Why do you choose to use herbs native to Israel in your cooking?
For me, it is natural. It was a natural thing in the beginning. I try to be very original with the dishes that I create. When I was a child I would go to the mountains with my teacher to pick herbs. She would say, “I will show you what to pick.” At first, I was afraid that some of the herbs were poisonous. However, with confidence, I learned what to pick and found that these herbs were delicious. For me, it is a love of the Bible and a love of the foods of the Bible.
How are other chefs following in your footsteps?
The revival of Israeli cuisine began about 15 years ago. I want to revive Israeli cuisine for myself and my clients. Chefs in New York are now starting to use the herb mallow in their cooking. European chefs were using this herb several years before the U. S. Both Palestinian and Israelis are following in the revival of Israeli cuisine. Both sides are looking at very basic and simple foods with great taste. Foods such as good salads, falafel, humus and shish-kabob. This homestyle cooking is better known as the Slow Food Movement in which I won an award in Sicily several years ago. I see the Slow Food Movement as the glorification of home cooking.
Want to try something new for dessert? Try this simple and tasty recipe.
Tahini and Date Dip
4 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp date syrup
Spread the tahini evenly over a plate. Drizzle the date syrup into a circle about an inch from the edge of the plate. Repeat twice more making smaller circles inside each other moving closer towards the center. To complete the decorative effect, using a toothpick, make lines as if dividing the spread into quarters and then divide each quarter in half. Fresh fruit slices such as bananas or war pita bread can be used for dipping. Vary the quantities according to the size of your plate and the number of people you are serving. This about is great for a 6 inch plate. Date syrup and tahini are available at Middle Easter or specialty food stores.
Be sure to share some of your exotic dessert recipes with us.