Sufganiyot or Israeli jelly donuts for hannukah dusted with powdered sugar. This is a low-angle shot that shows 3 donuts stacked on a white plate iwth one donot leaning against the stack that has a bite taken out of it so that you can see the jelly filling.

Israeli Jelly Donuts or Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot are traditional Israeli jelly donuts. Pillowy, filled with jelly (or other fillings), and dusted with powdered sugar, they are a real treat. They are commonly eaten during Hanukkah, but … Read more

Israeli salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, dill, hard boiled egg, and feta cheese

Israeli Salad with Egg and Feta Cheese

This simple Israeli Salad adds feta cheese and hard-boiled eggs to the traditional diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh herbs. It is as delicious as it is authentic!

Israeli salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, dill, hard boiled egg, and feta cheese

Israeli Salad was born on Israel’s kibbutzim (communal farms) where fresh salad ingredients were abundant. At it’s most basic, it is diced cucumbers and tomatoes in an olive oil and lemon juice dressing.

Wikipedia describes as “the most well-known national dish of Israel.” Way to go on the fame and recognition, Israeli Salad! You totally deserve it. You are sooooo good.

Standard accompanying ingredients usually include onion, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper. Alone, that would be a delicious enough union of flavors, especially if you’re using sweet, garden-fresh tomatoes.

But last week, my cousin Nina, who once lived on a kibbutz, came to visit. We made this salad together while she was here, and she recommended adding either hard-boiled egg or feta cheese.

Nina specified either eggs or feta, but I insisted on adding both, because mmmm, eggs. And mmmm, feta.

Nina also adds whatever fresh herbs she has on hand. Parsley, cilantro, basil, parsley and mint are all popular choices (We used dill.)

The classic Israeli salad begs for experimentation and creativity. There are versions with radishes, bell peppers, chilies, carrots, cabbage, chives, ginger, chickpeas, olives, preserved lemon peel, cayenne—you name it.

Cucumbers are essential, but you can use either the large English cucumbers or the smaller Persian cucumbers.

Nina’s husband likes to add mayonnaise, which may sound odd for a Middle Eastern salad. But the resulting texture resembles Israeli salads made with the traditional white cheese similar to Quark.

Basically, just chuck in whatever you want. You can’t go wrong. Oh, and try it stuffed into some Homemade Pita Bread along with some Instant Pot Falafel!

More great salad recipes you’ll love

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Matzoh toffee with hazelnuts

Matzoh Toffee for Passover

If you’re Jewish, or even if you’re not but you’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a Passover Seder, you’ve probably already fallen in love with matzoh toffee. This classic recipe is ubiquitous during the Jewish holiday Passover. It’s outrageously delicious and utterly addictive. I find that I cannot stop myself from eating this crunchy, sweet, chocolatey, nutty confection. Luckily, I only make it once a year for Passover.

But there’s something else that I love about this matzoh toffee recipe and that is that it illustrates a really important fact of recipe development. You’ve probably heard it said that there is nothing truly new—in art, in music, or in cooking—and in a way that’s true. Everything is derivative. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t create something new and exciting—and original—out of an old idea.

Matzoh toffee with hazelnuts

The Original Matzoh Toffee Recipe

The original matzoh toffee recipe was created by Marcy Goldman, a baker and cookbook author. It was the mid-1980s and Marcy was looking for a treat she could serve to her family during Passover—meaning it couldn’t have any leavening, among other forbidden ingredients—that even her picky toddler would eat. Her solution to this conundrum was what we now know as matzoh toffee: matzoh sheets turned into a delectable candy with layers of toffee and chocolate. It was brilliant, delicious, and, yes, quite original. You can find Marcy’s recipe in her book A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.

Except that it wasn’t truly original. People had been making a cracker-based toffee candy recipe for decades. Saltine crackers were layered with buttery toffee and chocolate. Saltines, though, have leavening in them, so they aren’t suitable for eating during Passover (for Jews who observe).

Was Marcy’s idea genius? Absolutely. She found a solution to a dilemma that no one else had thought of before (at least as far as we know). Did Marcy just rip off the inventor of the recipe using Saltines? Definitely not. She used the idea—a cracker-based layered toffee-and-chocolate treat—but she turned it into something new.

This is what makes recipe development so exciting and challenging: Figuring out how to put a truly original spin on certain cooking techniques or combinations of ingredients, all of which have been around forever.

Our Very Own Passover Toffee Recipe

This is our spin on Marcy’s now-famous recipe. We added chopped hazelnuts and a pinch of flaky sea salt to the toffee layer. Is our version original? Certainly not. Marcy Goldman and whoever invented the original Saltine toffee recipe get the credit for that. We just gave it our own twist.

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