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Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking Hardcover – October 6, 2015

4.8 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

James Beard Book of the Year and Best International Cookbook (2016)

"After stints working with chef Marc Vetri in Philadelphia and as head chef at Marigold Kitchen, Solomonov developed a passion for Israeli cooking and his desire to show the full breadth of the cuisine began to take shape; he started his own restaurant, Zahav, in Philadelphia in 2008. Six years later, he won the James Beard award for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region. Solomonov shares his story as well as his wide-ranging approach to Israeli cuisine in this impressive collection of recipes that are sure to challenge readers’ preconceptions. In addition to kibbe, kugel, latke, and rugelach, Solomonov offers chicken albondigas, the Spanish tapas standard; cashew baklava cigars; and the Chocolate Almond Situation, his riff on the flourless chocolate cake. To these stunningly simple dishes he adds deliciously decadent fare such as duck and foie gras kebabs, and beluga lentil soup with marrow bones. Solomonov isn’t one for showmanship (or waste—the juices from his Israeli salad of cucumber, tomato, parsley and lemon are added to gin to create an unusual martini), and virtually all the book’s recipes are within the reach of novice cooks. The reader’s biggest challenge will likely be mastering the ubiquitous tehina sauce used as a foundation for hummus and as an accent in countless dishes. Readers with an adventurous palate and an open mind will be richly rewarded by this terrific debut."
Publisher's Weekly, starred review

"Zahav’s modern approach to Israeli cooking makes for the kind of book that will redefine the conversation around Middle Eastern cuisine in America.” —EATER.com

“Each of Michael Solomonov’s soulful recipes feels created by someone impassioned by one of the world's most exciting cuisines – a master of his craft. I’m smitten!” — Gail Simmons, TV Host, author, Talking With My Mouth Full
 
“Cooking is how Michael found himself, changed his life, and then the world around him. Michael writes that ‘nothing in my life happened the way it was supposed to.’  He means life in its beauty and its awful brutality. I think that his life and most importantly this book, is beshert, ‘meant to be.’ I believe his Zahav will be one of the most cherished books in years, with staggeringly delicious recipes from one of the brightest lights in our culinary world. I believe this book will be beshert for you too.” — Andrew Zimmern, chef, anthropologist, global thought leader
 
“Zahav is the most honest chef’s cookbook I have read in a long time. Mike’s soulful depiction of his life delivers the same heart and intelligence that emanates from his restaurant. Zahav is essential reading for anyone who wants to make the food of Israel —or Philadelphia— today.” — Joan Nathan, author, The Foods of Israel Today
 
“Zahav has become a staple of my Philly restaurant experience, but staples only hold pages down. Here at last are pages —and pages — of Michael Solomonov’s thinking on food, community, and the recipes that get me back to Zahav every time.”  — Questlove 
 
“I’m excited to have Zahav, a compendium of Chef Solomonov’s recipes, so I can recreate them.” — David Lebovitz, author, My Paris Kitchen
 
“The great thing about Michael Solomonov is that he simply cooks from his heart. With Zahav, he has developed perhaps one of the most innovative and thoughtful restaurants in America. After years of asking him for recipes, I'm relieved to finally have his book to answer all of my questions!” — Chef Marc Vetri

"The humanity of it, that's the thing. The presence. The joy. The actual connection that's forged between the person cooking and the person eating. In Zahav, the recipes don't end when the food is done cooking — there are instructions for bringing things to the table, for how to serve, for how to eat, for how to share, for how to finish...The result is cooking that feels right for both a world-class restaurant and a home kitchen, food that's both an education and a pleasure." —EATER.com 

About the Author

A 2011 James Beard Award–winner for “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic,” Chef MICHAEL SOLOMONOV is the co-owner and executive chef of Zahav, Philadelphia’s renowned modern Israeli restaurant. He also owns Percy Street Barbecue, Federal Donuts, and the recently opened Dizengoff (hummus and small salads) and Abe Fisher (small plates of Jewish food inspired by countries outside Israel), all in Philadelphia.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544373286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544373280
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.3 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

From the Manufacturer

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By LOL VINE VOICE on September 22, 2015
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a beautiful book! It is heavy and well constructed but it lays flat for easy use. And the pictures are gorgeous! I am salivating over a picture of eggplant with tahini, pistachios and pomegranate seeds. Absolutely beautiful but also what an interesting flavor combination!
I was hooked on this book early on. The first recipe in the book is for homade tehina (tahini). Then it goes to hummus and all of the different meals you can make from hummus. I admit that I am a hummus junkie!
There are some recipes with some unusual ingredients or things that I dont particularly care for (eg sweetbreads) but the bulk of the recipes are very intriguing. There are also well laid out instructions with useful pictures as well as detailed information on ingredients that are not common (eg carob molasses). I feel like you get an interesting perspective on Israeli food culture from this book. It is filled with interesting tidbits, and stories about the evolution of the recipes.
One of the chapters is subtitled "vegetables are everything". I couldnt agree more and I love the produce focused recipes and flavor combinations.
The bulk of the recipes do not use lots of ingredients and are not overly complicated. If you have a few staples on hand (eg tehina/hummus) it is a very practical cookbook
If you enjoyed the style of cooking in the Ottolenghi books, you will enjoy this one as well. It is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Good thing this book is bound well and has a tough hard cover, because I believe it is worthy of passing down through the next few generations. And before it reaches the hands of any other member of my family, it will be well-used in mine.

Throughout the entire book, Solomonov gives the reader traditional, variations on tradition, (his take on tradition), and new and unusual combinations. The book is rich in recipes with lively flavors, vibrant colors, enticing aromas. Just looking at the pictures of all the dishes will have your salivary glands working overtime.

With any cookbook written by a popular restaurant chef, one will find quite a bit of autobiography and info about his/her restaurant(s). This book is no exception. What is the exception, is that the reading--all the stories, the words, the advice, the thoughts--is interesting. It is also a testament to the fact that if one works hard and diligently, believes in and lives his/her dream, it has a good chance of coming true. (Luck and the trust of your backers does have something to do with it, too….)

It may not be apparent to all—but it should if you have Ottolenghi’s books and you contemplatively compare the recipes of the two chefs—this is not only an Israeli cooking book, this is a very American book. Ottolenghi cooks in London, and one can see it in his ingredients and his style. Michael Solomonov has an American’s view of creating and putting ingredients together. He definitely thinks like an American, and I like that, because so do I. While I love Ottolenghi’s recipes, I find I can relate to Solomonov’s way easier. For example, Solomonov’s variety of tabbouleh recipes range from the very traditional, to those using ingredients that will sub for the tomato when it is out of season.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I haven't eaten at Zahav, but I'm about an hour away so I think I'm going to have to call up a friend and trek over there. This cookbook convinced me that the local popularity of this Israeli restaurant is well-deserved. The book, written by the chef, has a variety of recipes and also autobiographical notes, some of which are remarkably moving.

The cuisine of Israel is beginning to get notice--it's a blend of many cultures such as Sephardic Jewish, African Jewish, Ashkenazi European (influenced by Poland and Germany and Russia), Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Hummus plays a big role in appetizers and snacks and you get a great recipe here plus advice on tahini sesame paste (tehina, spelled the Israeli way.) I can verify that it makes a big difference what kind of tahini you buy--a friend clued me into an organic brand that was so much better than the canned or grocery store tahini that it's what I now buy--and Chef Solomonov gives a great deal of detail about why tahini matters. It's the mayonnaise of Israel, the peanut butter, and a base of cooking, so the quality and flavor is paramount. If you have a peanut butter that is "the only one" or "the only brand of mayo I'll use" you can see how this would be important. Chef Solomonov does not sneer at canned chickpeas, and gives you a way to make a superior hummus that is not at all difficult.

The recipes go from mezzes (the little Middle Eastern tapas or small plate appetizers) to salads, roasts, soups, and even pastries, from the phyllo dough based konafi--shredded phyllo soaked in syrup to European rugelach. The rugelach (a tiny crescent shaped filled cookie or pastry) was my mom's speciality, too. The fillings include a date-nut and apricot as well as a few other even more inventive.
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By kimchic on November 19, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We have a ridiculous amount of cookbooks, and Zahav does not disappoint. The narrative weaved between the recipes give a lot of insight and connection to the profound love and hurt behind the food. Although we are used to cooking with exact times and weighted measurements, we found the recipes to be forgiving enough that it's ok not to have these included with exactitude in the recipes (thought my pastry chef husband may disagree still).

We also highly recommend using SOOM tahini products to really do these recipes justice and give them the respect they deserve! You really can't compare other sad, oily tahini to the beautifully roasted and emulsified SOOM tahini that adds such depth to the awesome recipes in the Zahav cookbook. We ordered online since they are nowhere to be found in California.
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