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Baba Ghanouj (Eggplant with Tehina) | Burekas | Chopped Chicken Livers
Falafel (Chick-pea patties) | Fried Goats' Gheese | Hummus
Lentils with Spinach & Lemon | Mufleta | Roasted Garlic with Goats' Cheese
Tehina| Turkish Style Eggplant | Vegetable Salad
Red Drum Tartare With Watermelon Salsa And Watermelon-Ginger Granita | Feta Cheese and Chard Burekas
In Israel, it is not unusual for guests to drop in for a visit without prior notice. In such cases, they are likely to get a light snack or impromptu meal. In anticipation of such contingencies, one such prepared dish is baba ghanouj, which can be found in virtually every Israeli refrigerator.
1 large eggplant
1 medium onion
2 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 cup tehina
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. water
1 tsp. salt
dash of cayenne pepper
Place whole unpeeled eggplant directly on a gas burner with flame set at medium, turning as the skin chars and inside becomes soft, or bake in a pan at 450 deg F (250 deg C) until charred and tender (about 30 minutes). Let cool slightly, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out eggplant pulp with wooden spoon (the wooden spoon preserves the flavor). Chop fine in a ceramic or wooden bowl. Grate onion on largest holes of a grater. Squeeze juice from onion. Chop parsley fine and blend with eggplant and onion. In a separate bowl, blend tehina thoroughly with lemon juice and garlic. Stir in small amount of water until white in color. Add to eggplant mixture, with salt and dash of cayenne pepper. More lemon may be added for extra flavor. Garnish with parsley. Makes 2 1/2 - 3 cups.
This is a Jewish Sephardic dish which is quite similar to the Turkish "burak." Burekas can be prepared with various types of dough: strudel dough (thin leaves), rising dough or with types of prepared dough found in the market. This is a dish served on festive occasions, but also widely sold on Israeli street corners. To be tasty, it must be served hot and fresh.
1/2 lb. margarine
1 tsp. salt
3 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup cheese (feta)
1 cup cooked spinach
3 egg yolks
1 egg yolk
4 cups sesame seeds
Dough: Melt the margarine and mix with flour and salt. Add warm water until able to roll dough. Roll it, cut a leaf, and cut circles with a cup.
Stuffing: Mix all the ingredients. Put one teaspoon of stuffing on each dough circle. Fold in half. On top, spread yolk and sprinkle sesame seeds. Place on a well-greased cookie tray and bake at 350 deg F (180 deg C) until golden (approx. 15-20 min.). Serve hot.
This is a typical Jewish eastern European dish. The low cost of liver in the U.S. comes as a surprise to Israelis, where chopped chicken livers are considered a delicacy to be served on festive occasions.
1 lb. chicken livers
2 onions, diced
3 hard boiled eggs
2 tbs. oil
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
Wash livers and remove discolored spots. Drain. Brown onions in a frying pan. Remove onions and saute livers in the remaining oil for 10 minutes. Grind or chop onions, livers and eggs, into smooth mixture. Add salt, pepper and taste for seasoning. Serve cold with crackers as a spread or on lettuce as an appetizer. Serves 6 as an appetizer or 12 as a spread.
Falafel is sold on street corners in every city and town in Israel. Some call it the "Israeli hamburger." Its popularity can be attributed in no small part to the Yemenite Jews who have brought a particularly tasty version onto the culinary scene. Students living on a meager budget consume full-portion falafels in whole pitas on the sidewalks as their noon "dinner."
1 lb. canned chick-peas (drained)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs. finely chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
1/2 to 1 cup breadcrumbs or fine bulgur (crushed wheat)
1 tsp. ground coriander or cumin
1 tsp. dried hot peppers
1 tsp. garlic powder
vegetable oil (for frying)
Combine chick-peas with onion. Add parsley, lightly beaten egg and spices. Mix in blender. Add breadcrumbs until mixture forms a small ball without sticking to your hands. Form chick-pea mixture into small balls about the size of a quarter (one inch in diameter). Flatten patties slightly and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain falafel balls on paper towels. Serve individually with toothpicks as an hors d'oeuvre or as a sandwich filling with chopped tomato, cucumber, radish, lettuce, onion, hummus and/or tehina inside pita bread. Makes about 24 falafel balls.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
125 grams kasseri cheese or other hard, salty goats' cheese
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and in this saute the garlic until it is lightly browned. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard.
Cut the cheese into squares about 5 centimeters on each side and about 1 centimeter thick.
Place the slices in the hot oil and cook, turning once, until the exterior of the cheese is almost but not fully melted.
Remove with a slotted spoon and serve hot as an appetizer, garnished with lemon wedges.
2 cups canned chick-peas, drained juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
3 tbs. pure tahini paste or 1 cup tehina (see above recipe)
2 garlic cloves, mashed
2-3 tbs. oil
parsley (for garnish)
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, mix until chick-peas are smooth. Refrigerate hummus in a covered container. Serve well-chilled, with chopped parsley on top. If desired, reserve 1/4 cup unmashed chick-peas and sprinkle on top. More garlic may be added, if desired. If pita is not available, crackers or thick slices of French or Italian bread may be used.
1/4 kg. lentils, well washed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 Tbs. fresh coriander, chopped
300gr. spinach leaves, well picked over and chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice (or more, to taste)
Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes. Heat the oil in a large casserole and brown the onion. Add the garlic and coriander, stir well and then add the spinach. Saute for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the potatoes, lentils and enough of the lentil cooking liquor to cover. Season to taste with salt and pepper, bring to the boil, lower the flame and simmer until the mixture is thick and soupy (about 1 hour). Stir in the lemon juice. Serve hot or lukewarm.
1 kilogram flour (2.2 lbs.)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
Frying oil (not olive oil)
Make all of the ingredients together with water according to what is necessary. The dough should be a texture a little bit softer than dough for bread.
Add to the dough, 4 tablespoons oil in order to not stick to the bowl.
Section the dough in big pieces, about the size of 1/2 egg, and put it on a well-greased baking pan. Heat a little oil in a frying pan.
Grease the working surface. Put down a ball of dough and roll it with both hands. Pull it in every direction. The Mufleta must become very thin. Place the Mufleta on a frying pan and meanwhile roll out another piece of dough. Put next one in top of the one in the frying pan. Turn them, so that each time only one side is being fried. Continue with this process until you have around 15 Mufletas. Serve immediately with melted butter and honey.
3/4 cup creme fraiche (see note at end of recipe)
16-20 whole heads of garlic
1/2 cup butter
pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 kilo semi-hard goats' cheese
6 spring onions, trimmed and chopped finely
16-20 slices country style bread
olive oil (optional)
With the point of a knife make an incision in each garlic bulb about 4 cm. from the top. Remove the first layer of skin from the tops so that the points of the cloves are showing.
Grease a baking dish and arrange the bulbs in the dish. Dot the bulbs with the butter, using 1/2 Tbsp. of butter for each bulb. Sprinkle with pepper. Pour the wine and stock into the baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes longer. The cloves will be done when some of the garlic comes off on the tip of a sharp knife that is inserted into the cloves. Remove from the oven.
Place all but 3 Tbsp. of the creme fralche in a bowl and to this add the cheese, mashing together with a fork. Add the remaining creme fralche if necessary and continue beating with a fork until the mixture has the texture of a thick puree. Add the chopped spring onions and mix well.
To serve, place 1 slice of bread and 1 garlic bulb on each plate, and place the remaining garlic on a serving plate in the center of the table. Pass the cheese mixture separately. Guests should spread the cheese on the bread; then, using a fork, they should press the garlic flesh out of each clove and spread it on top. The garlic may then be sprinkled with olive oil if desired. Serve with dry red wine as an appetizer. (Serves 8 or more).
Note: Most dairies outside of France do not make creme fraiche, but it can be made easily at home. To make your own creme fraiche, simply mix 3/4 cup of sweet cream with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of buttermilk in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to thicken the cream even more. The cream may then be used immediately or stored for several days. In addition to using it in this recipe, creme fraiche may be served with fresh fruit and used in sauces and salad dressings that call for sour cream.
A typical dish of the Orient brought to Israel by Jewish refugees from the Arab countries. Tehina is a thick dip with sesame seeds as its base. It is often used as a topping for falafel and other dishes.
1 cup pure tahini (sesame paste)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup water
dash of hot pepper (red)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 bunch chopped parsley
juice from 2 lemons
3 tbs. olive oil
Mix tahini, garlic, water, pepper, salt and lemon juice until you get smooth paste. Add water if tehina is too thick. Serve as a thin layer on a small plate, with a drop or two of olive oil, garnish with pickles. Sprinkle with parsley or mix the parsley with the dip.
This is a typical Israeli recipe for eggplant. A popular Arab proverb in the Middle East claims: "A woman who does not know how to prepare eggplant 101 different ways is not yet prepared for marriage."
1 medium eggplant
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
chopped mint to taste
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup cooked rice
3 tbs. oil
3 tbs. white wine
juice of 1 lemon
Cut eggplant in half, scoop out pulp, cube and fry with onion. Add tomatoes and rice, salt, pepper, cinnamon and mint. Fill in shells and steam in a covered pot adding a little oil. Add wine and lemon juice. Cool and serve.
The idea of salad for breakfast is probably a little strange to North Americans. But this trademark Mediterranean salad is enjoyed by Israelis three times a daybreakfast, lunch, and supperregardless of whether they are from Russia, Morocco, Yemen, or the United States.
1/2 head lettuce
1/4 head cabbage
4 medium tomatoes
2 medium cucumbers
2 medium carrots
2 hard boiled eggs
2 tbs. parsley
2-3 tbs. lemon juice
2-3 tbs. oil
Cut vegetables (except carrots) into small cubes. Grate carrot and egg. Garnish with parsley. Combine lemon juice and oil, add to salad before serving and mix well.
The InterContinental David Tel Aviv shared this recipe with ISRAEL21c for an unusual appetizer.
80 grams (3 oz.) watermelon, cut into small cubes
50 grams ginger
200 grams (1 cup) watermelon, cubed
Handful chopped mint leaves
¼ teaspoon hot pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
100 grams (3.5 oz.) fresh, boneless red drum cut into small cubes
Zest from ½ lemon
½ teaspoon sumac
Peel of 1 cucumber, cut into small squares
1 teaspoon coriander, chopped
A pinch salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
White spreadable cheese such as ricotta or feta
For the watermelon granita, puree the 80g watermelon and ginger; filter well into a bowl and freeze until you get ice. Scrape the ice with a spoon or shred in a blender and keep in the freezer.
For the watermelon salsa, mix together 200g watermelon cubes, chopped mint, hot pepper, fresh lemon juice and soy sauce. Refrigerate for about an hour.
Mix the fish with lemon zest, sumac, cucumber peel, coriander, salt and olive oil.
In four martini cups, divide the watermelon salsa. Top with a thin layer of cream cheese and then the fish tartare to the level of about 1½ cups in each. Top with a spoonful of chilled watermelon ice and garnish with the toast fingers.
Ingredients:1 package of butter puff pastry
1 package of feta cheese (250 g)
1 tub of cottage cheese (250 g)
Large bunch of chard leaves, washed and torn into chunks
Salt/pepper/granulated garlic to taste
For garnish, hardboiled egg, pickles and zaatar
Directions:1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Make filling (pulse all ingredients – except the beaten egg — together in food processor), put in piping bag, cut the tip, and set aside.
3. Flour the work surface and roll out the dough.
5. Pipe a line of cheese, roll dough up over the filling twice into a jellyroll shape, and cut. Shape as desired and put on tray.
6. Continue with the rest of the cheese and dough.
7. Brush the top of the burekas with beaten egg.
8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until deep golden and cooked on the bottom.
9. Place on a plate, cut into squares and garnish with zaatar, peeled hardboiled egg and pickles on the side.
Sources: Embassy of Israel;
Israeli Foreign Ministry;
Red drum recipe, Israel21c;
Rogov's Ramblings Reprinted with permission.
Daniel Rogov is the restaurant and wine critic for the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. He is also the senior writer for Wine and Gourmet Magazine and contributes culinary and wine articles to newspapers in Europe and the United States.