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.
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.
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