Passover is my favorite holiday, and besides the pleasure I get from sitting down to a seder with family and friends, I also love adding new recipes to my repertoire, keeping the old traditional foods, yet incorporating new ones.
Spring also is the time of year when a plethora of new cookbooks come out, and among them this year are some books with a new spin on traditional recipes and lots of ideas for Passover.
Jewish Cooking for All Seasons by Laura Frankel (Agate Surrey, 2016) offers recipes based on the seasons that are fresh and flavorful. This first paperback edition offers 150 easy, flavorful, inspiring and seasonal kosher recipes from Chef Laura Frankel, a leading voice in the kosher dining community. The recipes are for all occasions and include tips for advance preparation and serving ideas. Frankel updates Jewish cooking with innovative recipes from her time spent in professional kitchens (she is the former executive chef and head of food service at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership in Chicago).
The book is divided into sections on the four seasons, with each season offering recipes for starters, soups, salads, main dishes and desserts, as well as menu ideas for each holiday. It also includes a section on basic recipes from spice mixes to pickled vegetables, stocks and more that you can make and store, giving you a head start.
Frankel shared that she wrote Jewish Cooking for All Seasons because “I am a big believer in eating regionally and seasonally since the produce has a better quality, is fresh, has more nutrients and is less expensive, plus it does not come from 1,800 or miles away.”
When entertaining for a big holiday meal, Frankel recommends, “Choose a mixture of hot and cold food items for your menus. With only one or two ovens, it is hard to juggle a main course, vegetables and other side dishes and keep them hot and perfect. I like to do the protein and a hot side dish or two, then add several cold or room-temperature items. This relieves the stress of getting everything to the table when it’s piping hot.”
100 Best Jewish Recipes: Traditional and Contemporary Kosher Cuisine from Around the World by Evelyn Rose with Judi Rose (Interlink Publishing, 2015) offers traditional and contemporary kosher cuisine from around the world with modern classics for everyday meals to special occasions.
Judi Rose took on the difficult task of narrowing down the thousands of mouthwatering recipes from her late mother’s prolific food career as food editor of the Jewish Chronicle for over three decades and author of the highly acclaimed The Complete International Jewish Cookbook into the 100 the family loved best. This cookbook encompasses the highlights from Evelyn’s culinary life as one of the world’s foremost Jewish food writers.
Judi has done a terrific job of selecting a combination of the very best traditional recipes, which frequently include cultural notes (especially as they relate to the holidays), and others that boast the creative flair that made Evelyn’s three-times-revised cookbook a beloved favorite.
The book is packed with 100 easy-to-follow, mouthwatering, fail-safe recipes and is a versatile collection that is streamlined and straightforward. The recipes are for both family meals and special occasions when you want to impress without spending hours in the kitchen and are ideal for novices and experienced cooks alike.
Playing on the culturally diverse nature of her own marriage, in Cook, Pray, Eat Kosher: The Essential Kosher Cookbook for the Jewish Soul (Feldheim, 2015), Mia Adler Ozair weaves together the culinary delights of both Ashkenazic and Sephardic heritages, offering a full range of dishes for every palate. Included are original guides for how to prepare meals for and observe Shabbat and holidays, how to fulfill the woman’s mitzvah of making and taking challah and a profound reflection on the essential relationship between food and the Jewish soul.
Adler Ozair believes that “the kitchen is the heart of a family, and cooking for family is one of the best ways to show your love, especially healthy and nutritious foods.”
“Those of us who throw ourselves into the preparation for the Passover holiday know all too well that aside from the intense cleaning—both spiritual and physical—our family and guests always look forward to delicious and fulfilling cuisine in celebration of the holiday. Of course, part of my goal with my cookbook is to provide excellent and tasty recipe options for the holidays, but my book offers connection to a much larger opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
“Each holiday, and especially Passover, which is one of our most demanding holidays in terms of preparation and implementation, is a chance to look inward. All of our efforts can not only enrich our loved ones, but our love and cooking can connect us personally to God. It’s so hard to keep that in mind when exhausted from all of the work! However, this wisdom of spiritual connection through our efforts can give us an extra boost of energy to supercharge our holidays. The goal of Cook, Pray, Eat Kosher is to provide sustenance for both the body and the soul through the incredible, powerful actions of cooking with love and eating with pleasure.”