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Funfetti Cream Tart Number Cake

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

I’ve always held on to this self-limiting belief that I’m “not a baker”. I backed it up by telling myself that baking is a science and I’m more of a creative.
I hate following the rules and I always think outside the box.

For 8 long years – yes 8! – I’ve been blogging here on BUSY IN BROOKLYN and sharing my love of food, family and tradition (+ some crafts!). I’ve always pushed myself to try new techniques, explore unique ingredients and cook up cultural dishes that I’d never tried before. But one thing always got the better of me – DOUGH. Because “I’m not a baker.”

I always fell back on frozen pizza dough, puff pastry, and store-bought Artisan bread because I was afraid of anything that involved yeast. There was a short stint with sourdough, but I gave that up when more of my loaves flopped than succeeded.

In the school of Hassidic thought, the number 8 resembles that which is above nature, and to celebrate Busy In Brooklyn’s 8th Blogoversary, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and bake up something that’s been both intriguing me and intimating me at the same time – the beautiful layered cream tart!

To stick with my blog anniversary theme of FUNFETTI, I designed this tiered sprinkle cookie cake in the number 8, and decorated it with colors inspired by my cookbook, Millennial Kosher! After 8 years of honing my skills in the kitchen, I am officially done with labels. I can be anything I want to be!

With close to a decade in the food industry, I have learned a lot of things.

How to develop and write a recipe.
How to compose, style and photograph food.
How to teach people about food in a fun way.
How to cook with color!
How to compose a dish.
How to plan a menu.
How to multiply a recipe for a large crowd.
How to network with people.
How to write a cookbook!!
and the list goes on…..

I’ve learned a lot of things, and I’ve acquired a lot of skills, but above all, I’ve come to realize that nothing stands in the way of good, old fashioned HARD WORK. Looking back at 8 years here on BUSY IN BROOKLYN, I can’t believe that what I thought would be just a passing hobby, has turned into the most fulfilling career. That the young mom who was cooking traditional Ashkenazi food became a recipe developer with a broad palate. And that the clueless lady with a camera, became a food photographer with a pretty impressive portfolio and a cookbook to show for it. HOW DID THIS ALL HAPPEN??!!

OK I’m a officially drenching my keyboard at this point, feeling so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. I don’t know where I would be if all of YOU AMAZING PEOPLE weren’t actually reading this and cooking up my recipes, and buying my book, and supporting me, and showing me so much love and appreciation and respect. How can I ever thank you?!

I always say that cooking is about so much more than satiating ourselves and others – it’s about expressing yourself and showing love to the people who mean the most to you. I don’t know how to thank you – so I will continue to do what I do best – cook – AND BAKE – for you all, because I am so grateful for this platform and it means so much to me.

Thank you for joining me for these 8 wonderful years of cooking, crafting and coping here in Brooklyn. Looking forward to many more to come!

Related Posts:

7th Blogoversary} Funfetti Rice Krispie Bites
6th Blogoversary} Funfetti Raspberry Palmiers
5th Blogoversary} Funfetti Pecan Turtles
4th Blogoversary} Funfetti Cake
3rd Blogoversary} La Brochette Blogoversary Dinner
2nd Blogoversary} BBQ Brisket
1st Blogoversary} Mulled Wine

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Mushroom Cauli Soup

Monday, December 31st, 2018

So it’s been nearly 3 weeks since I started keto and I have to admit – I’m bored. How much cheese/eggs/steak/broccoli, cauliflower/cabbage and nuts can you eat? I’m all about variety in my diet and I get bored so easily!


One thing I promised myself when I started this diet was that I was not going to spend my day in the kitchen preparing special foods for myself. I was going to adapt my regular family recipes and make them work for me, and so far it’s been working. When I wanted to make this soup, I just substituted the bread crumbs with almond flour and removed some of the soup for myself before adding the orzo. I added some cauliflower rice to my portion and it was such a nice change from my typical steak and roasted veggie dinner!

Coming up with soups that aren’t tomato or bean based is a little difficult (tomatoes are not encouraged on keto because they are high in sugar). In general I’m a big fan of legumes in soup, and I love grains like barley and farro too, so it’s a challenge. I decided I wanted to do a keto-approved riff on mushroom barley soup, since everyone in the house loves it, but I knew I couldn’t use barley. I decided to use cauliflower to give the soup some creaminess and body, and it was a huge hit. I didn’t tell my cauliflower-hating kid that it had her least favorite veggie in there and she thought it was delicious (until she watched my Instagram story and was suddenly nauseous – ha!)

So alas, this Mushroom Cauli Soup – a play on Mushroom Barley Soup – so long as you say CAULI with the same enunciation as BARLEY :)

Related Recipes:

zucchini basil soup
spinach white bean minestrone with zoodles
cream of leek soup

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Tunisian-Style Tuna Nicoise Salad

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Early followers of my blog will remember my South Beach Diet days, and if you’ve been following for the last few years, my Whole30 phase. Yes, I’ve been dieting my entire life, I can write a book on it (oh wait, I did!).

Since I had my last baby, over two years ago, it’s been about food freedom for me – and for a few reasons. Firstly, I decided I didn’t want to live my life on a diet anymore, and I wanted to be able to enjoy food and be OK with it. I did put on some weight, which is what will happen if you’re in my industry and you just let yourself go – but I accepted it and decided that I would learn to love my body at any size.

From a recipe testing perspective, because I was working on my cookbook, I didn’t want my palate to be off, which is what will happen if you’re on a diet that restricts sugars or carbs. After a few rounds of Whole30, everything tasted cloyingly sweet to me and if you’re developing recipes for a cookbook, that can be a problem. I remember testing this recipe during my Whole30 (tasting it and spitting it out!) and when I made it several months later for a Shavuot cooking class, I found that it really needed more sweetener (recipe has been adjusted!). If you’re testing recipes for a living, you need to appeal to the average palette, so a diet can really throw things off. That’s another reason I decided to let myself go and not be restrictive.

I started following a lot of body-positive Instagram accounts and really tried to work on being comfortable in my larger size, but if I’m being honest, I just didn’t feel like myself. I was self conscious, uncomfortable behind the camera, and going shopping left me feeling totally depressed. Physically, I felt tired, lacked energy and just wasn’t motivated to make a change.

This year, on my 38th birthday, I looked in the mirror and decided it was time to make a change. Either accept and love myself at any size, or change that size to one that would make me more comfortable in my skin. I was done with the yo yo eating, and I just wanted to gain back control. For me personally, I don’t do well with intuitive eating or mindfulness, I need a strict regimen otherwise I don’t keep to it. So the day after Chanukah, I took the diet plunge and went keto. No excuses, no back and forth on which diet to choose, just jumping right in without thinking, and it’s the best thing I could have done. I shared it on Instagram so that I would hold myself accountable, and I’ve been going strong for two weeks (although it already feels like months!). It’s amazing how long a day can feel when you’re watching everything you put in your mouth!!

It scary to put yourself out there today. Someone recently told me that we live in the “offended” generation and it’s so true. It’s like we’re all tiptoeing around each other because we might say the wrong thing. Well to all the diet-shamers out there who aren’t OK with people going on a diet, here’s what I believe and I’m sticking to it: I reserve the right to feel comfortable in my own skin, and it’s no one elses right to tell me if I should lose weight, or if I should accept my body the way it is. It is MY body and it is MY right to make that choice. Yes, I’ve gone keto – because I want to feel healthy again and be healthy again and I want to be able to like what I see in the mirror, and there’s no shame in that.  This, to me, is true food freedom. The freedom to make your own choices about the foods you eat, and weighing those choices in a conscious way.

I’m so excited to share this delicious recipe that I came up with last week for my keto-approved lunch. I went a little overboard with the tomatoes, but I’ll get there!

Related Recipes:

harissa roasted chicken
harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant chips
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce
Greek salad with feta croutons

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Lemony Orzo Soup with Meatballs

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Hello, hello my fellow winter bunnies. It’s officially cold out, even the snow has made an appearance this week. I find winter pretty depressing tbh, and if it was up to me, I’d stay indoors snuggling under my covers until Spring!

The only thing that really gets me through winter is my down coat, fingerless gloves (so I can answer my DM’S!), some uplifting music, and hearty soups. That last one is mandatory.

I’ve never been that much of a soup person because it’s just ANOTHER thing to make for dinner, but I’ve found that my kids really love a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter night, and if you play your culinary cards right – it doesn’t have to be that extra thing at dinner, it can actually BE dinner.

To turn your soup into a one pot meal, follow these basic guidelines:

1. include a protein: chicken, shredded beef, meatballs, smoked turkey, tofu
3. include grains: pasta (orzo, couscous, ramen), farro, barley, quinoa, rice
2. include vegetables: endless options!

If you’re feeling  like you need a little somethin somethin on the side, make a salad or serve with fresh baguettes or pita for dipping!

Hoping this hearty soup keeps you warm all winter long!

Other hearty winter soups:

crockpot mushroom barley stoup
spinach matzo ball minestrone soup
smoky split pea soup with thyme dumplings
cream of chicken soup in bread bowls

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Pizza En Croute

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

Happy Chanukah!!!!! The holiday of donuts, latkes, fried food, gelt and cheeeeeeesssseeee is here! Does it get any better?

Of course we don’t count calories on Chanukah, because we celebrate the miracle of the oil where a small jug miraculously lasted for 8 whole days and the story of Yehudit who bravely lured a Greek general with wine & cheese and them chopped off his head in his drunken slumber. I mean how can we not honor our history and tradition by filling up on goodies??! You don’t have to ask me twice!

Of course Chanukah is also special to me because I was born on the fifth night, and 16 years ago, I got married on my birthday. I made that choice because I knew that the day held so much blessing and power, and I held onto the belief that it would carry me through my married life with lots of good vibes and the power to illuminate.


I never imagined that life would take me on this unexpected journey. That I would one day become a food writer, and that I would be blessed to carve out this humble space for myself on the web, and on your bookshelf. I feel especially grateful this Chanukah for all the miraculous blessings of the past year. For more success than I could have ever imagined. My heart is so full and I don’t even know how to thank you. So I’ll just keep cooking and sharing what I love, because that’s the only way I know how.

So I made pizza en croute. Because pizza has my heart. And I’m sure it has yours too. I used Makabi’s mini balls because it’s Chanukah after all, and because they’re the perfect size to take the place of brie – as a riff on the classic “brie en croute”.

I top ’em off with whatever I have en hand, and that’s really the best part about these – they’re so easily adaptable. Top the cheese with marinara, ketchup, pesto or olive tapenade and you’ve got yourself a party appetizer that will fly off the table!

Wishing you a CHEESY holiday!!

This post was sponsored by Makabi Cheese, all opinions are my own!

Related Recipes:

dried fruit brie bites
parmesan lasagna chips with pizza hummus
broccoli Parmesan poppers
zucchini parmesan chips
3-cheese pull apart buns

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Crispy Rice Latkes

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Call ’em crispy rice latkes, call ’em snap crackle and pop cakes, call ’em crispy crack or even tahdig – just do yourself a favor and make them, ok??

These leftover sushi rice cakes were a total afterthought the morning after a make-your-own-sushi-roll for dinner night. I usually just stir fry my leftover rice and top it with a runny egg for breakfast the next morning but this time, I decided to crisp it up into what basically turned into a crack cake. It’s tahdig on steroids and solves the soggy latke problem, because even hours later, the latkes remained super crispy.

I think my biggest problem was what to top them with but I solved it pretty fast because runny eggs are my jam, especially when they are jammy soft boiled ones. But honestly, the options are endless. Lox and creme fraiche if you’re feeling fancy. Caviar if you really want to take it over the top. Some tuna tartare if you want to go Asian, or some sesame pulled beef if you’re feeling meaty.

And if you really want to be fancy, mix the scallions INTO the rice before frying. Or add any fillings of your choice. ENDLESS. OPTIONS.

Chanukah has been so good to me. It gave me life (I was born on the 5th night), and it celebrates my Anniversary (I got married on my birthday). I’ve always felt a special connection to the holiday of fried food, donuts and wine + cheese and I secretly wonder if it’s one of the reasons I was born with the foodie gene!

This Chanukah is especially momentous because I get to share the holiday with so many of my fans and followers at my local book signings in Williams Sonoma and Bloomingdales! I could not be more excited to share some of my favorite Chanukah recipes in some of my favorite stores. I am feeling so. very. blessed. Thank you all for making this year so special to me!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Chanukah!

Other Latke Recipes:

salami potato latkes
sabich latkes
falatkes (falafel latkes)
poutine latkes
confetti latkes
butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes

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Baklava Pumpkin Pie

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

Oh. Em. Gee. It’s been forever!!!! I can’t remember the last time I took such a long blogging break – I have missed you all!

Of course I haven’t disappeared entirely. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me traveling around the country on my book tour, and it’s been quite a journey. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet so many of you in person, to share my love of food, family and tradition to a range of audiences, and to be going into the third printing of Millennial Kosher with almost 20,000 copies sold! Pinch me!!

Thanksgiving is all about showing thanks and boy am I grateful. Grateful for this platform. Grateful to see my dreams come true and grateful that somethow, someway, in between all this running around, I still love what I do SO. VERY. MUCH.

Truth be told I hit a bit of a creative slump but I am back and I couldn’t be more excited about it!! This baklava pumpkin pie came to me along with a bunch of other exciting ideas that I can’t wait to share, and I am so glad I was able to get into the kitchen and behind the camera to share it with you all. I thought it might be too complicated to execute but I got so much amazing feedback on it and I’m so pleasantly surprised that y’all are ready to tackle layers and layers of buttered fillo dough – not the easiest feat!

I actually tested this recipe with melted coconut oil and I was so happy to see that I could avoid the dreaded margarine route while still keeping it pareve. Just make sure to go for refined coconut oil otherwise you’ll be left with baklava COCONUT pumpkin pie and no one wants that, amiright?!

The diagonal slits are probably the hardest part about this – and I watched a whole lot of YouTube videos until I figured it out – but you can feel free to make this a la the traditional route in a rectangular dish and forgo the difficulty.

Wishing you a delicious and Happy Thanksgiving. We truly have so much to be thankful for!

Related Recipes:

baklava hamantaschen
mini pumpkin pies for a crowd
Whole30 pumpkin banana souffle’

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Hawaij Couscous

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

It all started with Zahav, the fabulous book on Israeli cooking by Michael Solomonov. Reading Michael’s descriptions of traditional Yemenite soup made me want to charter a flight to Israel, but I did the next best thing: I purchased some Hawaij (and practiced the pronunciation more times than I’d like to admit….CHA-WAYIJ). I was hooked.


There’s just something about the warm golden spices that transports me – and I don’t even know where. I’m 5th generation American on my Mom’s side, and while my Dad is Israeli, his Ashkenazi mother was cooking up shlishkes when he was a kid. I’ve got no Sephardic blood, although I later married into a Syrian family where they cook up their couscous with allspice. This, then, is the power of hawaij, I decided. It has the ability to carry you to a place you never even knew – but it feels like home. Perhaps it’s my souls yearning for Jerusalem, the city of gold, the color of this truly intoxicating blend: Zahav.


Of course the first thing I cooked up with Hawaij for soup wasn’t soup. Because I never go the traditional route (you should know that by now). Instead, I made Jerusalem Hummus in Jars, followed by Hawaij Garlic Confit  (you can find that life-changing recipe in my cookbook, Millennial Kosher), some roasted chicken and potatoes, and, yes, finally the soup (where I mixed the meat and chicken in one pot). I also explored the sweet side of Hawaij, with Hawaij for coffee – although of course not in coffee – with my Hawaij Honey Cake.

If you’re confused – let me explain. Hawaij is so good – the Yemenites decided to make two blends – one sweet and one savory. The savory one is used for classic Yemenite soup and the sweet one, for coffee. But the magic spice deserves more and I’m all over it.


So this summer I was putting up a last minute pot of Israeli couscous when I realized I was out of chicken and vegetable stock. I prefer not to cook my couscous in water, since it’s kind of bland, so I looked through my spice cabinet to see how I could improvise. The hawaij for soup looked at me and I realized that if I didn’t have soup – then I could just let the hawaij for soup take it’s place, and then THIS happened! It’s everything you never knew you wanted in Israeli couscous and it’s about to become your go-to recipe.


And since I know by your messages that y’all have hawaij in your cabinets by now, no need to go searching. Just make sure you use the savory blend otherwise this will be a couscous to remember for other reasons  (insert facepalm here!).

Related Recipes:

hawaij honey cake with labneh frosting
Jerusalem hummus in jars

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Bourbon Peach Meatballs

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Is it just me or is time just getting away from us this year? Everything seems to be moving so fast – the somber days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are already behind us, and it’s party time!

Succos is one of my favorite holidays. I love the smell of autumn in the air, the sound of ruffling leaves as we sit outside to eat and the cool breeze that blows through our little hut as we gather to celebrate. What I don’t love, is the exorbitant amount of food that seems neverending as we roll from one meal to the next for eight days straight! No matter how much one loves cooking, we all get sick of prepping, and even eating, that much!

So…. here are some tips to help us all manage and get through the cookfest:

1. This seems pretty obvious but DON’T. COOK. SO. MUCH.! Let go of the stereotypical meal of fish with dips and salads + meat and/or chicken with several sides + dessert. Instead, lighten things up with a composed meal that consists of a small plated appetizer – fish, if you’re traditional, or something vegan, if you’re not. Then move onto the main course – a large salad, festive roast or chicken with one starchy side, one vegetable and something kid friendly. For dessert – spruce up some Duncan Hines brownies with some tahini, oreos, frozen cookie dough or whatever you wish and serve with ice cream.
2. Plan themed menus! This keeps things exciting instead of boring and repetitive. I love to do a Mexican, Israeli, or Asian meal over Succos. Check out this post for some ideas!
3. Reinvent leftovers! Instead of throwing out that leftover chicken soup, why not make chicken pot pie? Or repurpose your leftover roast into a Shepherd’s pie. If you think outside the box and try to repurpose your leftovers, you can make a whole new meal without having to cook much at all.
4. Cook once, use twice! When prepping for the first days of the Chag, prepare a double portion of things like pulled beef, grilled chicken or hummus and use them a bunch of different ways.


Here are some suggestions:

Pulled beef: scroll to the bottom of this post for my super easy pulled beef recipe. It freezes great so make a double portion and freeze for later – pull and freeze in the sauce.
Serving suggestions: pulled beef sliders, nachos, tacos, bourekas, Shepherd’s pie, serve over hummus or mashed potatoes.

Grilled chicken: prepare a large portion and wrap smaller portions and freeze.
Serving suggestions: chicken salad, chicken wraps, fried rice, lo mein, ramen bowls, summer rolls, eggrolls.
Recipes:
grilled chicken wedge salad with carrot ginger dressing
grilled chicken fattoush with za’atar ranch
grilled chicken salad with jalapeno honey mustard
grilled chicken shawarma salad
sheet pan chicken fajitas 5 ways
farro grain bowl
sesame linguini with grilled chicken
Asian chicken salad
curried chicken lettuce wraps

Hummus: make a large portion of hummus and repurpose with different toppings.
Serving suggestions: hummus bassar (you can also use baharat, taco seasoning, shawarma spice…), humshuka – hummus with shakshuka on top, hummus with shawarma chicken, hummus with falafel, hummus with chickpeas, hummus with beets, hummus with roasted eggplant and pomegranate seeds, hummus with olives…

Grains or Pasta: make a large batch of pasta or grains of choice like quinoa.
Serving suggestions: pasta salad, pasta bolognese, lo mein, baked ziti or quinoa salad, quinoa patties, quinoa chili, quinoa stuffing.


I hope these ideas helped you manage the cooking frenzy ahead! Wishing you a Chag Sameach!

Related Recipes:

bourbon apricot BBQ chicken
drunken hasselback salami
bourbon honey cake balls
turkey meatballs with red wine cranberry marinara
2 ingredient lazy meatballs

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Mom’s Potato Knishes

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

As a recipe developer, it’s not often that I make other peoples recipes, and when I do, it’s often ones that have been in my family for years. I usually find myself cooking my mom’s dishes around the High Holidays – there’s just something about the Days of Awe that makes me want to connect to my roots, and how more so than with food.

Mom’s potato knishes are a staple at every holiday meal, and it has always been my favorite, because, well… potatoes. It’s probably the only time you’ll see me using margarine – EVER – because coconut oil just doesn’t fly here and to keep the knishes pareve, I’ve got no other choice. Plus, puff pastry is basically 80% margarine anyway, so what’s a little more, amiright?

What I love about this recipe is that the filling makes enough to fill 3 whole rolls and they freeze great! And since they’re frozen unbaked, they taste like you just made them when you bake them up before serving. = a perfect recipe for long holidays like Succos coming up! If you have a custom to eat stuffed foods for the Harvest Holiday, I’ve got you covered there too!

Related Recipes:

cabbage bourekas
deli roll
spanakopita bourekas
salmon en croute with creamed leeks

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