Summer

by Sarah on August 6, 2012

banana vendor, Ramle Market, outdoor market

In these last few weeks, I have been trying to regain my kitchen motivation. In summer I opt for the minimalistic approach- simple ingredients that are quick to prepare along with frequent trips to the gelateria. Above all, I try to avoid using the oven as my air-conditioner already churns like a locomotive.

ramle outdoor market, Israel

mangoes, grapes, bananas, ramle outdoor market

But complaining about the heat seems a bit indulgent after my trip to Ramle Outdoor Market last Friday.   I realized that many of the Arab vendors were fasting yet continued their work day as usual. Those observing this holy month eat only at sunset. Despite the extra burden, I was greeted with a smile from a woman vendor whom sold produce that catered to the Arab community- grape leaves, tiny eggplants for pickling, finger length zucchini and fakkous, a cucumber like fruit.

ramle outdoor market, figs and watermelon

The market stalls were also over flowing with summer fruit, plums, prickly pears, lychee, bananas, grapes, figs, mangoes and the first of the fresh dates. I bought a bit too much. To use up the surplus I prepared the following summer time treats.

figs with goat cheese and honey

mango banana smoothie sorbet

figs and honey goat cheese

Figs with goat cheese and honey

 

Figs grow wild in Israel. The spiced vanilla fragrance fills the summer air while their leaves create a shadowy haven.  This recipe calls for baladi figs, the local variety which can be identified by its dark purple peel and pink interior. I often encounter them on hiking trips and if I’m lucky I’ll find a few ready to be picked, sweet, aromatic and densely packed with tiny seeds.  Here, I paired them with honey from Elaine’s Farm, a small establishment that produces honey from orange, avocado,  za’atar, tamarisk, thistle and other seasonal blooms. This recipe was inspired by Ari Cooks.

Figs

Goat cheese

Honey

Thyme

Slice the figs into 1 cm rounds. Top with a small piece of goat cheese, drizzle with honey and top with a sprig of thyme. Serve alfresco.

Mango-banana smoothie

 

Mango Maya is buttery smooth, the way an avocado should be when perfectly ripe.

1 mango maya

1 banana

Peel and slice the banana and mango into chunks. Put the pieces in an airtight container and freeze. Once frozen put in a blender with 1/2-1 cup of water, depending on the consistency desired. I added only 1/2 a cup which produced the creamiest of sorbets.  Blending might be easier if the fruit is slightly defrosted, which also puts less strain on the blender. Pulse until puréed. Transfer to a cup or serving dish and enjoy.

If you would like to see additional photographs of my food explorations, including hiking trips and edible wild plants (now it’s purslane, figs and grapes) please visit my facebook page.

Elaine’s Farm,

Moshav Tzur Moshe, farm 83

Tel 09-8940240 or 052-8225263

Email: Meshekelaine@012.net.il

goat cheese with figs and honey

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