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Articles by Janna Gur

Granny Vera's Apfel Kuchen
When granny Vera baked her famous apple cake, the aroma of cinnamon and warm apples permeated our whole apartment. I however could also smell imminent trouble. read more>>

Rosh Hashana Top Ten
Here are my ten Rosh Hashana favorites. Some are new takes on traditional Jewish classics, while others are fresh creations by local chefs, but all have already made their way to my family’s festive table. I hope you’ll also find something in this selection to grace your New Year's Eve dinner. read more>>

Janna Gur's Culinary Guide
By no means comperensive or systematic, this is a compilation of my favorite restaurants around the country. The majority of the recommendations are in Tel Aviv – my hometown and without a doubt the food Capital of Israel. read more>>

Gvina Levana

Most Israelis do not refer to soft white cheese (gvina levana) by its various trade names. Instead, they refer to it by its fat content: nine percent and five percent. Eaten with a teaspoon, mixed with fruit or vegetable salad, spread on bread or crackers, and used in a variety of pies and pastries, this is one of the most in-demand foods in Israel. read more>>

Food that Speaks Hebrew
When "The Book of New Israeli Food" first came out, many people wondered why I didn't write it in Hebrew. The questions were so frequent, and the interest in the book so genuine, I was almost tempted to translate it into Hebrew. And yet I knew that a translation just wouldn't do. A Hebrew book about Israeli food must be different in form, stance and contents. I am proud and happy to announce that now this book I dreamt about finally exists. read more>>

The Israeli "Mangal"
Long before steak houses (steakiyot) became popular in the early 1960s, Arab restaurants throughout Israel grilled shishlik and kebab as well as fish. But grilled meat was not their exclusive domain. read more>>

Tree Planting and Dried Fruit
Almost any Jewish tradition expert would tell you that the custom of eating dried fruit on Tu B’Shvat originated in the Diaspora; the idea was to honor fruits of the Promised Land. read more>>

Tahini: not just for Hummus!
The first cooking class I gave on American soil was dedicated to tahini. I felt that this wonderful Middle Eastern staple was largely misunderstood in Western cooking - relegated to the baba ghanoush and hummus department of most people’s minds and certainly not considered something you’d need at home on a regular basis. read more>>

Hanukkah Special: A Little Oil Goes a Long Way
During Hanukkah we eat fried foods to commemorate the miracle of oil – a tiny jug of oil that kept the Temple menorah alight for 8 days. It must have been a very economical little menorah, what we’d now call 'environmentally sound'. read more>>

Looking for Winter
The only reliable season in Israel is summer. Like an annoying relative, it arrives too early and invariably overstays its welcome. Israeli winter, on the other hand, plays it hard to get – showing up for a few days and then vanishing without a trace. read more>>

Breakfast in Tel Aviv
At almost any given moment someone in Tel Aviv is starting his or her day with coffee, eggs and a chopped salad. Breakfast in Tel Aviv is serious business, and the major players are no longer just cafes and hotels (famous for their lush Israeli breakfast buffets). read more>>

Shakshuka, Reinvented

In "The Book of New Israeli Food" I stated that shakshuka is comprised of 3 mandatory ingredients: eggs, tomatoes and hot sauce. Well, it’s time I took that back – shakshuka has since evolved into so much more. These days, all that’s needed are eggs, a skillet and a bit of imagination. read more>>

A Cake for Shabbat
The enticing aroma of baking on Friday afternoons is etched into every Israeli's childhood memories. Home baking has always been a great local tradition, finding expression in the informal “Drop-by-for-coffee-and-cake” invitation. And, mind you, the cake must be homemade. read more>>

Open Air Markets
Israel is part of the Middle East, and in the Middle East the open-air market, also known as the souk, is one of the most popular forms of commerce. read more>>

Don't Be That Tourist
Let's say you see a group of tourists sitting down for a meal in an obvious tourist trap. They happily peruse the menu and chat with the waiter, certain that a pleasant meal is in store for them. But you know better. Aren't you just a little bit embarrassed? Don't you feel the urge to come up to them and suggest another place, "Right here, around the corner, good prices, great food..." read more>>

A Dining Hall Across the Opera
If I know anything about anything, the restaurant where we just had dinner is about to become the hottest spot in Tel Aviv. The food was terrific, the prices are sweet, and a small crowd waited at the doorstep of this barely two-week-old restaurant. read more>>

The Miracle of Coffee
Every woman has different memories of her pregnancy. I just wanted to sleep. The constant drowsiness took over my thoughts and habits during these long nine months, and I craved coffee. Good, strong cappuccino, which I had discovered a few months earlier on a trip to Italy. read more>>

My First Hummus
In Israel hummus is a religion. There are books dedicated to hummus, guides for hummus restaurants, hummus blogs and hummus fan clubs. There is hummus aristocracy - half a dozen places enjoying national acclaim and worthy of a special trip as well as "regional" hummus spots known only to locals. read more>>

Grandma's Cooking
My grandmothers were great cooks, other than that you couldn't find two less similar women. My elegant  paternal Granny Vera despised the kitchen, but when she was reduced to the need to cook she turned out little miracles. read more>>

The Wandering Chickpea

Imagine a world where sushi can only be sold by Japanese, frozen tortillas can be obtained exclusively from producers based in Mexico and only chefs with Hungarian parentage could put goulash on the menu. read more>>

The weeks preceding the Passover holiday are busy and hectic. First and foremost, according to the Jewish religious custom, homes must be cleansed of every last bit of hametz − leavened foods and beverages including pastry and beer, which are strictly forbidden during Passover. read more>>



 Photo: Eiloan Paz (from "The Book of New Israeli Food")

Photo: Eilon Paz (from "Fresh Flavors from Israel")





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