Kosher Revolution


I continue to collect cookbooks despite the seduction of those powerful search engines that can bring up 75 recipes for chocolate chip cookies in two secs. My kosher cookbook collection is impressive.  I also have my share of vegetarian, Italian and Israeli volumes mixed in.
In the last few years I have purchased great reads by chefs and writers I have gotten to know. These are becoming my favorites because I know these chefs’ voices through reading their blogs or through my interviews with them.Here’s a brand new release about kosher cooking that  I think is worthy of being collected. I imagine that it will soon become dog eared because of its inclusion of so many recipes from other cultures and its user friendly instructions and contemporary feel.  Sprinkled thoughout, there are  also some great classics included, like the “Be-All, End-All Chicken Soup” and “Bubbie’s Brisket”.
Kosher Revolution is co-authored by Geila Hocherman and Arthur Boehm. The subtitle is: new techniques and great recipes for unlimited kosher cooking.  Key words here are revolution and new techniques. What does this French trained kosher chef and former gourmet food buyer at Bloomingdale’s mean?
Here is the revolution she refers to. With the development of so many kosher certified products and vegetarian/vegan products, we no longer need to settle for substitutions like ersatz cream (anyone remember Coffee Rich and that slippery texture?) or soup stocks that are flavored with additives and chemicals. Nut milks are perfect substitutions because their fat and protein profiles are so similar to dairy milk. These staples were not on the shelves just a few years ago.

Hocherman encourages “cultural borrowing” of flavors and ideas in recipes like “My miso-glazed black cod”. The big news is that kosher miso and sake are now available. She offers her recipe for “ Creme Brulee” with options for using coconut milk (parave!)  as a substitute for heavy cream.  Kosher cooks suddenly have a huge and varied array of ingredients at our finger tips that were not available even five years ago.

In most of her recipes, she offers lots of options for converting the recipe from dairy to meat or parave, and sometimes from all year to Pesach (Passover). This beautifully photographed volume begins with an indispensable chapter called “the pantry”.

She describes the characteristics of specific ingredients like almond and hazelnut milks, her preferred brand and what they are best used for. She also lists less familiar ingredients like konnyaku ( a Japanese fish flavored, vegan product made from yam flour) that she uses to make dumpling fillings. “The pantry” opens up exciting possibilities for even the most capable home cooks.

 

I found all of the recipes to be clearly written and straightforward, thanks to the style of her co-author Arthur Boehm, who has written many cookbooks and lends a distinctive and friendly voice.

In addition to anecdotal introductions to the recipes and a clear coding system (meat, Dairy, Parave), this volume pulls “convert it”  instructions out of the recipe itself and uses a helpful side bar to lend clarity. Each recipe also includes “Geila’s Tips”.

Here is a fascinating and useful one, “Check the bottom of the eggplants you buy. If the pip there is round, the plant is female;  if long, it is male.  Male eggplants have fewer seeds.” WHO KNEW?!

I met Hocherman and Boehm at Macy’s in NYC this week, where Hocherman presented two recipes to a full crowd in the demo kitchen.

I loved the easy to make and richly flavored Pignoli Cookies. Here’s how to make these parave Italian bites.

 

Kosher Revolution PIGNOLI COOKIES

30 cookies

Kosher Revolution PIGNOLI COOKIES

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. almond paste
  • ¼ c. confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ c. sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the almond paste and sugars and process until the mixture reaches the consistency of sand. Transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a medium bowl. Add the egg white, vanilla, and almond extracts. Beat on medium speed or by hand for 4 minutes.
  3. Place the pine nuts in a small bowl. Next to it place a bowl of water for wetting your hands. Wet your hands and form 11/2-2 inch balls with the paste mixture, making 5 at a time. Drop them in to the bowl of nuts and press down gently so the nuts adhere to the bottom of the balls.
  4. Transfer to a cookie sheet nut side up. Repeat, filling each prepared cookie sheet with about 15 balls.
  5. Bake until puffed and beginning to color, 15-18 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on the parchment paper on a countertop. When completely cool, peel the cookies off the paper and serve.
http://kosherlikeme.com/in-the-kitchen/kosher-revolution

2 Comments

  1. A great book indeed. Try the glazed brussels sprouts with chestnuts for thanksgiving, and yes thanks for all teh substitutes. I have been doing it for years , now there is an”official” recepie.Hooray.

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