Israeli food for lent

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Most of what was served at a recent (Greek Orthodox) Lenten/vegan dinner party. A few items were purchased, but the rest came out of the Zahav cookbook, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Also a visit to the restaurant in Philly, which was spectacular.

From left: Fennel/kohlrabi/green apple salad with zhug, eggplant/onion spread (purchased), pickles, beet and tehina salad, taramosalata (which is not vegan, but is pareve and lenten), chopped salad, pickled onions with sumac, hummus, and then roasted squash with zucchini tehina sauce and walnuts.

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This is a spin on the fennel salad from Zahav, with kohlrabi added because I was intrigued by a kohlrabi salad from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, plus green apple for sweetness. Zhug is not for everyone because it has a kick, but I thought it worked really well.

Whatever else you take out of the Zahav cookbook, the tehina sauce will probably be the most useful. Michael Solomonov’s brilliant notion of letting the garlic mellow by marinating in the lemon juice is transformative. It has a wider applicability than just tehina sauce — it got used in a chole masala recipe yesterday — but it will certainly do wonders for your hummus if you make it Israeli-style.

 

Zahav’s basic tehina sauce:

1 head garlic
3/4 c lemon juice (3-4 lemons)
1.5-3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups tehina
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
1-1.5 cups cold water

(1) Break up the garlic, but don’t bother peeling. Blitz it, the lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a blender until you get a paste. Then let it sit for at least ten minutes.

(2) Strain the garlic-lemon mixture into a bowl, then add tehina and cumin and 1 tsp salt.

(3) Using a whisk, immersion blender, or your tool of choice, mix until smooth, adding water to keep the tehina from seizing up and to get the desired consistency. It will get lighter in color as you go and your desired end state is luscious and smooth. Adjust for salt and cumin to taste.

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Zahav’s hummus, or The Reason You’ll Never Buy It At the Supermarket Again

Zahav’s hummus (or Dizengoff’s hummus, which is the same thing) is more or less tehina sauce, chickpeas, and a little more cumin. It’s insanely easy even if you use dried beans and is endlessly customizable.

Zahav‘s beet salad is well-known and fantastic. I don’t bother salt-baking the beets; I peel and salt them generously before roasting and shredding. Mix with tehina sauce, dill, mint, and lemon juice and you’re pretty much good to go.

The zucchini recipe in the book comes with anchovies, feta, and hazelnuts, but two of the three aren’t vegan and I have walnuts, so that’s how it got made. I’ve done it with the anchovies and it’s not overly fishy, so skipping them didn’t hurt too badly. Roast some extra squash to blitz with tehina sauce

 

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