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I couldn’t help myself. I just had to post this:
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My cookbook is about to be out in…four, yes 4(!!!) languages: English, Hebrew, Dutch and on February 10th, Swedish!

What is most amazing to me is that they all used the same cover! I work in foreign rights and that’s actually pretty rare!

So, just because.

You can buy the English cookbook HERE

You can buy the Hebrew cookbook HERE

You can buy the Dutch cookbook HERE

And on February 10th, you can buy the Swedish cookbook HERE!!

One more language is coming for sure: Czech…

I’ve been meaning to finish up my posts on the Book of Amos, but it’s been a crazy few weeks! Between all the PR for my Hebrew cookbook and Dutch cookbook (links here and here!), three TV appearances, two weeks I spent in New York meeting with editors and agents (for my own work, but also, yes, some cookbook related stuff) – I haven’t had time to breathe! So here is one new Amos recipe for you, one more to go, and after that, we will move on to the next book: Obadiah.

“Thus the Lord GOD showed me; and behold a basket of summer fruit. And He said: ‘Amos, what seest thou?’ And I said: ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then said the LORD unto me: The end is come upon My people Israel; I will not again pardon them any more.” – Amos 8:1-2

Summer Fruit Mini-Pie Baskets

Summer Fruit Pie Pix 9
Crust:
2 1/2 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces
2 tablespoons (15 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (225 grams, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup water, very cold

1 egg (to brush on the tops of each pie)

Filling:
2-3 cups of chopped summer fruit: peaches, plums, cherries
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom
3 tbs cornstarch

Mix dry ingredients together, cut butter into cubes, then mix into dry ingredients. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture is crumbly and fully integrated, then slowly add the cold water until the dough holds together. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the filling is ready.

Cut fruit into small cubes and mix with all the ingredients in a bowl.

Knead and flatten the dough and roll out on a flat surface until it’s 1/4 inch thick. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray and cut out circles from the dough that will fit into each muffin tin and all the way up the sides (you might need to do a few practice circles until you get the size right). Place each circle in a muffin tin and press up the sides. Spoon filling into each muffin tin.
Summer Fruit Pie Pix 1Summer Fruit Pie Pix 2
To make lattice-work top, roll out the remaining dough, then cut in long 1/2-inch strips with a knife. Weave the dough until your work surface is covered with a long woven strip. Cut circles out of the strip in a size that will nicely fit over the top of each muffin tin. Press the woven top of each mini-pie down to meet the dough on the bottom/sides by using a fork, make small indentations around the sides of each mini-pie with the fork that both presses the dough from the top to the sides, but also creates a nice decorative edge. You can roll out small strips of dough and twist and attach them to the top of each mini-pie to create a basket handle.
Summer Fruit Pie Pix 3  Summer Fruit Pie Pix 4Summer Fruit Pie Pix 5
Brush tops of mini-pies with beaten egg, bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Summer Fruit Pie Pix 6Summer Fruit Pie Pix 8

“And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold” – Genesis 24:22

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Vegetable Bracelets and Rings with Coriander Pesto

2 onions, sliced into rounds
3 zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (remove centers with a small cookie cutter, or cut out with a knife)
2 red peppers, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
2 yellow peppers, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
4 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Coriander Pesto:
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper flakes, to taste
pinch sugar (optional, but I think it adds complexity)
1 tsp lemon juice (or more, to taste)

Slice all of the vegetables into rounds – make sure that all the slices are perfect circles of various sizes. Place on a baking sheet lined with non-stick foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes until soft and slightly beginning to turn brown around the edges.

Place all pesto ingredients into a tall container and blend with an immersion blender (or place in a food processor and process until smooth). The mixture might need to be thinned a bit – either with more olive oil, more lemon juice (to taste), or with water.

Drizzle roasted vegetables with Coriander Pesto, serve.

veggie photo 3

“And Abraham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, that ruled over all that he had: ‘Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh.” Genesis 24:2

Abraham asks his servant to go down to the city of Nahor and find Isaac a wife. He makes him swear that he will not bring back a Canaanite woman. Apparently this was the way that people made vows and swore things to one another in the times of the Bible. I think nowadays we would be much more likely to do so over an ice cold beer and a hearty meal!

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Chicken Thighs in Silan, Beer and Dijon with Thin Potatoes and Onions

6 chicken thighs
1 bottle beer (I used Israeli Maccabi, but any beer will do!)
6 Tbsp Silan (date honey)
4 Tbsp Dijon mustard (I like Reine Dijon – spicy and strong)
6 tsp corn starch
6 cloves of garlic, minced
6 tsp paprika (smoked is fantastic if you can get it)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced into rounds
3-4 medium potatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl place all the chicken. Pour Silan and Dijon mustard over chicken, rub into the thighs. Sprinke with paprika, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and garlic, rub to distribute evenly. Pour beer over the chicken. Let marinate for half an hour.

Peel potatoes and slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Slice onion. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of the skillet or baking dish. Place onion on the bottom of the skillet (or baking dish), then add potatoes. Put chicken, skin side down, on the potatoes.

Put the cast-iron skillet or baking dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Flip chicken so that it’s skin-side up and then bake for 30 minutes more. For the last 5 minutes of baking, turn the oven temperature up and bit and let the skin crisp until it’s slightly and crispy and looks caramelized.

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“And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah; he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.” – Genesis 24:53

Eliezer gave Rebecca gifts of bracelets and a nose ring, but he brought out all the stops when he went to go meet her family. He presented them with jewels, with silver and gold, with clothing and fabric, and all manner of precious things. What could be more precious than Beluga Black Lentils? Garnished with jewels of pomegranate and mango, and dressed with a sweet and salty lemon-mint dressing.

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Bejeweled Beluga Lentils with Lemon Mint Dressing

1 cup black (beluga) lentils
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup pomegranate seeds
1 cup diced mango
1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
1/2 cup seasoned and toasted sunflower seeds (season with salt and cumin and toast until golden brown)

Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Cook lentils with water and 1 tsp salt for about 30 minutes or until lentils are soft (they should still hold their shape though and be somewhat firm). Drain and rinse lentils in a colander or sieve.
Mix lentils with pomegranate seeds, diced mango and scallion.

Mix dressing ingredients in a long/tall container and then puree with an immersion blender.

Pour dressing on top of salad. Garnish salad with toasted spiced sunflower seeds and fresh mint leaves.

This dish should be served warm.

Lentil salad 1

“And he made the camels to kneel down outside the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water.” Genesis 24:11

“So let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say: Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say: Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also; let the same be she that Thou hast appointed for Thy servant, even for Isaac; and thereby shall I know that Thou hast shown kindness unto my master.'” – Genesis 24:14

Abraham’s servant Eliezer is sent to find a wife for Isaac. He asks God to help him, to send him some kind of sign, he wants the first girl that comes down to the well and gives both him and his camels to drink to be the right one for Isaac. Rebecca comes down to the well – and not only does she give water to Eliezer and his camels, but she gives the camels first, showing kindness to animals.

I present to you:

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Spiced Acorn Squash and Apple Soup in Squash “Wells”

4 acorn squash
3 Granny Smith apples
2 onions
4 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. olive oil (plus 4 tsp)
4 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp dried ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)
5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth (or water)
1 can coconut milk

Dice the onion and garlic and saute in the soup put together with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Cook on a low temperature and let brown. Cut the long tops off the of the acorn squash, peel and cut into large chunks and add to the soup pot. Peel and dice the apples and add to the soup pot. Add all the spices to the vegetables in the pot and mix well, allow to cook for 3-5 more minutes. Add 5-6 cups of vegetable or chicken stock. Allow to cook for 30-45 minutes.

Hollow out the bottoms of the acorn squash, adding any extra squash to the soup pot, dispose of all the seeds and scrape the inside of each sqaush bottom with a spoon to clean it of all strings. Rub 1 tsp olive oil on the outside of each squash bottom and rub 1 tsp maple syrup on the inside of each squash. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Taste soup and adjust seasonings to taste. Add coconut milk just before serving.

Ladle into squash bottoms.

Garnish with toasted spiced sunflower seeds and coconut cream.

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I’m in a bit of a backlog with my posts, as my Hebrew cookbook came out and I’ve been blessed by a flurry of media attention here (TV, print, radio, online and more…) I’m going to take a break from my Prophecy in the Kitchen posts (even thought I have two recipes from the Book of Amos ready to go: Miniature Summer Fruit Basket Pies and Mashed Potato Mountains with Zaatar, Silan and Red Wine Sauce).

Today I had a journalist come cook with me. She asked me to prepare recipes related to the Weekly Portion of “Chayei Sarah – The Life of Sarah” which spans from Chapter 23 verse 1 of Genesis, to Chapter 25, verse 18. The recipes and photos were too beautiful not to share! And perhaps I will find a way to connect them to some of the books of the prophets as I go, but for now, I wanted to post some of them here.

We made:

Spiced Acorn Squash and Apple Soup in Squash “Wells”

Chicken Thighs in Silan, Beer and Mustard

Bejeweled Beluga Lentils with Lemon-Mint Dressing

Vegetable Bracelets and Rings with Coriander Pesto

Tunnel of Fudge Cave Cake

all the recipes from chayei sarah

Pagan Bread (Amos 4:4-5)

For a book of prophecy that isn’t terribly long (only 9 chapters) the Book of Amos really packs a punch. The Prophet Amos does not mince words and in general he is pretty damning of the Children of Israel and their transgressions. It seems, historically, that Amos was the forerunner of all the other prophets. He lived during the reign of King Jeroboam II, around 786-746 BC, and according to the historical record, this may have been the first book of prophecy ever written!

Having said that, it seems like many of the other prophets may have taken pointers from Amos, and that this book of his recorded prophecies sets the stage for many more to come. Therefore I found it surprising how harsh he comes across. Of course, Amos is delivering “the word of God” and therefore the words are not really his, but he offers a really bleak picture of the situation on the ground in terms of the Children of Israel and their transgressions, so much so that it’s hard to find anything that’s really all that redemptive (and appetizing!) until the later chapters.

I was struck by the following two verses in Chapter Four:

“Come to Beth-el, and transgress, to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices in the morning, and your tithes after three days. And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill-offerings and publish them; for so ye love to do, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” (Amos 4:4-5)

Amos seems to condemn the Children of Israel for sacrificing “Leavened Bread” – in Hebrew the word is “Hametz” – which is the exact opposite of “Matzah” – the unleavened bread that we eat on Passover. However, I found it strange that the prophet should condemn “leavened bread” so harshly – because it is unclear if the show bread – the “Lechem HaPanim” – was leavened or unleavened, it may very well have been leavened, but it was not sacrificed and perhaps that is the crux.

In Amos chapter eight we come across bread mentioned in a more redemptive light, in a very famous verse (that has been put to music often):

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” (Amos 8:11)

So it seems that no matter what kind of bread you eat or sacrifice – leavened or unleavened – what God truly desires from us is to desire him, to desire his words, and so I present to you a form of bread, which I call “Pagan Bread” – to me it was the furthest thing away from Matzah that I could conjure: light and fluffy, sweet and spicy – nothing close to the dry, bland, crisp-bread that we eat on the Passover Holiday. Eat it at your own risk, and make sure to direct your hunger heavenward.

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Pagan Bread

1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cardamom
1 Tbsp. yeast
3/4 cup milk (soy milk or nut milk is fine too – I used hazelnut milk…YUM)
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg
1.5 tsp. salt
4-5 cups flour (I used fine-ground whole wheat)

Mix warm water, honey, cardamom and yeast together in a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes until frothy. Add milk, olive oil, egg, salt and mix. Add 2 cups of flour, mix until combined. Then add 2-3 more cups until the dough is soft but not sticky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel (or place entire bowl inside a plastic bag). Let rise about an hour or until dough has doubled in size. Punch down and knead into desire shape. Brush top with honey. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until golden brown – about 30 minutes (I used a toothpick to make sure it was done – if dough sticks to the toothpick, allow the bread to bake more).

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I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted! The summer ran away from me. We were on vacation in Cyprus for two weeks, which was where I concocted this recipe (which is good for dessert but also makes a really decadent breakfast!)

It’s based on this verse of the Book of Joel:

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the brooks of Judah shall flow with waters; and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim.” (Joel 4:18)

It’s an interesting chapter of Joel, because one sentence,  a little earlier on, caused me to do a double take: “Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears; let the weak say: ‘I am strong.’ ” (Joel, 4:10) – We are so used to the other verse from Isaiah that states: “And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:4) – but here in Joel, the prophet and God are calling people to take up arms! To fight! And that certainly resonates in a personal way with me – this past month has been a very difficult one for the People of Israel and the Land of Israel – a lesson that there are times for peace and times for war.

Being in Cyprus reminded me so much of Israel – Halloumi cheese originates there – which is such a popular dish here, and Greek yogurt is in abundance, along with fresh mountain honey, rich cold-pressed olive oil and wineries on every hilltop. And it made me think that there is so much that everyone in this region shares – milk and honey, wine and olive oil – foremost among the ingredients common to all of this region – Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. My only wish is that all the people of the region could see it that way.

This mousse is an explosion of flavor in your mouth – creamy and seductive, yet slightly spicy and richly decadent by virtue of the Port Reduction, and the grapes add a fantastic crunch.

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Honey Cardamom Mousse with Port-Silan Reduction and Fresh Grapes

Honey Cardamom Mousse:
1 tsp plain unflavored gelatin
1 Tbsp water
1 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup whipping cream

Port-Silan Reduction:
1/2 cup port
1/4 cup Silan (date honey)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp cinnamon

Fresh seedless red grapes

Let gelatin dissolved in 1 Tbsp warm water. Mix together yogurt, honey, vanilla and cardamom. Add gelatin, whisking as you mix it in. Whip the whipping cream until it holds stiff peaks. Fold the yogurt mixture into the whipping cream until combined, then portion out into individual serving dishes and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight. Mix port, silan, vanilla, balsamic vinegar and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes until thick. Top mousse with seedless red grapes and port-silan reduction. Serve.

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One of the things I love about the Prophet Joel is that he really goes along with the idea of “Prophecy in the Kitchen” – despite the terrible locust plague that was afflicting the land at that time, despite the terrible damage it did to the crops (see Dried Fruit and Spice Muffins,) he still delivers the message that if we return to God and have faith, anything is possible – even divine prophecy.

“Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth its fruit, the fig-tree and the vine do yield their strength.” (Joel 2:22)

I think that in the above verse is an allegory that’s about more than just figs and vines, it’s saying that no matter how many times the Israelites turn from God, their roots are strong, that there is always room for return. That no matter how far they stray, it’s their roots that will bring them back to God again.

And indeed, in the first verse of Chapter 3, the prophet states (echoing Numbers 11:26-29):

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My spirit.” (Joel 3:1-2)

Of course, it is hard for me to live in Israel during these difficult times and to not find comfort in these words. The People of Israel have deep roots in the Land of Israel, and whether it be locusts or rockets that rain down upon us, our figs and vines will prosper because our roots are deep. And it doesn’t take a prophet to be able to tell us that – we are all prophets in these times and the only vision we have is of a brighter, more peaceful future, one in which figs and vines will prosper all across the Middle East and there will be an end to all this war.

The roots of flavor in this Fig and Port Wine Chocolate Salami are very deep and decadent – comfort food for difficult times.

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Chocolate Salami with Port Wine and Figs

12 ozs chocolate
6 Tbsp. butter/margarine
1/3 cup sugar
1 shot espresso
3 Tbsp. port wine
1 sleeve of petit buerre cookies, crushed coarsely
1/2 cup shelled whole pistachios
1/2 cup chopped dried figs
1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting

Melt chocolate with butter or margarine. Add sugar, espresso and port wine.

Salami 6 Salami 7 Salami 8

 

Crush petit buerre cookies, chop figs. Add whole pistachios, chopped figs and crushed cookies to chocolate mixture, mix well, using the back of the spoon to crush the mixture even more and combine it well – you should not be able to see the color of the cookies. Add cocoa powder (this will help the whole mixture stiffen up a bit.) Mix well.

Salami 9 Salami 1 Salami 29 Salami 10

Spoon out half of the mixture onto a baking sheet, use your hands to shape into a messy loaf shape, then use parchment paper to shape into a log. Unroll paper and move the log onto the edge of the parchment paper sheet, then roll up and twist the ends as you would a toffee or hard-candy.

Salami 2

Place in refrigerator to cool for 3-4 hours. Before serving, unroll the log from the parchment paper and dust with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar. Roll log in powdered sugar until the sugar enters all the crevices of the log and it is completely covered.

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Slice into 1/8-1/4 inch thick slices and serve!

Keep refrigerated.

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