Make it. Love it. Eat it.

Three Way Mezze

Mezze is a selection of small dips and dishes served all over the Middle East and Mediterranean. You rarely see a restaurant here in Israel that doesn’t serve you a large mezze spread that can completely take over your table, before your meal. Even at home, Israelis clutter the dinner table with these simple, delicious, little plates. Often you can find yourself filling up on mezze before the entrees leave the kitchen. (I am one of those people, never able to eat dinner after mezze). Some restaurants even refill the plates as you finish them up.

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Charred Carrots With Caramelized Goat Cheese and Wild Garlic Chips

Eating and cooking in Israel is always fun because everything here is seasonal. Unlike the states where you can pretty much buy any type of produce you want at anytime, Israel doesn’t import much of anything being that it is surrounded by nations that dislike them. Israeli farmers grow all their own crops and because of this we eat foods based on their seasonality. It’s an interesting thing to get used to after coming from New York where everything I want is at my fingertips.

Shum (Hebrew for garlic) has come into season and you can find beautiful wild garlic everywhere you turn. Piled high at the shuk (market) and woven together to make flowers and

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Baked Camembert With Caramelized Onions And Cranberries In Phyllo

One thing you may not know about me; I absolutely adore cheese. I rarely meet a cheese I don’t like and I could (and would like to) put cheese on most everything I eat. With that said, my favorite cheese is a wonderful brie or Camembert. Both  of these French cheeses are pretty much the same with very slight differences. They will both put you in a formage heaven when baked up with yummy fruit and eaten warm. You really cannot beat the cheesey gooey, sweet and savory deliciousness of this starter (or meal in my case)

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Mushroom Tortellini

A funny thing about Jerusalem artichokes, they are neither from Jerusalem nor are they artichokes. These little roots often called sunchokes resemble ginger or turmeric are actually from a species of sunflowers. They sort of taste like a cross between a potato and a water chestnut. Jerusalem artichokes can be prepared so many different ways from pan fried to blended and can also be eaten raw.

These little nubby roots have been all over Israel lately

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Dark Chocolate and Mint Cookies

There is something about cookies that makes people smile. There is something about dark chocolate that makes people swoon. There is something about mint that makes people happy. So putting those 3 components together, makes for one killer combination, not to mention cookie.

When I’m in the mood to bake (or eat) cookies I always go for my bacon chocolate chip cookies (yes you heard me correct, bacon.chocolate chip.cookies) but I had no bacon in the house and here in Israel you have to go to the special Russian supermarket to get it (Israel is a predominantly kosher country).

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Chicken Sausage, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Empanada

An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry that is usually fried or baked. They come with a variety of different fillings depending on which Latin American or Southern European country they hail from.

This weeks Food52 challenge was to make your best dumpling. Any food that is wrapped up in a nice little package and steamed, baked, or fried. From perogies to dumplings, kreplach to gyoza.

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Date Caramel Shortbread Squares

Date palms are native to the middle east and because of this, dates are everywhere in Israel. Literally everywhere. Just on my street alone date palms produce a bounty of delicious dates that I can just pick on my way home. Grocery stores are always stocked and the shuk has piles of them at every vendor. My favorite are the dried dates that you can buy by the box in the local super or in bulk at the spice store or shuk. They are so sweet and taste like candy. 

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Quinoa Salad With Beets, Blood Oranges, Kumquats and Avocado

While in Ashkelon a few weeks back I saw beautiful blood oranges in the shuk. Excited that they would maybe be in Be’er Sheva, I opted not to buy them and lug around a bag of oranges all day. Unfortunately, the Be’er Sheva shuk had no blood oranges and I immediately regretted my decision not to buy the beautiful crimson fruit when I had the chance. A few days ago while walking through the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv (is it weird that I visit the shuks in every town and city I go to?!)

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Shakshuka

Shakshuka which means “all mixed up” in Hebrew is a traditional Israeli dish primarily made up of tomatoes, garlic, and spices topped with eggs.

Since Israelis love to argue, especially about food, Shakshuka along with falafel and hummus are usually the topic of these debates. Everyone thinks that they know the ‘correct’ way to make shakshuka and their mother or grandmother or aunt made it the best. Because of this we don’t really know the origin of the dish or the ‘correct way’ to cook it. In fact, there really is no ‘correct’ way to cook it at all.

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Eggs Benedict with Poached Salmon and Sweet Potato Pancakes

Eggs Benedict has been an American breakfast favorite since the late 1800′s when it was first introduced. Typically this dish is served as a toasted english muffin topped with Canadian bacon or ham, a poached egg and smothered in hollandaise sauce.

Today Eggs Benedict are turning modern and straying from the typical. You can find it served on anything from toast to hash browns, topped with crispy bacon or smoked salmon.

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