It’s hard to really care about something as superficial as pretty food these days. Last weekend, when the world was in shock after the devastating murder of 49 innocent neshamas (souls) in Pulse nightclub in Orlando, my family and I were welcoming day 2 of a 3 day holiday (Shabbat into Shavuot). Because we are pretty observant, we observe the letter of the law when it comes to Jewish holidays. Not only do we enjoy our festive meals (hey, just doing our part to follow the mitzvahs commanded of us!), but we also don’t operate electricity on those days as well, which means we had no idea this brutal act had occurred since we weren’t opening our phones or turning on TVs and computers. It wasn’t until some friends mentioned something in passing on Sunday night that we knew something had happened. By Monday night, when the 3-day holiday was over, I braced myself for what I knew was going to be an onslaught of terrible news. Little did I know it would be as gut-wrenching as it was. In reading all the news, I felt so incredibly grateful for the 3 days of comfort we had created in our holiday bubble. We went into the holiday praying for the relief of peace after the disgusting murder of Israelis in a Tel Aviv restaurant that occurred on Thursday. But, and I know this is so troubling, as a Jewish family, we’ve grown accustomed to the news that our people were attacked. We’re so used to praying for peace that it’s an automatic prayer. I don’t even really think about when I pray for peace. It just is what it is. But I woke up on Tuesday morning, after reading news article after new article on the events that occurred that fateful night in Orlando nearly a week and a half ago, and I felt darkness. I called my best friend, Jackie, and we talked it out, as we do with everything. “Jackie”, I said, “I feel sad. I feel so, so sad”. She listened. She validated. She tried to give me comfort but I knew any comfort I would get would need to come from within. I still haven’t quite found it yet and I’m pretty sure I never truly will. We live in a world where, as a school employee, I had to sit through “active shooter” training because going into education is now a dangerous job. When my nearly 4 year-old daughter plays school, she pretends to check bags before you can enter into the ‘school’, just like the security team does before we can enter her early childhood center. She has no clue what she’s ‘checking’ for, but the whole thing is so disturbing. My heart hurts.
I will continue to pray for peace because it gives me some sort of solace. I will also continue to cook, caring a little less each day about silly things like how many Instagram followers Jewhungry has or how many page views this post will get. I will call my Congress people and I will sign petitions and I will pray that peace will come.
Speaking of food, have you ever heard of sabich? Sabich and shakshuka are in contention for being my favorite dish to eat in Israel. In my book, it definitely out-ranks falafel. It’s all about the perfect fried eggplant (my favorite vegetable), the right about of salty tahini and a generous helping of crisp Israeli salad mixed in with Israeli pickles and loads and loads of cilantro. I like to add a
little lot of feta cheese to my sabich sandwich cause it’s feta cheese and why wouldn’t I? But to save myself some fullness from the pita, and because my oldest doesn’t eat sandwiches, I’ve been putting all my sabich fixin’s onto a fluffy pile of rice spiced with all those flavors of the Mediterranean. I’m talkin’ cumin, coriander, tumeric and, of course, salt. I hope you try this out and truly enjoy! Have a wonderful day!
- 1 large eggplant, sliced at 1/2 in. thickness
- 5 - 6 Tbsp of sunflower or olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 3 Persian cucumbers, skinned and diced
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 4 - 5 Israeli pickles, chopped
- (Optional: sheep's milk feta, diced)
- For the Rice:
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 1½ cups long-grain or Basmati rice
- 2½ cups veggie broth
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- For the Tahini Sauce:
- 1/2 cup raw tahini paste
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 - 1/4 cup of cilantro
- 1 1/2 tsp yellow miso paste
- 2 tbsp hot water (or more depending on need)
- Prep the eggplant:
- Place sliced eggplant on paper towel making sure that the slices are not overlapping. Sprinkle a heavy dose of kosher salt onto each eggplant slice. Let sit for at least 30 minutes in order for the moisture to be drained from the eggplant. After 30 minutes, dab each eggplant slice with a paper towel so as to suck up all excess moisture.
- Chop eggplant into small squares.
- Pour the sunflower or olive oil into a large frying pan and set over high heat.
- When oil is hot enough, add eggplant. Eggplant tends to soak up oil very quickly so feel free to add more oil if you feel is necessary. Stir fry the eggplant for at least 7 - 10 minutes or until fully fried. Place eggplant on clean paper towel in order to soak up excess oil. Set aside.
- For the rice: Heat 2 tbsp of sunflower or olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven then add the spices and cook until you can smell them, stirring into the oil.
- Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook, stirring frequently for 4 minutes until the rice is toasted.
- Add the vegetable broth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes without disturbing.
- Remove from the heat and rest without opening the lid for 15 minutes.
- For Sauce:
- Add all ingredients for tahini sauce into a food processor and process until smooth. If sauce is not 'saucey' enough, add more hot water at 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency. Taste as you go and increase garlic powder or miso paste as you go as well.
- For Assembly:
- Add rice to bowl and top with all your fixin's. Enjoy!