Monthly Archives: September 2007

Video: For Fun- The Sukkot Shake

Tomorrow evening the Jewish holiday of Sukkot (“Feast of Tabernacles”) begins. For more on Sukkot click here: Sukkot from

In the interim, enjoy the clip below.      

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Filed under Holidays, video

Mysteries: How do get that grime off of tupperware?!


Okay kitchen veterans. I need to know, PLEASE – how do you get rid of that gross film that sometimes stays on tupperware even after you’ve washed it 3 times? What am I doing wrong?


Filed under questions

Welcome Eden!

Eden Ronit

Although it will be a while ’till she can enjoy both her savtas’ cooking, Eden is in for a real treat. Marilyn on one side, and Hemda on the other! Lucky child!

Mazal tov to Dafna and Gil, and to the proud grandparents, brother, sisters, aunts, and uncles!!

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Baklawa: Something Sweet for the New Year

From the Great

“Balkava (from the Farsi for “many leaves”), a pastry perfected by royal bakers in the sultan’s palace in Istanbul, consists of layers of phyllo filled with nuts and spices and drenched in a syrup.

It has become a traditional Middle Eastern Rosh Hashannah and Purim treat but is enjoyed at celebrations throughout the year. There are numerous variations of baklava, many a closely guarded secret passed down within families. A walnut filling is more prevalent in the Levant, while pistachios and pistachio-almond fillings are preferred in Iran. Blanched almonds are traditional on Rosh Hashannah to produce a light color so that the year should be dulce y aclarada (“sweet and bright”).

Sephardim refrain from serving dark-colored pastries such as those made from walnuts on Rosh Hashannah, which would portend a dark year. Although purists disdain anything except the classic nut filling, some cooks innovated by adding such items as dates and chocolate chips. Hungarians make an apricot version. This very rich treat is usually served in small portions.

For more – click below:

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Filed under Iraqi, Israeli, Links, Middle-Eastern

Video: How to make Sambusak


Filed under Iraqi, video

Youssef’s Ba’abnjan (a.k.a. babaganoush or eggplant salad)


  • 2lbs eggplant (usually 1 large eggplant)
  • 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Mayonaise -OR tahina; to desired consistency


  1. Punch a few wholes in the “ba’abnjan” = eggplant
  2. Bake in the oven @ 450 F, for 20-30 minutes;
  3. Flip the eggplant over so that it bakes evenly; keep it in for another 20-30 minutes
  4. Take it out; peel the charred eggplant skin;
  5. Put the 3-4 cloves of garlic in the food processor and pulse
  6. Add the eggplant; pulse;
  7. Add salt & pepper to taste and then either the mayo or tahina until you reach your desired consistency


Filed under Appetizers, sides, Snacks

The Munchkins’ Barley Soup

Every Monday afternoon, Savta Martha heads down to the Annex to hang out with “the munchkins”: Levi and Zoe Shem-Tov. And every Monday she makes the soup below, which she asks me to let readers know is “low-glycemic index” and “good for you.” Levi who is a charming little five year old, who can be heard in the background summoning my mom: “Savta, come feed me.” Yep. Come feed me too! This soup is quick and easy to make (like most Martha dishes) and is healthy and delish – especially when you need a soup to warm you up. Savta, you will have to explain to Levi’s wife one day, why his expectations are so high! :>)


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup of brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup of split green peas
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped [“Chopped, or diced,” Martha says, “I don’t know how you call it,”
  • 4 carrots, peeled & chopped
  • tie together a bit of parsley and dill, NOT chopped
  • 3 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 1 tbsp of salt; 1 flat tsp of pepper
  • 8-10 cups of water


  1. Rinse barley, lentils & split peas and put in pot;
  2. Add chopped celery & carrots
  3. Add chicken thighs
  4. Add parsley, dill, salt and pepper
  5. Bring to boil; once it boils cook on medium for 30-40 minutes
  6. Remove dill and parsley – throw out
  7. Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and seve
  8. VARIATION: add one tin (24 oz) of diced tomatoes

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Filed under sides, Soup, Uncategorized

Like…Sari’s Guacamole


Liat (left) and Sari (right)

Sari, who just turned 16, has a sophisticated palate – and often has very sophisticated reviews of food, both of family and of restaurants (quote: “I mean, they don’t know how to slice an onion!”) Below is a go-to recipe of hers for a quick and healthy snack – she was watching TV while I managed to wrestle this one out of her. If you like it, some freshly chopped cilantro (which Sari does not add) is a nice addition. Thanks Sar.


  • 2 avocados, ripe (Sari says, “like a little overripe, you know…mushy”)
  • “and then like, thinly sliced purple onions, like..diced”; a handful worth
  • Diced medium-sized tomato; “take out the seeds”
  • Crushed garlic ; When asked how many, Sari responds, “Like depends how garlicky you like it.” She uses 1 and a half
  • a bit of pepper and salt
  • freshly squeezed lemon, “just like, half a lemon”
  • And…that’s basically it.


  1. Cut up the avocado and mush it with a fork
  2. And then, mix in all the salt, pepper, garlic & lemon
  3. Add tomato and onion last
  4. Eat it with tortilla chips

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Filed under Appetizers, sides, Snacks

Shimon’s Rice

Shimon*, a master Jeweler from Tzfat, came to stay with me in Brooklyn, sometime in 2004. As it turned out, he was also a master cook. I sat with him one day and took notes as he prepared a Shabbat feast for us. Since then, I have lost the notes but try to prepare his dishes on occasion from memory. I know there is a step about lining the bottom of the pot with very thinly sliced potatoes for a crunchy bottom – but I fear I am forgetting something important so I’ll leave it out for now. As usual, I do not know the exact amounts of anything – unless of course, it’s something you can learn from a package (i.e. rice). Here is one of many to come, thanks to Shimon.

[*Shimon and I met in 1995 in Tzfat. I was on crutches due to the sprained ankle I acquired while climbing through a window and I would run (or whatever you call it when you rush by on crutches) by his Jewelry store and he’d yell, “Savlanut! Savlanut!” (Hebrew for patience)]

This should serve 4-6 people.


1. 1 cup of rice (I use sushi rice but your choice here)
2. 1 ½ cup water
3. ¼ white onion, finely chopped
4. Salt
5. Freshly ground pepper
6. Olive oil
7. A handful of pine nuts [This is my variation – you can use any nut. Cranberries are delicious.]

8. A dash of love (this, I remember Shimon being very specific about!)


Sauté the onions in olive oil until glassy, adding a dash of salt and pepper
Add 1 cup of RAW (this is important) rice and stir over very low heat for about 10 seconds

Pour 1 ½ cup of water and give it a little stir
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes

Meanwhile, in a small pan (or in a toaster oven on foil), heat pine nuts for about 5 minutes (or until they are dark) over a low flame

Once rice is ready, stir in pine nuts and serve!

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Filed under Israeli, sides

Friend’s Food Blog: Lara!

Please check out my friend Lara’s food blog at She has taken on writing for!!

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Filed under Links