Archive for the 'kosher cookbooks' Category



25
Jul
11

Aromas of Aleppo


Poopa Dweck‘s magnum opus is far more than just an ethnic cookbook. In its pages, the author lovingly brings us the history, the culture, the flavors and aromas of over 2500 years of Syrian Jewry.

As the author tells us in the Preface, the book…

…features dishes that are both disarmingly familiar, exotic, and, above all, healthful.

My community represents a link to a forgotten past. It is one of the few Jewish communities to live through the rise and fall of Moorish Spain and the Ottoman Empire and survive as a modern people in the West while maintaining its venerable traditions. Our soulful culture, with its fervid, tuneful songs and communal celebratory feasts, is at its most vibrant during the Sabbath, holidays, and life cycle events. One of the most artful representations of Aleppian Jewish culture is our food, whose story I have yearned to tell.

By coincidence (is there really such a thing?!?) I was playing Rabbi Moshe Tessone‘s CD Odeh La’El!, as I became engrossed in this coffee table sized, art-book quality tome. The writing is informative and fun, the evocative photography (the colors, the settings, the lighting, the angles, bespeak of a certain rusticity and a sedate elegance at the same time) and the recipes truly introduced me to a world which – as an Ashkenazic Jew – I barely knew. Between this beautiful book and the music I felt transported to another time, to an enchanted region, far from the hustle and bustle of New York and – at least for the moment – life seemed beautiful, simple and far more pure…

Looking through the old photographs, looking at the author’s family, looking at the recipes pictured, almost made me feel as if I was partaking of a holiday meal at her table.

While loeafing though the book I just had to immediately try a recipe. On page 162 I found one that called for some of my leftover matzah meal and tamarind concentrate, which I’d picked up in the nearby Sephardic neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Keftes

Tamarind-Stewed Meatballs

Meatball dishes such as keftes are a tradition all over the Middle East. Some regions use turmeric and others use sumac or lemon and mintas flavoring accents for similar meatballs. Aleppian Jews like to use a combination of tomato sauce and tamarind, the proportions of which can vary according to a family’s preference.

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons matzah meal
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Sauce:
  • One 6 ounce can tomato paste, or two 8 ounce cans tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ou (tamarind concentrate, page 41), homemade or store bought
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. To make the meatballs, combine the the beef, eggs, matzah meal, salt and Aleppo pepper. Mix well by hand. The mixture should be loose and moist so that it can best absorb the sauce and retain a velvety texture. Shape the meat mixture into walnut-size balls.
  2. To make the sauce, combine the tomato paste, ou, lemon juice, salt, 1 cup of water, and, if desired, sugar, mix well.
  3. In a large ovenproof saucepan, brown the meatballs, one batch at a time, in the oil over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per batch.
  4. Return all the meatballs to the saucepan. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes to thicken sauce and allow the flavors to integrate thoroughly.

Variation

For a tangier sauce, increase the ou by 1 1/2 teaspoons and increase the water by 1/2 cup. Or omit the ou altogether for a lighter, more refreshing sauce, especially if you are serving another dish with ou.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! Sifrah daimeh – “May your table always be plentiful”

CS

18
Jul
11

A Cookbook For All Seasons


When I’m doing some serious cooking for a group of family or friends, with a limited amount of time to get the job done, I take a pass on my more fluff-and-glitz cookbooks and gravitate towards the ones that I can rely on to provide me with clear concise foolproof instructions, guaranteed reliable delicious results delivered with relative ease.

And that’s precisely what you can expect from Lévana Kirschenbaum’s new cookbook The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen – Glorious Meals Pure and Simple.

Though aesthetically the book’s layout is rather ordinary looking, the content is superb. It’s jam-packed with healthy mains, soups, salads, pastas, beads and desserts; aside from the general index, the cookbook includes a Passover index and a gluten-free index, with recipe notations indicating gluten free or gluten free adaptable. The recipes and text reflect a seasoned master chef who poured her culinary heart and soul into this cookbook. All content is meticulously organized and the format though visually lackluster nonetheless delivers the author’s usual witty humor and éclat in a most lively entertaining way.

Truly a hitchhiker’s guide to all things good-for-you and delicious, you’ll get never-ending use out of this comprehensive culinary work. The variations that accompany the recipes are awesome as are the tips and running commentary that weave through the pages. It’s like having a master chef or super balabusta mom right there with you preparing your best. Meir Pliskin’s photographs are tastefully done though the publisher’s cropping and cheap printing is somewhat disappointing. Lisa Young’s nutritional info though not revolutionary in content, serves as a useful reminder of healthy choices.

From the book, on page 171:

Roasted Vegetables GF P

Everyone likes a plate of grilled veggies, to eat as is or to use as a filling for sandwiches. I have chosen to share the most ridiculously simple way. First of all, my “grilled” vegies are roasted, requiring no turning over and no maintenance. Second, the trick is endives, radishes, brussel sprouts and fennel; but you will roast carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, potatoes separately because they have a longer cooking time. Roast beets all by themselves so they don’t bleed into your other veggies, or use the wonderful golden beets now available at all good produce stores. For all roasting, remember, one layer, no piling! Lining the baking sheet with foil reduces, or sometimes eliminates, cleaning.

When the vegetables are roasted, go ahead and get a little fancier, if you wish, toss in a little olive oil, chopped fresh basil, a few drops of balsamic vinegar and a little ground pepper. Most often I add nothing at all!

2 large zucchini, cut in sticks
2 large red onions, sliced thick
3 large red peppers, cut in large sections
1 large eggplant, cut in sticks
2 large portobello mushrooms, cups and stems separated, stems cut in half
Sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a large cookie sheet (you might need 2) with foil. Spray heavily with vegetable spray. Place the vegetables snuggly and in one layer on the cookie sheet.

Spray heavily again with vegetable spray. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables look slightly charred. The mushrooms (or string beans or asparagus) might be ready first. Slice the mushrooms on a bias when they are cool enough to handle.

The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen cookbook is all about eating right without missing out on taste or style. The key is using healthy, wholesome, fresh ingredients combining flavors with such mastery your palate will think there is magic at play. It’s really the years of trial and error honing skills that have truly reached their apex of expertise. Lévana epitomizes her own quoting of Antoine de Saint Exupery’s words (at the bottom of page 17): “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Don’t miss this essential kitchen tool!

SYR

25
May
11

A Cookbook for our Times


Fame and fortune come and go these days in a twittered flurry of viral activity signifying not much at all. The famous and infamous become blurred distinctions as we dismiss events with hurried trigger happy flicks of ADHD fingertips itching for the next headline or news byte. We live in a society ruled by obsolescence, disposability, surface chic and ‘what’s in it for me?’ priorities.

It’s hard not to get caught up in the frenzied momentum of the transitory inane; yet some rare individuals manage to adapt to the paroxysm while maintaining their intrinsic skill-set, talents, passions and beliefs. Some of these self possessed champions rarer still can reach out and teach with mass appeal, sharing wisdom, talent and their years of expertise so that even the maniacally distracted stop and take notice.

There is no better master teacher in the culinary world than Levana Kirschenbaum. The woman is a firebrand of positive delightful anecdotal information on fresh healthy wholesome easy ways to cook delicious meals. In her new cookbook, which I got a sneak peak of, Levana holds nothing back. All her collective years of experience are evident in this latest cookbook gem.

With more than 350 recipes in its general index, it includes over 250 delicious gluten-free adaptations and more than 250 Passover friendly dishes. All of these use natural, healthy, wholesome ingredients; what could be better at a time when we becoming increasingly health conscious about our food intake?

The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen is a precious dowry of cooking essentials that any loving mother would pass down to her daughter as a loving legacy of easy and healthful food preparation. This tell all manifest destiny of healthy cooking has wonderful recipes, with multiple variations on a theme, detailed with beautiful pictures, formatted for ease of use, organized and indexed for quick referencing and recipe selection. It’s like all her collections rolled into one, you’re going to love it and come back to it as ‘the source’ time and again for preparing delicious nearly effortless meals. I’ll bet it goes digital! For now you can see it on the shelves by June 1st. Don’t miss it!

Pasta with mock crab , artichokes, and olives. Photo by: Meir Pliskin

SYR

29
Apr
11

Marred by Overpreaching…


Anyone with a smidgen of intelligence, anyone who has ever used the grey matter that Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave him/her, realizes that in this age when animals are raised much faster than nature intended them to (with the help of various chemicals added to their foods), red meat consumption has to be cut down. Even yours truly, carnivore to the core, admits it. Thus, I welcomed Roberta Kalechosky’s books when I first heard of them. While I never intended, nor intend, to abandon my preference for meat I was looking for healthy tasty alternatives.

When I got The Vegetarian Shabbat Cookbook by Roberta Kalechofsky and Roberta Schiff and The Vegetarian Pessach Cookbook by Roberta Kalechofsky, I expected to find some great recipes that would lessen my interest in meat dishes. Instead, while I found some intriguing possibilities I also found myself barraged – specifically in the Passover book – with anti meat sophistry based on often made up statistics (even if Ms. Kalechofsky quotes others), out of context quotes and even horribly misquoted quotes. The Vegetarian Pessach Cookbook (published in 2002) spends the first 20 of its 72 pages preaching against eating meat in terms that misunderstand – or purposely obfuscate the intent of – the religious texts she quotes and bringing politics as a reason for ceasing our consumption of meat. I could go on, but I see little point in continuing to discuss the all too often shrill tone of the author’s polemics.

In The Vegatarian Shabbat Cookbook, (published in 2010) a far more attractive tome, far less shrill and more than three times the number of pages than the earlier one, there are some good recipes. Whether she has matured in her thought in the eight years since she published the Passover book, whether she studied Dale Carnegie‘s How to Win Friends and Influence People, or whether her co-author – Roberta Schiff – served as as a tempering foil, she has curbed down her anger and her politics. What emerges instead is a far more sensible book with some interesting possibilities for those who would vary their diets and veer away from constantly eating meat. While none of the recipes got me very excited, unlike other cookbooks we reviewed on this pages, some are definitely not bad and here’s one I intend to try:

Roasted Root Vegetables With Wine Sauce

Preheat Oven to 375 F

  • 3 golden beets scrubbed
  • 1 turnip, scrubbed, but not peeled, if organic
  • 2 parsnips, scrubbed, but not peeled, if organic
  • 2 large potatoes, do not peel if organic
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed, do not peel, if organic
  • 3 medium or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 shallot cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of a good prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large soup pot to boil.
Cut all the vegetables into large chunks and put the chunked vegetables in to the boiling water in three or four batches. Boil 2-4 minutes for each batch. Take each batch out and drain.
Put the olive oil in a large skillet. Mix wine, mustard and cumin. When oil is hot (but not smoking), add the mixture of vegetables to the oil.
Add the root vegetables and the sliced shallots and garlic. Stir-fry until golden at the edges. Combine wine with the mustard and cumin and add to the pan. Add salt and pepper.
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes. Turn over every 10-15 minutes.
They should be golden and crispy.
Serves 6-8

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

27
Apr
11

This Evening’s Radio Show and a Recipe


Right before Pessach we did a two hour show featuring various wine experts and distributors, talking about kosher wines from around the world. It ended with a half hour conversation with Chef Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s.  You can listen to the archived show here.

This evening our internet radio guest will be Chef Sarah Lasry. Mrs. Lasry is Food Editor at Binah Magazine, author of The Dairy Gourmet and The At Home Gourmet. For eight years she owned and operated Tastebuds, a very successful dairy restaurant in the Howell/Lakewood area in New Jersey. You can hear our conversation, at 8:00pm (Eastern Time) on BlogTalk Radio. To talk to our guest, or to comment, you may call in at: 714.333.3357, we will be on from 8:00 – 8:30pm.

Looking through her latest of cookbook, The At Home Gourmet, I found it well organized and easy to follow. It’s divided in seven sections (Amazing Appetizers, Simple Soups, Zestful Salads, Lazy Lunches, Delicious Dinners, Waist Watchers, Basic Desserts) )and has a well organized Index. Quite a few of its recipes are destined to become new favorites, among them some of the very decadent desserts.

While I’m a carnivore to the core, those who follow this blog also know that any recipe that calls for cheese is sure to get my attention. Therefore, out of the many mouthwatering recipes in this book, I thought the one below would be perfect…

So Cheesy Onion Potato Gratin

  • 1 large onion sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp.extra virgin oil
  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Mozarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp. melted butter
  • Extra shredded Cheddar or Mozzarella for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a skillet over med-high heat, saute the onions in olive oil until they have browned (about 4-5 minutes). In a sprayed 9 x 13 baking pan, layer the bottom with the fried onions. Then layer the potatoes over the onions, covering them completely and overlapping the potatoes one on top of the other.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the heavy cream, salt, black pepper and both cheeses together. Pour the heavy cream mixture over the potatoes. In a separate bowl, add the crumbs and melted margarine, mix well and then spread generously over the top layer of potatoes. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and bake the gratin until it becomes bubbly, the top is brown and the potatoes are completely soft, about 20-30 minutes. Let gratin rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! As for me I plan on pairing it tonight with a well chilled Balma Venetia 2006 Muscat Beaumes de Venise… can’t wait!

CS

13
Apr
11

This Evening’s Two Hour Internet Radio Show And a Recipe…


Last Wednesday’s live broadcast from Gotham Wines and Liquors‘ 8th Annual Wine Extravaganza, held at the West End Institutional Synagogue. We had some great guests on that show and made new friends. Unfortunately the .mp3 file got trashed, so we never got a chance to hear it the actual broadcast. Tonight’s show will focus on wine and food. Our guests will be several kosher winery spokesmen and distributors, then at the last half hour we will talk to Chef Jeff Nathan, Chef/owner of Abigael’s on Broadway.

We will discuss the reasons for the 4 cups of wine and other Pessach customs, we will hear about their selections from the various wineries, while Chef Jeff will explain the whole concept of the New Jewish Cuisine, which he made into a wildly successful series on Public Television. We will also talk about his journey to become a successful restaurateur and what Abigael’s is planning for Passover.

Please listen in to The Kosher Scene’s Show, this evening at 6:30pm to 8:30pm Eastern Time,

The first cookbook Jeff Nathan published – in 2002 –  Adventures in Jewish Cooking, included some great recipes that can be made on Passover. Here is one I intend to savor on the last day of Pessach, when I finally do eat gebroks. It will go perfectly with a glass of  Psagot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Veal Chops Milanese with Tomato Salad and Arugula

In Milan, you’ll find golden-crusted veal chops so big they fill your plate. Before being cooked, they are pounded while still on the bone. This creates wide flaps of meat to allow for more crispy coating that everyone loves. A combination of matzo flour, matzo meal, and matzo farfel is my secret to creating a crunchier crust than is possible with bread crumbs alone. Using matzo also opens up the possibility of enjoying this dish right through Passover week. You will need a very large, 12-14 inch skillet to cook both chops at once. Of course, if you have two such skillets, you can invite a couple of friends over for dinner, doubling the amount of tomato salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, preferably 1 red and 1 yellow, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Two twelve ounce bone-in veal chops, about 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup matzo flour (also called matzo cake flour)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 cup matzo farfel
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)
  • 6 ounces arugula, washed and dried, torn bite-sized pieces.
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. To make the tomato salad, whisk the lemon juice and oil in a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and rosemary and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, while preparing the veal.
  3. Place the chops between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Using a heavy mallet or rolling pin, pound the meaty part of each chop until it’s about 1/2 inch thick, to create chops with a thinner flasp of meat attached to the rib bone. (In Milanese restaurants, the veal is pounded even thinner and wider, but at home, practicality demands that you pound the veal to a size that will allow two chops to fit into the skillet.) Season the chops with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the matzo flour in a shallow dish, the beaten eggs in a second shallow dish and the matzo farfel in a third shallow dish, Coat each veal chop with matzoh flour, then the egg wash, and then the matzoh meal.
  5. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chops and cook, turning one, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Place the browned chops on a large baking sheet. Bake until they feel firm when pressed in the center, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Just before serving, add the arugula to the tomato salad and mix. For each serving place a chop on a dinner plate and heap the tomato salad on top. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.

Just like his other book (which we reviewed) and has become one of my favorites, this one is also chuck full of mouth watering recipes which I can’t wait to try.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

24
Mar
11

Enlightened Cooking


There is hardly anyone out there who has never indulged in some unhealthy eating. Why? Sure we know that it is probably not healthy, but “it is delicious,” we rationalize, “besides, how bad could it be if I only do it once in a long while?” Chances are we indulge in it more than once in a “long while,” chances are we probably pick up a few other such bad habits. For a long time, at least in most people’s mind, the choice was to deny oneself a lot of gastronomic pleasures or take chances.

Enlightened cooking, elegantly published by: Feldheim Publishers

In 2006 Nechama Cohen, the CEO of The Jewish Diabetes Association, published EnLITEned Kosher Cooking with over 250 recipes running the full gamut from the simple to the elegant. She writes in the Preface:

[...] in Deuteronomy (Devarim 4:15) it is written, “You shall be very careful of yourselves – V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoseichem,” meaning we are obliged to take good care of our health and well-being. It is now becoming more and more clear that it is not only those with actual health problems who have to change their coking and eating habits. Everyone should see if they can make improvements! This is the first step in assuring a healthy future without complications from diabetes and all other terrible diseases that can, God forbid, be caused by obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.

There is much to recommend this book, but we’ll just single out a few things. Not only is it well organized, not only does each recipe have its nutritional facts listed, but under the name of each recipe it tells you whether it a Low Fat, or Fat Free,  Reduced Carb, or Low Carb. Among its 15 Appendixes are: How to Calculate Carbs, another on Calcium-Rich Choices, Nutrition Facts for Fruits and Vegetables (based on a USDA National Nutrition Database), Eyeballing Food for Portion Size, Food Equivalents to name just a few.

The cookbook claims it does not sacrifice on flavor, while providing for healthy eating. We decided to test the truth of such a statement so we made this easy recipe:

Delicious!

Lemon Chicken

Low Carb, Low Fat / Yield: 4 servings

This chicken dish is easy, tangy and delicious.

Directions

  • 11/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, partially frozen
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • Sugar substitute equal to 1/4 cup sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons soy or whole-wheat flour
  • 1 bunch watercress, stems discarded
  • 1 large head radicchio leaves, separated

Garnish

  • lemon slices

Directions

  1. Using a sharp knife, slice each chicken breast diagonally into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Pound the pieces in a plastic bag until they are 1/4-inch thick.
  2. Heat oil and spray in a large non-stick skillet. Add half the chicken. Cook over medium heat until barely done, about 1 minute per side; they will not be white in all places. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and repeat with the rest of the chicken, adding spray if necessary.
  3. Using the same skillet and lowering the heat, carefully add wine, sugar substitute and lemon juice to the skillet, season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Dissolve flour with 1/2 cup of the prepared liquid after it has cooled, and add to the skillet.
  5. Return chicken to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until the slices are completely white, about 5 minutes.
  6. Line a platter with the watercress and radicchio, and arrange the chicken slices on top. Garnish with the sauce and lemon slices and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size (slice) 1

  • (oz) 5
  • (g) 150
  • Calories 203
  • Protein (g) 32.5
  • Carbs (g) 1.8
  • Fat (g) 3.7
  • Sat. Fat (g) 0.5
  • Cholesterol (mg) 77
  • Sodium (mg) 160
  • Calcium (mg) 34
  • Fiber (g) 0.4

Exchanges

  • Lean meat protein 41/2

We liked the taste, it compared quite favorably with the traditional recipe for Lemon Chicken. We used edible flowers for garnishing, they tasted nice and greatly enhanced the looks. By the way, you may use potato starch instead of flour and you will have a Pessach recipe!

This cookbook definitely proves you do not need to sacrifice taste to eat truly healthy. Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

31
Jan
11

Our Guest This Week Will Be…


Last week we presented Jay Buchsbaum the Executive VP of the Royal Wine Co., as our interviewee. You can hear Jay and his encyclopedic knowledge of all things wine, here

This coming Wednesday, at 8:00pm, our guest will be Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum, the regulars of this blog know how much we enjoy her cooking demos, how much we enjoy her recipes. Mrs. Kirschenbaum has written three cookbooks Lévana’s Table, In Short Order and Lévana Cooks Dairy-Free!. She’s now hard at work on her fourth cookbook on Superfoods, due out this coming summer.

Who is Lévana? What are her credentials? Most of you may remember her ground breaking restaurant Lévana’s, but there is far more as we are told on her website:

For nearly thirty years Lévana Kirschenbaum has owned and operated a catering business, a bakery and a successful Manhattan restaurant all while raising a family. She understands that even gourmet chefs don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. With this in mind, she keeps the recipes simple, insisting that using fresh, natural ingredients will yield fantastic results without a lot of fuss.

When Lévana opened her eponymous restaurant with her two brothers-in-law twenty five years ago, all Kirschenbaums were perfectly aware they were facing a hard sell: introduce fine kosher dining to the Kosher public, who until then was content either eating at home or grabbing a bite in the rare joints that served institutional old world treats. The general prediction was that the presumptuous idea would fall flat on its face.

Undaunted by being the trailblazers of the trend, they surrounded themselves with the best chefs, developed the most delicious dishes and waited patiently until the idea of gourmet kosher caught on. The rest, as we all know, is history: kosher food and wine has experienced a veritable explosion and has its place among the most prestigious competitions. Many luxury kosher restaurants have opened and thrived since Lévana’s pioneering days, bearing out the dictum that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

With over 25 years of experience in professional cooking, recipe development, catering and teaching, celebrity chef Lévana makes the preparation of nutritious and exotic gourmet cuisine easy. She gets countless devoted fans for her fearless, practical and nutritious approach to cooking and spreads the good word on simple, streamlined, elegant and wholesome dining in her classroom on the Upper West Side – where she gives weekly demos – and around the country.

What is her goal?

Fine dining that is also contemporary, nutritious and easy to prepare is a way of life that Lévana instills in her classes. Lévana’s unfussy, straightforward approach utilizes fresh, all natural ingredients to create international flavors from her native Morocco and other wide-ranging culinary influences.

I’ve known Lévana for a while now and I can assure you that the show will be truly informative and entertaining. Just listen in, gentle reader, at 8:00pm on Wednesday, February 2nd, on Jewish Radio Network. Enter the site and click on the red “here” under the white “Radio,” then wait about 30 to 90 seconds for the application to start streaming.

CS

24
Dec
10

The Joy of Cookbooks


There was a time when cookbooks were written dry as a road map, the writing was limited to exact cooking directions, nothing more; in their current generation, cookbooks tell a story – besides presenting us with succulent recipes – we are regaled with personal anecdotes, or the various transformations of the specific dish, something about the region or culture that created it and so on. Quite often the result is very readable and interesting, even if you do not plan to make the specific recipe at the moment, there is something about it that catches your eye, excites your imagination and makes your taste buds salivate.

Food writing, differs from other types and yet it combines so many staple features of all the others. More than any other writing, however, it affords us huge insights into its author’s personality, interests, quirks, likes, dislikes and sometimes, personal life. Oft, you come away with the feeling you reunited with an old friend or that you just met someone you’ll love revisiting time and time again.

From books that trace Jewish influences on a specific country’s cuisine (like Joyce Goldstein‘s Cucina Ebraica), to books that bring us anecdotes, personal stories and more about the author’s or the recipes’ background (like Lévana Kirschenbaum‘s Lévana’s Table), or the incredible well researched Encyclopedia of Jewish Foods by Gil Marks (I’ve only seen a few random pages of the last, but I found it absolutely fascinating!!!), reading food writing – specifically kosher food writing – connects us with our past as a people, connects us with new friends we’d probably never have met otherwise, connects with our traditions. Yes, gentle reader, reading a cookbook is not what it used to be, there is a lot to learn from it – far more than how to prepare a flavorful dish. As Gil Marks so aptly puts it in his Encyclopedia:

Food is more than just sustenance. It is a reflection of the history, culture and values, and this is specially true of the Jewish people–a community that spans the globe. From Brooklyn to India and everywhere in between, Jewish food is represented by a fascinating array of dishes, rituals, and traditions.

Jewish cuisine is truly international. In every location Jews settled, they brought culinary traditions and also adapted local dishes modifying them to fit dietary laws, lifestyles and tastes. Unique traditions and dishes developed within the cuisines of North Africa, Europe, Persia, and the Mediterranean, but all are recognizably Jewish.

Enjoy your reading, gentle reader, and excite your taste buds.

CS

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Kosher By Design: Teens and 20 Somethings

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25
Oct
10

Kosher By Design: Teens And 20 Somethings


Well, Susie Fishbein’s done it again!! Her latest Kosher by Design cookbook for young adults will turn any teen, college student, or young at heart-Fishbein fan, into an instant gourmet superstar. If you’re tired of the same old pizza with fries, or pocket pinching foil-packed fast food entrees, you’re just going to love the 100 deliciously innovative, easy to prepare recipes in her new cookbook. Susie prepares young cooks with great tips on the basics of cooking and the tools they’ll need; tips like using dry and liquid measuring cups because of volume differentials to achieve optimum results, making healthy food choices, and sidebar symbols indicating vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy free and nut-free recipes. All the recipes that made it into the book were taste-tasted and approved by discerning “tastebud” teens.

John Uher’s photography is colorful and appealing throughout – especially the dessert section. Aside from Starters, Munchies, Soups and Salads, Poultry and Meat, Fish, Pasta and Dairy, Side DishesDesserts, there’s an exciting section on planning themed Parties, and Special Diet Needs.

It was hard to choose a favorite recipe from all of them, but this one seems intriguing as it shows Mrs. Fishbein’s culinary mastery and understanding of the young:

Chocolate Tart in Pretzel Crust

DAIRY – YIELDS 10-12 SERVINGS

Crust:

  • 6 chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos®
  • 2 cups mini pretzel twists
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

Chocolate Filling:

  • 1 (4-ounce) good-quality semisweet chocolate bars, such as Ghiradelli®
  • 1 (4-ounce) good-quality milk chocolate bar, such as Ghiradelli®
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • whipped cream, optional for garnish
  • additional mini pretzel twists for optional garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Place the pretzels and cookies into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal “S” blade. Pulse until almost fine; some small pretzel pieces should remain. Pour into mixing bowl. Add the melted butter. Stir to moisten the crumbs. Press into a 9-inch glass pie plate or a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or your palm to work mixture into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place the pan on a cookie sheet for easy transfer to and from the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Place the chocolate on your cutting board. Using a sharp knife, finely chop the chocolate.
4. Heat the cream in a medium pot until it is simmering. Add the chocolate, including any small shards from the cutting board. Turn off the heat. Stir until smooth and chocolatey throughout. Pour into the prepared crust and chill for at least 2 hours.
5. Slice and serve plain or with whipped cream and pretzels.

All in all, Teens and 20-Somethings is informative, creative and a lot of fun; Susie is at her best, giving the next generation their shot at looking great in the kitchen, and us the opportunity to sit back and be fed and entertained by our kids.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

SYR

Contest

On October 18th, we announced a photo contest, it’s a food photography competition and the best photo of a Kosher by Design recipe will win a copy of Susie’s latest: Kosher by Design Teens and 20 Somethings. You may download a free copy of the complete KBD recipe index from: http://bit.ly/KBDrecipeindex. Choose a recipe, make it, serve it and photograph it. Please check out Contest!!! for some pointers on food photography and links to a few outstanding food photographers’ online portfolios. Send us your best to:

kosherscene@gmail.com

RELATED POSTS

A Talk with Susie Fishbein

Maple Roasted Pears and Sweet Potatoes and More

——)xOxoOox0x(——

Preorder your copy today at ArtScroll.com – enter the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout to save 10% and receive free shipping in the continental U.S. Join the KBD online communities to find more reviews and giveaway contests! Kosher by Design Teens & 20-Somethings: cooking for the next generation is aimed at the young and digital-savvy fast-food generation and those who cook for them. Susie Fishbein is an everyday cook who loves to share her passion for cooking and entertaining with friends and family. Her enthusiasm for food and entertaining led to the creation of her best-selling cookbook, Kosher by Design, published in 2003 by ArtScroll Shaar Press. For more recipes and updates, visit the Kosher by Design blog or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.




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