Refried Bean Tacos

Written by chanie on April 27th, 2017

I hope you all had an amazing Passover, it feels like a lifetime ago! We spent the holiday in New Hampshire at the Arlington Hotel Passover Program. It was a wonderful experience filled with new friends, great food and beautiful scenery. I had never been to New Hampshire before and the small towns filled with old barns, antiques and mountainous terrain were a feast for the eyes. It was truly a magical holiday.


What was not truly magical was the number on the scale I saw when I got back! With three (sometimes four!) heavy meals a day and a 24 hour tea-room, Passover programs are not exactly figure friendly. Add matzo to that and you’ve got a recipe for weight gain [see what I did there? ;)].

Even more than the weight though, I just felt heavy and gross from eating so much animal protein. When you have Chateaubriand for dinner one night, rack of veal for the next, and brisket the next, it definitely catches up with you! So I decided to take a little break from all that and go vegetarian – if only for one week. It’s not really sustainable longer because with five little mouths to feed, I definitely need to be able to serve chicken and meat.

Our week of vegetarian fare has almost come to an end. I cooked up some of these amazing refried bean tacos, Moroccan salmon, Asian lettuce cups made from soy beef crumbles, lentil bolognese, spinach spaghetti lasagna and tonight we’re having falafel. I have to admit that all these legume-based recipes are still quite heavy and I can honestly say ready for a good steak! So it’s back to regular programming next week!

In the meantime, these refried bean tacos were definitely our favorite from our vegetarian week, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Related Recipes:

fish tacos
taco skillet
chicken fajita tacos
plantain tacos

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Fruit Salad with Basil Honey Lime Dressing

Written by chanie on April 6th, 2017

To me, Passover, or Pesach, is all about tradition. I’ve never actually hosted the holiday in my own home, but I imagine that when I do, I’ll be making the same foods that my mother always made.

I have fond memories of my mom’s Passover ratatouille, mock chopped liver, beet salad and cucumber salad all neatly arranged in mason jars on the door of the fridge. She always had big jars of simple syrup on the counter, which she used to sweeten everything from chicken to fish, meat and nuts. Towards the second days, when everyone had enough of the heavy meals, she always diced up a huge fruit salad in our giant glass Pyrex. And she doused it in simple syrup too.

The simple syrup didn’t bother me, especially as a kid, because the fruit tasted like candy. But the bananas – they just threw the whole thing off. There were never really rules to what went into the fruit salad – it was whatever was leftover around the house – but it almost always had melon, kiwi, sliced bananas, walnuts, and oranges.

There was always someone in the house who was walking around scratching their throat from one of the fruits – probably the kiwi, and I think it was usually my sister. But we still ate it – bananas, oranges and all – and we sipped up all those sweet drippings from the bottom of the bowl like they were liquid gold. Ah, Passover memories.

While everyone is busy preparing trays of Passover brownies, whipping up macaroons and fancy pavlovas – I’m here to say that it’s really just about the tradition. Fruit salad may be simple, but it’s what my Momma always made, and it’s what I plan to make when I host Passover in my home in the coming years.

For this recipe, I’ve done away with all the fruits that I picked out of my Mom’s fruit salad – the awful mushy bananas, pithy oranges, and throat-scratching kiwi’s. Instead, I used melons, mangos, plums and nectarines, and fancied it up with a basil honey lime dressing (a lot healthier and more flavorful than the simple syrup of my youth!). Feel free to adjust this salad to your liking – adding more lime juice for extra tartness, or more honey for extra sweetness. And you can also switch up the herbs with some fresh mint instead of basil, if you so desire. Don’t forget to top it off with some coconut whipped cream and chopped nuts to really take it over the top!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very fruitful and happy Passover!

Other Passover Desserts:

marzipan apple crisp
nutella banana ice cream
chocolate ganache tart with macaroon crust
raspberry sorbet

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Perfect for Pesach Giveaway

Written by chanie on March 30th, 2017

It’s different when you see a new cookbook on the shelf that you’ve never heard of before, and when you’ve actually watch that baby grow from the very beginning. You see, Naomi Nachman is a good friend, and with her friendly and outgoing personality, anyone that meets her (or follows her on social media @naominachman!) feels the same. Naomi has been open about her cookbook journey from the very beginning, and I was lucky enough to spend a day getting a behind-the-scenes look at some of the recipe development and food photography for this book. I even tested some of the recipes in the book for Naomi so it’s hard to be biased! Instead, I’m just going to share about the book, rather than reviewing it, because honestly, do you all really need my critique here?

Perfect for Pesach is exactly what it sounds like – perfect. for. Pesach. Except the recipes really work for all year round – especially for those of us who eat mostly gluten free, and those who honor strict Pesach customs that don’t allow us to use any store bought processed ingredients. I love that the book has a range of healthy and indulgent recipes, from how to make zoodles and cauliflower fried rice, to pastrami meatballs (recipe below) and fudgy chocolate bundt cake. Looking at the beautiful photography (thanks to the talented Miriam Pascal of overtimecook) it’s hard to believe that these recipes are truly kosher for Passover (hello lemon curd trifles)!

If you’re going to want to buy a Pesach cookbook, it should probably be from someone who spent two decades catering Pesach meals for clients with individual needs and requirements. Naomi shares make-ahead tips and well as freezer suggestions that are super helpful as well as cooks tip and year-round notes on most of the recipes. The cookbook has a really nice range of flavors – from Syrian inspired cauliflower crust lachmagine (you know I’m making that!) to Hawaiian poke (recipe below) and tequila lime chicken to herb crusted lamb shops. Of course you’ll also find traditional favorites like matbucha, salad nicoise, gravlax, Pesach cholent, chocolate mousse and so much more.

As for me, I’ve got the quinoa hummus, chimichurri coleslaw, maple glazed rack of ribs and frozen red wine strawberry mousse bookmarked.

Of course I’m giving away a copy of Perfect for Passover, so see the details below to enter!

As part of this Pesach giveaway, I’m also giving away a copy of Duby’s Pesach Lists which includes:

• Tips on making Pesach for the first time
• Cleaning checklists
• Shopping Lists
• Budgeting Tips
• Menu and calendar templates
• Last minute reminders
• Printable labels for your Passover cabinets
• Games / Activities / Discussion ideas to make your Seder more fun

You can read more about it on dubyspesachlists.com.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

To enter the giveaway to win a copy of Perfect for Pesach + a copy of Dobys Pesach Lists:

1. Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite Pesach dish.
2. For an extra entry, leave a comment on the giveaway post on Facebook or Instagram sharing what you love most about Pesach.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, April 3rd, 2017.

SAMPLE RECIPES:

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Grain Free Granola

Written by chanie on March 23rd, 2017

It’s been an emotional week for me. I opened up about a personal loss over on Instagram and the response was overwhelming. I truly felt a communal virtual hug that gave me so much comfort, and for that I thank you.

At a yartzeit gathering this week, one of the speakers mentioned an interesting thought. Why is it, he wondered, that so many communities do not read about the history of the holocaust on the saddest day of the year, the Fast of Tisha B’av? He reasoned that the atrocities of the holocaust were so unbearable, that the only way for the Jews to survive was to not look back – only forward. There was simply no other way. It was key to our survival.

If you think about it, he said, that’s why most holocaust survivors don’t and can’t talk about the past. That’s the only way they were able to put one foot in front of the other and continue living.

I’ve had this on my mind and it just so happened that this morning, a friend of mine posted a video of her grandfather giving testimony on a trip to the Death Camps. He goes into detail about the selection and how his life was spared, and the gruesome stories that he told left me choking on my tears. I can’t bear to listen to it, how could anyone actually have LIVED through it?

Not to make light of the very worst horror that the world has ever experienced, but many people go through their own personal holocaust. I know for myself that my family’s personal loss was the kind of stuff you only see on TV, not in real life. You never think it will happen to you. And I keep thinking back to the speech of this week – you can’t look back, you can only move forward.

It’s funny because my husband (who is a business coach) has been talking to me a lot about The Three Laws of Performance, a book that has literally changed his life. The popular self-improvement book gives you strategies to be able to create a new future that’s different from the past. In order to do that, we have to change our language, because the words and the meaning we attach to those words all have to do with our past – and it holds us back. Letting go of the past gives us the opportunity to create the future we really want.

We all use words that create our reality – we say things like “You always do such as such,” or “Because such and such happened to me, therefore I can’t …”. If we stop attaching meaning to everything we say (that is based on our past) then that allows us the possibility of a new future.

If you’re like me, you’re  probably rolling your eyes at what I’m writing, but the truth is, it makes a lot of sense. For most of us, it’s our pasts and the stories we tell ourselves based on our pasts that really hold us back from living our future.

Let me just say though that I am the last person to preach these ideas – psychology was never quiet my thing. And honestly when my husband got into self improvement and all that stuff – I just looked the other way. “You do you and I’ll do me” was my philosophy but it wasn’t a very healthy (or mature) one. I mean we can all learn methods we can use to improve ourselves – our outlooks, our responses, our behaviors. As a mom, how can I expect to tell my children to control their anger or “use their indoor voice” if I’m not doing that myself.

This week, and in fact the last couple of months (since I’ve been open to learning the Three Laws of Performance) have been really eye opening for me. I’m working on putting the past in the past and focusing on creating the future that I once thought I could only dream of. And with Passover just a short few weeks away, I always learned that the holiday wasn’t just about eating matza, but about passing over our own exiles and experiencing a personal redemption. I hope you (and I) will be lucky enough to do so this year!

I, for one, am passing over the heavy Passover food of yesteryear and moving onto some healthier and lighter options, like this fantastic grain-free granola. The recipe bakes up in clusters, just the way I like it, and you’d never believe it’s made from just nuts and coconut. Give it a try!

Related Recipes

marzipan crumble (gluten free)
chewy date granola bars
banana nut Greek yogurt bowl
yogurt parfaits with homemade granola

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Zoodle Bolognese + Spaghetti Sloppy Joes
and How I Mastered Dinner

Written by chanie on March 16th, 2017

This might seem hard to believe considering that I run a food blog, give cooking class, develop recipes for brands and raise my brood of five, but the truth is, I’m pretty unorganized. Especially when it comes to dinner. I don’t have a monthly eating plan, let alone a weekly one. I pretty much look into the fridge and freezer in the morning and decide what to make. If there aren’t really options, I go to the store. And that happens more often than I’d like to admit. Until recently.

I might not be the type of person to plan my menus in advance, but I finally realized that just because I don’t plan exactly what I’m making, it doesn’t mean that I can’t create a framework to help me narrow down the choices. A lot of mom’s get overwhelmed by the thought of making dinner, but that’s because there are a gazillion things you can make, so it’s just so hard to choose. Should you make meat or chicken? What type of meat or chicken? What about side dishes? And picky kids? I get it, believe me I do. And I FINALLY figured it out.

For starters, I created a basic guideline for the week, and it goes something like this:

Leftover Sunday: leftovers! If there are none, BBQ or eat out.
Meatless Monday: vegan or vegetarian dishes.
Beef (Taco) Tuesday: easy beef tacos or any beef recipe.
Chicken Wednesday: any recipe using boneless or bone-in chicken.
Dairy Thursday: the kids favorite day of the week!
Friday: Shabbat Dinner (always changing but I repeat a few basic staples)
Sandwich Saturday: kids choice of sandwiches or wraps

This general guideline helped me narrow down the choices so that instead of there being a gazillion ideas to choose from, I stick to a specific structure for each day. Of course nothing is set in stone, so if we decide to take the kids out to eat on Sunday, we’ll have leftovers on Monday, or if I make a vegetarian taco skillet (we love Trader Joes soy beef crumbles) on Monday, I’ll switch up chicken Wednesdays with taco Tuesdays. The point is to balance out the days so you have enough variety without being overwhelmed with options.

To narrow things down further, here are some options for each day to give you some ideas. Obviously this is based on what my kids like (they are not big on vegetables!), but I always try to serve a protein, carb and veggie. Many times that veggie is Israeli salad, because that’s their favorite, but I always put some veggies on the table, even if it’s just my hubby and I who end up eating it.

As a food blogger and recipe developer, I’m constantly working on new recipes which I feed to my family. You can follow my stories on Instagram for lots of exciting ideas.

MEATLESS MONDAYS:

Make your own sushi, sushi rice bowls, sushi burritos or sushi salad. Baked salmon, seared tuna or ceviche on the side.
fish tacos
fried fish sandwiches
tuna pasta salad or salmon pasta salad and fruit smoothies
vegan taco skillet
falafel with all the fixings
soup and salad
tofu stir fry with pasta
lentil sloppy joes
chickpea curry
vegetarian chili with cornbread

BEEF (TACO) TUESDAYS:

beef tacos (with Ortega seasoning packet or my homemade mix)
beef fajitas
beef noodle stir fry
pepper steak in plum sauce
Mongolian beef (recipe coming soon)
meaty soup with fresh pita or baguettes (Bubby’s cabbage soup, smoked turkey split pea, fire roasted tomato rice stoup, crockpot mushroom barley soup)
london broil and mashed potatoes
meatballs and rice
spaghetti sloppy joes and zoodle bolognese for adults
kofta kebabs
pulled beef tacos or sandwiches

CHICKEN WEDNESDAYS:

pineapple chicken and rice
spicy garlic chicken and rice vermicelli
breaded honey chicken with Israeli couscous
grilled chicken shawarma bar
Pad Thai
chicken fajitas
pargiot bowls
shnitzel salad or sandwiches
bundt pan rotisserie chicken with roasted potatoes
Asian chicken soup with ramen

DAIRY THURSDAYS: (usually served with fruit smoothies and/or Caesar salad)

lasagna
baked ziti
breakfast for dinner (pancakes, french toast or waffles with yogurt, granola and fruit)
ravioli in pink sauce
cheesy minestrone
stuffed shells
cheesy pull apart buns
pita pizza

FRIDAY NIGHT STAPLES (SHABBAT DINNER):
Shabbat dinner changes weekly, depending on guests etc., but here are some weekly staples

baked gefilte fish with breadcrumbs or fried patties
Israeli salad
hummus and tahini
chicken soup (or spinach matza ball minestrone, or Asian chicken soup)
bundt pan rotisserie chicken (our favorite basic, but we often change this up)
deli roll

SANDWICH SATURDAYS:

tuna sandwiches
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
turkey sandwiches
hummus sandwiches
mayo and tomato sandwiches
cream cheese sandwiches
grilled cheese sandwiches
quesadillas

I hope this basic guideline helps you manage your dinner schedule, and I plan to fill in the links that are missing as I post them! Feel free to write up your own favorite options for each day of the week, to make things easier for you. If you have any kid-friendly recipes that are a staple in your family, please share in the comments so we can add it our rotation too!

This bolognese recipe is a staple in my house, because I can serve the kids their kid-friendly version with spaghetti sloppy joes, and serve my husband the lightened up version with zoodles. I eat a bit of both! ;) The zoodle version makes the perfect Chol Hamoed dinner for Pesach, so make sure to add it to your menu!

#eatingfortheinsta!

Related Recipes:

stuffed cabbage bolognese
veal marsala bolognese with turnip noodles
spaghetti squash bolognese 
cheesy zoodle marinara
zoodle shakshuka

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Peanut Butter Buckeye Hamantaschen

Written by chanie on March 8th, 2017

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I’m not big on baking. I love to cook, but baking is just too scientific for me. You can’t just be creative and throw in a little of this and a little of that (trust me, I’ve tried!). Every year, I come up with such fun hamantaschen ideas, but I dread testing them. I push it off until I can’t anymore, and then I test batch after batch after batch until it’s just right.

With hamantaschen dough and the filling, there’s just too much margin for error. You’ve got to get the cookie to be soft, but crispy too. You can’t fill them too much, and you have to make sure they don’t open when you bake them. Just thinking about it makes me want to insert the eyeroll emoji.

After testing six batches of mamoul hamantaschen dough this year, I decided I wanted to come up with a no-bake hamantasch that people are going to want to eat. It had to be some sort of candy, but also a riff on a particular style – so I went with BUCKEYES, ‘cuz who doesn’t love peanut butter?!

Buckeyes are basically a peanut butter cup – except the peanut butter filling is rolled into a ball and only partially covered in chocolate. Basically it’s got peanut butter and chocolate and it’s addicting. Case in point: when my daughter came home to a platter of these on the table, she gave me a hug and told me I had invented the best recipe on the planet. “How did you turn the peanut butter into a dough?”, she wanted to know. Turns out, it’s pretty simple. And I can do simple.

Hello NO-BAKE hamantaschen and goodbye to the tricky scientic process of baked hamantaschen. Who’s with me on that?!

Of course you want to make sure you use good quality chocolate in this recipe, so I rely on my fave – California Gourmet. Their new mini’s melt SO quickly, plus the 51.3% cocoa content make them rich and easy to work with.

Enjoy this last taste of Purim here on BIB. I’m sure you’ll be making these in traditional buckeye shapes after the holiday too. Chag Sameach!


This post is sponsored by California Gourmet Chocolate Chips. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  

Related Recipes:

no-bake date and almond hamantaschen
peanut butter bars
peanut butter mousse
peanut butter fudge ice cream pie

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Salami Babka

Written by chanie on March 2nd, 2017

I…I…I…don’t even know what to say…. but BREAKING THE INTERNET comes to mind!! Move over Kim Kardashian because I’ve got Salami Babka in the house!!

I don’t know how I’ve held it in for this long – this gorgeous savory babka has been eating away at me (or have I been eating away at it?) ever since I conceived of it months ago… I wanted to shout it from the rooftops the second this baby came out of the oven, but it was not to be, because, as you know, I save all my SALAMI revelations for Purim! Yes, Purim. The holiday of booze, dress-up, and here at Busy In Brooklyn, SALAMI.

My salami hacks have been making their mark each year for the holiday, and I think I might have finally outdone my drunken hasselback salami, because, lets face it – ain’t nothin better than bread – and when you fill that bread with the sweet and savory fillings of apricot jam, mustard, brown sugar and salami – well…. you basically BREAK. THE. INTERNET.

Babka has been all the rage this year, from the famous Bread’s bakery babka (who’s recipe was recently made public in the Baking Breads cookbook) to the spreads in The New York Times, Bon Appetit Magazine, and all that other stuff. I have to admit that I have never made true, authentic babka (with buttery brioche dough), although I often fill my leftover challah with gooey chocolate spread, twist it up and call it a day.

I’ve had savory babka on my mind for a while now, and I was kind of surprised that I haven’t seen too many savory variations on the net. Especially since turning traditional sweets into savory adaptations is kind of a thing right now. My biggest obstacle with a salami babka was the brioche dough. The good stuff is loaded with butter and I just couldn’t stand the thought of using all that margarine (the rules of kosher forbid me from eating milk with meat, so no butter and salami together). And yes I realize that’s ironic since this thing is loaded with salami (insert facepalm emoji here!)

I considered going with a challah dough, but I finally decided I would make this super easy for everyone and just use pizza dough. Of course you can use any dough you choose, and even go crazy with the deli you stuff it with. Don’t worry about all of the mess – the little bits of salami that poke out of the bread and get all crispy and caramelized are my favorite part of this recipe!

Now if you’ve missed my whole salami situation – the reason for my yearly Purim salami postings are due to a little nugget of information that I read a couple of years back. I don’t know if it was true, or it was all a Purim joke – but it made mention of the fact that some people have a tradition to eat salami on Purim since it is hung, like Haman. I thought it was the coolest food custom I had ever read, so I adopted it. The part that you don’t know though, is that that was a huge deal for me! Why? read on.

So growing up, my mom would make salami sandwiches every Friday afternoon for lunch for my siblings and I. She’d send us outside to the courtyard of our building to eat them, so we wouldn’t make a mess inside the house before Shabbat. Little did she know, we all hated those little hard white pieces inside the salami (I’m pretty sure they were solid fat!), so one by one, we all chucked our salami sandwiches down the incinerator chute – every. single. week. My poor mom thought we were eating lunch and little did she know!

From thereon out, I never looked at salami again. For years. Until I got married and the only thing my husband knew how to cook from his Yeshiva days was salami and eggs. I always swore I’d never try it, until one day, he convinced me, and the rest is history! I learned that cooking out the salami fat leaves you with a super crispy, tasty bits of heaven that are so perfect for trashing up in fun ways!

Just. Like. This. Lets get hangin’!


This post is sponsored by Abeles & Heymann. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Related Recipes:

drunken hasselback salami
salami quiche
beer battered salami chips with beer mustard
salami chips with dipping sauce

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Jerusalem Hummus In Jars

Written by chanie on February 23rd, 2017

I’ve got to hand this one to a favorite person and a favorite cookbook: Naomi Nachman, and “Zahav“, respectively. Naomi is a foodie friend who’s not quite at my stage in life. She just married off her first child and her youngest is about the age of my oldest. Naomi might be older but she’s got more energy than my five kids put together! She’s always the life of the party and her foodie calendar puts me to shame. She just wrapped her first cookbook, Perfect for Pesach, which I was lucky enough to get some sneak peeks behind the scenes (and test some of the amazing recipes!). She runs a Pesach catering business, a “Chopped” themed party service, writes for various publications and even has her own radio show, Table for Two on the Nachum Segal Network. I love Naomi’s positive energy and I’m proud to call her a friend.

Recently, Naomi managed to squeeze in a trip to Israel amid her crazy hectic schedule, and she brought me back some Hawaj from the shuk. I’d never tried hawaj before, but I knew that there were two types of the Yemenite spice blend – one for soup and one for coffee. The spice was so potent (everything from the shuk always is!) that my whole kitchen smelled of it, even through the Ziploc bag! I wanted to make the most of the spice so I thought about how I could use it to really let it shine. And it hit me – hummus basar!

I had never made meat hummus before, or any REAL hummus from scratch and I was excited to try! I went to the holy grail of Israeli cookbooks, “Zahav” to find the perfect recipe and of course Michael Solomonov’s did not disappoint. What I love so much about Zahav is that every recipe is approachable, and unlike some of the other cookbooks on Middle Eastern cuisine, Zahav is the least bit pretentious. The hummus I made from the book was by the far the best one I had ever tasted and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to store-bought. It is just a whole ‘nother ballgame.

What I learned from Solomonov is that hummus is so much more about the quality of the tahini than it is about the chickpeas. I always thought of hummus as a chickpea spread, but no. It’s a silky-smooth-sesame chickpea spread that will knock your socks off. You start by preparing silky smooth tahini that involves a brilliant garlic hack that I won’t share (buy the cookbook to find out what it is!). Then you take that tahini perfection and add loads of it to butter-soft chickpeas. Oh. My. God. is it good.

Zahav’s hummus recipe is a two step process, but I’ve simplified it here into one. I would definitely encourage you to try the original recipe at least once, but this makes a pretty good substitute. And please do me a favor and don’t put the amazingly pungent and flavorful hawaj-spiced beef over store-bought hummus because that’s like serving homemade shortcakes with canned whipped cream. Just no. And if  you’re feeling up to the task, try Zahav’s pita recipe and bake ’em up in mini to go along with these Jerusalem hummus jars. There’s really nothing quite like homemade pita to go along with homemade hummus.  I’ve made the recipe a few times already and it is super simple and incredibly delicious!

If this post hasn’t already compelled you to buy the cookbook, here’s an excerpt of a review I wrote after I got it:

“Michael brings the beauty of Israeli culture and cuisine to the forefront without the bells and whistles. He lets the food stand on it’s own, humble and beautiful, with clear, easy to fllow recipes that dont require millions of ingredients. And he’s not cheffy about it either….This guy isn’t cooking Israeli food because it’s trendy, he’s just doing what he loves and it comes through on every page. Even though he himself is not kosher….he acknowledges that the rules of kosher define the boundaries of Israeli cuisine and keeps all the recipe in the book (and in his restaurant) free of shellfish, pork and mixing milk and meat. In a culture that thinks that you have to be “treif” to be cool (especially so if you are Jewish), this man has my total respect). ”

Of course this Hummus Basar was made in jars in the spirit of Purim, but feel free to make this recipe and serve Israeli style, in a big bowl with lots of fresh pita for dipping! You can also make the hawaj beef and serve it over rice, it makes for a delicious side dish!

Related Recipes:

chestnut hummus with herbed pita chips
roasted garlic hummus with everything pita chips
chicken shawarma
farro grain bowl with Jerusalem pargiot
sweet tahini dip

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Ma’amoul Hamantaschen

Written by chanie on February 16th, 2017

If I had one word to describe these hamantaschen, it would be #proud. Yes they’re melt-in-your-mouth delicious, super buttery and also crispy, but the word I would use to describe them has nothing to do with how they taste. It has to do with how they make me feel.

I’ve always felt that food does so much more than nourish us. It connects us to our past, our present and our future. Traditional food, especially, has the power to bridge generations. Preparing the same dishes that my mother made, and my grandmother before her, allows me to pass on the flavors and smells of my childhood to my children in a way that nothing else can.

That’s why these hamantaschen mean so much to me. Not only do they reflect the traditions of my Ashkenazic heritage, they also represent the flavors and culture of my husband’s Sephardic hertitage.

While my husband is Ashkenazi like me, his mother was born and raised in Argentina, but her roots trace back to Syria. She grew up eating ma’amoul, rosewater-scented cookies filled with either date or walnut filling. When I got married, ma’amoul always made an appearance at parties and simchot and their interesting shape always intrigued me.

Traditional ma’amoul is molded into different shapes using a special cookie press. The cookie is shaped differently, depending on the filling. My mother in law always used tweezers to decorate her ma’amoul, which I found really interesting. When I came up with the idea to fuse the classic hamantasch with Syrian flavors, I went to my husband’s aunt, Esther, for a cookie baking class.

Esther is a cook after my own heart. She likes to do things simply, without fancy tools or supplies (which explains the tweezer method!). She mixed up the ma’amoul in no time, while I attempted to measure her pinches of spice and sprinkles of flour. She expertly shaped the dough faster than I could follow and before long, they were out of the oven and covered in a snowfall of powdered sugar.

Of course I went back home and it wasn’t all that simple. For starters, traditional ma’amoul dough does not have egg, so it wouldn’t hold as a hamantasch. I was determined to make it work, and 6 batches later, I struck gold (or should I say rosewater?!). These ma’amoul hamantaschen are the perfect blend of buttery and crispy, thanks to the butter and semolina, respectfully. I’m super proud of this Sephardic-Ashkenazi fusion and I hope I’ve started a new trend in my family tree.

Now that we’ve got the Purim party started, stay tuned for lots of other exciting holiday recipes, coming soon!

Related Recipes:

baklava hamantaschen
date and almond hamantaschen
healthy thumbprint hamantaschen

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Avocado Toast with Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Written by chanie on February 9th, 2017

I used to hate scrambled eggs. And I mean hate. When my husband would cook them in the morning, I literally had to leave the house because the smell was too much for me. Runny eggs were my thing, especially in shakshuka, or sunny-side-up with a side of hash browns. Until, that is,  I learned to cook them.

Rubbery scrambled eggs are enough to turn you off for a very long time. But when you learn to keep those curds moist and creamy – not only will you want to eat them – you’ll also find that they don’t actually smell. Smelly eggs are a byproduct of eggs that are overdone. I learned that when I took over the egg cookery (and am reminded of it whenever I sleep in and my husband takes over!)

There’s something else that got me onto scrambled eggs, and that’s cheese! A small handful of mozzarella keeps the eggs super moist and adds a delicious gooey cheesiness that is pure breakfast glory. This has truly become my favorite breakfast.

My husband and I are also converted sourdough snobs, so spreading those creamy curds over some hearty toast with a dose of buttery avocado just can’t get any better. Of course I don’t eat these every day, because lets face it, I don’t eat breakfast every day. But I’d eat this if I did! I know this breakfast looks kinda fancy and intimidating here, but that’s just thanks to my good styling ;) , these toasts only take a couple of minutes to put together.

If you’re feeling up to taking your egg game to the next level, here’s the best advice I can give you: make you sure you use a nonstick skillet and a silicone spatula. If you want to get those deliciously moist and creamy curds, you’ve got to be able to sweep the eggs across the pan, and for that, you need the slippery nonstick surface.

I hope you give these a try! Let me know how it goes!

Related Recipes:

scrambled hard boiled eggs
Purim deviled eggs
poached egg and avocado toast

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