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Middle Eastern spices have become staples in my everyday cooking. I love incorporating bold flavors like cumin and turmeric into my dishes. I know that sometimes these flavors can seem overwhelming, but when balanced, they can make a boring meal taste exotic and delicious! These recipes are a little bit out of the box, but also reminiscent of Israeli food. Try something new today, cooks!

Family-Size Beef Bourekas

This is one of my favorite appetizer dishes to serve. You won’t believe how easy it is to make! Tip: You can make this ahead of time, just brush with egg wash and bake before serving.

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, completely thawed
1/2 pound ground beef
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbs. toasted pine nuts (optional)
Salt, to taste
1 tbs. sesame seeds
1 egg yolk (for egg wash)

1. In a wide pan, sauté the onion in oil for 5 minutes over medium high heat.
2. Add the ground beef. Using a spoon, break the meat into small crumbles.
3. Season the beef with spices and salt, and taste to adjust. Once the meat is cooked through, allow to cool.
4. Use a rolling pin to roll the puff pastry sheet to 1/8-inch thickness.
5. Fill the center of the puff pastry with the cooked meat mixture.
6. Cut 2-inch strips on each side of the filling, then starting from the top, fold the dough over the meat, alternating sides to create a braided look.
7. Brush with the egg yolk, and top with sesame seeds. Bake on 400 for 25 minutes until the dough is golden brown and cooked through


Pickled Cauliflower

1 tbs. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. whole coriander seed
1/2 tsp. whole mustard seeds
6 cups hot water
2 tbs. salt
5 whole cloves of garlic

Store for weeks in shaded place.

Chef’s Tip

Pickling – vinegar or not?

Although many recipes for homemade pickles call for using vinegar, the traditional method of pickling involves fermenting the vegetables. In fact, a pickle that has simply soaked in vinegar is technically not a pickle at all. Pickling without vinegar allows vegetables to naturally ferment through a process known as lacto-fermentation. Lactobacillus, a type of anaerobic bacteria, thrives during the pickling process and gives foods a distinct sour taste.

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