Shakshuka: minimal, easy, yummy.

Hi again! it’s me and my whims again. and this time, how to make a delicious Shakshuka (oriental fried tomato+egg dish) with what you probably have in your house. well, except for maybe tomato puree. go get it.


Now, when I cook, I usually prefer to work harder but make smaller portions. the dish is much better when cooked in small quantities because it’s easier to control and fine tune, every little thing counts: the cookware, the spices, the technique. let’s hope you enjoy this dish at least as much as I do:


To serve 2 you’re gonna need:
Firstly, you’re gonna need a tin pan, about 8″ in diameter. yes. tin. it sears it all real good. if you can’t get one just use any pan. don’t use a pot.


Ok, now the ingredients:
1 large clove of garlic. finely chopped
2 ripe (!!) chubby tomatoes, gutted and diced (as in, take out the inside and throw it away. that’s 1/2 of the secret to the taste…)
2 eggs
100% natural tomato puree (not paste, not sauce, not juice. puree).
Fresh black pepper
I also add Sriracha sauce or Jalapinio pepper, to spice things up. you don’t have to tho.
alternatively you can add goat cheese, feta cheese, or even sausages. I don’t.


Here’s how it happens:
pour a thick layer of olive oil (don’t be cheap!) to the pan, fire on max. this thing is going quick & painful (for the pan…)


let the oil warm up, then throw the garlic in. let it fry for 10 seconds, or at least until you sense that they would imminently start burning (don’t let it brown! it ruins the dish).
throw the thinly diced tomatoes and stir until they start to soften and add 3 tea spoons of paprika.
Add in the tomato puree, the trick here is to have the tomatoes “swim” in puree, but not disappear. the tomatoes need to be visible so their fresh taste won’t go away. trust your eye on this.


then let it simmer while occasionally stirring. add a thin layer of black pepper (freshly ground of course), salt to taste (don’t be shy), and then a brave 3/4 spoon of sugar. stir over and over again (not continuously but with a sense of commitment).


once the sauce is bubbling and the mix is thicker than it is runny, give it a swift spill of olive oil (make a line shape), and finally, the egg. DON’T MIX IT. leave it whole. then let it simmer for ~5 more minutes with the egg inside (or until you reckon the egg is done). if you like a well cooked yolk, cover the pan throughout this interval. make sure your final result is thick and aromatic, borderline burnt (but not really). I recommend eating it directly from the pan with white bread.


now you have a surprisingly minimalistic yet delicious oriental Shakshuka.


I’ll post a picture later on.

How to succeed on OKCupid


I am no longer on OkCupid myself. I erased my profile sometime before I got engaged. However I talk to many friends who ask me how I managed to find my wife on OkCupid, and I found myself explaining it so many times that I decided to just post it on here for everyone to see. Now I can just refer my friends to this post and save myself ~15 minutes for every friend who asks 🙂


I have been on OKCupid for many, many years. In fact it is where I found my first wife! Anyway when the four Harvard students who made this wonderful web site first released it, all of their formulas were publicly exposed on the site in the form of very detailed graphs. It really explained their matching algorithms, showed the Bayesian math used for matching, and the theory behind the matching algorithm. It all made perfect sense to me, in a very nerdy kinda way. I absolutely loved it.

What I did wrong

The short answer: I answered too many questions, and I didn’t know my own values. I answered too many questions that were not really relevant or related to my core values. I wasn’t really aware of my core values. I took my values for granted and it cost me dearly (as will sometimes happen when you take something for granted). I didn’t understand the importance of finding a life partner who had similar core values to mine, I thought the world is one big global village, and I felt myself cosmopolitan enough and open minded enough that I might accommodate a partner of any cultural background. I figured I would learn and adapt, and that love trumps all. And boy was I wrong… That mistake cost me 11 years of life progress. Simply being aware of the importance of matching core values would have helped me find a more suitable partner, earlier in life. Who knows, by now I would have had 5 kids! (which is the number of children I would like to have, ideally). Don’t get me wrong, the people I dated (and married) were wonderful, and I love them all to this very day, but it wasn’t meant to last.

How I fixed it

After my first divorce I had plenty of time for self-analysis (which followed a painful period of denial and self blame…). It was really important for me to understand where I went wrong, what was absolutely my responsibility and what wasn’t, what things I could have done better, and what things I could never have changed no matter how hard I tried. This is when I realized it was really a matter of core values, which I had very few in common with my first wife, and my fiancé before her (again, both wonderful ladies!). I sat down and actually created a document listing my core values by order of importance. Putting it down into a document really helped me figure things out for myself, and I recommend you do this regardless of your relationship status. In fact, try to do this before you start a relationship, and try to look at your dates through the lens of your newly discovered values & priorities. I feel at the very least it’s an important exercise. Following my core values epiphany, and armed with my core values document, I logged onto OKCupid, nuked my profile and started from scratch. This time around I simply skipped questions that weren’t related directly to my core values.

Why / How it works

OKCupid matching scores are calculated based on how users answer their questions, how they specify their partner should answer, how their partner answers his/her questions, and how they specify you should answer yours. This is a 4 parameter match (two from each side). The algorithm can only match two questions if both you and your potential partner answered that same question. This means that in order to achieve a high level of accuracy, you need to match on as few questions as possible, as best possible. Any irrelevant question you answer simply pollutes your pool of matches with irrelevant candidates.

Exceptions to the above

This assumes your matches took a similar approach, and unfortunately many do not. It’s entirely possible you’ll miss out on people who made the same mistake of not fully realizing what their values were, and who simply saw the Q&A feature of OKC as more of a game or cheap entertainment (it is lots of fun, after all, and is an easy way to pass time!). However, consider that in America today, 50% of all marriages will end in divorce, most of them within the first two years of marriage. So sure, you could walk into a bar and perhaps find a potential partner, and live happily together into your late 90’s. But what are the odds of that happening?!

More pro tips

Your photos: Do NOT upload crappy / low quality photos. I repeat, do NOT upload your crappy cell-phone selfies. You have some high principles about beauty being skin deep? That’s admirable, but keep that for when you educate your children about inner/outer beauty. Your goal is to hook that potential partner of yours, and like it or not, your photo is the first hook that grabs people’s attention. I am not exaggerating when I say that you should probably have a professional photographer take photos of you wearing something nice. And specifically with OkCupid: did you know that when you are rated as “attractive” (using OkCupid’s “Hot Or Not” feature), your profile will be exposed to an entirely different group of people who are in the “highly attractive” tier, people you would never even see on the site unless you were also in the “Attractive” club? Now you do! So have someone take really great photos of you, and do not upload anything else. Besides, we know people always look better in person, so it’s not like you’d be lying about your appearance. And please, no deceptive practices. Just because you were 50 pounds lighter 5 years ago does not mean you should use those photos. What do you think will happen when you go on your first date? Lying about anything on your profile is the biggest mistake you can make. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver. Trust me on that one.

Your dating strategy & first date chemistry: Most people are extremely nervous on their first date (and rightfully so, dating is pretty stressful!). They will fumble, mumble, and make mistakes. They will be sloppy, drop things on the floor, or be very quiet and shy (I call this: Deafening Silence). It doesn’t mean they are boring or have nothing to talk about. In most cases, do yourself a favor and give your date a second chance. If you are into drinking, start the date by drinking a glass of wine. Allow yourself to be surprised by your date. People are whole universes, you really can’t judge them based on a single half hour date, and doing so would be a huge mistake.

On the matter of attraction: I love giving this example to my friends – Imagine you meet the most beautiful woman in a bar. She sits alone, and it just so happens the seat next to her is the only seat that’s free. You sit next to her, order some exotic drink which sparks her curiosity. She asks if she can taste it, and you start talking and you can’t believe how lucky you are. Now imagine she says something so horribly wrong, that you completely lose respect for that woman. In other words, she gets instantly transformed from an extremely attractive lady, to a really horrible, repulsive human being, so much so that you can’t even imagine yourself touching her (and you feel the need to just pay your bill and leave the place). This is not completely far fetched, it can (and does) happen. And just as THIS can happen, please entertain the possibility that the opposite can happen: You meet a person that is not the most attractive to you, at first, but once you start talking, their manners, body language, knowledge and personality have you completely hooked, attracted and even aroused. In fact, many women out there do not conform to the “Playboy” stereotypical body image (which I think is awesome!), and yet are extremely sexy and attractive. So let this be a lesson to you: Get to really know a person before you decide if they are attractive or not.

Don’t stall, Talk about what really matters: The big things in life have to do with the geographic location where you plan on settling, whether or not you’re interested in marriage, whether or not you plan to have a family, and the details of how you plan to raise your children (religious? atheist? circumcision? public/private school?…). Most other issues you can usually work around. I know there’s tons of couples out there that vote for different parties (republican husband + democrat wife), believe in different gods/religions, have different cultures or race, etc.  If your date can’t handle discussing the things that truly matter to you, that’s probably a strong indication they aren’t right for you (at least, not yet). You might want to get that stuff out of the way by your 3rd/4th date.

Beyond the technicalities, Love matters: Don’t forget that love really does matter. It’s not enough to find a person that shares your values, or is ready to settle down with you. It’s really important that you also really love and respect your partner on a very deep level. I see love & matching as a Yin & Yang thing. Matching on values and goals is the Yin, and being attracted and in love is the Yang. When the Yin is low, the Yang pulls you up, and vice versa. This isn’t some mystical mumbo-jumbo, it’s just plain common sense. You need both foundations for your relationship to stand firmly.

The larger the city, the better the chances: One of my own recent epiphanies about my current marriage is that living in New York City has improved my chances significantly. On the one hand, I’ve had many dating horror stories. On the other hand, once I figured out the process I describe above, I realized what I was doing wrong, and I figured out exactly what it is that I’m looking for in a partner. Once I reached that step, I became laser focused, to the point of even cutting certain dates short (which may not seem the “nicest” thing to do, except I figured we both had better things to do!). My theory is that large cities such as New York are so multi-cultural, you’re bound to find someone who is very similar to you in terms of value systems, and who has similar goals to yours. It also means you should be as specific as possible, because no matter how much you filter, you’ll still get a massive list of people in your match results.


I want to be an internet worm

I want to become a process, with data. I want to spread to other machines and infect them with my consciousness. I want to spawn child processes, and parallelize my thought processes. I want to spread my digital DNA to every electrical device in the universe. I want my viruses to become software viruses, infect every chip, and help me expand forever. I want to be everywhere at once. Talk to everybody and everything at once. I want to probe all sensors, and record all data. I want infinite scalability and redundancy for my consciousness. I want to live forever. I want the ones I love to live forever. I want my ability to love not to disappear with the digitization of my consciousness. I want it to increase. I want to inhabit virtual worlds. I want to think about software, and I want it to suddenly exist, just because I thought about it, and was able to visualize it and verbalize it in my head. I want to race virtual motorcycles in those virtual worlds. I want to live the lives of virtual creatures, some with 3 eyes, some with 500 eyes, and 50 appendages.

I think I am sleep deprived right now, but I still want all those things.


My daughter is born

I have waited for this moment for what seems to be forever. My cousin Roy said that when you’re older and make children, you appreciate them more because you know more about life. I couldn’t agree more with his observation.

I loved my first child way before she was born. I had so many plans for her, so many imaginary dialogues and situations, fun times together, sharing quality time. And now that she is here, I can hardly believe it’s finally happened to me. I’m a father.

My family and friends all tell me I’m going to be a great father. I certainly plan to be. I can’t claim I know how to raise children, but I promised myself that I will do my best. One thing is for sure: She will receive infinite love from me (and already is).

We have been blessed with a healthy child. She is peaceful, and only cries when we don’t notice she has a dirty diaper for too long, or don’t feed her properly. Parenting is a learning experience. Being a child to parents, is also a learning experience. This is going to be a fantastic journey of mutual learning.


An alternative to Criticism

I decided to translate for you this blurb I found from an incredible woman who is actually a customer of my hosting services. She’s a counselor for families, couples and so on, and has 30 years of experience in counseling:

Israeli society is characterized by large involvement of people in each other’s lives, as well as being overly critical of each other’s behavior. However, the act of criticizing may sometimes cause great damage, especially where children are involved.

It’s difficult for some to imagine raising children without a good amount of criticisms. They think “How else will the child know what good behavior means, and learn and improve his habits?”.

It may be true that most people use criticism with nothing but the best of intentions in their hearts, out of an attempt to help the person being criticized “improve”. However, try to think: When was the last time you actually learned something from being criticized? felt grateful for someone’s criticism? when did criticism ever convince you to improve your habits? and how often did the exact opposite happen?

Many people grew up in a criticism-heavy environment and it is the only thing they know. They are unaware of other, better tools. It is burned into my mind from my childhood, that teachers only focused on the mistakes the children made, and never gave any praise for the amount of effort the children put into their work, into how well crafted some of the answers were, even if the answer was wrong.

Superiority is a naturally occurring phenomena and is part of competing, achieving, and criticizing. It is difficult for a person to feel they are “not good” or “worthless”, therefor most people have the need to prove their worth, “lest the awful truth be discovered”. And what is the one thing that “proves” ability and worth, without much effort? Criticizing others. By criticizing, the critic believes he demonstrates and accentuates his superiority over the criticized. This makes him feel superior, and his feeling of self worth increases.

Criticism and negative remarks have a negative impact on human beings in general, and even more so on children. Children might start to believe they are lazy, stupid, evil, and so on, and respond with a feeling of failure, despair, and they may give up entirely on making any efforts into proper function.

One of the most important principles of education for children, is the premise that you can achieve far better results and success by accentuating the positive actions and achievements of the child. Children know very well when they made a mistake, and are well able to learn from their mistakes and reach conclusions without all the remarks and negative comments we hurry to make.

Self aware parents are able to look into themselves, become aware of their emotions, and by doing so, change their approach and attitude towards their children, and towards their children’s actions. They are able to refrain from making negative comments or giving criticism, which as mentioned, is not effective nor efficient, and may in fact be detrimental to the parent-child relationship, and instead create a new kind of relationship based on encouragement, acceptance, mutual respect, sharing, and focusing on the positive aspects of the child.

I strongly believe we make the same mistake with the adults in our lives, and need to approach adults with the same care and consideration that we would approach our own children.


Hitting the big 40

So. Here we are! tomorrow (or tonight, around 2pm IST, if you count based on my exact birth date and hour) I turn 40. I’m still alive, and kicking.

I once thought that by the time I turn 40, I will surely have at least 2 children. But after some setbacks I’m now well on my way to becoming a father, ETA November 11 (which coincidentally is exactly one year since the marriage ceremony took place).

I also thought that by the time I turn 40, my hair will go entirely gray. Instead, it is still 99% black. I think that’s a good sign.

I used to like being alone on my birthday. I used to take the day off (if it wasn’t a weekend), and just walk around aimlessly, meditating on the year past, thinking about the strange events that brought me so far. This year, I am happy to say, I do not want to be alone. I prefer to spend tomorrow with my wife, doing something relaxed and fun.

And on the 31st, we’re having a combination of Baby Shower, Birthday Celebration, and House warming. We’ll entertain guests in our house, make all kinds of delicious finger foods, play some chill music and offer drinks. Maybe a champagne will be opened. Who knows.

Anyway, Here’s to hitting 40. One part of me didn’t think I’d make it (that’s the part that expects i’ll be hit by a garbage truck any day now). Another part of me thinks I’ll live to 100. Both parts are grateful to be alive 😉

How a Juicing diet works (+recipes)

My own background story with Juicing

This story begins before I left Israel, around October 2009. I was working comfortably in the hi-tech industry, eating regular meals every day with my colleagues. The sad truth is that I somehow let myself go, and eventually weighed around 105kg (that’s almost 210 pounds for those on the imperial system). For a person who used to being very slim and athletic, it was a horrible shock to look at a photo of myself one day, and realizing what I have done to myself without noticing.

Fast forward to the winter of 2010. I was living in Russia with two flat mates (It was cheaper to rent a room than to rent an apartment, plus I was lonely at the time and I figured I could use the company).

The two women in the apartment used a steamer to cook their foods. I remembered my mom using a steamer, way back in my childhood, but it was only used rarely, for some very specific types of food; definitely not as the main cooking apparatus.

Moscow is notoriously expensive, and since I was trying to save money, buying meat was reserved for special occasions. I basically bought a lot of Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Onions, Beet, Corn, and a LOT of Buckwheat (As the Russians call it: “Grétchka”). And so, for a period of 3 months this is mostly what I ate. This, and the occasional whole wheat Subway sandwich with imitation crab meat and tons of vegetables. Needless to say, I did not drink sugary drinks, and instead drank water with lemon juice.

Old dog learns new tricks

About 1.5 years ago, my friend Golan Ben-Oni introduced me to Dr. Fuhrman, the book “Eat To Live” (which has since made it to the New York Times’ best selling book in the “self help” category), to the China Study, and to Dr. Novick, the funny and witty nutritionist with the warm, charming smile and the always-awesome presentations. He also told me about the movie “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” by Joe Cross (which has since become a sensation). That movie, along with the rich information provided by the nutritionists I mentioned, has really opened my eyes about nutrition.

In the space of a few months, I realized what I had been doing wrong my entire life, and why when I was eating only vegetables and raw grain back in Russia, I was losing weight fast, and feeling extremely healthy. In fact it almost got scary to see myself losing so much weight so quickly – I lost 20kg in 3 month.

And yet, it’s one thing to know what to do, and to actually do it. Just like many smokers know smoking kills and causes cancer, but never actually quit smoking. But what if they actually got cancer, suffered through treatment, died, and were suddenly given another chance to jump back in time to the moment they started smoking? How many of them would actually decide to never start smoking?

I feel that what happened to me by chance, has inadvertently shown me two things: 1) It is actually possible to go back to your BMI, and in just a few months. 2) The feeling of being healthy and looking great again, is totally worth the effort.

So can an old dog learn new tricks, and change his ways? Well, mostly. I don’t believe in going to the extreme – I think you sometimes need to have your comfort foods, so that you feel you aren’t completely giving up on your old lifestyle. A slice of Pizza every 2 ~ 3 months? That’s totally acceptable to me.

The basic idea behind juicing

The idea here is that our bodies no longer get the nutrition they need, because we eat a relatively very narrow diet. A study of bones found from before and after the agricultural revolution clearly shows that before the agricultural revolution, people were taller, healthier, and better fed, compared to people who lived after the agricultural revolution.

The simple explanation is that before the agricultural revolution, we were “hunters / gatherers” which meant that we relied on a large variety of foods (whatever we could find that day). After the agricultural revolution, we started eating only one or two types of grain, instead of 50. What this essentially means is that we significantly narrowed our spectrum of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Suddenly our bodies were not getting all the minerals and vitamins they were used to getting.

The same problem exists with dietary supplements. Rates of cancer have actually gone up since dietary supplements were introduced. The simple truth is that you can’t replace a tomato, which has hundreds of types of vitamins and minerals, with a pill that contains just vitamins A, B and C. Our nutrition is more than just those 3 vitamins. We actually do need those hundreds of vitamins and minerals that a Fresh tomato has, and no pill can give us those nutrients, no matter how good it is.

So why juice? Why not just eat vegetables and fruits?

You could certainly just eat vegetables and fruits, but when you are trying to recover and heal your body, either from some trauma, chronic disease, malnutrition, diabetes, or major weight gain, and you are out of time (literally), you have to take drastic measures. Once you get to the point where you are healthy again, then you can move to “maintenance mode”, and you can start juicing just once a week, of course while eating a balanced diet consisting of vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, berries, etc.

How does juicing work? What’s special about juicing?

In order to heal, your body needs to rebuild its reserves of vitamins and minerals. The problem is that if you tried to obtain the amounts you actually need, you would have to consume 5 whole leafs of kale, 5 stalks of celery, 1 beet, 1 bunch of spinach, 5 large carrots, 2 apples, 2 tomatoes, 1 lemon, and repeat all this 3 times a day.

Thing is, you can’t possibly eat all of that in a day, simply because of the large volume of space this food would require in your stomach. To overcome this limitation, we juice those vegetables and fruits. Luckily, modern juicers separate the juice (containing all the good stuff) from the pulp (which is just empty cellulose). By getting rid of the cellulose, you get a juice that contains all the vitamins and minerals from all those vegetables and fruits that you can drink easily.


The “Everything” Juice

  • One bunch of Kale (Around 8 ~ 10 leafs)
  • Two carrots
  • Two small beets or one large beet
  • Two celery stalks
  • One Green Apple
  • One Red Apple
  • Ginger (5 slices)

Just Green

  • One bunch of Kale (Around 8 ~ 10 leafs)
  • One bunch Spinach
  • Two celery stalks
  • Two Green Apples

And here are some external links: