It was the last stop on that “whirlwind ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ tour,” in Israel, that shaped her cooking style more than any other. Being half-Israeli, she’d been there many times before. But experiencing her roots through the lens of a passionate chef gave her a new appreciation for such standbys as sesame-rich tahini, briny sheep’s-milk feta, and fresh-baked pita stuffed with fried eggplant, spicy pickled mango.
Those flavors dominate the meals she shares today in Brooklyn with her husband and toddler daughter, and leap from the bright, seductive pages of “Eating Out Loud.” She hooked me with roasted cauliflower doused in Date-Parsley Gremolata, a dazzling sauce that I now want to slather over everything. Braised Halibut with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Garlicky Tahini (I cheated with frozen cod fillets), alongside Brown Butter Couscous, was gorgeous-looking, sensational-tasting, and astoundingly easy to assemble. I’ve bookmarked Sumac-Strawberry Mini Pavlovas with Vanilla Whipped Cream for a future splurge.
Relying on unfussy techniques and a handful of well-chosen staples, the author shows us how to crank up the flavor – and the fun factor – of any meal. “The Fleetwood Mac Spotify station is just as important an ingredient as the salt and pepper,” she adds, “but that’s another story.”
Susan Puckett is a cookbook author and former food editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow her at susanpuckett.com.
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