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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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa August 6, 2012 at 7:35 am

Summer food and produces cannot be beat! Two lovely and sunny recipes.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Yael August 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

Love those figs, they are so sweet. Maybe this weekend will go to the market. It has been a while since I’ve shopped there. Working too hard unfortunately.

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Silvia August 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

Oh, I’m dying for figs these days. Unfortunately our fig tree(bush) died past winter because of the big freeze.
What is the fruit that is piled infront of the vendor on the first photo? Fresh dates, maybe? I’ve seen them in Tunisia but don’t know how are they supposed to be eaten – fresh as they are or they need to be dried?

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Sarah August 6, 2012 at 11:51 am

Silvia, Yes, those are fresh dates. They can be eaten fresh but I put them in the freezer to sweeten them up.

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Silvia August 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Next time I see them I’ll definitely buy.

Reply

Yael (the Finnish one) August 6, 2012 at 10:23 am

Oh that fruit! A few more days and I will be enjoying them too.Not that I complain;I have lovely fish and world’s best new potatoes here in Helsinki….,

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Chez Loulou August 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

Simplicity is best in the summer, and figs with goat’s cheese and honey is sublime simplicity!

Reply

Krista August 6, 2012 at 4:11 pm

How delicious and inspiring. :-) I haven’t seen figs at my market yet – still winter here :-) – but we’ve had gorgeous mandarins, lovely ginger, and pretty purple sweet potatoes. :-)

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Eha August 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Feel peagreen with envy at the moment looking at these beautiful high piles of summer produce: one simply does not get the same feeling walking around supermarket isles lined with perfect, but oft tasteless, fruit! Have been having an around the world read of some of my various favourite blogs during the past half-hour – yours is the third making me want a bowlful of figs in front of me! Patience, girl, patience :) !

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Simone August 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

These all look totally delicious! Our summer has been fairly wet sofar so that had an impact on the produce. Tomatoes that do not ripen etc. I can then get jealous at all that gorgeous produce you have over there!

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