Category: Dips

Salami Nduja

Happy Salami Season!!!! It’s that time of the year when I go all salamied out because Purim, and it’s been a Busy In Brooklyn tradition for years now!

It all started with this thing I read about salami being hung like the evil haman in the Purim story and a tradition was born to trash up salami every which way in true Purim spirit.

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve definitely heard of my viral DRUNKEN HASSELBACK SALAMI that’s become a staple in Jewish homes and deli counters worldwide, and the ever popular SALAMI BABKA that made waves in recent years.

I’m always dreaming up new salami ideas, and this year I took inspiration from Chef Erick Vargas Bromberg (@evb_nyc), formerly of one of my favorite kosher restaurants of all time, Boru Boru.

Erick served up salami nduja at his most recent job at Gruit (he has since left) and I was intrigued! Nduja (pronounce en-doo-ya) is a spreadable sausage, traditionally made with the nonkosher meat (if you know what I mean!) and calabrian chilies, but Eric used salami and gochujang (Korean chili paste), layered with smoked navel fat. I’m not usually a pâté person but it was GOOD and it made me see salami in a whole new light!

It ain’t easy doing something new and exciting with salami every year so I was grateful for the inspo! I made my own version which is not too spicy, a bit smoky, salty and all around deeeelicious.

I recommend serving with crusty bread, crackers, lots of pickles and plenty of wine, of course. Happy Purim!!

Other Salami Recipes:

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

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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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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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Hummus Simanim

As the New Year approaches, I always like to evaluate where I stand and think about what changes I want to make for myself in the coming year, both personally and professionally. For years, my goal was to take the necessary steps towards writing my own cookbook, and now that I have met that goal (far beyond my expectations, with our first printing of 15,000 books completely sold out in just 3 months!), I keep asking myself, “What’s next?”.


I’m not the type of person that settles on status quo – I’m always dreaming up the next big thing and finding ways to challenge myself. It’s like they say – “If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind” – and I definitely believe in that.


Truth be told, once the book went to print, I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that I couldn’t imagine coming up with new recipes and ideas ever again! But as my workload lightened up this summer, I got back in the kitchen because I wanted to, not because I had to, and I found my groove again! I went back to my roots, the foods and the flavors that I love the most (yes, that means Israeli food!) and this amazing new recipe came to me! It’s simanim on steroids and it is everything you’ve ever dreamed of for your Rosh Hashanah table and more!

Simanim, or symbolic foods, are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. Some simanim include leeks, pomegranate, gourds (any type of squash), dates, black eyed peas or green beans, beets, carrots and fish head (some use ram’s head). These specific foods are eaten because their hebrew translation relates to specific blessings that convey our wishes for the coming year.


When I put the platter together, I couldn’t stop taking photos because, I mean, HOW GORGEOUS IS IT, amiright??? I all but maxed out my SD card and went. to. town. (No- I like seriously went to town, for some fresh pita!). I invited my neighbors over and we stood over my kitchen counter in the mountains, scooping hummus and salad onto blistered bread, the tastes of Israel growing stronger with each bite. It was a simple dish, but it captured everything I love about what I do – channeling my creativity, sharing with friends, cooking with color and putting a twist on tradition.

This dish reminded me how important it is to cook from a place of love – it is, after all, the secret ingredient that makes everything taste better – and that it’s food, family and tradition that brings us all together.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and sweet New Year with much success in all areas of your lives. May we continue to reach milestones and share good news with each other this year!
Ksiva Vachasima Tova L’shana Tova Umisukah!



Related Recipes:

simanim fritto misto
simanim pasta salad
simanim holiday salad
hummus bassar
chestnut hummus

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Jerusalem Hummus In Jars

I’ve got to hand this one to a favorite person and a favorite cookbook: Naomi Nachman, and “Zahav“, respectively. Naomi is a foodie friend who’s not quite at my stage in life. She just married off her first child and her youngest is about the age of my oldest. Naomi might be older but she’s got more energy than my five kids put together! She’s always the life of the party and her foodie calendar puts me to shame. She just wrapped her first cookbook, Perfect for Pesach, which I was lucky enough to get some sneak peeks behind the scenes (and test some of the amazing recipes!). She runs a Pesach catering business, a “Chopped” themed party service, writes for various publications and even has her own radio show, Table for Two on the Nachum Segal Network. I love Naomi’s positive energy and I’m proud to call her a friend.

Recently, Naomi managed to squeeze in a trip to Israel amid her crazy hectic schedule, and she brought me back some Hawaj from the shuk. I’d never tried hawaj before, but I knew that there were two types of the Yemenite spice blend – one for soup and one for coffee. The spice was so potent (everything from the shuk always is!) that my whole kitchen smelled of it, even through the Ziploc bag! I wanted to make the most of the spice so I thought about how I could use it to really let it shine. And it hit me – hummus basar!

I had never made meat hummus before, or any REAL hummus from scratch and I was excited to try! I went to the holy grail of Israeli cookbooks, “Zahav” to find the perfect recipe and of course Michael Solomonov’s did not disappoint. What I love so much about Zahav is that every recipe is approachable, and unlike some of the other cookbooks on Middle Eastern cuisine, Zahav is the least bit pretentious. The hummus I made from the book was by the far the best one I had ever tasted and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to store-bought. It is just a whole ‘nother ballgame.

What I learned from Solomonov is that hummus is so much more about the quality of the tahini than it is about the chickpeas. I always thought of hummus as a chickpea spread, but no. It’s a silky-smooth-sesame chickpea spread that will knock your socks off. You start by preparing silky smooth tahini that involves a brilliant garlic hack that I won’t share (buy the cookbook to find out what it is!). Then you take that tahini perfection and add loads of it to butter-soft chickpeas. Oh. My. God. is it good.

Zahav’s hummus recipe is a two step process, but I’ve simplified it here into one. I would definitely encourage you to try the original recipe at least once, but this makes a pretty good substitute. And please do me a favor and don’t put the amazingly pungent and flavorful hawaj-spiced beef over store-bought hummus because that’s like serving homemade shortcakes with canned whipped cream. Just no. And if  you’re feeling up to the task, try Zahav’s pita recipe and bake ’em up in mini to go along with these Jerusalem hummus jars. There’s really nothing quite like homemade pita to go along with homemade hummus.  I’ve made the recipe a few times already and it is super simple and incredibly delicious!

If this post hasn’t already compelled you to buy the cookbook, here’s an excerpt of a review I wrote after I got it:

“Michael brings the beauty of Israeli culture and cuisine to the forefront without the bells and whistles. He lets the food stand on it’s own, humble and beautiful, with clear, easy to fllow recipes that dont require millions of ingredients. And he’s not cheffy about it either….This guy isn’t cooking Israeli food because it’s trendy, he’s just doing what he loves and it comes through on every page. Even though he himself is not kosher….he acknowledges that the rules of kosher define the boundaries of Israeli cuisine and keeps all the recipe in the book (and in his restaurant) free of shellfish, pork and mixing milk and meat. In a culture that thinks that you have to be “treif” to be cool (especially so if you are Jewish), this man has my total respect). ”

Of course this Hummus Basar was made in jars in the spirit of Purim, but feel free to make this recipe and serve Israeli style, in a big bowl with lots of fresh pita for dipping! You can also make the hawaj beef and serve it over rice, it makes for a delicious side dish!

Related Recipes:

chestnut hummus with herbed pita chips
roasted garlic hummus with everything pita chips
chicken shawarma
farro grain bowl with Jerusalem pargiot
sweet tahini dip

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