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Hummus Simanim

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

As the New Year approaches, I always like to evaluate where I stand and think about what changes I want to make for myself in the coming year, both personally and professionally. For years, my goal was to take the necessary steps towards writing my own cookbook, and now that I have met that goal (far beyond my expectations, with our first printing of 15,000 books completely sold out in just 3 months!), I keep asking myself, “What’s next?”.


I’m not the type of person that settles on status quo – I’m always dreaming up the next big thing and finding ways to challenge myself. It’s like they say – “If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind” – and I definitely believe in that.


Truth be told, once the book went to print, I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that I couldn’t imagine coming up with new recipes and ideas ever again! But as my workload lightened up this summer, I got back in the kitchen because I wanted to, not because I had to, and I found my groove again! I went back to my roots, the foods and the flavors that I love the most (yes, that means Israeli food!) and this amazing new recipe came to me! It’s simanim on steroids and it is everything you’ve ever dreamed of for your Rosh Hashanah table and more!

Simanim, or symbolic foods, are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. Some simanim include leeks, pomegranate, gourds (any type of squash), dates, black eyed peas or green beans, beets, carrots and fish head (some use ram’s head). These specific foods are eaten because their hebrew translation relates to specific blessings that convey our wishes for the coming year.


When I put the platter together, I couldn’t stop taking photos because, I mean, HOW GORGEOUS IS IT, amiright??? I all but maxed out my SD card and went. to. town. (No- I like seriously went to town, for some fresh pita!). I invited my neighbors over and we stood over my kitchen counter in the mountains, scooping hummus and salad onto blistered bread, the tastes of Israel growing stronger with each bite. It was a simple dish, but it captured everything I love about what I do – channeling my creativity, sharing with friends, cooking with color and putting a twist on tradition.

This dish reminded me how important it is to cook from a place of love – it is, after all, the secret ingredient that makes everything taste better – and that it’s food, family and tradition that brings us all together.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and sweet New Year with much success in all areas of your lives. May we continue to reach milestones and share good news with each other this year!
Ksiva Vachasima Tova L’shana Tova Umisukah!



Related Recipes:

simanim fritto misto
simanim pasta salad
simanim holiday salad
hummus bassar
chestnut hummus

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Grilled Chicken Wedge Salad
with Carrot Ginger Dressing

Monday, August 6th, 2018

Grilled chicken salad is my dish of choice for summer. There always seems to be some leftover chicken in the fridge and I love the challenge of coming up with new ways to eat it – depending on what I have on hand. I typically go with Middle Eastern-inspired recipes when I use pargiot, or dark meat cutlets, and I go Asian or Indian with chicken breasts.

The iceberg salad with carrot ginger dressing is my favorite starter at Asian restaurants – it’s just so light and fresh and really the perfect way to start a meal of heavy Chinese food. I’m always picking out the big chunks of iceberg that are wedged into each other, so I decided to make a salad that is all about the wedge!

Traditional wedge salad is smothered in bacon and blue cheese dressing – and aside from the fact that it’s not kosher, I’m not even tempted, because, well….blue cheese. I prefer not to eat food that tastes like stinky socks, you know? But this right here? This is I can get behind. With creamy avocado, peppery radishes and crisp cucumber, you don’t even miss croutons and the dish will leave you feeling light and refreshed – just how I love my summer salads.

Related Recipes:

Asian lettuce wraps
grilled chicken fattoush with za’atar ranch
grilled chicken salad with jalapeno honey mustard dressing
grilled chicken shawarma salad

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Grilled Chicken Fattoush with Za’atar Ranch

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Reunited (with my camera) and it feels SO good! I haven’t picked up my equipment to photograph food since I shot my cookbook months ago and I thought I might be a little rusty but by George I think I’ve still got it!

Shooting food today reminded me just how much I love what I do and I’ve missed it! Recipe development, food photography and food styling give me SO much joy, and I am legit the luckiest girl in the world to get to do it for a living. As a food blogger, it’s easy to get caught up in the world of social media – keeping up with the ever changing algorithms, apps and platforms – you almost forget why you got into it in the first place and coming back after a long break is just so good for the blogger soul.

It’s funny because when my book went to print in March, I took a sigh of relief that my schedule would finally ease up and I’d be able to take a breather, but the exact opposite happened. I had a book launch to plan, interviews, book signings and demos that followed in quick succession. It’s all been a roller coaster ride and I’ve been wanting so badly to come up for some air – until I finally did this week, and you know what I realized? I don’t even know how to relax. So I went back to what I know and that’s food. And my camera. And even though you could look at it as work – it was exactly what I needed. I had no deadline. It wasn’t for a book, or a magazine, or even the blog. It was for me.

The food: cuz lets face it, it’s always about the food! Lemon Sumac Grilled Pargiot to be precise. I’m a total pargiot convert. I can’t go back to dry grilled chicken breasts, they’re just so, blah! But pargiot? – so. darn. tasty. And they never dry out! This lemon sumac version is so light and fresh for summer, with a hint of sweetness from the silan. The perfect marriage.

The chicken is a great topping for the summery fattoush – a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and fried bread (in this case pita chips). I paired it with a lip-smacking za’atar ranch because that’s just how I roll. This is your new summer salad, and you can thank me later.

Related Recipes:

farro grain bowl
grilled chicken shawarma salad
grilled marinated chicken

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Smoky Kale & Farro Salad with Balsamic Fig Dressing

Thursday, March 8th, 2018


I’ve been trying to eat healthy lately – less snacking, more wholesome meals with lots of greens. It hasn’t been easy!

Maybe it’s because I get bored of salads. How many times can you eat lettuce with cucumbers and tomatoes, you know? I mean of course there are a million directions you can go in with salad, but who has the time? Most days I’m lucky if I get to scarf down anything while I’m running from here to there – so I come home famished and eat whatever I can find. I haven’t been making the best choices.

With my manuscript deadline just a few weeks away, I’ve been so stressed, barely sleeping and not taking care of myself. It all came to a head when I came down with the worst case of the flu the other week, that literally had me wanting to check into a hospital. I never knew the flu could be so bad, but I also knew that my body wasn’t doing the best job at getting better because I hadn’t been taking care of myself. It was a real wake up call for me to start taking my vitamins, getting more sleep, and eating better. I lost 10 lbs. over those two grueling weeks, but I gained a fresh start. It was like a clean slate for me, a chance to start over and live with intention.

I may not have done a Whole30, but I definitely felt a mind shift and I’ve been going with the flow. Working more salad into my meals, moving more and drinking more water. I feel so much better and as crazy as it is – I’m so thankful that I had such a bad case of the flu, because it put me in a better place.

Now lets talk about this salad. Salads like these make me want to eat all the greens! I love the balance of smoky, salty, chewy, tart, and sweet! And the balsamic fig dressing is such a winner, you’ll want to start stocking your fridge with it all the time.


A salad that actually makes you want to eat salad – so much yes!!!

Related Recipes:

kale, pear and kabocha squash salad with maple dijon dressing
kale persimmon salad
farro grain bowl

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Greek Salad with Feta Croutons

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Well hello there everyone! It seems like forever since I’ve actually blogged a new recipe here on BIB! I’ve been in full on cookbook mode these passed few weeks and I couldn’t be more excited about how things are moving along! I was so nervous about how I’d be able to juggle the cookbook, social media posting, messages and blogging but somehow it’s been working. Blogging has definitely taken a back seat, and for the first time in six years of blogging, I’ve starting skipping a week or two here and there. There was a time I thought everything would come crashing down if I didn’t post every. single. week. but lo and behold, the blog is still here and everyone is alive and well.

The truth is, it was hard getting back into it but I couldn’t let Chanukah go by without a few special recipes. I mean, it really is my favorite holiday and as many of you now, it’s both my birthday and Anniversary as well! Chanukah is my favorite time to fry up something crazy, make something Greek and go all out in the dairy department, and I’ve combined all three in this awesome salad!

Most of you have eaten Greek salad about a million times in your life, but you’ve probably never tried tried frying the feta into croutons. Yes! I said FRYING THE FETA INTO CROUTONS! How awesome, right?? At first I wasn’t even sure if it would work but a Chanukah miracle happened (early) and the feta fried up beautifully! It was also my first time using Trader Joes cholov yisroel feta which apparently has been a hidden treasure for the past several years, and OMG is it decadent. It’s crazy salty (which I kinda love), but oh so smooth and it also slices so, so nicely without crumbling. The breadcrumbs really help cut through all that saltiness, and with a forkful of veggies, it’s the perfect little bite.

It’s funny because I was never really much of a feta person, probably because I never had really good feta, so Greek salad wasn’t really on my list of faves. It might also have to do with the fact that I’m not a fan of goat or sheep milk products, and most feta is made with sheep milk. I’m so crazy sensitive to the taste, that I can tell if my butcher used the meat grinder to grind lamb before he grinds the beef, because I can taste even the slightest hint of it. And it’s so, so sheepy. I mean, I’m no picky eater but I just. can’t. swallow it.

What’s crazy is, I decided to give the Trader Joe’s sheep’s milk feta a try because so many people told me it was the best feta they ever ate (it’s imported from Israel after all), and even though it had the absolute, most slightest hint of sheep, I was able to tolerate – and even enjoy – it.

So, if you can find Trader Joes best kept secret, go grab a package for this awesome recipe, or use your favorite brand. This post is not sponsored by TJ’s, although how amazing would that be, right?

Related Recipes:

spinach pappardelle with feta and fried poached egg
harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant chips
summer tomato feta salad
roasted eggplant parmesan with feta

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Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas, 5 Ways

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

I have been waiting to post this recipe for months! I kept trying different variations,  cooking temps and times until I found the easiest and most delicious version. I love this dinner because of how simple it is (duh) and because there is just so much you can do with it. I think the chicken fajita bowls are my favorite (because I’m obsessed with food in bowls right now), but the nachos are pretty addictive too.

A lot of thought went into this recipe, including what type of chicken to use. I’m not a fan of skinless roasted chicken breast because it’s just. so. dry. Chicken thighs, on the other hand, are pretty impossible to mess up. Even if you overcook them a little, their fat content keeps them super moist. I also decided to keep these whole for roasting, because cutting them into strips would dry them out. Like I said, lots of thought people, lots of thought.

I’ve also tested this recipe with store bought fajita seasoning (which has added cornstarch, soybeans and wheat) and my homemade version won by a landslide. I love that this recipe is “clean” so if you choose to trash it up with homemade tortilla chips, no one is judging you :)

Related Recipes:

bunless fajita dogs
tortilla crusted chicken fingers
grilled chicken shawarma salad
grilled chicken salad with jalapeno honey mustard dressing

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Our Table Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

I’ve been following Renee Muller for years, and when word got out that she was coming out with a cookbook, I knew it would be something special. You see, Renee doesn’t see food like the rest of us. To her, a table is a canvas, and each dish is another way to paint a beautiful picture. Renee is a food stylist par excellence and her magazines spreads are jaw dropping. I knew the photography would be out of this world, but I was in for even more. In Our Table, Renee invites us to experience the joy of eating memorable meals together, something she cherishes from her upbringing in Lugano, Switzerland. Her recipes are homey, family friendly and diverse. She’s got a little something for everyone – part healthy, part indulgent, some easy and some more complicated. The Chapters span the basics from appetizers and soups/salads to fish/dairy, meat/chicken, snack/sides, breads/cakes/cookies and desserts.

Beautiful photography and a range of mouthwatering recipes wasn’t enough for Renee. So she created a guide with never-before-seen video tutorials of some of her most popular recipes. From “how to stuff cabbage” to “how to cut caramels”, “how to make gnocchi” to “how to braid challah”, these videos are not just visually stunning, they are informative too. (You can watch them here!) You’ll also find a Pesach guide in the book to help you easily adjust many of the recipes and make them holiday approved.

I’ve already tried Renee’s seared tuna cubes over the holidays to rave reviews, but I’m looking forward to trying the broccoli winter salad below, the gnocchi di casa, sugo della nonna (her grandmother’s Italian marinara sauce), Belgian birthday waffles, lattice minute roast, meat manicotti, honey walnut brittle, irresistible toffee, buttery chocolate scones, deconstructed lemon meringue pie (what an awesome idea!) and more!

Of course I can’t do a cookbook review without giving one lucky winner a chance to own this beauty, so…

To enter to a win a copy of Our Table by Renee Muller,

  1. Comment on this post and share your most memorable meal or dish.
  2. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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, November 14th, 2016.

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Fall Farmer’s Market Salad

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

I can’t believe how time is flying and my little munchkin is already 2 months old. And you know what that means? It means that it’s back to life, back to reality. Time to wrap up these guest blog posts with a big finish from my pal Whitney Fisch from Jewhungry. Back when I actually had time to read blogs, Jewhungry was one that I actually READ. Whit has lots to say about food, parenting, and believe it or not, her husband is a real life marine biologist (I thought that only existed in a Seinfeld episode)! Whitney’s chocolate love muffins are a staple in my home, and if you make them, they will be in yours too. Welcome Whitney!

I am so honored to be on this beautiful website! I have been a fan of Chanie and her work for years! I’m doubly excited to be on here while she’s at home, loving on her new baby girl. Hurray!

The recipe I’ve got for ya’ll today is one of those that, once assembled and enjoyed, you think to yourself, “ahhhh, the secret is most definitely in the sauce!” I have been a fan of salads since I was a kid. Truly. My grandfather used to love to take my brother and I out for lunch when we would visit our grandparents in Louisville, KY. He would take us all over town and my go-to order as a spritely 7 year-old was salad. I’m not sure what calls to me in a salad. Maybe it’s the fact that the toppings can be endless. Maybe it’s the crisp freshness of the lettuce itself or the variations one can make on the same thing. I can’t really pinpoint what the one thing is that I truly love about salad other than the dressing. Good Lord, gimme all the dressing. I remember reading Michelle Bernstein’s cookbook, Cuisine a Latina, in which she unabashedly proclaims that she LOVES drenching her salads in dressing. That’s my kinda lady! And therefore, for you today, I have a simply beautiful Fall Farmer’s Market salad in which I actually did, in fact, get all the ingredients from the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. It’s a beautiful salad regardless of dressing but the pesto vinaigrette really takes it up a notch, if you ask me. I also like to use this dressing as a dip for french fries or polenta fries. That’s the great thing about salad dressing . . . it goes with everything!

Related Recipes:

roasted veggie quinoa salad
Israeli couscous with honey roasted root vegetables
spicy roasted carrot fries
gluten free pesto zucchini fries

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Grilled Chicken Salad with
Jalapeno Honey Mustard Dressing

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

It was one of those nights, after many days of eating the wrong foods (read: fried, takeout, you-name-it), when I decided I needed to eat a salad for dinner. Luckily, we always have a stash of oven grilled chicken in the fridge (see my super easy recipe below!), so I just threw together whatever I had in the fridge and pantry and this salad was born. I’ve been making this dressing forever, so that wasn’t exactly an afterthought, but it turned out to be the perfect compliment to the composed salad dish.

If you’re an avid follower of mine, you already know that I post almost everything I eat on Instagram (whenever people stop me in the street to ask me what I’m up to foodwise, I just tell them to follow me there, ‘cuz I post just about everything that goes into my mouth!!), so when I whip together a healthy salad for dinner, I try to plate it up nice and pretty, you know, #eatingfortheinsta. So I fanned out my avocado all  fancy and stuff, and the recipe requests poured in. Next thing I know, my inbox is filled with pics of this salad – all composed and perfect, and this recipe-afterthought became an instant sensation.

The dressing is a hit in it’s own right, and lots of readers have told me it’s become a family favorite. So…I finally decided it was time to blog about it! As a recent text message from a reader reminded me, not everyone uses Facebook or Instagram, so I gotta think about the readers that just come here for the good stuff. Rikal, this is for you ;) !

If you’re not a fan of composed salads (salads that have been neatly arranged on a platter, like this), then just go ahead and and mix everything up in a big ‘ole bowl. I promise it’s just as delicious!

Happy Grilling you guys! Check out the links below for lots of other grilled chicken salad recipes that are perfect for summer or when you get that healthy-eating-binge!

#eatingfortheinsta!

Related Recipes:

grilled chicken shawarma salad
grilled marinated chicken
Asian chicken salad
sesame linguini with marinated chicken breasts

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Sous-Vide Stuffed Eggplant
with Pistachio Dukkah & Tamarind Tahini

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

So I’m sitting on board a Jetblue flight en route to Florida, noshing on my Terra Blues, drinking a diet coke, and working on my blog post via (free!) Fly-Fi. We were lucky enough to score an empty seat, so my very active 23-month old (who’s on the last free flight of his life) is all buckled in and on his way to a white-noise nap. You gotta love Jetblue!

I really wanted to get in this last post before Sukkot because I started a trend a couple of years back where I post a STUFFED recipe in honor of Sukkot and the harvest festival. Traditionally, holipches/holishkes (stuffed cabbage) is served up on Sukkot because we want to celebrate the abundance of the harvest season. Fall is when farmers harvest their wheat in Israel, and stuffing vegetables with filling symbolizes their desire for a year of overflowing harvest. Any stuffed recipe is well suited to honor this custom, including my “ratatouille” mechshie, savory eggplant mechshie, globe zucchini mechshie and of course, stuffed cabbage!

This year, I really wanted to take it up a notch, and since stuffing eggplant is one of my favorite things, I decided to give stuffed sous vide eggplant a try. I recently met a talented chef who was touting the benefits of sous-vide vegetables, and when he told me that sous-vide eggplant is literally soft as butter, I just had to give it a try! I had just got my new Sous Vide Supreme and what better way to use it than to test this technique!

Truth be told, my first try at sous-vide eggplant was an #epicfail. The eggplant was tough and not altogether cooked and after some research, I learned that since veggies tend to float in the water bath, you need to weigh them down to ensure proper cooking. My second try was successful and the results were soft-as-butter-delicious!

Now if you’re going to sous-vide eggplant, you have to have a sophisticated stuffing to match the modernist cooking technique. Roasted eggplants stuffed with Israeli salad is a regular in my house, as well as my
roasted eggplant parmesan, but as delicious as those recipes are, they are still homey comfort foods that wouldn’t do justice to my sous vide eggplant. I really wanted the eggplant to be the star, so I wanted to accessorize it, but not fully outfit it, to borrow some fashion terms :)

If we’re talking food fashion, there’s nothing more fashionable than nut and seed blends right now, so pistachio dukkah was just the thing! I recently did a #myspicerack spice roundup on my Instagram feed, and when I posted about the pistachio dukkah that my sister sends me all the way from Aussie, I got lots of recipe requests! I decided to make my own version from scratch with fresh cumin and coriander seeds from Holon, my favorite Middle Eastern market in Brooklyn. The results were incomparable to the blend my sister had been sending me. It was just so amazingly fresh, crunchy and and nutty, I don’t know why it took me so long to make my own! And you don’t even need a fancy spice grinder, a simple food processor works just fine!

Now that my pistachio dukkah was done, I needed a creamy sauce to bring it all together, but just plain old tahini wouldn’t do the trick. After visiting the amazing tahini store in Shuk Machneh Yehudah in Jersualem, I knew that you could mix so many things into tahini – both savory and sweet, so I decided to go with tamarind. Tamarind paste is both sweet and sour, so it’s a great balance to the salty dukkah spice and sweet pomegranate seeds. Top it off with some chopped parsley and you’ve got it all – color, texture, and balance, just the way food should be. Happy Stuffing!


This post was sponsored by Sous Vide Supreme. All opinions are my own. 

Other Eggplant Recipes:

Roasted eggplants stuffed with Israeli salad
roasted eggplant parmesan
roasted eggplant parmesan with feta
za’atar eggplant chips with harissa whipped feta
miso-glazed eggplant

Other Stuffed Recipes:

“ratatouille” mechshie
savory eggplant mechshie
globe zucchini mechshie
stuffed cabbage!

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