Shepherd’s Pie and a Gluten Free Blog Hop

Gluten Free Shepherd's Pie

This time of year the weather can be fickle. Even in Israel, where it tends to be significantly warmer than my native New York, we still have the occasional cool evening and even the days aren’t nearly as hot as they will be. So for some last minute cool-weather comfort food (or for those of you in the Southern hemisphere who are on the cusp of winter), here’s a naturally gluten free shepherd’s pie for your enjoyment. It’s rich and satisfying, and is sure to please the whole family.


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Shredded Beef Tacos and a Taco Blog Hop

Shredded Beef Tacos

I adore tacos but living in Israel they’re not particularly plentiful. Luckily they’re easy to make at home and open to endless variation. I’ve already shared my vegetarian tofu tacos and my light and healthy fish tacos, but today I’ve got something a little more substantial and comforting for winter (although it would be equally delicious any time of year). These braised, shredded beef tacos take a few hours to prepare but are perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. You can make the meat ahead as they reheat beautifully, freeze well, and taste even better after a day or two. Continue reading “Shredded Beef Tacos and a Taco Blog Hop”

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Onions

Before I moved to Israel, the extent of my experience with stuffed vegetables was peppers and cabbage, and it was limited even at that. Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine has opened me up to a whole world of vegetables that can be stuffed with a variety of meat or vegetarian fillings and simmered in any number of sauces. Stuffed peppers and cabbages appear, but not nearly as often as stuffed zucchini, eggplant, artichokes, and even carrots. And onions – what a revelation stuffed onions are! They’re not stuffed whole. Instead, the entire, skinned onion is simmered until tender, and the individual layers are separated and wrapped around a savory filling.

Sweet and Sour Stuffed Onions

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Saffron Lasagna ~ Lasagna alla Zafferano from A Family Farm in Tuscany

As an Italian-American, I’ve eaten plenty of lasagna in my day. But none like this. I’m used to layers of noodles and sauce that are cemented with mounds of cheese. This authentic Italian lasagna, however, relies primarily on a saffron-hued béchamel sauce to act as the glue. There’s no mozzarella, no ricotta. Just grated Parmesan, meat sauce, and a luscious besciamella made with butter, flour, milk and saffron. It’s as decadent and comforting as any lasagna you’ll encounter, and the addition of saffron makes it special enough for any holiday or occasion.

Lasagna alla Zatterano ~ Saffron Lasagna

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Beef Rendang and a Beef Blog Hop

Ingredients for Beef Rendang ~ Malaysian Beef Curry

You know those recipes that immediately pop out at you, that you bookmark or pin on Pinterest and you just can’t forget? Beef Rendang – a Malaysian beef curry – was one such recipe for me. I pinned two different recipes for this tempting, coconut-infused beef curry on my Asian Inspiration board, each with a slightly different method and equally enticing result. It’s just that kind of dish. It had a similar effect on Manu of Manu’s Menu: “When I saw this recipe at Not Quite Nigella’s website,” she wrote in her post, “I knew I HAD to make it.” And so when I saw it over at Manu’s Menu and No Recipes, well, I also knew I HAD to make it. Continue reading “Beef Rendang and a Beef Blog Hop”

A Burger a Week, And the Best Burger in New York

When I was home in New York over the summer, I had a standing Monday lunch date with my dad and sister. Although our lunch dates were nothing new, this summer they took on new purpose: We would eat a burger a week and decide which was our favorite. I’m not entirely sure where the idea stemmed from, but once we set our minds to it we stuck to the plan. For eight Mondays. That’s probably about as many burgers as I eat in a whole year.

There wasn’t anything scientific about our “research,” we just went where we felt like going. We ended up mostly in Greenwich Village and Williamsburg, and missed lots of great burger joints. My dad, sister and I had differing opinions on lots of the burgers, and agreed whole-heartedly about others. Price came into play a bit, but mostly we were interested in taste. Is it a juicy, flavorful burger? Is the bun fresh, and does it stand up to the burger? In the end it all came down to personal taste, and whether or not the place was having a good day. Again, the results are far from scientific, but it was a fun summer project.

The hunt for the best burger in New York

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Cheese-Stuffed Burgers for World on a Plate

Just in time for Memorial Day, this month’s theme for World on a Plate is grilling! I don’t have a backyard, or a grill, but I do have a cast iron pan, which can be a worthy substitute. Since I’m representing America, I immediately knew that I would be bringing burgers to the party. But I didn’t want to go with just any old burger – so I stuffed some cheese inside to make them extra special. That’s right: a cheese-stuffed burger. When you cook the burger, the cheese inside melts, creating an ooey-gooey surprise that any cheeseburger-loving person is bound to go nuts over. You can even go extreme and put more cheese on top, but that’s just crazy talk (which I fully support).

Cheese-Stuffed Burger
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Kofte and a Meatball Blog Hop

Just as I became obsessed with Greek food (like chicken souvlaki and Greek salad) after our trip to Rhodes, I’ve returned from Istanbul with a hunger for all things Turkish. The incredible flavors, intoxicating scents, and evocative spices have left their mark on my palate, and I find myself trying to recreate little bites of our trip at home. As I mentioned in my post about where to eat in Istanbul, the first place we ate when we arrived was a wonderful, no frills kofte  restaurant that had me craving these Turkish meatballs for the rest of the trip.

Turkish Kebab Recipe

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs for World on a Plate

I am excited about this post for so many reasons! First of all I get to share with you what may be the world’s greatest recipe: my mother-in-law’s sweet and sour meatballs. Second of all, I am part of a wonderful new blogging group called World on a Plate! Started by Pola from Italian in the Midwest, World on a Plate is a purposefully small group that is all about cultural exchange. Each month we will have a theme (this month’s theme is meatballs!) and will post a recipe from our “home country” that fits the theme. We are currently eight bloggers who represent Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sweden, and the United States (that’s me!). If you are interested in joining and see that your home country is not represented, give Pola a shout!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

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Irish Beef Stew Recipe and a St. Patrick’s Day Blog Hop

Irish Beef Stew with Daikon Radish Puree

In case you couldn’t tell from my last name, I’m not Irish. But growing up in New York City, come St. Patrick’s Day everyone is Irish. It’s fun and festive, rowdy and chaotic. I know that drinking lots of beer is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition (an entirely made up one, by the way – but who’s to argue?!), but this weekend why not save some of that brew for your stew (watch out, I may break out into limericks at any moment…). Enter Irish Beef Stew, sometimes called Guiness Beef Stew, a hearty and delicious way to celebrate the luck of the Irish.


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