Healthy Hollywood: Fab Food Friday – Dip Into An Israeli Feast!

Healthy Hollywood recently had an Israeli-style feast at a friend’s house. A mouth-watering experience! She married an Israeli man and his mother taught her how to cook all the Mediterranean classics. On the table were two different salmon dishes with mounds of seasonal vegetables, falafels, seasoned rice and different types of Israeli bread.

Yet, the most unforgettable part was the lazy Susan centerpiece of assorted salads from babaganush to hummus to tabouleh to a chopped cucumber and tomato salad – plus stuffed grape leaves, olives and yogurt-like dipping sauce. Healthy Hollywood was in food heaven!

Healthy Hollywood is still craving some of those tasty yet nutritious foods. So, talk about perfect timing! Earlier this week, a publicist from the New York City Israeli hotspot, Barbounia, got in touch about doing an item on their signature hummus. Didn’t take too long to get back with a booming - ‘of course I’m interested!’

Barbounia’s Mediterranean menu attracts health-conscious celebrities like Brooke Shields, Chelsea Clinton and Susan Sarandon. “The specialties of an Israeli menu is that we use lots of fresh fish either grilled or whole from the Mediterranean and its served with vegetables and the best olive oils,” Barbounia’s executive chef, Efi Nahon, who adds, “We use ripe tomatoes with a lot of herbs, olives and good cheese. We don’t eat processed food, so the Mediterranean diet is a really healthy way to eat.”

Chef Efi shared with Healthy Hollywood two of his classic appetizer recipes, which are both surprisingly simple.

Hummus:

Ingredients

3 quarts of cooked chickpea

1 quart raw tahini

Juice from 1 lemon

Salt

Ground cumin

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and blend well for 5 minutes. Garnish with olive and chopped parsley.

Tabouleh:

Ingredients

1 cup course ground bulger wheat (soaked in cold water for 45 minutes)

½ cup each of chopped parsley, mint, cilantro

3 bunches scallions

Seeds of 2 pomegranate

4 tbsp. sunflower seeds

1 spicy green pepper

Juice from 4 big lemons

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp. sumac

Salt & pepper

Mix all together and serve immediately.

Chef Eli suggests serving taboulen or hummus with warm pita, olives, some feta cheese and hardboiled egg.

For more on Barbounia, check out www.barbounia.com

-- Terri MacLeod

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