It is an aging Marketer,
And she stoppeth one of three.
'With thy long-winded style and
Now wherefore stopp'st thou me?'
(J. Montagu, with apologies to Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
I half expected the lady I was stalking in my local supermarket to whirl around and start declaiming â€œThe Rime of the Ancient Marinerâ€ in ringing tones. But though she was clearly trying, on a Friday afternoon, to finish her purchases and get out of the store, she bore my pestering with reasonable grace. I asked her what she planned to do with the large mushrooms she was selecting since I generally buy only the small champignons.
â€œI like to saute them whole in olive oil, with sliced onion. Sometimes I do them with a bit of white wine, garlic and parsley.â€
She thought she'd got rid of me, but I followed her around the vegetable stand to find her clutching two boxes of baby eggplants, each one no longer than a few centimeters. I've often been tempted by these cuties but not known what to do with them, so I asked.
She told me: â€œCut them in half and leave them, salted, for 20 minutes or so to get the bitter juices out, then wipe them and 'sandwich' them back together with some chopped garlic and coriander and a drop of olive oil, and bake them in an oiled dish in a medium oven.â€
With that she left rather hastily, I thought.
As I bagged a few of the long, slim avocadoes in season just now, I reflected nostalgically that produce departments used to sell baby avocadoes, quite tiny and without pits. I haven't seen them around for several years. Maybe they grew up?
AFTER THE culinary deprivation of Yom Kippur you might just feel a craving for something like...
DUTCH HERRING SALAD
4 salted or pickled herrings, filleted
4 cold boiled potatoes
60 gr. onion
60 gr. pickled cucumber
1 beet, cooked
5 Tbsp. oil
3 Tbsp. vinegar
parsley, finely chopped
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
Peel the apples and the beet. Chop the herring, potato, onion, pickles, apples and beet into small pieces. Make a dressing with the oil, vinegar, pepper, salt and parsley and combine with the salad. Arrange the lettuce leaves on a dish, spoon the salad on top, and garnish with the egg, tomato and pickles. Serves four.
(By Mrs. Cary Mulder, Holland, from What's Cooking Around the World, the cookbook of Chug Tzameret, the Jerusalem Mental Health Center, Ezrath Nashim.)
AFTER THE salty, naturally, comes the sweet. This recipe is by Rhoda Carlin, from the same cookbook.
GRATED CHOCOLATE SPONGE CAKE
2 cups flour, sifted
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup plus 4 Tbsp. cold water
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 tsp. salt
1 cup oil
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp. lemon juice
100 gr. bittersweet chocolate, grated
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the liquid ones. Beat the whites stiff, but not dry. Fold this â€œsnowâ€ into the yellow mixture. Blend in the grated chocolate, and bake in a large tube pan at 170 for 1 hour.
Turn the pan upside down as soon as it is removed from the oven. Cool completely.
KIDS HUNGRY and acting up? You might gain instant compliance by offering them this treat:
1 pita per child
salt & pepper
onion, diced fine
Slice the pitot open, lay the halves flat and brush them with salad oil. Spread with tomato paste. Sprinkle with some basil, then cheese, then onion, then a bit more oil. Sprinkle on salt, pepper and oregano. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in a moderate oven.
(From Israeli Cooking on a Budget by Sybil Zimmerman.)
IN THE Mahaneh Yehuda market I was getting some green beans to serve with grilled fish when the vendor grumbled: â€œHow many other places let you pick your beans?â€ I was about to answer â€œSeveral,â€ when he plucked the bag out of my hand, emptied it out on the pile, and said: â€œNow how much do you want?â€
â€œNone,â€ I answered, pleasantly. â€œI'm getting them from over there,â€ indicating his competitor opposite. Suiting deed to word, I chose some very nice beans with no interference from the owner.
Mr. Aggression? I'd call him a has-bean.