Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Salatim - What Shabbat Means to Me

There are 7 days in the week. The first 6 are crazy, stressful, and busy and at times seem like they are never going to end. That last day of the week though is beautiful, relaxing, and spiritual. Shabbat is a day to reconnect with the one above and those around you. A day to put down your phone and unplug from our very technology-obsessed world. It is 25 hours that is needed to recharge for the hustle of the next week.
Sina Mizrahi of Gather a Table asked some fellow bloggers to share their favorite Shabbat dishes and what Shabbat means to them. At the end of this post, you can find links to all of the amazing words and recipes that are being shared in this Virtual Shabbat Potluck.

Growing up Shabbat was a special day to spend with family, seeing my friends in shul, playing games on Shabbat afternoon, and eating my mother's delicious food.
As many of you know I moved to Israel 6 years ago. I moved away from my friends, my childhood home, most of my family, and my mother's cooking. Moving to Jerusalem on my own I had to make my own Shabbat meals with my new community of friends. Every week different friends host Friday night and Shabbat day meals. Sometimes they are big meals of 15 people squished around a table with each person bringing something else to create the ultimate potluck. Other times it's a small intimate meal of 3 or 4 friends with a couple of challah rolls sitting around enjoying bowl after bowl of chicken soup.
I work very crazy hours and I don't get to see my friends at all during the week (unless they stop by the restaurant) so I really look forward to Shabbat as a time to catch up with them (and to catch up on some sleep).
I host a Shabbat meal every few weeks. If I'm hosting lunch I usually make a big cholent (using the Foolproof Cholent recipe) schnitzel while the rest of my friends bring other dishes to round out the meal.
My favorite part of any Shabbat meal besides for the talking and zmirot is the salatim course. I love combining all the different flavors, textures, and colors spread on fresh challah that I usually am pretty full at the end of the course, but don't worry I still eat the rest of the great Shabbat food that everyone has prepared.
Here are some of my favorite salatim and I hope that you will make some for your next Shabbat meal. The best part is that they make for great leftovers for snacking on with vegetable sticks and crackers that you can have a little taste of Shabbat all week long.

I used to not enjoy techina as I was only used to the watery strange flavored liquid trying to pass as techina in the squeeze bottle at pizza shops that sell falafel. When I moved to Israel, a friend of mine who grew up here introduced me to the good stuff and now I'm kind of obsessed. I love techina drizzled on everything and I especially love it drizzled over lots of other salatim on Shabbat. Techina is very simple to make it's all about the right amount water that you add to the paste to make the perfect consistency.
I strongly recommend reading Michael Solomonov brilliant cookbook about Israeli Cuisine, Zahav. He spends 20 pages explaining in great detail the beauty and importance of techina and chummus.

1 cup techina paste (in english called tahini)
3 Tbs lemon juice
1/4-1/3 cup of water depending on the texture you like
salt to taste

Mix together the techina, lemon, and salt. Slowly whisk in the water until you reach the desired consistency. Adjust lemon and salt to your taste.

This is a staple dish in the salatim course. It's creamy smooth mixture of chickpeas, garlic, techina, a touch of olive oil, and some spices and there's nothing like freshly made chummus.  Chummus is infinitely better with freshly cooked chickpeas, but if you're short on time you can totally use canned.

Zahav chummus recipe on Food52 is the way to go. 

Chummus is a great base for some yummy toppers like spiced meat to make chummus bassar or sauteed mushrooms and onions for a vegan option.
Simply brown meat or mushrooms with sauteed onions and garlic. Add a pinch of a few different spices such as cumin, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper.

Roasted Pepper Chummus 
I usually don't like other varieties of chummus because usually recipes are switching out the chickpeas for a different type of legume or vegetable. Although those can make for a nice dip chummus literally means chickpea so if you use something else it's no longer chummus. In this recipe, it's pretty much basic chummus pureed with roasted peppers. The smoky sweetness of the peppers with the nutty creaminess is a great balance. This is also a great option for those with a sesame allergy.

1 can chickpeas
1 roasted pepper, skin and seeds removed
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs oil
2 Tbs lemon juice
Puree all ingredients until smooth. Adjust seasoning to your taste.

Kohlrabi Salad 
I love the fresh crunchiness of kohlrabi. It's a very versatile vegetable perfect for roasting and soups, but it's also great raw. Be sure to top this salad with lots of techina.

2 kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
handful of fresh chopped parsley
Toss all ingredients together.

JalapeƱos Dip 
Not a traditional dish in the salatim course, but you should add this to your repertoire.

2 jalapeƱos, stems removed if you want it hot keep the seeds in!
1/2 cup mayo
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
handful of fresh dill
Puree all of the ingredients to combine.

Roasted Eggplant 
Soft flesh and crispy skin top it with lots of techina!

2 Eggplants, halved
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
Score the flesh of the eggplant in a crosshatch pattern. Place the eggplants on a sheet pan flesh side up and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with minced garli and salt. Roast at 400°F/200°C for 20-30 minutes until eggplants are extremely soft.

Here are the pieces by my amazing fellow bloggers
Between Carpools
Cooking in Heels
The Sugar Box 
Gather A Table 
Kitchen Tested 
Spice and Zest
Beth Warren Nutrition
Jamie Geller
Busy in Brooklyn 

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