I love making pizza at home, and especially enjoy trying new flavor toppings. Some of our favorites include white pesto pizza with spinach, butternut squash and kale pizza and white pizza with fennel and kalamata olives. Ok, so I veer off a little from the “traditional” when it comes to my at-home pizza experimentation. My sister loves penne vodka pizza, and I have even tried that! Probably not the healthiest meal I have ever prepared…
During Passover I was thinking about Shakshuka, and what a great, versatile dish it is when it hit me: I needed to try shakshuka pizza!
When I eat shakshuka, I like to add feta and have a plate of hummus with tahini on the side so that I can take a nice hunk of warm pita, dunk it into the tomato sauce, a bit of the egg, cheesy feta and tangy hummus. So that was the combination of flavors I was aiming for with this pizza.
This shakshuka pizza is the perfect dish to serve in honor of Israel’s 65th birthday this week. Serve it with some salatim, like Israeli salad and baba ganoush for a complete meal. Don’t feel like making your own tomato sauce? Swap the homemade tomato sauce for a chunky store-bought variety!
1 store-bought pizza dough
12 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
pinch red chili flakes
salt and pepper
olive oil for brushing
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
tahini sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If using a pizza stone, place in the oven to heat up.
In a large saute pan, heat 3 Tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Add onions and saute until they start to get soft. Add garlic and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes.
Add bell pepper, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes and tomato paste and saute another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add can of tomatoes and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface.
Remove pizza stone from oven and place dough on stone. Lightly brush olive oil over dough. Spread tomato sauce over surface of pizza dough, leaving 1 inch border for crust. Crack eggs on pizza and sprinkle with feta cheese.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Drizzle with prepared tahini sauce if desired.
Israel is turning 65 this year and will be celebrating Yom Ha’atzamaut, or Israeli Independence Day next week. I love Israel – the feisty people, vibrant music, beautiful land and above all else: the food!
Israeli breakfasts are perhaps my favorite part of the cultural cuisine – a huge spread of different kinds of salads, cheese, freshly baked bread and juices. Mmmm. I love the bakeries in Israel, and the fresh borekas that come in dozens of different varieties.
But my absolute favorite dishes are labne, a thick yogurt spread (which I like to eat as a snack with pita chips), Shakshuka, a zesty tomato sauce with baked eggs and Sabich, an Iraqi sandwich with eggplant, hard boiled egg, pickles and tahini.
In the mood to celebrate Israel with some food? We’ve got tons of recipes for you and your family to enjoy. Here are some classic Israeli dishes for next week, and all year:
Wanna get inspired? Check out one of these beautiful cookbooks, Jerusalem and The Book of New Israeli Food which are filled with mouth-watering photos and fantastic recipes inspired by the people of Israel.
Happy Birthday Israel!
Every year at the holidays it seems like our lives get busier and busier and so we have to find creative ways to get all our friends and family visits in during Hanukkah. This year is no different, in fact it was even busier now that we have a new baby!
So in order to fit in a visit with some of our close friends we decided to host a Hanukkah brunch -latkes for breakfast, my favorite kind!
Last year for our latke-breakfast combo we served my classic (amazing) latkes with smoked salmon and poached eggs. But this year we wanted to do something slightly different.
First, we decided to make two different kinds of latkes – my husband tried out a recipe for Balkan Potato Leek Latkes from Janna Gur’s The Book of New Israeli Food. These latkes are made by cooking, then mashing the potatoes, dipping in egg and flour and then frying them. They tasted like a mashed-potato fritter. They were good, but we decided we liked our classic shredded style latke better.
And to accompany my more traditional latkes we decided to make two different condiments: tzatziki and Amy Kritzer’s cranberry-applesauce. The cranberry applesauce was so good there wasn’t a drop left! If you are still frying up some latkes during the rest of Hanukkah I definitely recommend whipping up a batch – its very easy and doesn’t take long at all on the stove.
Last weekend the husband and I were watching Rachel Khoo’s “Little Paris Kitchen” on The Cooking Channel (sidenote: what a great show! definitely check it out) when we came across her “Croque Madame Cups,” where she butters white bread, sticks it in muffin tins and then bakes eggs (ham) and bechamel for a heavenly little egg cup. We knew at once we HAD to make them.
And thank goodness we did – they are absolutely our new favorite recipe. We did not use any kind of meat product, but you could substitute spinach, mushrooms or even smoked salmon for the ham she uses. They truly are two-bites of rich, creamy delight-fulness.
Also included on our Hanukkah brunch table? Mimosas, Israeli salad and some homemade cookies for dessert.
Hope everyone is enjoying Hanukkah, whatever time of day you serve the latkes!
When I have the urge to travel it’s often motivated by a particular food I’m craving. For example, I would absolutely get on a plane to South America for granadilla. Or to Italy for fresh mozzarella. Or to Cincinnati for Graeter’s ice cream. Or to Israel for labneh.
While you can get frozen granadilla and fresh mozzarella and Graeter’s almost everywhere in the U.S., I’ve been hard pressed to find good labneh on this side of the Atlantic.
Labneh is is a Middle Eastern cheese made from yogurt. It’s commonly rolled into balls, served with extra virgin olive oil, or used as condiment with cucumbers, tomatoes, and pretty much any other vegetable found in the shuk. Both a breakfast staple and an anytime snack, labneh is creamy, tangy, and versatile. Labneh is also full of health-boosters. Since it gets strained, labneh has less sugar and carbhoydrates than other dairy products, while still retaining a significant amount of protein. Because it is made from yogurt, labneh is full of probiotics. It also happens to be the easiest cheese to make yourself.
Many cheeses require heat, thermometers, rennet, or other accessories. Labneh needs only 2.5 ingredients: plain yogurt, salt, and cheesecloth. I say 2.5 because the salt is somewhat optional. I’ve made labneh just by dumping yogurt into cheesecloth and hanging it up in my fridge.
Now that I have my own stash of labneh in the fridge, I have to come up with a new excuse to travel.
Do you have a food you’d hop on a plane for?
3 cups yogurt
1 teaspoon sea salt
In a small bowl, mix the yogurt and salt.
Gently pour the mixture into two-three layers of cheesecloth. Collect the ends of the cheesecloth and tie up the "package," hanging it in your fridge over a bowl.
Serve with a drizzle of great olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh herbs or za'atar.
Leave the pouch hanging in the fridge for 12-24 hours. Store the final product in an airtight container. You can save the whey (the liquid left in the bowl) for future projects.
A friend of mine posted a photo this weekend of mashed potato and spinach hamantaschen from a bakery in Tel Aviv, and I was completely floored. Potato and spinach hamantaschen!? I had never seen such a treat, nor tasted one.
Well as the New York Times reported last year unique flavors including savory varieties are all the rage when it comes to Hamantaschen in Israel currently.
I haven’t tried to make any yet, but it seems like I might have to soon!
If you want to go for an innovative Hamantaschen recipe you can try these Savory Hamantaschen with onions and feta cheese by Avigail Hurvitz-Prinz.
This past week I was lucky enough to travel to Israel on behalf of my (other) work, for a short and productive trip. Of course, I had to get some eating done along the way…and after a few meals, I noticed a recurring theme: vegetables!
No sooner had we landed than I found myself at a meeting in a Tel Aviv Cafe where the menu was filled with interesting, and delectable looking veggie options. I happily ordered a rich mushroom soup served with a pesto toast point, and cauliflower cakes with tzatziki and cucumber salad.
After finishing this meal, I realized that I had not chosen my usual sandwich, or pasta – but two small dishes using a variety of veggies. And so I began to take more careful notice of my vegetable and fruit choices at each meal. The next morning came, and Israeli salads and fruits abounded at the breakfast buffet. For lunch, six difference salads and veggie filled sandwiches awaited me at another meeting.
After these series of meals, a light bulb sort of went off about Israeli cuisine, and the way Israelis are using produce in appealing and accessible ways. And I realized that here in the U.S. the influence of Israeli cuisine is also starting take hold, as I thought of two restaurants on the East coast where vegetables feature prominently and creatively on the menu.
Balaboosta in New York City is one of my new favorite eateries, and each time I go, I cannot get enough of the crispy cauliflower, and patatas bravas with zatar. When was the last time you ate a meal and said, “I need more of that cauliflower!”
I have yet to visit, but I hear from reliable culinary sources that Zahav in Philadelphia is a similar experience – the menu is filled with interesting vegetable dishes, including their own crispy cauliflower, as well as simple, traditionally prepared fishes and meats. I am thinking about a trip to Philly soon just so I can check it out!
So now that I’m back, I guess its time to start incorporating some more innovative veggie-centered dishes to my weekly repertoire. Would love to hear some suggestions for your tastiest, healthful veggie-focused dishes!
When I was a kid I was only aware of one cookbook. Not the Joy of Cooking. Not Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Not Kosher By Design. No, for me it was Alphabet Soup, the cookbook published by my Solomon Schechter school and featuring the recipes of my teachers and my friends’ parents. Later, when I was in college, my minyan put together a cookbook that I still use all the time. I still own both of these cookbooks and they are covered in flour and stains and have notes written in the margins the way any good cookbook should.
I don’t want to knock professionally published cookbooks. I just got Plenty and it’s divine. You’ve already heard me wax poetic about Leah’s Koenig’s Hadassah Everyday Cookbook. It’s drop dead gorgeous and chock full of deliciousness. The Book of New Israeli Food will make you drool. But, there is something so wonderful and authentic about a cookbook full of tried and true recipes from people you trust and maybe even love. That’s why whenever I am at a used bookstore I go to the food section and look for Bnai Brith cookbooks, and recipes collected by the Junior League of Cleveland or what have you.
For years now, the most used recipe source in my life has been a cookbook my sister’s and I made for my mom before she died. It’s called Vixens in the Kitchen (get it? Cuz we’re foxes) and it’s full of recipes that we love and have made hundreds of times. We included pictures, and notes, and used the fancy program at tastebook.com to create something really beautiful. Something that I still use to plan my Shabbat menu pretty much every week.
So what’s your favorite cookbook? And what cookbook taught you to cook?
The Awl has an interesting post up about a cookbook called Political Pot Luck: A Collection of Recipes from Men Only, published in 1959 by the Peninsular Publishing Company in Tallahassee. The recipes range from sounding pretty good, to sounding obscenely sexist. There’s some good spoon bread, some racist turkey, and a “recipe” for chicken that will make your blood boil.
It got me thinking about Israeli politicians—is there a cookbook of their recipes? I vaguely remembered reading that Golda Meir loved to spend time in her kitchen. Are her recipes available for aspiring politicians and chefs? Turns out…not so much. She was kind of private with her gefilte fish recipe, and mostly drank coffee and smoked a lot. But I did find an article that gives her recipe for “Kibbutz Breakfast.” It doesn’t look particularly exciting to me, but it’s still kind of cool.
Incidentally, it’s hard to google search for recipes by Israeli politicians, because when you search “[Name of Israeli Politician] recipe” you get lots of hits that say “[Name of Israeli Politician]’s plan is a recipe for disaster.” Doesn’t matter which politician you use, they all are apparently recipes for disaster.
For the dressing:
3 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp oil
1 tsp mayonnaise
Salt and black pepper to taste
Head of lettuce,
1 green pepper
3 green onions
1 hard boiled egg
Chop up the green onion and tear the lettuce.
Grate the carrots and the egg and chop up the rest of the vegetables into small pieces.
Put them all in a large salad bowl.
Whip up the dressing ingredients and pour on the salad before serving. Toss gently.