Chocolate discs (palette) with hazelnuts and sea salt

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. 

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bread pudding with wild berries

Leo: Mommy, I feel bad to say 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 Z 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…

DIY herbal teas

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. 

Paris & Penne with cashew cream and Butternut Squash

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…

Egg-less shakshuka sandwich

I know, it’s oxymoron to call it shakshuka because shakshuka is always made with eggs but it does taste like shakshuka.  We, Israelis, often eat our shakshuka with tahini so the combination of cooked tomatoes and tahini is what makes it taste like shakshuka. You can make plain tahini sauce or green tahini – with basil or parsley. Be’te’avon! (Bon appetite in Hebrew) 

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Kale and Swiss chard salad

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. In my family I’m considered to be a rule breaker. I make this salad/mezze and other Shabat dishes whenever I feel like or whenever I have in hand some leafy greens that I don’t know what to do with. 

You can eat this salad over a bowl of quinoa with some avocado or over a slice of a good bread. 

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Chipotle Harissa

Harissa with a twist – or as Z calls it “Mexican Harissa.” It’s my mother’s recipe but I decided to experiment so I added two chipotle peppers (I bought a bag at the supermarket in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico but you can find them at any Latino supermarket or online. If you can’t find the peppers,  you can add a teaspoon of ground chipotle instead).  The cheeky chipotle add a magnificent smoky flavor to this North African condiment. 

We love it in sandwiches (avocado toast or any style of egg  sandwich), rice bowls, couscous, tagines, tacos and sometimes to pasta dishes.
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Spicy Tomato salad – Matbucha

You can’t write a post about matbucha (Moroccan cooked 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 my hometown – on a late morning on every Friday every house and building you walk into would have that smell. Continue Reading…

Beet Carpaccio

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 black bag the day before so I drove back home, and grabbed the black 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. 

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Chocolate chip and granola cookies

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!

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Butternut squash curry soup

When we lived in New York and Los Angeles we always had access to excellent authentic Asian food but when lived in Tel Aviv and Mallorca it was available but not as good (except of one Chinese restaurant in Palma that was fantastic and inexpensive, Shi Shun Xuan. We discovered only in the second time we lived in Mallorca.) To satisfy our constant craving to Asian food I cooked a lot with asian flavors. I would add ginger, scallion and soy or fish sauce or rice vinegar to non-asian recipe. It wasn’t authentic but it was flavorful and umami. When the boys asked me what kind of soup it is, I had to think for a moment “mmm, it’s Asian”. Yes, but where in Asia? From all over Asia. It has indian, vietnamese and thai  flavors, and with Japanese Ramen noodles. It’s yummy.

Please don’t let the long list of ingredients turn you off! You might already have most of the ingredients in your pantry.

You can make it with any noodles but I like it with Ramen noodles because they are more chewy and they don’t get mushy in the soup. The soy milk also gives it a rich, creamy texture.

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Fig and Lemongrass Jam

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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.

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Alexander’s big book of art

I told you I wouldn’t have time to write anything this month! I have been busy helping Alex to put together his art book. His drawings are sweet and innocent just like him . Take a look  Alex’s BIG book of ART and maybe order a copy to support his education. What do you think? Is my boy ready for his solo exhibition in MOMA or LACMA? 

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Flat bread with eggplant, potatoes and tomatoes (Sabich)

Sabich is a pita sandwich stuffed with potatoes, eggplant, hard-boiled egg, salad, and tahini. One of my favorite and most popularIsraeli street foods. It’s the first thing I want to eat when I land in the holy land. You can find excellent sabich everywhere in Israel. I like the one on the corner of Tshernechovsky and Alenby in Tel Aviv.  Continue Reading…

Blackberry Muffins with Chia seeds

I was debating all morning…

  • Should I tidy the house, or work?
  • Should I go to Nordstrom to buy shoes, or stay at home to work?
  • Should we move to a bigger house, or stay in our little, cozy home?
  • Should I force the kids to go to camp, or accept defeat?
  • Should I allow the kids more time on the iPad, or be more strict?
  • Should I make meat for dinner, or vegetarian?
  • Should I call the post “Home alone,” or “Cirque de Muffins”?
  • Should I make blackberry jam, or blackberry muffins?

My life at the moment is one big debate.

Even right now, in this moment, I am debating if I should tell you about my debates, or if I should just tell you that I am finally home alone! My husband, Leo and Alex left a few hours ago to go to stay with friends in the mountains, leaving me all by myself. Peaceful as a tibetan monk and happy as a muffin. Rare and blissful 24 hours. Continue Reading…

Quinoa, avocado, beet and hazelnut salad

I’m handing the stage to my dear mother-in-law, who introduced me to this beautiful grain fourteen years ago. Thank you, Estee! I appreciate your help. I love every word you wrote.

An on-going, exasperating controversy about Quinoa is how to say it. Most commonly it’s pronounced “KEEN-wah” with two syllables (ˈkēn-ˌwä,). However, my Peruvian friend and my Colombian friend laughed and said that in Peru they call it just as it is spelled “kee-NO-ah” (kē-ˈnō-ə), so my daughter-in-law and I insist on calling it by its native name. Whatever you call it, it is a gorgeous plant and so very healthy. Continue Reading…

Vegan chocolate truffles

No time for BS. Just a quick, sweet recipe I found in a beautiful cookbook called Vegetarian Everyday, written by the sweet Scandinavian couple, who’s behind the blog Green Kitchen Stories. This exactly the kind of recipe I love – a “peace of mind” recipe, delicious and healthy. It’s the a kind of a treat I don’t mind if Alex gobbled four. I didn’t think dates go with chocolate but they do, very well. Dates taste like nature’s toffees. Continue Reading…