Tahini is a remarkably versatile ingredient. Its rich, nutty flavor adds unique character to everything from cookies, to roasted veggies, raw veggie salads and simmer sauces. For tahini newbies, be patient when you’re mixing tahini with water and lemon. Go for the right texture first, adding more water and lemon until the sauce is pourable. The paste will turn from beige to white-ish, letting you know that you are heading in the right direction. Season with fresh minced garlic and whichever green herb you like best.
Have you ever tried dessert hummus? That’s right – a sweet hummus. No, it’s not exactly traditional, but it is as simple as making classic hummus. Instead of savory ingredients like garlic, tahini and cumin, you add dates, maple syrup and even cocoa powder.
I love making a simple, classic North African-Israeli style shakshuka on a busy weeknight for dinner or while entertaining for Sunday brunch. But sometimes you just want something different. Or at least you want to gawk at some beautiful, yolk porn-y photos to inspire you.
Have you always aspired to bake like bubbe? Now, you can, with the help of the prolific Israeli baker, Carine Goren. As a holiday treat, we’re giving away her new book, Traditional Jewish Baking: Retro Recipes Your Grandma Would Make if She Had a Mixer, to one lucky Nosher reader. Enter below by the end of the day on Monday December 19.
Bourekas are a Sephardi, and more specifically Turkish, treat coming from the word borek which means pie. They are often made with phyllo dough and can be shaped in a variety of ways. In Turkey they are formed into circles. But in Israel they are formed into small, hand-held pies akin to empanadas. Bourekas are one of the foods I most look forward to enjoying when I visit Israel. And you can truly find them everywhere — small ones at the breakfast buffet, larger ones at coffee shops, or row after row in the market — all shaped differently depending on the filling: potato, mushroom, eggplant, spinach or cheese.
Israeli food — hummus, falafel, tabbouleh and more — continues to trend, transforming the way Americans cook and eat. What started with Israeli-born chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook and continued with a surge of Israeli-owned restaurants and small-batch hummus and tahini-makers, the Israeli food scene shows no sign of slowing.
You probably recognize caraway seeds from rye bread. I remember eating pumpernickel bread as a child at my grandparents’ house and loving the anise-like sweet taste of the seeds in it. Later, I learned that many countries use caraway to add these complex notes to their dishes. (Just don’t confuse caraway with Persian sajira or black cumin, these two have a similar appearance but stronger cumin notes).
Of all the sweet and honey-kissed desserts, baklava is hands-down my favorite. My first memory of it comes from my time as a student in Madison, WI, where I was a frequent visitor to Mediterranean Cafe, a cozy, tapestry-draped hideaway that serves falafel platters, moussaka, pasticcio, burekas and more. Lunch at “Med Cafe” was never complete without baklava, a flaky, nutty sweet treat for just 75 cents–pistachio, cashew or walnut.
There’s something about carrots at the farmers market that I find utterly addictive. I can’t pass them by without buying them, especially when they still have their beautiful green stems. They just get me every time.