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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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Healthy Thumbprint Hamantaschen (Egg Free!)

Monday, March 21st, 2016

I thought I was done with hamantaschen baking this year. My corndog hamantaschen were a huge hit and that was good enough for me! Except every time I bought classic hamantaschen for the kids, my allergic toddler would watch his older siblings enviously and each time I promised myself to make an egg-free version.

I thought about making classic hamantaschen using aquafaba, that slimy juice at the bottom of a can of chickpeas. It’s said to be a great alternative for eggs in vegan baking, and I’ve used it before in muffins. Of course I got busy and my aquafaba-infused hamantaschen experiments went to the wayside.

But then this week, I had a business meeting in my ‘hood, and Chaya brought me a much needed cup of coffee with a side of crunchy thumbprint cookies. The cookies were delicious, so, like any good food blogger, I asked for the recipe. When I heard that the cookies were egg free with few ingredients, I knew I had to whip them up for my son.

I drove home dreaming about the cookies and it hit me – I wanted to make egg-free hamantaschen, so why not make egg-free thumbprint hamantaschen cookies! They had jam anyway, right?


So I got right to work on the 5-ingredient dough, which took less than 5 minutes to make, and I ransacked my fridge for all the jam I could find. I’m kind of a jam hoarder, so I wasn’t surprised to find an assortment of flavors in the back of the fridge, including, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, apricot, fig and plum (told you I was a jam hoarder! my favorite place to buy them is Homegoods!).

Would  you check out that beautiful jam filling?

The cookies taste like a crisp granola cookie, only mildly sweet, so I couldn’t help but finish them off with some melted chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better.

The true test was giving these to my son, who is prone to scraping the chocolate off anything and everything, instead of biting into it. I’m always reminding him, “Bite, don’t lick!”, but he always goes back to his chocolate (or cheese!) licking when I’m not looking.


I handed him a hamantasch and he held it in his hand and studied it for a minute or two. I thought he was going to start scraping off the chocolate, but to my surprise, he actually took a bite! He continued to eat his way through, enjoying every morsel. Success!

Purim is just two days away, so we’ll call these “last licks!” (pun intended!). If you’ve been looking for that healthy hamantaschen recipe, you’ve got it. And just in time.


Related Recipes:

cowboy cookie dough bites
healthy date & almond hamantaschen
Grape Nut coconut crunch cookies
oatmeal cookies

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Salami Quiche

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at BIB, with lots of Purim demos, cooking classes and recipe writing! I always say that calling myself BUSY IN BROOKLYN was like a self-fulfilling-prophecy, because when I started this blog I wasn’t half as busy as I am nowadays. But busy is good and I am so thankful for it! Except when all that busying around turns into a sinus infection, and my recipe testing is put on hold because I can’t taste anything! I had amazing plans for a new hamantasch this week, but my taste buds won’t cooperate. And even though I can barely lift my head off my pillow, I’ve got my third demo this week in a couple of hours! So, I THANK GOD for this amazing recipe that I developed for a local magazine’s Purim issue last year, so at least I have something to share!

You all know that I’ve taken on a BIB tradition to share a salami recipe every year. I once heard that people have a tradition to eat salami on Purim because it is hung, like Haman (!!!). Who knows if it’s true, but it’s definitely fun. And it was especially thrilling when my DRUNKEN HASSELBACK SALAMI went crazy viral two years ago (I can’t believe it’s so old!). I always meet readers at demos, or even on the street who tell me that it’s become a weekly tradition for them. I just love that!

For this year, here’s something a bit more homey and family-friendly for your Purim meal. I’m sure this will become a staple in your family for the holidays too. Happy Purim!

Related Recipes:

drunken hasselback salami
beer battered salami chips with beer mustard
salami chips with dijon dipping sauce

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Purim Deviled Eggs

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

You probably never thought you’d hear a nice Jewish girl say this, but thank G-d for Easter! You see, I just wasn’t feeling Purim this year. I’ve been busier than ever (I think I should change my name to BUSIER in Brooklyn) and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t really come up with a fun food gift that wouldn’t break the bank.

Enter Target’s dollar section AKA my favorite place of all time! Since I couldn’t seem to come up with something, I decided to shop around and let the aisles do the talking. Well talk, they did! When I saw these adorable Easter egg crates, I knew exactly what I was going to make. Total cost: $1.

After I found the egg crates, I realized that I would need something to place them in – something nice and sturdy, that would hold them in place. Well, I didn’t have to look much further. A bit deeper in to the Target bargain bins, I found these square wooden boxes, which fit the crates just right. Total cost: $3.

Now all I needed was to fill the empty space next to the eggs, but what to put? Hmm, deviled eggs, deviled…hot…hot sauce! The perfect accompaniment to deviled eggs! So I did what any bargain hunter would do, on my way home from Target, I stopped by every little supermarket I could find and went straight for the condiment aisle. I tried all the bottles to see what would fit, until I scored the ultimate find! OU certified Louisiana hot sauce at 4 for $1. You got that right! FOUR whole bottles for one hundred pennies! The original price was $3.19 per bottle, but they were on special just this week! Talk about good timing!

I also scored this amazing copper beer bucket at Target for just $3 – a great addition to my growing props collection. And the plastic eggs that came with the egg cartons? My kids are gonna have a ball with those.

So, Target loot in hand, I went home and cooked up some 6 dozen eggs. Cooking in bulk always reminds me why I never want to go into the catering business. Peeling them was such a pain, and my house literally stunk like a chicken coop! Do you know what the secret to easy egg peeling is? Use old eggs. Seriously! The fresher the egg, the harder they are to peel. And do you think I remembered to buy eggs two weeks ago? NO. This girl, who knew the secret to easy-egg-peeling, bought FRESH eggs. I kid you not.


Now if you want to serve up deviled eggs vertical-style (stuffing them standing up instead of cutting them in half lengthwise), here’s what I learned: you need to slice off the top from the wide end of the egg. If you start from the narrow tip, you’re gonna lose half the egg before you reach enough of the yellow to be able to get it out. Once I sliced off the wide end, I squeezed gently on the whites and the yolk literally plops out. It even makes a “plopping” noise. Kind of funny!

Once I’ve separated my yolks from the whites, I go ahead and fill my food processor with the yolks, adding in some mayo, mustard, pickle relish, onion powder and salt. I give it a whirl and let it go until the mixture is nice and creamy. Then, I scoop the creamy filling into a ziploc bag and cut off the tip. I fill the whites with the yolks and top it with a bit of chopped green onion. Simple. Clean. And oh so yummy.

Deviled eggs, check. Egg cartons, check. Hot sauce, check.

Now the only thing left to do, was make a cute card – and it came to me just as I was putting the finishing touches on my crates. Why not use yellow and white card stock to make an egg-shaped card? I’m not a big fan of my handwriting so creating tags on the computer really works for me! Seriously, how cute are these?!

I hope you enjoyed my little peek into my family’s shalach manos! Wishing you and yours a truly EGGSELLENT PURIM!

If this post has induced a deviled eggs craving, I’ve got you covered! Check out this classic recipe, or try this pickled one!

And if you’d like to print your own Egg cards, download the template here (I reduced the size for the yolk portion of the card).

What did you make for shalach manos this year? Share your Purim ideas with me in the comments below!

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Pickled Deviled Eggs

Thursday, February 14th, 2013


With Valentines Day here, it seems like all my foodie feeds are covered in hearts and pink desserts of all kinds. But what about us non-bakers? Isn’t there anything pretty and pink for us to make? Well it just so happens, there is. Beets are a great way to turn savory foods into pink or purple edible eye-candy that’s perfect for parties of any kind. Think pink pasta, purple pancakes or these gorgeous ombre deviled eggs!

So if you really want to up the ante at your next party or cozy Valentines dinner, do away with traditional (ie: boring) deviled eggs, and give these gorgeous little pickled ones a try. The pink ombre ring comes from brining the eggs in beet juice – a simple task with a huge wow factor. Ombre isn’t just for 7 layer dye-filled cakes anymore!


With Purim just around the corner, I love to plan my menu around interesting unexpected dishes to maximize on the Purim spirit. Last year, I made these salami chips. This year, these pickled deviled eggs will be making an entrance. Of course I also do a twist on traditional hamantaschen like these puff pastry ones, last year’s sushi onigiri, and this years…well, you’ll just have to wait on that one…the surprise is coming up next week!

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

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Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip

Monday, February 11th, 2013

If you’re still scrambling for shalach manos ideas, you’ve come to the right place! And not just because I’m gonna wow you with this unbelievably amazing pretzel dip that makes the perfect home-made gift. I’ve also got lots of other ideas for you, starting with this old post.

And then there’s this new giveaway post with tons of amazing shalach manos ideas in the comments! (If you haven’t already entered this giveaway, what are you waiting for? Have you seen the bowls I’m giving away?!)

And since I love you all so much, I’ve created a new category where you can find all of my Purim Posts in one place!

And that’s not all.

If after all that you’re STILL stuck in a rut, check out all the amazing home-made gift ideas for Purim in the Kosher Connection Link-Up below!

If my raspberry honey mustard pretzel dip had you at hello and you want to know how to package it up, well here’s what I did:

Print out adorable tags onto cute cardstock and tape them to the top of small canning jars filled with pretzel dip. Wrap some raffia around the lid and secure with a bow. Then, fill a small cellophane bag with an assortment of pretzels and fold over the top. Print a label that says “Purim Pretzels” on one side and “from: family name” on the other. Fold it over the cellophane bag and staple on each side.

Voila. Purim Pretzel Perfection.

If you’re not up to making this pretzel dip for your Purim package, you should still give it a try. The combination of the sweet raspberry jam and spicy brown mustard, topped off with some hot mustard seeds in each bite, make this the perfect condiment for turkey subs, chicken salad or wraps of any kind!


1 year ago: butter rum l’chaim cake
2 years ago: crunchy chocolate dipped pretzel rods

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Purim Ice Cream Clowns!

Friday, March 18th, 2011

In the spirit of Purim, I decided to make some ice cream clowns with my daughter’s class. This project was easy (no prep required!) and so much fun for the kids! Give a kid an ice cream cone, and tell them to decorate it with candy – does it get any getter than that? They were in ice cream heaven!

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