jerusalem bagels, harissa honey labne, and a middle eastern wine & cheese party ( + a giveaway)

you know what i love about being a grownup, other than being married and being able to buy nice overalls without fearing i'll get too tall for them? getting away with a 4pm wine and cheese party. like, really partying, getting to sleep by 9, and then waking up early enough to make sweet potato gnocchi and accomplish one bread rising cycle before the sunday morning political shows even begin. i love it. i love being old. i love having wine glasses from our wedding registry and i love putting out olives with my cheese even though i don't eat them. 

(remember the 10pm party from college? how did we do that?) 

my 4pm wine and cheese party was my first ever wine and cheese party and i can't believe it's taken me this long to have one. it was so fun and grownup. we played records as the sun set, and talked about baby showers and bachelorettes. in brooklyn, my idea of a fancy cheese plate would have consisted of an oozy epoisses and some delicious old chatham... maybe a hunk of bleu des causes and a ramekin of salvatore ricotta... but here, with no cheesemonger in site, if we want to get fancy we're forced to be way more creative than going to the store and buying a wheel of cheese (not that there's anything wrong with that): marinate all the feta, strain all the yogurt, drizzle on the date honey! before long i had myself a middle eastern cheese party menu and it tickled me so. i did have to google middle eastern cheese and in a perfect world i wouldn't have driven all the way across town in a failed search for halloumi, but i'm v happy with how it turned out. v v happy. here was our menu:

harissa honey labne // it's sweet, hot, and refreshing all at the same time. i was afraid its pepto bismol-ish color would scare my friends away, and maybe i was hoping that would happen so i could have all of the leftovers to myself, but alas (or luckily) they loved it. recipe below.

marinated feta, inspired by eva // because feta is just so much classier when it's in a brick and all prettied up with herbs, no?

dates stuffed with cream cheese, sprinkled with smoked maldon salt, and drizzled with date honey // dates drizzled with date honey... is that what meta is?? major hugs to chanie for the israeli date honey hookup.

dukkah crackers // mmmm these are so good and made with chickpea flour, so they're gluten free. you can make them with za'atar or dukkah or both.

jerusalem bagels // jerusalem bagels are fluffier and way bigger than new york bagels. they're best shared with a bunch of friends on the streets of jerusalem with a little baggie of za'atar for dipping. and it turns out they're also best shared with a bunch of friends on a farm a million miles from jerusalem. recipe below.

olives, olive oil, za'atar, roasted chickpeas, grapes, nuts, and honey // noshies and condiments, noshies and condiments.

a trio of halva for dessert // classic, cinnamon, and coffee flavor, straight from the machane yehuda market in jerusalem, also c/o chanie because that girl knows the way to my heart <3 <3.

pinot noir // ok, this isn't middle eastern, but we had a ton leftover from our wedding :)

harissa honey labne


1 qt plain full-fat yogurt

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 1/2 tsp harissa powder

4 tsp honey

olive oil


line a strainer with cheese cloth and set the strainer over a large bowl. mix the yogurt with the salt and then pour it into the cheese cloth. let it strain in the refrigerator for 24 hours, checking once or twice to pour out the liquids from the bowl. 

place the strained yogurt in a large bowl and mix it with harissa and honey, spread it on a serving plate and drizzle with olive oil. serve with crackers or bread.

jerusalem bagels

makes 6 large bagels


4 c bread flour

2 1/4 tsp yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tb sugar

1 c warm water

1/2 c warm milk

1/4 c olive oil

1 egg, slightly beaten

sesame seeds and salt, for sprinkling


in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. add the water, milk, and oil, and mix for about 10 minutes, until you have a nice smooth dough. transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

on a work surface, divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll them out into long pieces, about 1 1/2 feet long, and shape into ovals. place them a few inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment, brush them with the egg, and sprinkle all over with sesame seeds and a few pinches of salt.

let rise for 30 more minutes. preheat oven to 350, and then bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are lightly browned.

serve warm, with za'atar for dipping.


this post was done in collaboration with le creuset in celebration of their new wine and cheese line!! the goodies i used for this post are their round platter with cutting boardlarge carafecompact lever (which is some serious magic), and foil cutter. it's a beautiful line that could maybe even make a night of velveeta and two buck chuck feel classy (hehe). oh oh! and do you want to win a round platter, a compact lever, and some other fun le creuset goodies??? leave a comment here with your favorite cheese!!!!!! open to u.s. residents. update: this giveaway is now closed.

p.s. (!!!) in march, i will be taking my first ever trip to north carolina for a weekend of eating, food styling, and fly fishing on cold mountain with eva and carey! it'll be the tastiest slumber party in all the land. care to join us??? right this way.

shawarma nachos + friday links

in the transit system of my candyland-esque dream world, there is a polar express, there is dim sum ferry, and there is a nacho train, complete with bulgogi nachos, california roll nachos, and my local pizza parlor, where it is rumored that there is a secret menu where you can order any of their pizzas as nachos. (i've yet to experience this first hand, but it's on my life list, right after "eat an animal style milkshake.")

so this is me jumping on the nacho train with all of my favorite israeli snackies piled onto pita chips in a very trashed up fashion because that is part of the charm of nachos, no?

nachos can have a lot of components, and that can be slightly overwhelming for such a drunk-food dish, but i've found that all it takes is a wee bit of prep the night before. and then once you make them you'll have a ton to either share with friends or to have as leftovers throughout the week when your farmer fiancé is busy harvesting wheat until midnight. (wtf! i know!)

shawarma nachos with hummus, labneh, and israeli salad

serves 6-10



6 tb olive oil

1 tb curry powder

1 1/2 tsp garam masala

1 1/2 tsp chicken soup mix

about 1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs


3/4 c dried chickpeas

1/2 tsp baking soda, for cooking the chickpeas

6 tb tahini, or more as desired

6 tb olive oil

the juice from 1/2 a lemon

kosher salt, to taste

optional: 2 cloves of garlic


4 c plain full-fat yogurt

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

tahini sauce

6 tb tahini

1/3-1/2 c ice water

1 tsp lemon juice

pinch of salt

israeli salad

2 medium or large tomatoes

1 cucumber

1/2 red onion

salt and pepper, to taste

a splash of olive oil

a squeeze of lemon juice

for serving

a large bag (18 oz-ish) of pita chips, bonus points if you make your own though

fresh parsley

za'atar (optional)

hot sauce (optional)



the day before:

-prep shawarma: in an 8-inch baking dish, whisk together the shawarma marinade (the olive oil, curry powder, garam masala, and chicken soup mix) and coat the chicken with it. cover the dish and stick in the fridge to marinate overnight.

-prep hummus: place the chickpeas in a lidded saucepan filled with cold water. cover and soak overnight.

-prep labneh: mix the yogurt with the salt and place in a cheesecloth that is draped over a strainer. place the strainer in a dish to collect the liquid and place it in the fridge to strain overnight.

-make tahini sauce (this can be made the day of or the before): whisk or use a food processor to mix together tahini, ice water, lemon juice, and salt. add more or less water depending on desired consistency. tip: i like making a ton of this stuff and keeping it in a squeeze bottle in my fridge to use as salad dressing.

the day of:

1. make the hummus: strain the chickpeas and add fresh water so that it comes 1 inch above them in the sauce pan. add the baking soda. bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for about 2 hours, until the chickpeas are very soft. strain them and whiz them up in a food processor with remaining ingredients.

2. make the shawarma: while the chickpeas are boiling, preheat oven to 400f. bake the chicken, uncovered, for 45 minutes. chop into small pieces and fry it up in a bit of marinade until browned and crispy.

3. make the israeli salad: chop up tomatoes, cucumber, and onion, and toss with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice, to taste.

4. assemble! on a large plate, layer your chips, labneh, hummus, shawarma, and isaeli salad. drizzle on tahini sauce. sprinkle on parsley, za'atar, and hot sauce.



note: this shawarma recipe is based on the one from one of my most favorite cookbooks, janna gur's the book of new israeli foodthe book surprised showed up on my doorstep one morning from one of my good friends lydia, who is an amazing photographer. follow friday to her!!!

and here are just a few friday links!!

i'm completely obsessed with these moon cakes.

i've watched this my brightest diamond video 12,000 times.

obviously one cannot marry a norwegian in the winter without wearing the opi nordic collection.

fall food. fall food!!!

(ok but first these bacon wrapped peaches and beignet ice cream sandwiches!)

"if you want to share a particularly inspiring item, you literally share it."

i cannot wait to make this matcha marble pound cake and these halva stuffed figs.

everything is better with romesco.

edible terrariums are going to be the focus of my next craft night.


happy friday all!!!


p.s. there are still a few days to enter my seriously delish giveaway!


halva pops

last july, i spent an afternoon at an israeli defense forces base, inside of a pile of halva. my birthright friends and i had the task of making enough halva bread pudding to feed an actual army. as we sat unwrapping pounds of halva and mixing it with eggs and bread, soldiers came in every so often to say hi and introduce themselves, perhaps to have a bite of halva. i remember one of them was from brooklyn... that night we ate barbecue with hundreds of our new soldier friends and talked about their world and our world. before we got to the halva bread pudding, a few of them stood up and said ok, we've got to go to gaza now know i'm not good at talking about political stuff or even any heavy stuff unless it's at home and with eggboy. but in my mind, so much energy is spent on what is happening in israel and palestine right now. while the answers to what are my exact opinions on this and what can i do about it aside from read articles are still being formed, today here i'm giving a nod to those involved and thinking of my time and friends in israel.

i guess while some express their thoughts through music and words, i'm doing it (or trying to) through dessert.

you can find the recipe for these halva popsicles here, in the latest installment of molly on the range.



what they don't tell you about the end of harvest is that the very next morning, after the end-of-harvest ribs and with an end-of-harvest hangover, there is still work to be done. sunrise to sundown, the fields need moar attention. all preparation for 2014! and before the first frost. 

(frost, please please get here soon!)

it was a buzz kill. i was so looking forward to introducing eggboy to my new made-for-tv christmas movie obsession and also using him as a hand model for my photos and perhaps crashing the town adult volleyball league. 

instead i spent my energies on reminding myself that crustless rye bread and dark chocolate m & ms do not a balanced meal make. and that retweeting does not a meaningful activity make. 

eventually i dragged myself out to the farm and i hung out on a tractor for a bit. i studied some music as eggboy did a thing called ridging. i went home, i watched made-for-tv christmas movies with my penguin, and ate more rye bread.

finally this morning, enough was enough with the not cooking thing. so i got my little jar of za'atar out of my spice library and relived that moment in jerusalem, when we ripped apart street bagels and dipped them in little za'atar bags. 

i had forgotten how satisfying za'atar is. it's so flavorful and tasty, and it's very fun to say. zaaaaataaaaarrrr... 

this chickpea pancake was gone within five seconds after it's photo shoot. it was so satisfying and i had no problem gobbling up the whole thing because of how healthy it is. i may have to make it for dinner at some point, if eggboy ever gets in from the fields!! 

 chickpea skillet cake with za'atar, caramelized onions, and roasted red peppers

serves 1-2 


1/2 c chickpea flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

a few cracks of black pepper

a pinch of chili flakes

1/2 c water

olive oil for the pan

1 small onion, chopped

3/4 c roasted red peppers (i use store bought, but you can for sure make your own)

4 tsp za'atar

optional: cheese, meat, and other veggies for toppings


in a small bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. whisk in the water until there are no lumps. set aside

coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and caramelize the onion. once caramelized, stir in red peppers and cook until heated (if you've just roasted your own peppers and they're still hot, this step isn't necessary).  

remove the onions and peppers from the pan and set them aside. heat about a tablespoon more of olive oil in the pan over medium heat, and then pour in the chickpea flour mixture. cook for a few minutes, until it's browned on the bottom and comes away easily from the skillet, and then flip over and cook for another few minutes. 

remove from heat and sprinkle with three teaspoons of za'atar. evenly distribute the onions and peppers, and then top with the remaining one teaspoon of za'atar and whatever other toppings you'd like.

enjoy with your gluten-free and vegan friends!