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Creating Your Own Private Club “Med”

Some of our favorite neighborhood mom-and-pop restaurants have rooted their businesses in family tradition. Ronit Machlouf, who hails from Israel and lives in Los Angeles’ West Valley, follows suit as a co-founder of home grown Mediterranean restaurants Soom Soom. Although her restaurants fall into the “upscale fast casual” genre, Ronit has her team present the dishes as she and her family did growing up in the Middle East. Everything her kitchens turn out is “family style,” from recipes passed down through the generations to beautifully present large share plates. 

 When entertaining at home for friends and family, she practices what she preaches and encourages others to do the same. “When you make food for your family, you make it with your heart,” Ronit explains. The advantage of family-style dishes is in the name. It brings your group of guests, whether family or friends, closer together. When everyone shares the same food, it builds a point of conversation and a shared memory. With family-style dishes, it also allows your guests to try a wide variety of things.” 

She continues by pointing out that as the West Valley has numerous Israeli and Middle Eastern markets, farmers’ markets and specialty food shops that enable anybody to pull together a perfect springtime feast. “When you entertain at home, everybody who shows up is family. Therefore, try to know your guests. Do they have a favorite dish? Do they like chicken or beef, or are they vegetarians or vegans? Always try to provide a spread that offers a little for everyone. Being prepared means supporting local farms and businesses as we do, and being sure your ingredients are the best you can find.”

HOMEMADE FALAFEL

  • 1 lb dry garbanzo beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp pepper flakes
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 lb dry garbanzo beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1½ tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp pepper flakes
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Step 1:

Soak garbanzos overnight in cold water. The next day, pour out the water and rinse garbanzo beans fully. In a food processor pour the remaining ingredients and pulse-blend until everything is finely chopped. Roll falafel mix into 1-inch balls.

Step 2:

In a deep frying pan, add canola oil and heat to 375 degrees. Place each falafel ball into frying pan and fry until golden brown.

Editor’s Note:
Serve with hummus and enjoy.

ROASTED CAULEFLOWER

  • 1 lb cauliflower
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika

1 medium-large head, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices

  • 1 lb cauliflower
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Paprika

1 medium-large head, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices.

Step 1:

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. While the water rises in temperature, clean the cauliflower center. Blanch cauliflower for 3 minutes. 

Step 2:

Season with salt, black pepper, and paprika. Place on a roasting tray lined with parchment paper and roast at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.

Step 3:

Remove from oven and enjoy.

CHICKEN SHAWARMA SALAD

  • ¾ tbsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tbsp turmeric
  • ¾ tbsp coriander
  • ¾ tbsp garlic powder
  • ¾ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ¾ tbsp ground cumin
  • ¾ tbsp turmeric
  • ¾ tbsp coriander
  • ¾ tbsp garlic powder
  • ¾ tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 8 oz baby arugula
  • 2 to 3 Roma tomato diced
  • 1 English cucmber diced
  • ¼ red onion sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt
  • Pepper
  • 8 oz baby arugula
  • 2 to 3 Roma tomato diced
  • 1 English cucmber diced
  • ¼ red onion sliced
  • 1 lemon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt
  • Pepper
Step 1:

In a bowl, mix cumin, turmeric, coriander, garlic powder, paprika and cloves.

Step 2:

Pat chicken dry and season with salt on both sides, then thinly slice into small chunks.

Step 3:

Place chicken in a large bowl. Add shawarma spices and toss to coat. Add onions, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss to combine. Set aside and prepare the salad. Place the arugula, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in one large bowl.

Step 4:

In a small bowl combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and sumac.

Step 5:

Mix well. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to combine.

Step 6:

Heat a little bit of extra virgin olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over heat until simmering. Add chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. 

Step 7:

Place salad and chicken into serving bowls. Squeeze lemon on top for extra zest and serve with warm pita.

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