Amazing Lip Smacking Cooking Class with Palestinian & Israeli Cuisine




Monday of this week I held another participatory cooking class drawn from the wonderfully popular new cookbook, Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolinghui and Sami Tamimi.  

We had fun and made great food that we ate and critiqued afterward. I always begin my classes with an Appetizer. Usually I make a soup  that reflects the nature of the cuisine. Course 1, Lentil Soup,  was the soup du jour with ginger, garlic, scallions, cardamon, coriander, cinnamon, chicken stock,  plum tomatoes. and 1 tsp sea salt with fresh ground pepper. Big hit!

Then we moved into teams and prepared 4 courses:  Course 2 included Chopped Salad with a wonderful yogurt, milk, cider vinegar and lemon juice dressing with small cut fresh vegetables and torn pieces of flat bread.

Course 3 was the entree Roast Chicken with Cardamon Brown Rice, This dish truly is the definition of comfort food.  We sauteed and braised the chicken and rice together with currents, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon sticks, parsley, garlic, onions. black pepper and 1 2/2 tsp sea salt- honest. And with the spices, and other aromatics, the low sodium was not even discernable.

We then prepared   course 4  which included Chermoula paste  and Eggplant.  Chermoula is made of  garlic, sweet, smoked  and hot paprika, cumin, cilantro, preserved or regular lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil. Spread this paste on roasted eggplant or seafood and roast again,  Chermoula is an extraordinary topping that enhances vegetables like eggplant and squash or scallops and flat fish. It adds a wonderful flavor that enhances the dish you are eating. Also try sprinklying Za’Atar on top as a garnish. Just terrific I

Our class finished eating with the amazing  dessert called Mutabbaq. Unusual yet delicious, the dish includes filo pastry, ricotta and goat’s milk cheese  topped with unsalted chopped pistachios– baked in the oven at 450 F .

This is a meal  that could bring peace and traquility to any Middle Eastern conquest. Ottolenghi and Tamimi suggest it is truly a salve for calm and agreement. We ate in silence except for lip smacking appreciation.