February 23, 2015


Chef Einat is the owner and chef of Taim, Balaboosta and Bar Bolonat. There was absolutely no way I was leaving her interview without some of her excellent recipes. Here, I present her harissa, fried olives with labaneh and Jerusalem mix pita. YOU’RE WELCOME.


World’s Best Harissa — Recipe from Chef Einat

I LOVE harissa. Everyone should try it but be warned: once you do, you will dream about it and yearn for it like it’s your destiny to dream about it and year for it. The all-consuming “new” sriracha. And you can get it right away — your local grocery store should have all the ingredients!

Makes about 2 ½ Cups

10 garlic cloves

1 large roasted red bell pepper, peeled, cored and seeded

1¼ cups canola oil

¼ cup tomato paste

½ cup ground cumin

⅓ cup cayenne

⅓ cup sweet Hungarian paprika

¼ cup ground caraway

2 tablespoons kosher salt


Combine garlic, bell pepper, tomato paste and 3/4 of the oil in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is almost pureed.

Add cumin, cayenne, paprika, caraway and salt. Slowly drizzle in the remaining ¼ cup oil while the machine is running. Keep processing until the harissa is completely pureed and all ingredients are combined thoroughly.

Store the harissa in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.


Fried Olives with Labneh

I love this dish!! Such a fun cool new way to prepare such a classic.

Serves 2 to 4

Canola oil for deep frying

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 large eggs, beaten

3 cups fine panko

2 cups pitted Kalamata olives

Labneh — find recipe here

Harissa — see recipe above


Line up three large bowls and fill one with flour, another with eggs and the third with panko.

Using a slotted spoon, throw handfuls of olives (no more than 8 to 10 at a time) into the flour. Take them out, shaking off excess flour and quickly dip them in the egg. Then place them in the panko and shake off any excess powder before dipping them in the egg mixture again. Move them back to the panko and shake them around to coat evenly. If you notice the panko getting gooey or chunky, strain it of any clumps. Remove excess crumbs with your slotted spoon and place in an airtight container until ready to use.  This can be done up to a day in advance as long as you keep the olives in the refrigerator.

Heat enough oil in a skillet or medium pot to deep-fry the olives. When the oil reaches about 375˚F, carefully place a handful of olives in the oil using your slotted spoon. Fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer the fried olives to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

To serve, dollop labne evenly across the bottom of a shallow serving bowl. Add olives in the middle. Carefully pour harissa oil around the circumference of the bowl.


Jerusalem Mix

Pita parties are always a hit. Especially with this great recipe. Don’t be a hero and make the pita—it’s obscenely trying. Buy the pita, make everything that goes in it! And let your guests get creative, stuffing their own. And allow yourself to Get. Excited.

Makes 4 servings

2 boneless chicken thighs, sliced into strips

2 roughly sliced merguez sausages

½ cup caramelized onions

¼ cup chopped parsley

1 ½ tbsp spice mix

2 tbsp canola oil

1 pinch kosher salt

4 medium pitas

Spice mix:

4 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp turmeric

2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp black pepper

Amba Yogurt:

1 quart Fage Greek yogurt

1/3 cup amba paste

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp olive oil


Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and add chicken. Heat for roughly a minute, then add merguez sausage and mix. Follow with caramelized onions and parsley and cook roughly 4-6 minutes. One minute before cooking is finished, add spice mixture and salt. Mix well and remove from heat.

Let sit, before serving the chicken in a pita with a generous dollop of amba yogurt.

Sweet Potato Fries

2 medium sweet potatoes, sliced into matchsticks

½ cup cornstarch

1 clove garlic, finely minced

Chopped parsley

Kosher salt, to taste


Place sweet potato slices in a mixing bowl and sprinkle lightly with water. Coat thoroughly with cornstarch and then sift to remove excess.

Fry the coated sweet potatoes in canola oil heated to 350 degrees until golden and crispy, roughly two minutes.

Once done, throw into a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil. Toss the sweet potatoes with garlic, parsley and salt. Serve hot.


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