Lentil Soup with Mix-Ins

Lentil Soup with Mix-Ins

We enjoy eating soup all year round. Lentil soup is great in the summer because it cooks quickly and isn’t too heavy. This recipe uses just a few ingredients to create rich, fiery, flavor. Add a hand full or two of chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, parsley and mint into the soup or save them as part of the mix-ins so everyone can add their own amount and flavor combinations.

Lentil Soup Mix-Ins

I came up with the mix-ins to solve two issues: 1) No one in our family likes the same things in their soup. And 2) We needed to put a few random leftovers to good use. Creating a mix-in bar with whatever you have on hand will allow even the pickiest eater to make a dish to their liking. I hope it helps you make meal time a little more fun and enjoyable.

Lentil Soup with Mix-Ins

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: dinner, Soup
Keyword: custom, lentil, soup
Servings: 4 people
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 large Sweet Onion finely chopped
  • 3 Small Carrots finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons Harissa *see notes
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Red Split Lentils
  • 1/2 cup Small Whole Green Lentils
  • 8-10 cups water

Mix-Ins

  • Small Pasta cooked
  • Rice cooked
  • Beans cooked
  • Whole Grains
  • Vegetables roasted or sautéed
  • Fresh herbs finely chopped
  • Cheese shredded or crumbled

Instructions

  • Put olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onions and carrots and stir to combine.
  • Add tomato paste, harissa, turmeric, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Add lentils and water. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until lentils are cooked through.
  • Serve soup in individual bowls. Top with mix-ins.

Notes

*Harissa is a North African pepper paste. Many different varieties are available. Some my be spicier than others so add a little at a time and taste to see if you want it spicier. I get mine from Le Market in Valley Village. They make it fresh weekly and sell it there.

Pomegranate Iced Green Tea

with Spritzer and Cocktail variations.

Pomegranate Iced Green Tea

Pomegranate Iced Green Tea is the drink that gets me through the long, hot summer days. Whether I’m picking up my kids from camp, getting back from the pool or just looking for a late afternoon refresher, this is my go to drink of choice to keep me cool and calm until the sun finally sets. I love green tea because its caffeinated but won’t keep me up at night if I have a glass past 4 p.m. Instead of sweetening it with sugar, the pomegranate juice adds just the right amount of sweet and tart flavor.

It makes a great base for a wine spritzer by adding sparkling Muscato wine or use it as a mixer and add a little liquor to make it into a super refreshing cocktail. I keep a pitcher of this tea in the fridge all summer long so it’s always ready to go whenever I crave it, usually between 3-4 in the afternoon when I realize there are still around 5 hours until the sun actually sets.

Make a pitcher and take a minute to enjoy the long summer day. Before you know it, the kids will be back to school!

Pomegranate Iced Green Tea with Spritzer and Cocktail variations.

Iced green tea with pomegranate juice and iced tea cubes
Prep Time10 mins
Cooling and chilling time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: summer
Keyword: drink, green tea, iced tea, pomegranate
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients

  • 8 Green Tea Bags preferably Twinings Pomegranate, Raspberry & Strawberry Green Tea
  • 8 cups Boiling Water
  • 2 cups Pomegranate Juice
  • 1 c. Pomegranate Arils
  • 1 c. Sliced Strawberries

Instructions

  • Place tea bags in a large heat proof pitcher and add boiling water. Allow to steep and cool to room temperature.
  • Use 2 cups of the tea to make ice cubes.
  • Add Pomegranate Juice to the cooled tea and refrigerate until chilled.
  • Serve with iced tea cubes, Pomegranate Arils and sliced Strawberries.

Notes

*To make the Strawberry Pomegranate Iced Green Tea Spritzer, pour 6 ounces of the iced tea/juice mixture into a tall glass with ice. Add 2 ounces pink muscato wine. Garnish with pomegranate arils and strawberry slices.
*To make the Strawberry Pomegranate Iced Green Tea Cocktail, pour 6 ounces of the iced tea/juice mixture into a tall glass with ice. Add 1 oz vodka or liquor of choice and 1 oz. seltzer. Garnish with pomegranate arils and strawberry slices.

Stuffed Crust Hamentashen Pizzas

Stuffed Crust Hamentashen Pizza

I don’t know about you but for me, warm, melty cheese + freshly baked crusty bread = true love! And what a better way to celebrate those two things than in a festive hamentashen! Purim is coming up and these mini pizzas are a great dish to serve to break the fast. (Tanit Esther is the day before Purim.) Serve with extra marinara sauce for dipping those cheesy crusts into. Pair with your favorite vegetable soup and you’ve got a filling and fun meal to start the holiday with.

They can be made a few hours ahead of time, refrigerated and baked when you are ready to eat. With the same amount of dough you can make two medium sized pizzas instead of mini pizzas or one large pizza. Just keep the cheese sticks whole and use one or two for each side depending on how big your pizza is.

I used Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough because it is so easy to work with but you can make your own too.

Hag Purim Sameach!

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I am not being compensated in any way for references made to specific products or brands. All opinions are my own.

Stuffed Crust Hamentaschen Mini Pizzas

A fun and tasty dish to break the fast with. Serve with extra marinara sauce for dipping the cheesy crusts into.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy, Hamentashen, pizza, Purim, stuffed crust, vegetarian
Servings: 3
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Pizza dough
  • 5 String cheese sticks
  • 6 T. Marinara sauce
  • 2 c. Shredded cheese
  • Additional optional toppings: sliced olives onions, sautéed mushrooms
  • Olive oil for brushing

Instructions

  • 1)   Preheat the oven to 475 F.
  • 2) Dived the dough into 6 equal balls slightly larger than a golf ball. Individually roll each ball into a circle approximately six inches in diameter. The dough should be very thin. Use a bowl or other round object to cut into a perfect circle. Place on a single layer of a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • 2) Place 1 T. of marinara sauce in the center of the circle
  • 3)   Cut each cheese stick in half length wise and then in half again width wise the get four equal pieces.
  • 4)   Place three of the cheese stick pieces on the outer edge of the pizza dough and fold over the edges to create a triangle. Be sure to seal the ends so the cheese does not melt out while baking.
  • 5) Brush olive oil on the edges of the pizza dough.
  • 6) Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Top with additional toppings if using
  • 7) Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Notes

They can be made a few hours ahead of time, refrigerated and baked when you are ready to eat. With the same amount of dough you can make two medium sized pizzas instead of mini pizzas or one large pizza. Just keep the cheese sticks whole and use one or two for each side depending on how big your pizza is.

Baked Egg Pita with Zaatar

Baked Egg Pita with Zaatar

In Israel, a bakery with a wood burning clay oven is know as a taboon.  They are famous for light and fluffy flat breads such as pita, laffa and bagles baked with a variety of cheeses, herbs and spices and served with vegetable salads and spreads. I don’t have a wood burning clay oven, but I was fortunate enough to have my mother-in-law, Rachel teach me how to create a taboon special, Baked Egg Pita with Zaatar. This dish is great as a hearty snack or sufficient enough for a meal when served with salad and fries.

Baked Egg Pita with Zaatar

This simple Israeli comfort food can be but together in minutes. Serve with Israeli vegetable salad to round out the meal.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Servings: 1
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 1 pita
  • 1 egg
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 t. zaatar
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300F.
  • Create a hole in the top side of the pita leaving a ¾ in boarder.
  • Place the pita on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper.
  • Brush the top half of the pita inside and out with olive oil, sprinkle  with half of the zaatar.
  • Crack the egg into a small dish or cup and check for blood spots.      Carefully pour the egg into the center hole of the pita.
  • Sprinkle the remaining zaatar on top of the egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Bake in for 8-10 minutes.
  • Be sure to watch carefully that the pita doesn’t burn around the edges. If it does start to burn before the egg is cooked, lightly over with foil. Do not broil.

Notes

You can also bake the pita and egg in a toaster oven. Just be sure to preheat the toaster oven an check for doneness depending on your toaster’s temperature.

Roasted Eggplant Salad

Roasted Eggplant Salad

Roasted Eggplant Salad

Roasted eggplant and peppers give this dip a deep smokey flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Condiment
Cuisine: Israeli, Middle Eastern
Keyword: appetizer, dip, kosher, parve, salad, vegetarian
Servings: 8
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ¼ c. packed flat leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 1 T tahina paste or mayo optional

Instructions

  • Cut eggplant and red pepper lengthwise and lay cut side down on a broiler pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Place jalapeño on broiler pan with eggplant and pepper.
  • Broil at 550 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes. Once the red pepper is mostly blackened, remove from the oven and place in a bowl. Cover and allow the pepper to steam.
  • Turn the jalapeño over to blacken the other side. Broil 5-10 minutes more or until mostly charred. Once charred, remove jalapeño from the oven and place in the bowl with the red pepper. Cool until the peppers can be handled.
  • Continue to roast the eggplant for an additional 5-10 minutes, for a total cooking time of 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan. Once the eggplant has cooled, scoop out the flesh with a spoon careful remove all of the charred skin. Place the eggplant flesh into a medium bowl. Mash with a fork until eggplant is no longer stringy.
  • Remove the cooled peppers from the bowl. Peel the charred skins and  discard seeds. Chop into a ¼ in. dice. Add the peppers to the eggplant. Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Makes 1 cup.
  • Blend in the tahina paste or mayo if using.

Notes

This recipe is also great with roasted garlic instead of the raw it you have some on hand.

Tahina

Tahina

Tahina

Prepared, seasoned tahina is a popular middle eastern condiment and is often served in a pita to accompany falafel or shawarma. Made from ground sesame seeds, tahina has a nutty flavor and smooth texture.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer, dip
Cuisine: Israeli, Middle Eastern
Keyword: dip, kosher, parve, tahina, vegetarian
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 c. sesame paste
  • 1 t. citric acid
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • ¾ c. water

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Note: Tahina will get thicker before it gets thinner. If it is still too think once all the water has been added, continue to add water a few tablespoons at a time and blend until it resembles a thick sauce. Once refrigerated, tahina will thicken.

Notes

Seasoning and water measurements may vary depending on which brand of sesame paste you use. I prefer Achva brand. Makes 2 cups.

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I am not being compensated in any way for references made to specific products or brands. All opinions are my own.

Israeli Vegetable Salad

Israeli Vegetable Salad

True Israeli salad is a mixture of finely chopped fresh, vibrant, vegetables. There are a myriad of variations to this salad. This recipe is as basic as it gets. Feel free to add and combination of finely chopped vegetables, swap in a different variety of onion and/or throw in some fresh herbs.

This salad makes a great fresh side, especially when served with barbecue. It’s also served in a pita to accompany falafel. We have is as part of our first course with Shabbat meals served with challah.

Israeli Vegetable Salad

Serve as a fresh side salad or add it to your pita.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine: Israeli
Keyword: kosher, parve, salad, vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 6 Persian cucumbers cut to a ¼ in. dice
  • 3 Roma tomatoes cut to a ¼ in. dice
  • 1 Shallot diced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1/2 t. ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Combine cucumbers, tomatoes, and shallot in a bowl. Dress with lime juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Notes

True Israeli salad is a mixture of finely chopped fresh, vibrant, vegetables. There are a myriad of variations to this salad. This recipe is as basic as it gets. Feel free to add and combination of finely chopped vegetables, swap in a different variety of onion and/or throw in some fresh herbs.

Matbucha

Matbucha is a North African mild tomato sauce that is served cold as an appetizer to accompany bread. My recipe makes 3-4 cups, which I divide and freeze to be used as needed. I prefer using salt free crushed tomatoes. Always wear rubber gloves when peeling jalapenos to avoid an irritable burning sensation caused by the peppers’ heat. Keep the flame low and stir frequently to avoid burning the bottom of the pan and to keep the sauce from rapidly bubbling and causing explosive hot tomato splatters. Matbucha isn’t hard to make, it just takes patience. It’s worth the effort, the taste and quality of homemade matbucha are far superior to any processed and packaged sauce.

Matbucha

This mild North African tomato sauce can be used as a condiment on sandwiches or in a pita.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Condiment
Keyword: condiment, dip, kosher, parve
Servings: 8
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 2 28 oz canned tomatoes crushed no salt added
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3-4 jalapenos
  • 1 ½ t. salt
  • ½ c. canola or vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Pour the canned tomatoes into a large, deep sauce pot over a low flame and simmer for one hour, stirring every 8-10 minutes with a wooden spoon, scraping any bits that get stuck to the bottom.
  • Cut the bell pepper in half and remove the seeds. Place cut side down on a broiler pan lined with foil. Flatten pepper halves gently.
  • Place jalapenos on broiler pan with bell pepper halves. Broil until black and charred. (5-10 minutes for the bell pepper, 10-15 minutes for the jalapenos) The jalapenos will need to be turned over to evenly broil both sides half way through cooking.
  • Place the hot, charred peppers in a heat proof bowl and cover . Cool in the bowl until they are able to be handled, 10-15 minutes.
  • After one hour of simmering tomatoes, add salt and oil. Stir until oil has been absorbed, about one minutes.
  • Peel, seed and chop peppers into a ¼ inch dice. Add to tomato sauce, stir to combine.  Continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Cool and refrigerate. Serve with bread (challah or pita).

Notes

This can also be made in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. Peppers still need to be cooked and added separately.

Extra Fluffy Egg Salad

Extra Fluffy Egg Salad

We have this salad every Shabbat as part of the first course. Leftovers make great sandwiches.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Cooling time5 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy, eggs, kosher, parve, salad
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 7 Eggs large, not jumbo
  • 1/4 c. Mayonnaise

Instructions

  • Place eggs in a medium sauce pan and fill with water until eggs are covered. Bring to a boil and cook 8 minutes. Rinse with cold water. Add a few cubes of ice to water and fully cool eggs. This will help them peel easier.
  • Once eggs have cooled, peel and rinse off any remaining shells.
  • Separate egg whites from yokes. Place yokes in a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise to yokes and combine with a fork, mashing yokes to form a thick egg mouse.
  • Chop egg whites into a ¼ in. dice and fold into egg yolk mayonnaise mixture.
  • Makes 2 cups.

Roast Salmon with Silan Dijon Glaze and Pistachios

Roast Salmon with Silan Dijon Glaze and Pistachios

Roast Salmon with Silan Dijon Glaze and Pistachios

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time22 mins
Total Time32 mins
Servings: 8
Author: Hana Itzhaki

Ingredients

  • 1 side of salmon 1.5-2 lbs. skinned and boned
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ c. orange juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • ¼ c. silan date syrup
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. Sriracha
  • 1/3 c. pistachios roasted and unsalted, roughly chopped

Instructions

  • 1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 9×13 in. baking dish marinate fish in orange juice for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.
  • 2) Discard orange juice. Rinse baking dish and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place salmon in dish skinned side down. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 3) Combine the garlic, silan, olive oil, mustard and Sriracha in a bowl. Spread evenly over salmon allowing excess to fill into the perimeter of the baking dish. Add ½ c. of water around the salmon but not directly on the fish.
  • 4) Sprinkle chopped pistachios over salmon.
  • 5) Bake for 20 minutes uncovered.
  • 6) Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown pistachios being careful not to burn.