shelly’s humble kitchen has moved to Mallorca

October 15, 2015

Research has shown that moving is more stressful than getting a divorce or a new job. So why the f*** do I do it, on average, every three years? Because I always forget how painful it is. For me moving is like giving birth: I only remember the beautiful, exciting moments. If, each time we moved, we had made a child instead, we’d have twelve kids by now. But also because I’m addicted to the feeling of being enchanted by a new place, a new culture, new foods and produce, a new language, or just by having an opportunity to reinvent myself. Maybe to become a little less “Shoody” – a nickname a good friend mine gave me, it’s a combination of “Shelly” and “Woody” (as in Woody Allen) and “should.”

I think our latest move from SoCal to Mallorca was especially hard, because we didn’t just fly straight to Mallorca after closing up shop in Los Angeles. We travelled together, as a family, for three solid months. Sounds romantic and charming, but, trust me, it wasn’t. Being together 24/7 with four very opinionated individuals (myself included) is not always fun. By the time we landed in Mallorca on 9/1, we were all suffering from a severe case of homesickness. Except that we didn’t even have a home to be sick for. That took another month. We’ve been living out of suitcases for four months!

It’s been a month since we arrived, and although we were already familiar with the island and how beautiful it is, we are still in the mode of being fascinated by everything around us, from the markets, to the landscape, to the health system, to the boys’ new school. 

After three days at their progressive, modern, unconventional, creative school, the boys’ homesickness disappeared. My husband never really suffers from homesickness, but me? I’m Shoody. I always miss someone or some place, like a classic immigrant, but at least the anxiety and butterflies in my stomach are gone.

I don’t know if it’s my cellphone brain or my age, but learning a new language is not easy for me anymore. (These days I can barely manage to preserve my English!) Last week I had my first formal Spanish lesson with two other moms from the school, taught by one of the Spanish moms. Lets put it this way, I couldn’t comprehend a lot but we all had a good laugh.

Mallorca is a stunning island. The lifestyle here is still very laid back. They still do siestas from 13:30 till 16:30. The health system here is at least ten times better and cheaper than the US. The organic produce is full of flavor and inexpensive. Unlike LA, there are four actual seasons, which I think is healthier for us. 

Yet why do I have a feeling that in a couple of years we will start to think about moving again? 

God, I hope we won’t! But if we do, where to? Any suggestions? 😉

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Roasted zucchini, beets and potatoes

May 28, 2015
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051815_1130 copyWe’re moving!

Again? Where to?

I can’t tell you yet. 

You’ll have to wait for my next post.

But I’ll give you a hint…

It’s a small island. Before we make the big move, we will do some traveling. 

So stay tuned.


About this dish: I could’ve simply chopped all the vegetables and roasted them in the oven, but that wouldn’t make another mundane day into an exciting day. The heat of the cast iron makes the bottom of this gratingi very crunchy while their top is mushy. The layer of the zucchini, onion and beet adds a mild sweetness. 

When you roast or fry squash blossom flowers they taste a bit like leek. They have a nice delicate flavor and a crispy texture. They’re so beautiful that they make any dish look like a Michelin star dish.  

Roasted zucchini, beets and potatoes


  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1 small yellow beet – optional
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • 1 small sweet onion or a quarter of a large one
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee, melted + extra for greasing the skillet
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Salt & pepper
  • 6-8 zucchini blossom – stamens removed

Cook the potatoes and beet. You can either (a) wrap them in baking paper or aluminum foil and put them in an oven preheated to 400ºF until they are tender; or (b) put them in a large saucepan, cover with water, and cook on the stove over medium-high heat until they are tender, about 40 minutes. To shorten the cooking or baking time, quarter the potatoes and the beets if they are large.

Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and set them aside: wash the zucchini and dry, slice it lengthwise. Peel the onion and thinly slice it widthwise. Peel the beet and thinly slice it.

Preheat or raise the oven temperature to 425°F. Generously oil a cast iron skillet or baking sheet, peel the potatoes and mash them straight on the skillet. Spread the mash evenly and sprinkle with salt. Top the mash with a layer of zucchini and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the melted coconut oil or ghee and a sprinkle of salt. Cover the zucchini with a layer of beets, onions and zucchini blossom (you can open the flowers if you like), sprinkle salt & pepper, thyme and drizzle the rest of the oil over. Put the skillet in the oven and roast until the vegetables are tanned, about 15-20 minutes. Just like any dish that involves crunchy potatoes, this gratingy is yummy with some ketchup on the side. You can serve as a main coarse for lunch or light dinner.




Black bean kibbeh with Tahini

May 19, 2015

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Honestly, I didn’t know what to call this dish. Kibbeh was the most appropriate name I could think of. This dish was a complete accident – I had about two cups of black beans leftover from my veggie burger experiment, in which I either over-processed the black beans, or the egg I added to the black bean mixture was too large. What I’m trying to say is that the black bean mixture came out too mushy to make patties for burgers so I decided to put the mixture in the fridge until I think of something. Continue Reading…

Black bean burgers with melted tahini

April 30, 2015
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I remember the first time I had a burger. It was in the beginning of nineties, I was 16 or so, shortly after I moved in with my twin friends. One day their New Yorker dad, who was an excellent cook, made them for lunch. I have seen an hamburger before at Burger Ranch, one of the first burger joints in Israel, but never had one before. I only learned about Burger Ranch when I was a teenager, after my parents got divorced and my mother decided that we should move to Tel Aviv. Burgers and American food in general were not popular in Israel during the eighties and nineties like today.


For years I wasn’t a big fan of burgers, especially not the veggie burgers. I can still live without them but every few months I crave a big fat juicy burger like this one. 

Continue Reading…

avocado sandwich – vegan & gluten-free

April 22, 2015

This morning I came back from Larchmont Farmers’ Market starving. I dug in my Ikea shopping trolley and pulled out the avocado, watermelon radish and microgreens, and rapidly made myself this beautiful sandwich with the gluten-free bread I bought at Baby Cakes

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Even here in Los Angeles it’s hard to find good and healthy gluten-free breads. Most of the gluten-free breads on the market are too dense or have a weird sandy texture and not very nutritious. The bread at Baby Cakes  isn’t a loaf of rustic or country sourdough but it’s airy and moist and have no grainy texture. It tastes like an Irish soda bread. At $7.50, it’s not cheap (Good gluten-free flours are expensive) but the loaf is pretty big and it lasts me, just me, for ten days. 



Microgreens the secret ingredient that will make any provincial dish to look like a fancy dish. They also had a nice distinct and delicate flavor. You can sprinkle them over soups, frittatas, sandwiches, salads, almost any dish. In Los Angeles I buy them in the farmers’ market ($1 for a small container.) 

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Avocado, Watermelon Radish and Microgreens Sandwich

  • 1 watermelon radish or any radish
  • Juice from half a lemon or ¼ filtered water mixed with ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Mayonnaise or Vegan Mayonnaise mixed with a pinch of wasabi – optional
  • Microgreens
  • Salt & pepper
  • Any bread of your choice

Slice the radish as thinly as possible (best with a Japanese mandolin), put on a plate and squeeze lemon juice over, or soak in filtered water and a bit of salt (to help soften the radish a bit).

Cover one slice of bread with avocado (use a kitchen knife to slice it, that way you don’t cut the skin) and another slice with mayonnaise. (We love Just Mayo, which, in my opinion, is tastier than Veganaise.) Drain the radishes and put them over the bread with the avocado. Sprinkle microgreens (or any greens, like arugula) on both slices, sprinkle salt (if you soaked the radish in saltwater, taste the sandwich before you add salt) and pepper, and make into a sandwich.

Kale and pumpkin seeds pesto

April 18, 2015

Alex: Mommy, if Anthony Bourdain came over to dinner at our house, do you think he would like your food?

Me: I think he would, but he might need to go eat some pork belly or lobster fat afterwards.

I actually have a few things I wanted to say to Mr. Bourdain:

Dear Anthony,

After watching No Reservations and Parts Unknown I became a huge fan of you.  So I was thrilled when I discovered that you have another show on Netflix. But after I watched five episodes I was a bit disappointed. I was hoping that in The Layover, you would eat, for a change, something other than pork bellies and towers of shellfish. Sometime during one of the episodes (I think the one in Philadelphia) my gut told me that even you, Tony, are not really comfortable and enthusiastic about eating some of these unappetizing, artery-clogging, greasy dishes, but that you ate them anyway to maintain your cool, carnivorous facade. Or perhaps I am projecting. 

Tony, I’m not saying you should change your eating and drinking habits. (I wish I had your immune system! If I consumed even half the amount of alcohol and animal products you do, I would be buried by now next to my sister.) But if you make a new show, it would be great to expose and introduce new dishes. It wouldn’t ruin your reputation if you eat other things than those long, shit-looking sausages and bulls’ testicles.

Come on, Tony, how could you visit the Mecca of healthy food and ignore (was it on purpose?) the excellent vegan restaurants/choices that L.A. offers?! You don’t have to be a sikh or Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal trainer to try vegetarian or vegan food. (If I didn’t already live in Los Angeles, I would love to find out about places like Crossroad Kitchen, Gracias Madre or Sage Vegan Bistro.) Don’t misunderstand me, I love Korean and Vietnamese cuisines, but you already covered those in your previous shows. 

Tony, I love your straightforwardness, sincerity, and your sense of humor, but enough with the poor pigs! Give that intelligent animal a break, and maybe your liver too!

I don’t know how you do it. How can you travel all over the world, suffer jet lag, sit for hours on a plane, eat tons of unhealthy food, drink gallons of alcohol, and still manage to stay healthy? You must have God’s own immune system. 

I challenge you to make a show without pork or lobster, or, even better, without animals. (You can use dairy and eggs.) I know you think I’m a crazy, health-obsessed bitch from California. I am probably all that, sometimes, but, just so you know, I grew up in a Moroccan home in Israel, where meat was served every day for lunch. As a child, I ate braised cow tongue and belly buttons, I sucked on chicken neck bone, and begged my mother to make any type of liver for lunch. I think I ate every part of the cow except its brain. Of course, growing up in a Jewish home, we didn’t eat pork or shellfish (although my dad did introduce me to shrimp at a young age.) I was introduced to sashimi as a teenager in the early nineties. Uni was one of my favorites. I also lived a third of my life in New York City, and three years in Spain, the Land of Jamon. 

So you see, Tony, I have been places, cooked endless meals, and dined in a kazillion restaurants, but after I discovered how we treat and kill animals, I decided to stop buying meat that wasn’t raised respectfully, without exception. I am still not as strict a vegetarian as I would like to be, but I know it will happen eventually. We don’t have to eat meat every day. I’m sure you don’t. I think it would be incredible if you didn’t encourage people to eat so much meat, or at least stop being so cynical about organic, grass-fed, free-range meat. Nobody will think that you’re any less cool. Maybe even cooler, if such a thing is possible. It would be a good thing to do for our obese society and our sick environment. 

Think about it. I’m not saying kale juices and chia puddings – just no piggies, shellfish and sausages. Continue Reading…

Thai coconut soup

April 13, 2015
Tom Kha Gai is a spicy coconut soup made with all kinds of aromatic Thai herbs and roots, and is my favorite Thai dish.
Since we moved to Los Angeles five years ago and rediscovered Vietnamese, our little family have been neglecting Thai cuisine. The truth is that it wasn’t only the Vietnamese fault. As much as I love Thai food, most Thai dishes are cooked with a lot of sugar, which is not so healthy, unless you make them at home and add very little sugar or agave or non.
On my way back home from a hike at Griffith Park, I stopped by Bangkok Market  to buy ingredients to make this yummy soup. I bought herbs, roots and vegetables but forgot to buy that most basic yet crucial Thai ingredient, fish sauce, a salty and stinky yet fierce and powerful liquid. In retrospect it wasn’t a bad thing after all. The recipe for the soup is now purely vegan.
To compensate for the fish sauce, I added extra herbs, extra galangal and tamari. It worked! The soup came out aromatic, silky, rich, spicy and sour with a perfect mild sweetness. (While writing this post I found a recipe for vegan fish sauce on a site called The Kitchn.)

Continue Reading…

Radish and carrot salad

April 6, 2015
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I stumble upon this recipe while I was flipping through a beautiful cookbook at Barnes & Noble. I took a quick snapshot of the recipe but it doesn’t have the title of the book, so I have no idea now who to credit for this lovely and healthy recipe :( Continue Reading…

DIY chocolate bars

March 23, 2015

Maybe that’s what I should make for living. Good dark chocolate bars. Just like the crafty ones they make at Dick Taylor or Dandelion. Pure, dark, rich, slightly bitter and mildly sweet chocolate. Chocolate that is made with only two or three ingredients, cocoa and sugar. No soy lecithin, artificial flavors, or any other crap that industrial chocolate makers put in almost every chocolate bar on the market today, even in the fancy ones. I want to see more that pure chocolate that makes milk-chocolate people change their minds about dark chocolate. 

Lately I see more and more hand-crafted chocolate bars or organic pure dark bars. They are not cheap, but they are definitely worth their price (ranging from $4 to $12.)

Theo is a good chocolate brand that isn’t hand-crafted but is organic, fair trade, and relatively cheap ($4 for a 3 oz. bar) compared to the other bean-to-bar chocolates.
Continue Reading…

Earthy French lentil and mushroom soup

March 20, 2015
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Who makes soup when it’s eighty-something degrees out? I do. For some obscure reason I was craving soup. Luckily, the weather in Los Angeles gets much cooler in the evenings, so my guests didn’t think that something is wrong with me or with my culinary choices when I served it to them. 

I adapted this recipe from one of my favorites food blogs, Green Kitchen Stories. As much as I would’ve liked to make this soup with Chanterelle mushrooms, like in the Green Kitchen recipe, (a) I didn’t have any, and (b) the price here in Los Angeles for chanterelles is  $42 a pound! (In LA you can find them at the LA Funghi vendor at the farmers markets.) Continue Reading…

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