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cheese

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ptitim-with-pumpkin

Leek ptitim with caramelized pumpkin and sheep’s cheese

Sounds good, right? This was a relatively simple weeknight dinner. Salty, sweet and savory all in one, against the backing of soft comfort that is ptitim. Also known as Israeli couscous (though only abroad — an Israeli would never recognize that name) or mograbiyeh (another name people here wouldn’t recognize), …

roasted-eggplant

Smoked eggplant with sheep’s cheese and radish sprouts

Once so often you encounter a dish that’s really stellar and memorable. This eggplant was one such dish. The setting: A stormy winter night at a seaside restaurant. Low lighting. Dark decor with black leather chairs. An eye-level view of the raging Mediterranean sea, waves the height of a small …

risotto

Porcini-leek risotto

“What would you eat if you hadn’t eaten in a week?” my husband asked the waitress. That’s how I feel sometimes. The day slips by, so many things need to be done, and by the time I finally find the time to eat, I’m so hungry I don’t even know …

beet-pilaf

Black rice pilaf with beet and goat feta

Pilafs are a lovely, easy way to make a quick meal — a wide range of ingredients meld together into a coherent whole. So I’ve been making a lot of them lately. The base here is black rice — not wild rice, which can cost as much as 60 shekels …

pensos-bimuelos

Jenny Penso’s cheesy Passover bimuelos

Bimuelos are a highly personal affair for anyone who makes them. One February afternoon last year, I walked into the Pensos’ borekas shop at the Levinsky Street spice market. “By the way, do you make bimuelos for Passover?” I asked Moshe Penso as he took filo dough out of the …

rolled-sambusak

Delicate sambusak with zaatar and cheese

This is a different kind of sambusak. One I’d never seen before. Sambusak is one of those ubiquitous snack foods around here, somewhere next to burekas. While these deep-fried or baked pockets of dough have a strong association here with Iraqi Jews, many of whom consider them an integral part …

salad-with-figs2

Green salad with figs and herb-yogurt dressing

As Rosh Hashana approaches, the many symbols of the holiday are again appearing in the markets. There are plump pomegranates bursting with seeds, and juicy green and purple figs, one of the biblical seven species. OK, figs have actually been in season for a while now, but as the holiday …

squash-rosewater-salad

Salad with roasted squash and lemon-rosewater dressing

Rosewater adds a fresh, fragrant hint to this salad, and it turns out to be a lovely complement for roasted squash, too. Who would have known? The Moroccans, apparently. Chef Kamal Albaz at Al Maghreb makes a lovely salad of thin slivers of cucumber seasoned with rosewater. The menu simply …

purslane-pasta

Summer pasta with purslane and sfatit cheese

This pasta is made for the Israeli summer. There are some things I eat only at this time of year. Sfatit cheese, for instance. Smooth, mild and cool, I certainly could buy it year-round but it’s the type of thing I want to eat when it’s too hot to cook, …

pasta-fonduta

Israeli pasta fonduta with labaneh and zaatar

Pasta fonduta is a little-known Italian dish, but if it were from the Levant, it might be something like this. It comes by way of my cousins, who were here for a short visit that involved lots of communal cooking. The original dish, which comes via a recipe by Jamie …