I realize I have been MIA since Purim, but the last month was a long series of crappy happenstance that ate up most of my free time. Oddly, one of the last of the series, the evening before Pesach began, was my inspiration for today’s post. I was driving in the Mission, headed over for a Troika dinner meeting when, in my haste to find a parking space, I crashed my car into an Indian food delivery truck. Anyone who knows me, knows how deeply attached to my car I am, so after assurances that no one was hurt, the sadness of my broken car set in. Despite this, following the insurance fun and the bungee cording of my car’s bumper into a drivable arrangement, we managed to resume the evening plans. My fellow Troika members, Sarah and Megan, consoled my wounded ego with assurances that I was a decent driver and fed me chametz in the form of Israeli couscous. It was amazingly delicious, both warm the night before and again cold for lunch the next day.
With Passover behind us and with Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, coming up next Tues, a little Israeli chametz, seemed like a good way to come back. Israeli couscous, or ptitim, was invented by the Osem food company to serve as a substitute for rice during the years following the founding of Israel, when rice was in short supply. It is wheat based and has grown significantly in popularity in the US in recent years, and can now be found in most US grocery stores.
Its amazing adaptability, also gave me the opportunity to play Ready Steady Cook. I had some bell peppers that needed to be used, as well as some cherry tomatoes that I bought believing they were an orange breed, but it turns out they were just really under-ripe and flavorless. The best way to rescue bad tomatoes is to roast them with a little olive oil and salt, so into the oven they went. I figured as long as I was turning on the oven I may as well roast the bell peppers too. Digging through my kitchen I discovered a small bag of pine nuts left from pesto making in September, a shallot in its last moments, and way in the back of my fridge, my long-neglected jar of preserved meyer lemons, that I put up last year. I threw these things together with a block of feta and I had dinner.