the BEST EASIEST PASTA you ever ate

well, as promised and after each of you have their own dried-tomato jar just waiting to be eaten in the fridge, here a recipe for the best and easiest past you ever ate. Its low fat, and uses only stuff you already have in your fridge (one of them being dried tomatoes, which are a must).

Dried tomatoes, mushrooms and onions pasta
you will need:
a handful of  dried tomatoes
a handful of black greek olives
4 garlic cloves
1 onion
12 nice mushrooms
~20gr Brinza cheese (salty, sheep milk cheese, comes in blocks)
half a pack (250gr) short pasta

*needless to say, all the amounts are only a recommendation and you can add or subtract anything.

What you do:
  1. While you boil water for the pasta (with a spoon of salt, no oil), chop the onions and the garlic. keep them separate.
  2. Cut the mushrooms into thin slices, or into 1/8 if you prefer them more bulky.
  3. By now, the water should have boiled. put the pasta in.
  4. Heat a deep pan with some of the tomatoes olive oil. Put the garlic in first, and after 30seconds, put in the onion. Make sure the garlic doesn't burn, or it will taste bitter.
  5. Take out as many dried tomatoes as you like; chop them coarsely.
  6. Remove the olive pit from your olives, and cut them coarsely too.
  7. When the onions are slightly golden, add the mushrooms. you can add some black pepper and nutmeg. DONT add salt.
  8. Cut the Brinza. 
  9. When the mushrooms turned soft, add the chopped tomatoes and olives to the pan. let it sit for a few minutes, in the mean time, take the pasta off the stove. drain the water; DON'T wash the pasta. put some olive oil on it, and stir. add the pasta to the pan, and let it sit. don't forget to stir. add the Brinza and some fresh, basil leaves. Stir some more, until the cheese starts to melt. 
  10. Serve hot, or cold (: 

BE-TE-AVON!! (Hebrew for bon apetit!)


      Considering Challa: Aiming High

      You all know what challa is.
      that soft, sweet, tender, lovely bread that Jewish people usually eat on Friday evenings.
      so many times have I made Challa; it was actually the first bread I ever made, and that first, easy lovable product is what initiated my current love for bread baking.
      The perfect Challa for me is a mildly soft, thin crust with tender, soft crumb that melts in your mouth. it's excellent when its fresh with anything, especially for dipping in your egg at dinner, but also toasted, with salted butter on top.
      After not baking Challa for a very long time (started meddling with sourdough and such), I had an urge for something made of just plain yeast, and it was Friday, and we went to dinner, and making Challa was obvious.
      I didn't want to use my regular recipe- though it yields a great bread, its always somewhat flattens during baking. So I tried a recipe for Saffron Challa (without the Saffron) by Sussan of Wild Yeast that I slightly adjusted. Her recipes never let me down, and the bread in the picture looked just gorgeous.
      did only 2/3 of the amount (small oven and all):

      (no saffron) 4 eggs Challa
      adjusted form Wild Yeast
      (yields 2 500g loaves)
      400g flour
      200g high-gluten flour (used Shtibel #2 for bread)
      200g warm water
      7g instant yeast
      11g salt
      34g sugar
      54g egg yolk (a little less than 3 from #2 eggs, I weighted)
      66.6 whole egg (1 egg and a bit, #2, weighted)
      45g olive oil

      1. Wake up the yeast (not a must): put the dry yeast in a small bowl with a tsp of the sugar and 1/2 cup of the warm water. mix gently, and let them sit while you weigh and measure all other things.   
      2.  Combine all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed until just combined, then mix on low or medium speed until the gluten has reached nearly full development (great explanation in Wiled Yeast blog!). 
      3. Transfer the dough to a covered, lightly oiled container. Let it sit for 2 hours. After the first hour, gently press the dough to degas it (Forgot to do that all together!).
      4. Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured counter and divide it into pieces of about 500 g each. Further divide each piece, depending on the number of strands you want for each loaf.
      5. while dividing, pre-shaped the dough into chubby sticks and let them sit for about 10 minutes. then I rolled the sticks into forming longer strings, like when you shape a baguette.
      6. Braid or otherwise shape the dough as you please (see shaping notes in Wiled Yeast. I braided a 4 strings braid and tried the spiral-circle thing that opened in the oven). Place shaped loaves on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced as far apart from each other as possible.
      7. Beat one egg with a fork and mix it with a teaspoon or so of water. Brush the egg wash lightly onto the loaves. Save the remaining egg wash.
      8. Slip the loaves into a large plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap. Proof at room temperature for 1.5 – 2 hours, until the dough springs back very slowly when pressed lightly with your finger.
      9. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 380F.
      10. Before baking, give the loaves another light coating of the egg wash. Throw a few ice cubes in the bottom of the stove to create steam.
      11. Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes, until the crust is a shiny dark brown.
      12. Place the loaves on a wire rack to cool.

      great loaves, though they reminded me somewhat a bought Challa. The crumb was soft though slightly stiffer than I like, a little too chewy. Also, since I'm married to a cholesterol-problematic guy, this thing has a little too much eggs for me. But what a hight!!

      this turned out so nicely it was submitted to Wiled Yeast's YeastSpotting (:


      I find you very attractive- make cool magnets, pt.II

      I know it might seem that I have a small magnet obsession, but we really do have loads of unwanted magnets and a lot of junk hanging on our fridge and front door (and we don't even have kids yet).
      This magnets project is a great idea for a something to do with all the bear caps left after Shavuot holiday or the weekend .

      What you'll need
      • bear bottle caps
      • nice looking paper
      • cardboard
      • white plastic glue
      • some sort of contact adhesive
      • round, strong magnets
      this time I've used some nicly patterned origami paper I had lying around and bear bottle caps; I think that with this method, any paper can work (except for cardboards and such).

      1. If your bottle cap has dark patterning on it and your paper is realtively thin (especially if using napkins), you should cover the top of the cap before you continue. paint spary will work, I find that cutting out cardboard circles and just gluing them is easyier, cleaner and cheaper.
      2. Make a mixture of plastic glue and water. I didn't measure the quantities,but you can tell there's a lot of glue in there by the color. don't be cheap. Rinse your paper in the glue water for a few minutes to soften it abit.
      3. Put the cap in the center of the paper, slowly fold the paper inwards while   keeping the face of the cap as tight as possible. use one hand to hold the    folded paper in place, and the other to keep on folding.
      4. Let the thing dry for 10-20 minutes. in the mean time, you can cover some more caps.
      5. Cut another circle that will fit the inside of the cap. when the paper is relatively dry, glue the card circle to cover up the folded paper. you can use the magnets at this point to tighten the folded paper back. let dry for another 10-20 minutes.
      6. When this complex is dry, use contact adhesive to attach the magnet to the bottom of your covered cap.
      7.     Let dry, and you're done!

      Happy Holidays all!

      new MEGA project- here's a peak

      look what I found on my way back from pilates the other night

      I could not resist the shaping of the arms, so much potential, so many options...

      stay tuned for news (:


      Things in jars make me all excited

      This Friday was about making things in jars.

      like pickles (did half the amount of cucumbers,but kept the amount of garlic and chilly. also added allspice which was not grounded.)

      and pesto, and mini-sun-dried tomatoes. my recipe for these is ho-so simple, can can make a great effortless gift for Shavuot.

      Dried Cherry Tomatoes
      Take a big pack of cherry-tomatoes (the elongated ones are the sweetest and work best) wash and slice in half. place in a pan, facing up.
      you can spread some sea salt, but lately I've just dried them "naturally" and I think the flavor is much better, also it's better for your blood pressure.Turn on the oven on very low temperature, between 100-150C degrees. after a few hours they will be dried. for long term preservation, put the tomatoes in a glass jar; add sliced garlic, thyme, rosemary, black peper. cover with extra-virgin olive oil; note that anything sticking out of the oil will get moldy. Enjoy! (:


      DIY Toilet paper hanger tutorial

      hey, what do you know: procrastination is a serious problem. hey, I even procrastinate the projects I start in order to procrastinate other things (and even procrastinated publishing this post. I have a serious problem)!
      this project is something I've been "working" on for quite some time: finding new looks for our awesome toilet paper hanger, a brilliant thing by itself, shamelessly copied from my brilliant sister, Inbar.

      the brilliant toilet paper hanger requires only two things: a string and a stick. both should both be durable and strong enough to hold the weight of several toilet paper rolls, one on top of the other.
      the whole "improvement" idea started because after some time, the natural yarn that was holding our toilet papers tore and needed to be replaced. and then I thought, that hey- if I could protect the string the hole thing could last longer. and hey, if I'm covering up the string anyhow, i can use a stronger string to begin with.

      I started by making some paper beads. there are endless tutorials around the web as how to make these; I like this tutorial, as her beads turned out so nice. when the beads dried i tried making the holes with a drill as mentioned in the tutorial- but then my genius dad suggested that I'll burn my way through, and by using a hot nail the thing took seconds.

      my braking point was the painting: it took a me a long time finding the time and patience to paint these, and finding a place to let them dry.

      eventually i made some holes in an empty energy bar box, that was a prefect drying stand.
      I was not sure about putting some polish on the beads, but since our toilet is right next to the shower i thought it can only help preserve the beads longer.

      as a last step i threaded the beads on a fishermen's string and tied the original stick at the end- this was I got the stronger version that maintained the natural look I like so much.To hang it, i made a loop at the top.

      the brilliancy of this thing is its simplicity- and easy adjustments that can change its style to match different looking toilets. a clean look can be achieved by using some fishermen's string and an empty pen (transparent plastic), a more natural look can be achieved by using unthreaded string and a wooden stick, or you can use colurfull beads to add more interest like i show here. there are thousands of other ideas- i'm sure you can come up with more. (:
      by the way, this one is a giveaway


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