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!