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Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel by Alon Shaya

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Tomato soup with rice

    • purrviciouz on September 17, 2018

      Seriously comforting. I served this with the Bulgarian Lamb Kababs for a complete dinner. Delicious!

  • Bulgarian lamb kebabs

    • purrviciouz on September 17, 2018

      These are fantastic. I chose the stove top method. When turning the kababs over they looked charred and crispy on the bottom but still turned out just fine. I was worried they'd burned but they just looked dark. I will absolutely make these again.

  • Israeli salad

    • SheilaS on November 20, 2018

      The preserved lemon vinaigrette turns this basic salad into something really special.

  • Yemenite stewed chicken

    • purrviciouz on September 24, 2018

      This was absolutely delicious and will be repeated multiple times for us. I would double the carrots next time.

  • Spicy scallop rolls

    • SheilaS on November 20, 2018

      Super delicious and decadent sandwich!

  • Za'atar toad in the hole

    • SheilaS on November 05, 2018

      This is delicious! The bread is spread with a mayo and za'atar mixture before going into the pan where the spices toast nicely along with the bread. I'll certainly make this again.

  • Classic hummus with tahini

    • annmartina on March 18, 2018

      I've been dreaming of this hummus since we had it at Shaya in 2016. This recipe is as good as the restaurant. Like whipped cream. I blended in the Vita Mix after my food processor shut down unexpectedly.

    • hirsheys on July 11, 2018

      This was good, though I made it the same night as the hummus from Zahav and it sort of paled in comparison. It's much less creamy. Tasty, though.

  • Creamy baked fennel

    • pattyatbryce on November 17, 2018

      This is everything! Comforting, flavorful, and addictive. Would be great on a holiday table, but easy enough for a Tuesday night.

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 25, 2018

      Perfect holiday side dish. Rich and delicious.

  • Stuffed cabbage with tomatoes and onions

    • purrviciouz on October 29, 2018

      This is my favorite stuffed cabbage recipe that I've cooked so far. I will definitely make this again and again. It's an afternoon project labor of love but worth it.

  • Crab cakes with preserved lemon aioli

    • SheilaS on May 20, 2018

      I've made the Preserved Lemon Aioli several times to serve with fried calamari and phyllo-wrapped asparagus. It's excellent. The recipe calls for equal parts extra virgin olive oil and canola oil and that comes out too heavy-tasting for me. I prefer 1/4 extra virgin olive oil and 3/4 neutral sunflower oil. This also works well as a half-batch. Updated after making the crab cakes, too. These are mostly crab, very little binder, so they are challenging for me to fry and flip but they are delicious. Don't skip the aioli, either!

  • Israeli couscous with summer vegetables and caramelized tomato

    • loehmichen on May 04, 2018

      Omitted Eggplant. Rather than roasting large diced squash, I small diced zucc and crookneck and sauteed each separately till brown. Sauteed onions,garlic, added fresh thyme, the tom paste then mixed in the couscous. Refrigerate over night. Reheat, garnish with fried shallots and minced basil.

  • Emily's famous red beans and rice

    • PanNan on December 02, 2018

      The depth of flavor in this red beans recipe is wonderful. Taking the time to soak the beans overnight and slowly simmering them on the stove all afternoon delivers a soft and creamy texture where the ingredients have nearly melted together. Serving it over the rice topped with freshly sliced scallions takes this over the top.

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 29, 2018

      Awesome recipe for a lazy holiday week! Easy to prepare, just requires a time commitment. I may have oversalted- doesn’t need much because of the ham hock.

  • Arugula with citrus, olives, and za'atar

    • Yildiz100 on December 14, 2018

      This was very tasty, but somehow, I felt like it wasn't quite the sum of its parts. A simpler, orange and olive salad is better, or maybe, it was actually better without the zaatar.

  • Apple and fennel salad with candied pecans

    • Lsblackburn1 on January 02, 2019

      So fresh and delicious! The recipe says to crush the peppercorns with your fingers but that seemed like extra, so I just used a mortar and pestle. Only change I’d make would be to chop the pecan halves up a bit to distribute them more because they were awesome!

  • Jim Core's kale and andouille jambalaya

    • purrviciouz on November 12, 2018

      Incredibly rich and delicious and it's really easy to put together for a crowd. I halved the recipe for just the two of us and we'll have leftovers all week. I would double the kale next time.

  • Ricotta with date and pecan pesto

    • SheilaS on November 05, 2018

      This is super easy and delicious with the fresh, creamy ricotta (I had milk with a rapidly approaching expiration date so I made some yesterday), toasted, crunchy nuts, sweet dates, bright parsley, peppery olive oil and sweet-tart balsamic vinegar. The book plates this with the ricotta swirled into bowl, topped with the pesto and surrounded with toasted baguette slices for dipping but I turned it into crostini. This pesto isn't actually pulverized in a mortar or blender - parsley, toasted nuts and dates are chopped and mixed with Parmesan, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

  • Slow-roasted lamb shoulder

    • Lsblackburn1 on December 25, 2018

      Used a boneless leg instead of a shoulder so shortened the cooking time to about 3.5 hours. The gravy was especially delicious. Served over polenta.

  • Pizza Enzo

    • SheilaS on November 24, 2018

      I loved how the combination of toppings makes each bite is a little different - tangy sauce (super quick from canned tomatoes & olive oil), sweet, juicy cherry tomatoes, salty/umami anchovies, flavorful herbs, spicy chilis and that wisp of mortadella that practically melts over the top.

  • Bresaola salad with arugula and Parmesan

    • SheilaS on November 05, 2018

      If you have some lovely bresaola, you know it doesn't need much to shine and this simple salad is a good example of that. This uses the Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette p 393 which is flavored with both za'atar and preserved lemon which bring a different and decidedly non-Italian seasoning to what could be a classic Italian salad plate. The dressing is easy to put together and used in several other recipes in the book so it's worth making.

  • Cherry and pistachio cookies

    • Lsblackburn1 on November 12, 2018

      Yummy! I made these on my cheap cookie sheets without the parchment and they only needed about 14 minutes.

  • Curried sweet potato and leek pie

    • SheilaS on January 04, 2019

      I modified by using a polenta crust just because I was in a polenta kinda mood. I'll try the crust in the book next time but I liked the polenta, too.

  • Whole roasted cauliflower with whipped feta

    • SheilaS on January 04, 2019

      I've made this several times now. Steaming the cauliflower in a seasoned wine broth prior to roasting infuses flavors throughout and the whipped feta/goat cheese mixture is so decadent. I've served this as a side dish or as a vegetarian main dish, accompanied by crostini topped with matbucha. Can easily be scaled down to make 1/2 a head of cauliflower to serve 2

    • sharonlafleur on August 27, 2018

      So easy. Forgot to get it started and thought I wouldn't have time but it's much quicker than I thought. Steaming first and roasting after yields perfect texture and flavor. The whipped feta is insanely delicious and suits my keto/ low carb diet so well.

    • leilx on January 14, 2019

      Easy and delicious. I didn’t think the cheese was necessary and in fact modified it and made without feta as I don’t like it.

  • Avocado toast with smoked whitefish

    • SheilaS on January 04, 2019

      I substituted smoked trout for the whitefish. Nice appetizer.

  • Charred cabbage with olive oil

    • SheilaS on January 04, 2019

      This is delicious! Poaching the cabbage in seasoned broth before broiling infuses flavor throughout. Served with the pomegranate muhammara on p 376, this can stand on its own as a meatless main dish.

    • leilx on January 14, 2019

      I made it with a quarter head of cabbage and it worked although it never got really charred. Want to try it again. I liked it and think I could love it.

  • Preserved lemon vinaigrette

    • bching on January 10, 2019

      Very tasty and easy vinaigrette. It separates rapidly, though, and if I make it again, I will add a teaspoon of mustard or mayo in hopes of achieving better emulsification.

    • SheilaS on November 05, 2018

      This Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette is flavored with both za'atar and preserved lemon which bring a different twist to the classic vinaigrette. The dressing is easy to put together and used in several other recipes in the book so it's worth making.

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Reviews about this book

  • Food52

    Picked for Food52's November 2018 Cookbook Club.

    Full review
  • Eat Your Books

    One of the most brilliant titles that I have had the pleasure to review. Everyone needs to fall in love with this book.

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 0451494164
  • ISBN 13 9780451494160
  • Published Mar 13 2018
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 432
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Knopf

Publishers Text

An exciting debut cookbook that confirms the arrival of a new guru chef...A moving, deeply personal journey of survival and discovery that tells of the evolution of a cuisine and of the transformative power and magic of food and cooking. From the two-time James Beard award-winning chef whose celebrated New Orleans restaurants have been hailed as the country's most innovative and best by Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur, GQ, and Esquire.

"Alon's journey is as gripping and as seductive as his cooking . . . Lovely stories, terrific food." --Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Alon Shaya's is no ordinary cookbook. It is a memoir of a culinary sensibility that begins in Israel and wends its way from the USA (Philadelphia) to Italy (Milan and Bergamo), back to Israel (Jerusalem) and comes together in the American South, in the heart of New Orleans. It's a book that tells of how food saved the author's life and how, through a circuitous path of (cooking) twists and (life-affirming) turns the author's celebrated cuisine--food of his native Israel with a creole New Orleans kick came to be, along with his award-winning New Orleans restaurants: Shaya, Domenica, and Pizza Domenica, ranked by Esquire, Bon Appetit, and others as the best new restaurants in the United States.

These are stories of place, of people, and the food that connects them, a memoir of one man's culinary sensibility, with food as the continuum throughout his journey--guiding his personal and professional decisions, punctuating every memory, choice, every turning point in his life. Interspersed, with glorious full-color photographs and illustrations that follow the course of all the flavors Shaya has tried, places he's traveled, things he's experienced, lessons he's learned--more than one hundred recipes--from Roasted Chicken with Harissa to Speckled Trout with Tahini and Pine Nuts; Crab Cakes with Preserved Lemon Aioli; Cast Iron Ribeye; Marinated Soft Cheese with Herbs and Spices; Buttermilk Biscuits; and Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Feta.