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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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Garbanzo Shakshuka with Labneh & Za’atar

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

I might be a blogger, but the truth is, I don’t read many blogs. Sure I frequent them, and I drool over the mouthwatering dishes, but actually read them? Not really. Between work and family, there’s not that much time to get acquainted with the lives of fellow food bloggers. It’s a shame, really, but there’s only so much time in the day!


Confession #2: I don’t really cook things from other blogs either. Sure I pin the recipes, bookmark them, screenshot them, and even email some to myself. But I never quite get around to making them. Yeh.


There’s one exception though and that is the JewHungry blog. Not only do I read Whitney’s posts, I actually make some of her food. Like this, and these, and of course this! Whitney is a girl after my own heart. She loves sriracha and anything Middle Eastern, and her recipes are no fuss. She’s also a mom, a social worker/school counselor and a southern girl with lots to say! I love to read her articles on motherhood (and anything, really!) for The Huffington Post. Whitney’s writing is as good as her food, but today, I’m filling in! I’m happy to do a guest post for Whit, and since she’s pregnant, I wanted to make one of her favorites – shakshuka!

Now unlike Whitney, I’m a total cheat. Instead of slaving over a sauce, I make my own quick and easy version, and I’ll show you how. Head on over to Jewhungry for the deets!

Related Recipes:

spaghetti squash shakshuka
baked portobello shakshuka
quick and easy shakshuka

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Harissa Roasted Chicken

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

For the longest time, spicy foods didn’t interest me. I grew up eating so much of the sweet stuff, I thought chicken was best loaded with sugary sauce. My bubby always doused her dishes in sugar, the more the better, and my mother did the same. Fish, chicken, salad, pasta, potatoes – everything was prepared sweet.

When I first got married, I followed suit, prepping my dishes with the holy trinity of spices: salt, pepper, and sugar! Lots of sweet BBQ sauces, sticky duck sauce and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Sometimes I paired them with mustard for a little kick, but hot peppers never made it into my kitchen, and spicy was off the map.

My husband grew up similarly, even though he has sephardic roots. My South American mother in law loaded her keftes (meatballs) with sugar, and her Syrian mechshie was almost always sweet too. Sweet beet and carrot salads were often on the menu as well, always with added sugar.

But then I became a foodie. It evolved slowly – starting with simple family recipes on my blog, my interest in food evolved into passion and curiosity for different flavors and International cuisine. Slowly but surely, I broadened my culinary horizons by exploring the many flavors and textures of different foods. My husband was not as quick to embrace my food journey, but he eventually came around and started to appreciate flavors that he didn’t grow up eating.

I’ve grown (quite literally) to love spicy foods like Pad Thai, curries and salsas, and ingredients like harissa, sriracha and chili peppers are mainstays in my kitchen. I now save the sweets for the desserts, and do my best to keep my dishes savory, or at least to add an element of spice, to keep the flavors balanced.

One of the best parts about eating spicy and savory foods like this harissa roasted chicken, is that it’s lighter on the waistline but doesn’t compromise on flavor. Zoodles (zucchini noodles) make this dish Paleo and Whole30 compliant, so if you’ve joined the popular diet trend (which I wrote an ebook on!), this makes for a delicious and filling dinner, and you can save leftovers for lunch the next day. You gotta love that!

Other spicy recipes:

spicy tuna melt twice baked potatoes
quinoa pad thai
spicy roasted edamame
kani salad
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce

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Cauliflower Nachos with Harissa Cheddar Sauce

Monday, January 20th, 2014

I’m not even going to pretend to know anything about football. Sports is not exactly one of my hobbies. I do know, however, that Superbowl parties require party food – and that, my dear friends, is most certainly one of my hobbies. When it comes to finger food, I’m the party queen – and I’ve got lots of yummy ideas up my blogger sleeve!

We’ll start with my spicy roasted edamame or my roasted chickpeas, they’re perfect for nibbling and won’t pile on the pounds. My smoked paprika popcorn cauliflower is another favorite and if you must have your wings, my spicy ginger chicken wings are a sure crowd pleaser!

If you’re craving dip, try my chestnut hummus with baked pita chips, crispy baby artichokes with balsamic aioli, salami chips with dijon dipping sauce or good old pretzels with my raspberry honey mustard pretzel dip,

Now if you’re looking for something a little bit more, well, cheesy, have I got some ideas for you! It’s a good thing I teamed up with Natural & Kosher Cheese, purveyors of artisanal kosher cheese products, because I sure love my dairy!  Here are some hearty game day recipes that’ll keep you going throughout the show!

} Natural & Kosher shredded cheddar adds cheesy goodness to my chili pie in jars,
} Natural & Kosher shredded mozzarella turns my malawach cheese pastries with zaatar, into a pizza-lovers dream.
} Natural & Kosher’s camembert or brie work wonders in my puff pastry brie bites with dried fruit & jam.
} Natural & Kosher’s aged parmesan can’t be missed in my zucchini parmesan chips,
} Natural & Kosher’s goat cheese makes the perfect garnish to my spinach & cheddar pesto crostini.

Of course, if you’re looking for something cheesy that’s still good for you – you’ve come to the right place. Yes, I know I might sound like a walking oxymoron but that’s just what I do. In my kitchen, healthy & nachos are not a contradiction as creamy cheddar sauce drips down a healthy dose of roasted veggies.

My Middle Eastern take on Mexican nachos will please even the purist of nacho fans. The harissa and cheddar make a perfect pair, creating a harmonious symphony of flavor, when drizzled over roasted cauliflower chips, marinated artichoke hearts, olives & roasted peppers. Note to yourselves: you may want to double the recipe!

I’m a huge fan of the cabbage family. And I don’t mean those sweet little dolls that we used to get for birthday gifts. I mean all those crunchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage and savoy, among others. But it’s cauliflower and broccoli that really make me want to melt…some cheese. There’s just something about sharp creamy cheddar over the tender veggies that makes them so delectable! So, without further ado, I give you my harissa cheddar cheese sauce ! Drizzle it over nachos, use it for fondue or mix it into mac ‘n cheese – you can thank me later!


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

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Confetti Latkes with Harissa Sour Cream

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013


True story. I’m somewhere late into my 9th month of pregnancy and a little something called Braxton Hicks comes to pay me a visit. If you’re not familiar, Braxton Hicks are false labor pains that feel almost like the real thing. They play with your head, make your think you’re going into labor, and sometimes even have you rushing to the hospital. Which is exactly what happened.


It’s amazing how no matter how many kids you have, you completely forget how it all goes down at the end. I suppose that memory lapse is natures way of protecting procreation. I mean, what woman in their right mind would want to go through labor ever again?


So there I was, pulling up to Mount Sinai Hospital when I caught site of a farmer’s market at the corner. Now let me explain what it’s like for a farm-fresh-veggie-loving-foodie like me to stumble upon a farmer’s market. It’s enough to stop me dead in my tracks and have me all but forget about my contractions. “I think they’re going away,” I muster to my husband as I eye the rainbow carrots in the corner crate. “Oh no you’re not!” he counters. “I promise I’ll take you to every farmer’s market in town once you have this baby!”


A couple of hours and plenty of false labor pains later, I’m back at the same corner picking farm-fresh produce.I score the most amazing purple kohlrabi, beets, carrots, baby turnips, breakfast radishes and little sugar pumpkins. The Braxton Hicks are behind me and I’m dreaming up all types of recipes as I head home on the FDR.


With farm fresh bounty in hand, this recipe practically wrote itself. I combined the kohlrabi (which is white inside, by the way), carrots and beets with some fresh beet greens to create beautiful jewel-toned latkes, that are even tastier than they are colorful. In fact, my husband brought a pan of the crispy-fried latkes to a business meeting and they were gone in seconds. He came home with rave reviews and a generous offer to take me back to the farmers market!


Other latke recipes:

pumpkin ricotta cheese latkes with cranberry maple syrup
gluten free butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes with raspberry sauce
gefilte fish latkes
snacker-crusted salmon cakes

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