Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Trying a Recipe from Balaboosta: Space Cookies

One of the cookbooks I got to review from NetGalley is Balaboosta by Einat Admony.  The publisher description says it best:

Einat Admony is a 21st-century balaboosta (Yiddish for “perfect housewife”).She’s a mother and wife, but also a chef busy running three bustling New York City restaurants. Her debut cookbook features 140 of the recipes she cooks for the people she loves—her children, her husband, and the many friends she regularly entertains. Here, Einat’s mixed Israeli heritage (Yemenite, Persian) seamlessly blends with the fresh, sophisticated Mediterranean palate she honed while working in some of New York City’s most beloved kitchens.

The cookbook is organized not by meal type but in suggested meals or types of occasions.  It makes it a little hard to navigate but it would be completely flexible how a person could mix and match the recipes.

This isn't intended to be a full cookbook review, as I have two more recipes I want to try out first.  I keep seeing tahini cookies mentioned in Turkish blogs, so when I saw her recipe for "Space Cookies," I knew that would be the recipe I'd try.

Don't Google Space Cookies.  Or do, but all the mentions I can find of them are pot cookies.  That is not what this recipe is, so when I made them for my student workers, I called them "Tahini and Poppy Seed Cookies."  I won't be posting the recipe because the book isn't out yet, and there's a chance it will be tweaked before it is published.

I'm still not sure what I think of them.  I ate two the night I made the cookies, and kept stopping and asking, "Do I like this?"  Tahini is similar to peanut butter in some ways, and we use peanut butter in sweet dishes all the time.  There is enough tahini in these cookies to be noticeable, maybe a bit bitter.  The poppy seeds only added to that bitter element.  I also wasn't sold on the texture of the cookies; lacking eggs, they had more of a crumbly shortbread texture than I personally prefer.  Full disclosure: I have a bias against shortbread.  And still I'm not sure what to think of the cookies.  Maybe I need to make them again.

What I do love about this and other recipes in the cookbook is that Admony takes ingredients we think of from the Mediterranean region and uses them in different ways.  Some of the recipes are traditional, maybe slightly tweaked or improved, while recipes like this take ingredients like tahini and combine them in new ways.  Just wait until I track down some cardamom in order to test the Turkish Coffee brownies! 


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