13 Sep Memories of an Israeli Breakfast
Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN is a breakfast junkie. In anticipation of her annual pilgrimage to Israel, she writes about the most important meal of the day-Israeli style.
My absolute favorite meal of the day is breakfast. Pancakes, French toast, muffins, hot and cold cereal—all the good stuff. But each summer when I travel to Israel, my love for breakfast is renewed with new flavors and foods.
Due to jet lag (Israel is 7 hours ahead of New York), my husband and I end up waking up on the later side of 9 or 10 am. By this time, my father-in-law (the cook of the house) has whipped up a delicious, Israeli-style breakfast. Thick pita, finely chopped Israeli salad made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and a touch of olive oil), hummus, hard cheese, scrambled eggs and a variety of spreads claiming to have 4 percent fat all line the table. And don’t even think about finishing the meal without a warm cup of tea.
In my home in New York, I save challah bread French toast and pancakes as a special weekend treat. In Israel there’s shakshuka and jachnoon.
Shakshuka is a dish made from eggs cooked in a thick, spicy sauce consisting of tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and seasonings like cumin, chili and turmeric. The eggs are typically cooked in indentations within the sauce, which makes it easy to scoop up. (see photo above)
My sister-in-law cooks up a Yemenite dish called jachnoon on Saturday (equivalent to our Sunday in the U.S.). The dish looks like flaky pancakes and is made from a combo of flour and margarine. Although you can buy it frozen at the “super” (a.k.a. supermarket in Hebrew), my sis-in-law makes it from scratch. It’s served with tomatoes and spicy “shug”—a fiery pepper sauce that I can actually find in a few markets in my area.
My mission on this trip is to get the family recipe for shakshuka to make it for my loved ones in the U.S. With 22 hours until my flight departs, I am eagerly awaiting all the Middle Eastern flavors that I’ll encounter.
Toby Amidor, MS RD CDN is the Nutrition Expert and blogger at FoodNetwork.com (http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/). She’s also a nutrition consultant, speaker and writer specializing in food safety and culinary nutrition. www.tobyamidornutrition.com