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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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Paleo Chocolate Muffins

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

I keep waiting for life to get a bit less hectic. When baby #5 came five weeks early this summer, life turned upside down. We thought we had everything all worked out. We were spending July in upstate New York and planned to return for the second month of the summer, so I’d be near the hospital for my late-August due date. Instead, we drove for two+ hours in the wee of night while I labored in the front seat hoping that my water wouldn’t break! Alas, we made it to the hospital with more than enough time, because my labor lasted 24 hours. You just never know.

My husband packed up all our stuff from the country (we all know how that went), and I started looking for an extra hand to help with the kids while I nursed my preemie around the clock. Slowly but surely, things began to fall into place. The kids transitioned to their new summer arrangements, I found an awesome girl to help out, and I rested up at my Mom’s house. But then camp ended. And school was two weeks away. And we had all the holidays coming, so I needed to buy holiday clothes, uniforms, school supplies and all that New Year stuff that is just. so. hectic. Once that all died down, I started to plan for my son’s Upshernish, a ritual hair-cutting ceremony observed when a Jewish boy turns three, and thus formally begins his Torah education. I spent weeks prepping and planning, made my very first fondant cake and other desserts which I froze in advance. I lined up a caterer, entertainment, got us all in coordinating outfits and booked the photographer. Alas, the big day arrived (which we celebrated this week), and thankfully it all worked out beautifully. We chopped off my son’s beautiful blond curls, sharing and celebrating with friends and family.

Now that the upshernish is behind us, I woke up this morning thinking, OK, now let me just take a breather. But then I opened my calendar and saw all the trillions of things I had lined up (many of which I had pushed off because I was too busy planning the party) …and I realized…life is not going to get any less hectic. This is it. I’ve got five kids. I’ve got recipes to test. Demos to work on. Articles to write. Shopping and homework and Dr.’s appointments and PTA and laundry and diapers to change and babies to feed…..and…….and……yes. I’ve got so much. I’ve got so much.

So instead of fighting my hectic schedule, I’ve decided to embrace it. And instead of wishing for a break, I’m going to find little tidbits of calm amid the chaos. Small moments to savor a hot cup of coffee, and to realize that breastfeeding is not a chore, but a time to bond with my adorable baby and dinner with friends is not just another thing to do on my calendar, but a time to take a break and actually enjoy the moment!

Today is hectic. And tomorrow will be too. But I am forever thankful for it. Happy Thanksgiving!

I’ve been trying to clean up my diet the past couple of weeks (so I could fit into my dress for the upshernish!) and whenever I’m looking to debloat, I try and go Paleo (or Whole30!). The natural, unprocessed food really helps me get back to a healthy way of life and just makes me feel better. These amazing grain-free chocolate muffins have literally saved me on mornings when I am desperate for a little something to eat with my date-sweetened, coconut-milk coffee. They’re so rich and fudgy that my kids actually think of them as a special treat, instead of a healthy one!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Paleo diet or reading about my 30-Day Meal Plan, visit this page!

hazelnut chocolate chip almond butter cookies
chocolate ganache tart with macaroon tart

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Beet, Kale & Goat Cheese Shakshuka

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

I’m super excited to start off my guest posts with a recipe by the talented, creative and adorable Amy from WhatJewWannaEat! Amy and I met through the close-knit kosher blogging community and we share a love of creating fun twists on traditional Jewish foods. Amy is all about putting the JEW in everything, and her bagel posts on Insta always make me hungry! The girl knows the way to my heart (or should I say, my stomach?) ‘cuz she put her own spin on one of my all time favorite dishes, shakshuka! I can’t wait to cook up this dish, and with the Nine Days upon us, there’s no better time to Jew it. (see what I did there Amy?!)

For more great recipes for The Nine Days, check out my Nine Days category, browse my Pinterest board, or scan through the dairy and fish categories in the index!

If you want to win a copy of Amy’s soon-to-be-released cookbook, Sweet Noshings, plus a bonus gift from ModernTribe, don’t forget to enter my GUEST BLOGGER CONTEST! More details here.

Shalom, y’all! I’m Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat, and I’m pumped to share a recipe over on Busy in Brooklyn today. On WJWE, I blog about modern takes on classic Jewish recipes, like Sumac Roasted Salmon or Chocolate Cardamom Halvah, and my first cookbook Sweet Noshings comes out in just a few weeks! I am also the owner of ModernTribe, an online shop for fun Jewish gifts. So I’m busy, but not as busy as Chanie. I’m impressed how she cares for five children all while running her popular blog and doing numerous cooking demos. So I was thrilled to help out when she asked me to guest post on BIB.

I’ve loved following Chanie for years for creative, sophisticated kosher recipes (like Cauliflower Nachos with Harissa Cheddar Sauce or Drunken Hasselback Salami) and daily eats/impressive Shabbat prep on her Instagram. Because I live in Austin, TX, I was online friends with Chanie before finally meeting her when I was in NYC last year. Now we are Internet and real life friends!

Chanie is an expert at using ingredients in surprising ways (Corndog Hamantaschen anyone?), and I love how she incorporates healthy elements into so many of her recipes. With it being the Nine Days, I wanted to create a healthy, hearty and dairy dish to share with y’all. Chanie has made a few versions of shakshuka over the years, so I thought I would offer my own! I love taking classic favorites, and putting my own twist in them, so I added earthy beets, kale and tangy goat cheese for lots of added color and nutrients to your basic shakshuka (which I also love). If you try this recipe, I’d love to see it over on Instagram!

Related Recipes:

zoodle shakshuka
garbanzo bean shakshuka
spaghetti squash shakshuka
portobello shakshuka
quick and easy shakshuka

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Nutella Crepes with Sweet Plantain Tortillas

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

In continuation from yesterday’s post for savory plantain tortillas, I bring you some sweet ones! You can read the previous post on more about what plantains are, and to see more step by step pics of the tortilla making process!

These sweet tortilla crepes are made with plantains, and the addition of coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla. They’re great for breakfast or dessert, and best of all, they’re egg-free!

If you’re eating these over Passover, chances are, you’ve had eggs for breakfast, or you plan to have it for lunch or dinner. So having an egg-free meal option is a must-have! Of course you can make these a tad healthier by filling with nut butter and fresh fruit, but homemade nutella is nut butter too. It’s just chocolate hazelnut nut butter ;)

If you’re not into the tortilla crepe idea, use your own potato starch + egg variation, but you must try my homemade nutella and other fillings, especially the maple candied pecans. Happy Passover!


Related Recipes:

sweet nut omelette
nutella banana ice cream
chocolate ganache tart with macaroon crust
fish tacos with savory plantain tortillas

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Fish Tacos with Savory Plantain Tortillas

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Last year was my first time venturing into the world of plantains. It’s definitely a lesser known fruit, so I’m here to tell you more about it!

Plantains are a tropical fruit, and are best known for their use in tostones – a twice fried chip. You’ll find them on the menu in many Latin restaurants, like 26 Sushi & Tapas, in Miami, Florida. I love them topped with ceviche and avocado!

A plantain looks like a banana, but it’s slightly larger with angular sides. It’s taste and texture are determined by it’s stage of ripeness – firm and starchy when it’s green, and softer and sweeter when it’s yellow to black. Plantains cannot be eaten raw, but they make great (baked or fried!) chips when firm, delicious mash when ripe and great egg-free tortillas at any stage. Plantains are a resistant starch, which means that they pass through the digestive system sort of like soluble fiber and don’t spike blood sugar, making them popular among Paleo enthusiasts.

My interest in plantain tortillas was purely a Passover thing, since most kosher for Passover crepes are made using potato starch and eggs. I’m not a big fan of potato starch, and since my son is allergic to eggs, I was looking for an egg-free alternative.

I created two versions of the tortilla – a savory one, made with avocado oil, lime juice and a bit of chili powder, and a sweet one, made with coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla (recipe coming tomorrow!). Plantains don’t have much flavor on their own, so adding these ingredients was essential. I was pleasantly surprised that the tortillas were soft and pliable and really make a great substitute for Passover crepes and wraps. It’s great to have a recipe that doesn’t call for potato starch and eggs for a change, am I right?!

Now for the fillings! I’m a big fan of fish tacos so I definitely went that route with coconut crusted fish fillets which you can bake or fry (if you’re not a fan of coconut, I would recommend frying). Mango salsa is the perfect accompaniment to this tropical dish and curried mayo, one of my favorite condiments, rounds it out. This makes a great lunch or light dinner after all the heavy meat and potato dishes that we’re used to!

Looking for other potato alternatives for Pesach? Check out this article that I put together for OU kosher. It’s got lots of amazing recipes, suggestions and ideas for replacing the spud. You can thank me later!


Related Recipes:

plantain nachos
fish tacos with broccoli slaw
tropical guacamole
nutella crepes with sweet plantain tortillas

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Charoset London Broil

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I recently spent a couple of days in Miami. Aside from my (almost) daily breakfast at Zak the Baker, I made sure to head to Sarah’s Tent, a kosher grocery in Aventura. Sarah’s Tent is a well stocked market with a great deli, but that’s not what I went for. I went for the Israeli imports, specifically, kosher Lotus Biscoff spread, also known as speculoos or cookie butter.

If you fly Delta, you may notice that they give out individually wrapped biscuit cookies made by Lotus, but sadly, I always pass on them and go for the kosher pretzels. El Al, however, offers up the Israeli-manufactured version of the biscuit, which is, in fact, kosher. I went through my kosher speculoos phase a little while back when my local kosher supermarket carried the biscuits (which I turned into these buns, these pancakes and this party mix), but I’ve since moved on to the spread – which is the most decadent cookie butter of your dreams – and is pretty hard to get your hands on with a kosher certification. I once made my husband travel all around Jerusalem to bring me home a prized jar, and I savored that butter like no ones business, one spoon at a time!

BUT – back to the recipe at hand. As I was strolling through the aisles of Sarah’s Tent, I noticed a jar of Israeli-made charoset and I was intrigued. As an Ashkenazi, I had never tasted the “real” stuff, made with dates, apples, walnuts and wine. I brought home a jar and sadly, I was quite disappointed with the flavor. It was sitting in my fridge last week as I rummaged through, looking for ingredients to make my london broil – and then it hit me. Why not marinate my meat in it, with some red wine, and make a Charoset london broil. Alas, the beef came out of the oven smelling divine, but I did not like the flavor. Putting a condiment that I did not like on it’s own on beef, only made the beef taste like the jarred stuff – and well, it was just off. But the idea was a strike of genius! I had posted a photo of the meat on Instagram (if you don’t follow my Friday food fests, you must!), and requests for the recipe started pouring in! So, I decided to come up with a homemade variation on the Charoset London Broil idea, and the results couldn’t have been better!

The meat marinates in a mixture of traditional charoset ingredients of red wine, walnut oil (in place of walnuts), silan or date honey (in place of dates), some grated apple and a pinch of cinnamon. After I cook up the meat perfectly medium-rare, the marinade gets cooked up thickened and tastes just like – you guessed it – charoset! This delicious Passover dish is a must, whether your Sephardic or Ashkenazi (like me!). Give it a try!

Related Recipes:

“everything” london broil with red wine reduction
French roast with dried fruit
Kosher meat guide: cuts and cooking methods

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Apple Crisp with Gluten-Free Marzipan Crumble

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

This right here has been on my mind since forever. An apple crisp with marzipan just seems like the perfect combo, so I finally decided to make it gluten free!

The smell of marzipan transports me to the kosher-for-Passover bakery aisle, with rainbow cake, leaf cookies and all sorts of gluten-free treats that smell of almond extract. The truth is, I used to hate the stuff, but like many foods, it’s grown on me over the years and now I actually like it! My husband is a huge fan (hence this birthday cake!) and my kids have hopped on the marzipan train too (which is why I came up with these).

I’ve got a huge stash of marzipan inspired recipes on my to-do list, but I have to admit, it’s not one of those ingredients that everyone loves, which is why I don’t like to blog about it too much. It’s really one of those love it or hate it ingredients (like halva!), and I kinda like my recipes to appeal to everyone. But since marzipan, for me, is so reminiscent of Passover, I figured I’d just bite the bullet, or, er, the marzipan.

Making your own marzipan is a breeze, by the way, and since all the ingredients are kosher for Passover, you can whip up a double batch and use it in so many ways! My only caveat here is that I used pure almond extract to test the recipe and I’m not 100% sure that it’s available kosher for Passover. I know the imitation stuff is, so you can use that. Just take caution since it might have a stronger flavor.

The absolute best part about this recipe, is that the crumble can be made on it’s own, and it makes the most fantastic Kosher-for-Passover non-gebroks topping for ice cream, yogurt and fruit. It’s even great on it’s own as a brittle-style snack!

Related Recipes:

3-layer rainbow cookie cake
gluten-free date and almond hamantaschen
Passover sugared almonds

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Parmesan Roasted Almonds

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Somebody pinch me. Is Pesach really in less than a month? Ahhhhhhhhh

That’s not to say I’m making Pesach this year, because I plan to avoid that catastrophic monster of a gluten free cookfest for as long as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind helping in the kitchen at all, in fact, I enjoy coming up with original dishes as a result of our strict Passover restrictions. But the thought of actually hosting meal after meal for eight days straight is not exactly appealing to me.


So, I’ll be helping out in my mom’s kitchen this year. And I plan to do a lot of spiralizing. We’ll be eating plenty of zoodles and sweet potato rice – a healthier alternative to the overused spud.

Meals are not that much of an issue – we always have my mom’s Passover gefilte fish, mason jars filled with pickled cucumber salad, beet “vinaigrette”, ratatouille and mock chopped liver. There are also the traditional Pesach dishes like scrambled hard boiled eggs, orange chicken and sweet nut omelettes. But snacks? other than bananas and the occasional piece of dark chocolate, we’re out of options.

Last year, I made these sugared almonds, but as my palate has taken a turn for the savory, I came up with an even tastier version, minus the sugar. Parmesan roasted almonds are completely addictive, and they make the most amazing croutons over lettuce! If you make your own mayo, a Passover Caesar salad can now be on the menu, without losing out on the crunchy crouton goodness.

Making these croutons the other day was an admission that Pesach is coming, whether we like it or not. But it was also a realization that it can be oh. so. delicious.

More fun and innovative Passover recipes recipes are coming your way soon, so stay tuned!



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

Related Recipes:

gluten free broccoli parmesan poppers
gluten free roasted eggplant parmesan
gluten free pesto zucchini fries
pesto baked salmon

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Veal Marsala Bolognese with Turnip Noodles

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

It’s almost New Year’s and stigmas aside, I really want to get back into healthy eating. The December donutfest threw me off the wagon, and I’ve been having a hard time getting back on! I’m back to the “I’ll start tomorrow”,  or just after the weekend, or my favorite, “Monday is a new day”. Except Monday comes and goes and it’s already time for the ball to drop.

So here I am, heading into New Year’s Eve and I’m renewing my commitment to pull out my spiralizer and eat more veggies and less carbs. Who’s in for the ride?

We’ll start with these turnip noodles and this amazingly rich bolognese made with veal (my favorite protein), mushrooms and marsala wine, a twist on the classic chicken marsala.

I’m a big fan of marsala (it’s got wine and mushrooms, hello?!), but bolognese? Not so much. Classic bolognese is made with ground beef (not my fave) and dry red wine, and the good stuff is usually simmered for hours. Truth be told, I usually just make my split-second bolognese by browning my beef and adding store-bought marinara, which is probably why I don’t like it very much. My kids, on the other hand, love it over spaghetti with a side of zoodles. It’s by go-to whenever I need a quick and easy dinner, and eating it over zoodles makes it guilt-free too.

But I’m marinara’d out. I use it for my 2-ingredient lazy meatballs, my quick and easy shakshuka, my cheesy zoodle marinara and so much more. I wanted something different so I decided to create a bolognese that’s marinara-free. Something not so heavy, but rich and tasty, and oh so delicious. I hit the nail on the head.

Not only is this veal bolognese amazingly rich and satisfying, it’s virtually guilt-free when served with spiralized turnip noodles, a nice change from the overdone zoodles. Looks like January 2016 is going to be healthy and delicious indeed. Happy New Year!

Related Recipes:

spaghetti squash bolognese
melt-in-your-mouth veal meatballs
veal shepherds pie with celery root mashed potatoes
caraway roasted turnips

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Bundt Pan Rotisserie Chicken

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

I have a confession to make. I used to be afraid of chicken. And I don’t mean of eating it.

Yes, you read that right. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t too fond of helping in the kitchen, and when I had to make chicken, lets just say it was an ordeal. I always wore gloves, but sometimes the chicken got the better of me and I would throw it into the sink, terrified that it would come to life and leap at me.

I mean, do you blame me? Look at that chicken sitting there all pretty. It looks so…well…human.

It took a few years, but I got over my fear. And just time in time for this GENIUS homemade crispy rotisserie chicken hack.

I can’t take credit for this stroke of brilliance. All credit goes to Justin Chapple, the senior editor of Food & Wine Magazine, who’s Mad Genius Tips constantly blow me away!

When I saw a short clip of this easy bunt pan rotisserie chicken on Instagram, I was all over it. I made it for Shabbat that week, and I’ve been making it ever since. It’s my husband’s favorite way to eat chicken, and we always fight over the crispier-than-ever chicken wings!

My favorite thing about this recipe is that it’s super healthy and indulgent nonetheless. You feel like you’re eating fried chicken (it’s that crispy!), but without those extra calories. It also makes a great one-dish meal when you add potatoes or other veggies.

Related Recipes:

lemon & garlic whole roasted chicken

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