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Fine Cuisine with Art Infusion

"To cook is to create. And to create well...
is an act of integrity, and faith."


"No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook
in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice
and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers."

~ Laurie Colwin


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The Star of David with a Shofar Coming out of the Center The Star of David with a Shofar Coming out of the Center
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Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem, Israel Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem, Israel
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Wheeler, Nik
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Illumination of a Menorah, from the Jewish Cervera Bible, 1299
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La Belle Cuisine


In Honor of the Jewish High Holy Days

Rosh Hashanah:
September 8, 2010/Tishrei 1, 5771

Yom Kippur:
September 17, 2010/Tishrei 10, 5771

Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot:
September 22, 2010/Tishrei 15 - 21, 5771


Shofar Horn for Rosh Hashanah Near Apples
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Moskol, Sally
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Our Seven Favorite Jewish Cookbooks

"Books that span the culinary spectrum, from traditional
Ashkenazi to Sephardic, from New York to Israel, including
baking and healthy specialties"
by Irene Sax, Epicurious

"When I think of Jewish food, I think of brisket and latkes. To someone else,
the words may evoke lamb tagine and rice with lentils, while to others—even
the most observant—it could include foods as varied and unexpected as beef
jerky, eggplant Parmesan, and chicken tikka masala. We tend to divide Jewish
cooking into two categories: Ashkenazic from Middle and Eastern Europe, and
Sephardic from the Mediterranean and stretching eastward to the Middle East
(including Spain, Portugal, and North Africa). But in truth, there are as many
varieties of Jewish cooking as there are places in the world where Jews have
settled, from Buenos Aires to Shanghai to Brooklyn, New York. The only re-
quirement is that the dishes follow the rules of kashruth ("kosher" in English),
such as separating milk and meat, and eschewing pork and shellfish. And that's
why you'll find such a rich variety of flavors and stories in some of our favorite
Jewish cookbooks. Evoking a place and time from long ago, and sometimes pro-
viding a new perspective on the present, these books make for great reading."


Best for Jewish Baking

A Treasury of
Jewish Holiday Baking

by March Goldman, 2009 Whitecap Books, Ltd.

Majestic and Moist New Year's Honey Cake

"Shiny golden challah, pecan-studded Schnecke, and kichel twists made crunchy with coarse sugar: These are the homely breads and sweets that baker Marcy Goldman grew up with in Montreal's Jewish community, where many believe the world's best bagels can be found. An experienced teacher, she offers a detailed
bread-making chapter, an invaluable group of baking tips, and a list of "winning
recipes for the bakery-challenged." But is there really such a thing as Jewish
baking? The answer is yes, and it goes back to keeping kosher. First, there is the
need to use margarine or oil rather than butter in baked goods that are served with
meat meals. And second, many Jewish baked goods are identified with specific
holidays, such as hamantaschen for Purim and cheese pastries for Hanukkah.
With almost 200 recipes organized around a year of holidays, the book would be
worth buying just for the Majestic and Moist New Year's Honey Cake and a
matzoh-based Passover 'candy'  that has been copied all over the Internet."


Best for Sephardic Cuisine

Book of Jewish Food:
An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York

 by Claudia Roden, copyright © 1996
Published by Knopf

"In this award-winning book, Claudia Roden, a well-known English food writer, describes the Sephardic Jewish cuisine she knew as a child in Cairo. Looking
back fondly to a time when Jews from Syria, Spain, Italy, Morocco, and Turkey
lived side by side in Egypt, she remembers dishes like Sheikh el Mahshi Betingan,
an Arabic dish made of eggplants stuffed with lamb and pine nuts, and Menena,
rosewater-scented tartlets filled with chopped nuts and dates. Roden looks at
Jewish food from all over the world—expected places like Germany and Poland
pop up, as do more exotic spots, like Iraq, India, and China. She also profiles
many of the communities to show how the "touch of otherness" in their food both
reflects and alters the recipes. And although her book includes some Ashkenazi
cooking, her first love is the complex, spice-rich dishes of the eastern Mediter-
ranean Sephardim. The diversity of Jewish cuisine is brought to life with 800-
plus recipes as well as countless images depicting Jewish living from the past,
helping tell a story in a way that's both scholarly and deeply personal."

Kofta à la Sauce Tomate
(Meatballs in Tomato Sauce)

Epicurious | September 2008

"Served with rice, this is one of the homely everyday dishes of virtually every Sephardi community. We called them "blehat." In Turkey they call them
"yullikas." In the old days people fried the meatballs first, but now you often
find them poached in the sauce. Sometimes they are briefly roasted in the
oven at high heat to brown them slightly and firm them before stewing."

1 1/2 lbs (600 g) ground lamb, beef, or veal
1 large onion, finely chopped or grated
About 1/2—3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Sunflower oil for frying (optional)

For the tomato sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed in a press
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 lbs (1 kg) tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or
a 28-oz (800-g) can of tomatoes
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1-2 teaspoons sugar

Mix the meat with the onion, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and allspice and knead
to a soft paste. Make little balls or ovals the size of a small walnut. You may
fry very briefly in oil, shaking the pan, to brown them slightly all over, then
drain on paper towels. Alternatively, put them on a baking sheet and roast
them for about 7 minutes in the hottest oven, until slightly colored.
For the tomato sauce:

In a large saucepan, fry the garlic in the oil till colored. Add the tomatoes,
salt, pepper, tomato puree, and sugar and simmer 15 minutes. Then put
n the meatballs and simmer another 20 minutes.
Serve with rice.


Tunisian meatballs may have 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leafed parsley
or coriander, 1 tablespoon chopped mint, a small onion chopped fine, a
crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon rosebud powder,
and 1/2 teaspoon harissa.
Spices in an Indian Baghdadi kofta include 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric. Another version has 1 tablespoon garam
masala and a pinch of chili powder.
Some people like to incorporate an egg and 1 or 2 slices of bread soaked
in water and squeezed dry, which bind the meat and result in a softer
texture. Some drop the meatballs in the sauce without preliminary frying
or roasting and cook them for 25 minutes. This gives them a slightly
different texture.
For a Syrian version called "Daoud Pasha," stuff each meatball with a few
pine nuts.
In Salonika they sometimes added 1 tablespoon of honey instead of sugar
to the tomato sauce.
Italian Jews make polpette alla giudea on the same principle but with a
very special flavor. Soak 4 oz (100 g) bread, crusts removed, in water, and
squeeze dry, then blend with 1 lb (500 g) ground meat, 2 crushed cloves of garlic, a bunch of flat-leafed parsley finely chopped, salt, pepper, a pinch of nutmeg, and 2 eggs. Take small lumps and shape them into flat patties. Fry them in oil, turning them over once. Cook 1 lb (500 g) peeled and chopped tomatoes with the grated peel of 1/2 lemon, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 2 tea-spoons sugar, salt, and pepper for 10 minutes. Add a tablespoon each of
chopped flat-leafed parsley and basil. Drop in the meat patties, and cook
5 minutes longer.


Best for Jewish-Italian Cuisine

Classic Italian Jewish Cooking

"Edda Servi Machlin's The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews became a culinary classic the minute it appeared in 1981, because it shed light on a previously little-known community. Featuring more than 300 recipes, this book—which includes recipes from the 1981 edition as well as from her two other titles—completes the picture of the centuries-old Jewish community in Pitigliano, the Tuscan town
where she grew up. The people there felt they were both Italian and Jewish, eating Tuscan beef and beans alongside Jewish-Italian dishes like carciofi alla giudia (artichokes, Jewish style), goose salami (rather than pork salami), Hanukkah rice with raisins, and all kinds of eggplant, which Machlin says the Jews introduced
to Italy from the Near East. Some dishes, like penne all'arrabbiata, won't seem especially Jewish to lovers of Italian food, while others, like tongue in sweet-and-sour sauce and tagliatelle all'Ebraica (a noodle kugel with pine nuts and raisins), will seem more Jewish than Italian. But they all sound delicious, and anyone who cares about regional Italian cooking will be fascinated by Machlin's lovely and evocative picture of the cuisine of a world lost to the ravages of war."

Click here for recipe.


Best for Healthy Eating

Healthy Cooking for
the Jewish Home

by Faye Levy, copyright © 2008
Published by William Morrow

"Oh, no, you groan, who wants latkes lite? Or a kugel that's as dry as cardboard? The truth is, no one. So don't spurn this book just because of its promise of healthy cooking; rather, the depth and range of flavor made available through the 200
recipes in Faye Levy's book is not to be underestimated. A graduate of La Varenne
French Cooking School, columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and author of more
than 20 cookbooks, Levy has a flair for creating dishes that are low in fat and calories but surprisingly big in flavor. True, part of her book is about slimming
down traditional Jewish dishes: subbing egg whites for yolks in matzoh balls
and spreading avocado instead of cream cheese on lox and bagels. But her real
message is that eating healthy and keeping kosher are easy to do if you follow
a Mediterranean diet plan that focuses on lots of fruits, vegetables, grains, and
healthy fats. Although Levy includes sweet chicken for Rosh Hashanah and
matzoh-meal brownies for Passover, this isn't a holiday cookbook as much as
it is a plan for eating well every day."

The B.L.A. - Bagel with
Lox and Avocado
Epicurious | September 2008

"The idea for this sandwich came to me when my mother and I were about to have bagels and lox for brunch. I wanted a more nutritious spread than cream cheese,
and I happened to have on hand a ripe avocado, which is rich in beneficial mono- saturated fat and organic minerals. Mashed with a bit of lemon juice, it turned out
to be the perfect choice. Its mild, delicate flavor provides the ideal balance for the
salty lox, and its smooth creamy texture resembles that of cream cheese.
Use whatever bagel you like. A whole-grain one has the best nutrition, but the sandwich will taste better if the bagel is not sweet; often whole-grain bagels also contain honey. The lox-and-avocado combination is also good in a whole wheat
pita. Whether you're serving it to break the fast or for brunch, the sandwich is
good accompanied by a green salad and a few high-quality olives."

Yield: Makes 2 servings

1 small ripe avocado, preferably Hass (see Note)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 bagels
2 slices or 4 thin strips of lox,
or smoked salmon
2 thin slices of red onion
4 thin slices of tomato
1 teaspoon capers, rinsed (optional)

A short time before serving, mash avocado and add lemon juice. Season
with pepper and only a bit of salt, as there will be enough in the lox. Split
bagels and spread each half with avocado. Top with lox. Put onion, tomato,
and capers (if using) on bottom half, then set top half of sandwich in place.
Serve at once.

To halve an avocado, run a knife lengthwise around fruit, then twist to separate the two halves. Remove pit by hitting it with the heel of a chef's
knife, using just enough force that knife sticks in pit. Then lift knife, with
pit attached.

Back to Page 1 of our
'Favorite Jewish Cookbooks' Feature

Featured Archive Recipes:
(work in progress)
Tradition! (Chanukah)
Brisket (Gail Zweigenthal's Mother's)
Cheese Blintzes
Cheesecake, New York
Kugel, Noodle, Mrs. Stern's
Kugel, Potato, Klein
Kugel, Vegetable-Noodle, Judy's
Latkes (The Latke King)
Matzoh Ball Soup
Scrambled Eggs with Lox
and Cream Cheese


Our all-time favorite cookbooks

Food and Art (Artist's Cookbooks)
Recipes from out-of-print (or hard to find) cookbooks

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