Recently I discovered that not only I can cook I can also draw. It’s so fun and relaxing. I wish I had more time for my new hobby. Anyway, it was very flattering and exciting to discover that other people beside my husband and kids like my illustrations. As I mention at my last post, Nate & Salli at They Cook and Draw love them! Included my latest recipe for kids or anyone, who is new to the kitchen. Enjoy Toast with King Acavado. Check it out, http://www.theydrawandcook.com/recipes/toast-with-king-acavado-by-shelly-gilad
Tag Archives: Bread
My mother has always been liberal and pretty open about almost everything, yet when it comes to food, she is as old- fashioned and conservative as an old lady. All through my childhood – and until this day – my mother has cooked every day, and everything from scratch. Until we moved to the big city of Tel Aviv, my mother even used to make amazing pastries and lavish birthday cakes, which made me and my siblings very proud and happy. Although my mother is Moroccan, and not Italian, her pizza recipe is my favorite. I am willing to endure my allergic reaction to dairy for a single slice. Her recipe is made with fresh sliced tomatoes (the beefy ones, like Roma tomatoes), a drizzle of olive oil mixed with sweet and hot paprika – instead of the usual tomato sauce. Then she tops it with onion rings, black olives and canned tuna! Even after all those years living in New York City, surrounded by excellent pizza, I still prefer my mother’s Moroccan Style Pizza. Continue reading
While this damn summer break goes on and on, I must stop trying to complete things on my to-do list which is in my head because I don’t even have the time to go add reminders on my iPhone. So f… frustrating. One week to go, Hallelujah!!! Poor kids. Even they, who normally dislike school or homework, can’t wait to go back to school.
“Who’s idea was it to have such a long break?!” Leo asked me. “Whoever came up with that stupid idea is probably already dead,” I said. “Good, because I would break their neck if they were alive!” he replied. Yes, I would do the same. One month is more than enough! All our family activities – museums, parks, beaches, pools, road trips, library trips, movies, soccer camp, Barnes & Noble, sleep-overs, and more – have worn us all out. The boys are bored by now. I know, boredom never killed anyone, but stress sure has. I get stressed out just from listening to their complaints about being bored, particularly after a long day full of adventures. (How the hell can they be bored after seeing giant blue whales, hundreds of dolphins, dozens of elephant seals, and bizarre birds, on a boat in the middle of the ocean? Or after playing outside for nine hours straight with their friends?)
Since they are in and out of the house most of the day, and have various friends and neighbors popping in and out almost every day, the house and kitchen look as if there were in an earthquake. Meaning, more work and chores, less time to write.
When I finally sneak into my bedroom, sit at my slightly messy desk, and start to write on my neglected computer, one of them immediately shows up in my room to ask their favorite question, “Can we watch a movie?” Or, “Can we have something sweet?” Always just as I have finally sat down. Then, when they go back to their activities, my creativity goes with them. I give up. I tell myself, “One more week!” and go downstairs to bake something. Continue reading
There was a single, short period when I completely lost interest in cooking. It was exactly three years ago today, when my youngest sister, Inbar, passed away at the age of 27. When she left, my joy in cooking and baking left with her. Like everyone else in my family, Inbar loved and appreciated food, and bread was her favorite. As much as we all love and live food, she was the only one in the family who took her passion seriously and professionally. After moving to New York, meeting Michael, marrying him, giving birth to Benjamin, getting diagnosed with leukemia, undergoing treatment, and achieving remission, she applied to the Culinary Institute of New York, and officially became a pastry chef.
While she was studying at the Culinary Institute, my house looked and smelled like a bakery. Since my sister kept a kosher house, she couldn’t bring her daily creations home, so she dropped them off at mine. I remember how proud she was when she came back from school with a sourdough loaf or a perfect brioche she had made with her own hands.
My sister was happiest when she was around children, family and food. She was so enthusiastic and optimistic about everything, and never lost her sense of humor, even in her darkest days. I remember the glow on her beautiful face when she told me how to make a real, proper, traditional loaf of sourdough bread.
Then – two months before her husband completed work on the new “Baltic Art Café” which she was going to open in Cobble Hill – she was diagnosed again with cancer. The rest of her story is too sad and painful to tell. A year after she died, I slowly started to enjoy cooking again. I also started to bake awesome, real bread, inspired by her – bread that makes me happy and sad at the same time. Inbar’s bread. Every loaf of bread I bake, I dedicate in my heart to her. It has become my weekly ceremony, a private memorial thingy I do to remind me of the good times we had together.
Today is the third year she is gone. This simple bread recipe is dedicated to the memory of my baby sister, Inbar.
After two months free of stress and pain, two weeks ago I was attacked by an unexplainable and horrible fatigue that killed every bit of liveliness or energy in my body. As usual, I immediately assumed the worst, but then I noticed the people around me complaining about the same thing, saying that it’s probably something in the over-polluted air of Los Angeles. Now, I can’t do caffeine, and I always assume if I eat better I will feel better. And it does work. Cutting down on sugar definitely helped. I even convinced my poor husband, who’s a sugar addict, to quit sugar. (Four days later he said that life is meaningless without it, and started to eat sugar again.) But the fact that I stopped eating sugar doesn’t mean my kids (or my cooking obsession) have to stop. I couldn’t resist those beautiful tart apricots in the market when I spotted them, which cost me $1 per pound for freshly picked organic apricots (at the West Hollywood Farmers’ Market). Their season is so brief that you have to make a jam out of them, even if just a little bit. You can’t make a homemade jam without licking the wooden spoon a few times. I kept telling myself nobody ever died from eating a little bit of their favorite jam. Plus, I did cut the amount of sugar in the recipe. My husband and I have this ongoing argument: which jam is best? I say apricot, he says strawberry. Leo, who likes tart flavors, agrees with me, and Alex, who’s a sweet-monster, agrees with my husband. There is no question, apricot is the best! Continue reading
This post is dedicated to my dear Eema (mother in Hebrew) and to my dear sisters, who don’t understand why it has taken me so long to publish this recipe.
My family and I have been eating these bread rolls almost every Shabat dinner since the day I was born. None of us can fully enjoy the Moroccan feast without these traditional rolls. Especially the endless variety of Moroccan cooked salads that my mother makes every week for Shabat, like the famous Matbucha (long and slow cooked tomatoes salads with spicy peppers and garlic), the Spicy Carrot Salad, the beet salad, the Babaganush, and the Eggplant with Oven Roasted Green Peppers and Scallion.
When I was a kid, I loved watching my mother and grandmother’s hands stretching, flattening and pressing the dough quickly, in an amusing confident manner. Then later rolling and braiding it effortlessly into beautiful shapes. They both used to give me a small piece of dough so I could roll my own roll. I was especially fascinated by my grandmother’s mumblings and tears over the dough. She used to rip twelve small pieces of the dough, mumble something, then combine all the pieces into a mini round roll that was forbidden to eat. It’s called Truma (donation in hebrew), a jewish tradition. It was a small sacrifice to God, an expression of gratitude. I asked her once why she was sad when she made the bread and she said, “I was not sad, I was happy”.
Later in life I learned that the mumblings were prayers for her family’s health, bliss, and abundance. The tears were “tears of contentment”. After making the bread rolls on my own for the first time, I experienced what my grandmother felt for myself. Even today, no matter how many breads I make, I still feel excitement and anticipation. Something about the process makes me feel alive and vital. Then when it comes out of the oven and we all sit around the table and eat it together, I feel grateful. Grateful for everything in my life, but mostly grateful to be my mother’s daughter.
Bread has always been and still is very sacred to my family. My grandmother used to tell us to never throw bread away. She used to keep it in a plastic bag and give it to birds or other animals. And even when she gave it to the animals; she would kiss it and place it gently on the ground as if it was a living thing. When I was a kid, kissing bread seemed very weird and crazy to me but I was afraid if I didn’t, something bad would happen to me. So I did, quickly and discreetly. At sixteen, I officially stopped kissing bread. I still feel guilty about throwing bread away, so once in a while I find myself kissing it for good bye. Continue reading
This is how my kids normally greet me when they come back from school, after I’ve kissed them, hugged them, told them how much I missed them, and asked them how their day was: “Hi, Eema, can I have something sweet?”
Before I even reply, Alex is already standing in front of the pantry looking for something. “I can’t see anything sweet,” he says.
I tell him dates are sweet, dried mango is sweet, organic fruity lollipops are sweet, and chocolate is very sweet.
“But they are not real sweets!” he says.
I ask him to tell me exactly what kind of sweets he wants. I pretty much know the answer, but I like to hear his answers and descriptions.
“I don’t know, something like cookies.”
I ask him if cakes are also considered sweet.
He says, “Only sweet cakes.” Frankly, I am always craving a homemade cake to have with my mint tea, so I don’t mind baking one fairly often.
I ask Alex if he wants to help me to bake a cake.
“Today I am too tired. Maybe tomorrow.” But when he sees me cracking the eggs, he changes his mind.
This was originally a corn bread recipe. I changed a few things, like semolina instead of corn meal. And I added the orange slices on top with a drizzle of agave to candy them.