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Vegan Elote Seasoning Blend

If you’re a Trader Joe’s fan like myself, chances are you heard about their latest spice to go viral, the EVERYTHING BUT THE ELOTE seasoning blend. Like everything new to TJ’s, word spread fast and everyone went to hoard the spice. Reviews have been mixed, but I was definitely intrigued.

If you’re a follower of my blog, or a fan of my cookbook, Millennial Kosher, you know I’m all about trying new things, especially different types of ethnic cuisine! I’ve recently been on a tajin kick (a chili spice blend that inspired Trader Joes famous blend), but I have yet to make classic elote,  a popular street food in Mexico.

To make elote, corn on the cob is grilled, slathered in mayo or crema, and then rolled in a mixture of cotija cheese (like a cross between parmesan and feta), chili powder and lime. Sounds amazing, I know, which is why TJ’s went for it! Their first intro to the spice was their Elote-spiced corn chip dippers, and since it flew off the shelves, they decided to work on a seasoning blend.

As posted on Trader Joe’s website, “In the spirit of our Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend that came before it, Trader Joe’s Everything But the Elote Seasoning Blend is “Everything” you might find on elote—chile pepper, Parmesan cheese, chipotle powder, cumin, dried cilantro, sea salt, etc.—minus the corn itself. (We also add some corn flour & cane sugar, so there’s really no mistaking what it’s meant to mimic.)” SAY NO MORE.

Unfortunately for me, since the product is dairy, and I adhere to the laws of cholov yisroel, (a kosher stringency in which dairy products must be made from milk that has been milked by a Jew), I could not taste it – so I did better, I made it! If you caught the fun process on my Instagram story, I basically broke down the ingredients from the label, shopped for it, and tested different amounts of each until I was happy with the results. I got it on the fourth try!

Homemade vegan elote seasoning is easy to make, and the ingredients are fairly easy to find. I found the corn flour from Bob’s Red Mill, and I used Trader Joe’s nutritional yeast. All the others can be easily found at your local supermarket.

If you’ve tried the TJ version, I would love to hear how it compares to my blend, so leave a comment or shoot me a DM!


Related Recipes:

grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter
vegetarian cornbread

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Sweet Chili Cauliflower Poppers

Happy Chanukah everyone!! You gotta love this holiday of parties, fried foods and presents, it really is my favorite! Partly so because I like to do without the pressure. Quick and easy recipes, throw together a cheese board and buy some donuts and we’re good to go!

There’s also 8 days to spread out the homemade stuff – so I tackle one thing at a time – classic latkes one night, a mashup on another. Some funnel cakes and deep fried oreos if we’re having a party and these SUPER EASY cauliflower poppers for the prettiest and simplest appetizer!

Sure in general I’m all for the homemade from-scratch stuff, but we all need an easy recipe in our back pocket that’s semi-homemade, and breaded cauliflower florets are a gift to foodie kind!

I first tasted a variation on this recipe at an Israeli-style cafe in Florida, they’re all over the sweet chili sauce! It came out still steaming and crispy from the fryer with a mayo dip on the side and something about it was just addictive and delicious! I realized that it was really easy to replicate at home, so I’ve been making it ever since and they are always a crowd pleaser!

I went a little Asian with the toppings and dip but you can go Middle Eastern with some parsley over the top and some za’atar ranch on the side, or maybe Mexican with some taco seasoning and cilantro with some salsa for dippings.

Get dippin’!

Related Recipes:

falafel cauliflower poppers
cauliflower nachos
smoked paprika popcorn cauliflower

sweet-chili-cauliflower-poppers

Dips & Spreads

Walk into any kosher supermarket and you’re likely to find a display case of wall to wall dips. What is it about Jews and dips and when did this cultural shift happen?

In Sephardic culture, SALATIM have adorned their Shabbos tables for generations. Unlike most mayo-based dips that you find in Ashkenazi cuisine, salatim are usually cooked down for hours (think matbucha!) and are exclusively savory.

Growing up in an Ashkenazi home, dips were not really a THING. And come to think of it, neither was a smorgasbord of salads. Life was a lot simpler back then, and if we had some pickled cucumber salad, chrein (horseradish with beets) and tahini (my dad is Israeli after all) we were happy campers. Perhaps it’s our foodie culture or this generation’s need for abundance that has our Shabbos feasts outdoing the most lavish Thanksgiving spreads. Luckily, I like to play around in the kitchen, so spending my Fridays whipping up multiple dishes isn’t the worst thing. But for those who find cooking overwhelming, Shabbos prep can be a chore, and believe me I get it. That’s where store-bought dips come in handy, and the good news is, you don’t really have to buy them.

I’ve never been that big on prepping dips, probably because they are just a vehicle for eating more challah. We always have hummus and tahini around, and I’ll make (or buy!) olive dip on occasion, but dips for me are an “extra”, a cherry on the top if I’m feeling extra fancy or I want to go all out for special guests.

If I have tomatoes on hand that are too soft for salad, I’ll usually cook down my tomato jalepeno dip (recipe in my book) and we absolutely love garlic confit smeared over challah (recipe also in my book), but in general, I prefer NO-COOK dips that I can just throw into the food processor and be done with it! One of my favorite kitchen hacks for making dips it to cover the bowl of my food processor with plastic wrap before putting the cover on, so the oil or mayo doesn’t splatter all over the top of the machine when I blend, and I can make one dip after another with minimal clean up.

The best part about making homemade dips in the food processor is that amounts don’t really matter. You can throw most things from a jar into your machine with a big dollop of mayo (lemon juice keeps it tasting fresh, and salt is always a given) and you’re good to go. Here are some good combos!

 

Related Recipes:

trio of sweet challah dips

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Sabich Burgers with Peach Amba

On my recent trip to Israel, a humble pita sandwich filled with unlikely ingredients stole the show: The Sabich. A combination of fried eggplant, hard-boiled egg, hummus and Israeli salad  is stuffed into a pita and drizzled with tahini and amba, a pickled mango sauce similar to Indian chutney.

The origins of sabich go back to Iraq, where the sandwiches were traditionally eaten on Shabbat mornings. The Iraqi’s brought it with them when they immigrated to Israel in the early days of the state, and it’s named is said to be an acronym for main sandwich components:  salat, beitzah, hazilim (salad, egg, eggplant).

What makes sabich so good? it’s the mishmash of textures and flavors which seem to work so well together — crunchy, creamy, tangy and spicy in every bite!

But above all, it’s the amba that really makes the sandwich and everything else it comes in contact with! I first tried traditional jarred amba a few months ago and let me just say, it was NOT love at first bite. Unripe mango was cut into sticks and pickled in a spicy brine which did not please my palette in the least. But then, I tried the amba at Goldie Falafel in Philly and I was like WHAT. IS. THIS. SORCERY. So, I went to the source of all things Israeli Cuisine, Mike Solomonov’s cookbooks and I was on my way to the most amazing chutney I’d ever had.

So the best amba, I learned, is not, in fact, pickled. It’s cooked down into savory sauce that makes everything better! You can even blend it up into a smooth dip and use it to marinate meat or poultry – all of which I have tried with much success!

This summer, I decided to swap out mango for peaches, for a more seasonal sauce and it just blew it out of the park! Solomonov has done it with apples for topping latkes, and strawberries in the summer, which I’d love to try sometime too. Feel free to switch up your fruit to make it your own – just do it, you won’t regret it!

 

Related Recipes:

sabich latkes
amba bloody harry 
roasted eggplant shakshuka
harissa whipped feta with za’atar eggplant “chips”

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Shaktuna (Tunisian Tuna Shakshuka)

Having recently traveled to Paris, I have a newfound love of tuna – and not the type we mix with mayo and stuff in a bagel. But the kind that’s canned in good quality olive oil and served with sesame bread. Or the kind that’s stuffed into a teeny tiny sandwich with potatoes, eggs, capers and olives: the Tunisian tuna sandwich known as Fricassé.

I made my way to Charles Traiteur, the popular kosher catering/take-out to taste their renowned Tunisian Tuna Sandwich, a soft sesame baguette stuffed with tuna, eggs, harissa, olives and a hint of mustard. It was good, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype, maybe because the bread was soggy.

But then I went back before Shabbos and got their Tunisian Fricaseé sandwich – mini bites of heaven with the same ingredients of the tuna sandwich, only on delicious fried bread and I haven’t stopped dreaming about it since!

Now lets go back a couple of months, when I was introduced to Finer Fin tuna, aptly named because that tuna is FINE!!! I have been hooked on their amazing flavors, including Mexicana, 3-Bean, Zesty Lemon and Spicy Chili. Each filet is hand-sliced and packed in extra virgin olive oil. The tuna is wild caught, a great source of Omega 3, Non-GMO, low in mercury and sustainable caught. It basically sells itself!

So, back to Paris, I came home re-inspired on the tuna front and decided to do a riff on shakshuka and the classic Tunisian Tuna sandwich and let me just say…WOW. Like seriously this makes the perfect breakfast, brunch, lunch or even dinner. It was just THAT good.

Because Finer Fin’s tuna is already packed with flavor, it needed only a small can of tomato sauce to create a base for shakshuka. I added the other classic elements of olives and capers, but you can easily leave those out if you’re not a fan of briny flavors.

You can also throw in some spinach or kale into the mix if you’d like, which is really what I love about shakshuka – it’s just so versatile! (see the gazillion different combos I linked to below, I can’t get enough!).

So if you’re looking for a taste of Paris, or you just want a quick and easy dinner to get on the table, look no further than SHAKTUNA!

This post has been sponsored by Finer Fin. All opinions are my own.

Related Recipes:

roasted eggplant shakshuka
Mexican quinoa shakshuka
beet, kale and goat cheese shakshuka
zoodle shakshuka,
garbanzo bean shakshuka with labneh
spaghetti squash shakshuka
stuffed portobello shakshuka

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