Tag Archives: Eli

Eli’s “Thunder & Lightning”

Kitschy it may sound – but trust me – it is simply divine. This dish is an Eli Shem-Tov original (I think he adapted it from a Rose Reisman cookbook, but not sure) from back in his bachelor days on 118 Albany. The dish has gotten better and more sophisticated over the years – but remains uncomplicated and steadfast; a great go-to dish when you need something hearty and satisfying. I made this in less than 20 minutes, start to finish and the whole thing was under $10. Pour yourself a glass of red, and get comfortable. This dish however, is not in line with South Beach restrictions. Sometimes you gotta break the rules.


  • a few garlic cloves (to taste – about 2 -4 depending on how garlicky you like it), pressed
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can of chickpeas (the bigger cans,) drained
  • freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
  • penne pasta (lately I’ve been doing a brown rice flax pasta – and it’s actually really good)
  • Fresh Parmegianno Reggiano -grated, to taste


  1. Boil pot of water;
  2. As you’re waiting for water to boil, press garlic and sautee in olive oil with salt and pepper; be sure not to burn the garlic – keep the heat low
  3. Once water boils – add the pasta; 7-8 minutes
  4. Add drained chickpeas to the pan with olive oil, garlic & pepper; mix & stir occasionally – keep on low heat
  5. Drain pasta; add the chickpea, garlic and olive oil mixture to the pasta – garnish liberally with Parmesean cheese.
  6. Pour yourself a glass of red and, enjoy.

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Kitchri – Chickpeas, Lentil and Rice


This is another dish that my kids love. It’s the ultimate comfort food. I don’t tell them how good it is for them!! This dish has dozens of variations all over Asia and the Middle East. This recipe is close to the one that I remember as a child -the ‘Iraqi Kitchri.’

Chickpeas and lentils are an excellent food choice. Their nutritional composition includes complex carbohydrates (e.g. fibre, resistant starch, oligosaccharides), vegetable protein, important vitamins and minerals like folate and iron as well as antioxidants and only very small amounts of fats. They have about twice the protein content of cereal grains. As well, a one-cup serving of Chickpeas and lentils provides almost half of the daily amount of fibre recommended for Canadians. They also have a low glycemic index, which has several health benefits


• 1.5 cups of basmati rice
• 1.5 cups red lentils
• 3 cups water or chicken broth
• 4-6 cloves garlic, crushed.
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 large (540 mL) can of chickpeas. (I prefer ‘Cedar’ brand.)
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• 0.5 teaspoon pepper
• 3 tablespoons cooking oil, vegetable, canola or sunflower.
• 3 tablespoons olive oil, preferably Middle Eastern and extra virgin
• Plain yogurt

1. Rinse rice, drain well in colander and set aside in a bowl.
2. Rinse red lentils, drain well in colander and set aside in a bowl.
3. Dissolve 3 tablespoons tomato paste and the salt in the water (or chicken broth).
4. Drain can of chickpeas in colander and set aside
5. Heat cooking oil in pot and place in pepper. Fry for 20 seconds.
6. Add crushed garlic to oil and fry for 20 seconds. Do not burn!
7. Add rice to oil and mix well for 1-2 minutes. Add more oil if needed.
8. Add the tomato paste/salt/water (or chicken broth) mixture to the pot and stir well.
9. Add chickpeas to the pot.
10. Add red lentils to the pot and bring to boil
11. Once it boils, turn down heat to medium/half (or lower if necessary).
12. Set timer to 15 minutes.
13. Turn off and pour contents of pot into separate large bowl.
14. Add olive oil to bowl and mix well.
15. Serve with or without yogurt on top.


Filed under Iraqi, Middle-Eastern, sides

Eli’s Broccoli (and Tofu)



My kids love broccoli and this recipe is why.

• Broccoli has twice the vitamin C, ounce for ounce, as oranges and is one of the best sources of vitamin B, folate, dietary fibre, iron and calcium. It is also loaded with antioxidants and protective phytochemicals which help prevent some types of cancer.

• I like this dish with the Tofu and green onions but my Shabbat dinner gang prefers it without. Just skip these steps if you just want the broccoli.

• Cooking with a wok is the best way to do this dish; the high heat, seals in flavor. Others have tried it without a wok and said that it turns out just fine.

• I’m told that organic broccoli is tastier.

Shao Xing cooking wine shouldn’t be substituted with another cooking wine because this gives the dish its distinctive aroma. It can be found in most Chinese grocery stores.



  • Broccoli – 2 large bunches or 3 medium bunches, cut into branches
  • Garlic – 1 head peeled and crushed.
  • Cooking oil – canola, sunflower or vegetable. 1/3 of a cup
  • Pepper – 1 teaspoon.
  • Shao Xing cooking wine – 1/3 of a cup,
  • Soy sauce – 1/3 of a cup- I prefer ‘Tamari’, which is a type (one of five) of Japanese soy sauce.
  • Oyster sauce-3 tablespoons. I prefer vegetarian oyster flavored sauce.
  • Sesame oil – one tablespoon
  • Sesame seeds, roasted- handful
  • Green onions- optional, one bunch chopped finely,
  • Tofu- optional, extra firm, one package. Cut the tofu into strips that look like French fries and are approximately one centimeter thick and 4-5 centimeters long
  • Large colander


  1. Broccoli- cut, clean, trim and wash the broccoli. Don’t cut too small. Try and keep natural branch-like look of broccoli. Boil water in a large pot. Place broccoli in BOILING WATER and cover for 2 min- 3 min. DO NOT OVERCOOK!!! You only want to blanche the broccoli and keep it firm, not limp. Immediately, drain in colander and place broccoli into large bowl with ice and cold water. Completely submerse the broccoli in the cold water and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes. (You can start the tofu now if you choose.) Once broccoli has cooled down completely, drain the water in a colander and dry off as much as possible. Don’t drain till completely cooled off.

  2. Tofu-. Heat up wok on high till just about to smoke. Add cooking oil, swirling it around continuously to coat all the surfaces. Heat up the oil to just before it smokes. Place tofu in oil and stir-fry gently so as not to break up tofu into little pieces. Brown the outside without burning. This usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Scoop out the tofu using a spoon with holes and set aside.

  3. Heat up wok till just about to smoke. Add cooking oil (or use oil that was just used for the tofu), swirling it around continuously to coat all the surfaces and again heat up the oil to just before it smokes. Add pepper and swirl around for 10 seconds. Add garlic and swirl around for 10 seconds. Add broccoli and stir-fry vigorously for 1 minute coating all surfaces of the broccoli. Add green onions now and stir-fry for another 20 seconds. Add soy sauce, Shao Xing cooking wine, and oyster sauce. If you are using the tofu, place it in now. Mix and stir vigorously for 2 minutes.

  4. Immediately drain the contents of the wok into a colander in the sink and shake off any excess liquid still on the broccoli. Make sure you remove as much liquid as possible. You only want the broccoli ‘coated’ and not sitting in a sauce.

  5. Transfer the broccoli into a serving dish. Drizzle sesame oil all over the broccoli. Sprinkle the sesame seeds liberally. Cover and store or serve immediately.

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Filed under Asian, Veggies

Eli Shem-Tov’s Chummus

Be sure to eat lots of this before you go visit Eli Shem-Tov in the dentist’s chair, and breathe your thick garlicky breath on your friendly dentist. You can visit Eli’s website at: http://www.northyorkdental.com/dental-clinic.php

TO know more about the man behind the chickpeas, see below:

Dr. Shem-Tov as a child

Dr. Shem-Tov was a patient at North York Dental since he was a young boy and was inspired by his childhood dentist, Dr. Tom McKean (past President of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario), to pursue a career in dentistry.

As an undergraduate, Dr. Shem-Tov studied neuroscience at the University of Toronto. In 1988, he entered the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario and received his DDS. He then returned home to North York and became the dentist at his boyhood practice.

2 Dr. Shem-Tov at the University

Dr. Shem-Tov is currently a clinical instructor at the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto. He has volunteered his dental skills in his travels to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Central America.

Dr. Shem-Tov lives in the Annex and is a passionate cyclist, avid skier and horrible golfer. He is more than happy to swap recipes and stories about his two children, Levi and Zoe.

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  • one can of chickpeas (CEDAR is the best brand); reserve juice from can
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic – depending how garlicky you like it
  • 4-6 tablespoons of tahina (sesame seed paste); preferably Middle Eastern
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil – preferably a Middle Eastern brand
  • sprinkle of cumin
  • the juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • optional: za’tar


  1. Crush garlic in a garlic press & put it in food processor
  2. Add tahina, sprinkle of cumin, olive oil, lemon juice and 3-5 tablespoons of the chick pea juice reserve to food processor; blend until texture is light and smooth
  3. Add drained chick peas – in portion, and pulse to maintain a chunky texture; if you like it smoother, blend until desired texture is reached
  4. You’re done; nice to place it on a dish and use tablespoon to “shmear” around a plate; drizzle a little olive oil, paprika and parsley and eat with a brown egg.
  5. Best served at room temperature, with warm pita.

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