It all started one regular Wednesday, Danya and I were working together on a magazine photo shoot, but there was a breeze of excitement in the air. From the photo shoot, we were scheduled to start our journey to the very North of Israel, as the first location for our “Four Corners of Israel” project in collaboration with Yotvata. I had no idea where we were going. Danya had made all of the arrangements while I was in Greece and all I knew that A. it was really far and B. our destination was a berry picking orchard.
Three and a half hours later, and just a skip away from the Syrian border, we arrived to a place called Odem that was so much more than I could’ve ever imagined. This was no ordinary berry picking orchard, but the kind of place that you imagine to be a little bit what heaven looks like.
Boaz, one of the owners of farm took us on a tour which coincidentally took place during the most beautiful hour-the golden hour. Walking through the fields of the masses of blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, Danya and I looked at each other with that look that says it all, “are we dreaming?”.
We spent the night in a beautiful cabin and woke up the next morning to an almost silent breakfast on the balcony, over the looking the nearby mountains. We prepared our dishes and went off to the orchard to pick the perfect location for our picnic. With so many beautiful spots it was hard to settle on one, but we got situated and invited some of the locals to join us.
Artichoke and Lemon Zest Baked Pasta
If you have pasta, cream and eggs in your fridge, you can go wild with this recipe. We decided to go for a light summery mixture of artichokes and lemon zest, but the combinations are endless- think of mushrooms and leek, sundried tomatoes and olive, zucchini and squash..etc. If you are not into the individual servings you can bake this in a regular baking pan and serve just as you would mac and cheese.
Ingredients for about 30 individual servings:
1 pound/500 grams short-cut pasta
2 cups light cream (Yotvata 15%)
7 oz./200 grams grated cheese such as mozzarella or provolone
5 oz./150 grams fresh ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1½ cups preserved artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
5 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3.5 oz/100 grams grated parmesan
- Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente (a little undercooked is much better here than over). Strain water and keep aside for later use.
- In a large bowl mix together the cream, eggs, grated cheese, ricotta, lemon zest, artichoke hearts, cayenne pepper (if using), sage, salt and pepper. Stir until mixture is well combined.
- Add the cooked pasta to the mixture and stir until pasta is incorporated.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
- Evenly divide pasta mixture into a muffin tin lined with baking cups. Top each cup with grated parmesan.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Raspberry Rose Cookies
These cookies are the kind you find in many grandmothers kitchens here in Israel, and are called rose cookies due to their swirly shape. The original recipe calls for margarine and sour cream with a plain vanilla filling. We modernized these old school treats by replacing the margarine with butter and the sour cream with a dash of whipping cream. We added fresh raspberries to these sweet cookies, which gave them just the right balance of sweet and tart.
Tips before getting started:
- The best way to make this dough is by using a food processor. If you don’t have one at home you can totally make this dough by hand, just make sure not to overwork the dough, as it will affect the crispness of the cookies.
- There is no sugar in the dough, and that is not by mistake. The filling is sweet enough that the neutrality of the dough works just right.
- When spreading the filling onto the dough, things can get messy. We like messy cookies. Don’t worry if the fillings comes out from the sides, the more filling the merrier.
Ingredients for about 45 cookies:
For the dough:
3 cups + 2 tablespoons flour
5 oz./150 grams butter, cold
1 cup heavy whipping cream (Yotvata 38%)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
2 eggs whites
⅔ cup sugar
2 heaping tablespoons instant vanilla pudding
1 cup fresh raspberries, slightly mashed with fork
- Using a food processor, combine the flour and butter and pulse about 10 times. Slowly add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and continue pulsing until combined.
- Place dough on a clean work surface and very slightly work the dough until a ball of dough is formed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Make the filling: using a mixer, whisk the egg whites and sugar until firm. Fold in the vanilla pudding and raspberries until just combined.
- Preheat oven to 300ºF/150ºC.
- Remove dough from the refrigerator and divide into two equal parts. Roll out one part to ⅛-inch/3 millimeters thick. Spread half of the filling over the dough and carefully roll lengthwise until a log is formed. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into ½-inch/1½-cm. slices. Repeat with second piece of dough.
- Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and back for 25-30 minutes until slightly golden.
The Eton Mess is a very traditional English dessert which has its roots back to Eton college in the 19th century. In its traditional form, this dessert is served with strawberries, merengue and cream, and gets its name from its, yes, you guessed it, messy appearance. We interpreted this dessert to be one of those freestyle desserts- where you can really put anything you want into it- you can replace the butter cookies with chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, etc. You can make the ganache with dark chocolate or milk chocolate, and you can replace the berries, with any fruit- like a perfect summer peach or nectarine. We really liked the idea of preparing these ahead of time in individual jars (with lids!) and bringing them in a cooler to our picnic.
Ingredients for 8-10 servings:
For the white chocolate whipped ganache:
1 cup heavy whipping cream (Yotvata 38%)
7 oz./200 grams white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 vanilla bean (seeds extracted) or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the butter cookies:
4 oz./125 grams butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
200 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons cold water
1 egg, whisked
2 cups fresh berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
- Prepare the ganache: in a small saucepan, heat the cream until just boiling and then remove from heat. Add the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and there are no lumps. Allow to cool to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Remove ganache from the refrigerator and using a mixer, whisk the ganache until fluffy and soft in texture (about 2-3 minutes). Cover and refrigerate until using.
- Prepare the cookies: place the butter, powdered sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract in a large bowl and use your fingers to combine the ingredients until crumbs are formed.
- Add the water and egg and mix until dough is formed. Divide the dough evenly into two and roll each piece into a 1-inch diameter log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Remove dough logs from the fridge, remove plastic wrap and slice the logs into ⅛-inch/½-cm. thick slices.
- Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes, until slightly golden.
- Prepare the Eton Mess: in a glass cup or jar, place one tablespoon of the whipped ganache and top with crumbled cookies. Cover the cookies with the fresh berries and continue until the cup is about full.
*Before you run out to get all of the ingredients to make these dishes, check out Yotvata’s website, where you can print coupons for their products. Available only to residents of Israel.
*This post was done in collaboration with Yotvata Diary. All recipes, photos and ideas are our own. We appreciate your support for this type collaboration which allows us to create new and special content like this for Matkonation.