My copy of the Nov. 2009 Saveur is now flecked with onion and parsley, and bears a few (minor) olive oil stains. I have worked my way through about half of the Jerusalem dishes — and I think I have eaten well not 50 eggs (because no man can eat 50 eggs) but enough eggs to give me what I’ll just call an “egg sweat.” Here are my notes:
Hummus B’ Tahina (or “Chummus Bin Tehini”)
The only way to say it: I basically freeballed this recipe. I had to because I started with a can of chickpeas instead of 5 oz. dry, whatever the hell that would come out to. I also used a Meyer lemon olive oil that was given to us as a gift. See, they ask for lemons and olive oil, so I put two and two together. The end result was too lemony and garlicky — a lousy dip but, as I would learn while constructing the sabich, a solid condiment.
Shakshuka (or “Chachchucha”)
Anaheim peppers are hot. I mean, I am supposed to know this, but now I KNOW this. The dish was easy — I whipped up the sauce Friday night while Eleanor sat in her high chair and watched, eating her Anaheim-free dinner; I dropped in the eggs after putting her to bed. I only squeezed in 7 eggs. Seven was plenty, though I am certain I could get more in there next time if need be. I added way more cumin than they ask for because they are pussies about cumin. Oh, and the thing about buying whole tomatoes and crushing them with your hands? It’s a great feeling, but stupidly unnecessary. What was necessary were the crunchy broiled pita wedges that I used for dipping, and the feta cheese which tied the dish together like a valued rug.
Sabich (or “Chabbos”)
We all know Jews were “chosen” for their abilities in the sandwich department, but sabich is genealogical proof. I ate two of them while standing up, the better to keep the bits from falling through the inevitable holes that formed in my warmed pita. (Am I doing it wrong? Is this how you weed out the imposters?) I have no idea why you stain your eggs brown, you can’t even see them in the sandwich, but it was really fun. I broiled the eggplant, along with some red pepper slices (cuz like no red pepper!!??!). And I used heirloom cherry tomatoes in my cucumber salad. But perhaps my ultimate heresy was replacing amba — which I could not find in my otherwise amazingly Kosher-friendly grocery store — with s’chüg. Red s’chüg, in case you’re wondering. Spicy replaced sweet, and the outcome was equally pleasing. Just don’t tell the rabbinical board.
Will I go on to attempt falafel (“chflavel”?)? Will I try my hand at a rose-water pudding? Will I eat another egg again as long as I live? These are questions for the ages.