DESSERT, GLUTEN-FREE, RECIPES, VEGAN

Chocolate mousse

February 6, 2015
Chocolate-avocado-mousse2

020515_7897 copy

Really, Shelly? Avocado? Come on.

Why not? Avocado is a fruit. In South America they eat avocado with sugar, so why can’t it be good with chocolate?

I knew it. I knew she wouldn’t approve this recipe. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience I have as a cook, my older sister continues to distrust my abilities in the kitchen. Just once I would love to hear, “It’s probably delicious or I would love to try it or you’re strange but you’ve travelled the world, you have eaten in countless restaurants, and you practically live in the kitchen, so you must know one or two things about food!”

I love my year-and-a-half-older sister to death. She is my best friend. Over the years I’ve learned to take her skepticism with a grain of salt. She is a great cook and a foodie but she has rules about food and always has. It’s weird, though, because my sister is generally open-minded and always happy to learn new things.

When my mother and sisters lived in New York we used to eat a lot together so when they came over to our house for dinner, I would hide some small details about the dishes. For example I wouldn’t mention that I used spelt to make bread instead of bread flour, or olive oil instead of butter in cakes.

I wouldn’t dare to make Moroccan food for them because I knew that they would disapprove the little twists I give to years and years of traditional recipes. I always let them eat first, then, one hour or a day later I would confess. Never right away because high chances that they would immediately take back the “It’s delicious!” and say “Yes, I did taste something that didn’t belong,” or, “It’s good, but if you made it with regular flour, it would taste much better.”

Actually, in the last couple of years, my mother has become my biggest fan (The problem is that now she wants me to cook for her all the time but I want her to cook for me.) My sister slowly and maturely is learning to appreciate my bold moves. She won’t admit it, but I know that if she could she would stop by my house everyday to eat my food. And she would probably love this avocado mousse and maybe admit that it’s so good.   Continue Reading…

GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, RECIPES, SIDE, VEGAN

Roasted sweet potato salad with tahini

February 3, 2015
113014_7197

The first time I had this salad was at a Thanksgiving dinner with our beautiful – literally beautiful – friends, Isabelle & Serge.

The food that night was delicious but I was mostly attracted to this salad. I was charmed by the combination of sweet potatoes, their tenderness and the spicy, crunchy onion and, the nutty flavor tahini. I made sure that it stays on my side of the table. 

Since Serge gave me this recipe I’ve made it at least five times (at some point we started to get sick of sweet potatoes in general; We have been eating them almost every day for a month to improve some digestion problems that I had.)  Continue Reading…

GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, MAIN DISH, RECIPES, VEGAN

Braised chickpeas with amaranth

January 27, 2015
012115_7578

012115_7557

There’s a traditional Moroccan fish recipe that my mother, and the rest of the Moroccan Jews around the world, without exception, make every Friday for Shabat dinner. It’s called cooked fish. Basically, it’s a fish (such as Branzino or Sea bass) cut into pieces and braised with whole garlic cloves, red or green hot peppers, lots of cilantro, and paprika that was mixed with oil. Sometimes they would add carp roe to the dish, which I loved as a kid because they were crunchy. I’ve never met anyone, who grew up in a Moroccan home that doesn’t get nostalgic about this dish. If you ask them who makes it the best, they will all say my mother or grandmother
Continue Reading…

BREAKFAST, DAIRY-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, RECIPES

Omelet with fresh herbs

January 8, 2015
Herbs

“No iPad today.”

“But why not?”

“Because you don’t use your brain anymore.”

“Yes I do.”

“Not enough.”

“Okay, so can I use the computer?”

“No, Daddy said no electronics today.”

“What if I clean my room or take the garbage out, can I use it then?”

“No.” Continue Reading…

GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, MAIN DISH, RECIPES, SALAD, VEGAN

Rice salad with swiss chard and barberries

December 10, 2014
051514_2917

Before I say anything about this rice bowl/salad, I want to get something out of my system.

Hi, my name is Shelly and I am addicted to TED talks.

It started after I turned forty a few months ago. I didn’t mind turning forty, not at all, but my mind did. It felt foggy and confused. It asked a lot of questions and was worried about the future, more than usual. To cope with the overwhelming thoughts and doubts, every evening I turned on the Roku, clicked on the Ted icon and watched people talk about their powerful inventions,  journeys, researches & discoveries; the universities and schools that they founded; how their art projects made a difference in the world; their education revolutions, and more. Continue Reading…

Travel

Mexico, Playa Del Carmen

November 3, 2014
IMG_3532

The first time I visited Playa Del Carmen was fifteen years ago (f&#$ I’m getting old!). After spending six months in America on tourist visa, I had to leave in order to extend my stay. In New York I met an Israeli girl who had just gotten back from a month in Playa. She described it as an inexpensive heaven and mentioned that her friend Natalie is still there if I’m interested. How do I find Natalie? I asked. It would be easy, Playa is small. She said. The next day, I walked into an STA travel agency (remember travel agents?) and booked a roundtrip ticket to Cancun (which is about a one-hour drive from Playa). Continue Reading…

DESSERT, GLUTEN-FREE, RECIPES, VEGAN

Dates and walnuts dipped in chocolate

September 14, 2014
082114_4443

Would it be terrible idea to send you dates stuffed with walnuts in your lunchbox?

Beyond terrible! Embarrassing! Dates look like cockroaches.

No they don’t! They look like dried fruits. Wait… but what if they are covered with chocolate?

No, it doesn’t matter, they’re still dates.   

I can’t argue with that. If my mother sent me one of those Moroccan marzipan-stuffed dates in my lunchbox, instead of the ever-popular choco (Israeli chocolate-milk-in-a-plastic-bag), I would be absolutely mortified.

Did I really think that covering dates with chocolate would make them look more appealing?!?

Unfortunately these days the only way to make snacks more appealing to children is to commercially package them in some kind of noisy wrapper. My kids always claim that they are the only kids in their school, who don’t have a real snack in their lunch box, so ironic! Continue Reading…

BREAKFAST, DAIRY-FREE, GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, RECIPES, SIDE

Cabbage and scallion frittatas

August 19, 2014
081214_4095

Yes, I am alive, and today, after six hectic months, I can finally say, “alive and well.” I survived the move from our two-bedroom-one bathroom townhouse to a three-bedroom- three bathrooms townhouse!. Two-and-a-half bath, technically. Now we each have our own bathroom, almost.

I survived middle school madness. If you live in Los Angeles, you know what I am talking about. Here (like most major cities around the world), if you don’t live in a good school zone you are screwed, unless you get lucky and win a school lottery. Thank God or the universe or both, Leo got accepted to the SAS (School for Advanced Studies) program at our local middle school, which is considered as a good option, and also won two lotteries for two good charter schools. We chose to go with the smaller charter school between the two.

I also survived the long flight to Mallorca and back. I always swear that I will never fly again then a couple months later I find myself squished in economy, cursing my inability to remember how much I hate long flights. It’s the fucking air turbulence, they make me so edgy. Continue Reading…

DESSERT, GLUTEN-FREE, RECIPES, VEGAN

Chocolate discs with hazelnuts, rose petals and more (GF + Vegan)

February 4, 2014
IMG_6416

 IMG_6348  

The inspiration for these beautiful chocolate palettes (rounds) came from a very chi-chi restaurant cookbook called Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. I’ve never eaten at the restaurant, but I heard from the friend who gave me this book as a present that Eleven Madison Park is one of the most extraordinary, upscale restaurants in NYC. The cookbook itself is elegant and inspiring but the recipes are neither typical nor practical, they are extremely sophisticated and fancy. I have never followed a  recipe from this book but I’ve concocted many dishes influenced by the brilliant food combinations, unique flavors, and professional techniques. 

Continue Reading…

BREAKFAST, DAIRY-FREE, DESSERT, RECIPES

bread pudding with wild berries

January 27, 2014
2014-01-25 11.58.46

Leo: Mommy, I feel bad saying that my french toast is delicious.

Me: Why?

Leo: Because I don’t want you to feel bad that you can’t eat it.
 
Me: Thank you, motek (sweetie), don’t worry, I don’t feel bad at all. I’m extremely happy with my baked french toast. It’s probably better than yours.
 
Daddy: It is.
 
While my husband made the boys and himself a classic french toast, I baked myself a dairy-free version, which looked and tasted more like a bread pudding. Continue Reading…
BREAKFAST, GLUTEN-FREE, RECIPES, VEGAN

DIY herbal teas

January 6, 2014
IMG_2871
 
 
While ninety percent of the people on earth need coffee in the morning to wake up, I need herbal tea. Luckily, I am very energetic in the morning. The first thing I drink after I wake up is a glass of room-temperature water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. I make myself a cup of herbal tea after I finish my kundalini yoga practice. Usually it’s camomile tea that I mix with a couple of leaves of lemon verbena leaves or rose petals. Honestly, I find the taste of camomile very boring on it’s own. 
EUROPE, LUNCH, MAIN DISH, RECIPES, Travel, VEGAN

Paris & Penne with cashew cream and Butternut Squash

December 23, 2013
Paris-and-Pasta

It’s been a long time…

Two days ago I arrived back from a marvelous week in Paris. It was a trip that my mother, older sister and I have been dreaming to do together for years. (Aunt Shuli tagged along.) For my mother and sister, it was the first time so you can imagine how exciting it was for them and how fun it was for me to see their reactions. We had the best time of our life… until the sixth day of the trip. Continue Reading…

BREAKFAST, GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, RECIPES, VEGAN

Egg-less shakshuka sandwich

November 21, 2013
IMG_4291

I know, it’s oxymoron to call it shakshuka because shakshuka is always with eggs although it doesn’t have egg, it tastes like shakshuka.  I think because of the tahini. We, Israelis, often eat shakshuka with it. 

You can make plain tahini sauce or green tahini with herb such basil and parsley. 

Be’te’avon! (Bon appetite in Hebrew) 

Continue Reading…

GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, RECIPES, SALAD, SIDE, VEGAN

Kale and Swiss chard salad

November 14, 2013
110113_1444

It’s funny how Moroccan jews are so strict about the distinction between Shabat or holiday food and everyday food – my mother never eat Shabat food on a yom chol , a weekday – and vice versa. My mother  for example, would only eat this salad on Shabat dinner or Shabat lunch but never on a weekday. In my family I’m consider to be a rule breaker because I make this salad/mezze and other Shabat dishes whenever I feel like or when I have in hand some leafy greens that I don’t know what to do with. 

This salad served over a bowl of quinoa with some avocado on top is the easiest and healthiest lunch. 

Continue Reading…

GLUTEN-FREE, RECIPES, SIDE, VEGAN

Chipotle Harissa

November 6, 2013
IMG_4408

Harissa with a twist – or, as my husband, Z, calls it “Mexican Harissa.” It’s my mother’s traditional harissa recipe but with one or two chipotle peppers. In Los Angeles it’s pretty easy to find chipotle peppers (I actually bought these at a supermarket in Playa Del Carmen.) You can find them in any Latino supermarket, amazon and even on eBay! Another option is to use a teaspoon of crushed chipotle instead (can be found on William-Sonoma’s website.) Continue Reading…

GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, RECIPES, SALAD, VEGAN

Spicy Tomato salad – Matbucha

October 28, 2013
IMG_3860

You can’t write a post about matbucha, the Moroccan cooked tomato salad without writing about Yeruham. The cooked salad and the small town in the Negev Desert of Israel go together. The aroma of tomatoes cooking with garlic and peppers being charred over an open flame is the aroma of this town – on a late morning on Friday almost every house or building you stepped into would have that smell.

Continue Reading…

GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, RECIPES, SIDE, VEGAN

Beet Carpaccio

October 13, 2013
IMG_1106

Yesterday was a fucking, terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

It’s started with a blood test (I hate blood tests, they make me insanely paranoid).

It continued with a call to Cigna, our health insurance. I don’t know what is worse, the part that you speak to a robot for a few minutes until you shout at it “OPERATOR!!!” or the part that the robot transfers you to a human being, that happened to be a robot himself.  

After I was done talking with robots, I had to drive to the bank to get a cashier’s check to send to Cigna. I arrived to the bank without my wallet. Urgh! Accidentally, I grabbed the wrong bag (I forgot that I used the brown bag the day before so I drove back home, and grabbed the brown bag and drove back to the bank. And guess what?!? My wallet wasn’t in this bag either URGH!!!!!

I didn’t know if I should punch myself hard or laugh at my stupidity. Apparently, I left my wallet on my desk when I removed my insurance card to call the insurance company. Jesus Christ!

The rest of the day continued to be a fucking terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day but at least I learned a few lessons and had a yummy dinner. 

Continue Reading…

DESSERT, RECIPES

Chocolate chip and granola cookies

October 9, 2013
IMG_3715

You must trust me when I tell you that these are the best chocolate chip cookies in the world! Extremely easy to make, about 5 minutes to prepare and 8–10 minutes to bake. The granola is optional but adds a nice crunchiness and wholesomeness. Enjoy!

Continue Reading…

GLUTEN-FREE, LUNCH, MAIN DISH, RECIPES, VEGAN

Butternut squash curry soup

October 1, 2013
IMG_2088

Life is a hectic bitch! I wish I had more time to write. The kids are back in school but somehow there’s so many things to take care of…

Continue Reading…

BREAKFAST, DAIRY-FREE, DESSERT, RECIPES, VEGAN

Fig and Lemongrass Jam

September 12, 2013
IMG_2966 copy

 IMG_2679

 

After almost three endless months of never-ending summer vacation, Leo finally started school, a new charter school. Frankly, Z and I were excited about it but he wasn’t. He wanted to be excited, but, instead, he was very nervous. I don’t blame him. Starting fifth grade – the last year of elementary school – in a new school is nerve-wracking. Within three days, he decided that he hates it. It was too overwhelming for him. I know making a decision based on just a few days is stupid, but, honestly, my gut had been telling me for a while that the school was not for us.

Continue Reading…

Translate »