Kosher Revolution – a Book Review

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Because of work, the exchange with Sweden, the High Holidays and now the fall vacation I have not had as much time as I would have liked for experimentations in cooking.

However since I received a review copy of Kosher Revolution before Rosh Hashanah, I thought I would try and find a seasonal recipe in this new cookbook for the holiday.

Kosher Revolution aims at making “kosher cooking indistinguishable from any other kind.” By this the authors of this book, Geila Hocherman and Arthur Boehm, mean that modern cuisine and kosher cooking are quite compatible. The inspiration seems to come mainly from Mediterranean and Asian cuisines.

Kosher Revolution is divided into several clear parts that make it easy to navigate the book:
– Getting Started – tips on cooking as well as advice on a well-stocked pantry
– Hors d’Oeuvres and Starters
– Soups – a section that includes appetizing Newly Minted Pea Soup and Coconut-Ginger Squash Soup
– Fish – a unit where
– Poultry
– Poultry – nice-looking recipes for chicken with a change
– Meat
– Meatless Mains – Tess’ Penne with Blue Cheese, Pecans and Sultanas sounds great for a busy winter evening
– Sides – I intend to try Middle-Eastern Zucchini Cakes with Tahini Sauce for Hannukah
– Breakfast and Brunch
– Sweets – where I found the delicious Allie’s Apple Cake
– Basics- a section devoted to Challah, stock and sauces

The book is beautifully illustrated and the instruction easy to follow. I only have one regret: the recipes do not look as revolutionary as the title suggests. Nevertheless if Allie’s Apple Cake is anything to go by, they promise to be both reasonably simple and delightful.

My Weekly Challah

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 This recipe used to be on my former blog but as Chaviva pointed out I had forgotten to post the baking instructions. Here is the full recipe. I found it in Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York, published by Knopf.

Makes 4 Loaves

· 2 tablespoons dry yeast
· 2¼ cups (500 ml) lukewarm water
· ½ cup (100g) sugar
· 4 eggs, beaten, plus 2 yolks or 1 whole egg for glazing
· 1 tablespoon salt
· ½ cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
· About 9 ¼ cups (1 1/3 kg) flour
· Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

Dissolve the yeast in the water with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Beat well and leave 10 minutes, until it froths.

In a very large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Then add the salt, sugar, and oil and beat again. Add the frothy yeast mixture and beat well. Now add the flour gradually, and just enough to make a soft dough that holds together, mixing well, first with a large spoon, then working it in with your hands. Knead vigorously for about 15 minutes, until it is very smooth and elastic, adding flour if the dough is too sticky. Pour a little oil in the bowl and turn the dough, so that it is greased all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in a warm place to rise for 2‑3 hours, or until it has doubled in bulk. Punch the dough down and knead again, then divide into four pieces to make 4 loaves.

Place the 4 loaves on well‑oiled baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for them to expand, then leave to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Now brush gently with the beaten egg yolks or if you want to sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, brush first with the whole beaten egg (the seeds stick better if the white is there too). Bake in a preheated 350° F (180°C) oven for 30‑40 minutes or until the loaves are beautifully golden-brown. They are done if they sound hollow when you tap the bottoms.

With time, I have reduced the total amount of sugar and oil a bit.

Leora is hosting the latest edition of KCC while I’ll be hosting this month’s. To quote Batya, who initiated this wonderful carnival: “The Kosher Cooking Carnival is more than just a recipe carnival. Being that it’s about kosher food, posts about Jewish Law are included, also, restaurant and cookbook reviews, traditions, memories and diets.”

You can either send in your posts to this link or just email me (see the About at the top).

News from Other Blogs

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With Shavuot literally round the corner, I have little time to blog. So instead I prefer to point to some nice posts:

Ima Shalom deals with child friendly shuls in Tel Aviv.

Frumteacher weighs the positive and negative elements of her third school year as a teacher in the Netherlands.

In Simple Dinners, SuperRaizy provides us with tips to counteract rising grocery prices.

Leora offers a mouthwatering recipe for orange cake.

The Jew and the Carrot posts about eating local on Shavuot, complete with a recipe for lasagna.

Chag Sameach!

My Favourite Cookbooks

images.jpegI enjoy cooking and love looking for new recipes. However on a daily basis I rely on cookbooks for ideas, ingredients and measurements. Here are the ones I often use:

The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden
This is a really nice book. It has a lot of tasty recipes as well as numerous historical and anecdotal information. Since the majority of recipes come from the Sephardi world, Rosen’s family is from Egypt, many of them include vegetables. I also enjoy the variations she suggests. Thus, if you want to cook “stuffed tomatoes”, she’ll give you a basic recipe and then provide the Turkish and/or Tunisisan versions. In addition the ingredients are easy to find and healthy (no ready-made mix here).

Healthy Helpings by Norene Gilletz
I guess a number of peope know this one. Norene is a food consultant, food writer and columnist, cooking teacher and lecturer. Her emphasis is on healthy food, so little sugar and fat. Similarly she favors “brown”(flour, rice …) over “white” whenever it is possible. The book is packed with recipes (800 of them) and, like Claudia Roden, she provides alternatives for almost each one.

The Jewish Kitchen by Clarissa Hyman
This cookbook is not quite as comprehensive as the others yet the recipes I have tried are good. For instance she suggests a wondeful avocado and egg bagel schmear, a delightfl spicy Lybian fish and a refreshing borscht. The photos are great and mouthwatering.

What about you? What are your favorite cookbooks?