Orly Ziv’s Tel Aviv Cooking School
Our tiny troop of cooks, eager to learn about Israeli cuisine, met Orly Ziv at the Carmel Market (Shuk Ha’Carmel) in Tel Aviv, just four blocks from the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. The allure of exotic produce and the flurry of colors beckoned us into the winding alleyways where she toured us around dozens of food stalls, bakeries, and restaurants. before heading to her house for an afternoon of cooking school and eating!
The cacophony of the vendors and patrons bantering with each other was palpable as we strolled through the stalls, learning about so many new spices and different kinds of interesting produce. We discovered that there are about 200 types of garbanzo beans all over the world! Some are small and some are large, and Orly uses a combination of the two for her hummus, but only the large ones for her falafel. They must be dried and soaked, never cooked or from a can! Good to know, since the first time I attempted falafel, I used canned garbanzo beans and wound up with a mess!
We ventured from the “shuk” (market) to the Yemenite quarter (Kerem HaTeimanim), where we settled in for a delicious breakfast at Shlomo & Doron. They served up hummus, shakshouka, and fuul, a dip made of fava beans and very similar to hummus. It was delicious! While in the Yemenite district we visited several of Orly’s favorite haunts where we sampled a variety of breads including saluf, lahouh and pita, all very different, all delicious! We also tasted burika, a Libyan dish made with mashed potatoes and eggs, and then were treated to a glass full of vitamins with fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice from Orly’s favorite juicer, Tikva, who made it with the perfect touch of fresh lime!
After the market tour, Orly drove us back to her home, about 15 minutes north of Tel Aviv. There, we settled in for a few hours of serious cooking. We made Malabi cream with rose water syrup for dessert, homemade pita bread, hot spicy tomato salad, falafel, tahini sauce made with lemon juice and buttermilk, hummus, and shakshouka, a tomato and vegetable sauce with fresh eggs cracked and cooked right in the sauce!
It was a miracle that we could even eat another bite after our morning breakfast and bread sampling extravaganza, but eat we did and we enjoyed every morsel along with a glass of Israeli wine.
After lunch, we were sent on our way with a recipe booklet of all the dishes we made. Some of us opted to buy a copy of Orly’s cookbook, Cook in Israel, which has more than 200 pages of recipes and photos. This beautiful book will be a reference for Israeli cooking for me for years to come!
The book can be found on Amazon.com. For a signed copy, visit: http://www.cookinisrael.com/Buy+the+Book/.