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An Israeli Perspective on Food Diplomacy

An Israeli Perspective on Food Diplomacy

Episode 37

 

Guest: Moran Birman, Consul for Public Diplomacy,

Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest

 

An Israeli Perspective on Food Diplomacy 

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.

 

M’sabacha (no-blend warm hummus)

 

M'sabacha (No-blend warm hummus)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 garlic clove optional
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Olive Oil to serve
  • chilies, pine nuts, cumin, paprika, sumac, cilantro optional toppings

Tahini Sauce

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 juice from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cumin

Instructions

  • 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.

Cheesecake Time with the Iconic Eli’s Cheesecake

Cheesecake Time with the Iconic Eli’s Cheesecake

Episode 36

 

Guest: Marc & Maureen Schulman

Cheesecake Time with the Iconic Eli’s Cheesecake

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.

Time for Matzo – Already? Happy Passover!

Time for Matzo – Already? Happy Passover!

Episode 35

 

Guest: Marcy Goldman

It’s Time for Matzo – Already? Happy Passover!

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 Schmear guest 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.Newish Jewish Cookbook

It’s Always Deli Time at Mamaleh’s in Cambridge, MA

It’s Always Deli Time at Mamaleh’s in Cambridge, MA

Episode 34

 

Guest:

Alon Munzer

Co-Owner of Mamaleh’s Delicatessen & Restaurant

 

It’s Always Deli Time at Mamaleh’s 

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. 

 

Mamaleh’s Chopped Liver

Mamaleh's Chopped Liver

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken livers
  • 1/3 lb carmelized onions a little burnt is OK!
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 2.5 oz Hellman's Mayonnaise
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Clean livers, always making sure to keep them cold. Toss with schmaltz (or canola oil) and salt & pepper. Sauté until just barely cooked through (a little bit pink in the center) remove and cool in refrigerator.
    2) Cook onions in same pan, caramelize them until soft. (A little burnt edges are encouraged by Alon)
    3) Once onions and livers are cold mix together and run through a meat grinder (or hand chop until desired consistency) mix in mayo and salt & pepper until proper taste and texture. Eat with challah, bagel chips or crackers. 

Mamaleh's Chopped Liver

If you are a fan of chopped liver in any way — you have to try this recipe.  Alon and I talked about the importance of the putting together a deli menu. It’s clear that you need to consider the choices that are always available and those that come and go depending on the Jewish holiday celebration calendar. I asked him what some of the first items were that appeared on the menu and he said that it was important to him to include something from his own family background to the restaurant. We felt it only made sense to include that recipe here for you to try. It’s the chopped liver recipe that originated with his grandmother, Shoshana Munzer (Sapta). So that tells you a few things – it is a family traditional food, it was made with love and it’s withstood the test of time and flavor – so give it a try. And a big thank you to Alon for sharing his story and this recipe. Please let me know what you think.