Israel, so much fun, and recipes and back stage with Chef Moshe Basson
Eggplant Dip in raw tahini and pomegranate syrup
I’m back from an amazing week of inspiration, food and fun in Israel with Emunah. It’s hard to select the highlights because it was all so wonderful. From visiting the incredible people and places that Emunah works with (the list is beyond comprehension, children’s homes, crisis centers in Sderot, day care centers, High School for the arts, summer camps and more more more), to meeting with the highest ranking female in the IDF, to a street art tour in Tel Aviv, to COOKING with Chef Moshe Basson from Eucalyptus restaurant, and cooking with the girls at the Emunah children’s home, Achuzat Sarah. We sang and danced in the kitchen just like I do at home.
Cooking for and with special people is always so joyful for me. I loved the teens at Achuzat Sarah (see pics below). Their enthusiasm and positive energy was contagious and uplifting for our group. It’s hard to imagine that these girls come from such unfortunate circumstances. Their smiles and warmth tell the story of how happy they are at Achuzat Sarah.
A major highlight of the trip was our cooking demo with Chef Moshe Basson of Eucalyptus restaurant in Jerusalem, just outside the walls of the old city. Chef Moshe came to Israel in 1951 as an Iraqi refugee. He lived in a refugee camp for over 8 months with his family, and while others, understandably, complained of the mud, and awful conditions, Chef Moshe’s family, used their small spot to live to build a garden and house a chicken or two. From there, Chef Moshe came to Israel and worked the land, grew everything from herbs, vegetables, grapes, and anything he could possibly create seeds with and he had small farm with animals, like goats, chickens, and hens. Chef Moshe was way before his time, farm to table was and is his life. He teaches with love and passion about food and Torah. He tells where and how the ingredients are mentioned in the Torah and how they meaningful in our lives. It was an honor and privilege to teach with him and we thoroughly enjoyed working together. I highly recommend bringing a group to learn with him or visit the restaurant. Chef Moshe taught us Iraqi and Israeli delicacies from smoked eggplant, to lamb, chicken ma’aluba, stuffed figs, to tahini dessert. He loved my Americanized versions of everything too. We made a great team and had a great meal!