(Photos and recipe are courtesy of Faye and Yakir Levy)
Faye Levy is the author of cookbooks in three languages (English, Hebrew and French) — 23 so far, including the award-winning Faye Levy’s International Vegetable Cookbook. Some of her cookbooks are in Hebrew and French, plus many articles for other publications. And this is only a small part of her achievements. Her most recent titles are Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home, Feast from the Mideast and 1,000 Jewish Recipes. Some of her other books are the award-winning Classic Cooking Techniques, Chocolate Sensations, and the three-volume Fresh from France series. Faye is like a culinary detective, analyzing food from many cultures and putting her creative spin on them.
The Levys have written articles for the Los Angeles Times and the Jerusalem Post. Faye has written for other major newspapers throughout the United States, and for Gourmet Magazine, Bon Appetit, Chocolatier and Vegetarian Times. Faye studied cooking in Paris at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne. Initially she signed up for six weeks, but being in Paris was so much fun, the Levys figured they would stay a little longer so that Faye could continue studying. Six years later, after Faye had earned the position of La Varenne’s cookbook editor, they finally left this stopover on their trip from Israel to the United States.
Baba ghanoush is similar to hummus, but it calls for grilled or roasted eggplant instead of chickpeas, and tahini, garlic and fresh lemon juice. It is healthy, gluten-free, vegan, all natural and delicious. Popular in Arab countries throughout the Middle East, baba ghanoush is also a common appetizer on the Sephardic Jewish table. In Israel, it is known as eggplant salad, or Salat Hatzilim. It is sometimes made with roasted bell peppers, and often mayonnaise is added for richness. Middle Eastern dips and salads like baba ghanoush and hummus are subject to taste. Some families prefer “a little more of this” or “a little less of that.” When in doubt, taste and adjust seasonings according to your palate.
The Levys’ variation of baba ghanoush is made with roasted cauliflower, which goes well with the same flavors, and can be used as a dip or a spread. “Our Cauliflower Baba Ghanoush is a unique twist on the Eastern-Mediterranean classic eggplant dish that will delight your guests and family. Serve it with fresh pita bread or other flatbread and, if you like, with sliced Persian cucumbers and tomatoes. Like natural peanut butter, tahini paste separates on standing and should be stirred until smooth before you use it,” adds Faye.