The cookbook has a little something for everyone. For those who like to understand the origins of dishes, it provides interesting and easy-to-understand history. For those who are food-porn addicts, the photos grab you immediately, with brightly hued spices, Israeli landscapes and often amusing photos of Solomonov cooking. And for those who are all about the food (like me), you will be bookmarking recipe after recipe for your to-make list.
Some highlights include Solomonov’s tips for making the perfect hummus, and how to dress up hummus with everything from fava beans to mushrooms to lamb; an entire chapter on preparing rice, including crispy Persian rice; several variations of chicken soup, including a Yemenite version; and even a “chat” with spice expert Lior Lev Sercasz of La Boite in New York City.
But one of my favorite recipes was a coffee-flavored ice cream. Not just any coffee-flavored ice cream – this one is made with fine Turkish coffee and cardamom. Below, Solomonov shares this recipe for you to try out in your own kitchen.
For me, the best ice cream is coffee ice cream. It is a perfect balance of bitter and sweet. Our version uses Turkish-style coffee and a bit of cardamom to add Arabic flavor. Because the coffee is so finely ground, we don’t strain it all out before we freeze it, which gives the finished ice cream a nice speckled look and texture.
Yield: 1 quart
2 cups heavy cream
2⁄3 cup milk
1/4 cup ground Turkish coffee
5 cardamom pods
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
Combine the cream, milk, coffee, and cardamom in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture steep for 10 minutes.
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a large heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. (The bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water.) Whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture falls from the whisk in ribbons when you lift it out of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Add the cream mixture and stir with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides to prevent coagulation, until the mixture reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Strain out some of the coffee grounds, pour into a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.