Lentil Stuffed Samosas – Dal ke Samose a Guest Post by Journey Kitchen

I am super excited to launch this new, India Series, along with the other two ongoing, Israel Series and Tree Nut/Nut Free Macaron Series which is on hiatus until the Fall season. To help me launch this series I asked the lovely, super young and super talented Kulsum (@JourneyKitchen) of Journey Kitchen to share some of our all time favorites, samosas. I can't really recall when Kulsum's and my paths crossed on twitterverse but what struck me the most was her unique Indian Bohra Cuisine which I hadn't heard of before. As Kulsum works full time and is finishing up her Masters degree, she also finds time to share with us some dishes from her Bohra heritage. Indian Date Pudding for one and the samosas filled with lentils that is more prevalent at her mom's home while growing up, as opposed to the widely popular spicy potatoes and peas. Thank you Kulsum and thank your husband too for the professional looking demonstration! :)
Samosas make me extremely nostalgic. Not a potato filled ones but rather lentils and meat stuffed samosas which are a known delicacy of the little town I come from. Growing up, any feast or occasion had to include samosa. Mom starts her morning by making thin pastry from whole wheat flour which is similar to making roti. Two balls of dough are put together pressed at edges and then rolled out thinly. While its cooked on the hot griddle, the air fills and separates the two layer of pastry that were put together leading to two thin sheets of round pastry.

Whisk Magazine Food Wanderings Feature: 'A Little Bit of Cardamon'

Hello everyone, I couldn't wait to share with you my first professional feature at Whisk Magazine. The issue was published couple weeks ago and am happy to say the web edition is now available online. Head over to Cook Kosher for the entire article with recipes and photos by me. I would like to thank and give a huge shoutout to Leah @CookKosher for being an amazing person, editor and a great matchmaker. Leah's site is absolutely stunning!

Our Summer Garden, Few Snap Shots After The Rain

Rolled Oats, Cardamon & Cherries Upside Down Cake

As I was on my cell this evening with a friend, I had to get off as Sagie שגיא was taking off this Friday evening to hang out with his friends. I just had to be present in that moment and time, and although he is all grown up and could have just waved me goodbye, these small moments of being present mean a lot. I scramble to bake and cook his favorites and then come up with some new ones when he asks for healthy dishes. As an athlete he is hyper aware when is comes to nutrition. In two weeks he will be off again for his second year in college and I want to be present, these moments are so precious.

Gummy Bears and Olives, Shopping at Ramle Shuk, Israel, Guest Post by Hope It Will Rain

Don't let this statement 'A mother and a wannabe career women that tries to have it all but sometimes drowns in the laundry...' fool you. Yael (@yaelsr), an Israeli native, blogging at Hope It Will Rain, my second guest in the Israel series, is a mom of three kids with a PhD in Chemistry, who loves to eat and travel. I got to know Yael through Sarah who inaugurated the Israel series with her fantastic post Nazareth, Holy Sites and Tasty bites.

What grabbed me most in Yael's On the road to nowhere post is the stunning photography of the desert, ibexes and Dead Sea. More stunning is her matter of fact journal and writing about the trip, typical of Israelis and many Israeli weekends. It transcends you to that time and place and if only we would touch the screen it would whirlwind us to the lowest elevation on earth.

Yael brings you a convenient outdoor market (shuk) she shops at with rich history and a slice of Israeli life.
I'll usually start my day in Ramle market place (or shuck) with a lavish breakfast of Eli's Tunisian Sandwich: either in freshly made baguette bread or a fricassee bun, stuffed with tuna salad, hardboiled egg,  freshly sliced tomatoes, potatoes, matbucha and spicy harissa. It is simple food, yet so tasty. A lovely way to begin the day.

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Banana Ice Cream

When I have ice cream for breakfast and lunch, instead of a regular balanced nutritious meal, yes, it must mean I went bananas, but also that this ice cream must be sinful. Just when I thought that a couple days ago I had made the best Vanilla Cardamon Ice Cream, and believe me it is, I am bringing these two out of order, in reverse. The latter Madagascar Vanilla Bean Banana first and the former in a later post. I am convinced the Madagascar Vanilla Bean Banana Ice Cream is the best ever. This batch is incredible, probably better than any I have ever had, banana or otherwise.

Lychee - A Photo

I wanted to make a fancy mousse, gelee dessert out of lychee I got at the Asian market but honestly we like to eat them as is fresh! Here is a bit of lychee history, cultivation, nutritional value and medicinal value. Tropical and subtropical fruit tree indigenous to southern China and grown now in many parts of the world. A history of cultivation over two milleniums introduced to the west in 1782. It was also an excercise in photography for me.

Nut-Free Sunflower Seed Macarons with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling by 6 Bittersweets

I couldn't think of a better guest than Xiaolu (@6bittersweets) blogging from 6 Bittersweets to wrap up half a dozen in the tree nut/nut free macaron series. I could not have imagined the immeasurable enthusiasm, creativity, awareness and buzz this series would evoke. Last, until we resume this series in the Fall, but not least, is a local DC area favorite of mine, Xiaolu. A beautiful person with a strong point of a view, through the lens, food styling and interpretation of mostly desserts. Xiaolu is pursuing her studies to become a nutritionist, juggling her studies and orders for her delicious confections. Her delicate demeanor matches her sublime creations. 6 Bittersweets is breathtaking and I assure you will repeatedly keep coming for more. Yes, spoken like a true mom, as Xiaolu as other dear food blogger friends of mine could potentially be my girls.

Please be sure to see the recap of all the talented guests I had in this series at the bottom of Xiaolu's post.
When Shulie approached me with the challenge of baking tree nut-free macarons, I felt many things at once: excitement, nervousness, resolve. If you’ve seen my blog, you know I’m no stranger to experimentation in the kitchen. But usually for me it’s a form of play, an adventure of sorts, with nothing on the line other than my personal enjoyment (unless it’s for an order, of course).

Spelt Flour Challah Dough Rolls & Chocolate Babka A Guest Post at Indian Simmer

When the wonderful and very talented Prerna of Indian Simmer asked me to guest for her, initially she was thinking of something Indian from my mom's. When I saw a recipe by an Israeli chef for a spelt savory challah filled with sauteed vegetables the opportunity presented itself. For years now I wished to bake with different grains other than just wheat. Somehow I felt the spelt would go perfectly with chocolate and upon further baking and experimenting, I felt my original proportion for the honey challah worked best. For example instead of the 3/4 cup oil I only used 1/2. One thing led to another and I thought what better recipe to share with Prerna than one from my Jewish and Israeli heritage. Although the recipe is evolved from savory to sweet and tweaked, originally it was dubbed A Galilee Challah.

Sunflower Seed Macarons with Black Truffle Salted White Chocolate Ganache Guest by The Pleasure Monger

I am at a loss for words. Just when I think I've seen it all, a madly talented girl like Rachel comes along. As I was reading her post, along with her email message, with every sentence I burst into giggles. Rachel (@pleasure_monger) is a quiet blogger, packed with such refinement, smarts and a fun and playful personality and style. Going through her stunning site feels like virtually leafing through a high end glossy food magazine. With her Pandan Swiss Roll with Toasted Coconut Whipped Cream post featured in the 'Best of the Blogs' section of Fine Cooking magazine among many other accolades and recognitions, watch out world!

Rachel does the baking while her husband does the cooking. This newly married pair's affection to each other is so endearing. I am fortunate to know Rachel, a mesmerizing foodie, who just received her PhD, taking us on culinary journeys through London. I was once a stubborn molecular gastronomy doubter, but now she convinced me I would love The Fat Duck and Heston Blumenthal. I so badly want to revisit England. Rachel's post below speaks volumes of her immense talents. No words will prepare you for what you are about to encounter.
When the very talented and prolific Shulie approached me on Twitter to do a guest post for her tree-nut free macaron series, I was, first and foremost, starstruck and busy thanking the high heavens that I was hiding behind a Twitter profile in my unkempt getup so Shulie wouldn't be able to see how flabbergasted I was. Within two seconds of losing my cool, I realised the dangers of crossing into tree-nut-free macaron zone......and right about 3 seconds later, I grew acutely aware of the itch in my hands to experiment in the kitchen again. Just so you know, the adrenaline rush did the trick and I said yes. Of course I would say yes, it's Shulie, and we're talking about macarons here!

Matbucha, A Moroccan Tomato Chutney!

Matbucha, cha, מטבוחה with that guttural cha/ha, Middle Eastern sound you hear in Semite languages, some say in Spanish too. This Moroccan/North African dish is reduction of the tomatoes to very intense savory jam.  Some add char grilled or roasted and peeled bell peppers to it, it gives this savory relish a sweeter tang. You can find interesting information about the origin of the dish and more here.

Black Sesame Macarons with Cherry Chocolate Ganache Guest Post by Passionate about Baking

Something about Deeba (@vindee) of Passionate about Baking exudes down to earth elegance, even a simple tweet or a comment of hers is full of poetry and prose. Some romantic notion to her language reminiscent of old world, exotic temples, Indian Raj (s) and Ranis and Agra and Varanasi on the Ganges. She is my first guest out of the sub continent of India my parents consider home. With her usual grace she said yes, and took on the tree nut free macaron challenge, monsoon humidity and all. Can't wait to meet Deeba when I travel to India someday and go on a Vintage Indian Pots & Pans hunt, hopefully soon!

Deeba, one part of the amazing MacTweets diva duo. Not only did she come up with a tree nut free macaron, but also peanut free. Incredible! A full list of tree nut/all nut free macaron guest posts you will find at the bottom of this post. Like a little kid I have followed around MacTweets intrigued. In anticipation, wishing to participate in the next challenge, but I haven't, yet!  So no wonder I am so excited to have Deeba on board, as my fourth guest in this series, giving us not only these black sesame beauties but also a glimpse into the world.   What incredible Macs, food styling and photography, all an art form!
Inspiration comes in strange ways. I'm racing with the wind, time is no longer my friend, the hands of the clock whiz by at a dizzy pace ... and the pressure of baking macarons for our baby, MacTweets appears to be a lost case. Out of the blue one day, I get a tweet from Shulie Food Wanderings asking if I'd like to do a guest post for her on macarons. I want to say yes, but I know I can't manage it. I should say no ... but predictably, I say, "Yes of course, sure!"