Category: Brunch

Tunisian-Style Tuna Nicoise Salad

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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Pizza En Croute

Happy Chanukah!!!!! The holiday of donuts, latkes, fried food, gelt and cheeeeeeesssseeee is here! Does it get any better?

Of course we don’t count calories on Chanukah, because we celebrate the miracle of the oil where a small jug miraculously lasted for 8 whole days and the story of Yehudit who bravely lured a Greek general with wine & cheese and them chopped off his head in his drunken slumber. I mean how can we not honor our history and tradition by filling up on goodies??! You don’t have to ask me twice!

Of course Chanukah is also special to me because I was born on the fifth night, and 16 years ago, I got married on my birthday. I made that choice because I knew that the day held so much blessing and power, and I held onto the belief that it would carry me through my married life with lots of good vibes and the power to illuminate.


I never imagined that life would take me on this unexpected journey. That I would one day become a food writer, and that I would be blessed to carve out this humble space for myself on the web, and on your bookshelf. I feel especially grateful this Chanukah for all the miraculous blessings of the past year. For more success than I could have ever imagined. My heart is so full and I don’t even know how to thank you. So I’ll just keep cooking and sharing what I love, because that’s the only way I know how.

So I made pizza en croute. Because pizza has my heart. And I’m sure it has yours too. I used Makabi’s mini balls because it’s Chanukah after all, and because they’re the perfect size to take the place of brie – as a riff on the classic “brie en croute”.

I top ’em off with whatever I have en hand, and that’s really the best part about these – they’re so easily adaptable. Top the cheese with marinara, ketchup, pesto or olive tapenade and you’ve got yourself a party appetizer that will fly off the table!

Wishing you a CHEESY holiday!!

This post was sponsored by Makabi Cheese, all opinions are my own!

Related Recipes:

dried fruit brie bites
parmesan lasagna chips with pizza hummus
broccoli Parmesan poppers
zucchini parmesan chips
3-cheese pull apart buns

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Crispy Rice Latkes

Call ’em crispy rice latkes, call ’em snap crackle and pop cakes, call ’em crispy crack or even tahdig – just do yourself a favor and make them, ok??

These leftover sushi rice cakes were a total afterthought the morning after a make-your-own-sushi-roll for dinner night. I usually just stir fry my leftover rice and top it with a runny egg for breakfast the next morning but this time, I decided to crisp it up into what basically turned into a crack cake. It’s tahdig on steroids and solves the soggy latke problem, because even hours later, the latkes remained super crispy.

I think my biggest problem was what to top them with but I solved it pretty fast because runny eggs are my jam, especially when they are jammy soft boiled ones. But honestly, the options are endless. Lox and creme fraiche if you’re feeling fancy. Caviar if you really want to take it over the top. Some tuna tartare if you want to go Asian, or some sesame pulled beef if you’re feeling meaty.

And if you really want to be fancy, mix the scallions INTO the rice before frying. Or add any fillings of your choice. ENDLESS. OPTIONS.

Chanukah has been so good to me. It gave me life (I was born on the 5th night), and it celebrates my Anniversary (I got married on my birthday). I’ve always felt a special connection to the holiday of fried food, donuts and wine + cheese and I secretly wonder if it’s one of the reasons I was born with the foodie gene!

This Chanukah is especially momentous because I get to share the holiday with so many of my fans and followers at my local book signings in Williams Sonoma and Bloomingdales! I could not be more excited to share some of my favorite Chanukah recipes in some of my favorite stores. I am feeling so. very. blessed. Thank you all for making this year so special to me!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Chanukah!

Other Latke Recipes:

salami potato latkes
sabich latkes
falatkes (falafel latkes)
poutine latkes
confetti latkes
butternut squash latkes
cheese latkes

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Tahini Scones

I’m fond of calling myself a #bakernonbaker but the truth is, sometimes I surprise myself. These scones were next-level. The crunchiest exterior, pillow-soft interior and crazy flaky – almost like halva! How my little of this and little of that achieved scone-perfection is a mystery even I cannot solve, but I think it has a lot to do with the magic ingredient – tahini.

I’m pretty open about the fact that I’m not into the science of food. I’ve never been a very technical person. Technicalities give me a headache. I don’t find gastronomy intriguing, but one thing I can tell you is that tahini has special powers. Something about it’s fat content makes it bind with other ingredients in a completely different way. Fold it into whipped cream and you’ll get the thickest emulsion that will not deflate – and it will freeze up so smooth and creamy with the texture of ice cream! Mix it with water and you’ve got the silkiest, creamiest dip or stir in some silan and you’ve got a thick fudge. What is it about this magic ingredient that can be used in both sweet or savory applications, mixed into doughs and salad dressings, fudge and candy?

Tahini so fascinates me, I almost want to explore the science of emulsification. Almost. It does something so special to these flaky scones, you’ll never believe they don’t have butter!

Buttery pastries intimidate me. The way you have to get the butter into the perfect pea-size, and you can’t melt it with the heat of your hands. How you have to be careful to handle the dough just-so and not overmix it. How you have to perfect the process to allow for pillows of flakiness in every bite. Too painstaking for this impatient cook.

But cream-based scones? I got this. And so can you. Because it’s just as simple as mixing some ingredients into a bowl and forming them into a disc. And you can thank the magic ingredient, tahini, for doing the work of butter – minus the technicalities.

I thought about glazing the scones (and even posted a poll on my Instagram!), but I decided not to mess with perfection. Sometimes you get something just right and you don’t need to over-complicate things. So I left the scones as-is, allowing the subtle tahini flavor to shine, and served them with a side of dairy whipped cream and fresh berries, ‘cuz really, does it get any better than that?

OK, maybe with a side of a steaming hot cafe hafuch and some fresh figs. (on a porch somewhere in Israel. I’m pushing it now, aren’t I?) The breakfast of my dreams.

Related Recipes:

halva krembos with sesame cookies
halva and ricotta stuffed figs
tahini frappuccino
tahini puppy chow 

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Roasted Eggplant Shakshuka

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve got a thing for stuffing roasted eggplant halves. I’ve made it a bunch of different ways – in fact – I had so many variations that I wanted to put into my cookbook, Millennial Kosher, that I almost wanted to do a stuffed eggplant chapter! Alas, we had to nix this shakshuka recipe because I already had 2 other stuffed recipes in the book (fully loaded stuffed eggplants and lamb moussaka eggplant boats).

It was a hard decision because this recipe is just THAT good. But the great part about being a food blogger is that I knew I could eventually just post it on the blog, and this seems like the perfect week! With the Nine Days upon us (a period of mourning in which observant Jews abstain from eating meat), we’re all looking for light and healthy vegetarian fare, and this fits the bill.

If you’re a fan of shakshuka, I’ve got lots of other variations available on the blog too, like this Mexican Quinoa Shakshuka, the beet, kale and goat cheese version that WhatJewWannaEat guest posted for me when I was on maternity leave,  this fun zoodle version, one with garbanzo beans and labneh, another one with spaghetti squash and spinach, and even a stuffed portobello one. Can you tell I have a thing for runny eggs in spicy tomato sauce??

All the above versions are kinda great – but I’m partial to the ramen shakshuka in my cookbook, and this incredible variation. The silky fire roasted eggplant with the runny egg and the spicy tomato sauce marry so well together, it’s a wonder no one came up with this before!

If you’re a fan of stuffed roasted eggplants, you can also try these other ideas: roasted eggplant parmesan, roasted eggplant parmesan with fetastuffed roasted eggplant, and sous vide stuffed eggplant with dukkah and pomegranate.  I wasn’t kidding. I heart stuffed eggplant. Almost as much as shakshuka. Ok as much as shakshuka.

Related Recipes:

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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