We got home last night from our month-long trip to Italy and Israel. It was an exhausting 24 hours of travel but everyone held up well, and it was a joy to see Sarina’s Dad waiting for us at the Seattle airport, ready to scoop our bleary little traveling family up into the minivan and home to bed. Her folks had thoughtfully made egg salad and picked up groceries for us, and Noni Sophie, Sarina’s grandmother on her Mom’s side, had sent along a beautiful package of Sephardic goodies to tide us over. You can see them in the picture above: burekas (the crescent shaped ones with a flaky dough), pumpkin filas (the triangles on the right), sweet rolls for Rosh Hashanah at the top, and the king of all savory pastries, the bulemas at the bottom.
Bulemas are filled with a mixture of feta and spinach, coiled up like snails, topped with grated romano, and sort of bake-fried. The dough is made lean initially but then you use a lot of oil as you shape them and more on the pan, so it ends up becoming very crispy and delicious. I have a tape of raw video of Noni Sophie teaching us how to make them. Some day I’ll edit it down and give you all a video recipe.
So you can see we had a warm welcome and I feel very grateful to come back to such a wonderful family. I think the best trips both make you appreciate other cultures and leave you happy to be back home.
We went shopping at Whole Foods today to restock the house, and it was a definite culture shock. After a month of walking around incredible street markets with small individual purveyors, it was somewhat disturbing to be in a corporate behemoth.
I’ve got a few more posts to do about Israel and quite a few about Italy, some new cookbooks, and lots of recipe ideas to try, plus I’m getting ready to nail down my cooking internship for the next few months, so stay tuned – much blogging is about to ensue!