Now Inducting into the Challah Fame: Jonathan Rahmani
The Challah Fame is a OneTable series that celebrates someone who loves to make challah (or other delicious food!) and does so as a form of self-care, self-expression, as a business, or for any other reason.
The pandemic has, for most of us, meant more time at home, and in turn (maybe?!) more opportunities to cook. We got the scoop on how OneTable hosts have used this unusual time to level up and try new recipes and traditions at their Shabbat table. Now, we’re sharing their dishes and stories to celebrate the power of Shabbat during *an unprecedented time* and inducting them into the Challah Fame!
Then, we invite you to make this dish or one of your favorites and tag us @onetableshabbat.
Jonathan is a Rabbinical Student based in New York.
Earlier in the year, Jonathan shared with us:
I used to host 12-13 people in my small Brooklyn apartment, always inviting friends of friends and opening the door to others. During the pandemic, I’m always a little sad that on Shabbat there used to be a lot of noise and now it’s just my wife and me.
Shabbat has always been important, but now its importance feels different. Both my wife and I are on Zoom all day and we’re glued to our phones/ screen, so Shabbat has taken on a whole other layer. The only day we can remember is Shabbat because every other day blends into the week. On Fridays, we take a deep breath and turn off the news. There’s no technology and no distractions. We have Shabbat candles and sing Shabbat songs and take time to reflect on the good in the week even when things are tough.
Jonathan shared with us his recipe for Lahm Bi Ajeen, or Syrian meat pies.
- pizza dough (enough for 1-2 pizzas)
- 1lb ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, chopped and sauteed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until browned)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons of tamarind concentrate (use pomegranate molasses if you can’t get tamarind)
- 2 tablespoons silan (date honey)
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon salt
- handful of parsley, stems removed, chopped
- fresh black pepper
- OPTIONAL: pine nuts for garnish and/or jalapenos cut into thin slices (if you like spice!)
in a big bowl, mix the beef, browned onions, tomato paste, tamarind, silan, allspice, salt, parsley, and fresh black pepper. Mix extremely well. Cover and place in the fridge for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough until very thin (as thin as you can get it). Using a jar (or cookie cutters) cut out rounds about 3-4″ in diameter. Place these rounds on a well-oiled baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet with a damp tea towel so the rounds don’t dry out. Poke each round with a fork so that air pockets don’t form. Repeat until you fill up an entire baking sheet. Take the meat mixture, and with a heaping spoon, place it on each of the rounds. Press down with a fork or the back of the spoon so that the entire round is covered with meat, and repeat until each round is covered with meat. You should have enough meat to fill about 2 pans worth of Lahm Bi Ajeen. Optional: you can take a few pine nuts and place them in the center of each meat pie for garnish. OR if you like spice, you can take a very thin jalapeno slice and place it in the middle of each round on top of the meat.
Bake each pan for about 12-15 minutes. Begin checking at 8 minutes for doneness: the meat should be completely cooked on top, and the bottom should be golden brown. Serve warm.