Archive | July, 2012

Caprese Salad

12 Jul

Theres a really nice market here in brooklyn called Union Market.

Union Market

They sell so many cheeses, fresh veggies, and organic food galore. I decided to make one a great classic – the caprese salad. My family eats this at so many of our events, and its so simple and so delicious and italian!

Do you want to impress your hubby when they get home? Make this salad, its like making dinner instantly fancy just because its so pretty.

Buon Appetit!

Caprese Salad

Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced in 1/2 inch thick pieces
Tomatoes, Sliced same as above
Fresh Basil Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
Balsamic Vinegar, for drizzling
Salt and Pepper

Slice the mozz cheese and tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick pieces. To make caprese salad, layer it as follows:

Bottom: Cheese
Middle: Tomato
Top: Basil

Drizzle the EVOO and Balsamic liberally. Salt and Pepper on top.

Enjoy!!! you can arrange them any way, and even put greens in the middle if you arrange the layers in a circle. Delish!


Creamy Whole Wheat Penne with Shrimp

12 Jul

My new kitchen:

no counter space

literally, my entire apartment is on a slant. sinking in the middle, and then up on both sides… the wonders of living in an old brooklyn house. woohoo!!

but honestly though, i love my new neighborhood and enjoy how close I am to NYC – slanting aside.

I wanted to make this Giada dish right before i left Florida, but because of the rush of us moving I decided to hold off – essentially this dish was supposed to be made with lobster but i skipped it (jobless girl problems) and just used shrimp.

pre-recipe tip: go for a run after eating all that bacon fat πŸ™‚

Creamy Whole Wheat Penne with Shrimp

Ingredients (serves 4-5)

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup clam juice (i used fish stock)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined


To start, prepare by chopping the fresh basil, making all the bacon, and chopping the garlic.

To make the bacon – in a large nonstick skillet, cook it over medium-high heat until brown and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels.

In the same skillet, add the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes (and juices), clam juice, cream, 1/2 cup basil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the lobster and bacon. Simmer until warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

*When the above half way done, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm to the bite, 10 to 12 minutes.

Pour the tomato mixture over the cooked pasta and toss until coated. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup basil and season with salt and pepper.

This recipe had rave reviews on her site, and the sauce actually seriously tastes so decadent. Don’t be intimidated by the long steps.. try it!


Sidenote: Sorry about the crappy camera shots. Im canonless after the Israeli mountain fall… sigh, rip canon ❀


12 Jul

I recently took a trip to Israel on Birthright. If anyone has not heard of what birthright is, its a free trip to Israel for jewish people to identify with, discover their roots, feel at home, and have an experience of spirituality.

The hidden messages behind birthright:
*Find a jewish spouse on the trip
*Meet hot israeli soldiers
*Become more religious (aka you come back, say you will, and never do)

with that being said though, what it really is ends up being this incredible journey in a foreign country where there are beautiful beautiful hikes, scenic views, and mystical cities. Its a feeling when you walk through that there is such history, and that you are in a special place. The hardest part of being there was the obvious political issues between the surrounding countries and territories like lebanon, egypt, and syria and not to mention gaza and the west bank – to fight for land they want to claim their own.

To keep it short, everyone thinks they were there first or that they deserve the land. Will the war ever end? I hope so.. but Israel is always going to be a place where jews will feel safe and at home and tourism is alive and well.

Birthright was a gift. They gave us 10 days of adventure with 30 other strangers your age. We laughed, we cried, we fell down, we lost weight, we gained weight, we ATE! This was my itinerary. I went with a wonderful group called Young Judaea.

Thursday, June 7 – Departure

6:30 am – Check in with YJ staff at JFK Int’l Airport 10:30 am – EL AL #LY004 – flight departs for Israel

Friday, June 8 – Welcome to Israel!

4:10 am – Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport
7:00 am – Opening session & Birthright rules at the airport
10:00 am – Opening Ceremony at Sovev Pisga – Sheheyanu & Hamotzi 12:00 pm – Lunch at Rosh Pina
3:00 pm – Kayaking in the Jordan River
6:59 pm – Kabalat Shabbat
8:00 pm – Dinner at Hotel
9:00 pm – Oneg Shabbat – Friday Evening Activity

Accommodations: Malkiya – Golan Heights

Saturday, June 9 – North

8:00 am – Breakfast
12:00 pm – Shabbat Services
1:00 pm – Lunch at Hotel
2:00 pm – Tour the Kibbutz
4:00 pm – Group Program
5:30 pm – Third meal for Shabbat
8:11 pm – Havdallah – Start of New Week Ceremony 9:00 pm – Dinner on own at Rosh Pina

Accommodations: Malkiya – Golan Heights

Sunday, June 10 – Golan Heights

7:00 am – Breakfast
8:30 am – Nachal Jilaboun – Canyon hike
12:00 pm – Mt. Bental – Border Observation – Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon
1:00 pm – Lunch in Katzrin
3:30 pm – Golan Winery – Tasting & Tour
5:00 pm – Golan Heights Olive Oil Press
7:00 pm – Dinner at Hotel
8:00 pm – Group program – Israeli movie

Accommodations: Malkiya – Golan Heights

Monday, June 11 – Tzfat

7:00 am – Breakfast & Check out
8:30 am – Tour of Tzfat – Home of Jewish Mysticism
11:00 am – Avraham Leventhal – Session with a Kaballah artist 12:00 pm – Lunch in Tzfat
3:30 pm – Volunteering & Co-Existence program in Lod
6:00 pm – Dinner at Hotel
9:00 pm – Night out in Tel Aviv

Accommodations: Golden Beach – Tel Aviv

Tuesday, June 12 – Tel Aviv

7:00 am – Breakfast & Check out
8:00 am – Tour Jaffa
9:00 am – Jaffa Flea Market
10:00 am – Neve Tzedek – walking tour of historic neighborhood 11:30 am – Rubin Museum

12:30 pm – Lunch and Free time on Shenkin Street
2:30 pm – Tour Rothschild Avenue – Bauhaus Architecture in Tel Aviv
3:30 pm – Yitzchak Rabin Square – Memorial of Murdered Israeli Prime Minister 8:00 pm – Bedouin hospitality / dinner & bonfire

Accommodations: Chan HaShayarot – Negev

Wednesday, June 13 – Negev

7:00 am – Breakfast & Check out
8:30 am – Camel trekking!
9:00 am – Nahal Havarim & Ein Ovdat – Desert Canyon hike
11:30 pm – Welcome Israeli Participants
12:00 pm – Sde Boker – Grave of Ben Gurion – The First Israeli Prime Minister 2:00 pm – Lunch at Shvil Hasalat
3:00 pm – Shvil Hasalat – Israeli Agriculture Innovations
7:00 pm – Dinner at Hotel
8:00 pm – Group Program

Accommodations: Rabin Youth Hostel – Arad

Thursday, June 14 – Masada & Dead Sea

7:00 am – Breakfast & Check out
8:00 am – Masada via Roman Ramp
12:00 pm – The Dead Sea – Relaxation & lunch at Ein Gedi Spa
4:00 pm – Mount Scopus – Observation of Jerusalem
5:00 pm – Tasting tour of Machane Yehuda – colorful Jerusalem marketplace 7:30 pm – Dinner at Hotel
8:30 pm – Yishai Goldflam – workshop ‘Israeli Society Through Cinema’
9:30 pm – Preparation for Yad Vashem – Holocaust Museum

Accommodations: Leonardo Inn – Jerusalem

Friday, June 15 – Jerusalem

7:00 am – Breakfast
9:00 am – Yad Vashem – Holocaust Memorial Museum 1:00 pm – Lunch at Beit Hakerem
2:00 pm – Mt. Herzl – National Memorial Cemetery 4:30 pm – Preparation for Shabbat at Hotel
5:45 pm – Drive to Western Wall
6:56 pm – Kabbalat Shabbat in the Old City
7:00 pm – Walk back to hotel
8:00 pm – Dinner at Hotel
9:00 pm – Oneg Shabbat – Friday Evening Activity

Accommodations: Leonardo Inn – Jerusalem

Saturday, June 16 – Jerusalem

8:00 am – Breakfast
11:00 am – Political Seminar with Neil Lazarus – Situation Today in Israel 1:00 pm – Lunch at Hotel
5:00 pm – Tour of The Old City of Jerusalem
600 pm – Roof Overview in The Old City of Jerusalem
5:30 pm – Third meal for Shabbat
8:29 pm – Havdallah – Start of New Week Ceremony
9:00 pm – Dinner on Ben Yehuda Street – Pedestrian Shopping Mall

Sunday, June 17 – Jerusalem & Departure

7:00 am – Breakfast & Checkout
8:00 am – Security Fence Tour
10:00 am – The Time Elevator – Interactive Journey Through Israel’s History 12:00 pm – Lunch in Ben Yehuda Street – Pedestrian Shopping Mall
1:00 pm –Closing Session in Beit Ar-El [Young Judaea Campus]
3:00 pm – Drive to Ben Gurion Airport for return flight
4:00 pm – Farewell to Israeli Soldiers
7:15 pm – EL AL #LY009 Flight back to JFK

Monday, June 18 – Arrival back to US!

12:20 am – Arrival in JFK Int’l Airport (local time)

Shawarma in Tel-Aviv… MMMM

Me on a camel in the Negev Desert.. for real!

Floating in the dead sea

Me at the Western Wall during Shabbat

Our group in Jaffa

Hiking in the North – Jilaboun Mountain

Such an amazing journey to do right in my transition between moving from Florida to NY. So happy I can share it with you guys!