This Monday evening, May 5, is Yom HaAtzma’ut, or Israel’s Independence Day. After more than 60 years, this small but mighty country has brought an incredible array of music, art and food to the world, changing how we see Jewish culture. In the U.S., Israeli chef Einat Admony is credited with bringing Israeli-style falafel to the Big Apple with her highly acclaimed falafel shop, Taïm (appropriately meaning “tasty”!).
Three years ago, Einat opened Balaboosta in New York City, a high-end Israeli-Mediterranean fusion restaurant that pays homage to her history and culture—a long line of balaboostas, or tough housewives who “crowded their tables with food and laughter,” she says.
Whether you can make it to New York for a meal at one of Einat’s two restaurants or not, her gorgeous debut cookbook by the same name offers creative and bold Mediterranean recipes that you can make at home, along with honest and funny stories about Israel. It’s the kind of cookbook even non-cooks will enjoy!
Aside from her famous falafel recipe, the cookbook includes many classics, like shakshuka and challah, and also features Yemenite oxtail soup (Einat’s gorgeous olive skin is proof of her Yemenite background!), shrimp kataif (Arabic pancakes) and harissa honey hot wings, which she taught locals to make at a cooking class in Boston last year. Some of the dishes are a bit more involved, but even a novice cook can make many of these deliciously spiced dishes. All of them bring a global flair to what has become known as the Israeli culinary tradition. Best of all, Einat’s personality and stories bring these recipes to life in a way that most cookbooks only hope to do.
So break out your best Israeli recipe (takeout is fine!) for dinner on Monday to celebrate Israel’s 66th birthday. And let me know how else you’re planning to celebrate!
*In the photo above Einat teaches the New Center NOW Cooking Circle how to make her harissa honey hot wings.