Mediterranean Style Tilapia from The Modern Menu

For many years Moroccan Salmon was a Friday night Shabbat staple. I rarely strayed from this tradition because I always loved it, its flavors and smell trigger all the right feelings. I really need to share my recipe for it with you soon, it’s such a perfect food with its rich sauce and spicy undertones.

But sometimes, you need to liven things up. This Mediterranean-style Tilapia is an excellent choice, it comes together easily and bursts with flavor from the sundried tomatoes and capers. I made it for Shabbat dinner and it was the perfect first course everyone loved. I have Kim Kushner to thank and her cookbook The Modern Menu.

 I’ve had this gem of a cookbook for several months and I can always find something to put on my menu plan. The recipes are down-to-earth and practical, yet gourmet and novel. I love the flavor profile of every dish and how Kim draws inspiration from her Moroccan background, which speaks to me since I share many of those traditions. She’s taken classic dishes and modernized them in just the right way, like the Crispy Miso-Marinated Schnitzel, the  Salmon en Croute, and the Crunchy Curry Cauliflower with Tahini and Pomegranate.

The photography is modern and artistic, very different from the typical food photography that graces most contemporary cookbooks and a welcomed feast to the eyes.

Best of all, The Modern Menu holds true to its motto of “Simple. Beautiful. Kosher.” a poignant description of my own cooking style and one I seek to live by. If you don’t have it already, I’d definitely look into this book.

On another note, this tilapia would make a perfect meal for Tisha Beav (the Nine Days). You can serve it alongside these roasted carrots, like I did. Or even consider this or that.

I can’t write a blogpost without mentioning the heart-breaking situation in Israel. In light of that, we should pray and perform acts of kindness in any way, shape or form that we can. I’m disturbed and appalled by the amount of hate that’s flowing around, and though sometimes I feel hopeless with humanity, I do believe that positivity lights the darkness and that we should infuse our every day with more of that.

Mejadara / Lentil-Rice with Caramelized Onions and a Leben Cucumber Dip

Summer! Summer is here. Even though we spoiled LAers have sunny skies and warm rays all year long, the days between June and September are worthy of their own distinctive excitement. The long days, no school, beach tanning, BBQing, pool-hopping, park squatting marathon that is at once exhausting yet preciously rewarding is what I look forward to all year. But also for the sweeter-than-candy succulent summer fruits that we can’t help but enjoy raw, juices dripping from the chin and all. I heart summer.
This season beckons simple dinners. My favorites are one-pot options that are easily reheatable and sufficiently filling. If they turn into lunch, that’s an added benefit. This Mejadara fits right in and is one I love preparing and eating.
I was first introduced to mejadara when my father-in-law made it sometime after I got married. I was instantly hooked. There is so much to love about puffy rice and lentils laced with sweet caramelized onions. Lots of sweet caramelized onions. Four onions worth of fried onions. Then you top it with some cucumber leben and it all fits cozily in a bowl, ready to be enjoyed by the spoonfuls.

I hope you’re enjoying your bright summer days.

hello, again!

It’s funny how 6 weeks can turn into 6 months in what feels like 6 minutes. I had blogging somewhere on my schedule but I just kept on bumping it to the next day and the next. I also wanted to shift back to a slightly slower pace, where I could be more mindful and present and connected to my family, especially my kids. If the to do list wasn’t getting even one cross-off, I wouldn’t stress. It’s been amazing seeing the shift back to a more calm me.

I used to get frustrated at myself if I didn’t complete my mile-high to do list in a day’s time, and that frustration would pool into the next day and the next. So I stopped. I tuned into a “whatever, there’s always (Gd willing) tomorrow” attitude and it’s been great. I never strove to be supermom, I just naively thought that I really should somehow do it all or at least do a lot, i.e. cook, clean, bake, host, photograph, edit, blog, organize, shop, learn, socialize, breathe. All that with an infant who seems to thrive on little sleep, a 4 year old who loves to sing at the top her lungs when aforementioned infant finally closes her eyes in exhaustion, and a 3 year old boy who is so discreetly mischievous you’d be puzzled if you two met and I’d share with you his shenanigans.

So while this season of my life is blessedly full, I’m learning to prioritize. Responsibility makes me feel like I’ve crossed into “grown up” category and I feel like stomping my feet, reclaiming my hours and spending them languidly at the farmer’s market or the mall. But then again these little people are too cute and have captured my heart (understatement). I can’t have my cake and eat it too.

Talking about cake, I’ll recap a little to the past few weeks.

My little boy turned three! We chopped off his sleek golden locks as is customary in an upsherin/chalakeh and he donned his kippah and tzitzit for the very first time. yey!

I made this cake for him. He beamed when he saw the “chou chou” train.

I also had a few posts up on Joy of Kosher.

Strawberry Mozzarella with Balsamic-Thyme Sauce

I can imagine this to be the perfect appetizer for the upcoming Shavuot holiday, especially with the bountiful strawberries in season. Recipe here.

and this Classic Margherita Mozzarella Pizza

recipe here

there was also this Root Vegetable Chips sponsored by Sabra

you can find the recipe here

I have lots of goodies to come, thanks for sticking around. xo.

If I'm not back by then, Chag Shavuot Sameach!

Roasted Carrots with Tahini-Harissa Sauce

Time is rolling right by me and as much as I try to keep it still, I feel like it’s racing faster than I can keep up. Apparently it’s normal given the season in life I’m in: small kids and a never-ending to do list. I’m not complaining, just lamenting over the slow decrease of precious “me” time, when silence reigns and my hands get to be free to do as they please rather than be tied up in some serious multitasking. Imagine holding a delicious infant, balancing a cutting board on the counter and slicing an apple so that the older kids can munch on something to keep their little mouths occupied and out of trouble. Ah, the blessings. 
It’s taken a few kids for me to come to the realization that I need to create my time. By habit, I like to do things on a whim. I’m the non-planned, always-late type. Not a virtue, just a reality. It’s worked quite well for the past twenty-some years, allowing for carefree spontaneity and a laid-back approach. Things just fell into place, and they still do, except now they come tangled with stress. So I’m still working on my resolve to improve my time management skills (from two new years’ ago)
Despite it all, I’m still cooking and photographing, I just don’t get to share as quickly. So let’s pick up where we left off and talk about these carrots. I got this beautiful bunch in a CSA box. Their freshness was incredible and their smell intoxicating; sweet and aromatic. They were probably the most perfect carrots I’ve ever gotten. I knew they needed something special to bring out their best side, other than enjoying them raw. I roasted them to bring out their natural sweetness and topped them with a spicy, creamy sauce. A truly remarkable side dish. I served them along with a Mediterranean tilapia, which we’ll talk about soon, and they complemented each other beautifully. This recipe comes together in no time, which is especially beneficial when you are the non-planned, laid-back type.

I did just realize we are 3 months into 2014. So, happy belated 2014, and tu bishvat, and president’s day, and soon-to-be Purim!

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