The picture you see is of one of my Ukrainian ancestors, Avrum Copilove (spelled Kopelov by Golde Meir in her autobiography, My Life). He was the father of Yussel ("Yossel"): my dad's uncle, named as a "friend" and a "most extraordinary young man from Chicago" in Meir's book. We in the family know that they had been engaged, but since he wanted kids and she didn't, she married Morris Meyerson instead. However, they all stayed friends and my grandmother even flew on El Al with Golde Meir in her private compartment after she had been prime minister. I know that the Ukraine -(and Russian) Israeli connection is strong.
I include Russia, today's politics notwithstanding, because in those days, it was the era of the Tzar. Tzar Nicholas II was the Tzar of "All the Russias". I once met the Princess Obolensky at the Russian Embassy. We had a little conversation, during which I noted that I would have been her subject if things turned out, well, differently . . . after which she asked, "Tamar, did anyone ever tell you that you're quite the character?"
I was recently in Israel. I struck up a conversation with a Russian music journalist, showing him a photo I had of water from one of my ancestor's birthplace: Mirgorodskaya. He noted gruffly that it was Ukrainian and moved to turn away, but I wouldn't let him! We talked of water and music and Israel and food. Food is an important instrument of diplomacy and always has been!
Now, it must be said that most of my meals in Israel were under large press group circumstances; things were made in mass quantities.
I have just learned about a restaurant in Tel Aviv, right near where I was staying. I wish I had known about it! I did patronize a couple of restaurants on my own in the area, which I shall be writing about in the near future. Here is information about Eden Bistro, located in the Eden House boutique hotel.
Eden Bistro, located in the Eden Boutique Hotel, is one of Tel Aviv's newest and most highly rated restaurants, offering innovative Eastern European cuisine with an Israeli flare, and perfectly positioned just an arm's reach from the Carmel outdoor food market and Mediterranean Sea.
In celebration of Tel Aviv's buzzing summer months, Eden Bistro has offered a quick and easy recipe for "Sweet & Sour Cherry Vareniki," a coveted dish popular in Russia and Ukraine, straight from the family cookbooks of Eden Bistro owners Sergey Solovyov and Michael Ustinov.
Sweet & Sour Cherry Vareniki (yields 100)
1 teaspoon salt
17 ounce flour
1.5 lb sour cherries
1/2 cup dry red wine
Dash of cinnamon
Vanilla ice cream
- Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil, and add one teaspoon of salt. Slowly mix in 5.6 ounces of flour and add additional 2 cup water at room temperature. Add two eggs, one by one, while slowly adding an additional 11.4 ounces of flour, stirring until all ingredients are soluble. Refrigerate for 40 minutes.
- Thoroughly wash sour cherries, removing all pits. Sift under water and gently press cherries, letting juices drip into a glass bowl. Add 3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar to the cherry liquid, and place under a low flame to create reduction. Add 1/2 cup dry red wine and a dash of cinnamon.
- Remove pastry from fridge, and use roller to flatten to approximately ½ inch each. Use small glass cup and press dough to create circular portions. Add a dash of brown sugar to the bowl of cherries, and place three cherries into the middle of each dumpling, and press all corners to contain ingredients. Boil dumplings in water for approximately two minutes each. Place three vareniki on each plate, and cover with crème fraîche, teaspoon of cherry sauce and vanilla ice cream.
ABOUT EDEN BOUTIQUE HOTEL
The Eden Hotel Group is a cultural hospitality brand founded in Tel-Aviv in 2009.
Eden Boutique Hotel is located in a meticulously preserved International architecture-style building dating back to the 1920's - and located just a short walk from Tel Aviv's Neve Tzedek neighborhood boasting fashion, art, culinary and cultural attractions, as well as the famed Carmel Market and vibrant beaches. The hotel's acclaimed Eden Bistro offers a gourmet dining experience unlike any other in Tel Aviv, combining French and Israeli-inspired culinary traditions with a modern Eastern European twist, with all ingredients sourced daily from the nearby market.