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Jerusalem Hummus In Jars

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

I’ve got to hand this one to a favorite person and a favorite cookbook: Naomi Nachman, and “Zahav“, respectively. Naomi is a foodie friend who’s not quite at my stage in life. She just married off her first child and her youngest is about the age of my oldest. Naomi might be older but she’s got more energy than my five kids put together! She’s always the life of the party and her foodie calendar puts me to shame. She just wrapped her first cookbook, Perfect for Pesach, which I was lucky enough to get some sneak peeks behind the scenes (and test some of the amazing recipes!). She runs a Pesach catering business, a “Chopped” themed party service, writes for various publications and even has her own radio show, Table for Two on the Nachum Segal Network. I love Naomi’s positive energy and I’m proud to call her a friend.

Recently, Naomi managed to squeeze in a trip to Israel amid her crazy hectic schedule, and she brought me back some Hawaj from the shuk. I’d never tried hawaj before, but I knew that there were two types of the Yemenite spice blend – one for soup and one for coffee. The spice was so potent (everything from the shuk always is!) that my whole kitchen smelled of it, even through the Ziploc bag! I wanted to make the most of the spice so I thought about how I could use it to really let it shine. And it hit me – hummus basar!

I had never made meat hummus before, or any REAL hummus from scratch and I was excited to try! I went to the holy grail of Israeli cookbooks, “Zahav” to find the perfect recipe and of course Michael Solomonov’s did not disappoint. What I love so much about Zahav is that every recipe is approachable, and unlike some of the other cookbooks on Middle Eastern cuisine, Zahav is the least bit pretentious. The hummus I made from the book was by the far the best one I had ever tasted and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to store-bought. It is just a whole ‘nother ballgame.

What I learned from Solomonov is that hummus is so much more about the quality of the tahini than it is about the chickpeas. I always thought of hummus as a chickpea spread, but no. It’s a silky-smooth-sesame chickpea spread that will knock your socks off. You start by preparing silky smooth tahini that involves a brilliant garlic hack that I won’t share (buy the cookbook to find out what it is!). Then you take that tahini perfection and add loads of it to butter-soft chickpeas. Oh. My. God. is it good.

Zahav’s hummus recipe is a two step process, but I’ve simplified it here into one. I would definitely encourage you to try the original recipe at least once, but this makes a pretty good substitute. And please do me a favor and don’t put the amazingly pungent and flavorful hawaj-spiced beef over store-bought hummus because that’s like serving homemade shortcakes with canned whipped cream. Just no. And if  you’re feeling up to the task, try Zahav’s pita recipe and bake ’em up in mini to go along with these Jerusalem hummus jars. There’s really nothing quite like homemade pita to go along with homemade hummus.  I’ve made the recipe a few times already and it is super simple and incredibly delicious!

If this post hasn’t already compelled you to buy the cookbook, here’s an excerpt of a review I wrote after I got it:

“Michael brings the beauty of Israeli culture and cuisine to the forefront without the bells and whistles. He lets the food stand on it’s own, humble and beautiful, with clear, easy to fllow recipes that dont require millions of ingredients. And he’s not cheffy about it either….This guy isn’t cooking Israeli food because it’s trendy, he’s just doing what he loves and it comes through on every page. Even though he himself is not kosher….he acknowledges that the rules of kosher define the boundaries of Israeli cuisine and keeps all the recipe in the book (and in his restaurant) free of shellfish, pork and mixing milk and meat. In a culture that thinks that you have to be “treif” to be cool (especially so if you are Jewish), this man has my total respect). ”

Of course this Hummus Basar was made in jars in the spirit of Purim, but feel free to make this recipe and serve Israeli style, in a big bowl with lots of fresh pita for dipping! You can also make the hawaj beef and serve it over rice, it makes for a delicious side dish!

Related Recipes:

chestnut hummus with herbed pita chips
roasted garlic hummus with everything pita chips
chicken shawarma
farro grain bowl with Jerusalem pargiot
sweet tahini dip

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Farro Grain Bowl

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Life with five kids has thrown me for a loop. They always say #3 is hard, maybe #4 too. But #5? I’m ex.hau.sted. Baby girl is still 3 months old, so I know we’re still in that needy (ie. nursing every 3 hours) stage, but man, it’s tough! I still won’t give up blogging though, because after five years of creating and sharing, it’s become so much a part of me. You guys, are part of the family.

Thank G-d for some stored posts that never made it to blog like this farro grain bowl. I don’t know why it’s been sitting in my archived photos for so long because dang is it beautiful. And oh so tasty! I’m all about grain bowls right now. Ok I’m all about any food really (breastfeeding!!), but there’s something about being able to throw in a little of this and a little of that to create something so satisfying.

I’m a huge fan of grain bowls because there are endless options, and it’s basically just an excuse to throw a bunch of leftovers into a big dish and call it fancy! I’ve started to make them for lunch a lot, using whatever leftovers I have in the fridge. I can usually find some quinoa (I like to cook it up in the beginning of the week so I can add it to salads, yogurt and mains) or leftover rice and I pretty much always have some cooked chicken on hand. There’s also plenty of veggies to choose from, plus some hard boiled eggs, cheese, and roasted beets. So basically I’ve got my grain bowls made, I have to just make ’em!

So, how do you build a grain bowl? Well, you can try and stick to a specific cuisine (like this Middle Eastern inspired bowl) or you can keep things simple. Just follow this basic outline:

How to Build a Grain Bowl:

Grains (rice, farro, quinoa, couscous, barley, wheat berries, millet)
Raw or Cooked Veggies (carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, beets, peppers, zucchini)
Raw or Sauteed Greens (spinach, arugula, kale, radicchio, cabbage)
Protein (tofu, edamame, chickpeas, surimi, chicken, poached egg, cheese)
Dressing (pesto, miso, tahini, salsa, peanut sauce, soy sauce)
Garnish (seaweed, avocado, nuts, pickled veggies, scallions, fresh herbs)

I probably would have added some sauteed beet greens to this bowl, if I had had them, but the flavors were amazing and went together really well. The chewy farro, sweet beets, smoky chicken, crispy chickpeas and crunchy pomegranate seeds really complemented each other – both in texture and flavor. Of course the tahini didn’t hurt either, and the pomegranate molasses just put it over the top.

Thinking about making your own grain bowl? Here are some other fun combinations!

// cauliflower rice + fajita spiced peppers + black beans + avocado + salsa dressing + fresh lime
// quinoa + roasted squash + sauteed kale + feta + pumpkin seeds + almond butter dressing
// couscous + roasted eggplant + tomato + red cabbage + hard boiled egg + harissa dressing
// sushi rice + carrots + cucumber + sushi grade tuna + edamame + fried egg + sriracha + soy sauce

Have you ever made a grain bowl, or seen one you like? Share the combo with me in the comments below! I love to get inspired with new combinations!


Related Recipes:

chicken shawarma
grilled chicken shawarma salad
za’atar roasted chickpeas

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Falafel Cauliflower Poppers (Baked!)

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

You guysssss!!! This post makes me so excited, I have no words! OK, I always have words, many of them. But where shall I begin?

If you’re a dedicated follower of my blog, you know how much I love

  1. trendy recipes
  2. hybrid recipes
  3. ISRAELI recipes
  4. healthy makeover recipes

Am I right? Does that just about sum up my food blogger style or what?!

Well this here genius idea just about incorporates all of those passions! Cauliflower trend – check! Falafel/breaded cauliflower hybrid – check! Israeli recipes – Oh my god yes, check!! And healthy makeover recipes – definitely check, check!!

Ever since my crazy cauliflower nacho hack went ridiculously viral, I’ve been wanting to come up with an equally amazing cauliflower idea, and when Knorr sent me over some of their falafel mix, I knew I had it in the bag. And then I tasted them, and I was all “why hasn’t the whole world made these like every single day of their lives?!?!” Yup. You’re welcome.

Breaded cauliflower has always been a favorite snack of mine, but since they’re usually fried, I don’t have them too often. I also avoid using fresh cauliflower, since it’s such a pain to check for bugs (kosher law forbids the consumption of insects), so I came up with a recipe that solves all those problems! You’re welcome.

So, not only are these cauliflower poppers supremely delicious, they’re made with thawed frozen cauliflower (no checking necessary) and they’re baked, not fried! You wouldn’t believe it from the insanely crunching coating, but oh yes, they are practically guilt free. Did I say you’re welcome yet?

Speaking of which, I want to thank Knorr for making these semi-homemade poppers so easy to put together using their prepared falafel mix. I’ve not usually a fan of prepared mixes but falafel is an extremely time consuming effort – between soaking the beans, processing the mixture and frying the balls… I’m all for convenience in this case!

Convenience is the name of the game these days. With school out for most of the kids, I’ve got summer prep on my mind and lots to do. Plus the NYC heat is totally draining me and getting dinner on the table every night is not as easy as it used to be. I’m thankful for kid-friendly foods that might use some store bought ingredients to help me out – like bottled BBQ sauces for quick and easy pulled chicken/beef, frozen ravioli that I can just heat up with some marinara, and even pancake batter that makes breakfast a cinch. I may be a do-it-yourself, made-from-scratch gal at heart, but I’m a very practical mom IRL (in real life!). Summer conveniences, here we come!

Speaking of summer, make sure you put these on your NINE DAYS menu, will you? You can thank me later.

You’re welcome!

This post was sponsored by Knorr Falafel. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

falafel latkes with harissa tahini
spinach falafel burger
smoked paprika popcorn cauliflower
cauliflower nachos

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Sabich Latkes

Monday, December 7th, 2015

As a food blogger, one of the questions I often get asked is what my favorite dish is. If they want to know my most popular dish, that ones easy. But my favorite? It’s like asking me who my favorite child is. Can a mom really have a favorite child?! But now, NOW I can answer that question. Sabich latkes, hands down, is my favorite dish of all time. Does that tell you something?

Sabich is a classic Israeli sandwich consisting of pita stuffed with fried eggplant, hardboiled egg, Israeli salad, tahini and amba (a pickled mango condiment). Since amba is not readily available to everyone, I decided to pickle some onions instead, and I added my new favorite Mina harissa for some spice. The combo is so ridiculously incredible that you’re going to want to eat the leftovers for breakfast, and then lunch, and maybe dinner too.

The best part of sabich, is that you can switch things up if you wish – add some hummus, Israeli pickles, schug, or go gourmand with a poached egg for a truly sophisticated bite.

Related Recipes:

falafel latkes with harissa tahini
roasted eggplant with Israeli salad
sous vide stuffed eggplant with pistachio dukkah and tamarind tahini

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{Falatkes} Falafel Latkes with Harissa Tahini

Monday, November 30th, 2015

There really is no outdoing my poutine latkes from last year. The latkes went so viral, that I cooked them up for the Wall Street Journal and did a latke segment for The Meredith Vieira Show. HuffPost Canada went gaga over them and the rest is history.

I’m not one to rest on my laurels so I had to really blow it out of the water this year. It’s a good thing I had an entire year to think about it! I knew I wanted to go in the Israeli direction, because my food has been really influenced by the amazing flavors and spices of Israeli culture and cuisine. And what’s more quintessentially Israeli than falafel?

When falafel latkes, or as I coined them, FALATKES, came to me, I was beyond excited at the prospect of creating a beanless falafel dish! I prepared my batter, scooped it in the sizzling oil and my brain went crazy. Was I smelling latkes or was I smelling falafel?! I was smelling both!!

And then I took a bite of their crispy goodness and Oh. Em. Gee. I was eating potato latkes. And I was eating falafel. {MINDBLOWN} Poutine latkes – outdone.

If Chanukah wasn’t my favorite holiday before, it is now! Not only was I born on the fifth night, but I got married on my birthday and as I celebrate my 35th birthday, along with my 13th wedding Anniversary, I will be munching on this deeelicious fried goodness. It’s going to be a very happy birthday indeed!

Now, when you create the ultimate Chanukah latke, you have to top it with the ultimate sauce. Tahini is my jam so I made it my favorite way – with delicious spicy harissa mixed in for a deep, rich and spicy flavor. I am legit obsessed with Mina harissa that I tasted at Kosherfest just a couple of weeks ago. It’s spicy, but it’s also kind of sweet, which is never something I expected to find in a harissa. It’s got such a homey small-batch flavor, I just want to slather it on everything! And don’t even get me started on their shakshuka sauce. I can’t wait to create some amazing recipes with it!

If you’re a fan of harissa, don’t forget to try my harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant chips. They’re perfect for Chanukah, when it’s traditional to eat dairy foods. You can even fry up the za’atar chips to really get into the Chanukah mood. My confetti latkes with harissa sour cream are another favorite and if you want to go healthy, definitely go for my cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce. Told you I love harissa.


Of course, if you’re looking for other fun Chanukah recipes, don’t forget to check out my Chanukah category, as well as the Chanukah section in my new RECIPE INDEX!  You’ll find amazing appetizers and desserts that are perfect for you Chanukah party.

In the meantime, here are some great tips for making the ultimate crispy latkes!

1- Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible out of your potatoes and onions using a cheesecloth or kitchen towel.
2- Use little-to-no flour to bind the mixture. The potatoes natural starch is usually enough to keep it together.
2- When the batter sits, it tends to get liquidy, so make sure to squeeze out as much moisture as possible before frying.
3- Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out your batter. Pack the batter into the cup and place in the hot oil. Use the bottom of the cup to press down on the latkes, creating crisy, lacy edges.
4- Remove your latkes from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain, but immediately remove to a rack so the latkes stay nice and crisp.

Happy Frying!


This post was sponsored by Mina. All opinions are my own. View Mina’s amazing assortment of harissa and shakshuka sauce here or follow on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Related Recipes:

confetti latkes with harissa sour cream
harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant chips
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce
falafel burgers

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Zoodle Shakshuka

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

If a food could be my bestie, it would be shakshuka. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Why do I love it so much? Lets count the ways…

    1. it’s sweet.
    2. it’s spicy.
    3. it’s saucy.
    4. it’s got runny eggs.
    5. it’s got runny eggs. (I love runny eggs OKKKK?)
    6. it’s easy to make.
    7. you can dip fresh pita in it.
    8. you can make so many varieties.
    9. you can eat it for breakfast, brunch (my favorite), lunch or dinner.
    10. it’s Israeli and Israel is my <3

Speaking of #10, I’m sharing this recipe with you all in honor of the #LOVEISRAELFOOD which is the brainchild of my fellow Brooklyn foodie and Instagrammer Aliza Salem (follower her @theghettogourmet!). Aliza put together a fun foodie campaign in support of Israel, where we all share our favorite Israeli dishes on Instagram! Go out and buy some Israeli products and post a photo of your dish with some of these hashtags:
#buyisraelicookisraelibakeisraeli, #loveisraelfood, #changeforisrael and #onenationoneheart! I can’t wait to break the internet with all our droolworthy dishes!

I’m getting in the spirit of things with this zoodle shakshuka, because I had to bring together two of my favorite things: zoodles and shakshuka! I spiralized both zucchini and yellow squash, to give this a 2-tone effect, and it came together in no time. Who doesn’t love that!

Zoodles are all the rage these days, so if you haven’t hopped on the zucchini noodle train, it’s time. I wrote all about the different tools that you can use to prepare zoodles a little while ago, so give it a read!

If you’re not much of a reader, I’ll sum it up for you in one sentence. For quick and easy zoodles, use this and for a fun tool that you can use with lots of different produce, use this. It’s that easy my zoodle novice friends.

And if you’re looking for some inspiration for the #loveisraelfood campaign, you know you’ve come to the right place. You can try stuffing some roasted eggplant like this, or grilling up some halloumi like this. You can go a little crazy with halva flavors like this and this or work in some za’atar like this and this. Of course you can go more classic like falafel and shawarma or go a little crazy with rosewater or harissa. Whatever you do, it’s sure to be delicious. B’taavon!

For the zoodle shakshuka recipe, head on over to the Arutz Sheva blog!

Other Shakshuka Recipes:

baked portobello shakshuka
garbanzo bean shakshuka
spaghetti squash shakshuka 

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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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Grilled Chicken Shawarma Salad

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

This past Friday, Food52 posted a happiness experiment on Instagram, challenging their followers to write a list of things that make them happy and tag it #happylist. Of course, it got me thinking about what makes me happy and I put together my happy list.

Happiness Is…

– bike riding with my kids
apricot season
– sunglasses
– Masterchef (who am I kidding? Gordon Ramsay)
– ice coffee
– fresh corn on the cob
– blogging
– circus arts at the gym
saltwater sandals
harissa
– anything Ottolenghi
– homemade popsicles
– the weekend

When I wrote that “anything Ottolenghi” makes me happy, I meant it! I am a true Israeli at heart, and I love digging in to Israeli food – from homemade falafel, to shawarma, shakshuka, hummus, za’atar, roasted eggplants, halva, krembo’s….I think you get the point. With summer (finally!!!) here, It’s time to lighten things up, and this amazing grilled chicken shawarma salad is my go-to. For lunch or dinner, it’s so light and filling, you’ll want to eat it all summer long!

Now since my talented friend Miriam Pascal of OvertimeCook is busy putting finishing touches on her new cookbook, I’m only too happy to fill in with this guest post, so head on over to her blog for the recipe!

B’tayavon!

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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Halva & Ricotta Stuffed Figs

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous kosher foodie potluck, arranged by the talented Kim Kushner, author of The Modern Menu. It was such an honor to meet Kim and taste her delicious food! She blogged about our amazing evening under the stars here.

Kim set up the most beautiful tablescape on a rooftop in Midtown Manhattan (which also happens to be her husband’s office). With the help of Marzan Flowers, and other generous sponsors, the table was set with a rustic vibe and the most amazing swag! We were surrounded by the New York City skyline, the most incredible kosher food, and the who’s who of the kosher blogging world.

Since it was a potluck, each guest was required to bring a kosher dish (or two), all of which were laid out on a round buffet table. I made my malawach cheese pastries with tomato & schug dipping sauce, plus some incredible goat cheese popovers! Some of the other dishes included nachos by The Patchke Princess, creamy hummus, salmon, roasted veggie salad and pavlova by Kim Kushner Cuisine, fava beans by BeautyandsomeBeef, panzanella salad with cashew bread and s’mores caramels by KitchenTested.

We also had some famous kosher Instagrammers like @cookinginheels, @chefchaya and @theghettogourmet who brought drunken fish tacos with pickled onions, cronuts with nutella pastry cream and Asian quinoa lettuce wraps, respectively.

What has all that got to do with these AMAZING, droolworthy stuffed figs?! Well, BeautyandsomeBeef made the simple ricotta stuffed figs that inspired these halva-drenched ones! Check out these pics for a peek!

I’d heard of ricotta stuffed figs with honey before but I’d never tasted them until the potluck. I couldn’t believe how such a simple dish could taste so fantastic! Of course I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could make them even better…and then THESE happened.

And by these I mean the insanely decadent jewels of perfection you see here. Fresh seasonal figs stuffed with ricotta, dipped in silan and sesame, dripping with sweetened tahini sauce and finished with halva crumbs. Shall I get you a napkin?!

If you’ve never heard of silan before – hop on the silan train because it’ll take you to syrup heaven! Silan is a honey syrup made from dates. It’s got an intoxicatingly rich flavor that is so much better than whatever else you’ve been using! When mixed into tahini paste, it creates the most decadent halva sauce that you’ll want to eat by the spoonful! It’s interesting to note that when the Torah speaks of honey it is actually referring to date honey. Israel, the land of halva and “Milk & (Date) Honey” is what inspired this Middle-Eastern twist on a classic recipe!

Do yourself a favor and grab some fresh figs, before the season is over! 

 

Related Recipes:

breakfast quinoa with silan roasted figs
grilled cheese with figs and honey
holiday fig salad

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