What is your food philosophy?
Everything in moderation. I eat mostly Middle-Eastern Mediterranean food which is so vegetable forward that it just falls into that lifestyle. It all balances out so easily.
What is the first meal that you remember?
My bubby’s buttery toast. She would toast white bread and basically dunk it in butter. My hands and face would be covered in butter and it was just perfect.
Congratulations on your new cookbook, Eating Out Loud, can you share a bit about it and what inspired you to create it?
Thank you so much! I am half Israeli and I have been going to Israel my whole life. I love the food and I am completely inspired by it. I love coming home after a trip and serving dishes inspired by those flavors to my friends and fam. Sharing new flavors and also simplifying dishes so that people can make it in their home is something I absolutely love.
Your travels seem to have had an enormous impact on your life. What did you take away from your trips and how have they influenced your cooking?
My travels have absolutely shaped the person that I am today. I learn so much on the road from markets, restaurants, street food. I absolutely love exploring and trying new things and asking questions. I always bring what I’ve learned from my travels back to my home kitchen.
How do you start the day?
Coffee or tea...first thing, get Ayv ready for daycare.
I just finished shooting Top Chef Canada so I have my days back. The plan is to start working out after dropping her off at school.
I am not really a big breakfast person, so I usually have my first meal at noon.
What's always in your fridge?
Tahini, whole milk, eggs, cheese (a lot of cheese), yogurt, peanut butter, jam, pickles galore and a ton of fresh vegetables and fruit.
What’s always in your pantry?
What do you turn to, to make you feel your best: food and all the other practices?
Vegetable forward eating...basically the food I developed for EATING OUT LOUD. And working out. I love yoga, pilates and dance.
Favorite kitchen tool?
I have so many! Microplane grater, Kitchenaid stand mixer, Vitamix, tongs, mandoline and my dutch oven.
What are some of your favorite cookbooks?
Jerusalem, Plenty More.
What are your favorite flavors?
Tahini, fresh lemon, garlic, harissa, cumin, coriander, sumac, zaatar.
Go-to meal that you make for yourself more often than not?
Shakshuka (I have 4 variations in Eating Out Loud!), Israeli breakfast bowl (I kind of eat this for lunch like everyday) and I always make a salad, vegetable dish and either a grain or a protein for dinner.
What ingredient are you most excited about right now?
Preserved lemons; I have loved them for a long time but I find that more and more people are willing to use them in their cooking and once you incorporate them into your cooking there is no going back.
How do you end your day?
I cook dinner, have a glass of wine (or two;) and then bedtime for Ayv. Ido and I love snuggling and watching movies together after.
CLASSIC SHAKSHUKA WITH GARLICKY TAHINI
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon curry powder (optional)
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon harissa, store-bought
6 medium tomatoes, finely chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes (I like San Marzano)
Pinch of sugar
4 large eggs
Fresh dill or parsley, for garnish
Garlicky Tahini (recipe follows)
Challah or pita for serving
1 In a large skillet with a fitted lid, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and season well with salt and black pepper. Cook until the onion just begins to lightly brown, 6 to 8 minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, curry powder (if using), turmeric, and harissa. Sauté until fragrant and the onion is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and season with the sugar and a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium-high, and continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to cling to the eggs, 10 to 15 minutes.
2 Use a large spoon to make 4 wells in the sauce. Crack an egg into each well, cover the pan with the lid, and cook over medium-high heat until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes.
3 Remove the pan from the heat. Garnish with fresh dill or parsley and drizzle with olive oil and garlicky tahini. Serve hot with bread
In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and ice water. It will reach a weird, lumpy consistency, but don’t be afraid. Keep whisking until it smooths out and becomes light in color (if it doesn’t, it needs more ice water, so just add a bit more). Tahini sauce with the perfect consistency will drip through the tines of a fork, but just barely. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice or salt if desired. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 1 week. If the tahini gets too thick while in the fridge, just loosen it up with a little water before using.
Make the garlicky tahini as directed above. Transfer to a blender or food processor, add the herbs, and blend until smooth. If the sauce gets too thick while blending, add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until it gets nice and drizzly. Store in a jar in the fridge for up to 5 days