Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Latke Nachos - The Ultimate Chanukah Party Food

Nachos really are the ultimate party food, crispy chips all dressed up with melted cheese and tasty toppings, how can you improve on something as perfect that?

Enter Latke Nachos!

Replace the tortilla chips with thin and crispy latkes and you've got yourself a dish that will be the star of your Chanukah party.

These nachos start with a base of freshly fried latkes and then are topped with cheese sauce, ground "beef", pico de gallo, guacamole, black beans, sour cream, green onions, and jalapeños.
Just place a platter of the latkes with bowls of all of these delicious toppings around it on your Chanukah party buffet and your guests will have a blast customizing their own latke nachos.

There are a lot of components but most of them can be done in advance so don't be intimidated by the long prep list. 

Ground “Beef”
Cheese Sauce 
Pico de Gallo 

2 large potatoes peeled
1 small onion peeled 
2 eggs  
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper 
1/2 cup canola oil for frying  

In a food processor with the medium grating blade, shred the potatoes and onion. Alternatively you can use the medium grate side of a box grater. 
Place on a towel and bring the corners together and twist the towel over the sink and wring out as much moisture as you  can this will give you the crispiest latke. 
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, salt, and pepper. Add the drained potato onion mixture in bowl and stir to combine.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and pour in the oil allow the oil to fully heat up so the latkes properly crisp and don’t get soggy this will take about 3 minutes. You can test if your oil is hot by placing a wooden spoon in the oil if bubbles form about the spoon then you're good to go. 
Place the latke batter into the hot oil by the tablespoon leaving space in between. Use the back of the spoon to flatten them out. Cook for about 2 minutes until golden brown then using a flat spatula, carefully flip the latkes and cook for another minute and a half side until golden and crisp. Place on a paper towel lined plate. Transfer to a sheet pan and keep in a warm oven until ready to use. 

Be sure to wring out the potatoes and onions really well to remove as much liquid as possible so you will the crispiest latkes 

Use the back of the spoon to flatten out the latke batter
Perfectly golden brown 

Ground “beef” 
1 tsp oil 
10 oz. button mushrooms 
1 tsp cumin 
1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
pinch of salt 
1/3 cup water 

Finely chop the mushrooms, alternatively quarter the mushrooms and place in a food processor fitted with the standard blade and pulse until the mushrooms are finely chopped. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the mushrooms, spices, and cook for 8 minutes. Add the water and stir to pick up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until all the water is evaporated. Keep covered until ready to use. Can be made up to 5 days in advance and kept in the fridge, reheat before using. 

Chop the mushrooms by hand or in a food processor 
Brown the mushrooms and toast the spices before adding the water 
While you are pouring in the water use your spoon to scrape up any bits that have gotten stuck to the bottom of the pan that's where all the flavor is 

Cheese Sauce 
1 Tbs butter 
1 Tbs flour 
3/4 cup milk 
1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack 
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of pepper 

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat melt the butter and then add the flour toast for 2 minutes and then whisk in the milk. Let the milk come to a simmer and add the cheese, salt and pepper and stir to melt and combine. When the cheese has melted shut the heat off and keep covered until ready to use. Can be made up to 3 days in advance keep in the fridge and reheat with a splash of milk over a low flame when ready to use.
Make sure to whisk while adding the milk to the butter and flour mixture (roux) so there won't be any clumps in the cheese sauce
Gradually add the cheese and keep stirring to get a perfect velvety smooth cheese sauce 

1 avocado - mashed 
1 clove garlic - minced 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 tsp lemon or lime juice 

Mix all the ingredients together until combined and keep covered in the fridge until ready to use. Can be made 2 days in advance. 

Pico de Gallo 
1 large tomato, diced 
1/2 small onion, minced 
3 Tbs chopped cilantro  
2 tsp lemon or lime juice 
1/2 tsp salt 

Mix all the ingredients together and keep covered in the fridge until ready to use. Can be made 2 days in advance 

Additional Toppings
1 can black beans drained and rinsed 
2 scallions, sliced 
1 jalapeño, sliced 
6 oz. sour cream 

To assemble: Arrange the crisp latkes on the serving platter. Sprinkle with ground mushrooms, drizzle with the cheese sauce and add scoops of guacamole, pico de gallo. Sprinkle the black beans, sliced jalapeño, and sliced scallions over the top and finish it off with a few dollops of sour cream. 

For individual portions place 2 latkes on a plate and top with all of the delicious toppings. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

A Sweet and Tart Treat to Start the Week

Believe it or not, Monday is here once again. 
Mondays are tough, the weekend is over it's back to work and back to school (well here in Israel the week really starts on Sunday so we sort of have two days of the “Monday blues”). However, there’s something to look forward to on what feels like the longest day of the week, Muffin Monday! Muffins are quick and simple to prepare and they’re a perfect treat to cheer you up at the end of long day. 

This flavor combination of white chocolate and dried cranberries is based off of a cookie that I remember my mother buying from Trader Joe’s (please open in Israel) it was a crispy oatmeal cookie packed with dried cranberries and drizzled with white chocolate. I really liked the sweet and tart flavors playing off of each other. I added orange zest because it just boosts both the sweet and tart flavors and adds some brightness to the muffins. 
This recipe is adapted from which is a recipe for basic muffins and you can pretty much add in anything you want be it savory or sweet. 

Cranberry White Chocolate Muffins with Orange Glaze

2 cups flour 
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup soy milk 
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest 
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1/2 cup white chocolate chips 

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbs orange juice 

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C 

Line a standard size muffin tin with paper liners or coat with non stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add the egg, milk, oil, vanilla, and zest and stir until just combined. Fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips. Be careful not to over mix because this will result in a dense muffin.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tin filling each cup 3/4 of the way. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Transfer the muffins from the muffin tin to a cooling rack and allow the muffins to cool for 15 minutes. 

To make the glaze, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and juice until it is thin enough to drizzle. 

When the muffins are cool, drizzle the glaze over the top. 


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Seasonal Spinach Salad

I'm not one for salads. I really love vegetables, but I just don't usually like them in salad form. 
This past shabbat I was asked to make a salad for the dinner I was attending, so I decided to make a salad that I would actually enjoy. I wanted to make a salad celebrating the season with beautiful fresh produce that I picked up at Machane Yehuda market. 
Roasting vegetables brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetable and any time I make any type of roasted veg I have to make double the amount because I eat about half the tray before it makes it to the final dish. 
The hearty spinach has a slight bitterness and stands up nicely to the sweet vinaigrette and the roasted vegetables. 
The combination of the seasonal fruit and roasted beets and squash really makes this salad perfect for the Autumn and Winter seasons. 

Roasted Vegetable Spinach Salad with Blood Orange Vinaigrette 

1 large beet
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt 
12 oz. baby spinach leaves, washed
Persimmon, diced 
2/3 cup pomegranate seeds 
1/2 cup candied pecans, chopped 
Blood orange vinaigrette (recipe follows) 

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C 

Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper 

Place the beet on a piece of aluminum foil and wrap tightly. Place on prepared sheet pan. Roast in preheated oven for about an hour. Carefully unwrap the beet and if a knife easily slips into the beet then it is tender. When the beet is cool enough to handle, take a paring knife and peel the beet, the skin should fall right off. Cut the beet into 1/4 inch cubes and set aside.

Toss the butternut squash cubes with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place in a single layer on prepared sheet pan. Roast for 25 minutes in preheated oven until tender. Allow the squash to cool and set aside. 

In a large bowl place the spinach, persimmon, pomegranate seeds, pecans, and roasted vegetables. Pour in the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Place on serving platter and enjoy immediately.  

Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Blood orange*
Orange zest
1 tsp Balsamic vinegar 
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced 
1 tsp silan (date honey) 
1/4 cup olive oil 

Zest the orange and then roll on the cutting board this helps release the juice so you can get the most juice out the orange when you squeeze it. You will need about 1/4 cup of juice which is what you can get from 1/2 of the orange. Cut the orange in half and juice the orange into a jar with a tight fitting lid making sure not to get any seeds in the dressing. 
Add 1/4 tsp orange zest to the juice, and the rest of the ingredients. Put the top on the jar and vigorously shake the vinaigrette to combine. 
*If you can't find blood oranges you can use regular oranges or even bottled orange juice, but fresh is always best. 

Roasted Vegetables 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Creamy Red Lentil Soup

When the weather changes all I want is a big bowl of soup a warm and creamy soup, specifically a hearty lentil soup. I guess every time autumn comes around I have a craving for this soup because I first posted this recipe just over three years ago when I first started The Katamon Kitchen, it actually was the first recipe I ever posted on this blog! 
This recipe is very simple, but I made a few tweaks to the original recipe to make it even more flavorful.
Rich in fiber, iron, and protein, lentils should definitely become a pantry staple in your house and if you don’t have a blender don’t worry this soup is delicious either smooth or chunky. 
The original recipe is topped with lemony tachina, but this time I topped my big bowl of soup with a dollop of rich labne or you can use Greek yogurt for that creamy finish. 

1 Tbs olive oil 
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
1 inch fresh turmeric root, peeled and minced (use 1/2 tsp dried ground turmeric if you can’t find fresh) 
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cups dried red lentils 

Labne/Greek yogurt 

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté for 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, and spices and cook for another 5 minutes. Add lentils and enough water to cover everything by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil then lower the flame and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the lentils are tender and just falling apart. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of labne and a sprinkling of chopped chives. 

Serves 4 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Muffins! Muffins! Muffins!

Do you know the muffin man? He (actually she) lives in Katamon 

I apologize for being MIA these past couple of Muffin Mondays, but there’s lots going on at The Katamon Kitchen which made little time for typing up recipes. 

One of the exciting things I’ve been busy with is that TKK baked goods are now available for purchase! If you live in Jerusalem or know someone here that would like some tasty baked goods contact for more info and to place an order! There are many different options like cookies, cupcakes, birthday cakes, and of course muffins. 

Speaking of muffins as a gift to all my patient followers I’m sharing not one, not two, but three muffin recipes for this week’s Muffin Monday. 

Now get in the kitchen and bake up a batch of each these so you can enjoy these chilly autumn mornings with an assortment of fresh muffins and an extra large cup of coffee or if you're in Jerusalem just order a batch from yours truly :) 

Zucchini Cinnamon Oat Crumble Muffins 

1 cup flour 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp nutmeg 
1 tsp salt 
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg 
1/2 cup oil 
1/4 cup soy milk 
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 tsp lemon zest 
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini about 2 large zucchinis
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional) 

Cinnamon Oat Crumble 
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats 
3 Tbs flour 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
pinch of salt 
2-3 Tbs oil 

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C 
Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.  
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the rest of ingredients except for the zucchini. Whisk until all the ingredients are combined. Fold in the zucchini and the walnuts if desired. 
In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the topping. Add the oil until the ingredients combine into a crumbly mixture.
Fill prepared muffin cups and top with crumb topping, gently pressing the topping into the batter.  
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
Enjoy warm! 

Spiced Sweet Potato Streusel Muffins with Cinnamon Glaze 
(recipe adapted from Taste of Home

1 cup flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove
*or 3/4 tsp pumpkin spice mix  
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 cup cold mashed sweet potatoes - about 1 large potato 
 1/3 cup canola oil

1/4 cup flour
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon/pumpkin spice mix 
2 Tbs canola oil 

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1-2 Tbs milk/non-dairy milk/water
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon/pumpkin spice mix 

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C
Line a standard size muffin tin with paper liners. 
 In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, spices, and sugars. In another bowl, whisk egg, mashed sweet potato, and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined.
In a small bowl mix together dry ingredients of streusel topping and add oil until crumbly in texture. 
Fill prepared muffin tins with batter and top with streusel gently pressing the topping into the batter. Bake 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. 
While muffins are baking mix together the ingredients for the glaze, slowly adding the milk until the glaze is thin enough to drizzle. 
Allow the muffins to cool before topping with cinnamon glaze. 

Blueberry Crumble Muffins

1/3 cup oil 
1 egg 
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract 
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp lemon zest 
1 1/2 cups flour 
1/2 tsp salt  
2 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries tossed with 1 Tbs flour. If using frozen do not thaw them. 


1/2 cup oats 
1/2 cup flour 
1/3 cup brown sugar 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 cup butter or margarine at room temp or oil. 

1 cup powdered sugar 
2 tsp lemon juice 
1 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 400º F/200°C 

Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk together the oil, egg, milk, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla - set aside. 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredient mixture. Mix together until just combined. 

In a small bowl toss the blueberries with 1 Tbs of flour. This will help them not sink to the bottom of the muffins during baking. 

Gently fold the flour coated blueberries into the batter. 

In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the topping. Add the butter/oil and mix with your fingers until you have large crumbs. 

Scoop the muffin batter into prepared tins and generously pack the crumb topping on top. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

To make the glaze, mix together ingredients adding milk until you have a drizzle consistency. 

Allow the muffins to cool before drizzling them with the glaze. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Honey Cookies

One of the most traditional foods that is eaten on Rosh Hashana and I think what most people from all over the world associate with this holy day is honey. We are hoping that the coming year be as sweet as honey! 
Of course there are many other sweet foods that can symbolize a sweet year but dip the apple in the maple syrup doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it. 
Besides for eating the honey with apples it is also traditionally spread on challah. My family has honey on challah at every holiday and shabbat meal until the end of Simchat Torah (which is 3 weeks from now). 

Another sweet way to enjoy honey is by swirling it into cookie batter to make the sweetest cookies around. 
This recipe came from my sister’s teacher in preschool many many years ago and it instantly became a family tradition. 
When I lived in America I used to make these with my sister now that we live 6,000 miles apart I make the cookies for my Rosh Hashana meal here and she makes them for our family there. We send each other pictures or Facetime while making them so it is like we’re in the kitchen together. 
We look forward to these cookies all year long and it just wouldn’t be Rosh Hashana without them. 

So whether you’re eating a honey cookie or dipping the apple in the honey be sure to say that bracha/blessing loud and clear shana tova u’metuka have a happy sweet new year! 

These cookies make a ton, but they freeze beautifully so you can enjoy them throughout the holiday season. 

Honey Cookies

6 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

Pinch of salt

6 eggs

1 cup oil

2 cups sugar

6 heaping Tbs honey

Raisins, walnuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C

Line sheet pans with parchment paper

Combine dry ingredients, then mix in the wet ingredients. 
Mix well until all the ingredients are combined. 
Form into small balls and place on the prepared pans. 
Press your choice of topping into the center of each dough ball. 
Bake for 9 minutes until golden brown. 

Store in airtight container. 

Carrot Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel and Maple Glaze

Who says that your simanim/symbolic foods have to be savory? 

Carrots are traditionally part of the simanim on rosh hashana for two different reasons. 
The hebrew word for carrot is gezer which is similar for the hebrew word g’zar, decree we are asking that our evil decrees are destroyed. 
The yiddish word for carrot and for more are the same thing. We are asking that our merits be increased. 

These muffins are packed with carrots and autumnal flavors which make it perfect as a dessert for your Rosh Hashana meal or to be enjoyed all season long. 

They can be made in any size from mini to jumbo all you have to do is adjust the baking time. 

May our evil decrees be destroyed and our merits increased! 

Carrot Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel and Maple Glaze 

1 1/3 cups flour 
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder 
2 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp nutmeg 
3/4 tsp salt 
3/4 cup oil 
3 eggs 
3/4 cups plus 2 Tbs sugar 
2 tsp vanilla 
3 1/2 cups shredded carrot 

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt 
3 Tbs oil

1 cup powdered sugar 
3 Tbs maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C 

Line a  standard size muffin tin with paper liners or coat with non-stick cooking spray. 

Make streusel: combine dry ingredients and slowly pour in oil and mix together with your fingers to make a crumble. Put in the fridge until ready to use. 

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. 
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar gently whisk together until just combined. 
Fold in the shredded carrots. 
Scoop into prepared muffin cups and top with streusel. 
Bake for 22-25 minutes.

Make glaze: whisk together all the ingredients add soy milk or water until you reach desired thickness. 

Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool before drizzling them with the glaze. 


Friday, September 30, 2016

Zucchini Leek Latkes

Leeks are another symbolic food that are eaten on Rosh Hashana. The symbolic food usually has a name that sounds similar to what we are requesting from god. The Aramaic word for leek is karti which is similar to the hebrew word karet or cut off. We are hoping that all of our enemies and those who wish evil on us be cut down. 
The inspiration for this dish actually came from another Jewish holiday, Chanukah. On Chanukah it is traditional to eat latkes, potato pancakes fried in oil to commemorate the miracle of when the oil in the Temple that was only enough for one day burned for eight days. This past year I made my latkes with zucchini for a little change up from the starchy potatoes. 
For Rosh Hashana I am making those same zucchini latkes but instead of white onion I am using the mild onion flavor of the leeks. 

On Chanukah latkes are traditionally topped with sour cream for this dish I made a vegan sour cream made from tofu so this dish can be served with a meat meal. 

May our enemies and all those who wish evil upon us be cut down. 

Zucchini Leek Latkes 

4 leeks 
1 tsp olive oil
2 zucchinis 
1 clove garlic, minced
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour 
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of chili flakes 
salt and pepper 

Soy Sour Cream 
150 grams/5oz. soft tofu broken into small pieces 
2 tsp white vinegar 
1 1/2 Tbs lemon or lime juice 
1/4 cup olive oil

scallions, sliced  
chili powder

Like onions leeks have lots and lots of layers. There is usually a lot sand in between those layers. The easiest way to clean leeks is to cut off the root end and the darker green end then slice the leek lengthwise and then cut the leeks into half circles. Fill a large bowl with water, place the sliced leeks in the water and swish the leeks around to separate the layers. All of the grit will fall to the bottom and you just have to skim the clean leeks off the top. Place the leeks on a towel to drain before sautéing.

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Pour in 1 tsp olive oil. Add the cleaned and drained leeks to the heated oil, add a pinch of salt and sauté for 5-8 minutes until the leeks are slightly soft. 
While the leeks are cooking shred the zucchinis. Place the shredded the zucchini in a towel and press out the excess moisture (don’t skip this step! If there’s too much liquid the patties won’t bind well)
In a large bowl mix together the sautéed leeks, drained zucchini, garlic, eggs, flour, baking powder, and spices. 
Add vegetable oil to the same pan you cooked the leeks in and heat over medium heat. 
When your oil is hot add heaping spoonfuls of the latke batter to the hot oil and cook the patties about a minute per side. 
Place the cooked latkes on a plate lined with paper towel and sprinkle with salt. 

To make the sour cream place the chunks of tofu in a food processor, add the lemon, vinegar, salt, and a few spoonfuls of water. Turn the machine on and after a few minutes check for the level of tartness and salt. When the mixture feels smooth begin to stream in the oil while the machine is running. The amount of water needed depends on the tofu you have so start with a little and if the tofu needs some help to breakdown add a little more water. 

Place the latkes on a plate and drizzle with the sour cream, top with sliced scallions and pinch of chili powder. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sesame Squash Dip

Another symbolic food that is eaten on Rosh Hashana is gourd or squash. The hebrew word is kara which is similar to the hebrew word for torn and proclaim. We are praying that our bad decrees be torn up and that our merits be proclaimed before god.
It’s fitting that Rosh Hashana usually coincides with the start of Fall, the time of year that squash and pumpkin are consumed in great amounts (not including pumpkin spice lattes) 
The idea for this dip came from the concept of hummus which is chickpeas blended with tahini paste. There are many posts all over the internet for all different types of “hummus”, but many of them don’t even have any chickpeas in them so there not really hummus. This dip has all the same ingredients as hummus, but I replaced the chickpeas with roasted squash so I will not be calling this hummus. It’s a great served with pita chips or pretzels and vegetable sticks, or spread on challah at your Rosh Hashana meal. 
Whatever you want to call it, it’s still delicious and a great way to enjoy pumpkin this season without any pie spice. 
May our bad decrees be torn up and our merits be proclaimed before god. 

Sesame Squash Dip 

1 lb. squash/pumpkin, peeled
1/2 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 
2 Tbs tahini paste
2 tsp lemon juice 
3 Tbs olive oil 
salt and pepper 
2-3 Tbs water 

1/2 tsp olive oil
1 Tbs pomegranate seeds 

Heat your oven to 400°F/200°C and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 
Cut the squash into 1 inch cubes then toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread in an even layer on the prepared sheet pan. Roast for about 20 minutes until the edges are golden and the squash is tender. Remove the oven and allow the squash to cool. 
Place garlic in a food process and pulse until the garlic is minced. Add the rest of the ingredients  except for the water. Blend all the ingredients together and then slowly stream in the water until you have a smooth and creamy consistency check for seasoning and add more spices or lemon if needed. 
Pour the puree into a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and top with pomegranate seeds and cilantro. 

Black Eyed Pea Salad

On Rosh Hashana it is traditional to eat simanim - different symbolic foods that represent our prayers for the coming new year. Many families have a simanim course at the beginning of the meal filled with different dishes made of these foods. 
When I was growing up my family didn’t do the simanim thing. I remember having the usual apple and honey to symbolize our request for a sweet year and pomegranate so that our merits will be increased like the multitude of seeds in a the fruit. 
The first time I spent Rosh Hashana apart from my family was when I was seventeen years old and I was studying in Israel for a year. I spent Rosh Hashana with people from all different backgrounds and I learned about the different simanim that people eat. 

One of the symbolic foods that was is traditionally eaten by Syrian Jews and now by Jews from all different backgrounds is black eyed peas. In Aramaic the word for black eyed peas is rubiya which is like the hebrew word harbay which means abundance.

This black eyed pea salad is so simple to prepare and has such bright flavors that you should eat it all year round and not just when celebrating the new year. 

May all of our blessings this year be in great abundance! 

Black Eyed Pea Salad 

2 15. oz cans black eyed peas, drained (if you have the time to cook dry beans do it!) 
1 avocado, diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced 
1/4 of a red onion, diced 
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, zested and juiced 
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced (leave the seeds in if you like things spicy!)
2 Tbs olive oil 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Toss all the ingredients together and enjoy! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sukkot Menu 5777

Check out The Katamon Kitchen menu for Sukkot 5777!
For more information, pricing, and to order please contact
Orders must be placed by Sunday, October 9th
Orders may be picked up in Katamon on Sunday, October 16th (Erev Chag) or delivery is availble in Jerusalem 
for an additional fee. 
*There are limited quantities of each item* 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cookie Butter Cups aka Little Bites of Heaven

One of the perks of living in Israel is that when you go to the supermarket (at least in most areas of the country) everything is kosher. In other parts of the world you usually have to search for kosher items. Here it’s the exact opposite, kosher food is in abundance and non kosher food is difficult to come by. One of those ingredients that is in great abundance here is cookie butter. 

Over the past few years cookie butter has gained quite the cult following. Cookie butter or biscuit spread is a great alternative to nut butters. It is made from pureed spiced biscuits. While the biscuits and spreads have been popular in Europe for years it was only recently that this decadent spread took the food world by storm! 

Unfortunately it is not so easy to find a kosher brand of cookie butter in America*, so next time you come to Israel be sure to stock up! Maybe get an extra suitcase or two? Be careful because this is a dangerous ingredient to have in your pantry because you will devour the jar by the spoonful. 

If you want to keep yourself from eating an entire jar of cookie butter in one sitting make these little babies but I should warn you, you’ll just end up eating the whole tray in one sitting instead. 


2 cups chocolate chips (you can use any type of chocolate!) 
2 Tbs. butter or margarine at room temperature 

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar 
pinch of salt 
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

Sea salt to garnish 


Place 12-15 mini cupcake liners (the smallest you can find) on a small sheet pan. 
Fill small pot with water and bring to a simmer place a heat proof bowl on top of the water, but be sure that the bowl is not touching the water so your chocolate won’t scorch. 
Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the butter/margarine. Alternatively you can melt the chocolate in the microwave just be sure to stir every 20 seconds it will take about 1 1/2 minutes to melt and then stir in the butter. 
With a pastry brush or a small spoon spread the chocolate in the mini liners making sure to get chocolate up the sides of the liners and a thicker layer on the bottom. 
Place in the freezer to set. 

While the chocolate shells set you can prepare the filling. 
Mix together all the ingredients until combined if the filling is too loose add a little more sugar. 
Remove the chocolates from the freezer and scoop a small amount of filling into each shell. Pour remaining chocolate over the top. Tap the pan against the counter to make a smoother top then sprinkle with sea salt. 

Place the tray back the freezer to set for about an hour. 

You might want to double the recipe so it’s 12 cookie butter cups for you and then the rest for everyone else (or you know, you can just keep all 24 for yourself!)


If you can’t find a kosher cookie butter in your area or you’re gluten free just swap out the cookie butter for nut butter, but these are a great alternative to peanut butter cups if you’re allergic nuts. (Oh how I miss Reese’s come to Israel with a bag full of Reese’s cups and I’ll trade you a jar of cookie butter).
If you haven't yet finished your jar of cookie butter here are some ideas for how to use it: dip sliced apples or pears into slightly warmed cookie butter, swirl a couple of spoonfuls into your brownie batter before baking, spread it on toast with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of salt, really you can use it as an alternative to peanut butter in most baking recipes.

*All of the ingredients to make these little treats are available at Seasons! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Double Chocolate Mocha Muffins

People assume that I love to bake because I love to cook.   
Fun fact about me: until recently that wasn't true.
Soon after starting The Katamon Kitchen I became a private chef for a large family. There was so much cooking, shopping, menu planning and so many different palettes to please. I loved my job but at times it was very stressful to get all of the cooking done before Shabbat. There were a few different mains, so many side dishes and of course a few desserts. I used to leave the dessert until the very end of my work day and then scramble to get it done.

A few months after starting this job it was Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year), it was actually a three day holiday that year starting on Wednesday night and only ending after Shabbat. The amount of cooking that had to be done was absolutely crazy with all the simanim (special foods to symbolize a good year), mains, sides and as always plenty of desserts. I kept looking at the menu and thinking, I'm never going to finish and then I kept counting the amount of baked goods I had to prepare, it was daunting. I then got this crazy idea to tackle all six cakes at once. It was then that I realized how simple baking can be. 

When you're cooking there are usually a few different steps from dicing vegetables, sautéing them, seasoning, and so on. With baking many times it's just mix together some dry and wet ingredients, pour into a pan, pop it in the oven, and just let it bake. (I know this isn't the case with all baked goods because I have made my share of multi-step labor intensive recipes.) But sometimes it really is so simple that on that crazy cooking day I busted out all six cake batters in record time and then went back to standing over a hot stove and chopping onions while the kitchen filled with delicious aromas wafting from the cake packed ovens. By the time all the cakes were baked I had just about finished my cooking for the upcoming holiday and my opinion of baking had been changed for the better. 

One thing that I love to bake are muffins and here's why: 

  • I don’t have such a big sweet tooth and muffins are not usually as sweet as their cupcake look alike.
  • Recipes are often easy to tweak so it's simple to create different flavor combinations.
  • They're a great on the go snack.
  • You can bake them jumbo or mini and isn’t everything just so darn cute when it’s mini? 
  • Since they resemble cupcakes so you can pretend like you’re having cake for breakfast 
The best reason is that the batters usually come together relatively quickly which means you can make them fresh for breakfast, giving you yummy reason to get you out of bed in the morning! 

Over the next few weeks I'm going to be sharing some of my muffin recipes. Be sure to check back on #muffinmonday for a new recipe!
This week is dedicated to all those chocoholics (myself included) 
Double Chocolate Mocha Muffins 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
3 1/2 cups flour 
2 tsp baking soda 
2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt 
2 cups warm water 
1 Tbs instant coffee 
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup oil 
2 Tbs apple cider or red wine vinegar 
1 Tbs vanilla extract 
2 eggs 
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips

Confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C

Line 2 standard or one jumbo muffin tin with paper liners. 

In a large mixing bowl whisk together cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until well combined. 

In a 2 cup measuring cup add the warm water and stir in the instant coffee until dissolved.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water coffee mixture, brown sugar, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs. 

Whisk until just combined and then fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips.

Scoop batter into the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top. 

Bake standard size muffins for 15-17 minutes and jumbo muffins 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack and dust with confectioner’s sugar. 
Enjoy when muffins are slightly warm!