Tag Archives: Israeli

Mashed Potato Burekas

Yield:
16 burekas

Burekas are one of my favorite Israeli treats, and they are the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes from your Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is as easy and delicious as it gets – the best kind of recipe when you need a pick-me-up from all that Black Friday shopping. These are also fantastic during Shabbat dinner to serve with a salad course. You can even serve them with leftover gravy for a delicious dipping sauce.

Mashed Potato Burekas1

I used a pareve (nondairy) phyllo dough in this recipe for ease, but you are welcome to make your favorite bureka dough if you prefer. You can also switch up the fillings with whatever leftovers you have on hand: turkey and cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and even stuffing all make fantastic fillings.

Mashed Potato Burekas

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Mashed Potato Burekas

Posted on November 25, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Savory Za’atar Challah

Yield:
2 loaves

Za’atar is one of my favorite ingredients to use when cooking. I roast potatoes with it and chicken too. So it was only a matter of time until I found a way to make a za’atar flavored challah.

Zaatar

I don’t make my own za’atar, but rather buy it in bulk whenever I am in Israel. You can either buy za’atar at a Middle Eastern or specialty spice store, or also make your own. Za’atar is traditionally made with a mix of oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. I actually chose to add extra sumac in this recipe because the za’atar mix I bought didn’t have a strong flavor, but you can leave that out if you prefer.

Zaatar Challah

This challah has a lovely, subtle flavor that is perfect with a savory meal. I would serve this challah with hummus, tahini and baba ganouj for a lovely start to Shabbat dinner.

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Za'atar Challah

Posted on October 30, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Israeli Couscous Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yield:
4 servings

It’s autumn, and sure, we all love pumpkin. But there are also an array of other squash and seasonal veggies that are pretty exciting too, including the adorable acorn squash.

Growing up my dad would prepare acorn squash in a very simple way: cut in half and roasted with butter and maple syrup. Nothing bad about that.

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But I have been searching for other ways to prepare the cute squash. Finally a few weeks ago I came across this recipe for Orzo and Cheese Baked in Acorn Squash and I thought: ok, I have to make this! Not only is it cheesy and easy, but making a stuffed dish during Sukkot was also Jewishly appropriate.

I didn’t have orzo, but I did have Israeli couscous, a favorite ingredient. I also wanted to get in a little extra vegetables in this dish, so I added some onion and pepper. Want to make this healthier? You could substitute whole wheat couscous, quinoa and even add some lentils.

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Israeli Couscous Stuffed Acorn Squash

Posted on October 20, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

A New Sesame on the Block

Yield:
6-8 servings

Sesame seems to be enjoying a moment in the spotlight recently and I couldn’t be happier. Halva was always a staple in my house growing up, and now as an adult I am always looking for ways to include it in baked goods (like my halva swirl brownies) and other dishes. Earlier this year I was introduced to a sesame-based spread that my daughter and I both really enjoyed. In fact the jar has long been licked clean.

The newest halva spread business on the block is Brooklyn Sesame, started by native Israeli and expert “raw halva” maker Shahar Shamir who has been making and serving his all natural spreads for years for friends and family. Shahar actually never intended to start the small food business. Rather, he wanted to open a café, but when met with several challenges, his friends suggested he started selling his halva spread instead. And so Brooklyn Sesame was born.

brooklyn sesame

In Israel it is common to eat halva or tahini with breakfast, as a snack or for dessert. And while the fat content of tahini has been a turnoff for some Americans, that perception is starting to change as it is more widely acknowledged that good fats from items like nuts and sesame can produce long-term health benefits and even help with weight-loss.

Shahar himself admitted that he gained 7 pounds this last holiday season when he took a break from making his halva spread. There weren’t any open jars lying around, and so he was eating less of the super food.  “When I eat my halva, I am not eating other junk and I believe sesame and honey are great for digestion,” Shahar shared.

 

Brooklyn Sesame’s spreads come in six different varieties including pistachio, cocoa, black caraway seeds and toasted coconut. The high-quality spreads with a “Brooklyn sensibility” have even caught the attention of The New York Times, Food and Wine and Real Simple among many others.

Brooklyn Sesame logo

Have a halva craving? The halva spreads are available in more than 25 stores in the New York area, one store in Massachusetts or you can order from their website.

You can also try whipping up one of Shahar’s signature recipes this holiday season and use some rich, sweet halva spread to usher in the New Year.

The following recipes are courtesy of Jörg Thoene, Leah Koenig and Shahar Shamir.

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baklava-tarts

Apple and Coconut Halva Baklava Tarts

INGREDIENTS

1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped

zest of 1 lemon

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

6 sheets thawed filo dough

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (or substitute vegetable or coconut oil)

1/4 cup Brooklyn Sesame Halva Spread with Toasted Coconut, divided

Honey, for drizzling

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and set aside a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a bowl, stir together the apple, lemon zest, lemon juice, and brown sugar; let stand for 10 minutes until it gets juicy. Stir in the pistachios, walnuts, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Place 1 sheet of filo dough on a cutting board (cover the remaining sheets with a damp towel so they do not dry out), and gently brush all over with the melted butter. Place a second sheet on top of the first and continue in this fashion, alternating brushing with butter and stacking filo sheets until there are 6 layers. Use a sharp knife to cut the filo sheet into 12 squares. Arrange 1 square into each well of the muffin tin, pressing it into the bottom and sides.

Spoon 1 teaspoon of Halva Spread into the bottom of each cup, then fill two-thirds of the way with the apple-nut mixture. Brush edges of each pastry with a little more melted butter; bake until the pastry is golden, 15-20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then carefully remove tarts to a wire rack. Just before serving, drizzle each tart with a little honey.

lamb-stew

 

Lamb Stew with Dates and Black Caraway Halva Spread

Posted on September 15, 2014

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Mexishuka

Yield:
2 servings

When I first moved to Israel around five years ago, there were no Mexican food restaurants, and really very little interest in the cuisine. Fast forward to today: Tel Aviv has blossomed with possibilities for burritos and genuinely spicy salsa as well as 5 Mexican-style restaurants currently.

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In truth, the ingredients used in Mexican food aren’t that different from those native to Israeli diets: a focus on fresh tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, lots of spices and citrus. So it was only a matter of time until Mexican food arrived in Israel. 

It is also lime season in Israel, and for this reason a celebration of excess lime usage is in order. To most this declaration sounds confusing: Israel is known for its fine citrus fruits, so why would lime season be such a big deal?  As it turns out, like other produce in Israel, much of the best crops are exported (primarily to Japan) so we don’t see it as much in our markets. Also, because the lime season is short, farmers do not see as much value compared to other citrus fruits.

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Combine my love of Mexican food, love of lime season and shakshuka and you have a unique Mexi-terranean fusion perfect for summer breakfast, or anytime you feel like enjoying some Israeli fusion comfort food.

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Mexishuka (Mexican Shakshuka)

Posted on August 12, 2014

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Fun, Fabulous Eats in Tel Aviv

I am back from Israel after three wonderful, sometimes challenging weeks. And while I am not missing the sirens the country is currently experiencing daily, I am missing my friends and, of course, the food.

Each time I visit Israel I am more inspired by the Israeli way of daily eating as well as the culinary innovation I see happening all over: Swedish-Israeli fusion food; the most beautiful and delicious nondairy pastries I have ever experienced; and even some type of “exotic” Jewish food I have never before heard of or tasted.

My most recent trip was no different, and despite daily sirens in Tel Aviv, life continued and so did fabulous food consumption. I ate a Yemenite bread called “lachoch” for the first time, which I would describe as a cross between a fluffy pita and the spongy Ethiopian injira bread.

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I ate halva ice cream and frozen yogurt topped with chunks of halva; we definitely need to add that as a topping at American fro-yo joints.

But there were three stand-out eats that I just couldn’t stop thinking about.

Stuffed croissants at La Gaterie, 97 King George Street, Tel Aviv

Have you ever had a mascarpone and chocolate stuffed croissant at 2 am after a night of drinking? Well I hadn’t either until I stopped by La Gaterie in Tel Aviv. La Gaterie doesn’t just crank out authentic, buttery, French croissants round the clock. Oh, no no my friend. They are also stuffing these flaky croissants with a variety of sweet and savory fillings to satisfying any craving. There are two locations, and while it wasn’t cheap, it was one of the most outrageous things I have ever eaten.

Malabi and pomegranate lemonade at Malabiya, right next to Carmel Shuk, off of Allenby Street, Tel Aviv

Have you ever had Malabi, a Middle Eastern pudding made with rosewater? You can find this sweet treat everywhere in Israel, including often on the street. And just recently two friends who met in the IDF decided to open a Malabiya “bar” together, offering several flavored syrups and crunchy toppings for the customer’s choosing. Almost like a Middle Eastern version of a fro-yo bar. They are also offering a pomegranate lemonade. And hey, who doesn’t want to be served up a sweet treat by some authentic Israeli eye-candy like this? Enjoy some pudding and a lemonade outside at their small stand, or get it to-go.

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Kubbeh soup dumplings at Kubbeh Bar, 10 Malkhei Yisrael Street, Tel Aviv

Many people have heard of kubbeh, the Iraqi dumpling-esque treat filled with beef, lamb and other deliciousness. But never before had I heard of, never mind tasted, such a unique hybrid: the kubbeh soup dumplings at Kubueh Bar. You get your choice of around 6 different broths as well as several different kinds of kubbeh. You can also choose the number of kubbeh you want in your soup, and we immediately regretted only getting 2. But the meal didn’t end there: we were also treated to a heaping plate of rice, beans, Israeli chopped salad and tahini. It was unlike anything I had tasted before and absolutely delicious. Ha’aretz has a full write-up of all the places to enjoy kubbeh in Tel Aviv if you find yourself on a kubbeh-tasting adventure.

israel-trip-1

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Posted on July 16, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Dip

No matter how much I plan or prep, I find myself in a pre-dinner panic almost every time we host.  I’m opening and closing the fridge, wondering if I’ll actually have enough food. No one has ever gone hungry at my table and there’s always plenty of variety so surprise allergies or unannounced vegetarians are never a concern.

eggplant-2

That said, I’ve built an arsenal of “quick extras” that I can add to almost any menu. Anything from roasted chickpeas, grilled polenta or this eggplant dip which reassure me there will be enough food.

eggplant-5

This roasted eggplant and garlic dip is quick, and when you serve it in the skin of the eggplant, it looks beautiful and impressive on the table. All of the ingredients are things that I typically have in the fridge, so when I get a last minute “can we bring two friends to dinner?” phone call, I never have to say no.

eggplant-4

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Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Dip

Posted on April 30, 2014

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Israeli Salad with Chickpeas, Feta & Fresh Mint

Yield:
4 servings

In our home there is a clear division of labor when it comes to the kinds of meals we both cook. The husband is in charge of meat and fish. I am in charge of soups, sauces and salads. (And dessert too of course). .

Salads are really so much fun to throw together. I love experimenting with seasonal ingredients I find at my local farmer’s market and also using ingredients I have hanging around in my house. And above all about salads: I love that you can improvise.

The salad calls for arugula but all you have is spinach? Just substitute! Have some apples in the house that you want to use before they go bad? Chop them up and throw them in! This is actually how some of my best salad creations came about in the first place including one of my favorites, this Spinach, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Salad with edamame and cucumbers. It was literally what I had in my fridge and it happened to combine together for a delightful and delicious result.

Israeli salad with chickpeas and feta

 

I have found that traditional Israel salad is just the kind of salad that can be made into multiple variations, each one slightly different. For a little more spice you can add a pinch or two of sumac. You can leave out the peppers, leave out the cucumbers, or even add a few things, like chickpeas, feta and mint.

This salad came about like so many of my other favorite salad combinations. It was Saturday afternoon, my daughter was playing at the park with her dad and I was given a few moments to enjoy lunch by myself – glorious. Wine might have also been involved. I looked in the fridge, and threw together what I had: tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, chickpeas and feta!

And by adding chickpeas and feta, this classic side salad becomes a light but hearty main dish packed with protein, fiber and most importantly, flavor.

 

Israeli Salad with Chickpeas, Feta & Fresh Mint

Posted on October 24, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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