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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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Chickpea Cakes with Za’atar Cauliflower Relish

Monday, February 24th, 2014

If you follow my blog, you probably already know about my passion for Israeli fare. From cumin to za’atar and roasted eggplant to chickpeas – you’ll find loads of Middle Eastern-inspired recipes here on BIB. I’ve been growing my collection of Middle Eastern cookbooks as well, with Balaboosta just recently added to books like Plenty, Jerusalem, Cook in Israel, The Book of New Israeli Food, and more.

In this delicious appetizer, I’ve created a chickpea cake, in a preparation similar to polenta, using garbanzo flour. Such cakes are popularly served in Northern Italy (where it’s called panisse) as well as the South of France (where it’s called panelle). They are often cut into sticks and fried to resemble french fries.

For the topping, I went with a delicious combination of za’atar roasted cauliflower with caramelized onions, prunes and toasted pine nuts. The result is a delicious combination of Middle Eastern flavors – the perfect recipe to guest post on Yosef Silver’s blog, This American Bite. You may remember it from The Great Blog Swap Link-Up where I created a recipe for grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter, inspired by his recipe for garlic, za’atar & olive oil stovetop popcorn.

For the recipe, head on over to This American Bite.

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

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Za’atar Roasted Chickpeas

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Ahh, za’atar, a delicious spice blend of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and salt – there’s nothing quite like it!

When my grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter was recently featured in a lineup of za’atar recipes on The Huffington Post, I knew I had to reach for the Middle Eastern spice once again.

People are always asking me for healthy snack recipes that they can make on a whim. And I always suggest my go-to diet snack – roasted chickpeas. I give lots of savory & sweet ideas in this old post, but it’s buried deep into my blog, and it doesn’t get much attention. So here we are again with this new za’atar variation – my favorite flavor of all!

Other Za’atar Recipes:

honey roasted za’atar chicken with dried fruit
grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter
malawach cheese pastries with dipping sauce

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Honey Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Fruit

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty big on za’atar right now. But regardless of my newfound love of the spice mix, I’ve been making a variation of this chicken for quite some time. I decided to kick it up a notch for the holidays by adding red wine, honey and dried fruit for a festive finish.

Za’atar is a mixed herb and spice blend popular in the Middle East. It’s primarily made up of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and salt. The spice blend is widely available in supermarkets, but you can also find it on amazon.

Other za’atar recipes:

grilled corn with za’atar garlic compound butter
malawach cheese pastries with dipping sauce

Related recipes:

sweet Hawaiian chicken
Rosh Hashanah roast
honey mustard chicken pastrami roulade

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Grilled Corn with Za’atar Garlic Butter

Sunday, July 21st, 2013


If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I am part of a group of kosher food bloggers called the Kosher Connection. Each month, we are challenged to put our own twist on a link-up theme. Over the past year, we’ve had:

KOSHERCONNECTION July 2012: frozen desserts
August 2012: grilling
September 2012: honey
October 2012: root vegetables
November 2012: stuffing
December 2012: Chinese food
January 2013: miniatures
February 2013: home-made gifts
March 2013: Passover desserts
April 2013: The Best Thing I Ever Ate
May 2013: croutons
June 2013: cold soups

This month, we celebrate our one year anniversary as a group with a fun link-up – The Great Blog Swap. Each member of the Kosher Connection was issued a fellow KC member’s blog and challenged to create a recipe inspired by one on their site. My secret target blog is This American Bite.

This American Bite is a personal blog dedicated to whole food cooking with a passion for vegetarian and BBQ. Living in the Midwest with his wife an two children, Yosef Silver began This American Bite to share his passion for healthy kosher food. As a resident of Kansas City, Yosef brings his fresh approach to BBQ and has previously been a judge at the Annual Kosher BBQ Festival. This year, he plans to compete with his team, The Epicurean Bite. We wish him the best of luck!

Many of Yosef’s recipes are inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, and za’atar is a spice you will find in a lot of his recipes. One such recipe is garlic, za’atar and olive oil stovetop popcorn.As an ode to Yosef’s Kansas City living, I decided to do a twist on his recipe by grilling fresh corn and smothering it in garlic & za’atar compound butter. I never imagined that the corn would come out so incredibly delicious. I have to say that it was literally one of the best things I have ever eaten! Garlic & za’atar compound butter is my new favorite combination, thanks to This American Bite!

First up, we’ve got the grilled corn. I couldn’t imagine doing a This American Bite blog swap without paying homage to his passion for barbecuing. I’m not exactly a BBQ aficionado, and on the day of my photo shoot, the weather here in Brooklyn topped off at 102 degrees. I wasn’t, shall we say, enthusiastic, about sweating over a hot grill. My reluctance turned to exuberance as soon as I took a bite out of the moist, barbecued corn. Grilling the corn in their husks keeps it deliciously moist while still imparting a smokey flavor.

As I wrote in a recent post, I’m not that big on butter. Compound butter, is another story though. Who can resist a creamy flavored spread on top of warm crusty bread? Compound butter is simply butter mixed with other ingredients to create a flavorful spread. It can be sweet (strawberry butter is popularly served over pancakes) or savory (maitre D’hotel butter mixed with fresh parsley and lemon is a culinary favorite). I’ve tried quite a few flavors of compound butter in the past, and this za’atar and garlic version is by far, the best one I’ve ever had.

If you’re not familiar with za’atar, it’s a mixed herb and spice blend popular in the Middle East. Za’atar is primarily made up of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and salt. The spice blend is widely available in supermarkets, but you can also find it on amazon.

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Now that I’ve shared my “This American Bite” inspired recipe, lets get back to where we started – The Kosher Connection Anniversary. Aside from the great roundup of recipes in the link-up below, we’re also celebrating with a spectacular giveaway! The KC is giving away 2 Emile Henry products – a Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Use the Rafflecopter below to win- you can enter up to 23 ways! Two winners will be chosen at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest winners will be contacted via email. They will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18


Quick & Easy Shakshuka

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

I absolutely love shakshuka! I couldn’t think of a better breakfast on a Sunday morning, or any morning for that matter. The rich and spicy tomato sauce paired with a runny egg and some fresh hot bread or pita – could it get any better? Now Shakshuka can be a patchke to make, what with the chopping, sauteeing, and fresh tomatoes…I don’t know about you but after a long Shabbos, and an even longer Motzei Shabbos, the last thing I want to do is start cooking, AGAIN (hence the Sunday night meal of leftovers!). But I have simplified this recipe to the easiest 2-ingredient fix (for the most basic) you could think of! Even the tired and weary can whip up a plate of these in no time!

Note: If you are watching your carbs, this is actually a great recipe because it is a whole meal-in-one and it’s very filling! Skip the bread, of course!


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