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Jerusalem: A Culinary Adventure

Jerusalem A Culinary Adventure Elinoar Rabin and Tali FreedmanPhotography Anatoly Michaelio, Morotom Publishing 2011. Hard cover Large Format. 156 Glossypages.
The publisher's website.

This is a book about food in Jerusalem. It spans the range from the low end food "stalls" in the Manaheh Yehuda market to the high end restaurants. The book has great information, recipes, and beautiful color photographs. There is background information on the venders, recipes, and gorgeous photographs.
Note: Whereas not all of the eateries mentioned in the book are kosher, I believe that all of the recipes are kosher.

This is the book that anyone who has ever wandered the Mahane Yehuda market has thought about writing. Mahane Yehuda, the primary food market in Jerusalem, is mostly a market for raw ingredients such as vegetables, fish and meat. In recent years stalls selling baked goods and fine foods have opened. Most recently the market is home to several coffee shops and restaurants. My how we have grown.

Tali Mizrachi figures prominently in this section with her bakery/café. Second (and maybe third) generation Mahane Yehuda merchant, Tali has had several successful ventures in the market. She, in fact, forged the path that many others have followed, bringing gourmet cooking to this unlikely venue. Tali is a professionally trained pastry chef and this book contains one of her recipes for Chocolate Caraml Tart. Good luck. It seems a lot easier to buy it in her shop.

As you peruse this book you will feel as though you are walking down one of the paths of the market, stopping at one stall after the next. Did you ever wonder how they make bourekas? Kochmat Habourekas, originally from Haifa, offers a recipe for Spinach Cheese Phyllo Pastry.

What can we make with all the things sold at Mizrachi's Nuts and Seeds? Your very own granola of course. Here is a story about Yossi Mizrachi, the sleepy Sunday market, and a recipe for Granola.

The vegetable stall Haim Yerakot looks like a jumble but look hard enough and you will find the best vegetables around. In fact Haim supplies all the chef restaurants in Jerusalem. And what recipes does Haim have for us? Fresh Garlic Soup with all the good things and Purple Indigenous Eggplant stuffed with herbs and garlic. Sounds good to me.

Paging through this section of the book was an opportunity to learn what goes into those exotic and complicated middle eastern phyllo-dough based foods. I had to stop at the page for Mamlechet Hahalva. This sweet sesame based dessert is one of my personal favorites. There is a picture of owner Eli Maman in front of his stall with mounds of halva, and a recipe for Halva cookies.

The second section of the book is about Mahane Yehuda restaurants. There have been steakiyot and greasy spoon restaurants in the market for years. Recently a host of semi-gourmet restaurants have cropped up in and near the market. Market haunters will recognize old timers like Rachmu, which appears in this book with a great photo of the pots cooking over a "petilia." Steakiyat Hatsot is another old-timer, as is Ima Kuba Bar – mother of the famous Ima steak restaurant.

Pinati Restaurant gives us recipes like Moussaka and a recipe for Hummus that starts with raw chick peas. Many of these restaurants have kashrut supervision, but you will also find some restaurants in this book that do not have supervision. Making their (kosher) recipes will give you a taste of the foods that you would not eat in these restaurants.

The third section of this book is a who's who of Jerusalem's culinary art. This section includes many of the famous chefs from the best restaurants in Israel's capital, including many of the restaurants on Though the focus is surely the chefs, this section is indexed by the recipes. We get a recipe for stuffed leaves from the famous chef Shalom Kadosh of the Leonardo Plaza Hotel. Chef Kadosh is famous for pioneering gourmet mehadrin cooking in Israel. Chefs come to kadosh's kitchen from all over the world to learn his techniques.

A recipe for cold fish and potato salad comes from chef Ezra Kedem at Aradia (non-kosher) restaurant. Watermelon Salad is an interesting idea from chef Oren Yurushalmi of the kosher Scala restaurant at the David Citadel Hotel.

Probably one of the most visible chefs in Jerusalem is Moshe Basson of Eucalyptus restaurant. A chef and restaurature for decades, Moshe Basson is the couse-couse king as well as the expert in the herbs and spices that grow around Jerusalem. His recipe for Stuffed Figs includes some of these spices.

Additional recipes come from other famous chefs such as Erez Margay and Marcus Gershkovitz at Angelica, Jacques Daian at Gabriel, Yaakov Tourgeman at 1868, Ilan Sibboni at Darna, Guy Ben Simchon at La Guta, Shmil Bamaabada (now closed).

This is a fun book for folks who love to eat in Jerusalem. Adventuresome cooks will enjoy trying their hand at some of the foods that were enjoyed at the restaurants, and arm- chair cooks will enjoy imagining the flavors from the recipes and the beautiful photographs.

This book is available at:
Gur Arieh Bookstore, Yoel Solomon St 8, Jerusalem
Tel: 02-625-7486. Fax: 02-625-4265

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