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Goodcooking.com Cookbook Review

Joy of Kosher Cover

Title: Joy of Kosher---Fast, Fresh Family Recipes
Author: Jamie Geller
375pages; Hardcover, $30.00 US
Publisher: William Morrow, NY NY 2013
Reviewed by, Chef John Vyhnanek


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The review---

The Joy of Kosher, Fast, Fresh Family Recipes by Jamie Geller is full of traditional Jewish family recipes. The pages of the cookbook are broken down into sections of soups, starters, sides, salads, poultry, meat, fish, vegetarian and desserts. There is even a section on Challah! Additional sections are of holiday menus, a food glossary, and Yiddish glossary.

Opening the book you will notice a good quality paper has been used and that there are many photographs of food. The recipes are well written with the instructions clear to follow. Nothing is too difficult for a cook to execute, although a cook just starting out might not think so. The first chapter guides you through a “How to Use this Book” section. There is a list of equipment that is used in making the recipes as well as a list of ingredients you’ll need on hand. In the second chapter, the meaning of Kosher is explained concisely. For those of you who may have not experienced Kosher cooking, it’s a chance to learn about it.

Recipes are creative in a modern way, with items such as Easy Scallion Cornbread, Red Hasselback Potatoes, Tropical Fruit Guacamole and Moroccan Roast Chicken. The Moroccan Roast Chicken is a recipe I tested. It had a great aroma, nice visual appeal and a wonderful taste!

It must be a trend in cookbooks lately because this is the second one I’ve recently reviewed that has quite a large number of the author’s family in it. This can be a cute thing but to me there should be a limit. But this approach is popular and helps sell cookbooks!

The Joy of Kosher will make a nice gift for anyone. I see it particularly a nice wedding gift for a young Jewish couple to help them start their own family traditions. Watch out grandma, you have some competition in the kitchen with this cookbook!

One final comment, you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy these nice recipes. Cooking and food is what brings everyone to the table!

Recipes Tested!

Latkes with Caviar and Sour Cream Latkes with Caviar and Cream

Kosher Status: Dairy • Prep: 15 minutes • Cook: 40 minutes • Total: 55 minutes • Yield: 20 latkes

You see all kinds of ubercreative latke recipes around Chanukah time: apple-parsnip latkes, sweet potato–leek latkes, sweet cheesy latkes, savory cheese and chive latkes (all of which you can find on www.JoyofKosher.com). Truth is, you can’t go anywhere in the world of latkes until you’ve mastered the classic. So first I’ll teach you this special recipe from Ma and Uputzi. They always made incredible pureed potato latkes.

I go back and forth between the puree and the shoestring version. You can do whatever you like. No adjustments necessary; just change the food processor blade or the side of the box grater. Of course, Ma and Uputzi grated theirs by hand on the box grater. But when I want to fry up a hundred latkes, I hug my food processor, give it a big kiss, and whisper, “Thank God I have you.”

When I have guests, I stick to a classic—then I go wild with toppings, creating a latke topping bar, so your Chanukah party guests can mix and match or try all. Try guac and an over-easy or poached egg, or slices of mozz, tomato, plus a few fresh basil leaves. Oooo, and I love a shmear of brie topped with a dollop of jam, or blue cheese, pear, and arugula piled high. Are you pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down here? Endless, endless, endless possibilities.

4 large russet potatoes (about
21/2 pounds)
3 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
1 medium onion, quartered
1/4 cup fine cornmeal or matzoh meal
11/4 cups crème frâiche or sour cream
Caviar, for garnish

1. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Peel the potatoes, cut them into quarters lengthwise, and place them in the bowl of cold water to prevent browning.

2. Combine the eggs, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; set aside.

3. Heat about 1 inch of the canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.

4. Put the onion and potatoes in a food processor and pulse until pureed. Transfer the mixture to the large bowl with the eggs. Add the cornmeal and mix to combine.

5. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

6. Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, scoop up the potato mixture and carefully drop it into the hot oil. Use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the latke. Fill the pan with as many latkes as you can, but do not let them touch. Do not overcrowd your pan, or the latkes will be soggy instead of crispy. Fry until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining batter.

7. To keep the latkes warm and crispy once fried, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in a 200°F oven until ready to serve.

8. To serve, place the latkes on a large serving tray and garnish each with a generous tablespoon of crème fraîche and caviar.

QUICK TIP
I can’t say it enough times: Remember, don’t overcrowd your pan when frying. Make sure the latkes aren’t touching and there is room around each for the edges to crisp. That’s the perfect latke: soft, fluffy, and creamy on the inside with crispy edges.

DRESS IT DOWN
• Sweet Cinnamon Latkes •
My friend Anita’s grandmother used to make her latkes with a pinch of cinnamon. Full disclosure: When she mentioned her grandma’s sweet secret, I snagged it for this book.

For a sweeter version, omit the onion and the pepper, reduce the salt to a pinch, and add 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar. Mix 1 cup sour cream with ¼ cup maple syrup and serve it on the side.

PAIR IT Drappier Brut Champagne (Carte Blanch e or Carte d ’Or) This dish deserves bubbly . . . splurge here and go for the champagne.


Recipes Tested!

Mushroom Cup Hearty Mushrooms with Herbs and Wine

Kosher Status: Meat • Prep: 8 minutes • Cook: 24 minutes • Total: 32 minutes • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Among the many ventures in my life, I went through a vegetarian stage. I loved nothing more than rich, earthy beefy mushrooms as a satisfying sub for meat. Beef broth (you can use veg if you want to keep it pareve) and red wine make this a really sumptuous side.

1/2 cup beef broth, such as Manischewitz
All Natural Beef Broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
11/2 pounds button or cremini mushrooms,
quartered
2/3 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or
1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or
1 teaspoon dried

1. Whisk the broth, Dijon, tomato paste, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until smooth; set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high and add the wine. Cook, stirring and scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until the wine evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add the broth mixture, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the thyme and parsley and stir to combine. Serve warm.

VARIATION
Makes a great dairy appetizer cooked with white wine and vegetable broth and topped with a little
goat cheese or feta.

DRESS IT UP
• Mushroom Phyllo Cups •
Serve in individual phyllo cups.

You will need 12 sheets (12 x 16½ inches) frozen phyllo dough, thawed. Stack 4 layers at a time, spraying each layer with cooking spray. Cut the phyllo stacks into six 5½ x 6-inch pieces and press them into muffin cups. Fill each cup with 2 tablespoons cooled mushrooms. Bake at 375°F until
golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Garnish with a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley before serving. Makes 18.

MAKE IT A MEAL
Top your favorite steak with these mushrooms. Or make the mushrooms with white wine and chicken broth and pair them with Crispy Salt and Pepper Chicken with Caramelized Fennel and Shallots (page 179).

MAKE IT PAREVE
Sub in vegetable broth for the beef broth and white wine for the red. The red wine doesn’t make this dish “meat,” of course, but once you switch from beef to vegetable broth the white wine is a
better match.

PAIR IT Shiloh Winery Secret Reserve Shiraz. The earthy rich flavors of this recipe will pair perfectly with an aged shiraz. This robust Israeli shiraz was made for this dish.


Recipes Tested!

Moroccan Roast Chicken Moroccan Roasted Chicken

Kosher Status: Meat • Prep: 10 minutes • Cook: 50 minutes • Total: 1 hour • Yield: 4 servings

During the developing and testing process for this book, this dish became Hubby’s new favorite. Totally unexpected—I was sure he’d steal a line from the kids and say, “Thank you anyway, but this is not my taste.” (We taught them to say that instead of “Ooo, yick!”) It’s just not the usual stuff and spices he goes for, but apparently the combination was soooo his taste. And mine, too. It’s one of those winner recipes that will make you dance around your kitchen. You may hug me now.

Cooking spray
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 garlic cloves, chopped
One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 medium red onions, quartered
1 pound small red-skin potatoes,
scrubbed and halved
1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; spray the foil with cooking spray.

2. Mix together the honey, olive oil, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic in a small bowl. Place the chicken, onions, and potatoes in a large bowl. Toss with three-quarters of the honey mixture and arrange in a single layer on the prepared pan. Toss the apricots and raisins with the remaining honey mixture and set aside.

3. Bake the chicken, onions, and potatoes for 35 minutes. Add the apricots and raisins and bake until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes more. Garnish with the pistachios and cilantro.

DRESS IT DOWN / MAKE IT A MEAL
• Slow Cooker Moroccan-Style Chicken •
Make this a slow cooker meal.

Use 4 chicken leg quarters (thigh with leg attached), and toss all the ingredients except the pistachios and cilantro in the slow cooker with 3 cups chicken broth, such as Manischewitz All Natural Chicken Broth. Cook on low for 6 hours. Serve over whole wheat couscous and garnish with the pistachios and cilantro.

PAIR IT Carmel Kayoumi Shiraz. A yummy, spicy shiraz enhances the rich flavors in this dish.

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