Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tapestry and Cooking Like an Israeli

Phew, we're past the holidays and feeling newly refreshed. Okay, I know, Jauary 2 is the ultimate hangover day, even if you haven't been drinking. But it is time to get back to real life and work and events. One coming up this weekend is Tapestry: A Community Celebration of Jewish Learning, which will be held on January 6 at 7 p.m. at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center. The evening will feature a havdalah ceremony closing out Shabbat, followed by two hour-long sessions featuring everything from Jewish values for parenting teens, Jewish mysticism, The Inner Lives of Hebrew Letters, and Yoga to Building an Epic Spiritual Fitness Plan, and Cooking Like An Israeli.

What got my attention, of course, was Cooking Like an Israeli, a food demo being presented by The Spice Way's Debbie Kornberg. So I spent some time talking with Kornberg about what she plans to do in the demo--and got a terrific recipe from her Roasted Eggplant with Tahini that I'm sharing below.

Kornberg, who has been in business in her Encinitas shop for two-and-a-half years, has products also at Harvest Ranch Market, and is collaborating with Premier Fitness Camp, will be exploring ways to cook healthy foods and digs back to biblical times to show its impact on contemporary cuisines, using, of course, spices.

So, she'll be demonstrating how to make Moroccan Dukkah, a dry dip with blanched toasted almonds as a base, but includes sesame seeds, cumin, salt, and nigella seeds. Nigella seeds, in fact, date back to the time of King Tut, so these are ancient seasonings. The Dukkah recipe she'll be sharing is from our mutual friend, cookbook author Kitty Morse.

Kornberg will also be preparing Fattoush, a salad with arugula, cherry tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, Feta, and purple onion that also features pita bread seasoned with za'atar and sumac and baked like croutons that are then tossed into the salad.

Finally comes the Roasted Eggplant with Tahini Dressing. Kornberg wants people to understand tahini's versatility--that it's not just a sidekick to hummus. In this dish, the tahini is blended with garlic, lemon juice, Hungarian sweet paprika, and water. The eggplant is sliced into long halves and baked to soften. It's then placed on a serving dish and the tahini sauce is poured over it, along with pomegranate seeds. It can be an appetizer course served with pita or other flat breads.

Roasted Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate
by Debbie Kornberg
(printable recipe)
Serves 4 to 6 people

1 eggplant
1/2 cup The Spice Way Fresh Tahini
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon The Spice Way Hungarian Sweet Paprika
¼ cup to ½ cup water, depending on desired consistency
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped finely
1 tablespoon The Spice Way Hummus Tahini Seasoning Mix
1/8 cup pomegranate seeds

1. Slice eggplant in half down the middle so you have two long “boat” halves. Place on a non-stick cooking sheet at cook in the oven at 450 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until fully cooked and toasty brown on top. During the cooking process, poke holes on top to help cook the eggplant all the way through. 

2. While eggplant is in the oven, start tahini sauce. In a food processor, mince garlic. Add tahini, lemon juice, paprika and water. Continue to blend. (Use less water first test out the consistency. (With more water, it makes a great salad dressing too!)

3. Take cooked eggplant out of the oven and with a knife cut a crisscross pattern along the meaty surface of the eggplant and cut along the sides to help release the eggplant from the skin but still keep it inside. 

4. Place eggplant on serving dish. Take tahini and pour over roasted eggplant and garnish with remaining parsley, tahini seasoning mix and pomegranate seeds. Serve as an appetizer course with pita, pita chips or any kind of flat bread. 

Tapestry registration info: Pre-registration $45; JCC Member Price: $40; Teachers $18.  At the door tickets will be $55 if any remain. Registration begins at 6:15 p.m., Havdalah begins at 7:00 p.m. To see the entire lineup of speakers, sessions and to register go to sdcjc.org.  Or call the JCC Box Office: 858-362-1348.

The Spice Way is located in Camino Village Plaza at 260 N El Camino Real, Encinitas. Kornberg offers free cooking demos at the store. On January 14 she'll be doing a session on Meal Prepping and on January 20 she'll have a demonstration on cooking with spaghetti squash, using pesto, black truffle, and pasta sauces. To see upcoming events, visit the website.

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