Tag: purim

Fig Newton Hamantaschen

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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Falafeltaschen Board


I can’t honestly believe that Purim is just a couple of days away! Which means Pesach is just a month away. And then Shavuos is just a couple of weeks after that. And do you know what happens then? By that time I should be holding my own. actual. cookbook. in. my. hands. Ahhhhh!!!!!


Cookbook, cookbook, cookbook. It is the air that I breathe these days! It is my breakfast, lunch and supper. The thing I think of when I get up in the morning and when I go to bed at night (and all the hours in between). It’s what has me crying from stress and happiness at the same time. It. is. real. and it. is. happening.

I have a newfound appreciation for cookbook authors the world over. I think they all deserve a gold medal for the tedious process of developing, testing, retesting and retesting recipe after recipe until they all start to look the same. I think they deserve the biggest honor for the amount of hours poured over every word and the amount of thought that goes into every page.

I have the greatest respect for food stylists and photographers and photo editors who make the perfect crease in a napkin, get the lighting and shadows just so, and finish the photos with the perfect finesse. And as I wind down to the finish line and wrap up my recipes, my photos, my very heart and soul that I put into this book….I’m forced to stop. Take a deep breath. Because life around me is still living, and the kids need costumes, and shalach manos and….PURIM. I celebrate you with honor and this fabulous FALAFELTASCHEN BOARD that doesn’t need much introduction. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Happy Purim!

Related Recipes:

corndog hamantaschen
sushi hamantaschen
baklava hamantaschen
date and almond hamantaschen
healthy thumbprint hamantaschen

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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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Ma’amoul Hamantaschen

If I had one word to describe these hamantaschen, it would be #proud. Yes they’re melt-in-your-mouth delicious, super buttery and also crispy, but the word I would use to describe them has nothing to do with how they taste. It has to do with how they make me feel.

I’ve always felt that food does so much more than nourish us. It connects us to our past, our present and our future. Traditional food, especially, has the power to bridge generations. Preparing the same dishes that my mother made, and my grandmother before her, allows me to pass on the flavors and smells of my childhood to my children in a way that nothing else can.

That’s why these hamantaschen mean so much to me. Not only do they reflect the traditions of my Ashkenazic heritage, they also represent the flavors and culture of my husband’s Sephardic hertitage.

While my husband is Ashkenazi like me, his mother was born and raised in Argentina, but her roots trace back to Syria. She grew up eating ma’amoul, rosewater-scented cookies filled with either date or walnut filling. When I got married, ma’amoul always made an appearance at parties and simchot and their interesting shape always intrigued me.

Traditional ma’amoul is molded into different shapes using a special cookie press. The cookie is shaped differently, depending on the filling. My mother in law always used tweezers to decorate her ma’amoul, which I found really interesting. When I came up with the idea to fuse the classic hamantasch with Syrian flavors, I went to my husband’s aunt, Esther, for a cookie baking class.

Esther is a cook after my own heart. She likes to do things simply, without fancy tools or supplies (which explains the tweezer method!). She mixed up the ma’amoul in no time, while I attempted to measure her pinches of spice and sprinkles of flour. She expertly shaped the dough faster than I could follow and before long, they were out of the oven and covered in a snowfall of powdered sugar.

Of course I went back home and it wasn’t all that simple. For starters, traditional ma’amoul dough does not have egg, so it wouldn’t hold as a hamantasch. I was determined to make it work, and 6 batches later, I struck gold (or should I say rosewater?!). These ma’amoul hamantaschen are the perfect blend of buttery and crispy, thanks to the butter and semolina, respectfully. I’m super proud of this Sephardic-Ashkenazi fusion and I hope I’ve started a new trend in my family tree.

Now that we’ve got the Purim party started, stay tuned for lots of other exciting holiday recipes, coming soon!

Related Recipes:

baklava hamantaschen
date and almond hamantaschen
healthy thumbprint hamantaschen

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Healthy Thumbprint Hamantaschen (Egg Free!)

I thought I was done with hamantaschen baking this year. My corndog hamantaschen were a huge hit and that was good enough for me! Except every time I bought classic hamantaschen for the kids, my allergic toddler would watch his older siblings enviously and each time I promised myself to make an egg-free version.

I thought about making classic hamantaschen using aquafaba, that slimy juice at the bottom of a can of chickpeas. It’s said to be a great alternative for eggs in vegan baking, and I’ve used it before in muffins. Of course I got busy and my aquafaba-infused hamantaschen experiments went to the wayside.

But then this week, I had a business meeting in my ‘hood, and Chaya brought me a much needed cup of coffee with a side of crunchy thumbprint cookies. The cookies were delicious, so, like any good food blogger, I asked for the recipe. When I heard that the cookies were egg free with few ingredients, I knew I had to whip them up for my son.

I drove home dreaming about the cookies and it hit me – I wanted to make egg-free hamantaschen, so why not make egg-free thumbprint hamantaschen cookies! They had jam anyway, right?


So I got right to work on the 5-ingredient dough, which took less than 5 minutes to make, and I ransacked my fridge for all the jam I could find. I’m kind of a jam hoarder, so I wasn’t surprised to find an assortment of flavors in the back of the fridge, including, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, apricot, fig and plum (told you I was a jam hoarder! my favorite place to buy them is Homegoods!).

Would  you check out that beautiful jam filling?

The cookies taste like a crisp granola cookie, only mildly sweet, so I couldn’t help but finish them off with some melted chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better.

The true test was giving these to my son, who is prone to scraping the chocolate off anything and everything, instead of biting into it. I’m always reminding him, “Bite, don’t lick!”, but he always goes back to his chocolate (or cheese!) licking when I’m not looking.


I handed him a hamantasch and he held it in his hand and studied it for a minute or two. I thought he was going to start scraping off the chocolate, but to my surprise, he actually took a bite! He continued to eat his way through, enjoying every morsel. Success!

Purim is just two days away, so we’ll call these “last licks!” (pun intended!). If you’ve been looking for that healthy hamantaschen recipe, you’ve got it. And just in time.


Related Recipes:

cowboy cookie dough bites
healthy date & almond hamantaschen
Grape Nut coconut crunch cookies
oatmeal cookies

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