When one thinks of Israel, food is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, with its location on the Mediterranean and the diverse culinary traditions of its population, Israel offers fine worldclass cuisine as well as spiritual renewal. Janna Gur, the founder of Al Hashulchan, Israel’s leading food and wine magazine, has produced a beautifully illustrated volume containing both recipes and articles about Israeli food. Everything from Israeli salad, humus, pita, and grilled fish to flourless chocolate pistachio cake will tempt readers. There are recipes for holidays and basic spice mixtures such as za’atar and harissa as well. Articles about Israeli wines and cheeses and information about special ingredients used in local cooking (kashkaval, labane, etc.) will help cooks understand and locate them. This will inspire people to visit Israel and then come home and cook what they ate on their trip.
Recipe: Hummus-style Bean Dip
Ingredients (serves 6):
1/2 kg (1 lb to 2 oz) dry white beans, soaked in water overnight
1 cup raw tahini
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons pickled (Moroccan) lemons, chopped
10 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 hot green peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup aromatic (Souri) olive oil
3 – 4 tablespoons garlic confit
1/2 cup roasted almonds
1. Drain the beans and cook in salted water for 3 – 4 hours, until completely soft.
2. Mash the beans in a wooden mortar and pestle (or in a food processor) with some of the cooking liquid. Add the tahini and lemon juice, season with salt and mix well.
3. Combine the sauce ingredients and adjust seasoning.
4. Pour the sauce over the bean dip and top up with roasted almonds.
Serving Suggestion: Ladle the bean dip over a bed of cooked beans
The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur; Eilon Paz, photographer (Al Hashulchan Gastronomic
Media; 2007; $43.00