Complaining with Nili is the best: you can complain about work, about your colleagues, your annoying boss, your avocado toast and even mayonnaise. Yes, mayonnaise! Crying with Nili is as good as it gets: you can cry about your life crises, about loss and the patients who came through the ER and left their mark. Laughing with Nili is outrageous: laughing about everything – even in the darkest of moments she finds the laughter and the laughter finds her.
Nili or ‘Nilush’ as everyone loves to call her was born and raised in kibbutz Nir-Oz. She left the kibbutz to discover the ‘big world’ and after 5 years, longing for home, she returned. Today Nili lives in Nir-Oz with her dog Nechi, who is her entire universe.
Nili wears many hats: she is a pediatric ER nurse, she teaches at the school of Nursing at the University and mentors students at the hospital. She loves her kibbutz and especially loves the food from the dining room, so it’s no surprise to see Nili walking into the ER with bags filled with food packed from home. That’s Nili, always ready for anything, whether a moment of hunger or just a simple craving.
Nili’s always cold and comes to work in the winter with layers of clothes under her uniform – a long sleeve shirt, doubles up on tights, three pairs of socks and a hoodie to keep her head warm. Because she is always prepared, Nili is the best at getting organized for a trip, which she goes on at any given opportunity. She takes charge of the trip, airfare, hotels, local attractions and all the small details which are usually forgotten. When Nili’s around you can rest assured you’ll be well taken care of.
Nili loves listening to Idan Amedi, and maybe looking at him too, so much that she organized an impromptu group from the hospital to go to Idan’s concert. With that trip, she helped forge beautiful connections, friendships that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. She also loves listening to Asaf Avidan, and connects to his meaningful lyrics. Nili loves live shows, and recently went to Asaf’s concert in Shoony Hall, which she was particularly excited about.
Nili adores her three nephews, when she is with them she is totally theirs. The four of them even enjoyed a fun trip abroad, a perfect vacation organized by no other than Auntie Nili herself.
Nili will do anything for a good cup of coffee, a rich chocolate cake and/or cheesecake. She recently completed her thesis for her masters although an equal challenge for her is making a cake that unites her love of cheese and chocolate cake.
Nili was kidnapped from her home in Nir-Oz by Hamas. After 55 days in captivity, she returned.
Ingredients for Chocolate Cheesecake
For the crust:
- 12.4 oz (350 grams) Oreo cookies
- 3 oz (85 grams) butter melted
For the cake:
- 1.5 lbs (700 grams) cream cheese
- 7 oz (200 grams) sweet cream
- 5.3 oz (150 grams) Sugar
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 eggs
- 9.2 oz (260 grams) dark chocolate melted in a bain-marie or microwave
For the ganache:
- 7 oz (200 grams) dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) butter
- a little ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) sweet cream
Prepare the crust:
1. Preheat the oven to 356F (180C) degrees.
2. Grind the cookies in a food processor, mix with the melted butter and press into the bottom and edges of a 8" (20 cm) diameter pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for ten minutes. If the edges have fallen a little, gently rearrange them with a spoon while everything is still warm. Allow to cool completely.
Prepare the cake:
3. Mix all the cake ingredients together in the order listed. Pour into the prepared pan and even out.
4. Lower the oven to 248F (120C) degrees, wrap the bottom of the pan with foil, or place in a larger, non-springform pan (!) and then in a deep baking tray or oven dish that can be filled with water up to the height of the middle of the cake. Bake for about an hour until everything is golden and firm except for the center of the cake. We want it slightly jiggly.
5. Turn off the oven. Let the cake come to room temperature in the oven with the door slightly open, take out and let sit for another hour and then put it in the fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight.
Prepare the ganache:
6. Melt all the ingredients for the ganache in a bain-marie or the microwave and pour over the cake. Allow to set and serve.
This recipe is part of Adi Shilon’s “Their Favorite Dish” project, which tells the story of 60 abductees through the recreation of their favorite recipe for a pastry or dessert. For all the details and additional recipes in the project.