Amba Bloody Harry

Written by chanie on March 18th, 2019

When I get into a new ingredient, I really get into it, and amba is my poison these days! It all started when my instafeed went viral for sabich, the Iraqi Jewish dish, on the #celebritychefbirthright trip. There it was – the fried eggplant, hardboiled egg and Israeli salad-stuffed pita sandwich dripping with amba, and I just new, although I had eaten it various times, that it was time to make amba myself.

So I turned to the most trusted source – Mike Solomonov’s new cookbook, Israeli Soul, for the recipe, and I. was. hooked. Sweet, spicy, tangy, earthy – everything you’d want in a condiment. I smothered it over sabich stuffed eggplant, marinated pargiot in all of it’s glory and made amba london broil. And truth be told – I’ve got some in the fridge right now that’s going to be drizzled over my eggs for lunch. But I wanted to take it a step further and deconstruct it, and with Purim pending any day now, a cocktail was born. I took inspiration from the traditional Bloody Mary – subbing mango juice for tomato, harissa paste for Tabasco sauce, fennel for celery and Israeli pickles for olives. I added a touch of the other prominent amba spices and what I can say? It honestly tastes like amba, but you still want to drink it, and it just works! And let me tell you, I’m no mixologist – a testament to the true deliciousness of this unique ingredient.

L’chaim!

Related Recipes:

The Hamantini
Strawberry Limonana
Cherry Basil Limonana
Tahini Frappuccino

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Salted Tahinut Chews

Written by chanie on March 13th, 2019

I’m not much of an actual peanut person but peanut butter is my jam – and I definitely love the iconic sandwich. In fact, during my last pregnancy, I craved PB&J sandwiches for the first few months, and I secretly hoped it would immunize my baby against peanut allergies. Once my daughter was born though, that all went out the window because my house it peanut free, and you won’t find any bamba in the pantry.

A couple of years ago, when my now-5-year-old son was about 16 months old, I gave him a Larabar for snack, and a few bites in he broke out in hives all over his body. Having never dealt with food allergies with my other children, I wasn’t really familiar with such as extreme reaction, but I gave him Benadryl and he fell fast asleep. When I went to check on him, his lips had turned blue so I quickly called Hatzalah and he was rushed to the hospital, with a dose of epinephrine administered on the way. Thus began my journey as a mom of a child with life threatening food allergies.

Let me tell you – there is literally nothing more terrifying than watching your child struggle to breathe because of something they ate. I always try to use my platform to spread awareness because I know what it means to be that clueless parent who is lucky enough to be unfamiliar with food allergies. When my son turned three and started to wear a kippah, I partnered with iKippah to design the first ever ALLERGY KIPPAH to help keep young boys with food allergies safe. My son proudly wears his kippah and I know that in case of an emergency, his allergy and emergency information can all be found underneath.

So what has that got to do with TAHINUT CHEWS? Well, since my house is peanut free, but thankfully we are free of sesame allergies, TAHINI has become our new peanut butter. And the truth is, it’s a great stand in. The texture is pretty similar and pure raw tahini paste really does taste a bit like peanut butter too. I use it in recipes like my tahini muddy buddies, in place of peanut butter in Asian sauces, cakes and treats. The best part is, you don’t have to melt tahini, since it’s liquid at room temperature, so this recipe comes together in just minutes. And I love that I don’t have to forgo one of my all time favorite indulgences – Rice Krispies Peanut Chews!

Now if you’ve got a peanut AND a sesame allergy? I truly feel bad for you! I always say G-d was good to me by at least saving us from a sesame allergy because TAHINI IS LIFE. Although I’ve got you covered there as well – cookie butter works as a great alternative to peanut butter too!

Related Recipes:

tahini muddy buddies
tahini scones
sweet tahini dip
halva krembos
halva and ricotta stuffed figs

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Arayes: Kofta Pita Pockets

Written by chanie on March 7th, 2019


I love how today’s food trends have made Middle Eastern food so popular. Otherwise, I probably never would have heard of sabich, or hawaij, or arayes.

So what are they? Arayes are native to Lebanon, where they stuff kofta, a spiced beef or lamb mixture, into pita pockets and grill them. Yes, it’s as good as it’s sounds.

What I love even more than traditional arayes, is that chef’s have been creating their own adaptation of the classic for a fun twist. A local restaurant had fish arayes on the menu last week, and I’ve been seeing lots of other variations of the traditional filling as well.

While I’m usually one for turning tradition on it’s head, I loved my classic recipe so much that I went with it. But I did spare you the annoying blogger habit of calling anything with 3 corners hamantaschen, because frankly, they are not. Although in the festive Purim spirit, they are triangular, and they really do make the perfect Purim party appetizer.

Speaking of Purim party appetizers, I love to put out of bunch of finger food for my Purim feast every year because everyone is so busy coming and going, there’s hyper kids all over the place and probably a bunch of adult drunks too – so no one really wants a formal meal. Finger food makes the perfect spread and arayes are just the thing.

Some other great party appetizers that I’ve done in the past include:

drunken hasselback salami
pulled beef tacos
hummus bassar
breaded honey drumsticks
hot dog eggrolls
potato borekas
franks in blanks
chicken wings
charcuterie board
roasted sweet potatoes with gooey pecans (recipe in Millennial Kosher)
lachmagine pizza (recipe  in Millennial Kosher)

Enjoy!

Related Recipes:

Jerusalem hummus in jars
mechshie
herbed pita chips
grilled chicken fattoush

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Salami Tarte Tatin

Written by chanie on February 26th, 2019

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!
S-A-L-A-M-I  T-A-R-T-E  T-A-T-I-N!!!!!!!

OK I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so excited about a recipe!!! Salami time AKA Purim, AKA the Busy In Brooklyn yearly salami tradition is here and YAYYYYYY!!


I love that the young girl who used to throw her weekly salami sandwiches down the incinerator chute is now known for her salami trash-ups! My friend recently said to me, “You know Chanie, no one is every going to look at salami without thinking of you”, and I’m OK with it. In fact I’m all over it. Because becoming known for a particular ingredient means I’m doing a good job as a blogger and that my friends, is my jam (also job, but yes, jam!).

So… why in the world am I so excited? Well I’ll tell you. If you’re not well versed in French pastry, you might not be familiar with the classic dessert, TARTE TATIN, an upside-down pastry in which fruit is caramelized in butter and sugar as it bakes under a blanket of puff pastry. Fancy pastry chef’s make their own, but most recipes call for the store-bought variety which means only one thing – QUICK & EASY.

But still, WHY am I so excited??? Well traditional tarte tatin uses fruit as it’s base, and you even might find some unique recipes for vegetable-based tarts, but you have never found a SALAMI tarte tatin and I, my friends, think it’s pretty genius. And I’m a pretty hard sell.

Whats more than the salami is the bourbon caramel that the salami bathes in as it cooks down. Yes, you got that right. Bourbon. Caramel. And although I abhor margarine, there was no winning here because coconut oil + salami is a no go, so I caved. And I’m ok with it. I mean the puff pastry is virtually all margarine anyway, so whats another few tablespoons, amiright?

It’s hard to keep up with myself with this salami thing and I was worried about how I’d one-up my previous recipes. The now infamous drunken hasselback salami is sold at virtually every kosher deli stand, and salami babka has made it around the world, so coming up with something new was quite daunting. But I’d said I hashtag #nailedit on this one.

I’m also crushing on the photos of this recipe, which is why I’m doing a lot of salami rambling aka filler content :) But in case you’re still scratching your head on this whole salami thing – it’s a BUSY IN BROOKLYN Purim tradition that I started a couple of years ago on the blog, after reading about a custom to eat salami on Purim, since it’s hung, like HAMAN. Cute, right??

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!  Happy almost-Purim!

This post is sponsored by Abeles & Heymann.

Other Salami Recipes:

last year: salami potato latkes
two years ago: salami babka
three years ago: salami quiche
four years ago: beer battered salami chips with beer mustard
five years ago: drunken hasselback salami
six years ago: salami chips

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Fig Newton Hamantaschen

Written by chanie on February 21st, 2019

It’s officially hamantaschen time and while baking is not my favorite thing, I always try to push myself to a fun twist on the classic 3-cornered-cookies, and these FIG NEWTON delicious bites did not disappoint!

Fun fact – I first tested this recipe three years ago, but it needed tweaking, so I put it off year after year (see above! ;), but recently I made a decision to stop being afraid of dough, and I held myself to it! Yes baking is a science, and I’m not very technical but I can do it, and you can too.

Now if I’m honest, I’ve never actually had traditional fig newtons because they are OU-D and I keep cholov yisroel (dairy which has been derived from milk that has been milked under the supervision of a religiously observant Jew – not the case with OU-D certified foods), however, I have tasted an off-brand copycat version and I’ve also made them from scratch a few times (can you tell I like figs?), so I think I have a pretty good idea of what they taste like.

Purim prep is in full swing here with the kids deciding on custumes, shalach manos shopping and menu planning. I for one was dead set on dressing up as the SHTISEL family because I’m a huge fan of the series, but the kids are not having it! So, I’m on my own with this one.

Happy Purim Prep!

Related Recipes:

ma’amoul hamantaschen
raspberry hamantaschen hand pies
healthy thumbprint hamantaschen
baklava hamantaschen

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ChimiChicken

Written by chanie on February 11th, 2019

Chimichurri is my latest obsession. The herbaceous sauce originates from Argentina, where they serve it with grilled meat., but I’ve been putting it on everything and it is GOOD! I’ve always been a pesto person (my spinach pistachio pesto is LIFE!), but because we try to keep my house nut free, I prefer to have a green sauce on hand that doesn’t make me worry. Of course pesto without nuts is not pesto (no matter that your local market labels it as such!), so I moved on to the next best thing.

Now while chimichurri is delicious on it’s own – a perfect dipping sauce for london broil or grilled chicken – I’ve been mixing it into mayo for a lipsmacking aioli that’s delicious on burgers, or as a dressing for a fresh chicken salad – so so good!

One thing I hadn’t done was actually cooked with it (since it’s traditionally served raw), but when I had a container left over at the end of the week, I decided to throw it over some chicken with some tomatoes and the results were absolutely delicious. This one is a winner!

Related Recipes:

pulled pesto chicken burger with fire roasted tomato jam
grilled chicken fattoush with za’atar ranch
spice crusted chicken

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Everything Bagel Keto Crackers

Written by chanie on January 23rd, 2019

I’ve been dieting ever since I can remember, and if you’ve been with BIB since the early days, you probably remember when I posted about the South Beach Diet which I went on religiously after every baby. But then I started a career in food and diets that eliminated entire food groups became difficult to stick to. I also had a 90 day stint with Whole30, which I still firmly believe in as a nutritional reset, but not really as a way of life. It’s far too restrictive and there was so much prep involved which became near impossible with my busy lifestyle.

So, when I finally decided I was done with my yo-yo habits recently, I wanted to commit to a plan, if only for a few months – but a strict regimen that would help me lose the cookbook + baby + stress weight of the past few years – and with lots of people I know losing weight on keto, I decided to jump in blindly.

I thought keto would be easier to manage – that is, no major food planning – and I have to admit that that part is totally manageable. Since I cook pretty healthy for the most part, I find that adapting my regular dinners is pretty easy. I have no problem with grabbing a quick lunch, and I mostly skip breakfast, which isn’t a bad thing on keto since 16 hours of intermittent fasting is encouraged. The problem then, is the counting.


I legit hate diets where I have to weigh my food or count my calories. Maybe it’s the flashbacks of being on Weight Watchers in high school, when my scale became my best friend, but it’s legit the worst part about this diet. In this case, you’re not quite counting calories or weighing your food – you’re counting MACROS = grams of protein, carbs and fat throughout the day.


For optimum results on keto, it’s important to stay within your macros if you want to stay in ketosis. Keeping carbs under roughly 20 grams is HARD because every. single. thing. has carbs. And I’m not talking about pizza or pastries here. I’m talking about not overdoing the veggies. I’m also finding it hard to reach my fat macros, and for the first few weeks, I religiously entered my entire food diary into the Carb Manager app to keep track- and I saw a big difference. The weight came off easily. But now as I’ve settled into the diet, I’m getting sick of counting and while I haven’t gained any weight, the scale (and my inches) are extremely slow moving.

I’m still not ready to quit though, I just want to find the right balance for myself because I know this plan can really work if you do it right. In the meantime, these super easy keto crackers (which I adapted from this Pesach recipe by the genius challah/babka queen @naomi_tgis, Naomi Elberg), have been getting me through Shabbos meals because we all need some crunch to eat with our salads/dips when everyone else is eating fluffy Challah.

I’ve been trying them all different ways, and the everything bagel version wins hands down, but give the variations a try as well when you get bored of them!

Related Recipes:

how to build a fish board
artisan toast, 6 ways
tuna with anchovy panko crumbs

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Funfetti Cream Tart Number Cake

Written by chanie on January 15th, 2019

I’ve always held on to this self-limiting belief that I’m “not a baker”. I backed it up by telling myself that baking is a science and I’m more of a creative.
I hate following the rules and I always think outside the box.

For 8 long years – yes 8! – I’ve been blogging here on BUSY IN BROOKLYN and sharing my love of food, family and tradition (+ some crafts!). I’ve always pushed myself to try new techniques, explore unique ingredients and cook up cultural dishes that I’d never tried before. But one thing always got the better of me – DOUGH. Because “I’m not a baker.”

I always fell back on frozen pizza dough, puff pastry, and store-bought Artisan bread because I was afraid of anything that involved yeast. There was a short stint with sourdough, but I gave that up when more of my loaves flopped than succeeded.

In the school of Hassidic thought, the number 8 resembles that which is above nature, and to celebrate Busy In Brooklyn’s 8th Blogoversary, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and bake up something that’s been both intriguing me and intimating me at the same time – the beautiful layered cream tart!

To stick with my blog anniversary theme of FUNFETTI, I designed this tiered sprinkle cookie cake in the number 8, and decorated it with colors inspired by my cookbook, Millennial Kosher! After 8 years of honing my skills in the kitchen, I am officially done with labels. I can be anything I want to be!

With close to a decade in the food industry, I have learned a lot of things.

How to develop and write a recipe.
How to compose, style and photograph food.
How to teach people about food in a fun way.
How to cook with color!
How to compose a dish.
How to plan a menu.
How to multiply a recipe for a large crowd.
How to network with people.
How to write a cookbook!!
and the list goes on…..

I’ve learned a lot of things, and I’ve acquired a lot of skills, but above all, I’ve come to realize that nothing stands in the way of good, old fashioned HARD WORK. Looking back at 8 years here on BUSY IN BROOKLYN, I can’t believe that what I thought would be just a passing hobby, has turned into the most fulfilling career. That the young mom who was cooking traditional Ashkenazi food became a recipe developer with a broad palate. And that the clueless lady with a camera, became a food photographer with a pretty impressive portfolio and a cookbook to show for it. HOW DID THIS ALL HAPPEN??!!

OK I’m a officially drenching my keyboard at this point, feeling so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. I don’t know where I would be if all of YOU AMAZING PEOPLE weren’t actually reading this and cooking up my recipes, and buying my book, and supporting me, and showing me so much love and appreciation and respect. How can I ever thank you?!

I always say that cooking is about so much more than satiating ourselves and others – it’s about expressing yourself and showing love to the people who mean the most to you. I don’t know how to thank you – so I will continue to do what I do best – cook – AND BAKE – for you all, because I am so grateful for this platform and it means so much to me.

Thank you for joining me for these 8 wonderful years of cooking, crafting and coping here in Brooklyn. Looking forward to many more to come!

Related Posts:

7th Blogoversary} Funfetti Rice Krispie Bites
6th Blogoversary} Funfetti Raspberry Palmiers
5th Blogoversary} Funfetti Pecan Turtles
4th Blogoversary} Funfetti Cake
2nd Blogoversary} BBQ Brisket
1st Blogoversary} Mulled Wine

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Mushroom Cauli Soup

Written by chanie on December 31st, 2018

So it’s been nearly 3 weeks since I started keto and I have to admit – I’m bored. How much cheese/eggs/steak/broccoli, cauliflower/cabbage and nuts can you eat? I’m all about variety in my diet and I get bored so easily!


One thing I promised myself when I started this diet was that I was not going to spend my day in the kitchen preparing special foods for myself. I was going to adapt my regular family recipes and make them work for me, and so far it’s been working. When I wanted to make this soup, I just substituted the bread crumbs with almond flour and removed some of the soup for myself before adding the orzo. I added some cauliflower rice to my portion and it was such a nice change from my typical steak and roasted veggie dinner!

Coming up with soups that aren’t tomato or bean based is a little difficult (tomatoes are not encouraged on keto because they are high in sugar). In general I’m a big fan of legumes in soup, and I love grains like barley and farro too, so it’s a challenge. I decided I wanted to do a keto-approved riff on mushroom barley soup, since everyone in the house loves it, but I knew I couldn’t use barley. I decided to use cauliflower to give the soup some creaminess and body, and it was a huge hit. I didn’t tell my cauliflower-hating kid that it had her least favorite veggie in there and she thought it was delicious (until she watched my Instagram story and was suddenly nauseous – ha!)

So alas, this Mushroom Cauli Soup – a play on Mushroom Barley Soup – so long as you say CAULI with the same enunciation as BARLEY :)

Related Recipes:

zucchini basil soup
spinach white bean minestrone with zoodles
cream of leek soup

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Tunisian-Style Tuna Nicoise Salad

Written by chanie on 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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