Sunday, November 28, 2010

As blog is my witness, I'll never be hungry again

Yesterday morning I joined a wonderful group of bloggers for a trip up north, to the Sea of Galilee, to enjoy a preview of the טעם כנרת festival (Sea of Galilee Flavors, if you will) which will be held on Hanukkah (2/12/10-11/12/10). The festival offers some exciting culinary attractions, some of which we visited on this long day. And let me tell you - I consider my self a savvy glutton but visiting 4 restaurants in a raw proved to be too much even for me.

Sea of Galilee

First stop was Marinado - A Golan meat house, with a restaurant and a chain of stores that sell meat and local Golan produce. We had the most amazing breakfast, with their very own young and splendid wine (Marinado 2009, a blend of sirah, merlot and cabernet, so yummy with very little astringency), which was followed by a poyka tutorial that resulted in a tasting of one of the best lamb dishes I have ever had.

Teaching us about the parts of the lamb

Simmering poyka
Poyka pot filled with all the goods of the country

Myself enjoying breakfast

Then, we went to קצה הנחל - a restaurant specializing in Lebanese home cooking, where they set us a table fit for kings.

Lebanese lunch
These are just the starters

Lebanese lunch
Salads and fried pastry filled with meats

Lebanese lunch at קצה הנחל
Pullet stuffed with meat and rice
and neck of veal stuffed with smoked green wheat

Lebanese lunch
My favorite dish of the day - dumplings filled with chicken breast in yogurt sauce

My mouth is watering just from posting these photos.. Everything was so good!


We continued to our third stop - a Mexican tortilla workshop with chef Itamar Davidof at  מרכז המבקרים תמר בכפר. The chef, who is the owner of the Tres Pesos factory and shop for Mexican foods, showed us all sorts of food I personally didn't know and made tortillas for us, which I was far too stuffed to taste. The homemade Limoncello was wonderful though.

These are not tomatoes but a type of gooseberry
These tomatillos are actually a kind of gooseberry and not real tomatoes. They are used to make Salsa Verde.

I had my very first plantain (לֶחֶך in Hebrew, BTW)! We ate it fried with salt, and I didn't enjoy it like I thought I would.

I did enjoy the limoncello though

Tortilla filled with rice, black beans spread, chillies, chicken breast and guacamole.

At this point, I was truly about to explode. But no, we had one more stop before going back home - גליתא, an ice cream and chocolate house. Galit, the owner, dreamed of such a house for many years before finally opening one on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. She gave us a chocolate workshop, in which we made truffles and pralines. It was so much fun, molding the chocolate and decorating it. We felt like four year olds, up to our elbows in chocolate and nugget.

Chocolate workshop at גליתא
Welcome to Galita's house

Chocolate workshop at גליתא
Injecting the truffles with chocolate filling

Chocolate workshop at גליתא
First stage of my coconut filled praline is done

Second stage of the pralines

Et voila!

After some coffee and some more chocolate (I also bought myself a bar of dark chocolate with dried cranberry, which is divine. I had some just before sitting down to write this) we headed home. The long drive was so pleasant. The minibus was dark and quiet (some fell asleep) and I had good conversation with old and new good friends. The only problem was the occasional speed bump on the road, which I feared would lead to everyone losing the 4 huge meals we had since we left Tel Aviv 10 hours earlier (not to mention the occasional snack).

It was a wonderful day, with wonderful people and loads of wonderful foods and fun. I highly recommend my local readers to pack their families and friends and go up north during the holiday - you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday? Cyber Monday? I'm going for the entire weekend!

Ladies and gentlemen, this year I will be holding a long weekend of discounts on my shops (excluding custom made items) to celebrate Black Friday and Cyber Monday - and I do mean discounts!

All crafty stuff is 20% off

All stationary is 50% off  

The titles of all items on sale are marked with BLACK FRIDAY SALE to make it more comfortable or you to find them.

The sale starts on Thursday the 25th and ends Monday the 29th. On your marks, get set, ready? shop!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meeting doodle

Meeting doodle
Originally uploaded by Sharona R
It's back to long meetings, and with meetings come doodles!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Etsy on Sale - Application tutorial

Etsy on Sale is a wonderfully useful third party application which enables you to have a limited time sale on your Etsy shop in a few short steps. It is free for use, is the winner of the 2010 Etsy handmade code competition, and requires a login based on your Google account. Nice and simple!

Here is how to start a sale on your Etsy shop:
  1. Go to Etsy on Sale and click on Sellers.
  2. Login with your Google account.
  3. Click Settings and select your time zone. Now click Authorize access to your Etsy account. The application will then take you to the Etsy login page, where you should login to the account whose shop items you wish to discount. Click on the Allow Access button.
  4. Back on the application website, click on the banner of the shop you want to select.
  5. Click on Sales Events and select New Sales Event.
  6. Give the sale a meaningful Name then select which Listings to include, from the available sections drop down menu. You can select a specific section or the entire shop.

    You can create a section especially for this sale if you want, then select it here.
  7. Select the Start Date and End Date for the sales event as well as the start and end Time.
  8. You may either select a Percentage Discount Type (which means you will have to enter the percentage by which the items' price will be reduced) or Amount (which means you will have to enter fixed the amount of $ that will be reduced from the price of each item on sale).
  9. Enter a Listing Title Prefix - the text that will be added to the title of each of the items on your sale. You may, for example, enter the text ON SALE to the beginning of each of the sale items (the item called "Teddy bear" will be called "ON SALE Teddy bear" till the end of the sale). This prefix will be removed once the sales event ends.
  10. Click on the Schedule Sales Event and review the details of your event. Click the Go Back button to change the setting or check the I have read and agree to the terms above box and click on Confirm.
  11. That's it! Your sales event is set.
You can review its details by logging in to Etsy on Sale, selecting your shop and clicking on Sales Events. All scheduled events will be listed. You may start your sale immediately, by clicking the button or cancel it by clicking X.

If you want to add more events, click on + New Sales Event. Et voila.

Honestly, it will take you longer to read this than actually create a sales event, it sure took me longer to write this little tutorial. I wish you all lots of glorious sales!

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010

    Puppeteer's block

    So, I haven't made a new puppet in months now.

    It seems the part of me which makes the puppets, a cheerful and childish part, has been temporarily lost since my mom died 3 months ago. The thought of making a new puppet seems like a mission impossible. Yet, I haven't added anything new to my puppet shop in almost two months now, and the holidays are coming near. There is nothing there to interest my regular buyers, since they already know all the puppets, unless they order a custom made one.

    In fact, I have only about 3 more weeks to work on anything, if I want to sell and ship it in time for Christmas anywhere outside of the country, so the pressure is on. But I don't know how to force myself to create anything, I mean, can it even be done? I don't want to even consider the possibility that "I lost it" and I am not as depressed as I expected I'd be before mom's passing. So why can't I just do it?

    What do you suggest I do, dear readers? Any thoughts or advice are welcome.

     Puppeteer's block, illustration

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Olive oil

    What do you think of when you hear of olive oil? The sunny shores of Spain? Healthy non saturated fats?A fresh salad?

    many people think of this.

    Last Friday, I was invited to join the most cheerful friendly bunch of food bloggers on a tour of the Yad Mordechai kibbutz. First there was a lovely drive down south, where a lovely breakfast was waiting for us.


    After breakfast we headed to the observation post, where we heard about the proud history of the kibbutz. The kibbutz is named after the leader of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and sits on the Gaza border and often suffers missile attacks from Palestine. They withheld the Yad Mordechai battle, one of the most terrifying battles of the Israeli Independence War, suffering huge losses, which haunted the families who refused to leave for many years.

    Yad Mordecahy - The fallen water tower
    The fallen water tower. A monument to the 1948 battle

    Then it was time for olive oil tasting and a very interesting lecture on olive oil. The kibbutz produces honey and olive oil from plantations spread across the country, mostly in the deep south, where the land is bright enough to reflect the sunlight back to the fruit, making it ripe and wholesome.

    Let me tell you, the oil tasting made me sick to my stomach

    Here are facts you probably didn't know about olive oil:
    • Olive oil is right for both seasoning and cooking
    • Professional olive oil tastings are performed with blue glasses, in order to avoid any deviation caused by the color of the oil, which is irrelevant to its quality.
    • Today, most excellent olive oils are blends of several types of olives, which ensures you will get the best of all worlds.
    • Olive oil quality derives from the time it took the fruit to arrive the olive press, the pressing process and temperature and the olive variety.
    • The sharper the taste - the more antioxidants the oil contains.
    • Israelis consume 1 liter of olive oil per year by average. Greeks, who are the world champions in olive oil consumption, consume 21 liters of oil per year by average.
    After the tasting, we enjoyed a wonderful Umami cooking workshop with chef Amir Ilan of the famous Hudson restaurant in Tel Aviv. He showed us how to use the kibbutz's premium olive oil in savory sauces for fresh fish and salads. It was to die for!

    Chef Amir Ilan
    Chef Amir Ilan in action

    Fresh tuna with Tiradito vinaigrette and tobikko 

    Finally, we received a gift of beautiful premium olive oil and orange flavored honey (I wish we got the ginger honey we had at the tasting, it was divine!) and went on to a nearby hill to plant a little olive tree.

    Yad Mordecahy - The fallen water tower
    The view from the hill top

    I got a baby olive tree, which I named Motti (to remind me of the wonderful experience in the kibbutz). We then headed back to the center, happy and well nourished. I will certainly be joining more events of this beautiful group of people.

    Me and Motti
    Motti and his mommy

    You will be happy to know Motti is now happily setup on my roof garden. I expect to be producing my own little premium olive oil label in about 3 to 5 months, on which event I will surely invite the lovely people I met on Friday for a tasting and probably some cake as well.