Michael Solomonov, chef at Zahav in Philadelphia, and Reem Kassis, author of The Palestinian Table, formed an unlikely friendship around their shared, though much disputed, food heritage. They both love this knafeh, a sweet, cheese-filled dessert, encased in shredded phyllo pastry (kataifi) and soaked in a fragrant syrup laced with rose and orange blossom.
Michael Solomonov, chef at Zahav in Philadelphia, serves this brilliant riff on baba ghanoush at the restaurant, but it is easy enough to recreate at home. After a whirl in the food processor, brussels sprouts and tahini come together to form a creamy dip. Solomonov serves it topped with more roasted brussels sprouts and hazelnuts and with warm pita, for dipping.
An essential ingredient in Yemenite cooking, hawaij is a blend of spices often used to flavor soups and stews. A variation of the blend, spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger, is used to flavor coffee. Here, star chef Michael Solomonov combines turmeric, black pepper, and cumin for a simple but robust blend that wholly complements lucious beef short ribs.
Bourekas are crisp, savory little parcels filled with anything from vegetables and cheese to ground meat. Inspired by his grandmother’s recipe, Michael Solomonov’s version is stuffed with sweet potato, Bulgarian feta, dill, and olives. At Zahav, Solomonov prepares them with housemade laminated dough, but this recipe calls for prepared puff pastry, which makes it easy to make at home.
In spring, Philadelphia star chef Michael Solomonov is launching Rooster Soup Co., where he’ll be making this broth with all of the chicken trimmings from his über-successful fried-chicken-and-doughnuts franchise, Federal Donuts. The broth will be the basis for all the soups the luncheonette will serve, and profits will be turned over to a local organization that helps the homeless. Slideshow: More Warming Soup Recipes
To create the layered flatbread called mahlouach, Michael Solomonov relies on a technique similar to one used to make puff pastry: He brushes the dough with butter and folds it repeatedly before rolling it out into rounds. To bolster the flavor, he sears the dough in his restaurant's superhot taboon, a wood-burning oven. The bread is also delicious grilled.