Chef Tom’s Chicken, Tuba, and Carl

Sami Tamimi is Yotam Ottolenghi’s business partner. His new cookbook is called Falestine (there is no letter P in Palestine). This is one of the first recipes I tried, and it was SO good!

Sumac Chicken

Musakhan is a hugely popular national dish of Palestine. Traditionally eaten by pulling meat off the chicken and sandwiching it between pieces of pita or flatbread, it’s a dish to eat with your hands, and with your friends. Serve it on one big platter and have everyone tear off their own pieces and spoon on the onions and yogurt for themselves. For a veggie version, the chicken can be replaced with big chunks of eggplant, or large florets of cauliflower, roasted at 425 for 35 minutes.

Chicken Musakhan

Serves 4-6


1/2 tsp. ground allspice

1/2 tsp, cinnamon

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

3 Tbsp. sumac, plus more for sprinkling

6 whole chicken thighs, bone-in skin-on

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3 medium red onions, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick

1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds

Flatbread, warmed – like pita, sliced artisan loaf, or even thick tortillas (for serving)

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

1 lemon, halved


Preheat oven to 350°. Mix the allspice, and half the cumin and sumac, in a small bowl to combine. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Season chicken all over with spice mix. Pressing and working it into the meat.

Roast the chicken on a rimmed cookie sheet until thighs are nicely caramelized and internal temp for the thickest piece reaches 120 degrees, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and drain the fat off into a large skillet. Tent the chicken pieces and keep warm. Keep the oven hot.

Heat the skillet to medium-high heat. Cook onions, adding a splash of water if pan gets dry, until softened and golden brown, 18–25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cumin and sumac and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup water, season with salt, and bring to a simmer. Nestle chicken back into skillet, skin side up, and transfer to oven. Bake, uncovered, until liquid is mostly evaporated, and chicken is cooked through, 20–30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes in skillet.

While chicken is cooking, toast pine nuts in remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt.

Toast the flatbread and tear into large, bite-sized pieces. Arrange bread on a platter and top half the onions, the chicken, then the other half of the onions. Scatter pine nuts over and sprinkle with parsley. Squeeze juice from one lemon half over chicken. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Serve at once with yogurt on the side and remaining lemon half cut into wedges.

Charred Cherry Tomatoes on Cold Yogurt

This is my new favorite dish. One of the beauties of this dish lies in the exciting contrast between the hot, juicy tomatoes and fridge-cold yogurt, so make sure the tomatoes are straight out of the oven and the yogurt is straight out of the fridge. The heat of the tomatoes will make the cold yogurt melt, invitingly, so plenty of crusty sourdough or focaccia to mop it all up is a must alongside.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s

Charred Cherry Tomatoes with Cold Yogurt

Serves 4


2 pints cherry tomatoes

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1/2 tsp. light brown sugar

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 thyme sprigs

6 oregano sprigs: 3 sprigs left whole and the rest stemmed, to serve

1 lemon: finely shave the skin of  1/2 to get 3 strips, then finely grate the other 1/2 to get 1 tsp zest

Flaked sea salt and black pepper

2 cups extra-thick plain Greek-style yogurt, fridge-cold

1 tsp Urfa chile flakes (or 1/2 tsp other crushed red pepper flakes)


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place the tomatoes in a mixing bowl with the olive oil, cumin, sugar, garlic, thyme, oregano sprigs, lemon strips, ½ teaspoon of flaked salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix to combine, then transfer to a baking sheet just large enough to fit all the tomatoes together snugly.

Place the sheet about 2 inches beneath the broiler and roast for 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to blister and the liquid is bubbling. Turn the oven to the broil setting and broil for 4-6 minutes, until the tomatoes start to blacken on top.

While the tomatoes are roasting, combine the yogurt with the grated lemon zest and 1/4 tsp. of flaked salt. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

Once the tomatoes are ready, spread the chilled yogurt on a platter (with a lip) or in a wide, shallow bowl, creating a dip in it with the back of a spoon. Spoon the hot tomatoes on top, along with their juices, lemon strips, garlic, and herbs, and finish with the oregano leaves and chile flakes. Serve at once.


Tuba Skinny

Tuba Skinny

Great name. Great Nawlins Street Jazz band.

From Wikipedia:
Tuba Skinny is a traditional jazz street band based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The band’s instrumentation includes cornet, clarinet, trombone, tuba, tenor banjo, guitar, frottoir (washboard), and vocals. The ensemble draws its inspiration from the early jazz, ragtime, and blues music of the 1920s and 1930s. The group began as an itinerant busking band and has performed around the world, including at music festivals in Mexico, Sweden, Australia, Italy, France, Switzerland, and Spain.

For over a decade, Tuba Skinny “has grown steadily in popularity, releasing [ten] albums, frequently touring, and attracting high-profile fans from R. Crumb to Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman. They’ve garnered fans from all over the world—young and old, neophytes and niche-enthusiasts. Their albums have garnered multiple awards, and they have been hailed by Offbeat magazine, The Syncopated Times, and other publications as one of the best traditional early jazz bands performing today.

The band is popular on YouTube with “more than 500 videos, many with 100,000-plus views, in a variety of languages. However, the ensemble does not have an official YouTube page, and nearly all of the recorded footage is fan-made. The band’s fan base has been described as possessing a “lighthearted, fun, flapper vibe,” a reflection of the Jazz Age time period evoked by their music. Despite the band’s global fame and frequent performances in nightclubs and at jazz festivals, they have continued to perform on the streets of New Orleans and other cities in order to maintain their intimate connection with audiences.

Shake It and Break It on Royal St.

1,269,370 views    Feb 26, 2017

Postage Stomp

1,249,040 views   Feb 26, 2019

Erika Lewis on vocals – Too Much Competition (by Allen Bunn, 1953)

55,587 views     Dec 24, 2019


Carl Reiner, RIP

This classic was mostly improvised. No two were alike.

2000 Year Old Man Mel Brooks Carl Reiner Hollywood Palace 1966

The 2000 Year Old Man – 1967


Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner interview (1997)


Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at

One Response to “Chef Tom’s Chicken, Tuba, and Carl”

  1. Damon Hines Says:

    Another generous bundle of goodiea! Thank you, chef. My old friend and bandmate Corey Cousineau introduced me to Tuba Skinny sharing vids on FB: love their stuff, which in turn reminds me of Peterborough’s Silver Hearts: similar instrumentation, plus trings, theremin, and mostly songs with vocals if memory serves, of the times doing sound when they came to the Black Swan, where I was doing sound in the first half of the two thousand aughts…also the period of music drawn from and referenced, never delved into it from a musicological standpoint, but, close, charming and fun. Cheers.

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