Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Vegetable Adventures Launch

Hello Friends, Old and New!

This blog follows my culinary adventures with vegetables, and particularly, with a surprise box of vegetables, delivering various wonderful edible toys right to my door. You can expect to read of Chinese medicine and nutrition, various interesting types of vegetables, lots of recipes, mostly with a Middle-Eastern twist, healing with food and herbs, and occasionally some other issues might sneak in: ecology, music, dance, martial arts, jewelry making, a dash of healthy idealism, and way too many books.

We may want to start with the folks who grow the vegetables. Oh, wait, we may want to set the stage for the vegetable arrival.

My partner, Chad, and I live in a lovely small apartment right near the Tel Aviv beach, in a neighborhood called "The Yemenite Vine". The neighborhood is a colorful, vibrant and honest mix of folks who came to Israel from Yemen in the 1960s and of newcomers - young Israelis and many African, Asian, Eastern European and South American workers. The heart of the community is Hakarmel Market, a huge Middle Eastern market selling all kinds of produce, groceries, house equipment, etc. On the other side of the neighborhood is the Mediterranean Sea - on the shore of which are the Tel Aviv skyscrapers and Jaffa's ancient buildings. Tel Aviv is a culinary heaven, offering endless restaurants and cafes, and Jaffa offers the very best Middle Eastern food one can think of. Under such ideal conditions, how can there not be a Yemenite Vine food blog?

Now, here's where the vegetables come in.

About a month ago I made friends with some environmentalist friends, who introduced me to community farming and organc produce, and who let me know of such farms in Israel. Ecology, organic agriculture and recycling is not a very high priority here yet, save for a few isolated areas. Naturally, we were thrilled to give these folks a try. So, we are now the proud members of the Chubeza organic farm:

(that's where the lovely lettuce picture comes from, actually)

Every Monday afternoon, a nice person knocks on our door and delivers us a big box of vegetables. We have no control over the contents of the box, which makes all this even more fun! We get a great variety of seasonal vegetables. Our whole grains, beans and occasional dairy products and eggs come from the nearby market, or from Jaffa's Middle-Eastern stores. Our mission is to cook and consume all this goodness within a week; your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read of our adventures in the kitchen, provide advice, ask and answer questions, and suggest your own recipes, if you feel like it.

Ah, but there are tricky rules. We're both vegetarians (I rarely and occasionally eat fish, but not usually at home); being a big fan of Traditional Chinese Medicine, my cooking is geared toward healing rather than just pleasure and at least tries to follow Five Element Theory (zang-fu). We're not big fans of sugar, refined grains, or processed foods; and we don't usually combine animal protein with hard-core starches. Nevertheless, we've been known to make mean dinners, and to produce fun giant weekend brunches; we both love to cook and do it often.

This week, the lovely people of Chubeza have graced us with the following ingredients:
Arabic lettuce (like Romaine, only large and a tad stiffer)
Manguld (wild beet leaves)
Collard Greens

Let the fun begin!


Linda said...

Hadar, this is great! Recipes sound delicious, and it's wonderful to read your writing. I'm looking forward to many more posts.


Hadar said...

Goody, Linda! And needless to say, any recipes and ideas from the audience will be most welcome!