Cauliflower Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes

Cauliflower has always been one of my favorite vegetables, but somehow my repertoire for cooking with this wonderful veggie is very limited. The salad in this recipe is something I winged not long ago, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. So now I have another cauliflower dish to add to my repertoire.

Much of the flavor in this salad comes from the sun-dried tomatoes and the olive oil they simmer in. I used julienned, sliced sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (they came spiced with secret Italian herbs [probably oregano, thyme, and rosemary]) and garlic. All I had to do was to strain the tomatoes a little to avoid too much oil in the salad.

If you buy dry, plain sun-dried tomatoes, place them in a jar, add ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp rosemary, ½ tsp garlic powder, and ¼ tsp salt. Cover with extra virgin olive oil and let sit for a couple of days to infuse all the flavors into the oil.

1 head cauliflower
Salt and pepper
Olive oil for drizzling
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil and herbs
1 ½ cups green peas
1 stalk of scallion

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, about 1 ½ inches. Place on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil. Roast at 400F for about 20 minutes, until cauliflower is cooked but still firm. Remove from the heat and chill.

In a small sauce pan, bring the peas to a boil. Remove from the heat and drain.

If your sun-dried tomatoes are whole, slice them into strips about ¼ inch wide.

Slice the scallion into ¼ inch strips cut on an angle.

In a large bowl combine the cauliflower, peas, scallion, and sun-dried tomatoes and stir. Add salt as needed. Let sit for a couple of hours to absorb the flavors.

cauliflower tomato

Pomegranate Soup with Turkey Meatballs

This is a frustrating post. It is about an idea that I had for a recipe that after some attempts and tweaks, turned out to be delicious and unique, but I couldn’t use for the purpose I created it for.

Let me start from the beginning. Rosh HaShanah, the beginning of the Jewish year, is coming up in two days. One of the customary foods for Rosh Hashanah is pomegranate, as its abundant seeds symbolize our hopes that we will come before God with abundant merits. The pomegranate is eaten as is, no cooking involved.

I thought it would be cool if I came up with a recipe for pomegranate soup as a first course for our festive meal, that I could also share with the world right before the holiday. The only pomegranate soup I’ve heard of was a Persian recipe that I found somewhere, but I did not want the soup to have rich Persian flavors. I wanted it to be delicate, mild, and creamy. And there was the first challenge. If I make the soup dairy, and the rest of the meal is based on meat, it doesn’t comply with the Jewish rules of Kashrut (in this case, not consuming meat and dairy at the same meal). I’m not a religious Jew, and we do mix meat and dairy at home. But I am pretty traditional when it comes to my religion and culture, and this is a Jewish Holiday. It just doesn’t feel right to serve meat and dairy at the holiday table.

So my first attempt was to make the soup with coconut milk and coconut cream. I used some POM’s pomegranate juice and some spices, but the soup came up very sweet, which was enhanced by the sweetness of the coconut milk. I added some pomegranate molasses for tartness, and some cilantro, and…it was almost not edible – too sweet with flavors that are nothing but strong and concentrated. No matter how much water I added to try and dilute the flavor, it just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. So this batch ended up in the trash, unfortunately (I hate throwing away food!).

The second attempt was to make the soup using heavy cream (yes, dairy), and maybe eating the soup on a different occasion. The base was chicken flavored soup (from powder). I added some cardamom, garlic and onion, the pomegranate molasses (this time I went easy on it), POM juice and heavy cream. The soup tasted nice, but was missing something.

After trying some dumplings, and some other different spices, I slowly came to the conclusion that the soup needed some meat (yes, yes, now you understand my frustration). I made some tiny turkey meatballs and added them to the soup. And it did the work. Not only was the flavor of the soup improved, but the tiny meatballs added some texture and depth that was missing from the soup earlier.

We enjoyed the soup, and I still think it’s a very festive, unique, delicious soup, but I won’t be making it for Rosh Hashanah.

This is the recipe for the final version:

2 tablespoons oil
1 medium onion diced very thinly
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
1 heaping tablespoon chicken soup powder
½ cup POM pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (found in Middle Eastern stores)
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper
1tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 lb ground turkey
2 tbs cornstarch
½ cup heavy cream

Heat the oil in a large pot, add the onion and garlic and sautee until golden.

Add the pomegranate juice, water, chicken soup powder, and pomegranate molasses. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low heat and add the spices and the sugar.

While Soup is simmering, mix in a bowl the turkey meat, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Create tiny meat balls, slightly bigger than cherry tomatoes, and drop them into the soup. If the meat is too sticky, wet your hands. Raise the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook for 10 more minutes.

When serving, sprinkle each bowl of soup with some pomegranate seeds on top.

And to all of you who celebrate the Jewish Holidays, L’ Shanah Tovah – have a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!

POM soup

My Autumn Kubbeh Soup

Kubbeh – one of my favorite foods ever! There are many different kinds of kubbeh, and they are all delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever had kubbeh that I didn’t care for (and I’ve tried many kinds).

The following recipe was created in my kitchen, inspired by classic sweet, savory, and sour kubbeh soups, and is perfect for the fall and the Jewish High Holidays season. I came up with a sweet and sour vegetable soup to which I added a quince (used a lot in Persian cuisine). I used the same techniques as the ones for traditional kubbeh making and cooking, but the ingredients and the flavor are a little different than the classic kubbeh dishes.

mish mash koube

Doron, my hubby, says this kubbeh version is his favorite. unfortunately for him, here in Florida I don’t make it very often. It’s too hot here for this kind of food. If you live in colder areas around the globe, though, you may want to give it a try. Just make sure you give yourself enough time. If you are a novice, it will probably take you some time to get good at filling and rolling the kubbeh dumplings. But even if you are a pro in the kitchen, it will take you about 30 minutes to fill and roll the dumplings. Not to mention you still have to make the soup and the filling for the dumplings. My advice – plan to make this recipe during the weekend when you are not in a rush to eat or to do something else. Another option is to make the filling ahead of time and keep it frozen or refrigerated until you are ready to make the dumplings. You may also save time by chopping the vegetables for the soup the day before and keep them refrigerated. Then all you have to do the day of is assemble the soup and roll the dumplings.

For the filling:
1 tbs vegetable oil
1lb ground beef
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon baharat for cooking (also found in Middle-Eastern stores)

For the dough:
2 ½ cups (500g) coarse semolina (found in Middle Eastern stores)
1/2 cup (100ml) vegetable oil
3 slices of bread without the crust
1 cup (240ml) water
1 teaspoon salt

For the Soup:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion chopped thinly
2 medium carrots diced into ½” cubes
1 large quince diced into ½” cubes
2 celery stalks sliced into ¼” slices (add some chopped leaves as well)
6 cups water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon chicken soup powder
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ – ½ flat teaspoon citric acid, or lemon juice from 1 lemon

Put one tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large sauté pan.
Add ground beef and cook until meat is almost fully cooked. Use a wooden spoon to break any meat lumps.
Add the spices, mix well and cook for 5 more minutes.
Remove from the heat and set aside. The filling can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated.

Make the dough according to the recipe Kubbeh – Middle Eastern Dumplings, and let it rest before making the dumplings. In the meantime, make the soup.

In a large soup pot, heat the oil and sauté the onions.
Add the celery, carrots, and quince and sweat to extract the flavors of the veggies.
Add water, tomato paste, and spices except the citric acid.
Bring the soup to a boil, than lower the heat and simmer on medium low heat for about 30 minutes.

While soup is simmering, make the kubbeh dumplings, using the step by step instructions shown in the recipe Kubbeh – Middle Eastern Dumplings.

Back to the soup, add ¼ tsp of the citric acid and taste the soup. The flavor should be sweet and sour, but not overly sweet nor sour. If needed, add ¼ additional teaspoon of the citric acid.

Word of caution – citric acid is very dominant and powerful when added to food. You only need a tiny bit of it, so be super careful with the quantities.

Very gently, add the kubbeh balls into the soup, moving them gently occasionally, using a wooden spoon, to make room for more koube balls to be added. Once you have all the balls in the soup, cover the pot and simmer for 45 minutes.


Chocolate Halvah Pudding

I was looking for a dessert recipe I could teach in my vegan cooking class. My goal was to make a dessert that people can enjoy without feeling that they have to compromise on flavor, looks, consistency, etc, and that would feel like dessert and not like health food. I did not want something that pretends to be something it is not, like fake cheesecake, eggless meringue, etc. You get the idea – if you abstain from eggs and dairy for a reason, why try to recreate and end up with a mediocre version of them?

Most desserts that are originally vegan, are fruit based, which I love dearly, but are not usually sophisticated enough for a cooking class. I could do some kind of health bars nuts, seeds, and dried fruits, but then people feel that it is “too healthy”.

Eventually, I came across this pudding recipe posted by an Israeli blogger. After tweaking it a little (you know I had to), here is the result, which I think is really yummy. It reminds me of a chocolate pudding sold in supermarkets in Israel that I used to love as a little girl.


1 15oz can cream of coconut
¼ cup water
3 tablespoonful cornstarch
½ cup water
2oz (60g) raw tahini
3-4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Chopped pistachios

In a saucepan, combine the cream of coconut and ¼ cup of water. In a separate dish, mix cornstarch with ½ cup of cold water and add to the coconut cream in the saucepan.

Cook the coconut mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, until the pudding starts to thicken. Remove from the heat as soon as the pudding starts to bubble.

Strain the pudding through a strainer to avoid having lumps in it, and divide it into two medium bowls.

Add raw tahini to one bowl and mix well.

Run the cocoa powder through a fine sieve and dust it onto the second bowl. Mix well until mixture is smooth.

Pour a little of each pudding mixture into a serving dish, alternating between the flavors to create a nice look.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Keep the pudding refrigerated.

When serving, decorate with chopped pistachios on top. Yum!


Passover Pigs in Blanket

Mentally, it is a little hard for me to combine the words ‘pig’ and ‘Passover’ in the same phrase, let alone the same dish. But I guess this would be the closest way to describe the dish itself, so I let it go…

The idea is to use a wet matzah (matzot in plural) as the blanket to wrap any good quality sausage or hotdog that is not overly thick. In order to be able to roll the matzah around the sausage without it breaking and falling apart, you have to make sure it is pliable. You need to either dip the matzot in a large bowl filled with water (you may salt the water if you’d like) and let them soak for 20 seconds, or hold a bunch of matzot in your hands under running water and make sure the water gets into each matzah and covers it completely. Discard some of the water, but do not completely drain the matzot. They need be very wet and absorb a lot of water to be pliable. Place the wet matzot on a clean kitchen towel; wrap the towel around the matzot and place in a closed plastic bag (ziplock bags are perfect), to prevent the matzot from losing moisture and drying up. Leave to rest for at least an hour before using. I like to wet a whole bunch of matzot and let them sit overnight, and then I have ready-to-go wet matzah that I can use in many different ways.


I made this quick dish two days ago when we had company for lunch, and we were looking for something light and fun that both kids and adults would enjoy. So, yes, it is Passover, and yes, that is why I came up with the idea of the matzah, but you can certainly enjoy this fun dish all year round. Even if you are not Jewish.

6 wet matzot
6 sausages or hotdogs
Mustard (any kind you like)
3 eggs
Oil for frying

Pre-cook the sausages, either by grilling or boiling them in water. Let cool down a little.

In a shallow, wide dish, whisk the eggs with salt.

Place one matzah on a work surface. Spread some mustard on the side facing you.


Place a sausage in the middle of the matzah, lining with the lines of the matzah, and wrap the matzah around to create a roll.

Repeat the process with the rest of the matzot. Since the matzot tend to dry and break very quickly, you need to work fast.

Heat oil in a frying pan. There should be enough oil to just cover the bottom of the pan.

Dip each matzah roll in the egg wash, making sure the roll is dipped from all angles, and place in the pan to fry.


Turn the rolls a little every 20 seconds, to get them fried on all sides. If needed, add more oil to the frying pan. Remove the rolls from the pan and place on a serving dish.


Serve with sautéed onions and peppers, and some good wine or beer (not on Passover, lol), or enjoy it with some fresh Spring Salad.


Banana Lotti

Banana Lotti (Roti) is a famous Thai street food that actually originated in India. The original recipe consists of pieces of banana and condensed milk wrapped in a crepe-like dough, and fried on a griddle so the banana is kind of dissolved. When cooked, it is drizzled with condensed milk on top, and served hot.

I was looking for a recipe of this mouthwatering dessert to make at home, and came across the following gluten and dairy free version (it is also vegan). Since the preparation in this recipe seemed much easier than the original lotti, and the recipe actually sounded yummy, I’ve decided to give it a try.

It became an instant hit in our house. We will surely make it again, and I highly recommend it to all my friends who try to avoid gluten, dairy, and/or are vegans, and to all of you who like really good exotic desserts.

4 ripe bananas
8 rice papers for spring rolls
3 tbs coconut oil
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup chopped nuts
Maple syrup for drizzling

Preheat oven to 430F.

Oil an ovenproof baking dish with one tablespoon of the coconut oil.

Cut each banana in half.

Dip one rice paper in a bowl with water for a few seconds, then set on a work surface, and place half a banana in the middle.

Wrap the rice paper around the banana to create a pocket. Place in the greased baking dish.


Repeat the process with the rest of the rice papers and bananas.

Brush the wrapped bananas with the rest of the coconut oil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until the rice paper is starting to crisp a little.


Remove from the heat. Place each banana pocket on a serving dish and sprinkle with coconut flakes and chopped nuts (I used salted and roasted nuts). Drizzle some syrup on top and enjoy! I actually skipped the syrup on my banana. It was already sweet enough for me as is.


I still want to try and make the original Lotti recipe. I’ll keep you posted…