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Harissa Whipped Feta w/ Za’atar Eggplant Chips

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

I recently did a spice roundup of some of my favorite spices and seasoning blends on Instagram. I love cooking with spices because I can pack on the flavor without piling on the extra sugar and additives that are found in sauces and marinades. Spices keep things clean and healthy, without sacrificing on flavor.

If I had to choose a favorite spice, it would probably have to be za’atar. Za’atar is a spice blend that is native to the Middle East. It includes sumac, oregano, thyme and sesame seeds – a bright combination that’s great with just about everything. I love it on pita chips, chickpeas, chicken, fish, eggplant, cauliflower…like I said, everything!

Another one of my favorite spice blends is harissa. Harissa is a North African chili paste that adds amazing depth of flavor to fish, meat, poultry, veggies and sauces. I love to mix it into my shakshuka, tahini, Moroccan fish, sour cream and even nacho cheese! There’s a reason that Time Magazine called harissa the “new sriracha” of 2015. And as a MAJOR sriracha fan, let me assure you that it’s quite the compliment!

The crazy thing about za’atar and harissa is that, while they are both good on their own, they are amazing together! I never realized just how well these spices complemented each other until I developed this recipe. And I. am. obsessed!!

So first, the chips, because I am a chip fanatic. I love that these eggplant chips are baked and not fried – but they are still perfectly crispy. The za’atar adds such an amazing unexpected punch of flavor to the breading that you can literally go through an entire tray in one sitting.

And the feta? Oh. Em. Gee. If you’ve never whipped feta before then GET ON IT! Most people don’t think of feta as a creamy cheese, but when you whiz this stuff up with a little Greek yogurt – it’s like a silky smooth dip that’s perfectly salty. Dunk those za’atar chips in and it’s a full on an explosion in your mouth.

What are some of your favorite spices and seasonings? Share them with me in the comments below!

Related Recipes:

za’atar roasted chickpeas
malawach cheese pastries with za’atar
confetti latkes with harissa sour cream
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce

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Broccoli Parmesan Poppers (Gluten Free!)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

We’re gonna keep things short and sweet today since I know you’re all so busy prepping for Shavuot! I’m gonna let the photos do the talking.


I think you’re getting the picture (pun intended). I took some good old broccoli trees and made ’em kid friendly! And they’re even gluten free. Because I love you. (And because I’m on South Beach).


Do yourself a favor and bookmark this flaxseed crumb recipe because if you’re gluten free, you’re going to want to put it on everything. Especially homemade chicken nuggets. Trust me.


Did I mention they are baked too? You’re welcome.


I love how much goodness is packed into these little balls. Broccoli, flaxseeds, almond meal, and I even made a Greek yogurt ranch dip. Betchya never knew that healthy food could taste/look this good!


And you know what else? these little magic balls are easily adaptable too! If you want a more cheesy bite, add some shredded cheddar. Or your favorite cheese. And you can easily swap in some panko or breadcrumbs if you don’t have gluten free ingredients on hand like I do. Told you they were magic balls.


You’ve got the recipe, now get into the kitchen and make them already! Happy dipping!



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

Related Recipes:

3-cheese broccoli pull-apart buns
sweet sand savory cheese balls
zucchini parmesan chips
gluten free pesto zucchini fries

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Moroccan Fish Balls

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

If there is one store I wish every Jewish community around the world would have, it would be Benz’s Gourmet. The local gourmet kosher shop is celebrating it’s 12th anniversary and we’re feasting on a special gefilte fish recipe in their honor!

Benz’s carries everything from artisan cholov yisroel cheese (imported from France!), smoked fish, caviar, beer, as well as specialty baking and gluten free products. They boast a huge olive bar and a whopping 27 varieties of herring. Whether I’m looking for a gourmet kosher product (like truffle oil), or I’m in the mood for fresh fish, I head on over to Benz’s. Thankfully, it’s just a few blocks away!

What I love about the store is that they are constantly on the lookout for new kosher products. If there is ever an item that I can’t find locally, I ask Benz’s to order it for me, and they do! Recently, I needed rosewater for an upcoming Shavuot recipe, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I gave them a call and it was in the store just a few days later. Now that’s what I call good service!

Besides for Benz’s gourmet selection, they also carry traditional gefilte fish, a family recipe that they’ve been perfecting for over 30 years. I’m always looking to change up traditional gefilte (‘cuz reinventing traditional food is what I do best!) and Benz’s gefilte fish offers me the perfect canvas to build my hybrid recipe.

I don’t know about you, but the more I cook, the more I appreciate savory food. And the more I experiment, the more I realize that you don’t need to use a lot of sweetener in your cooking. My mom doesn’t agree, and neither does my Bubby. They’re ashkenazi food is loaded with sugar, the more the merrier.

If you ask me, sugar is just a fill-in for the absence of flavor. If you build layers of flavor and spice, there’s no need to load sugar into savory food. Look at gefilte fish – most Jewish Bubby’s cook it up in stock made of onions, carrots and celery (the good stuff!), they season to taste with salt and pepper and then they go ahead and pour a boatload of sugar into the pot. I grew up on that stuff, so I know. And don’t get me wrong, it even tastes good. So does candy.

I don’t want to carry on the sugar torch, so I’m trying to condition my kids to like savory foods. I don’t overload my salad’s with sugar, and I make spicy roasted chickpeas as a snack instead of cake. That’s not to say that my kids don’t get to pick their favorite sugary cereal as a Shabbat treat. Believe me, they have their fill of sugar. But I try. And all Bubby’s everywhere are questioning my better judgement!

Sephardic Bubby’s have been serving chraime for years. it’s a popular Moroccan dish of fish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, and it’s usually made with white fish or salmon. I decided to shake things up by using prepared gefilte fish, ‘cuz that’s the way I roll (pun intended). I incorporated all the traditional elements of Moroccan fish here – including colored peppers, lots of garlic, parsley, lemon, and of course, harissa – a hot pepper paste that’s often used in North African cuisine. I’ve made variations of this recipe for a fish loaf as well as fried patties, but I love how these fish balls can stretch a roll of gefilte fish into so many portions. The fish balls become nice and fluffy, almost the texture of a matza balls, but with lots of spice from cumin, turmeric and fresh garlic.

As good as it is, I’m not sure my fusion cooking would win my husband’s Sephardic family over (although it did win him over, he asked for triples!). Sephardim are not fond of gefilte fish (understatement). On the flip side, try asking my Ashkenazi Bubby to eat spicy gefilte fish, I can just hear her already. Spicy gefilte fish? With harissa? What’s thatCould you pass the sugar please?! So here I am, mixing up the cultures with another one of my hybrid recipes, and I hope ya’ll will enjoy it, Ashkenazim and Sephardim alike.


This post is sponsored by Benz’s Fish. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or at BenzsFish.com. And don’t forget to visit Benz’s Gourmet at 332 Albany Ave in Brooklyn. 

Related Recipes:

gefilte fish patties in tomato sauce
breaded gefilte fish patties
gefilte fish, three ways

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Hot Dog Eggrolls

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

I don’t know about you, but as we inch our way towards the end of Chanukah, I’m slowly getting bored of all the dairy dishes I’ve been having. I’ve had my fill of donuts and latkes and I need something a little different! We still have a few more days to indulge in fried foods and I’ve got you covered. These hot dog eggrolls are just the thing!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. 6 days of loading up on trash and she’s trying to get me to eat hot dogs now?!  YES! You see, I had a huge misconception about hot dogs until I stepped into the Abeles & Heymann factory. Seth Leavitt, the company’s owner, took me behind the scenes for some hot dog education.

Before I even stepped foot in the factory, I had to stand in a box of cleaning solution, to clean my shoes before heading in. This level of hygiene continued throughout my tour, with every step of the process being meticulously clean. I even had to wear a hairnet and labcoat! (check out my Instagram feed for pics!)

Abeles & Heymann hot dogs can be found in stadiums around the country. And for good reason. They start with a REAL cut of meat. I always thought that hot dogs were made from complete junk but I was shocked to see the quality of the meat that’s used in it’s production. It looked just like any large roast you’d purchase at the butcher. From there, Abeles & Heymann uses old world recipes with quality ingredients to produce premium hot dogs that are slow cooked to perfection. Their franks contain no fillers, and their new reduced fat and sodium line has no added nitrates or nitrites!

Abeles & Heymann is at the forefront of an innovative campaign to create healthier alternatives to chemical and artificial nitrates. They have pioneered the use of natural nitrates, celery and cherry, to create a fully-cooked uncured collection of no-nitrate-added hot dogs. When Seth gave me a few packages to try, I turned to my most opinionated taste testers – my kids! My pickiest daughter, who can barely finish a single hot dog in one seating, asked for seconds. And I didn’t have to feel guilty about giving it to her! I would call that a winner!

Now that we don’t have to feel guilty about eating hot dogs, we can go ahead with our hot dog eggrolls! These crispy, dippable appetizers make the perfect addition to your Chanukah party, Superbowl bash, or New Years event! You can even bake them for a reduced fat version.

I filled the hot dog eggrolls with traditional frank condiments like sauerkraut and pickle relish. You can feel free to get creative with fillings like sauteed onions, facon, coleslaw or even chili! The dipping sauce combines sweet apricot jam with Abeles & Heymann’s sweet and tangy mustard for the perfect bite!

If you’re wondering where to pick up some Abeles & Heymann bounty, their amazing collection of hot dogs and salami’s can be found in stores throughout the U.S. Alternatively, you can purchase them online at the Abeles & Heymann store. And for a limited time, enjoy 15% off your order, using coupon code BUSY!


Don’t forget to check out the Abeles & Heymann blog and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

This post was sponsored by Abeles & Heymann

Other hot dog recipes:

spiralized spud dogs
kid-friendly dirty rice
fire-roasted tomato rice stoup

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Winter Caprese Salad

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Growing up, my mom always taught me that you don’t wear white after labor day. But as I grew older, I learned that there are certain types of white that are acceptable in the winter – Winter Whites. Now I can’t say I ever really pulled off the trend, since I tend towards the slimming black clothes (especially in the winter!). But one thing I could do, is bring the trend into my kitchen.

When Natural & Kosher Cheese came out with their prepackaged sliced fresh mozzarella, I was so excited to work with it! It takes all the work out of dishes like caprese salad, gourmet pizza and paninis. And while it’s fresh and healthy, it doesn’t have to be just for light summer dishes. Winter Whites belong in the kitchen too!

Now if you’re winterizing a caprese salad, you have to do it right! You can’t just use out-of-season tomatoes and basil. You’ve got to find the right in-season produce to complement the cheese.

I was walking through the produce section this week thinking about what to use when I spotted my favorite winter fruit – persimmon! I’ve talked about my love of persimmon a lot on my blog. I’m just doing my part to get the word out about this often-overlooked fruit. They are just too delicious to pass up! Persimmon almost make the brutal New York winter worth it. Almost.

So when I spotted the fuyu persimmon (there are 2 types of persimmon, you can read about them here), it struck me just how much it resembles a tomato. They’re crispy, with a sweet canteloupe and sugarcane flavor. Fruits work so wonderfully with cheese – so I decided to incorporate them into  my kitchen version of Winter Whites! I rounded out the dish with some delicous sweet roasted beets and added another seasonal fruit, pomegranates, for some crunch. Bitter arugula helps to balance out all the sweetness, and thick pomegranate molasses (inspired by Caprese’s classic reduced balsamic vinegar) just seemed like the perfect finish.

And there you have it – a stylish salad that makes a statement. That my friends – is MY VERSION of winter whites ;)


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

Related Recipes:

passion for persimmon; salad and sorbet
persimmon coconut ice cream
persimmon guacamole
roasted beet salsa
summer tomato feta salad

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Zucchini Fries (Gluten Free)

Monday, May 12th, 2014

We’re closing in on our series of pesto recipes with these crunchy gluten free zucchini fries! I love using zucchini because they are so low in calories and totally guilt free. To keep them diet friendly and gluten free, I used a chopped nut coating instead of breadcrumbs, and garbanzo bean flour instead of all purpose flour. But what really makes these zucchini fries different is the pesto. I could have went with eggwash to “glue” the crunchy nut coating onto the zucchini sticks, but with extra pesto in the fridge, I decided to give it a try. The results were so flavorful, I can’t imagine making it any other way!

There’s just something about fries that makes eating any vegetable fun, am I right? Good old russet potato fries used to be the only fries  on the brain but sweet potato fries have made it up there too. Personally, I’m a big fan of butternut squash fries,  and just recently, parsnips fries have topped my list of favorites as well. I must blog about those soon.

If you’re dieting and craving some crunch, these oven-fried zucchini fries are sure to hit the spot. Feel free to adapt the recipe to your specific diet! To make them dairy-free, just omit the parmesan and use more nuts instead. I like to use the same nuts as the ones in the pesto (I used Marcona almonds here), but you can experiement with pecans and walnuts too.

Related Recipes:

zucchini parmesan chips
pesto pinwheels

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Spinach Meat Lasagna Roll-Ups

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

It’s funny how you never quite know which of your recipes is gonna go viral. Sometimes, I get so excited about my crazy mash-up ideas, that I think the whole world will too. But I’m not always right. Like here and here. No biggie.

It’s when I least expect it that people go gaga over my food. Like here and here.  You can be minding your own blogger business when before you know it, the recipe’s been repinned hundreds, or even thousands, of times. My spinach lasagna roll-ups is one such recipe, and when I noticed all the love it was getting, I decided I had to share my meat version.

You see, being kosher, I do not eat milk and meat together, so bechamel-smothered-meat-lasgana is out of the question. We kosher-keepers eat our lasagna either meat, or dairy, not both. Of course you can always make dairy lasagna with soy crumbles, or meat lasagna with vegan cheese, but I’m just not one for the fake stuff. It’s either got real meat, or real cheese, no soy for me!

So, without further adieu, I give you the meat version of my dairy lasagna roll-ups. Let me know which ones you like better!

Related Recipes:

dairy spinach lasagna roll-ups

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Drunken Hasselback Salami

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

I bet you’ve never heard of anything like drunken hasselback salami. Hasselback potatoes, maybe. What are they? Well back in the 1940’s, a dish of whole potatoes cut to resemble an accordion was first served at the Hasselbacken restaurant in Stockholm. Cutting the potatoes this way results in a soft and creamy interior with crisped and browned edges.

Hasselback potatoes have been popular ever since, most commonly served in a simple preparation of butter and salt. I put my own twist on these a while back, using sweet potatoes & apples for a sweet variation.

For Purim, I decided to really bring some hassel back with a sweet & savory combo of salami in an apricot-brand glaze. Since salami is a food that is traditionally hung to dry, many have a custom to eat it on Purim to commemorate the hanging of Haman.

There’s no question that this drunken hasselback salami will be the star of your Purim meal! I couldn’t resist adding some booze to the sauce to really take it over the top. Coming from a former salami-averter, trust me when I tell you that this stuff will please even the pickiest palate. Salami is NOT my thing, or I should say, WAS not my thing – until I ate this. My husband and kids gobbled it up, sopping up the extra sauce with the pulled salami chips.

The first time I tried to make hasselback potatoes, I inadvertently sliced all the way through so many times that my accordion potato morphed into a gratin. But after stumbling upon the coolest hasselback trick, I haven’t screwed up a single potato since! Simply place a chopstick on either side of the potato (or salami) and slice. The knife will stop cutting when it hits the chopstick for perfect accordions every time! How cool is that?

This finger-licking hasselback experiment has got my wheels turning. I’m already dreaming up lots of other accordion-style treats – stay tuned!

Related recipes:

hasselback sweet potatoes with apples
salami chips with dijon dipping sauce

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Chickpea Cakes with Za’atar Cauliflower Relish

Monday, February 24th, 2014

If you follow my blog, you probably already know about my passion for Israeli fare. From cumin to za’atar and roasted eggplant to chickpeas – you’ll find loads of Middle Eastern-inspired recipes here on BIB. I’ve been growing my collection of Middle Eastern cookbooks as well, with Balaboosta just recently added to books like Plenty, Jerusalem, Cook in Israel, The Book of New Israeli Food, and more.

In this delicious appetizer, I’ve created a chickpea cake, in a preparation similar to polenta, using garbanzo flour. Such cakes are popularly served in Northern Italy (where it’s called panisse) as well as the South of France (where it’s called panelle). They are often cut into sticks and fried to resemble french fries.

For the topping, I went with a delicious combination of za’atar roasted cauliflower with caramelized onions, prunes and toasted pine nuts. The result is a delicious combination of Middle Eastern flavors – the perfect recipe to guest post on Yosef Silver’s blog, This American Bite. You may remember it from The Great Blog Swap Link-Up where I created a recipe for grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter, inspired by his recipe for garlic, za’atar & olive oil stovetop popcorn.

For the recipe, head on over to This American Bite.

1 year ago: teriyaki salmon
2 years ago: stuffed roasted butternut squash
3 years ago: quick & easy chocolate rugelach

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Tuscan White Beans with Spinach

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I love to eat out. Which is why I’ll probably never leave Brooklyn. Aside from Israel, New York has got to be the mecca of the kosher culinary world. You’ll find all sorts of restaurants scattered throughout the five boroughs, including Indian, Italian, French and Chinese eateries. Being a foodie-turned-chef, I take inspiration for my recipes from everything around me – especially quality restaurant dishes. When I eat a good dish at a restaurant, I’m bound to whip up my own version in my kitchen (like I did here). This is one such recipe.

 

1 year ago: spicy garlic chicken
2 years ago: cornbread scones

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