salad nicoise

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Tunisian-Style Tuna Nicoise Salad

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Early followers of my blog will remember my South Beach Diet days, and if you’ve been following for the last few years, my Whole30 phase. Yes, I’ve been dieting my entire life, I can write a book on it (oh wait, I did!).

Since I had my last baby, over two years ago, it’s been about food freedom for me – and for a few reasons. Firstly, I decided I didn’t want to live my life on a diet anymore, and I wanted to be able to enjoy food and be OK with it. I did put on some weight, which is what will happen if you’re in my industry and you just let yourself go – but I accepted it and decided that I would learn to love my body at any size.

From a recipe testing perspective, because I was working on my cookbook, I didn’t want my palate to be off, which is what will happen if you’re on a diet that restricts sugars or carbs. After a few rounds of Whole30, everything tasted cloyingly sweet to me and if you’re developing recipes for a cookbook, that can be a problem. I remember testing this recipe during my Whole30 (tasting it and spitting it out!) and when I made it several months later for a Shavuot cooking class, I found that it really needed more sweetener (recipe has been adjusted!). If you’re testing recipes for a living, you need to appeal to the average palette, so a diet can really throw things off. That’s another reason I decided to let myself go and not be restrictive.

I started following a lot of body-positive Instagram accounts and really tried to work on being comfortable in my larger size, but if I’m being honest, I just didn’t feel like myself. I was self conscious, uncomfortable behind the camera, and going shopping left me feeling totally depressed. Physically, I felt tired, lacked energy and just wasn’t motivated to make a change.

This year, on my 38th birthday, I looked in the mirror and decided it was time to make a change. Either accept and love myself at any size, or change that size to one that would make me more comfortable in my skin. I was done with the yo yo eating, and I just wanted to gain back control. For me personally, I don’t do well with intuitive eating or mindfulness, I need a strict regimen otherwise I don’t keep to it. So the day after Chanukah, I took the diet plunge and went keto. No excuses, no back and forth on which diet to choose, just jumping right in without thinking, and it’s the best thing I could have done. I shared it on Instagram so that I would hold myself accountable, and I’ve been going strong for two weeks (although it already feels like months!). It’s amazing how long a day can feel when you’re watching everything you put in your mouth!!

It scary to put yourself out there today. Someone recently told me that we live in the “offended” generation and it’s so true. It’s like we’re all tiptoeing around each other because we might say the wrong thing. Well to all the diet-shamers out there who aren’t OK with people going on a diet, here’s what I believe and I’m sticking to it: I reserve the right to feel comfortable in my own skin, and it’s no one elses right to tell me if I should lose weight, or if I should accept my body the way it is. It is MY body and it is MY right to make that choice. Yes, I’ve gone keto – because I want to feel healthy again and be healthy again and I want to be able to like what I see in the mirror, and there’s no shame in that.  This, to me, is true food freedom. The freedom to make your own choices about the foods you eat, and weighing those choices in a conscious way.

I’m so excited to share this delicious recipe that I came up with last week for my keto-approved lunch. I went a little overboard with the tomatoes, but I’ll get there!

Related Recipes:

harissa roasted chicken
harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant chips
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce
Greek salad with feta croutons

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Tuna Nicoise with Anchovy Panko Crumbs

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

What a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been! I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without blogging in the 7 years that I’ve been doing it but I’ve truly been living up to my name, Busier than Ever in Brooklyn! After having a cookbook “baby”, I’d like to say I was on maternity leave, but the truth is, I’ve been traveling between books signings and demos throughout the Tristate area, plus a small stop in Florida before the Chag. Of course we also celebrated the grand book release party at Bison & Bourbon here in Brooklyn just last week, and it’s truly been a dream come true! I’ve leave the party deets for a separate post, but I really wanted to get back into things here on the blog, where it all got started.

I love it here on Busy In Brooklyn, a constant reminder of my humble beginnings. I need only to scroll back to 2011 to remember how it all began – I was barely even an amateur cook, my photos were beyond embarrassing, and with each passing year that young wife who knew so little about food and photography, blossomed into a confident cook, recipe developer, food photographer, and now, cookbook author. It’s so surreal to me, and as I stood up at the book release party, I said the first thing that came to mind, and what I truly felt – I’m really just a mother, who decided to become a blogger, who decided to write a cookbook. The whole Instagram-fueled pseudo-celebrity status is still so foreign to me – I really just want to live my life and share my passion for modernizing and reinventing kosher food without all the fanfare. Social media has truly changed everything, hasn’t it? It truly is a blessing to be able to reach so many people and watch as traditional Jewish and kosher food evolves over time.

One of the best messages I got from a follower last week was about how she sent her husband to the supermarket in Monsey to buy anchovies for the Kale Caesar Salad in the book. Her husband asked the manager where he could find anchovies and he said, “Come join the other 15 husbands who came in asking for the same thing! Why are people suddenly so interested in anchovies?”. So her husband showed the manager a photo of my book! Now of course there’s nothing Millennial about anchovies in Caesar salad, although it’s not something you normally find on a traditional kosher holiday table. When I was growing up, we made Caesar salad with mayo, garlic powder, distilled white vinegar and sugar. Most kosher cookbooks include a variation of that, with a few forward-thinking recipe writers including Worcestershire sauce or even anchovies. With Millennial Kosher, I really wanted people to embrace these foreign ingredients instead of turning the page or looking for a substitute. Somewhere deep inside I was worried that people weren’t ready, but that message made me realize that Millennial Kosher is exactly what kosher cooks wanted and needed in today’s day and age.

Speaking of anchovies, this modern and sophisticated take on a salad nicoise didn’t quite make it to the book, but after the anchovy episode, I figured it was a good time to post it on the blog! The tuna in this recipe is lightly seared, topped with a sundried tomato and olive tapenade and finished with umami-rich anchovy panko crumbs that would go amazingly well over pasta! Here’s to hoping that some of you are ready to explore anchovies, and salad nicoise, in a new light!

How has Millennial Kosher helped you look at kosher food in a new way? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Related Recipes:

tuna with pineapple guacamole and herbed lime crema
pan seared tuna steak (2011 amateur days! lol)
salad nicoise (another 2011 beauty!)

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Salad Nicoise

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011


I love the idea of layered salads. Anything goes and people can pick and choose what they want. It’s almost like a “create your own salad bar” on a platter. It makes for a great Shalosh Seudos dish because you can use up whatever you have left from your meal. If you only used half the container of cherry tomatoes, throw them in. Leftover egg salad? Put a nice scoop in place of the hard boiled eggs. Potato salad can take the place of potatoes. And just about any vegetable makes the cut. Grilled veggies work well too. Plating the salad this way gives it a fresh and clean appearance, even if you are using the leftovers from your meal.

One of my favorite veggies in a classic Nicoise salad is the baby red potatoes. But I can’t deny that those carb-filled delights pack on the pounds. Instead, I use sweet potatoes, their lower-GI cousin, for added color and sweetness.

In terms of tuna, a lot of people like to use oil-packed in this salad because it is less dry. I prefer packed in water because it is obviously much lower in fat. You can also grill up some tuna steaks before shabbos, bring them to room temperature, and serve a la’ classic.

In terms of veggies, I have seen so many variations used in this salad, just about anything goes. Here are some suggestions (I’m starring all the must-have ingredients, everything else is optional):

*greens (Bibb, Boston, Butter or Romaine lettuce, mesclun, spinach)
*green beans
*olives (black [nicoise preferred] or green)
*hard-boiled eggs
*tuna (canned or fresh, or for a twist, use salmon)
*potatoes (red skinned or sweet)
*onions (red onion, shallots, chives, or scallions)
*tomatoes (any type)
anchovies (classic to salad nicoise, although I leave them out)
capers
cucumbers
avocado
peppers
mushrooms
radishes
kohlrabi
hearts of palm
shredded carrots
beans (white beans, edamame)
pasta (shells, macaroni, rotini)
feta cheese
shredded cheese
parsley

If you leave the classic ingredients intact, you can still call it a salad nicoise, albeit nontraditional. You can also opt for a layered salad with no rules whatsoever. Just imagine your typical salad bar and layer it onto a big serving platter.

So instead of just serving up leftovers this week, try and re-purpose what you’ve got in a fresh way. It is guaranteed to appeal to everyone at the table! Serve with different types of crackers for a complete meal.


Another version of salad nicoise.

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