Revisiting Jerusalem

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We’re revisiting Jerusalem – the cookbook – today; and we’ve got a little glimpse of the city.  Andy in Andy’s Corner is revisiting Jerusalem crickets.

I’d been struggling to know what direction I wanted to go with this blog.  Should I focus on Jerusalem, the Cookbook, which I blogged about almost 2 years ago and which was the source of the recipes we all enjoyed at our last Dining In?  Or should I write about Jerusalem, the city?  I’ve never been there so I could hardly give any insight or perspective into such a complex, fascinating place.

But then I found an online site (do we love Google or not? 🙂 and the blog came together in a nano-second.  In a recent blog I wrote about friendships among women of different generations.  And Jerusalem could/should be all about friendships among people of different faiths and ethnicities.  Just a year ago around 800 people gathered at midnight in Jerusalem to sing Bob Marley’s “One Love” in English, Hebrew, and Arabic.   That occasion and Marley’s lyrics are so perfect for today’s world.

One love, one heart
Let’s get together and feel all right

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The cheat sheet for the participants in the Jerusalem song fest.

As I mentioned earlier, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, who are the authors of Jerusalem, a Cookbook, both grew up in Jerusalem, Ottolenghi in the Jewish west and Tamimi in the Muslim east.  They believe food may be the only thing that can bring the city together.  I’d suggest food – and song (and maybe divine intervention).

Here’s our menu based on Jerusalem, a Cookbook.  Why don’t you invite a diverse bunch of friends for dinner and have everyone bring a dish to share.  Then crank up the volume on your speakers, put on Marley’s “One Love.”  You could follow that up with Simon and Garfunkle’s 1964 hit “Last Night I had the Strangest Dream” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”   Or take a different approach: for our dinner party I had a playlist of songs with familiar artists, selected because all of the songs had Jerusalem in the title.

Some of what we heard included…

(An aside:  one of the greatest things about doing this blog is that it’s forcing us to learn or re-learn “stuff.”   I just sat down and paid more attention to the lyrics of “Jerusalem” as written and sung by Steve Earle.  The song fits this blog theme and this day and time so beautifully and poignantly.  In an interview Earle stated, “I believe that our future, our existence as a species, will be determined in Jerusalem.”  Interesting to contemplate.)

Should you have a Sonos system and would like the complete Jerusalem playlist, just let me know! 🙂

Who were those diverse guests at our dinner?  Former competitive speedskaters, New Jersey to California transplants, and wildlife rescue experts.

And what did we dine on?  Here’s the menu and the recipes follow:

  • Hummus  served with pita chips and veggies
  • Zucchini and Turkey Mini Meatballs
  • Conchiglie with Yogurt and Peas and Chile
  • Beet and Carrot Slaw
  • Spiced Chickpeas and Summer Veggie Salad
  • Orange and Almond Syrup Cake

“Let’s get together and feel all right!”

Ottolenghi's Basic Hummus

This recipe makes a lot but is wonderful so many ways.  Try it over fish or chicken, as a spread for a sandwich, as a salad dressing. If you want to use canned chickpeas, use 2 cans, rinse and drain them, and proceed to the food processor step. But note – they won’t be as delish as home-cooked ones.  If you want to make just half the recipe, I would  suggest using canned beans rather than starting with dried beans. We adapted this recipe from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.

  • 1 1/4 c dried chickpeas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 1/2 c water
  • 1 c plus 2 T tahini
  • 4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 1/2 T ice cold water (or more – until you get the creamy consistency)
  • Good quality olive oil, to add to the top before serving
  • za’atar to sprinkle on the top (optional)

The night before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with cold water at least twice their volume. Leave to soak overnight. The next day, drain the chickpeas. Place a medium saucepan over high heat and add the drained chickpeas and baking soda. Cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly. Add the water and bring to a boil. Cook, skimming off any foam and any skins that float to the surface. The chickpeas will need to cook for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the type and freshness, sometimes even longer. Once done, they should be very tender, breaking up easily when pressed between your thumb and finger, almost but not quite mushy. Drain the chickpeas. You should have roughly 3 2/3 cups now.

Place the chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. Then, with the machine sill running, add the tahini paste, lemon juice, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Finally, slowly drizzle in the ice water and allow it to mix for about five minutes, until you get a very smooth and creamy paste.

Transfer the hummus to a bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. If not using straightaway, refrigerate until needed. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving. Optionally, to serve, top with a layer of good quality olive oil. This hummus will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

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Zucchini and Turkey MiniMeatballs with Sumac Yogurt Sauce

We blogged a while back about these delicious zucchini and turkey burgers (or meatballs).  They are definitely amongst our go-to recipes.  To use them as an appetizer, simply make them a bit smaller than the recipe calls for.  A heaping tablespoon per meatball works well.

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Conchiglie with Yogurt and Peas and Chile

We adapted this recipe from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.

  • 2 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh or thawed frozen peas, divided
  • 1 pound dried conchiglie pasta
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons chile flakes (or less, depending on how spicy you want); we use “Aleppo” chile flakes in this
  • 1 2/3 cups loosely-packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, broken into chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper

Put the yogurt, 1/3 cup of the olive oil, the garlic, and 2/3 cup of the peas in a food processor. Process until the mixture is saucy and then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Cook the pasta in well-salted boiling water until al dente. As the pasta cooks, heat the remaining olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and chile flakes and fry for 4 minutes, until the nuts are golden and the oil is deep red. Also, dump the remaining peas in some boiling water, stir, and then immediately drain.

Drain the cooked pasta into a colander, shake well to get rid of the water, and add the pasta gradually to the yogurt sauce.  Add the warm peas, basil, feta, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Toss gently, transfer to individual bowls, and spoon over the pine nuts and their oil.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

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Ottolenghi’s Beet and Carrot Slaw

Ottolenghi's Beet and Carrot Slaw

We adapted this recipe from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi/recipe-notes]

  • 3 medium beets
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium kohlrabi (optional)
  • 4 T lemon juice
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 3 T sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c mint leaves, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 c flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 T grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • additional salt and coarsely ground black pepper – to taste

Peel all the vegetables and slice them as thinly as you can, about 1/8″- 1/16th” thick.   You may have an attachment for your food processor which will create matchsticks or you may be proficient with a mandoline.  It’s very difficult to get them thin enough if you’re cutting them by hand.  Place all the strips in a large bowl and cover with cold water.  Set aside while you make the dressing.

Place the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and stir until the sugar and the salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat.

Drain the vegetable strips and transfer to a paper towel to dry well.  Put the vegetables strips back into the bowl.  Pour the hot dressing over the vegetables, mix well and leave to cool.  Place in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.

When ready to serve, add the cilantro, mint, parsley, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon of black pepper to the salad.   Toss well, taste and add more salt if needed and pepper.  Serve.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.
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Spiced Chickpeas and Summer Veggie Salad

Spiced Chickpeas and Summer Veggie Salad

We adapted this recipe from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.

for the salad:
  • 2 medium cucumbers, diced – or 3 small Persian cucumbers, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced  – or about 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion (small) , diced
  • 1 bunch of radishes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 c cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c parsley, coarsely chopped

Combine cucumber, tomato, onion, radish and pepper in a large bowl.  Add cilantro and parsley and mix.

to make the dressing:

  • 5 T olive oil
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 T sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp pomegranate molasses (or maple syrup, agave, or sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • grind of pepper

Pour the olive oil in a jar; add lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic and pomegranate molasses.  Season with salt – and pepper to taste.  Pour dressing over the salad and toss lightly to coat and set aside.

to prepare the chickpeas:

  • 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Mix cardamom, allspice, cumin and a 1/4 tsp salt, and spread on a plate or tray.  Toss the chickpeas with the spice mixture to coat well.  Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat.  Add the spiced chickpeas and fry for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan so that they cook evenly.

Serve the warm chickpeas with in a mound on top of the dressed salad – either in individual bowls or in one large salad bowl.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.
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Orange and Almond Syrup Cake

Orange and Almond Syrup Cake

We adapted this recipe from Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi.

  • 3/4 c plus 2 T butter
  • 2 c sugar (divided)
  • grated zest of 1 large orange (should be organic)
  • grated zest of 1 lemon (should be organic)
  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds (or substitute 2 1/2 c almond flour)
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • juice of 1 orange – or about 5 T orange juice
  • juice of 1 lemon – or about 3 T lemon juice
  • long strips of orange zest to garnish (optional
  • strawberries and whipping cream – or sweetened creme fraiche – to go with the cake (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 or 9 1/2 inch spring form pan with butter and dust with flour.

Place the butter, 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and both zests into a bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat on low speed to combine everything well.  Add half the ground almonds (or almond flour) and continue mixing until combined.  Gradually add the eggs, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go. Add the remaining ground almonds (or almond flour), the flour and the salt and beat until smooth, but no more.

Pour the cake batter into the pan.  Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes. Check to see if it’s ready by inserting a skewer into the center. It should come out a little bit moist.

While the cake is baking, place the remaining 1/3 c sugar and the citrus juices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. (The juices should total about 1/2 cup). When the syrup boils, remove it from the heat. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, brush it with the boiling syrup, making sure all the syrup soaks in (poking holes in the cake with a toothpick may facilitate this).

Let the cake to cool completely in the pan before you remove it. You can then serve it as is, garnished with orange zest strips and, if you wish, with whipped cream and strawberries; to serve it later, store it for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

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