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
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!
comment, you don't have to
be Jewish to enjoy these nice
recipes. Cooking and food is
what brings everyone to the
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum
foil; spray the foil with cooking spray.
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
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
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
PAIR IT Carmel Kayoumi Shiraz. A
yummy, spicy shiraz enhances the rich flavors in this