Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gone fishin'...


A lot has happened since my last post, with many new ideas (some good and some not so good). I have been considering linking my interest in History and Geography with my love of cooking and baking and cooking, to set up a small touring company specializing in 'gourmet' tours to out-of-the-way vineyards, dairies and special restaurants. It would also include some teaching as I love to teach (even if I am a little burned out teaching Photoshop and the other Adobe programs).At least one of the trips will be a visit to the locak 'shuk', i.e., outdoor farmer's market. The ingredients purchased will later be cooked by the group and consumed in a festive meal full of comeraderie and an appropriately chosen wine. The Tourism Ministry offers a course that lasts about 1 and a half years, costs NIS 20K or so and yields a license at the end to be a registered tour guide. There is another course, given by the Nature Protection Society I still have to check out. I know there is no license with that one but my touring idea is not licensed either. It's mine to make or break by me.This can be either multi-day trips to an area ("Three days in Galilee!!)or a day trip to Mahane Yehuda (the Jerusalem market) followed by a cooking lesson and a great meal.Just to cover my bets until this takes off, I am also going to Tel Aviv tomorrow to interview for a job teaching the Adobe programs with a well-known Israeli company (Mentor). I have offered to teach in English something they don't have yet. I know the owner and hopefully, this will become something that will pay the bills until the touring idea takes off. In the meantime, while things develop, here's a recipes for pan-poached fish that is great in the evening after a long day.


about 500g white fleshed fish (cod, sole, haddock, halibut, etc.) in 4 fillets
1 large onion sliced thin
2 large cloves garlic crushed
1 beefy tomato finely chopped
a little fresh parsley
olive oil
2 large potatoes


Pour a little olive oil in a large pan and heat until almost smoking. Add the onion and after a minute or so (the onion will be transparent) add the garlic. Swirl this around in the pan in order to flavor the oil. Add the tomato and, still on high heat cook until the juices are quite reduced. This should take about five minutes or so. Only after it has reduced to a thick sauce, lower the heat, and, pushing the sauce aside place the fish on the pan. Cover the fish with the sauce, cover and let it cook four about 6 or seven minutes until the fish flakes easily with a fork.Salt and pepper to taste.

At the same time as you place the fish in the pan, place two medium potatoes (with a small wedge cut out of the top)into the microwave. The small wedge (1/4 inch wide and about 1/2 inch deep) lets the steam out during cooking in the microwave. After 6 or 7 minutes (when the fish is ready) place one potato and half the fish mixture on each plate.

Serves 2 delicious meals!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A compromise of sorts... and granary bread!

After much soul searching, and much boredom at work I have reached a tentative conclusion... I need to eat and so I must continue with my teaching if at all possible. That means I have to get up to speed with all the programs that I supposedly know. I say supposedly because for the past two years or so the college has not upgraded either software or hardware in my department. The result is I am way, way way behind. Flash is simply laughable. The students are getting up-in-arms about it but there is little I can do. Anyway, I started today with Photoshop and will continue next week with the really weak programs I am supposed to know... Flash, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, InDesign and a few others along the way.

That does not mean I have given up on a career in baking!! As the title suggests, this is a compromise, not a sellout!. Remember, I have to eat, so this is in the meantime. I looked at Te'amim Cooking School this morning... not for me. It looks like it is geared to the individual who wants to improve his/her cooking skills at home, not someone who is looking to earn a living doing this. I also went to see Estella, last week... also not for me. They meet once or twice a week and cost way too much.. Almost NIS 20K, whew!!! So far the best seems to be Hadassah College believe it or not. So maybe after I finish here I will go to the class here to learn baking at a professional level!! Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants!?! So, while all this ruminating is going on, I have also been collecting recipes and baking at home. Here is my recipe for Granary bread. BTW, if you want, you can use your bread machine as a mixer for sticky dough. Here it is...

Granary Bread

1 1/8 cups water (35 degrees Celsius - about 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
2 Tbs powdered milk (I use pareve baby formula so the bread remains pareve)
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 1/4 tsp. salt
about 3 cups granary flour
1 Tbs. instant yeast

put all ingredients in the bread machine/mixer and combine to form a smooth very slightly sticky dough.

Place in an oiled bowl and cover. Let stand in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down and form into a loaf/ Place in an oiled loaf pan, cover and let rise again until just to the top of the loaf pan, about 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before the end of the second rise, start heating the over to about 180 degrees Celsiius (about 350 Fahrenheit).
Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes or until it sound shollow when tapped on the bottom. It should be well browned.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Ok. So here is my famous Challah recipe. This is for the basic challah. experiment like I do...

Ingredients for two challah loaves.

1 1/3 cups tepid water
1 Tbs. (15g.) active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
up to 4 cups bread flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp. salt

First: Dissolve the sugar in the water then mix in and dissolve the yeast. Let it stand for about 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.

Second: Mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Then mix in the egg and the oil and finally the salt.

Third: Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a smooth very slightly sticky dough. Knead the dough for a few minutes until nice and smooth. Add a little flour as necessary but make sure the dough stays a little sticky. If you add too much the bread will be heavy and dense.

Fourth: Move the dough to an oiled bowl turning in the bowl to coat the dough with oil, then cover and place in a warm place (the oven heated for 3 minutes to 50 degrees centigrade) until it doubles. This is about 1 and a half hours.

Fifth: Remove the dough from the bowl, punch down, and then shape into loaves. I divide the dough into two halves then each half into 3 or 4 pieces. Each piece becomes a 'snake' which I then braid into loaves. Place the shaped loaves onto an oiled baking sheet. Cover and let rise until about doubled. This will take about 45 minutes.

Sixth: About 15 minutes before the bread finishes rising, start to preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade (350 Fahrenheit). When the bread is finished rising place in the center of the oven for about 22 minutes or so. The bread will get quite brown. It is done when you tap it on the bottom and it sounds hollow. Cool on a rack.

Once you have this down pat you can experiment.

Try using honey instead of the sugar. Or brown sugar (this will make brown bread). Or molasses (even darker).

Try using melted butter or margarine instead of the oil. Or try olive oil instead of the vegetable oil. (Richer)

Brush a slightly beaten egg (or just the yolk, or just the white) with a little water over the bread just before putting it in the oven. You can sprinkle it with sesame seeds or poppy seeds it you like. Or sunflower seeds.

Try mixing some raisins into the dough after the first rise. Or dried cranberries. Or some chopped walnuts.

Have fun!! It's delicious just plain or with any of the alternatives.

A Tentative Start

It has taken a long time getting to this place... Actually putting down thoughts about where I am and where I'm going. The events of the past year, closing my department and forcing me to look for work elsewhere have been very stressful even when I don't show it!! I have been forced to examine certain aspects of my external persona... something I am uncomfortable with. And to face facts... Firstly, I have come to admit openly (before only to myself) that I find Computer Graphics boring. It wasn't always that way, but it sure is now.

I had this epiphany only recently while on a working tour of printing plants in Kiryat Malachi. Suddenly it hit me... this is soooo boring I want something else!!! The what, of course, has been percolating for a long time. I love to cook and bake. I collect recipes and cookbooks. I read cookbooks before going to bed at night. I subscribe to recipe sites online. I think I'm hooked. But what can I do with this?

It is definitely scary to think of going it on my own and leaving the security of a steady paying job. The prospects, however, are tantalizing and exciting at the same time. Can I do this? Yes!! Will it be hard? You bet!! Not the least I will have to contend with criticism of family and friends who will think this is just nuts...

But... I love to bake especially bread and will be posting recipes here. I would also appreciate getting tips and recipes. Right now I'm checking out cooking and baking schools around the country and planning for next year. I'll keep you posted.