Food Chat: The Evolution of Jewish Cooking

As part of the national celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month, the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) hosted Evolution of Jewish Cooking in America, a conversation with Steven Cook, Joan Nathan, Michael Solomonov and Molly Yeh. The event was moderated by food writer and editor Devra Ferst. It was held before a capacity crowd of 230 people, with others tuning in via Facebook. [Read more…]

Israeli Cooking Book, From Philadelphia With Love

Philadelphia’s own Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook just published their first book, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.

Solomonov and Cook hope to familiarize Americans with some of their restaurant Zahav’s famous dishes. If you loved Jerusalem-born, London-based Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s book Jerusalem as much as I did, then this book will be a treat.

The spices and techniques of Israel’s myriad ethnic groups are reflected in the book’s recipes. Familiar Eastern European Ashkenazi foods such as rugalech, kugels and latkes are presented along with more exotic foods such as kibbe and fillo cigars from the Levant. All of these recipes have been adapted to ingredients that are easily accessible to the American cook. Below is a recipe for Zahav’s Ottoman-inspired eggplant salad.

Photo by Sofia Gk

Photo by Sofia Gk.

Zahav’s Twice Cooked Eggplant Salad

  •  2 eggplants
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  1. Slice the eggplants.
  2. Sprinkle with salt.
  3. Allow the eggplants to rest for 30 minutes in a colander.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet.
  5. Fry the eggplant slices over medium heat, until almost charred on both sides.
  6. Place the eggplant in a bowl.
  7. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pan.
  8. Stir in the onion, pepper, coriander, and paprika.
  9. When the vegetables are soft, add the blackened eggplant and sherry vinegar to the pot.
  10. Stir for a few minutes.
  11. Remove the pot from the heat.
  12. Squeeze the lemon into the eggplant.
  13. Sprinkle the minced parsley into the pot.
  14. Stir and serve at any temperature.

Roasted Butternut Squash With Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chilli

— by Michelle Kemp-Nordell

When it is hot and steamy outside, we don’t want to have a big heavy meal. On Saturdays we usually have brunch consisting of bread, cheese, a frittata or omelette, and a salad. This Saturday, I finally served two dishes I made from the Plenty cookbook, written by Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi.

Full recipe after the jump.
One of the dishes I made was butternut squash, that I roasted with freshly ground cardamom and allspice, and served with wedges of fresh lemon (I couldn’t find any limes in the market). I prepared a dressing of yogurt and tahini that was light and refreshing, and had a completely unexpected mixture of tastes. You can serve this as a meze (appetizer) with other salads, a first course, or a side dish.

Roasted Butternut Squash With Sweet Spices, Lime, and Green Chilli

  • 2 whole limes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons raw, unflavored tahini
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 green chilli, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces coriander leaves or chopped chives
  • Sea salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Trim off the limes’ tops and tails with a small paring knife. Dice the limes. Place them in a small bowl, sprinkle with a little salt, drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil, stir, and set aside.
  3. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and discard them. Cut each half, top to bottom, into 1/2 inch thick slices, and lay them out on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Place the cardamom pods in a mortar, and use a pestle to get the seeds out of the pods. Discard the pods and pound the seeds into a rough powder. Transfer to a small bowl, add the allspice and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, mix, and brush over the butternut slices.
  5. Sprinkle with sea salt and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Peel off the skin, or leave it on if you prefer.
  6. Whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lime juice, 2 tablespoons of water, and a pinch of salt. The dressing should be thick, but runny enough to pour. Add more water if necessary.
  7. To serve, arrange the cooled butternut slices on a serving platter and drizzle with the yogurt dressing. Spoon over the lime pieces and their juices, and scatter the chilli slices on top. Garnish with the coriander or chives, and serve.

Michelle Kemp-Nordell is the creator of Baroness Tapuzina. She is a foodie who grew up in a “house of weird vegetables.” Follow her adventures as she experiments with exotic vegetables from her garden and spices from around the world.