Tag Archives: pine nuts

Fancy Bourekas: Phyllo Triangles with Basil, Zucchini & Pine Nuts

This recipe is for when you have a little bit of time on your hands – and I promise, it’s worth every second. If you haven’t worked with phyllo dough before, remember that patience is a virtue. I used olive oil instead of butter – and much less than the recipe called for. A pastry brush is helpful to have on hand, and garnishing the ‘bourekas’ with sesame seeds is a nice touch. You can use the oil to glaze the bourekas, or a beaten egg will do nicely as well. These are great for a dinner party – and truly impress. I brought them to a tapas party last year and they went quickly.

I got the recipe from Epicurious.com. Click here to see it on the site.


12 ounces zucchini, trimmed, coarsely grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 chopped onion
6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup packed grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 egg
6 sheets fresh phyllo pastry or frozen, thawed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg white, beaten to blend (glaze)
Sesame seeds


Toss zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain zucchini well; roll in kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add zucchini; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in basil, parsley and garlic; add wine. Cover skillet; simmer 3 minutes. Uncover; stir until any liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer zucchini mixture to large bowl and cool. Mix in both cheeses, then pine nuts. Season filling with salt and pepper. Mix in egg.

Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets. Place 1 phyllo sheet on work surface with 1 short end parallel to edge of work surface (keep remaining phyllo covered with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel.) Brush phyllo sheet lightly with butter; cut lengthwise into 3 equal strips, each about 4 inches wide. Place 1 generous tablespoon filling at bottom end of 1 strip. Fold 1 corner of phyllo over filling. Repeat folding down length of strip as for flag, brushing twice with butter and forming triangle. Place pastry on prepared baking sheet; brush with butter. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets and filling. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic and chill.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush pastries with egg white. Sprinkle pastries generously with sesame seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.


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Filed under Appetizers, Links, Middle-Eastern, sides, Veggies

Fresh Pesto

Until I get my hands on the Poupolo Family recipe for Pesto, I will have to improvise. And luckily, our passion for cooking leaves us comfortable with improv. Add some nice white wine to the mixture, a splash of fresh lemon, ground pepper – and walnuts with the toasted pine nuts.


  • 2 cups fresh basil – rinsed & chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup freshly greated parmesean cheese
  • 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts (with some walnuts in there)
  • olive oil – until consistency is right
  • some nice white wine (same as above)
  • splash of fresh lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Blend
  2. Eat

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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