Rice Is Nice With Everything

Rice Is Nice With Everything

Someone once said that rice is the food equivalent of khaki pants—it goes with anything. Anthropologists are divided over whether the popular Asian rice we consume today originated in China or India. Archaeologists working in East and Southeast Asia argue that the cultivation of rice began along the Yangtze River and spread from there to…

The Shepherd’s Pie Tradition

The Shepherd’s Pie Tradition

Every Friday morning, my phone would ring. “Boker Tov!” my grandmother would greet me. “You’re coming for dinner?” “Of course,” I would reply. “You’re making Shepherd’s Pie?” She would ask, knowing the answer. And every Friday night, I would have the honor of going to my grandparents home with my husband, my son Ariel, my…

The Robust and Zesty Soup You Will Fall In Love With

The Robust and Zesty Soup You Will Fall In Love With

Recently, when Rachel and I did a Zoom cooking demonstration for the young women of the Jewish Federation’s Emerging Philanthropists group, I was really embarrassed. Not because of how we performed on the Zoom: that was great and fun. But because my husband and kids couldn’t stop eating the soup that Rachel had made for…

A Simchat Torah Menu Everyone Can Love

A Simchat Torah Menu Everyone Can Love

If you lived in New York in the ’80s, you experienced a city on steroids. From the hit Broadway shows “Les Miserables,” “Dreamgirls” and “Phantom of the Opera” to some really cool and quirky off-Broadway productions; from blockbuster art exhibitions featuring the works of Van Gogh, Rembrandt and the Impressionists at the Metropolitan Museum of…

The Star of the Sukkot Party: Stuffed Grape Leaves

The Star of the Sukkot Party: Stuffed Grape Leaves

The highlight of the Sukkot holiday has always been nabbing an invite to the Sheff family’s sukkah party. Every year explored a new theme, ranging from “Mariachis and Margaritas” to “Western-Style Beers and Barbecue” to “Moroccan Cigars to Cuban Stogies,” not to mention the memorable night that famous Armenian singer John Bilezikjian brought his oud and we…

An Abundance of Blessings

An Abundance of Blessings

In an era when most marriages were arranged by parents, my grandparents were a romantic match. He was dashingly handsome; she was beautiful with dark, curly hair and ruby-red lips. He was from the bustling city of Baghdad, the son of a doctor; she was from the tiny village of Azair, the daughter of the…

Perfecting a North African Kitchen Staple: Moroccan ‘Tortitas’

Perfecting a North African Kitchen Staple: Moroccan ‘Tortitas’

A crisp bite of Moroccan galette with a steaming cup of fresh mint tea: This is the definition of a simple pleasure, a pick me up, an exercise in mindfulness, a meditative ritual. A staple of the North African kitchen, “tortitas” as the Spanish Moroccans affectionately call them, are thin, airy, crunchy cookies. A Moroccan host…

The Allure of the Onion: Perfectly Piquant ‘Pizza’

The Allure of the Onion: Perfectly Piquant ‘Pizza’

The cliché is that the secret ingredient of good food is love. For us, there is one essential ingredient that takes food to epicurean heights: the humble onion. Sautéed, caramelized or even raw, the addition of onions uniquely enhances the flavor of any dish.  Every roast, every chicken, every stew, every soup starts with onion….

The Kingly Roots of Kitchri: Lentils With Love

The Kingly Roots of Kitchri: Lentils With Love

When Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s forces destroyed Solomon’s Temple when Jerusalem was conquered in 586 B.C.E., he forever changed the diets of Jews. For millennia, Jews have commemorated the destruction of the First Temple and Second Temple (by the Romans in 70 C.E.) with three weeks of mourning. It starts with the fast of the 17th…

Moroccan Fish: It’s Kind of A Big (and Tasty) Deal

Moroccan Fish: It’s Kind of A Big (and Tasty) Deal

Majestically perched at the northwest tip of Africa, Morocco is blessed with more than 1,000 miles of sparkling coastline and an expansive desert interior. Its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and the Iberian Peninsula put it at the crossroads of ancient civilizations. The Berbers, Phoenicians, the Carthaginian state, the Romans, Muslims, Spanish,…

Father’s Day Grilling: Spicy Harissa Pargiyot

Father’s Day Grilling: Spicy Harissa Pargiyot

Narrow streets choked with cars. Loud honking and thumping, exotic music. Littered sidewalks teeming with people of every age and ethnicity. Shady money-changing operations, Yemenite bakeries, tiny makolets with owners and friends sitting on cheap plastic chairs, barbershops with posters of Wella hair models on the walls, and little hole-in-the-wall stalls selling gold chains. And…