israeli

...now browsing by tag

 
 

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

Post a Comment

Halva Krembo’s

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know about my recent trip to Israel. I posted lots of droolworthy pics of all of the delicious foods I was eating! And there was no shortage of that. Israel is the land of milk and honey – overflowing with the most amazing bounty. A single trip to the Machane Yehudah market will prove just that. You’ll find the sweetest seasonal fruits and perfect large, robust vegetables that are all farm fresh and (mostly) locally grown. The stands piled high with fresh baked pastries, the artisan breads and fluffy pillows of pita, and the hidden gems of culture at every turn are awe-inspiring.

One thing the shuk is known for is it’s halva. “Mamlechet HaHalva”, or “The Halva Kingdom” is famous for it’s amazing array of halva flavors. It is so hard to pick a favorite but the espresso, candied pecan and cinnamon are all up there!

And any of you that have walked passed the halva stand have been nudged by the famous “Halva King” to try a piece. He’s become a fixture in the shuk, gold crown and all! See my pic with him below!

The Halva Kingdom recently started making a line of flavored tahini as well. I tasted the freshly ground paste (which tastes like peanut butter) and then sampled a selection of sweet and savory flavors like tomato, pesto, nougat, chocolate, and more. The nougat was so good, I brought home a bucket!

All of the amazing flavors and aromas of the shuk inspired me to create a twist on a classic Israel snack – the KREMBO. Krembo is hebrew for “There’s Cream In It”, referring to the fluffy cream hiding under it’s chocolate coating. Krembo’s have a round biscuit base and are available in vanilla and mocha flavors. They’re wrapped up in thin foil packaging, blue for vanilla and brown for mocha.

With tahini being just about the most popular food of Israel, I was surprised they never came out with a halva flavored krembo – so I decided to do just that! I started with a sesame-flavored cookie and topped it with some tahini-flavored whipped cream. I coated it all in chocolate and decorated it with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.


Creating a beautiful chocolate glaze came together easily with the amazing new brand of kosher vegan chocolate chips – California Gourmet. Their 45% cocoa chips are rich in chocolatey flavor with just the right balance of sweetness. I love how easily it melts, perfect for dipping, and it hardens quickly too. I stir in some coconut oil to create the perfect chocolate magic shell, and we use the leftovers to have a little after-school fondue dipping party!

California Gourmet chocolate chips help me keep my krembo’s pareve, without sacrificing on richness and flavor. And boy are these rich and flavorful! Halva flavored Krembo’s, here we come!

And while we are talking about homemade krembo’s, I must give a shoutout to the Balaboosta cookbook. In it, Israeli Chef Einat Admony recreates one of the favorite snacks of her childhood, you guessed it….krembo. Her homemade version of the classic (which looks incredible, by the way), gave me the push I needed to make these happen.

You see, I’m not much of a pastry girl. In fact, I don’t own a single pastry bag. When I say to fill your pastry bag with whip cream, I mean Ziploc. And I cut the corner with a scissor, the old fashioned way. That’s how I pipe people. So let me tell you – If i can make these, you most definitely can. They might look intimidating, but they are anything but. And that, my friends, is just the way I like to do things. Happy Halva-ing!



Here are some photos of the things that inspired this recipe! With the Halva King, eating freshly ground tahini and surrounded by the many flavors of tahini, halva, and of course, krembo!

This post is sponsored by California Gourmet Chocolate Chips. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  

Related Recipes: halva & ricotta stuffed figs

Post a Comment

Spinach Falafel Burger

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

I’m pretty particular about how I like my falafel. And if you’re a true falafel lover, then I’m sure you are too! My first falafel rule of thumb is: it’s got to be GREEN!

Green falafel means it’s got a lot of herbs mixed in, which make them incredibly moist. If they’re too beige, they almost certainly have flour added, which makes them especially dry. The worst thing about dry falafel is that it gets stuck in your throat and you’re almost choking on the cardboard bits. YUCK.

That’s the other thing about falafel – it’s got to be fried. Baked falafel just isn’t the same! It’s the same thing with donuts. If you’re gonna have a donut, then have a donut. Just don’t bake it and squeeze the life out of the crispy fried donut dream.

And I’m not just saying it. I know because I put this recipe to the test – baked vs. fried. Sure the baked falafel patties were edible. A bit crispy, even. But they didn’t stand a chance near the uber crispy fried ones – with a moist and fluffy center and the crunchiest crust you’ve ever had.

You’re probably wondering where I came up with the idea of making spinach falafel. Well, I’ll tell you. My husband and I are both seriously averse to cilantro. It’s good that we’re on the same page about it, because otherwise we’d be having a fight every time I make Pad Thai. But there’s another issue too. My husband doesn’t like parsley either. And I do. So when it comes to dishes like falafel (especially green falafel), what’s a girl to do? Especially a girl with a cardinal rule of green falafel. She adds spinach (and sneaks in a little parsley!)…just don’t tell the hubby ;)

Post a Comment

Chestnut Hummus with Herbed Pita Chips

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Unless you are living in a cave somewhere far away (in which case you probably don’t have wifi), you’ve probably read about all the Thanksgivukkah hype. That’s right – it’s got it’s own name. By unusual coincidence, the first day of Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving this year. Apparently, this has not happened since 1888 an won’t happen again for another 70,000 years. Yes – seventy thousand years. Is that a cause for celebration? Well, why the heck not?

This whole Thanksgivukkah thing has taken the internet, and the world really, by storm. They’re making t-shirts, developing websites, and most of all – cooking up recipes that merge the “gobble, gobble” with the “latke’le latke’le”.

I couldn’t imagine being left out of the Thankgivukkah foodie frenzy. I mean, who would turn down the opportunity to converge some of the classic Thanksgiving flavors with Jewish/Chanukah themes?


I’ve got some fun recipes up my blogger sleeve, but in the meantime – we’ll start with this amazing sweet and creamy chestnut hummus. I decided to combine hummus and pita – traditional Israeli foods, with chestnuts and stuffing spices – traditional Thanksgiving flavors – to create this delicious appetizer. The chestnuts add a wonderful hint of sweetness to the hummus, while the savory stuffing spices create an addictive crunchy chip you’ll want to make again and again!


If you’ve ever roasted a turkey or made stuffing for Thanksgiving, you’re probably familiar with all of the delicious herbs and spices that are so often used. Sage, rosemary, and thyme are perfect compliments to roasted turkey, and apparently, to pita chips as well!

Related recipes:

roasted garlic hummus with “everything” pita chips
thanksgiving turkey roulade with 5-minute stuffing

Post a Comment