| A Heaping Scoop |

A Heaping Scoop: Cheese in Israel

In a Nutshell:

Iced Mocha

Level up your iced coffee by making it an iced mocha! Make a mixture of a spoonful of cocoa powder, a spoonful of sugar or sweetener, and just enough hot water to bring it together to form a paste. Add this to your coffee, stir, and enjoy!

—Miriam (Pascal) Cohen

FT, help me!!

Thanks for a mouthwatering read each week, and for the recipes that actually get tested and enjoyed!

My question is about cream cheese in Israel. We have two options: the gevinat shamenet sold in stores or the sour cream-drained-overnight hack. But which type of cream cheese are these options equivalent to? Block? Whipped? Unwhipped? You recently wrote that when you write cream cheese, you mean the J&J Cream Cheese blocks. What would the equivalent be in Israel?

Looking forward to having this kitchen conundrum resolved!

C. Gold

There really is no equivalent to whipped cream cheese in Israel. Even the spreadable cream cheese (gevinat shamenet) is not as aerated as the one in the US. It is a good stand-in, though. The sour cream drained overnight is more like a spreadable cream cheese, but again, it’s not as fluffy as the American variety.

I would say the drained sour cream and gevinat shamenet are closest to unwhipped cream cheese. Gevinat shamenet is slightly akin to the block, depending on the fat content (the higher the fat, the “looser” it is). However, I use gevinat shamenet, and sometimes even drained 5% quark cheese, in cheesecakes, babkas, etc., with excellent results.

P.S. The drained sour cream hack is as follows: Combine 3 Israeli sour creams with 1 level tsp of salt. Mix well and pour into a cloth, or better yet into the corner of a white pillowcase, and hang over the sink overnight. All the liquid drips out, and you’re left with, ta da, “cream cheese”!

—Brynie Greisman

Kitchen Fave

I recently added a PowerXL smokeless grill to my grill collection. My family really enjoys how it cooks evenly, and it cleans so well! Definitely something useful to take along when traveling.

—Rivky Kleiman

Let’s Clarify — Updated

When we list certain ingredients in a recipe, we assume you know what we mean. Here are our readers’ requests for more clarification on certain ingredients.

When a recipe calls for mustard, we mean prepared mustard. (If it doesn’t specify what kind of mustard, you can use whatever variety you like, but keep in mind the flavor differences in each.) If we mean ground mustard or powdered mustard, we’ll specify.

When a recipe calls for butter, we mean unsalted.

When we say vanilla, we always mean pure vanilla extract. If we mean vanilla sugar, we’ll specify.

When a recipe calls for vanilla pudding mix, we mean instant vanilla pudding powder. (If we mean ready-made vanilla pudding, we’ll always specify.)

Most underrated snack?

Stacy’s pita chips.

—Chanie Nayman


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 854)

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