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Lasagna Roll-Up Blintzes

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

I don’t know about you, but the only thing that keeps me from making blintzes on Shavuot is the crepe-making. The rest of the process is fairly easy, and I don’t even mind the light frying. But those crepes, man they are hard to nail down.

My mom so hates the crepe-making process that she’s been ordering her crepes ready-made from a caterer for years. Instead, she puts her attention on delicious homemade fillings – creamy potato with deeply caramelized onions and sweet cheese with an apricot sauce for dipping. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!


I’m all for finding the easier way around dishes and this lasagna roll-up blintz hack is no exception! I love me some savory lasagna roll-ups, filled with spinach-flecked creamy ricotta and oozing with cheesy mozzarella, so why not go sweet, amIright? Dredging the sweet-filled pasta sheets in Corn Flake crumbs and frying them really takes it over the top, and I’m one happy crepe-free Momma.

What I really love about these decadent Shavuot treats is that they truly resemble blintzes, and if you want to stay away from the fryer, just go ahead and serve them up without the breading. You can add some chopped nuts for texture, and of course the requisite sour cream and strawberry sauce. Cuz blintzes without sour cream are a sad, sad thing.

Those of you that have been following my diet journey over on Instagram know that I’ve been staying away from delicious carby treats like these for the past couple of weeks, so I had to send them straight out of the house as soon as I was done making them. I don’t have the willpower to say no to a piping hot plate of sweet, crunchy, cheesy pasta rolls, do you? If your answer is yes, please tell me your secret ‘cuz I’m gonna need it come the cheesecake holiday.

We’re pretty low key when it comes to dairy in my house – I only serve it once a week, and it’s usually pizza, mac ‘n cheese or baked ziti. But Shavuot? Shavuot is the time for cheesy French onion soup, 4-cheese lasagna, a cheese board of your dreams, and of course plenty of cheesecake and blintzes. And lets not forget the dairy ice cream either. G-d help me survive this decadent holiday!

I’m thinking I’ll have to have some healthy options at the table too. Like these cheesy stuffed mini peppers, this three-cheese rollatini rose pie, the most amazing kid-friendly broccoli poppers, plus these cutesy roasted eggplant parmesan starters.

Now if we’re talking the decadent part of the meal, obv we have these insane roll-ups, which will be an amazing side to my caramelized peach and gouda quesadillas and 3-cheese broccoli pull-apart buns for the kids.  I’m thinking goat cheese ice cream for dessert, and definitely my Torah cannoli, ‘cuz that’s what the holiday is all about – stuffing our face with cheese and the giving of the Torah.

I’m pretty stoked to be hosting my mom for the first time this year – she’s usually the one who hosts, so I better get my menu planned. Stay tuned, I’ll share it with you soon. In the meantime, have a look at the Index for some inspiration!

Lets get rollin’!

Related Recipes:

spinach lasagna roll-ups
how to build a crepe bar
parmesan lasagna chips with pizza hummus
quick and easy lasagna

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Portobello Tuna Melts

Monday, May 8th, 2017


Bedtime. Every mom knows hows loaded that word can be. Especially when I’ve got five kids under ten to tuck in at night. Why won’t kids just go to bed? Aren’t they tired?

It was 10:00 last night and the house was quiet. I sat on the couch and took a deep breath. Finally, some peace. I could put my feet up and relax. So I did what any mommy blogger would do…I went live on Instagram. 2 minutes in, and only 30 minutes after finally falling asleep, my baby wakes up. Because I’m a mom. And that’s just how life works. So I struggle though this “show” of sorts, taking 1 minute commercial breaks to calm my kid and get her latched without showing 6000 people more than they came for. That’s mommy blogger life right there.

Did I mention my husband was away since Friday and I’ve been holding down the fort through the longest Shabbos on planet earth all on my own? Yes. Life with kids and a CEO husband is hard. So when said husband encouraged me to go on a health and wellness retreat last week, I frantically packed my bags before he could change his mind and ran out the door (OK that’s not true, I argued with him about the what, when, where for each kid and the logistics of leaving a 9 month old who’s nursing around the clock and a 9 year old who’s out of school for weeks because her teachers are on a strike that seems like it will never end. And then I sorted and arranged three days worth of clothes for each kid, prepared a menu for the week, filled the house with all the essentials, restocked prescriptions for everyone who needed and bought enough bottles and pacifiers and sippy cups to last us for months. Then I broke down and cried about leaving my kids. And then I picked myself up and walked out the door).

I went live last night to discuss this wellness retreat because I got so many messages while I was away asking me about it. But Instagram Live is just that – live – and there is so much going on, so many comments and questions happening while my baby is kvetching and I just don’t know if I got the whole picture across. So I decided to write about it. That’s the good thing about having a blog.

The health and wellness retreat was put together by Beth Warren, a local Brooklyn nutritionist and author of “Living a Real Life with Real Food” with a focus on eating healthy, exercise and practicing self-care. Just what I needed. There were about 15 of us in total and we carpooled to our destination in Lenox, MA, also known as The Berkshires. We arrived at Brook Farm Inn, a Victorian home in a historic town with lush trees and quaint shops. We carried our luggage to our rooms (no elevator in this vintage Inn!) and gathered for lunch of a make-your-own-salad bar. Then we went off for a tour of Ventfort Hall – a historic mansion that was built by Sarah Morgan, daughter of J.P. Morgan, the famous banker. Next up was a circuit training workout at Lenox Fit, a snack of crudites with homemade hummus, and finally, a much-needed 15-minute massage back at the inn. Still in our exercise gear, we stretched and centered ourselves with a yoga class and then showered for dinner in pajamas (my fave!). Dinner was a light and healthy baked salmon with black rice, green beans and vegetable soup. We finished off the day with a talk on self-care and a quick demo on stuffed dates for an after-dinner snack. Lights out!

The next day, we woke up early, donned our exercise gear and headed to Kripalu, a yoga school and center for health, just a few minutes away from the Inn. The place was huge, with 4 floors and lush grounds in a beautiful mountain setting. Kripalu is a serious yoga retreat with ongoing classes, hiking trails, a spa and more. With our daily passes, we were free to explore the programs of our choice (I chose a deep-tissue massage ‘cuz G-d knows I’m no yogi!) and then meet up mid-day for lunch and a hike. Salads of black bean burgers were prepped for us , so we lunched on the patio with breathtaking views and then geared up for a hike around the property. After we headed back, we had a bit more time at Kripalu, but I went to explore Tanglewood, a popular Berkshires attraction, with some of the ladies. Tanglewood is a summer hot-spot with music festivals and shopping, so we walked around the mostly-empty town, exploring some of the fun shops around. After making a few purchases (we’re ladies after all!), we headed back to the Inn for a post-hike yoga class and dinner of chicken breast, roasted vegetables and sweet potato fries. Beth gave us an inspiring nutrition talk during dinner and we finished off the long day with a healthy baking class and an essential oil workshop. Lights out!

Wednesday morning we wrapped up with another yoga class and a breakfast parfait bar filled with oatmeal, chia seed pudding, yogurt, fruit and toppings. We packed up some leftovers for lunch and we were off. Two jam-packed days behind us, and lots of fuel to get back to the daily grind of mommyhood.

I, for one, needed that fuel. I spent the early morning hours whispering into the phone as my son back home was having an asthma attack. I was helpless and worried and felt so. far. away. I had my mom go to the house to take care of the kids while my husband rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. It was every mother’s worst nightmare, being away during such an emergency, but my husband reassured me over and over that everything was ok, and skyped me from the hospital so I could see for myself. My three-year-old spent the next two days in the pediatric ICU and I was so thankful that I had taken that break so I could be there for him, my family, and myself, fully and healthy.

Going away was hard (I had to pump every four hours on the road!) but it’s something I didn’t even know I needed. Taking a break from the daily grind allows you to regroup, center yourself and feed your soul. It reminded me that being a mom doesn’t just mean taking care of others, it means taking care of myself – and that neglecting that need doesn’t make me a martyr, it makes me resentful and unhappy. I needed that wake-up call because every day is a nonstop marathon of giving and feeding and caring for others and it’s hard. G-d is it hard. And every night as I go to bed, I pray that tomorrow will be easier – but it’s not. Because being a mom is a full time job that will never end. Going away inspired me to learn to take time for myself – to nourish my body with healthy food and exercise and nourish my soul with a good book and a relaxing massage. I’m making an effort to do something for me, and it’s ok.

The retreat really gave me the kickstart I needed to start eating healthy again. It’s been a while. I’ve put on a whopping 20 lbs. since I had my baby, 9 months ago (I always put on weight when I nurse!) and it’s finally time to lose it the healthy way – with diet and exercise. I whipped up these delicious low-carb portobello tuna melts last week, and I’m super excited to share the recipe with you! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be about deprivation, especially when you get creative and think outside the box.

This one is for all the Mom’s out there. I salute you.


This post was sponsored by Natural & Kosher Cheese. Follow them on FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, or via their Blog

Related Recipes:

spicy tuna melt twice baked potatoes
baked portobello shakshuka
portobello pizza

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Refried Bean Tacos

Thursday, 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

Thursday, 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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Grain Free Granola

Thursday, 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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Salami Babka

Thursday, 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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Avocado Toast with Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Thursday, 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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Nish Nosh Salmon

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

If you’re familiar with Nish Nosh salad, you’re probably doing the happy dance right now. Nish Noshim are these buttery sour cream and onion crackers that are made in Israel and the dish gets it’s name because it’s smothered in these addictive crackers. The salad is as popular for it’s crackers as it is for it’s dressing, which includes soy sauce, mustard and garlic for a rich savory flavor. The dressing is so delicious in it’s own right that it’s been packaged and sold in stories under the name Nish Nosh dressing.

Of course Nish Nosh salad has made an appearance on my Shabbat table, and it always gets finished to the last drop. The salad itself includes romaine lettuce, red cabbage and grape tomatoes, along with the crackers and salad dressing. Being the blogger that I am, I decided to turn the dish into an entree using salmon! I even roasted the cabbage and tomatoes for a full baking sheet dinner that is light, simple and pretty healthy if you don’t eat the whole bag of crackers while you’re prepping ;)

Roasted cabbage has become a healthy staple for me thanks to my friend Mel who makes it regularly. I love that you can dress it up with different spices (most recently I used Montreal Steak Seasoning) and it’s super quick and easy. The cabbage takes on a great texture, and if you cook it long enough, it starts to brown and caramelize. My only caveat: don’t use the prepackaged shredded cabbage. You’ll definitely want to use a fresh head and slice it yourself (no need to use a machine for this, just your trusty old kitchen knife).

We’re not that big into fish in my house since my kids don’t like it, but I’m definitely trying to work it in to the weekly rotation. Baked salmon is really the easiest way to go, and throwing it on a sheet pan with all the other ingredients make it a super quick dinner. You can serve this with some quinoa if you want to bulk up the dish, or treat yourself to a healthy and delicious lunch. Of course it works great for Shabbat too!

If you want to serve it up buffet style for a party, here’s a great idea: Roast the cabbage and tomatoes on their own sheet tray. Cut the salmon into cubes and coat them fully in the mayo and crumbs. Bake the salmon until opaque (about 10 minutes, depending on the size of your cubes) and roast the cabbage and tomatoes until they start to caramelize. Spread the cabbage out onto a platter and top with the salmon cubes. Then stand back and enjoy the compliments!

Related Recipes:

sweet chili salmon with wasabi crust
pesto baked salmon
teriyaki salmon
snacker-crusted salmon cakes

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Mexishuka (Mexican Quinoa Shakshuka)

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

If a food could be my spirit animal, that food would be shakshuka. It’s versatile. Colorful. Sweet. Spicy. Photogenic. And oh. so. delicious. Don’t we all just want to be like shakshuka?

Well I’ll tell you what. We all want to at least be like a decently cooked one. I was reminiscing about my seminary days in Israel recently, and I was telling my Shabbat guests about the foods they used to serve us. This dish of rubbery eggs cooked in tomato sauce came back to me, and I finally realized, so many years later, that that was my first shakshuka experience. And what a bad one it was!

I don’t know why our Israeli chef couldn’t make a decent pot of the stuff. Maybe it’s because he was making it on a larger scale. Or maybe he was afraid of giving us salmonella. But those eggs…man where they rubbery. I think it was everyone’s least favorite lunch. Whenever shakshuka was served, we’d fill our bowls with Israeli soup croutons and eat them like cereal and milk, with just a splash of soup. It’s no wonder I put on 15 pounds that year!

Fast forward many years (I won’t date myself!) and I was eating at some Israeli restaurant. I went for the shuka and I was hooked. I forgot all about my rubbery egg days and the rest is history! I’ve been putting my own twists on the classic Israeli dish ever since.

I’m not so sure the Israelis would back me up on my varied interpretations of shakshuka, they’re purists when it comes to their food. They like their hummus straight up with tahini, their falafel without the fanfare, and their lemonana with strictly lemon and mint. Of course I go and trash up all their traditions with things like chestnut hummus, falafel latkes and strawberry limonana but that’s just my thang.

I’ve done the shakshuka thing in so many different variations. I cooked it up with a matbucha base, always make my quick and easy marinara base, I even stuffed it into a portobello, and tried a lightened up version with spaghetti squash. There was also the chickpea one, the zoodle one, and that beet and goat cheese one that Amy guest posted after my baby was born. So yes, I’ve rode that shakshuka train to breakfast glory and back! But THIS. This is next-level shakshuka. This is the best. freakin. shakshuka. I. have. ever. eaten.

When I started cooking this dish, I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily adaptable the Israeli flavors were to Mexican cuisine, where cumin and chili peppers play a pivotal role. I threw in some chili powder, jalapenos and black beans, but the real star is the quinoa. It makes this dish so hearty, you don’t even need to eat it with pita (oh yes I said it. No pita. Please don’t come after me Israeli food police).

I was putting the finishing touches on this dish when my husband surprised me by coming home in between meetings. I was so happy I had what to feed him, and he just kept coming back for more because it’s just. that. good. We polished off this skillet in no time and I’m already dreaming about making it again.

As for the bygone shakshuka of my past, I’m happy to say I have mastered the art of the perfect runny-egg shakshuka. May those rubbery eggs rest in peace.

In the meantime, I’m already dreaming up another shakshuka variation. I’m thinking something picante with eggplant. What do you say?

Have you ever put a fun spin on shakshuka? What’s you favorite version? Share it with me in the comments below!

Have an eggscellent day!


Related Recipes:

quick and easy shakshuka
portobello shakshuka
spaghetti squash shakshuka
garbanzo bean shakshuka
zoodle shakshuka
beet, kale and goat cheese shakshuka

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How to Build a Fish Board

Monday, December 26th, 2016

Food boards are all the rage right now and I’ve been drooling all over them! You can find cheese boards that spread out for miles, charcuterie boards at restaurants and smoked fish boards at cafes.

I recently set up a charcuterie board for my husband’s birthday, and cheese boards are a regular appetizer at my Chanukah and Shavuot meals, so this year, I decided to do something a little different.

Thanks to the Jewish food trend, old world favorites are making a comeback, along with herring, smoked fish and of course, bagels.  I was inspired by some of the foodie posts I’ve seen, noshing at the newly opened Russ & Daughters at The Jewish Museum, as well as Lox at The Museum of Jewish Heritage. Who knew smoked fish would ever be in fashion?!

I’ve also been reading The Gefilte Manifesto by Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alern of The Gefilteria, who’s well-researched book highlights the history and process of so many old world Jewish foods. Their book is a mix of both classic recipes and modern interpretations, many of which I had never even heard of (Kvass, anyone?). The book is a real eye opener into Jewish food history and I highly recommend it!

Speaking of the trend towards Jewish food, I have to mention that, while it’s amazing to see all these books and restaurants popularizing Jewish foods, it’s painful to see that the “kosher” concept is all but ignored. Over the past several months, I was invited to two separate events which featured the history of Kosher food – one of which was a book talk and tasting discussing the journey of kosher food through the modern food system, and yet, ironically, the food served was not actually kosher. Another such event payed homage to Jewish culture and cuisine and yet was not either kosher. I get it, believe me, not everyone who is Jewish keeps kosher. But if an organization or a museum is putting together an event that is specifically about the history of KOSHER food, how can they serve food that is NONkosher??

This is something that bothers me to my core. And not because if I go to these events, I won’t have what to eat. It’s because the very act of serving nonkosher food dismisses one of the basic principles of Jewish food. As Michael Solomov, the Israeli chef, writes in his cookbook, Zahav, “Plenty of Israelis eat treyf these days….But at Zahav, and in this book, we choose to honor the spirit of a few fundamental rules of kosher cooking…..The reason is simple: Kosher rules help define the boundaries of Israeli cuisine.

Now I’m not judging anyone who doesn’t keep kosher. To each his own. But as we celebrate Chanukah, I’m reminded of the Hellenists, who stripped themselves of their Jewishness to become like their cultured Greek neighbors and friends. Jewish food is more than just a cultural thing. Kosher is part of it’s history and tradition. Dismissing the kosher aspect is both disrespectful and historically inaccurate. The very reason that many traditional Jewish foods exist today, is due to the need that our ancestors had to follow the kosher guidelines. I would love to see that acknowledged in the world of Jewish cuisine.

So, now that I finally got that off my chest, lets get back to the food, shall we? Nothing makes me think of old world Jewish food more than smoked fish. (Herring too, but I won’t go near that stuff!). In honor of Chanukah, I decided to share my take on an endless fish spread with some gourmet toppings. I hope it inspires you to put out a board of your own.

Happy Chanukah!


Products featured in this board:

Portlock smoked pink salmon (the large fish on the board in the center)
Ruby Bay smoked salmon in sriracha, lemon pepper and pastrami
Ruby Bay hot smoked keta salmon
Blue Hill Bay herb smoked salmon
Ruby Bay teriyaki salmon jerky
Milas oloves in chili oregano, basil garlic, chili garlic and lemon rosemary
Lucini Itali lemon flavored olive oil
Brooklyn Brine Pickles in spicy maple bourbon
Kozlowski Farms jalapeno jam
Eden stone ground brown mustard
Altius black sea salt
Baked in Brooklyn honey mustard breadsticks
Absolutely gluten free crackers


This post was sponsored by Crafted Kosher. Visit craftedkosher.com for a large selection of gourmet kosher products. Follow Crafted Kosher on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Related Recipes:

fish tacos + 8 International menus
how to build a fried fish sandwich
gefilte fish, 3 ways
homemade fish sticks

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