In this stunning new work that is at once a coffee-table book to browse and a complete cookbook, Janna Gur brings us the sumptuous color, variety, and history of today’s Israeli cuisine, beautifully illustrated by Eilon Paz, a photographer who is intimate with the local scene.
In Gur’s captivating introduction, she describes Israeli food as a product of diverse cultures: the Jews of the Diaspora, settling in a homeland that was new to them, brought their far-flung cuisines to the table even as they looked to their Arab neighbors for additional ingredients and ideas. The delicious, easy-to-follow recipes represent all of these influences, and include some creative interpretations of classics by celebrated Israeli chefs: Beetroot and Pomegranate Salad, Fish Falafel in Spicy Harissa Mayonnaise, Homemade Shawarma, Chreime–North African Hot Fish Stew, Roasted Chicken Drumsticks in Carob Syrup. With favorite recipes for the Sabbath (Sweet Challah Traditional Chopped Liver, Chocolate and Halva Coffeecake) and for holidays (Balkan Potato and Leek Pancakes, Flourless Chocolate and Pistachio Cake), this book offers a unique culinary experience for every occasion. All of this is enriched by Paz’s gorgeous and vibrantly colored photographs and by short narratives about significant aspects of Israel’s diverse cuisine, such as the generous and unique Israeli breakfast (which grew out of the needs of Kibbutz life), locally produced cheeses that now rival those of Europe, and a dramatic renaissance of wine culture in this ancient land.
“In less than thirty years,” Janna Gur writes, “Israeli society has graduated… to a true gastronomic haven.” Here she gives us a book that does full, delectable justice to the significance of Israeli food today–Mediterranean at its heart, richly spiced, and imbued with cross-cultural flavors.
Apple, Cinnamon and Walnut Cake
Every family has its recipe for a favorite apple cake. This one is attractive, perfumed with cinnamon, and has the added treat of crunchy walnuts.
5 large baking apples, peeled and cored
juice of half a lemon
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
5 tablespoons brandy or calvados
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely choppedFor dusting
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Cut 3 apples into a ½ inch dice. Slice the remaining 2 apples into 8 wedges each, sprinkle with lemon juice and set aside.
3. Sift the flour with cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
4. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, brandy and vanilla extract until pale and thick, about 8 minutes.
5. Lower the speed and gradually add the oil and then the flour to the egg mixture.
6. Fold in the diced apples and chopped walnuts and pour the batter into a well-greased 10" springform pan. Arrange the apple wedges in the center of the cake in a flower pattern. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top.
7. Bake for 60-70 minutes until the cake is golden and a toothpick comes out dry with a few crumbs adhering.
8. Cool for 10 minutes, release from pan and cool completely on a rack. Cooking Time: 1 hour and 40 minutes
(including baking time)
Excerpted from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur. Copyright © 2008 by Janna Gur. Excerpted by permission of Schocken, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
“It’s a real joy to discover that a great and vibrant gastronomic culture has emerged in Israel out of the varied legacies from the old Diaspora communities. The Book of New Israeli Food is splendid, engagingly written, with delicious recipes and stunning photographs. Stories, features, and background information give a fascinating insight into life in Israel, the enthusiasm of home cooks, the creativity of chefs, and the passionate endeavors of bakers, winemakers, and olive oil and cheese producers.”
–Claudia Roden, author of The New Book of Middle Eastern Food
“Finally, a book about Israeli food that is modern in its approach and comprehensive in its scope… [With] beautiful photography, an attractive format, plenty of useful recipes, and some food stories to boot, [it] is a perfect gift… Warmly recommended.”
–Israel Aharoni, Yedioth Ahronoth
“Filled with delicious recipes, Janna Gur’s gorgeous new book puts Israel on the culinary map–exactly where it deserves to be.”
–Bonnie Stern, author of Bonnie Stern’s Essentials of Home Cooking