Sharayas

Sharayas

Shawarma + arayas = sharayas! Ground chicken seasoned with shawarma spice, fresh chopped onion and cilantro, tucked inside a pita and baked until crisp. Serve with Israeli salad and tahina for a full meal in minutes. Use store bought shawarma spice or make your own with the recipe from McCormick Spice.

Sharayas Recipe

Shawarma + Arayas = Sharayas!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course

Equipment

  • bowl
  • mini food processor
  • sheet pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 T. *Shawarma spice *see notes
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. cilantro finely chopped
  • 8 pitas cut in half
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • Zaatar for sprinkling optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Mix chicken, shawarma spice, salt, onion and cilantro together in a bowl.
  • Stuff chicken mixture into pitas and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Brush with oil and sprinkle zaatar on both sides.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut in half and flip over. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until crisp on both sides and chicken is cooked through.

Notes

Shawarma spice can be bought already blended or you can make your own. I used the recipe from McCormick Spices that you can find at:
 
https://www.mccormick.com/recipes/other/shawarma-spice-blend
Keyword baked, chicken, pita

Baked Date Apple Butter

Baked Date Apple Butter

This recipe happened almost accidentally. I wanted to bake some apple pieces for my toddler so that they would be easier to chew but forgot about them in the oven. By the time I got to them they had completely cooked down into a fine mash. Instead of baked apple pieces I ender up with apple sauce. Really delicious easy peasy, no blender required apple sauce. So good that I ate most of it myself instead of feeding it to the toddler.

In an effort to elevate it to adult status I added a few of my favorite flavors: dates and pumpkin pie spice. As a result this deeply flavorful and sweet apple butter was born. It’s uses are endless: top some ice cream, stir it into oat meal or overnight oats, spread it on toast or a bagel with a little cream cheese or just eat it up with a spoon. Hopefully it will make it out of the baking dish and into the fridge before it’s all gone!

Baked Date Apple Butter

Hana Itzhaki
Apples and dates, seasoned and baked into a rich, flavorful spread.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Condiment

Equipment

  • knife
  • cutting board
  • baking dish or
  • dutch oven
  • potato masher, immersion blender, or food processor (optional)

Ingredients
  

  • Cooking spray
  • 10 medium size apples peeled, cored and cut into a large dice
  • 10 medjool dates pitted, and cut into quarters
  • 1-2 tablespoons pure silan date syrup
  • 11/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Spray a 9×13 in. baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine the apples, dates, silan, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well to combine.
  • Pour the apple mixture into an even layer in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Stir, cover and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Allow the apples to cool. Apple butter can either be left at this consistency or can be mashed with a potato masher or blended with an immersion blender or food processor for a smoother consistency.
  • Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Notes

Any large oven proof pan with a lid such as a dutch oven can be used instead of a baking dish and foil. If you are using a particularly sweet variety of apple, use less of the silan. Silan is a syrup made from dates. Be sure the silan you are using is 100% pure. Many brands add corn syrup and other additives. Cinnamon or a combination of warm spices such as ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg can be used in place of the pumpkin pie spice.
Keyword apple butter, jam, spread

Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken Schnitzel

Schnitzel is one of my family’s most favorite dishes. I always make an extra large batch and freeze half of it between layers of parchment paper to have for another meal. Honestly I really don’t enjoy frying at home. But I’ve found that if I take the time to set up all of the components before I start frying it makes the whole process go a lot smoother. I’ve learned that I only need to start with a small amount of oil and once it has been used up I wipe out the pan with a wad of paper towels and heat fresh oil. That prevents all of the panko crumbs that are left in the pan from burning and sticking to the schnitzel.

Chicken Schnitzel

Hana Itzhaki
Thinly pounded chicken breast, breaded and fried.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Israeli
Servings 8 people

Equipment

  • large frying pan
  • bowls
  • tongs
  • rimmed baking sheet

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts thinly pounded
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper divided
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Oil for frying

Instructions
 

  • Arrange in 3 separate bowls: 1) flour seasoned with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 2) eggs, beaten, 3) panko breadcrumbs seasoned with remaining salt, pepper and paprika.
  • Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large, deep frying pan on medium/high heat.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels to absorb any excess oil after frying.
  • Using tongs, dredge chicken first in flour, then in egg , then in breadcrumbs.
  • Fry 1-3 minuets on each side until golden, crispy and cooked through.
  • Place on the baking sheet once cooked until ready to serve.

Notes

Start with a small amount of oil and once it has been used up wipe out the pan with a wad of paper towels and heat fresh oil. It will prevents all of the panko crumbs that are left in the pan from burning and sticking to the schnitzel.
Keyword fried chicken, kosher, meat, schnitzel

Soufganiyote French Toast

Soufganiyote French Toast

It’s nearing the end of Hanuka and by now there are more than a few leftover soufganiyote laying around drying out in a pastry box. No one wants to eat them and no one wants to be the one to throw them out. Luckily I’ve found a way to bring them back to their original glory. What better way to revive dry, stale soufganiyote than to French toast them?! (Yes, French toast is now a verb).

Soufganiyote French toast, frying

By drowning them in an eggy milk bath and giving them a quick fry, your soufganiyote are going to turn into a warm, melt in your mouth pastry better than when they first left the bakery.
Save your soufganiyote from being tossed out, revive them into a delicious dish and go ahead and serve them for breakfast. It is Hanuka after all. I don’t think anyone is going to complain. Win, win, win!

Soufganiyote French Toast

Hana Itzhaki
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American, Israeli, Jewish

Equipment

  • bowl
  • non stick frying pan

Ingredients
  

  • 6-12 Leftover Soufganiyote preferably jelly or custard filled
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk or mild substitute
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • canola oil cooking spry
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling

Instructions
 

  • Slice 1/4 off the top and bottom of each soufganiyote to reveal the dry bread inside.
  • Mix the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt in a medium size bowl.
  • Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
  • Submerge soufganiyote into the egg mixture, allow excess to drip off and fry 1-2 minutes on each side until brown and crispy. Stand up on the side and turn 3-4 times until browned entirely.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm.
Keyword Chanuka, dounuts, French toast, Hanuka, soufganiyote

Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken

This recipe makes the most of spinach and sun-dried tomatoes soaked in a flavorful smooth sauce with braised chicken breast. It’s easy enough for a weeknight main or a great addition to any Shabbat or Holiday table. The sauce is perfect for wiping clean with challah.

When I read Natash’s recipe for Tuscan Chicken on Salt and Lavender, I had to adapt it for my kosher menu. I omitted the dairy ingredients and swapped up the flavorings to give it a sephardic twist.

The sauce gets its richness from one of my most favorite *secret ingredients. (Read the recipe to find out what it is.) It adds a smooth creaminess to the sauce and keeps the chicken soft and tender. Serve it over rice or pasta to soak up every juicy bit.

Chicken with Spinach and Sun-dried Tomatoes

Hana Itzhaki
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Equipment

  • large deep frying pan, tongs, whisk, measuring cups, measuring spoons, medium bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast each half cut lengthwise
  • Salt, Pepper, and Paprika for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 cup White Wine or Chicken Broth
  • 1 teaspoon Harissa
  • 1 tablespoon *Mayonnaise*
  • 5 ounces Fresh Spinach
  • 1/4 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil, sliced I prefer Trader Joe’s

Instructions
 

  • Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and paprika.
  • Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat.
  • Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Discard remaining flour.
  • Sear chicken 3-4 minutes on both sides in batches, until it is browned but not cooked through entirely. Remove the pieces from the pan to a platter.
  • Deglaze the pan with wine or broth, scraping up brown bits from the pan on medium low heat.
  • Add the harissa and mayonnaise, whisking into the broth until incorporated.
  • Taste the sauce checking seasoning. Add salt and pepper according to taste.
  • Add the spinach and the tomatoes to the sauce and stir until combined and the spinach begins to wilt. Sauce should be on a low simmer.
  • Return the chicken to the sauce, spooning sauce over until all the pieces are basted.
  • Cover and simmer on low heat until chicken is cooked through 10-12 minutes.

Lotus S’mores Fudge Brownies

Lotus S’mores Fudge Brownies

Inspired by Danielle from Peas Love and Carrots IGTV ode to Duncan Hines fudge brownie video, I made these super rich and chocolatey s’mores version using Lotus Biscoff biscuit spread folded into the batter then topped with biscuit pieces, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.

They. Were. Awesome.

Lotus S’mores Fudge Brownies

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package Duncan Hines Family Size Chewy Fudge Brownies
  • 2 Eggs
  • Water measurements on the box
  • Oil measurements on the box
  • 1/2 cup Lotus Biscoff Biscuit Spread
  • 9 Lotus Biscoff Biscuits broken into pieces, reserve one biscuit whole to decorate
  • 1/2 cup Mini Marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

Instructions
 

  • Mix the brownie mix, eggs, water and oil together in a bowl per the package instructions.
  • Pour the batter into a greased 11×7 inch glass baking dish. (The smaller pan size insures a deeper, fudgier brownie).
  • Use 2 knives (see @peas IGTV video to demonstrate the method) to the dollop the biscuits spread throughout the batter.
  • Use one knife to cover the biscuit spread with the batter.
  • Top with biscuit pieces, chocolate chips and marshmallows.
  • Bake at 350 for 25-30 minuets or until a toothpick comes out clean.

How to Roast a 20 Pound Turkey in 2 Hours

Roast Turkey

I’m here to let you in on the biggest turkey roasting hack of your life.

Ready?

Here it goes…

You can roast a whole turkey, as big as 20 pounds, in 2 hours or less.

How?

Ask your butcher to cut it into eighths.
2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings
(plus the neck if your butcher is as generous as mine).

There you have it. One whole turkey, 8 pieces.

Why does this make a difference? Now that the turkey is no longer one giant bird, the increased surface area allows the pieces to cook faster. When the pieces are roasted individually the heat can reach more of the meat quicker than if it was a whole bird.

The obvious thing about a turkey is that it is really just an extra large chicken as far as the anatomy goes. And just like a chicken, your butcher can cut it up for you into eighths. (If you live in L.A. you can ask my butcher to do it for you. He’s been carving it up for me this way for years. His contact info is below. You’re welcome. 😉)

The quicker roasting time is just the beginning of why it is better to roast a turkey cut into eighths instead of whole. Here are 6 more reasons why:

1)You don’t have to clear out half of your fridge (at the least opportune time) to make room for an extra large turkey carcass. When you order a turkey cut up it in to eighths it comes neatly wrapped in manageable size foam trays. Stack and stash them in your fridge wherever you have space until you are ready to prep.

2) Dividing the turkey up among multiple roasting pans, instead of one giant roasting pan, makes it infinitely easier and lighter to take in and out of the oven.


3) Also, dividing the turkey up among multiple roasting pans allows you to remove each piece of the turkey at a time from the oven when it is perfectly cooked as indicated by the thermometer. The drumsticks and thighs cook quicker than the breast pieces and should be taken out sooner.

4) Taking the thighs and drumsticks out first also allows you to get a jump on the carving instead of letting the whole bird sit on the counter and get cold.

5)Baste if you want to or don’t. Your turkey is going to finish cooking so quickly that it won’t have time to dry out.

6) Don’t feel like roasting an entire turkey or aren’t going to need that much meat for Thanksgiving? Go ahead and freeze any pieces that you aren’t going to use. Or roast all the pieces and freeze the ones that you aren’t going to eat or want for leftovers on Thanksgiving. I prefer to do the latter as it allows me to get all of the initial roasting out of the way and free to use the rest of the cooked meat whenever I wish. I’ve got many, many recipes that use roast turkey coming up so I suggest roast as many pieces as you can fit in your oven.

Worried your family is expecting the classic Norman Rockwell picture perfect whole roast turkey on the table? Trust me, they’re not going to miss it one little bit. In fact they will be too busy telling you what a genius you are to have not slaved over a roasting turkey the entire day and boasting about your hosting abilities to even care.

I order my turkey cut into eighths every year from Le Market in Valley Village. It’s best to have it ordered one week before Thanksgiving. Ask for Avraham. His family has been running the small kosher market and butcher shop for over 30 years.

*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

Roast Turkey

Hana Itzhaki
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Resting Time 15 mins
Course dinner, Main Course, Thanksgiving
Cuisine American, Thanksgiving

Equipment

  • 4 9×13 Roasting Pans
  • Meat Thermometer

Ingredients
  

  • 12 Celery Stalks with Leaves
  • 4 Large Carrots peeled and halved
  • 4 Large Onions quarters
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Rubbed Sage
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 6 Cups Water
  • 1 18-20 Pound Fresh Turkey cut into eighths

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Divide vegetables evenly between the roasting pans.
  • Combine all the spices together in a bowl.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture to the vegetables in each roasting pan. Toss to evenly coat.
  • Add 1.5 cups of water to each pan.
  • Divide the turkey evenly between the roasting pans. Each turkey breast should take up an entire 9×13 inch pan. One thigh and one drumstick should fit together in the remaining two pans. (Freeze the wings for a future recipe. More on that coming soon!)
  • Divide the remaining spice mixture evenly (about 1 tablespoon) to season the turkey pieces on both sides. Leave pieces in the roasting pans skin side up.
  • Place the roasting pans in the preheated oven. After 30 minutes check for doneness in the thighs by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. When the temperature reaches 160 F (plus or minus 5 degrees) the turkey is done. Check the breast pieces for doneness after 45 minutes. Continue to check the temperature of the pieces every 15-20 minutes until the temperature reaches 160 F. The thighs and drumsticks should be done after 45 minutes to 1 hour and the breast pieces should be done after one and a half to an hour and 45 minutes.
  • Allow the turkey to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving and placing on a serving platter. Reserve the bones for soup!
  • Remove the carrots and onions from the roasting pans and onto a to a serving dish. (I prefer not to serve the celery as it becomes too soft during roasting. You can freeze it and add it to flavor broth. Recipe for that coming soon too!)
  • Strain the liquid from the roasting pans into a large bowl or pitcher. You should have 6-8 cups. Place in the refrigerator and allow the fat to rise to the top. If you leave it to chill overnight the fat will solidify and be easier to remove.
  • Remove the fat with a large spoon. Do not throw it away! Reserve it for frying potatoes in!
  • Reserve the remaining liquid to make gravy. Gravy recipe up next so stay tuned!
Keyword roast, thanksgiving, turkey

White Bean Soup

White Bean Soup

One of the first recipes I made for my husband after we were married was vegetable soup. And I managed to burn it! Thankfully, with much practice, I’ve greatly improved my soup game. White bean soup is one of our favorite meatless meals. Serve it with a warm baguette, a plate of soft cheeses and crudités with your dip of choice for a super easy week night dinner. The recipe includes cooking instructions below for stove top, Instant Pot or in the slow cooker. I highly recommend making a double batch and freezing it in deli containers.

White Bean Soup

Prep Time 20 mins
Servings 8

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (optional)
  • Slow cooker (optional)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb. Small White Beans soaked overnight (unless making in an Instant Pot)
  • 1 medium Onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/4 c. Tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Harissa
  • 8 cups Water
  • 2 Russet Potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped

Instructions
 

  • Instructions
  • In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 4-5 minutes until translucent.
  • Add tomato paste, turmeric, salt, pepper and harissa. Sauté 1 minute.
  • Add water and beans, stir and scrape up any browned bits that are stuck to the pot.
  • Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Add more water 1 cup at a time if soup becomes too thick.
  • Add the potatoes and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Add the chopped cilantro and stir incorporate.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Follow steps 1-3 in the Instant Pot.
  • Set the pot to Off/Keep Warm
  • Close the pot and set it for 15 minutes on manual.
  • NPR 10 minutes, then QPR or just NPR.

Notes

You can also make it in a slow cooker by combining all the ingredients in the crock and setting it on low for 8-10 hours. I also highly recommend making a double batch and freezing it in deli containers.

Everything Bagel Green Beans

Everything Bagel Green Beans

This is one of those recipes that is hard to even call a recipe. There are only four ingredients. The “cooking technique” is microwave. And that’s pretty much it. The key is to use fresh crisp green beans. And if you are really against using the microwave to cook with you can always steam the beans the old fashioned way. No judgements here.

Everything Bagel Green Beans

Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 3 mins
Course Side Dish
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • microwave

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bag “Microwave in Bag” Trimmed Green Beans
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Everything Bagel spice mix
  • 1/4 Cup Roasted Slivered Almonds

Instructions
 

  • Cut the corner of the bag of green beans and microwave 3 minutes.
  • Carefully remove hot beans from the bag into a serving dish.
  • Add olive oil, spice mix and slivered almonds.
  • Gently toss to combine.

Notes

I use  Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning but you can combine white and black sesame seeds, dried onion and garlic and sea salt to make your own.
Keyword green beans, side dish, vegetarian

Cookbook Review: Sababa: Fresh Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen by Adeena Sussman

If Labor Day is meant to be a celebration of the end of summer and vacation, then the day after Labor Day should be the celebration of a return to routine. If you’re a mother like I am then the day after Labor Day might also be a call to celebrate because your kids return school, and you can finally get back into the rhythmic schedule of lunch packing, carpool, and evening homework. When I dropped off my youngest for his first day of school last week I marked the occasion with a stop by one of my favorite bakeries for a freshly squeezed orange juice and a buttery chocolate croissant. As I headed towards home I called my local Barnes and Nobel to ask if they had Adeena Sussman’s book Sababa, Fresh, Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchen, available for purchase. It was being released that day and I realized I had never bought a book on the same day that it came out. As a gift to myself, (for surviving the summer and it’s my birthday month and I’m an adult and don’t need to justify buying something nice), I picked up a copy of the book to fully mark the festive nature of the day.

How do I translate sababa? It’s one of the first Hebrew slang words I learned so many years ago. And like so many other Hebrew slang words, it’s borrowed from Arabic, used to fill in the 2000 year gap between the ancient Biblical language and the modern spoken lexicon. In short, sababa means “it’s all good”. Usually used in response to, “How are you?”, or “What’s new?”, sababa is the catch all phase that translates to, “I can’t complain”.

I planned my Shabbat menu around the book and dove into the vibrant Israeli flavors that I’ve come to know and love since I first discovered them as a young bride so many meals ago. For starters I added the Cabbage, Apple and Pomegranate Slaw with Cumin Dressing to our regular lineup of appetizer salads. Crunchy, nutty, sweet and tart with a Dijon dressing, this recipe checks all the boxes of what makes up a great slaw.

For the second course I used salmon to make Herbed Fish Kababs. Coated in a chimichuri like paste of cilantro, parsley and mint, this dish was a perfect compliment to the starter salads.

As a side dish to our main course I made the Tahini-Glazed Carrots. I added sweet potatoes to the mix to beef it up. Laced with silan, the glaze would also make a great dipping sauce for fried cigars or to be used as a salad dressing. Per Sussman’s recommendation, make double, it will not go to waste.

As part of Shabbat lunch I served Shawarma Pargiyot to accompany the chulent. I grilled them the day before and they were still so tender and juicy.

For dessert I made the Pistachio Crusted Lemon Bars. As someone who does not care so much for baking, I really appreciated the details that this recipe provides. The crust is delicate yet holds together and the curd didn’t run out when slicing the bars. Not to mention the recipe is dairy free, so no need to substitute anything if serving them after a meat meal. Definitely a recipe I’m going to add into the rotation as lemon is one of my most favorite dessert flavors.

I didn’t stop with my Shabbat menu. On Monday I made the Chickpea and Spinach Hirira. A hearty Moroccan vegetable lentil soup, this recipe has everything to make a fabulous one pot meal. I served it with a crusty baguette on the side and enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next day.

It was my husband’s birthday so for dessert I made one of his most favorite recipes, Fluffy Israeli Cheesecake. I’ve been making a version of this recipe that I got from my mother-in-law for years. What I really appreciated about Sussman’s version is the very technique specific instructions that yielded a perfectly well done cake. This Israeli style version of the classic New York dessert is a cross between a cheesecake and a souflée. Thus the light fluffy consistency that will leave you asking for seconds. This recipe alone is worth purchasing the book. My bets are that once you try the Israeli version, you might never to be able to enjoy a slice of the classic version again.

But I wouldn’t worry about not wanting to eat dry, dense, cake any longer. Once you start cooking with Sussman’s recipes you’ll find that everything is sababa, it’s all good.

*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.