It is traditional to eat dairy products and sweet foods on the Jewish holiday of Shavout. So – I’m really excited to be posting my first recipes here! I am a true foodie, and have a passion for finding and preparing new, healthy, and delicious meals. One great unifier of people is breaking bread together and the sharing of recipes. Since, I’ve been in Israel, I’ve become friends with a few chefs, who are all to pleased to share their passion. I’ve also talked with women of varying backgrounds from Jewish to Christian to Arab – from European to Ethiopian to Middle Eastern. This place is a true salad bowl of people, which makes it even more fun for me.
Today I’m sharing three recipes, which, taken together, form a delightful meal – and is a sidestep away from the traditional cheese blintzes and cheesecake served on this day. Now is your opportunity to try something different: something to make people say: Wow!!! Where did you get this one? The first is an appetizer, from my friend, a Yemenite chef, Zuzu. I can’t begin to pronounce the name of it, so I’ll just call it sautéed greens on a yogurt bed.
Yemenite Sauteed Greens & Yogurt
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Cups Wild Chicory (Substitute Swiss Chard), cut into strips
1 Extra large yellow onion
1 Cup Goat Milk Yogurt
1 1/2 Tsp ground Sumac
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Slice 1/2 of the onion and sauté in 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Reserve for later use. Dice one half of yellow onion and sauté with cut up chicory leaves (or chard) in 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste with 1 Tsp ground sumac. In a serving bowl, spoon the goat milk yogurt to cover the bottom. Sprinkle lightly with the remaining sumac. In the center of the yogurt, spoon the hot greens and top with carmelized onion. This was served with a tumeric and sesame infused Yemenite bun made with flour and water, but you can serve it with a piece of pita bread cut into 6 triangles on the side. Healthy and tasty!!!
Gluten-Free Broccoli Quiche
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup lightly steamed or sautéed broccoli
1/2 small fresh ovolini (Mozzarella cheese balls in Olive Oil & Italian herbs from Trader Joe’s)
salt, pepper to taste
1 tsp oregano
Lightly grease the inside of a deep dish pie plate or quiche dish with the olive oil. Alternate layers of the potatoes and onions to form the crust.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add the cream and 1/2 tsp oregano, some salt and pepper to taste, and blend well. Scatter the cooked broccoli atop the potato-lined dish.
Gently pour the egg mixture over the top of the broccoli. Dot the top with the Mozzarella balls, being sure to include some of those yummy herbs and spices! Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 oregano on top. Bake for 50 min. in 350* oven, or until top is nicely golden brown. Serve hot or cold!
Middle Eastern Dessert: Mahlahbi
They sell Mahlabi everywhere here – from pre-packaged in the stores and from street vendors and coffee shops to freshly made in the finest (dairy) restaurants. The first time I tried this, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It’s become my favorite food, and is my secret daily indulgence!!! I’ve since developed my own recipe for this heavenly dessert, a type of milky panna cotta with a rose syrup sauce topped with coconut and peanuts (you can substitute almonds or pecans).
Ingredients for Milk Layer:
1/3 cup 1% milk
1 (0.25 oz) packet unflavored Kosher gelatin
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pour milk into a small bowl and mix in the gelatin sachet. Set aside for later use. In a medium saucepan, stir the cream and sugar together. Put over medium heat and bring to a rapid boil. Watch carefully and stir continually so the cream will not overboil, spill over, or burn. Pour in the milk/gelatin mixture, rapidly stirring until dissolved. Cook for one minute – do NOT stop stirring!!!! Remove from heat. Mix in vanilla, and pour into lightly greased baking pan (canola oil) or silicon ramekin dishes. Let cool, uncovered at room temp, then cover with plastic wrap and store in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 teaspoons Rose Water (available at Middle Eastern Markets or Valley Produce, if living in Los Angeles area)
1 to 2 teaspoons beet juice (I make a freshly roasted beet salad with feta crumbles, pecans, and raspberry dressing, and use the reserved juice from the roasted beets….) for coloring. You can substitute a drop of red food coloring, if desired.
Add all ingredients to medium saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Put the pot on medium heat and bring to boil, stirring rapidly and continually so there is no burning or overboil.Remove from heat and let cool to room temp. Cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge 4 hours or overnight.
Slice the milk ‘Jello’ into rectangles. In individual serving bowls, pour the rose syrup to cover. Gently lift and place the milk gel atop the syrup and spoon a bit over the top. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and chopped nuts.
It’s the smell and taste of the rose syrup that makes this dish so amazing. It’s a pleasure to present as well as to smell. You can even garnish with a rosebud or fresh red or pink rose petals (washed & pesticide-free, please).
B’Tayavon!!! To Your Appetite! Enjoy….