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Swisskaese

eG Foodblog: Swisskaese - Hannukah: The Feastival of Light

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Boker Tov Kulam! Good morning everyone!

Chag Hannukah Sameach (Happy Hannukah) and Merry Christmas from the Land of Milk and Honey!

Last night was the first night of Hannukah and my town lit the big Hannukiah in front of the "Welcome to Hod HaSharon" sign.

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I am very excited about blogging this week. This is my first blog and I hope that I can live up to the other wonderful blogs. Didn't Zucchini Mama do a great job this past week?

My other half, David (a.k.a. Tapenade) or he may tell you "my better half" is going to be joining in on the blog.

We have planned a lot of interesting things for you to see. Tonight you are all formally invited to an Israeli wedding. David and I are going to a colleague of mine's wedding and we will show how weddings are done here. Don't worry, I am taking a gift for all of us and you can relax in your pajamas. Anything goes here in Israel! :rolleyes:


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Chag sameach! Enjoy your week, and thanks for blogging.

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This morning I had a early meeting at work. I will post breakfast photos later, but this morning I had my usual muesli and a cappuccino.

We have a nice breakroom at the office with a espresso machine, teas, fruit drinks and fresh fruit.

On Saturday, we will show you a typical Israeli breakfast.

Last night we lit the first candle on our Hannukiah and we went to one of our favorite bakeries for soufganyiot, Roladin. Roladin makes designer soufganyiot. Soufganyiot are doughnuts that are typically filled with strawberry or raspberry jam, but most bakeries have gotten very creative and fill theirs with all sorts of interesting fillings, such as dulce de leche, creme patisserie, whipped cream, ganache, etc.

Roladin has a Carribbean theme this year.

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There is usally a line down the block, but we got there a little late, so the line wasn't that long.

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Last night they ran out of some of the flavours we wanted to try and they weren't as pretty as the ones last year. :hmmm:

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Here is a picture of the ones we bought last year.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Some of the exciting things we have planned to take you to are as follows:

An Olive Oil Festival featuring boutique olive oil producers

Boutique wineries and Monastaries

Boutique dairies

Simon the honey man

Hummous anyone? Can you tell the difference between Abu Ghosh & Galilee hummous?

Moroccan delights

Latke party at our home

Hungarian dinner

And some other surprises along the way....


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Just to give you a little background on myself and David..... we are a real hi-tech couple. We met almost five years ago on the internet :wub: and met in person at a very nice bistro in Tel Aviv called Cafe Noir. It is really a bistro and is famous for its Weiner Schnitzel.

I am originally from Alabama and moved to Israel 5-1/2 years ago. We lived in the heart of Tel Aviv until September when we moved 20 minutes northeast to the suburbs. We moved to a town called Hod HaSharon which used to be three farming villages.

Tomorrow I will show you my beautiful drive to work. I'll leave it as a surprise for tomorrow. :wink:

Please take a look at my bio (just click on my name) for the full story about me.

I work in R&D at a large software company, which I will not name. The company has a cafeteria that provides a variety of choices. I am going to take some photos and I will post tonight. If you are at the office later than 6pm, you can order sandwiches and salads which are delivered to our breakroom.

Tapenade has founded a start-up company that is looking for seed money. If any VCs or Angels are out there in eGullet land and can help pay for our Fortnam & Mason taste in food and food-related appliances, please PM one of us! :rolleyes: Actually, it is an amazing start-up and seriously if anyone is interested in learning more, then PM Tapenade.

Tapenade will tell you more about himself later. A hint is that he is going to make the Hungarian dinner.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Chag Sameach! I'm so excited that you're blogging. I've been dreaming of taking another trip to Israel - and for now your blog will have to satisfy my desires!

B'hatzlacha!

(are you asking what the pole thingy is or .... where it might be?)

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Chag Sameach!  I'm so excited that you're blogging.  I've been dreaming of taking another trip to Israel - and for now your blog will have to satisfy my desires!

B'hatzlacha!

(are you asking what the pole thingy is or .... where it might be?)

Thanks Pam, Helen, Jack and Pan!

I am asking what the pole thingy is.... :laugh:

I will be happy to show you around my beautiful country.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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Ohh... I've seen that before.

Is it something to do with Matzo or flatbread baking at Masada or somewhere like that? I think it was to knead the dough


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Ohh... I've seen that before.

Is it something  to do with Matzo baking at Masada?

No, it has nothing to do with baking and it is not at Masada.


Edited by Swisskaese (log)

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No, it has nothing to do with baking and it is not at Masada.

:biggrin: I was thinking Masada too... is it food related?

that's not a mikvah back there is it?

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Ohh... I've seen that before.

Is it something  to do with Matzo baking at Masada?

No, it has nothing to do with baking and it is not at Masada.

Is it some sort of a hearth?

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I'm so excited to be reading your blog! Sufganyiot! And, really professionally baked ones! My kiddle would swoon, she gets home made, and they're not my specialty. This is the best year so far in armchair travels at eGullet. Thank you for taking the time to blog for us. During Channukah! And, BTW, weddings during Channukah? Brilliant!

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Yay Swisskaese, happy hannukah! I'm looking forward to some serious armchair travelling in your blog. Will you give us a latke tutorial? I've never figured out how to make them well.

Have Fun!

Zuke

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I want to see a hardcore Israeli Falafel stand. Hey, its deep fried, its even topical.

ditto! :biggrin:

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Olive Oil Press?

It is chanukah, afterall.

Bloviatrix, I knew you would get it. You are spot on. It is an olive oil press from 8th century BCE and it is at Hatzor in the Galilee, which is a city that was built during the time of King Solomon. I will explain more about this olive oil press when I get home in about 30 minutes.

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I want to see a hardcore Israeli Falafel stand. Hey, its deep fried, its even topical.

Jason, I will be happy to show you a hardcore falafel stand.

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Yay Swisskaese, happy hannukah! I'm looking forward to some serious armchair travelling in your blog. Will you give us a latke tutorial? I've never figured out how to make them well.

Have Fun!

Zuke

Hi Zucchini Mama! I am going to give a tutorial on three different types of latkes on Thursday. One of them is a recipe in Paula Wolfert's cookbook.

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I am getting ready to leave the office and get ready for the Wedding. In other words, as my mother is famous for saying, "I have to put on my face." While you are waiting for me to get home, have a look at my cookbook collection. I have more cookbooks in boxes in the States and am slowly bringing them back with me when I visit my parents.

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There's an old Jewish joke that explains the way we celebrate our festivals. "They (the non-Jews) tried to kill us. They lost. Let's go and eat." The truth is that the joke only works for three of the many religious festivals that occur during the year: Purim (when the Persians lost), Pesach (when the Egyptians lost), and Hanukkah (when the Greeks lost), and each of them has developed its own culinary traditions, each one connected to what happened once upon a time.

Hanukkah, historically, is all about national self-determination. The Greeks, who under Alexander the Great had destroyed the Persian Empire and taken over the historical Land of Israel, wanted to impose their own polytheistic religion and culture on the very monotheistic Jews. They turned the Temple in Jerusalem, the centre of the Jewish religion, into a temple to Zeus, and went around the country demanding that the Jews start worshipping the whole Olympian pantheon. One unfortunate Greek officer who arrived at a village called Modi'in, between Jerusalem and what's now Tel Aviv, was stupid enough to tell the locals to worship Zeus, and added insult to injury by ordering them to eat pork, too. An outraged local priest, Matityahu, pulled out a sword, killed the Greek, and declared open rebellion against the occupiers. Many bloody battles later, led by Matityahu's son Yehuda (Judah), the Jews recaptured Jerusalem, removed the idols from the Temple and set about reconsecrating it.

What does this have to do with traditional Hanukkah food? Well, there was an eternal flame in the Temple, powered by specially produced olive oil, and this had to be rekindled as part of the ritual; but there was only enough oil to keep the flame going for one day, and it would take a week or more to get hold of more of the right oil. So they lit the lamp anyway and hoped for the best; a miracle happened, and the oil lasted for eight days, long enough for the new supply to arrive. So we traditionally do two things to celebrate: one is to light the Hanukkah candelabrum, which has eight flames (whether candle or oil-fed), plus one more from which to light the others; and the other is that we make foods fried in oil.

Traditional Jewish food, of course, is a matter of location and locally-available ingredients more than anything else. But what most European and American Jews think of as traditional Hanukkah food is two things: latkes, which are usually little potato pancakes something like roesti, fried in oil until golden brown; and sufganiot, Hebrew for doughnuts, made from yeast dough, deep-fried in oil and usually filled with strawberry jam, cream and the like. Except that in modern Israel, which likes to do things in style and by now can afford to do so, we have designer sufganiot. The best, not only in Swisskaese's and my humble opinion, but even according to a survey published in the financial supplement of this morning's Haaretz, come from a chain of cafe-bakeries called Roladin. Over the years we lived in Tel Aviv, our local Roladin, five minutes walk from the house, had crowds of people gathered outside on the first night, and every night, of Hanukkah, almost fighting to get to the front of the queue to buy their doughnuts, which became more and more inventive each year. This year, that's to say last night, Swisskaese and I stopped there for our annual calorie binge. The posters in the window announced that this was the year of the Caribbean-style Hanukkah: Jamaica (chocolate ganache and rum filling, coated with dark chocolate and walnut croquant); Aruba (creme patissiere, pineapple, coconut milk and pina colada filling, also with chocolate on the outside); and Havana (milk chocolate ganache with coconut milk and coffee liqueur inside, chocolate and caramelised peanuts on the outside). By the time I got to the front of the queue, of course, they only had the Jamaica specials left, so we got one of those, plus a whipped cream/chocolate and a dulce de leche/chocolate from the 'ordinary' stock.

We got home half an hour later, to discover to my chagrin that the soup I had left on a low flame a few hours before had turned into a terrible embarrassment surrounded by a small mushroom cloud of charred smoke. No, I don't generally burn food, let alone soup, but I had made the mistake of adding lentils to soup that was going to simmer for a long time, and they had soaked up so much of the liquid that the whole thing had become a dryish stew. Well, the turkey wings and beef and other ingredients actually tasted pretty good in what had become an accidental cholent (after we transferred them to another pot in order to keep the burned stuff out). And, after an hour's wait (we keep kosher, so we don't eat meat and milk together), so to the sufganiot. A big disappointment: they weren't actually bad, but after the previous years' triumphs (bitter chocolate and chili, for example), even the Jamaica wasn't so hot. We're going to have to try another upscale bakery, at least if we can sweat off a few calories before the end of the holiday. And since we're going to a wedding tonight, with the attendant calorie shock, I'm not so sure about that.

Oh, and to introduce myself. I'm really called David, and when not cooking, eating, writing or talking about the pleasures of the table, I'm the miserable wretch otherwise known as a high-tech entrepreneur whom Swisskaese mentioned in her earlier missive. Yes, I am planning to do a Hungarian night: my mother is Hungarian, as therefore were many of my earliest and most pleasurable gastronomic memories, and good hearty Hungarian peasant food is what we need, at least occasionally, to get us through the Hod Hasharon winter. It's not actually that cold, certainly not for those readers from Canada, Maine and so on, but we get as much rainfall in 60 days a year as London does in 150 (on Saturday we had 50mm of rain!); and the cheapskate building contractors who put up most of the housing in this country suffer from permanent Alzheimer's when it comes to insulating buildings against the cold.

So more from me later.

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