As a freelance writer and photographer, I’m always juggling various projects and assignments of differing scopes. I’m very excited to announce one with which I have a great personal connection at this point, one that took up a lot of my time and creative energy in the past year, and one that I am very, very proud of. Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration with Orly Ziv is a collection of 100 recipes, each with a color photo and many with step-by-step photos. I edited the book and took all the photographs, working closely with Orly and our talented designer Idit Yatzkan (idityatzkan
Cookbooks are my passion, and I knew after creating my own mini e-cookbook just how much I love working on them, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to have collaborated so closely on this amazing project. Orly leads culinary tours throughout Israel and cooking classes out of her home in Tel Aviv (if you’re ever in Israel you should take one of her amazing Cook in Israel tour-class combos!). Orly is an amazing cook and, as a dietician, her food is naturally healthy and balanced. All 100 recipes in the book represent dishes that she makes at home all the time for her family, and it really is an intimate peak into her kitchen. It’s the kind of food I want to eat every day, and in fact many of the recipes are now in my regular rotation – I got to sample every. single. recipe in this book, and I can seriously attest to their deliciousness. They’re super accessible, the kind of food that looks impressive but took minutes to whip up.
And, although Israeli food is gaining more international recognition, there’s still a dearth of high quality, English-language Israeli cookbooks. I’m proud to say that this is one I’d buy in a second if I saw it on the shelf. Most of the recipes are vegetarian (there is a section on fish, and a few beef recipes that her children can’t live without), and they are all kosher. These are Jewish recipes, but like you’ve never seen them before – they represent the cultural heritage of all the inhabitants of Israel, who have come from around the world. So there are recipes inspired by Orly’s own Greek-Jewish heritage, but also Bukharan, Iraqi, Turkish, Moroccan, and Arab.
This cheesecake recipe from Cook in Israel is perfect for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, which is next week – it’s a holiday that celebrates dairy in all its glory. It would also be lovely to make for mother’s day to serve at brunch, withtea, or after dinner. I love Israeli-style cheesecakes like this, which are lighter and more delicate than the American versions I grew up with.
- 80 g (5½ Tbs.) butter
- 125 g (1 cup) self-rising flour
- 25 g (2 Tbs.) sugar
- 2 egg yolks (reserve whites for cake)
- 750 g soft white cheese like Israeli “ski” (sub whipped cream cheese)
- 3 eggs and 2 whites
- 200 g (1 cup) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups lowfat sour cream
- 20 g (1½ Tbs.) vanilla sugar
- Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F.
- Mix together the dough ingredients by hand or in a stand mixer until well combined. Press into a deep, 26-centimeter/10-inch cake pan so it evenly covers the bottom. Bake about 10 minutes, until golden.
- Remove from the oven, set aside, and lower the oven to 170°C/300°F.
- Mix together the white cheese, eggs and egg whites, regular sugar and vanilla extract. Pour over the pre-baked dough and bake for 50 minutes.
- Mix together the sour cream and vanilla sugar and pour on top of the cake. Don’t be afraid – the pan might look very full but it will deflate slightly.
- Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving. The longer it stays in the fridge (for 1 to 2 days) the better!
Please support us by buying a copy of the cookbook (more info HERE)! It can be shipped worldwide. It will be available on Amazon and as an e-book in the near future.