Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2-15-2011 Israeli Fare


Tonight’s dinner was nothing short of amazing if I may say so myself. Our menu included, falafel crusted chicken, homemade artichoke hummus, homemade pita bread, Israeli salad, and Israeli carrot salad. We washed all of that down with Raspberry Cherry Iced Tea
Although tonight's dinner seems labor intensive, each dish on it's own is simple and quick. I am going to give you all of the recipes listed above, read below:

Falafel Crusted Chicken
from Kosher by Design Short on Time by Susie FishbeinIngredients:

6 boneless skinless chicken breast
3 cups falafel mix
2 ½ C. water
Olive oil

1. Cut each breast into strips
2. Set out 2 medium bowls, in one bowl put 1 C. of falafel mix, and in the other place 2 C. falafel mix, and the 2 ½ C. water
3.Let batter rest 10 minutes
4. Pour enough olive oil into a large skillet to cup ¾ the way up. Heat oil over medium heat
5. Toss each chicken strip into the bowl of dry falafel mix, coating well. Shake off excess.
6.Check the wet batter to make sure it is a spreadable, slightly liquid consistency. If it is too thick, mix in additional 1 - 2 tablespoons of water. Working quickly, dip the coated chicken strips into the batter and pat it on to form a crust. Add the chicken strips to the hot oil in the skillet in a single layer, leaving room between strips. Allow the crust to form before flipping to cook on the other side, about 4 - 5 minutes per side. Do this in batches as necessary. Discard any extra batter.

Now onto the pita bread:

Wow! What a sense of accomplishment I felt tonight when I made pita bread that rivals any I have ever had.

I made it using a bread machine. This machine makes baking bread easy.
A bread machine  mixes, rises, and in some instances bakes, the bread for you. All you do is add the ingredients.
If we are having a small Shabbat dinner I will make my challah dough using the bread machine. I'll post that recipe the next time I make it.

The bread machine I own is an Oster I bought at Kohl’s for 70 bucks, I highly recommend this model.
 Here is a link for it on amazon:


There are a 2 key things to remember when using a bread machine, first, it is important to measure all of the ingredients precisely. Second, be sure to put the ingredient in the machine in the order listed.

Bread Machine Pita Bread

1 1/8 cups warm water (around 110 degrees F no hotter)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast


Place the above ingredients into the pan of the bread maker in the order listed above. Make a tablespoon size well in the flour before putting in the yeast.
Turn machine on to dough cycle. 1.5 hours

When machine is finished. Remove dough, and roll into a 12 inch rope
Cut the rope into 8 pieces with a sharp knife or dough cutter.
Roll each piece into a ball
With a rolling pin, roll each ball into a 6 inch circle
Set aside on a lightly floured coutertop
Cover with a towel
Preheat oven to 500 degrees
Let covered dough rise under towel for 30 minutes until slightly puffy
Place 2 or 3 pitas on a wire cake rack. Place cake rack directly on oven rack. Bake pitas 4 to 5 minutes until puffed and tops begin to brown. Remove from oven and immediately place pitas in a sealed brown paper bag or cover them with a damp kitchen towel until soft.

This artichoke hummus recipe is delicious and easy to make.
 After eating this hummus you will never want to go back to the store bought kind.
Here is the recipe:

Artichoke Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
¼ cup lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
1 T tahini
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t ground cumin
1/3 - ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 t salt

Place all of the above ingredients into a Cuisinart or Food processor. Run the machine for a few minutes until you have a smooth and creamy mixture. Stop the machine every so often to scrape down the sides.

Israeli Salad is always refreshing and goes nicely as a side with pretty much anything. Everyone has their own version of how they make this, here is mine:

Israeli Salad
1 cucumber, seeded and finely diced
2 ripe tomatoes, finely diced
5 green onions, finely diced
½ lemon, juiced
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil
½ t. salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Let stand for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.

I first had Israeli carrot salad when an Israeli friend of mine, Shai Solomon, showed me how to make it. It is very tasty and will last well for a few days in the refrigerator.

Israeli Carrot Salad
 6 large carrots, peeled and chopped into ¼ inch thin coins
3 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t. cumin
½ t. paprika
¼ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
Optional: ½ t. hot paprika (this will make them spicy) better yet a dash of cayenne pepper will make it extra hot!

Directions:Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Place the carrots in the water and boil 8 minutes. Drain carrots into sink, discarding water. Place cooked carrots into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredient. Stir to combine. Taste a carrot to check if the seasoning are to your liking. Place carrots into refrigerator and chill until the salad is cold.

Finally, to the tea!
I love iced tea what more can I say? I drink at every possible chance. At night I steer clear of caffeine, I make an iced tea that is caffeine free. I have an iced tea maker which is very helpful, but not a must. Here is a link to the iced tea maker that I own and recommend, I bought it in the store not online.


Don‘t forget to use 20% coupon which will make it only $16

To make 2 Quarts of Raspberry Cherry Tea, I used 2 bags of Raspberry tea, and 1 bag of cherry tea, both came from Celestial Seasoning Fruit Tea Sampler Pack. I love to make all different fruit combinations. You really can’t go wrong.

Some last tips:

****If you do not feel up for making your own hummus but would like to gussy up some store bought, drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with Z'aatar Seasoning (found in Israeli Grocery stores like Natalie's or Milk and Honey, or Kosher aisle at kosher supermarket) in my opinion the best store bought hummus is Cedars (found@ whole foods) or Sabra (found anywhere). You could also make it more delicious by squeezing in some fresh lemon juice

****Good kitchen tools are very important and definitely make a huge difference in all aspects. I suggest buying some good knives, particularly a good paring and chef or santoku knife. I always buy my knives and many other things at Ace Mart restaurant supply (at Webb Chapel and Forest) There you can find a lot of different high quality kitchen tools for good prices. Another tool I mentioned above was a dough cutter aka bench scraper. This tool can be found at Ace Mart as well, it is a must for people who bake bread. It is great for cutting dough and cleaning off the countertop. I also love the stainless steel bowls, and aluminum baking sheets from that same store. It is definitely worth a trip to invest in some long lasting kitchen equipment.

I really hope you will try some or all of the above recipes as I really love all of them. None of the recipes are too hard or time consuming,  good for all of you mommies. Shalom and lila tov! 

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