While on a dream vacation in Greece I got a call about a Kosher food company focused on bringing kosher food from the Balkans to the US and Israel and around the world. What a crazy coincidence. Once back home I decided to follow up on that call and bring that information back to you. There’s nothing like olives and wine from Greece experienced in Greece but the next best thing is to try some of that at your own kitchen table.
On this episode you’ll meet Moran Birman, Consul for Public Diplomacy with the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. I met Moran a little over a year ago when he connected me with Gil Hovav, Israeli food critic and entrepreneur. This time I had the opportunity to talk with Moran about a food topic of special interest to me, Food Diplomacy. It can be a weighty subject and Moran and I barely scratched the surface. It’s so interesting to think about food as a creative art, as a critical human need and at the same time, the important role it can play in world politics, I hope you enjoy our conversation in this episode. Be sure to check out the recipe for Moran’s favorite Israeli go-to snack: M’sabacha.
chilies, pine nuts, cumin, paprika, sumac, cilantrooptional toppings
1juice from one lemon
The night before you intend to make the hummus, put chickpeas in a bowl and cover with 3-4 quarts of water. Soak chickpeas at room temperature overnight. In the summer, keep the bowl in the refrigerator.
The next day, drain chickpeas, cover with about 4 inches of water, add baking soda, and bring to boil over medium high heat. Skim foam with a large spoon, lower heat, cover and cook for about 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally (this will help remove the skins), until chickpeas are very soft and almost falling apart. Remove skins if they float to top.
When chickpeas are cooked, turn off the heat and keep on the stove so it stays warm.
To make tahini sauce: Mix tahini, lemon juice, cold water, salt and cumin with a fork or a whisk until smooth. You might have to add more water or tahini if it doesn't get smooth. A dd some water, one tablespoon at a time and blend until smooth. If it's too watery, add tahini, one tablespoon at a time and blend until it reaches the right texture. (Note: This sauce is great on its own on bread or as a dressing!)
Move about 1/2 cup of the ready tahini sauce to a bowl.
Add about 1/2 cup of the warm chickpeas using a skimmer on top of the tahini sauce.
Quickly mash the mixture with a potato masher or a fork, until most of the chickpeas are mashed.
Top with olive oil and your favorite toppings. Enjoy with pita, bread or on its own.
I’ve heard about Eli’s Cheesecake for years, and not because I live in Chicago. When I knew Shavout was coming up I thought it would be the perfect time to see if I could get an interview with Marc Schulman, President of Eli’s Cheesecake. It turned into a great conversation with Marc, learning more about this company and their cheesecakes. I even had the opportunity to talk with Maureen, his wife and co-creator of their amazing cookbook: Eli’s Cheesecake Cookbook- Remarkable Recipes from a Chicago Legend. Warning: you might want to have some cheesecake handy, it will be difficult to listen to the episode and not have some at the ready … just saying.
Check out the giant cheesecake below- it was made in Chicago and traveled all the way to Washington DC for President Obama’s Inauguration in 2013.
Passover is here and what better way to get into the season of matzo than time to talk with writer and cookbook author, chef and inventor of Matzo Crack, Marcy Goldman! Marcy is my first Big Schmearguest from Canada. We had a great time talking about Jewish food in Montreal and of course learning more about Marcy and her new cookbook: The Newish Jewish Cookbook. Be sure to listen to the end of the episode so you can hear about the many things Marcy does that are food related (she has a lot more cookbooks you’ll want to check out) and some other interests she has that you might find quite interesting. I love discovering new people with a passion for Jewish food and it’s great fun to share it with all of you.
Whenever I’m in the Boston area to visit with family one of my new favorite restaurant stops is Mamaleh’s Deli in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I made a promise to myself after my visit in December that whenever my next trip to Boston would take place I would find a way to be more than a diner at Mamahleh’s. My goal was to manage to get an interview with one of the co-owners so I could get the inside story on this wonderful place. I managed to do just that in March. I had the opportunity to talk with Alon Munzer and it was great fun. Alon was generous with his time and was a wonderful host and even better we had a great conversation about Mamaleh’s. I hope you enjoy the episode and if you get a chance to stop in let them know you heard about their deli from The Big Schmear! I also encourage you to try out his family recipe for Chopped Liver.