A Little Bubbly

Who doesn’t like a little bubbly every once in a while?!  Staying true to the girly stereotype, I love fruity drinks!  I happen to also love whiskey and scotch, but everything has a right time and place, and New Years is the right time and place for a bubbly fruity drink. 
My drink of choice to bring in the year 2014 is a peach mimosa, it’s a classic with a twist, plus they have ONLY two ingredients…can it get any simpler?  The clean and fresh taste of a sweet sparkly wine or champaign mixed with a fruit nectar hits the spot and bursts with bubbly surprises and sweet flavors.  I hope this year brings you glasses of sweetness and bursts of happiness!


3 Part Champaigne or Moscato, cold
1 Part Nectar (peach, orange, etc), cold
Fruit for Garnish

Mix and Serve

Bright, Fresh, and Delicous!

I have a had a slight obsession with pomegranate seeds for the past few months.  Every since I learned how to open them up and easily pop out the seeds without mess, I have been eating them by the cup full (tip to deseed at the end of the recipe). 
I came up with this recipe for an Israeli Brunch demo.  Combining the fresh and aromatic herbs, the bright and juicy pomegranate seeds, and the couscous, I feel like this recipe captures the full essence of an Israeli dish. Betayavon!        
Pomegranate and Goat Cheese Israeli Couscous
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil plus 1/4 C.
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 (1-pound) box Israeli couscous (or any small pasta)
3 Cups Vegetable Stock or Water
2 Lemons, juiced
1 Lemon, zested
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 C. Fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 C.  Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped
1/4 C. Fresh Pomegranate Seeds
1/4 C. Candied Pecans
1/4 C. Goat Cheese (for a parve alternative add fried Sarimi (fake crab).  sauté in hot oil till crispy)
In a medium saucepan, add the 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute (do not burn). Add the couscous and cook until toasted and lightly browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the stock, and the juice of 1 lemon, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the couscous is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with the remaining olive oil, remaining lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper and let cool.
 Once the couscous is room temperature, add the fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds , goat cheese and candied pecans. Toss to combine and serve.
Tip: To easily remove pomegranate seeds with no mess or stain, slice pomegranate into  quarters and pop out seeds in a bowl of cold water.



“Olive” My Readers: ZETA and Whole Foods Giveaway

Hummus is a staple in my home.  I would love to say we make it from scratch all the time, but that would be false.  We love our packaged hummus, especially Achla brand (shout out Achla!) but there really is nothing as fresh and as lovely as homemade hummus.  Olive oil has a subtle but impacting flavor in hummus.     
I tried ZETA Olive Oil about a year ago and fell in the love with the flavors.  The olive oil itself is great quality, but the pungent flavors of garlic, basil and lemon shine through and add such a huge punch of flavor, not to mention they have the coolest pop up spout under the lid!

You can either incorporate the olive oil directly into the hummus or drizzle it on top of the plated hummus. 

With that being said…It’s GIVEAWAY TIME! One of AliBabka’s very lucky readers will have delivered to their door* a $25 gift card to Whole Foods and a three pack of ZETA Olive Oil:Regular, Lemon, and Basil and Garlic (sold at Whole Foods). I cannot wait for you to try it!

*Winner must be located in the United States


1-16 Oz. Can of Chickpeas

1 Lemon, juiced

1/4 C. Tahini Paste
1/4 C. Water

3 Cloves Garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp. Salt (more or less to taste)

2 TBS. ZETA Olive Oil




In food processor, finely mince the garlic.  Add the tahini paste and while motor is running slowly add the water and lemon juice till combined.  Drain chickpeas and add to the tahini mixture.  While the food processor is on, drizzle in olive oil.  Blend until you have reached your desired consistency.  Season with salt to taste. 

Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus. Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of ZETA olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley, zaatar and paprika. Serve with vegetables or pita chips.


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Puff It Up, Puff It In, Let Us Begin…

You can put anything in puff pastry and it will taste amazing!  I dare you, name one thing that wouldn’t taste good in a puffed up piece of buttery dough?! I had a time in my life where puff pastry was the enemy.  I had a huge aversion to puff pastry after making it from scratch in culinary school.  Puff pastry is made with so much butter (or if it’s parve, margarine) you can’t even imagine!  It puffs up because the butter that is folded into each thin layer of pastry dough creates air pockets.
Nonetheless, I don’t want to deter you from using puff pastry, but like anything, eat in moderation.
This recipe is from my demo at Kosherfest.  Bourekas in Israel are like donuts in America, you can find them everywhere! This recipe screams Mediterranean with the combination of feta, roasted eggplant and tehina all wrapped up in puff pastry! If you want to go parve, I use sweet potato’s instead of feta as a variation to this recipe.    

Eggplant and Feta Bourekas with Parsley Tehina Sauce

2 Sheets Puff Pastry Dough

2 Eggplant, roasted, peeled and cut in small pieces
2/3 C. Bulgarian Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 Egg, Beaten
Salt and Pepper
Egg wash (yolk + 1 tsp. water)
Sesame Seeds

Roast eggplant (pierced with knife) at 450 for 30 minutes.  Remove the pulp discarding the seeds and squeezing out the liquid. Preheat oven to 350. Mix together the eggplant pulp, feta and egg till combined.  Flour a surface and roll out one sheet of puff pastry dough (roll out thin, but not transparent). Cut the dough in circles with a cookie cutter or drinking glass. Put about a teaspoon of filling in each and  close in half circles by pinching slightly the dough, wet the edges if necessary.  Place on parchment paper and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and zaatar.  Bake until golden 20 -30 minutes.

Parsley Tehina Sauce:

1/2 C. Sesame Paste

1 C. Water
2 lemons, juiced
4 Garlic Cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 C. Parsley
Salt, to taste

Place sesame paste, water, lemon juice, garlic cloves, parsley and cumin in a food processor. Pulse to combine, then process until the mixture has the consistency of thick cream. Transfer to a bowl and add salt to taste.