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Israel Is Making Me a Better Cook

For the most part, it hasn’t been challenging to make meals in Israel. I can find about 90% of what I’m used to in the grocery stores here. I was warned that I wouldn’t find things like peanut butter, chili powder, or canned pumpkin. I’ve found everything but the pumpkin so far, though there have been some reported sightings that I haven’t finished investigating.

Israel doesn’t have nearly the number of canned and processed foods that the US does. And when they do, the cool thing about not being able to read most of the boxes is that I’m not tempted to take the short cuts. I’ve been buying fresh meat and veggies to cook really healthy meals. I think it’s an excellent habit to get into.

Also, because my commute went from 10 min to 45 min I’ve also been using the crock pot much more than I ever did back in the States. Stace is loving the slow-cooked goodness. Liam just wants to eat pitas and raw veggies every night.

If I’m missing an ingredient, I can usually find a substitute or just search for a alternate recipe on the Web. However, a few ingredients continue to elude me:

  1. Chicken Broth–does not come in cans here. Most people use a powdered chicken soup mix. I think it’s a bit like bouillon cubes. I just couldn’t bring myself to use it though, so I used a recipe I found on the Web to make a whole Chicken and Stock in the crock pot. (Yes… the “boneless, skinless breast” girl made a *whole* chicken.) It made the house smell wonderful and probably completely grossed out the vegetarian nanny. I’m buying canning jars tonight to make and freeze broth in 1-cup batches.
  2. Sweetened Condensed Milk–OK, I don’t really *need* this, but it is part of this great Nutella Ice Cream recipe that doesn’t require an ice cream maker. I’ve tried to make gelato twice since I got here, but it just isn’t turning out right without the ice cream maker. The first batch developed ice crystals and the second batch separated. 😦 I’m dying to put together two of my favorite things in the world: Nutella and ice cream.
  3. French’s Fried Onions–I’ve seen Europen versions of this in American health food stores, but I’ve not seen anything I’ve identified as being the same here. I really only need it a couple of times a year at holidays to top the green been casserole. I wonder if potato chips would produce the same satisfying crunchiness… or just panko crumbs? I’ll be posting to the expat boards to see if anyone has figured this one out.
  1. bairbutte
    November 2, 2011 at 15:36

    My mom used to use potato chips on top of green bean casserole. It’s good as long as you put them on veeery late in the baking (they tend to get soggy), but you do lose the onion flavor.

  2. November 3, 2011 at 12:49

    Sweet onion flavored potato chips? Hmmm…

    I actually found a few make-from-scratch recipes. One involved basically making your own onion strings and tossing them on top. I’ll probably do that. Onions + buttermilk + panko crumbs/salt/pepper. Sounds pretty good.

  3. Chris Schardein
    November 4, 2011 at 02:32

    Cooking a whole chicken instead of just the skinless boneless breasts will give you a much better broth to use in other recipies because of the bone. That is where you get the rich flavor. I’m glad you are using the crock pot. That is what saved me so much time while I was working and I still use it constantly today. Who wants to stand over a hot stove??

  4. William H Harkins
    November 4, 2011 at 20:32


    Thank you for the Yellow Sunmarine card.



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