Nishnishim Salad

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Nishnishim Salad

source: Kelly Garbato

Nishnishim Salad is one of the most popular foods I serve.  People actually beg me to make it! It’s that good.

I would love to give credit for this recipe, but I don’t know who the originator was. I got this recipe from a friend, but I have no idea where she got it from. If anyone knows, please email me and I will be glad to give credit where due.

By the way, the salad ingredients aren’t set in stone. These happen to be the vegetables I enjoy in a salad, but if you have other preferences, use your choices. However, I would avoid pickles, olives and capers since their distinctive tastes will clash with the sweetness in the dressing.

Dressing Ingredients

1/4 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1 tbsp. mayonnaise
4 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. mustard

Salad Ingredients

1 head lettuce, chopped
6-8 small cherry tomatoes
1 red pepper, chopped
2 – 3 cucumbers, chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 handfuls sour cream and onion crackers

Directions

In a large bowl, combine all lettuce, tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers, red onion.

Using a blender, combine all dressing ingredients, and process till garlic is completely liquefied.

Right before serving, crumble crackers onto salad and add dressing to taste.

Note: Dressing is good for two weeks, so if you double the recipe, you can have the salad for several meals.

Frugal Cookbooks That Save You Money

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Frugal Cookbooks That Save You Money

source: ethan john

I do a lot of things to save money on food. I comparison shop, buy on sale and use up leftovers. Most people already know these tricks.

However, there is one thing I do that a lot of people don’t know about. What is it? I choose and use the right cookbooks.

The right cookbook can make all the difference between a dinner that costs $13.00 and one that costs $3.00. Cookbooks that require exotic seasonings and imported cheeses, are going to cost you big bucks at the grocery store. Cookbooks that are heavy on expensive cuts of meat, are going to be heavy on your pocketbook.

That’s the bad news. The good news is, if you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot a frugal cookbook. Here are some tips:

1) Consider buying a vegan cookbook. Many vegan meals use beans as their main source of protein. Use caution however, as many veggie cookbooks lean towards the expensive condiments and fresh herbs.

2) Look at cookbooks based on your region.  Regional cookbooks  will use ingredients that are common, and therefore cheap, in your area. I live in the Middle East, so those are the regional cookbooks I frequently use. Recipes using chickpeas, pita, olives and zhatar, are all dirt cheap for me.

3) Try some cookbook from poorer countries.  The Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook uses only a 1/4 pound of meat to serve 4 people.

4) Track down some older cookbooks. The original Joy of Cooking, Good Housekeeping Cookbook and Betty Crocker use almost no expensive convenience foods or exotic ingredients in their recipes.  Instead, the good flavor came from everyday foods, carefully prepared.

5) Buy cookbooks that take advantage of your resources. Since bread in the Middle East bread is cheap and delicious, I own a sandwich cookbook. My sister has a father-in-law that gives her vegetables all summer long, so she has a salad cookbook.

6) Use cookbooks that allow for a lot of choice in ingredient selection. For instance, Pam Anderson’s How to Cook Without A Book, encourages the reader to combine their favorite (cheap) ingredients with her basic recipe templates.

7) Get a book on substitutions.  I own two books on substitutions that I use whenever I am missing an ingredient in a recipe. For instance, it is almost impossible to get water chestnuts where I live, but thanks to my substitution books, I know to use jicama instead.

8) Purchase a cookbook specifically labeled as frugal. I frequently use an excellent book called Good Recipes For Hard Times by Louise Newton.

9) Invest in a cookbook on specific frugal foods. For instance,  I have two cookbooks on rice cookery and one cookbook on making dumplings. Not only do the recipes from these books make great side dishes, but I sometimes add a bit of cheese or a 1/4 pound soy meat and turn them into a main course.

10) Check out other people’s recommendations.  I recommend The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. While this is not actually a cookbook, the few handfuls of recipes scattered throughout the book are so good, they make it one of the most valuable books I own.

If you have any frugal cookbooks that you would like to recommend, please leave a comment below.

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History and Culture at Beit Hatfutsot

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Beit Hatfutsot Outside View

source: Talmoryair

I’ve had a friend from the US staying with us for the last week, and yesterday we went to Beit Hatfutsot (or The Museum of the Jewish People) in Tel Aviv.  She was told her husband was in a 35 year old photograph, and she desperately wanted to see it. We never did locate the picture, but we did have a great time.

Beit Hatfutsot Inside

source: Ricardo Tulio Gandelman

Beit Hatfutsot uses an enormous assortment photos, videos, paintings, and sculptures to explore the history and culture of Jews from all over the world. The exhibits are not in chronological order, which I would have preferred, but each section is very clearly presented in both English and Hebrew. There was never any doubt as to what we were viewing.

We didn’t see everything the museum had to offer since we were on a tight schedule, but I did spend a lot of time enjoying the exhibits on art and artifacts from everyday life. There were a couple of objects that really made history come alive for me.

Beit Hatfutsot Haggadah

source: Sodabottle

One was a replica of a centuries old haggadah which I believe was made from leather. Just looking at it made me realize, in a very visceral way, how many years the Passover tradition has been celebrated. It made me feel very connected to the generations of Jews that came before me.

Beit Hatfutsot Painting

source: Beit Hatfutsot

Another favorite was a painting of the Jewish slaves leaving Egypt. When I’ve heard the story of the exodus from Egypt in the past, it has always sounded like an army marching across the desert. In the painting however, it was depicted with groups talking, a mom nursing, people lagging behind, etc. More of a communal walk and less of a carefully orchestrated march. Again, an important part of history became more real for me.

So, how do finish up a very serious afternoon of history and culture? With food and music of course!

After leaving the museum we took a train to Jerusalem and shared a truly amazing meal at Cafe Ne’eman. It consisted primarily of delicious whole wheat bread, butter, omelets, israeli salad and tuna. Plus, there were tiny little cups of fruited tabouli salad, jelly, olives, all kinds of cheeses and both avocado and herbed tahina spreads for the bread. For dessert, chocolate and nut yogurt and two tiny rugelachs (pastries) were included. To top it off, the entire meal was elegantly presented on a three tiered serving piece. Only Israelis could come up with a feast like that!

When our sumptuous meal was completed, we took a bus to the city center, watched a couple of very talented street performers and then headed back home to sleep.

All in all, it was an exhausting, but completely memorable day.

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