If there is a connection between "delicate" and "delicacy," in the sense of something edible that is dainty or fine - and of course there is - zucchini is a good example of it, being a vegetable with indefinable taste but surprising possibilities.
That's why I got excited when I happened to turn on the TV to a cooking program and saw veteran songstress Yaffa Yarkoni, as guest cook, make something she called (I think) Bulgarian zucchini salad. I tried it the next day, and it was delicious.
She sauteed a small chopped onion and a clove or two of crushed garlic in some oil until golden, added a few zucchini diced small and let them cook for a few minutes. She then stirred in a tablespoon or two of tomato puree ("just enough to add color, not to drown the zucchini") and a couple of tablespoons of water, plus a bit of salt and a pinch or two of black pepper.
After a few more minutes she added - and here's the surprise - a dollop of prepared tehina, mixed it in and let the zucchini cook on low heat until soft; about 10 minutes.
The result was a creamy vegetable with character: in other words, a delicacy.
SINCE NOONDAY sunshine can emerge from the grayest Jerusalem morning, I'd like to share this salad from L'Chayim, compiled by the Friends of Maon Le-Nechim in Netanya.
RICH WINTER SALAD
mixed salad leaves
200 gr. frozen green beans
1 onion, peeled
1â„3 cup vinegar
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. concentrated frozen orange juice
2â„3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the beans in boiling water for five minutes. Drain. Cube the avocadoes and sprinkle with lemon juice. Peel the oranges, removing all the pith, and slice thinly. Slice the onion thinly into rings.
Layer the salad leaves, beans, avocado, orange and onion. Mix the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss just before serving.
RUSSIANS are known for making appetizing winter salads out of a few standard root vegetables. Here's one inspired by that talent from The New Laurel's Kitchen, followed by a colorful salad that goes well with green vegetables and rice.
2 cups cooked potatoes, diced
2 cups cooked beets, diced
1â„2 cup peas
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
6 Tbsp. yogurt
2 Tbsp. vinegar
dash black pepper
1â„2 tsp. salt
The vegetables should be cold; if you use frozen peas, let them thaw. Put the vegetables in a salad bowl. Mix the dressing, pour it over the salad and toss.
4 medium beets, washed
3 oranges, peeled and seeded
2 Tbsp. shredded coconut
1 tsp. honey
juice of 1â„2 lemon
grated peel of 1â„2 a lemon
2 Tbsp. currants
1 tsp. vinegar
Steam the beets whole until tender; peel. Coarsely grate or slice into long, thin sticks. Cut up the oranges. Place half of them in the blender with the coconut, honey, lemon juice and peel, and blend for two minutes.
Mix everything, adding more vinegar if needed. Chill for two hours.
THE DAY before the little snow in Jerusalem that turned out to be a bit bigger than expected, I saw we were low on dairy products and took the opportunity, before work, to run to a nearby makolet.
I placed two large containers of milk and several of cottage cheese on the counter and waited to pay. The owner's wife totted up the bill on her cash register.
"That comes to," her eyes widened, "NIS 22,000."
"Could you give me a discount?" I asked.
She canceled the transaction and started again.
"That's better... NIS 44."
We had a laugh, I paid and left. But it made me wonder how often we overpay in less obvious amounts, especially in the supermarket, where there's so much bustle that we just want to escape. I once got charged NIS 150 for a bag of vegetables that should have come to NIS 15. If I hadn't looked at my receipt, I might not have noticed.
No one has the time to haul out a calculator and tally up everything on the spot. But it pays to check any item over NIS 10.
Why put extra, unearned profits in the supermarket's coffers?
SEEN IN a friend's apartment: "This kitchen is closed due to illness. I'm sick of cooking."