top.
    6.  Bake for additional 30 minutes.
    7. Discard of the sage and oregano, serve.
    Can be garnished with chives.


  • Forgive me consumer for I have sinned

    The story is simple. We were in NYC, and needed a restroom stop. Starbucks was just in front of us (try to find a place in the US that you don’t have one in front of you), so we stepped in.

    I was waiting and was thirsty, plus I felt that I need to buy something as we were after all using “the facilities”.

    I’m not a big fan of Starbucks coffee, to phrase it gently, so I was looking at the cold drinks and saw the Cool Lime Refresher. Sounded good, and I was thirsty, so I ordered the large one, which had an outrageous price tag of $4.45, but I figured that for a good refreshing drink and a brief use of the plumbing I’ll for once bite the bullet and pay the price. Plus tax. And waiting in line.

    While waiting between a Grande Latte suit and a Tall Mocha Light Frappuccino brunette I watched the dedicated employee making my Cool Lime Refresher, not expecting a gilded rim and a carbon nanotube straw but at least a drink made of something that looks like it’s worth the money.

    Ha. This is what happened next: Into the not-that-huge cup the young-and-restless loyal Starbuckhipster  poured a concentrated liquid out of a carton, added some ice cubes, topped it with, no, not freshly spring water from the melting snow of the Upper Peninsula but with NYC’s own tap water, stirred a bit, threw in a slice of lime to make it look au natural and placed a good plastic lid over it.

    I’m not sure what I expected. Maybe some fresh lime juice? Something that looks like an effort to make a real drink for $4.45? Like a virgin cocktail? I guess I’m naive.

    But I paid.  So why do I say  forgive me consumer for I have sinned? Because by the act of  me buying that drink for that price I legitimize the price point, so I need to apologize to my fellow consumers for buying a (maybe) $1 drink for $4.45. So I said a few Hail Marys (being an atheist that was born Jewish it might seem a bit strange though) and I promise I’ll never buy it again.

    Though we did use the facilities.

    MoreBucks
    MoreBucks