Zucchini-Cheese “Falafel”

20150509_123855I was inspired by some ripe zucchini that I purchased. There is a Greek recipe for chickpea-free “falafel.” I decided to prepare it.

Zucchini-Cheese “Falafel”

  • 6 ripe zucchini
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 9 oz. grated Feta cheese
  • 8 oz. crumbled blue cheese
  • olive oil
  1. Wash and grate the zucchini in a food processor.
  2. Place the zucchini in a microwave-safe bowl, and cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
  3. Steam the zucchini in the microwave for 6 minutes.
  4. Check if it is tender.
  5. If necessary, steam for an additional minute.
  6. Set the zucchini aside.
  7. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, flour, and cheese.
  8. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
  9. Mix the zucchini into the cheese “dough.”
  10. Heat some olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat.
  11. Moisten your hands and pinch a walnut-sized piece of zucchini-cheese “dough.”
  12. Fry until the “falafel” ball is golden-brown.
  13. Transfer to a casserole dish covered with paper towels to absorb the oil.
  14. Keep the zucchini “falafel” warm in the oven until ready to eat.
  15. Serve with Tzatziki sauce.

Squash Filled With Fragrant Rice

I have finally cooked my dream recipe of baked squash stuffed with rice that is sweetened with chestnut honey and roses.

Chestnut honey has a deep, complex flavor. The dry roses infuse the rice with an exotic scent from the East.

Squash Filled With Fragrant Rice141120082781

  • 4 squashes, cut in half.
  • 2 cups of Basmati rice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chestnut honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried edible roses
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  1. Cook the rice in boiling salted water for 5 minutes.
  2. Drain the rice, and place in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in the butter, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, cardamom, chestnut honey, and dry roses.
  4. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Arrange the squash halves in a heavy pot. Stuff each half with the rice mixture.
  6. Pour the vegetable broth into the pot. Bring the broth to a boil.
  7. Cover the pot tightly, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. To serve, garnish each stuffed squash with a dry rose.

Black Lentil and Nectarine Salad

Photo by Jeremy Keith https://www.flickr.com/photos/adactio/

Photo by Jeremy Keith.

The heavy dishes and red wines of winter have been set aside. Summer is here, and it is time to enjoy three months of lighter meals.

My wife and I held a get-together for our village to celebrate the season and create a delicious salad together. Our main components were black lentils and fresh herbs.

Black Lentil and Nectarine Salad

  • 2 cups black lentilsIMG-20150516-WA0024
  • 1 cup chopped dill
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
  • 2 large nectarines, cubed
  • salt to taste
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place the black lentils in a saucepan.
  2. Cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Drain the lentils in a colander under cold running water.
  5. Place the lentils in a large bowl.
  6. Combine with all the other ingredients.

Campfire Soup for Lag b’Omer

Spring is here, and the weather is nice enough for the family to go on a camping trip.

In Israel, it is also time to celebrate Lag b’Omer (or Lag Baomer): a celebration of the Bar Kokhba Revolt against the Romans between 132 and 136 CE, which occurred on the 33rd day of the Omer period of counting the days between Passover and Shavuot. In Hebrew, lag (ל”ג) has a numerical value of 33.

Every year, I pack my cast iron Dutch cauldron so I can cook dinner over the campfire. After my family and I pitch our tents, we carefully build our campfire. It is time to prepare my famous beef and lentil soup.

Beef and Lentil SoupIMG-20150410-WA0089

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch parsley, minced
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 lb. black lentils
  • Soup bones
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in the pot.
  2. Add the chopped onions, and cook until translucent.
  3. Add the ground beef.
  4. Cook until the beef is browned.
  5. Add the soup bones, and season to taste.
  6. Pour in the black lentils.
  7. Cover the mixture with water so it reaches four inches below the rim of the pot.
  8. Add the parsley and thyme and bring to a boil.

The soup is ready when the lentils are soft.

More Lag b’Omer recipes:

Lemony Chicken and Swiss Chard

20140508_133801Popeye and Brutus were very successful in getting mothers to try to get their children to eat spinach. Swiss chard was not as lucky.

Swiss chard is just as rich in vitamins, minerals and iron as spinach. It has a more refined taste and is just as easy to cook.

I buy Swiss chard whenever I see it at the farmer’s market, and prepare this quick and easy dish. My children approve!

Lemony Chicken and Swiss Chard

  • 1 lb. cut-up chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • salt
  • black pepper
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy pan.
  2. Brown the chicken.
  3. Add the leek. When the leek is translucent, add the Swiss chard.
  4. Pour the chicken soup into the pan.
  5. Bring the contents of the pan to a boil, and then allow to simmer.
  6. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  7. Squeeze the lemon into the mix.
  8. Serve with rice.

Baby Potatoes, Swiss Chard and Lemon Braise

Swiss chard is in season now. It is the perfect complement for baby potatoes in a warming winter casserole.

Baby Potatoes, Swiss Chard, and Lemon Braise20140710_144040

  • 1 bag microwavable baby potatoes
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Parmesan cheese
  • salt
  • black pepper
  1. Microwave the baby potatoes.
  2. Cut each potato in half.
  3. Wash and thinly slice the Swiss chard.
  4. In a heavy pot, melt the butter.
  5. Add the Swiss chard and for sautee for a few minutes.
  6. Mince the garlic, and add to the pot.
  7. Juice the lemon, and pour it over the chard.
  8. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.
  9. Add the cooked baby potatoes.
  10. Mix well, and allow to simmer covered for a few minutes.

Enjoy with a crunchy green salad.

Sweet and Spicy Date-Honey Chicken

Photo: Uzi Yaron

Photo: Uzi Yaron.

As the fall days arrive, and the evenings begin to get cooler, I get a craving for comfort foods. One of my favorite dishes is a chicken casserole full of fragrant spices. This dish is delicious with mashed potatoes and a green salad.

Sweet and Spicy Date-Honey Chicken

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for three hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. Arrange the chicken in a casserole dish, and pour the marinade over it.
  5. Bake for 75 minutes.