Artichokes Stuffed with Ground Beef

I have been wanting to make this recipe for a long time. I distinctly remember my mother stuffing artichokes with breadcrumbs, parsley, and parmasean cheese as a child. However, she stuffed it between the leaves and left it whole. As amazing as that was I really think cutting them in half first really is the better way to go. You can trim the pointy leaves as you don’t need that area for stuffing – I can’t be the only who has been left bloodied by an artichoke right?  You can also trim the hair off the artichoke heart (or artichoke “butt” according to my Chilean friend) before you stuff it so you aren’t de-fuzzing the artichoke mid-meal which is annoying and messy.

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Tamarind Meatballs

This Syrian dish is easy to make with only a few ingredients. The first time I made it for family my grandmother was sorely disappointed I didn’t make spaghetti with it. Despite my insistence that these were not Italian meatballs in a marinara sauce she was adamant that meatballs are always to be served with spaghetti or otherwise you clearly did not know how to throw a dinner party.  As you can see from the final photo here I once again went against “tradition” and served it with rice.

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Persian Rice with Potato Tahdig

This is a long recipe just to make rice but rather than as a side dish this rice is really the main event. Well made Persian Rice should have a crunchy rice layer at the bottom (or in this case potato) called tahdig. That is the difficult part you need to get to know your pot and stove to achieve this without under-browning or burning the bottom and to be honest for me its really hit or miss.  I usually err on the side of under-browning but even if the tahdig is not perfect the rice is still great so I try not to stress myself out over it.

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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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“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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