Balaboosta: Bold Mediterranean Recipes (to Feed The People You Love) is an excellent way to start exploring Mediterranean cuisine. Like Plenty, by Yotam Ottolenghi, this is one of several recently published Mediterranean cookbooks that was an instant hit!
The author, Einat Admony, is the owner and chef of three popular restaurants in NYC: Balaboosta, Taïm and Bar Balonat. Next time you’re in New York, stop by one of her very favorably reviewed restaurants. Taïm is the place to go for the best falafel in New York. She a two time champion of The Food Networks Chopped series. Balaboosta is her first published cookbook.
Balaboosta translates from Yiddish to “Perfect homemaker, cook and mother.” The full-flavored and inspiring recipes will make you feel like a Balaboosta too!
There is so much to love about this book. I really appreciate the openness and warm-hearted style in the stories she shares about the restaurant business, living in New York, and cooking and eating with family and friends. Her stories about family are sweet and injected with a low-key and honest humor. The book is peppered throughout with family photos and the food photography is excellent.
The book is designed in an event-oriented layout, with themes such as: casual dinner party dishes, recipes to feed your kids, quick and easy meals, foods that comfort and slow-cooked recipes. There’s something for everyone in this cookbook, from simple recipes featuring fresh produce to challenging new creations. These recipes showcase some unique combinations of flavors and fun new takes on traditional recipes.
I started with one of the easiest recipes, Dorit’s Cabbage Salad. Because it calls for soy sauce, scallions and sesame seeds, this dish has a certain Mediterrasian flair. I was excited to find this recipe as I had three cabbages in the refrigerator, begging to be put to use. This recipe involved a little bit of simple chopping and a quick whisking together of a tasty dressing for the salad. This dish really lends itself to creative substitutions, so there’s always a good chance that you can pull it together with whatever you have on hand in your kitchen. For instance, you could use onions instead of scallions, currants instead of raisins or pine nuts instead of almonds. My family declared this a delicious salad.
Next up, I made Ahoova’s Patties. These were a huge hit. These crispy little patties are protein-packed with a mix of ground beef, sweet potato and egg. There is very little chopping involved and you can actually use the food processor instead, making for fast work in your preparation. We recommend making these patties as a fun cooking activity with kids. Simply mix, shape and heat. Then eat them up!
The next treats I made from Balaboosta, Space Cookies, were out of this world! This fool-proof recipe comes together in a snap, and features a great combination of flavors including tahini, honey and poppy seeds.
I enjoyed trying the recipes in Balaboosta and my family appreciated the results! I am looking forward to cooking my way through more of these recipes. We highly recommend this book, and you will find that it is also highly rated on amazon.com.
You can find the recipe for Dorit’s Cabbage Salad at The Jewish Daily Forward.