Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Tom Yum! This is my very first post on this brand new blog here on JPOST!

I am excited to be here and share with you tales, tryouts, findings and thoughts all revolving the one thing I crave to write about: FOOD.

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What about food? Well, anything really if it's dealing with my complex life-lasting relationship with delicious-Joyful-humming-tongue-dancing-heart-filling food. Yep, that!

Big headlines in a long sentence that bottom line to two facts: One, I simply LOVE food and (most) of the fuss around it. Two, for me, food is personal.

Whether I'm eating or making it for someone else, it has to be really really good. No, it doesn't have to be as if sent out of a chef's kitchen, but it has to look good, smell good and taste better. If anything less, I'm not having it, and sure as hell not serving it to anyone else (and neither should you!).

I owe this uncompromising "thing" I've got with food to my dear mom, who is not only an amazing cook (Genuinely! Yes, even if I'm not being objective), but also a master mind of food hedonism.

See, the home I grew up in is one where the kitchen and dining room have always been the center of the house. There leaning against the kitchen counters or seating together around the dining table, is where we connect as a family. So whether we're talking, arguing or celebrating, my mother's delicious comfort food is there collecting us around it.

What's her secret? I could say its years of experience, could reason it with fresh ingredients, smart techniques or an educated palate, but I believe it's all the above and the fact that when my mom cooks, her heart is in it. Food has always been more and we were never just fed.

After this necessary introduction to explain why I happily indulge in food, and before I dive in and suggest you indulge with me, I do have a confession to make: I am a lazy cook and I'm not wild on delaying gratifications. Fun as it could be, I will rarely be found spending hours in the kitchen making anything complex. So for the lack of time or patience, I'm all into quick bulletproof dishes.

That said, the one principle I religiously stick to is to always use good-quality FRESH ingredients. I've come to learn those alone can deliver delicious outcomes.

Las Favoritas!

OK I've got to start this one with a favorite. My one and only weakness is Bread. Now if it's awesome just-out-of-the-oven bread, crisped with salt crystals and accompanied with tomatoes and extra virgin Olive Oil..? For me that's comfort food by existence and my Holy Trio. YUMMY.

Focaccia Bread
You can find this bread (or some variation of it) on the menus of many Israeli restaurants. Crispy on the outside, airy and soft on the inside and best served Hot! This Focaccia bread is a proud member in my trio.

Don't get too anxious because of the sticky dough, results are worth it!

? 40 min + 60 min proofing time
3-4 medium loafs

700g all-purpose flower, sifted
625ml (2 1/2 cups) warm water
7g dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoon + 1/4 cup extra-virgin Olive oil (to brush the bread)
1.5 teaspoon fine sea salt
Kosher salt (for sprinkling once ready)

Toppings! This Focaccia loves toppings, ANYTHING goes! Here are some of my favorite combinations: Smoked goose breast – Almonds & Rosemary, Fried onions – Chili & Parmesan cheese, Cherry Tomatoes - Capers & Basil.

1. Preheat oven to 250c, use a baking stone if you have it – to bake directly on it or place it on the bottom of the oven.

2. Mix the flower, yeasts and sugar in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil and knead for 5-7 minutes, until a sticky and liquid-y dough forms. If you use a mixer, don't forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl every few minutes.

3. Add the salt and knead well for another minute. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and set aside in a warm place until dough has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

4. Lightly oil 15x30cm strips of baking paper.

5. Once doubled, knead briefly and gently (dough still sticky and that's OK). Then with both hands, scoop about a 1/3 – 1/4 of the portion and stretch along the baking strips.

6. When the dough has risen again slightly (now's the time to add toppings), bake in full heat (mid oven) for 10-15 minutes until golden.

7. Take out and brush the Focaccia generously with olive oil, sprinkle a little kosher salt on top and serve HOT! 

Lost bread, Tomato and mint Salad

If by weird accident I've got Focaccia leftovers, this aromatic summer salad is a sensual indulgence on the following day.

Important! Use the greenest and freshest mint you can find, organic if you have it available.

? 10 minutes
2-3 servings

300g ripe Cherry tomatoes
1 cup day-old Focaccia, torn to pieces
2 Hand full of Mint leaves, picked off the stem
1 tablespoon Pine nuts
30g Parmesan cheese – thinly sliced
1/2 Red Chili pepper, chopped or sliced
3-4 tablespoon extra-virgin Olive oil
1 teaspoon Lemon zest
Kosher salt
Freshly ground Black pepper

1. Cut the tomatoes to halves or quarters and put in a bowl, season with a little salt and drizzle some of the olive oil on top.

2. Roast the pine nuts in a frying pan, on medium-high heat, no oil needed. Stir frequently and remove when the nuts are golden-brown, takes about 30-45 seconds.

3. Toss with all other ingredients into a large bowl and season well with the olive oil, salt and black pepper.

That's all! Easy!

To conclude this first post I'll tell you this – Forever cook with your heart!



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