An Exclusive Interview With Bat-El Gershowitz
You have quite a unique background, for a cookbook author.
Yes! I come from a very vibrant background. My father is a true Moroccan. He was born in Casablanca and moved to Israel when he was 6 years old. And my mother is Iraqian, though she was born and raised in Israel. When my parents got married my mom was learning all the little secrets from my Moroccan grandma’s kitchen. She had no option. Moroccan man are very picky eaters and it is very hard for them to welcome foods from other cultures. I grew up in a very colorful vibrant kitchen. I learned both the essence of Sephardic food as well as traditional dishes from my mom’s home. Things like Kubbe and herbed potato patties known as Aruk. I remember myself from the age of 5 sitting with my dad, surprisingly enjoying a very spicy tuna sandwich with hot red Harrissa, garlic and tomatoes for lunch, something a 5 year old would usually not do. From there on I developed my true love for spicy food. I’m far from having a sweet tooth. Most of what I cook is savory and my very own plate is always always spicy.
I love the idea of an eggless cookbook. It makes preparing for a kiddush or outdoor party easier for many. How did you come up with the idea?
I agree. Never in my life would I think that I will be the one to write a book how to cook without using eggs. But you never know what the future prepares for you. Five years ago I was blessed with twin boys. One of the babies was a preemie and was in the NICU for over a month. He wasn’t able to tolerate any of the formulas and my only choice was to five him my very own milk. Being a new mom, and eating a very regular diet, which included lots of meat, chicken and eggs, my body was not producing enough for 2 babies. I was so overwhelmed, tired and frustrated.
The true change was when a close neighbor of mine, who was in the RAW VEGAN DIET for 5 years, saw the situation and decided to take action and come help. She would prepare for my every morning a power boosting smoothie full of spinach, almonds, blueberries and hemp seeds. Soon enough, within a week or so, my body started to react and within couple of weeks my son gained enough weight to be released home from the hospital.
This was a true wake up call for me. I knew what almonds were, and I had no problem with spinach, however, these were never a priority or part of my daily diet.
It was meat, chicken and eggs of course. After seeing fast dramatic changes, I gradually started to load my kitchen cabinets with healthy fast such as walnuts, almonds, cashews, sesame and hemp seeds. And then the whole concept of meatless Monday came about and I jumped on the opportunity and was up for the challenge. I started slowly and soon enough every week I upgraded the challenge to “meatless Thursday”, so on and so forth. Eventually we came to a point that my house is vegan for 5 days. And I loved it. But the challenge of getting the right texture in vegan food was hard to solve. I would make burgers, and patties, but they were too mushi, or too dry. This book addresses my successes to tasty and chewy textures.
Photo: Gershowitz — Protein Date Tahini Balls
Are you getting interest in your cookbook from a non kosher audience?
Yes, mostly actually. The plant-based diet is a little new to the kosher audience, but this past 2019 there was a huge shift, more awareness and much more vegan options to work with.
Do you have plans to do live tastings and be featured at events?
Absolutely! I already did one with recipes from Eggless Possibilities and it was amazing. I feel like I have the duty and obligation to show people how easy and full proof it is to adopt this new food to their lifestyle. Once people taste it they can’t believe that it is gluten free, baked and has no eggs! I get picturs everyday from people who already use the book and I feel so blessed. Families with gluten intolerance and egg allergy can finally make easy wholesome dinners that everyone can enjoy.
The book will be available on Amazon shortly. People can follow me through my blog:
Any other thoughts you wish to share?
Yes. I think that the kosher world needs to wake up a little more and spend more time in the kitchen. And I’m not here to criticizes. I admire and respect everyone for who they are. What bothers me is that I see on Instargam what people, especially big food bloggers, cook for Shabbat or weeknight dinners in general and I feel so disappointed. I see so many highly processed products loaded with sugars and preservatives and cheese is added to almost everything. People are afraid from carbs because they believe it’s the cause for weight gain and diabetes, but I wish they would learn how scary dairy is and what it does to so many little children. I feel like people are confused by being skinny to being healthy. There are many diets that can make you skinny, but the price is quite expensive in the long run.
Savory Chickpea Pancakes
One of the reasons I love using chickpea flour in my kitchen is simply because you can literally have food on the plate in a matter of a few minutes! Once combined with water, this flour remains the color and consistency of a real egg. A great start for people who are still missing the real egg look in their diet. These pancakes are packed with fiber, protein and healthy carbs, perfect to start the day. I love serving them with a salad or just inside a pita with hummus and veggies. Feel free to make them small or big.
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water (less 2 Tbsp)
2 tbsp olive oil
3 green onions, finely chopped
1.5 cups grated sweet potato
1 cup grated zucchini
½ cup fresh dill or cilantro
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Tools: Nonstick pan
1). Place chickpea flour in a bowl along with the spices and mix. Add the water and oil slowly, and whisk constantly until very smooth.
2). Add the grated zucchini, sweet potato, dill/cilantro and mix.
3). Heat up a nonstick pan with ½ tbsp oil and pour 1/3-1/2 a cup into the pan. Allow to form and cook for 2-4 minutes before flipping the first side. Once golden, flip and cook for a few more minutes on the other side.
4). Allow sitting for 5-10 minutes before serving.
For leftovers, reheat in the microwave for 1-1.5 minutes.
Cindy Grosz is a Jewish activist who promotes projects, products and awareness to everything Israel and of international Jewish concern. She represents celebrity spokespeople who speak up for and about Israel. She is also a contributor and Co-host on The Jersey Joe Show 710AM WOR, Sunday nights at 7 EST, or available anytime, anywhere through iHeart Radio.