Israeli Couscous (Pitim) with Hawaij

Israeli couscous is a children’s food in Israel but for some reason made its way on fancy menus in the US. But either way its little tiny round pastas and is very versatile. This recipe uses a popular Israeli/Yemeni spice hawaij as its main spice. You can make your own (there are lots of recipes on the internet) or buy it at any kosher supermarket. Just don’t get it confused with hawaij for coffee which is totally different.

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Sweet Noodle Kugel

There are about 1,000 different recipes for noodle kugel. Some are savory with chicken fat and pepper others are sweet with lots of dairy, dried or fresh fruits, nuts, etc. I was in the mood for one with lots of dairy and raisins so I made one with cottage cheese, labne, butter, cream and raisins. It was pretty decedent and is generally reserved for holidays rather than everyday fare. It is best served room temperature so let it cool off after making it. It can be served along with dinner, as dessert, or breakfast.

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Chopped Liver

This is an old Jewish dish that a lot of people are grossed out by. But if you like pate you will like this. This is akin to deviled eggs for all my holidays. For every holiday, Jewish or secular this is put on the table as an appetizer. Depending on the occasion I serve it with ritz crackers, challah, or matzoh. Leftovers are always awesome on a sandwich with some roasted peppers or other vegetables.

I wish I could get my slightly anemic two year old to eat it though as liver is full of iron and a great food for anemics.

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“Natural” Eggplant – Israeli Style

When I was a kid the only way I ever liked eggplants was in eggplant parm or maybe rollatini at an Italian restaurant. Any other way it was pale, chewy, bland and just really gross.  When I visited Israel though they cooked eggplants in dozens of ways and I must have ate eggplant at every meal in at least one variation. With tehina, with yogurt, fried, with tomato sauce, with feta, with oil and garlic, sabich sandwich, etc. The key is in the cooking so its not a rubbery bland mess. Either char it on the grill or under the broiler or fry it.

This recipe is a very simple eggplant dish to make as a side dish or appetizer. Scoop it up with some pita, eat with salad, or put it in a sandwich.

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Chocolate Tiramisu

So what do you do when you love tiramisu and you love chocolate? Eat both of course! But if you don’t have the room the other option is to make this chocolate tiramisu. Adapted from the Lindt Chocolate cookbook. This is a long recipe so I did it in two steps. I made the cake the night before and then did the filling and assembled it the next morning.

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Yellow Annatto Seed Rice with Pasta

Annatto seeds may not be familiar to you but if you ever had that red Goya seasoning it has annatto in it for color. A lot of people use annatto to replace saffron for coloring but it has its own distinct smoky flavor when used liberally like in this recipe. It is also super cheap unlike saffron but will also give it a pretty yellow color.

Once you make the Annatto oil you can store it in a jar on your counter for several weeks and use it in place of regular oil when cooking.

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