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In the Joy of Kosher Kitchen with Balaboosta

 

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I know what you are thinking, aren’t we all balaboosta? Or maybe you are thinking I am in a no way a balaboosta or what is a balaboosta? A balaboosta is the Yiddish term for the perfect housewife. The dream of little girls long ago was to be a balaboosta just like their mothers.

Some of that changed with the feminist movement, but just as women have evolved, Einat Admony believes that the term “balaboosta” is to be embraced not embarrassed. A twenty-first century balaboosta navigates the pitfalls of life with courageous heart, a head filled with determination, and a spirit of risk and adventure. The modern balaboosta can be anyone, young or old, male or female, religious or not who lives with gusto, shuns fear and relies on instinct over precision.

Einat was born and raised in Israel, she is now a wife, mother of two and successful owner of three busy New York City restaurants. She is also the winner of a Throwdown with Bobby Flay (according to Bobby Flay) for her take on falafel. In this new cookbook Einat Admony shares 140 of her favorite recipes. Most recipes are the same she cooks for her family at home with a few fancy ones thrown in for special occasions.

Although Einat talks about her intuitive cooking style, she does put measurements and helpful instruction in her recipes. If you like Israeli food you will love her cookbook!

Note: Einat’s restaurants are not all kosher and the cookbook does have a few non-kosher recipes. Taim, her Israeli falafel shack in the West Village, is certified kosher by UKS.

We asked and Einat answered:

I love all the little anecdotes before each section and recipe, how do you feel about sharing so much of yourself in this cookbook?

It was not hard for me, I am not a reserved person and I have no secrets. The hardest part was talking about the way I met my husband, there was a lot of emotion, but it is part of my life and I had to share it.

Why did you separate chapters based on types of food, grown-ups versus kids, quick versus slow rather than appetizer, main, side and dessert?

I thought that this division was more fun and more me.  It gave me the opportunity to write about myself and my many moods.  Sometimes I am with my kids and in the mood to cook kid food, sometimes I am alone with my husband and I want to cook more for romance.  Sometimes I want to cook slow and sometimes I want to cook fast.  I also like the idea of occasions and specific foods for each one.  People can take a recipe from each section to make their own meals of course.

Can you tell me a bit about your Israeli upbringing and how that influenced your cooking?

In my restaurants, Balaboosta, I cook a lot of Mediterranean, including a little Spanish, French etc. and even sometimes infusions of flavor from my travels, like Thailand, where I have visited 9 times.  My core is Israeli style, but I like to collaborate and connect flavors from other places and bring them into my Israeli soul.

I grew up in Bnei Brak surrounded by many different Jewish cultures.  My parents became religious when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.  I never really liked the religious school and all the laws, but I have tremendous respect for Judaism and I love the culture and traditions.  I still do Shabbat dinner with challah every Friday night.  I really appreciate the Jewish values and the family and we celebrate all the Jewish holidays.

What is your earliest memory in the kitchen?

I really have so many crazy memories, many are in the book, but mostly I recall being a slave in the kitchen every Friday.  From 8 am until the time Shabbat started I was cleaning and cooking like crazy with my mom and then if I was finished early with my neighbor.  I loved going to my neighbor and learning her Moroccon style of cooking, that is when I learned to make real couscous, the kind that takes 3 hours instead of 5 minutes.

What do you think about the rise in popularity of Israeli cusine?

I know people have asked me about this trend, and I say, it is not a trend, it is here to stay.  Israeli food is really more about culture, about bringing beautiful food from all different cultures together.

Black Olive Falafel from Taim

Thank you so much for talking with us and for sharing your these recipes.  I am so excited to try out your famous falafel, any tips?

I tested the recipe with a food processor and it works well, if you have a meat grinder, that is even better.  I use olives in my classic falafel instead of cilantro and herbs, but you can really swap in anything, I also love using harissa instead of olives for my spicy version, I make that at Taim too.  Play around with it and make it your own, you cant’ go wrong.

hamin

Hamin

I actually made your hamin recipe last week, everyone loved it, but I was unsure the best way to serve it, any suggestions?

I like to place the bags on a big tray and cut them open for people to spoon out what they want.  Just make sure to leave enough space when tying the bags, the beans and barley do expand.

I can’t wait to try your Homemade Kit Kat recipe, but I would love to make it parve for after a Shabbat meat meal, any thoughts?

The beauty of this recipe is how easy and delicious it is.  Sure you can try making your own nutella and maybe substituting coconut oil instead of butter, but I haven’t tried it and it takes away from the simplicity.

You are well known for your TV appearances, winning twice on Chopped and appeared on throwdown with Bobby Flay. Would you ever want your own cooking show?

Who doesn’t? But I would want something fun, not in a set teaching recipes, I need people, doing something fun.  Maybe one day.  And you should know I didn’t actually win the throwdown, the judges picked Bobby’s falafel, but later he came out and said my falafel was the best and officially declared me the winner.

Now that we learned all about Einat and Balaboosta it is your chance to win a copy of this cookbook. 

Leave a comment below to win and get more chances with Rafflecopter.  Tell us what you think of when you hear balaboosta, do you think you are a balaboosta, do you want to be?

Don’t miss Einat’s recipes for

Hamin

Homemade Kit Kat

Falafel

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About Tamar Genger MA, RD

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Tamar lives in New York and is the mother of three amazing children, a Registered Dietitian, professor of Nutrition, and as you can probably guess, a foodie! Tamar loves to travel with her family and visits kosher restaurants wherever she goes. Although she loves the sights, she spends more time talking about the restaurants and food she ate! As a mom and a nutritionist, Tamar tries to balance her passion for healthy cooking with her insatiable desire for chocolate!

 

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48 Responses to In the Joy of Kosher Kitchen with Balaboosta

  1. I’m probably a little older than many here, so I have a different take on women’s liberation. To me, in the day and even now, it means respecting a woman’s choices in her own life, be it wanting a demanding career, wanting to be a balaboosta or wanting to goof off every day. I didn’t fight for our rights to try to limit what we can do. So, I think being a balaboosta is an absolutely delightful thing to be, if that’s what a person has chosen to be.

  2. avatar says: Nechama

    I always thought an Passover Edition Iron Chef would be fun…
    Once you have your show, you can suggest it. :)

  3. avatar says: Nechama

    Being a Balabusta in my mind is feeding the people I love!

  4. avatar says: michelle

    Being a balaboosta to me is managing my home and family commitments with communal commitments without stressing everybody out.

  5. avatar says: Freddy

    Her restaurant taim is under the UKS . Can you please tell me who is that? Because if its not reliable hashgacha , you should not be writing for this website. Does Jamie geller know about this ?

  6. Proud to be keeping up the tradition of balaboostas in my family!!!

  7. avatar says: kne

    Being a balaboosta means different things to different people. To me it’s about efficient home management. Maybe if I win the cookbook it will expand my perspective! ;)

  8. avatar says: Reena

    For me, being a balaboosta is about managing a hectic life both in and out of the home with a smile on my face. Cooking well for my family helps keep it there!

    • avatar says: f

      The picture in my mind of a balbusta is a woman who makes holopches (stuffed cabbage) and kokosh cake, is a little round and is always calm and happy.

  9. avatar says: deana c

    I think it must be hard to be a great balaboosta.

  10. Being a calm home manager and feeding the ones I love.

  11. avatar says: Taylor

    WHAT is that fabulous looking chocolate ganache in the first picture?

    My husband and I just moved into a new house yesterday and I will know I am a balaboosta once I am able to get everything unpacked and organized!

  12. I’d love having the time to spend with my kids.

  13. avatar says: dalesusan

    what a beautiful looking book. mazel tov. i hope i win the cheese prize!

  14. avatar says: Tamar

    I am not as balaboosta as I’d like to be. :) Too much stuff going on with kids who make a huge mess.

  15. avatar says: Victor

    Saw this book at chapters this week and fell in love with it, luck for me I forgot to bring my wallet. ..maybe I’ll be lucky enough to win it!

  16. Drooling here – gotta have the book :-)

  17. avatar says: Rochel S

    Being a balaboosta to me is providing my family with yummy and nutritious meals – something im still working on :)

  18. avatar says: Theresa

    This looks like a fascinating cookbook! Thank you for the opportunity to win!

    • avatar says: Theresa

      I forgot to say that I love the idea of being a balaboosta – it’s a blessing to have the opportunity to bless my family in this way – I hope I attain that!

  19. avatar says: Elcya

    This definitely sounds like a cookbook I want to add to my collection! Can’t wait.

  20. avatar says: davises88

    I’ve been reading out this book and the restaurants in the New York Times. I love how “Israeli” food – or fusion Israeli – is making it into the mainstream with Einat Admony in NY and Michael Solomonov in PA. Kosher and Israeli has certainly “arrived!”

  21. avatar says: Danielle

    Being a balaboosta is about providing the people you love with food that is not only delicious but nourishing as well. A balaboosta has a certain grace and makes every person who enters her home feel loved and welcome.

  22. avatar says: Naomi

    I would love to add these recipes to my ever growing collection!

  23. I don’t know that I strive to be a balaboosta. I am however doing much more cooking from scratch.

  24. avatar says: dkny

    I love the term balaboosta. It has connotations of an old world woman with a talent for feeding her family well. Now the term means someone who balances all of her balls in the air and does it all well – especially in the domestic area.

  25. avatar says: Shari

    I am cookbook obsessed and would love to add this to my collection. Any Jewish homemaker can be a balaboosta!

  26. avatar says: AILUY

    To me balaboosta means taking care of my family and home. When I see my children’s faces smiling because they love the food I made, I am no longer tired, or ‘bleh’. I am not saying it is easy, nor am I saying that it is for everyone. But to those who love/enjoy the kitchen or just do it to see the happy faces and to hear ‘yuuuuuuuuuuum’, KOL HA-KAVOD! As for those who are ‘allergic’ to domestic affairs, more power to you too.

  27. avatar says: Danny

    I don’t know if you are aware, but the Balaboosta cookbook is full of non-kosher recipes – I am shocked that you would feature it on the “Joy of Kosher” website !

  28. avatar says: Miriam C

    I think I am a Balabuste. I have been told by my friends and family that I am. I am a stay at home mommy and my job is taking care of the house. I enjoy cooking, baking and the like and make many foods from scratch. To me all of those things make someone a balabuste and to all of the people that work out of the house and still accomplish all of these things they are just as much a balabuste as myself if not more so!!

  29. You know, in high school when all my peers were wearing jeans and going to peace marches, I was wearing dresses and cutting class so I could bake challah1 (ok, I did have a few prs of jeans,and went to a few peace marches as well….) But my balaboosta roots held strong through those crazy years…I love feeding my family and community extra wonderful food for shabbos and yom tov!

  30. avatar says: yael zar

    I think being a balabuste is taking care of your family, cooking home cooked meals, having friends and enjoying cooking for others, and maintaining a household.

  31. I want to win this cookbook! It looks amazing!!

  32. avatar says: robee61

    For me it means always seeing that my family is taken care of and that their food is always varied and good tasting.

  33. avatar says: faigy

    My mother is ultimate balabusta – the kind that starts to clean for pesach after chanuka & always has 5 different types of cookies baked. I’m not quite like that but I hold my own!

  34. avatar says: frippie

    that hamin looks amazing!

  35. avatar says: sb

    I love being a balabusta & would love winning the book!

  36. being a balaboosta reminds me of my mother, my grandmother and her mother before her and so on

  37. avatar says: Marla

    Being a balaboosta to me means doing it all, but making it look effortless.
    I loved watching Einat Admony on Chopped and would love to win her cookbook.

  38. I am also older than many here and actually remember the “women’s movement.” After all these years women have so many more choices than the women of my mother’s and grandmother’s generations. But as far as being a balaboosta, my mother always said I was a balaboosta, even when I was a kid. For our family it meant “hard worker,” not necessarily a “housewife” although it could mean that.

  39. avatar says: Rena

    taking care of my family :)

  40. avatar says: JR

    Being the person that I want my kids to grow up to be.

  41. I have never seen a more beautiful Hamin…looks great!

  42. avatar says: Daniel M

    never heard of it, always like trying new things

  43. avatar says: Samantha

    I had never heard of this term before, but I think being a balaboosta is a good thing. You want to be a great housewife. I love to cook for my fiance!

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