Monthly Archives: September 2007

Delights from the Garden of Eden: Cookbook

Delights from the Garden of Eden is an Iraqi cookbook. The author shares a few select recipes on her site. Check it out: Delights from the Garden of Eden

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Filed under Cookbooks, Iraqi, Middle-Eastern

Strawberry Mango Mesculun Salad

Great salad – easy and full of great flavour. I would recommend cutting down the sugar content (recipe calls for 1/2 cup – which is WAY too much!) My mom usually subs in orange juice instead of sugar in recipes.  Play around with it. I think I got this from the Netivot HaTorah recipe book, “gatherings.”


  • sugar (calls for 1/2 cup – but that’s outrageous!)
  • 3/4 canola oil
  • 1/3 balsamic vinegar (I like a lighter vinegar with this salad personally)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 8 cups mesculun mix
  • 2 cups sweet & dried cranberries
  • 8 ounces strawberries quartered
  • 1 large mango – peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 cup slivered almonds

Serves 6-8 people.

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Filed under Salads, Shabbat

Pickled: “Blogging from the Jewish Cutting Board” – on Jewish Food

The crew at put together their own “sub-blog” on Jewish cuisine, called “Pickled.”

“There’s something a-rye in the world of Jewish cuisine. Few can name Jewish dishes outside the realm of matzah ball soup and latkes,” writes Amy Odell of

“Yet Jewish cuisine, stemming from Eastern European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern origins, is as richly varied as, say, American nouveau. You won’t find it as often on menus because the culinary nouveau love affair has circumvented Jewish food—which is why Jewish delis are falling like dominoes and the cuisine as a whole feels less and less in touch with the needs of modern diners. “

Click here to read more about Pickled

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Video: How to make Hummus

Loving cute Moti!

Check out his website

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Filed under Appetizers, Israeli, Links, Middle-Eastern, sides, Snacks, video

Sukkot & Darfurian Refugees: American Jewish World Service D’var Torah

I have had the privilege of working with American Jewish World Service on their excellent service-learning programs. One of the many excellent things this organization does is engage the American Jewish community in issues of globalization, international development and the way in which they are impacting those in the developing world. With a a top notch Education Department, one of AJWS’s new educational initiatives has sponsored writers for “divrei torah” (‘words of torah’) that explore some of these important issues within the context of Judaism, and the Jewish tradition.

If you are celebrating Sukkot, and even if you’re not, consider taking a moment to check it out. This holiday, we have an opportunity to think about what it means to be a ‘global’ citizen – and as Jews, what might our responsibilities be within that framework?

Chag Sameach!

Please click here to read it: Chag V’ Chesed – AJWS Sukkot

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Filed under Holidays, Links

Chag Sameach – Happy Sukkot

“You shall live in booths [sukkot] seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I am the Lord your God.”

 (Leviticus 23; 42-45)



Today marks the first day of Sukkot (lit. ‘booths’), which began yesterday evening. For the next seven days, Jews all over the world will be eating (and some sleeping!) in ‘temporary booths’ commemorating the 40 years that the Children of Israel wandered in the desert. Stepping out of the more ‘permanent structures’, we remind ourselves of the impermanence of many things in our lives and, a chance to connect with the Jewish historical experiences: with our ancestors who wandered so long in the desert. To learn more Click Here.


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Video: Jews of Iran

With the very controversial visit of the bizarre Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday at Columbia University and yesterday at the United Nations, one wonders about the Jewish community in Iran. Here’s an interesting piece from showing a sliver of rarely heard Jewish community. While this isn’t specifically about cooking, it is of interest to us.

Link to the video

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Yaprak: Stuffed Grape Leaves


Me and Talya Enriquez (right) in NYC

Love stuffed grape leaves – in Hebrew, they are “alei gefen” (literally grape leaves) but in Turkey, they are called “Yaprak.” My friend Talya (above right) hails from Izmir Turkey, where her mother Sarah makes the most incredible food. On the last day of my visit there, she made a whole new batch for me – simply delish. Sarah and a group of women in the Izmir Jewish community put together (unfortunately for me, in Turkish) a Jewish Turkish recipe book. We’ll work on Talya to do some translating.

Jenny and Talya

Jenny Goldstein (left), who met Talya while living in Izmir for a year working with the Jewish community.

In the meantime, I’ve included a recipe below from a great book, Mathew Goodman’s, Jewish Food: The World at the Table:

Stuffed grape leaves are enormously popular throughout Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East. When filled with ground beef or lamb, they are served hot; filled with rice, they are served cold and make a favorite Sabbath dish. (Yaprak is the Turkish word for leaf, which is also the derivation of the name prakkes, as stuffed cabbage is known in the Ukraine.)
I’ve adapted this recipe from one made by Jenny Edelstein of Miami, who was born in Havana and came to the United States in 1963; like many of the Jews of Cuba, her family has Turkish roots. These stuffed grape leaves taste even better when eaten the day after they are made.



8 ounces brine-packed grape leaves

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 limes

1. Drain the grape leaves, rinse well, and pat dry.

2. For the filling: Place the rice in a bowl of cold water. Soak for 30 minutes. Drain.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly colored. Add the rice and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Place in a medium bowl and combine with the mint and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and let cool.

4. Place a grape leaf, shiny side down and with the stem end facing you, on a clean surface. Place about 2 teaspoons of the filling near the stem end. Fold this end up and over the filling, then pinch in the two sides toward the center and loosely roll up the leaf like a cigar, tucking in any wide parts of the leaf and loose ends. (Do not roll the leaf too tightly, because the rice expands somewhat during cooking.) Repeat until all of the filling has been used.

5. Line a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot with the remaining loose grape leaves. Pack the stuffed grape leaves, seam sides down, in one layer over the bottom of the pot, then place any remaining stuffed leaves in a second layer on top.

6. For the cooking liquid: In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, water, lemon juice, and lime juice.

7. Pour the cooking liquid over the stuffed grape leaves. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer gently, covered, until the filling is fully cooked, about 45 minutes. Let the stuffed leaves cool in the pan, then transfer them to a large serving platter. Serve at room temperature.


Filed under Appetizers, Links, Middle-Eastern, sides

Fun: Peanut Butter Popcorn

A favorite website/blog of mine is Apartment Therapy They have a “Kitchen” portion of the site devoted to kitchen design issues – but mainly to cooking. It’s great. Today they had a Fall Snacking Feature – and given my brother’s obsession with popcorn (and another family member’s guaranteed popcorn-induced flatulence!) I couldn’t resist posting their recipe for Peanut Butter Popcorn. Sounds Yum.


To visit the recipe at its home: Click below
Fall Snacking: Peanut Butter Popcorn
makes about 8 cups


1/4 cup popcorn kernels
Vegetable oil
Fine salt
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (should be free of added sugar)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Prepare a clean paper shopping bag or oversized mixing bowl. Heat a large heavy pan over medium heat and film the bottom with vegetable oil. Add the popcorn, shake to distribute, then put a lid on the pan. Leave a small crack for steam to escape. When the popcorn starts popping, shake vigorously to make sure the kernels pop evenly. When the popping slows, take the pan off the heat. Pour the popcorn into the paper bag or bowl to cool, being careful to leave any unpopped kernels in the pan. Coated with peanut butter caramel, the unpopped kernels are a serious tooth hazard.

Mix the honey and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for a couple minutes, then remove from the heat and add the peanut butter. Stir vigorously until all the peanut butter is melted, then mix in the vanilla.

Immediately pour the peanut butter caramel over the popcorn and stir with a long-handled wooden spoon until it’s all coated. Once it’s mixed you can put it in a serving bowl. Cover tightly after it’s cooled.

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Filed under Links, Snacks

Sababa’s Lentil Soup

As the leaves outside begin to change colors, I begin to crave soup.  Autumn is by far my favorite season, and this lentil soup is indeed my favorite soup. I have fond memories of lunches at Sababa in Toronto with friends, and the day I got a copy of their soup recipe. Apparently so many people had been asking, they finally included it in an interview in The Toronto Star. The soup tastes even better the next day after the flavors have had a chance to mingle and get to know each other. A lot like life, no?

One nice additional touch on this one, is to carmelize some onions, finely sliced, and add them atop each bowl as a garnish. Simply divine. 

For the Sababa Website, click here. 

As appeared in the Toronto Star


1.25 cups red lentils

    .5 cup white rice

  .33 cup vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

6 cups warm water

1 tbsp vegetable stock

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt or to taste

lemon wedges optional


  1. Soak lentils and rice in warm water. Add onion to hot vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the 6 cups water and bring to a boil.
  2. Drain soaking lentils and rice, rinse well then add to boiling water with onion  and boil 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add vegetable stock, cumin, olive oil and salt. Serve each bowl with wedge of lemon.


Makes 8 cups

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Filed under Links, Middle-Eastern, Soup