In my collection of cookbooks is The Complete International Jewish Cookbook by Evelyn Rose. For more than 30 years, she was food editor of the London Jewish Chronicle. When I received the press release that 100 Best Jewish Recipes (Interlink Books, 2016) by Rose with Judi Rose was being published, I was sure it would be as lovely as the earlier one and was saddened to learn that Evelyn Rose was no longer living – she died in 2003.
Judi Rose had quite a task when she began working on this book, as she narrowed down the thousands of recipes from her mother’s career into the ones their family loved best. She ultimately decided on 100 of her mother’s best-loved recipes – “some of her personal favorites, as well as those of her fans.”
Judi Rose is a food writer, consultant and culinary expert. She and her mother cooked together for more than 30 years and wrote two cookbooks together. The recipes she has chosen epitomize her mother’s principles of “incorporating thinking on health and nutrition, and using new technology to save time and effort.”
“My mother passionately believed that each dish must have ta’am – that extra something that makes it taste special and worth the effort for busy people to put on their table,” writes Rose.
There are 128 recipes in this new cookbook, enhanced by 38 color photographs. After a foreword, an introduction and an essay on festivals and food, the chapters are listed: small plates (10 recipes), soups (13 recipes), poultry (12 recipes), meat (16 recipes), fish (11 recipes), vegetables and side dishes (23 recipes), bread-bakes and desserts (21 recipes) and basics (22 recipes). A final essay is on adapting recipes for the kosher kitchen.
One thing missing from the recipes is whether they are meat, dairy or pareve. Other than that, each recipe has how many servings, how long it will keep in the refrigerator (a clever inclusion not generally listed with recipes), how long it can be frozen and a little introductory note.
Styles include Middle Eastern and Sephardi, and the places from where the recipes come include Austria, Lithuania, Syria, Russia, France, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Persia, Morocco, China, Italy, Greece, Holland, Britain, Israel, Sicily, Egypt, Indonesia, Armenia and Denmark. As the publisher notes, these are traditional and contemporary recipes, for family meals and special occasions, for both novices and experienced cooks.
Here are a few of the traditional, classic recipes.
CHICKEN LIVER PATÉ
1 finely chopped onion
1 crushed garlic clove
4 tbsp soft margarine or rendered chicken fat
5-10 grinds sea salt
12 oz ready-koshered chicken livers
15 grinds of black pepper
1 good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
warm French bread, crackers or sliced challah
Hard boil eggs for 10 minutes, drain, return to pan, cover with cold water and leave to cool.
Fry the onion and garlic gently in the margarine or fat until very soft and a rich brown. As the onion cooks, sprinkle it with sea salt.
Peel the eggs and cut in half. Put one aside.
Put the onion and garlic with cooking juices into a food processor, process until smooth. Add two eggs, livers, pepper and nutmeg. Process until smooth. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
Turn mixture into a terrine or oval gratin dish or divide between individual ramekins. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Refrigerate extra egg.
One hour before serving, remove paté from refrigerator to return to room temperature. Pass the remaining egg through a food mill or sieve to decorate the top of the paté.
Serves six as an appetizer, eight to 10 as a spread. Keeps five days in the fridge and freezes for one month.
TRADITIONAL CHICKEN SOUP
1 whole or half chicken with wings and giblets
7 1/2 cups water
2 tsp salt
1 pinch white pepper
2 halved, peeled carrots
leaves and top 2 inches of 2 celery ribs
1 sprig parsley
1 very ripe tomato
Put bird and pieces in a large pot with water, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove foam with a large metal spoon.
Peel and halve onion and carrots, and add to pot with celery, parsley and tomato. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and continue to simmer three hours until chicken feels very tender when a leg is prodded.
Strain soup, reserving giblets and carrots in a separate container. Cover and refrigerate soup. Next day, remove congealed fat and return soup to the pot.
Cube giblets and carrots. Add to soup. Serve with matzah balls or noodles.
Serves four to six. Keeps three days in the refrigerator and three months in the freezer.
1 cup cake flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2/3 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup sunflower or other flavorless oil
zest of 1 orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350˚F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix flours and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until thick then gradually whisk in the sugar, followed by the oil, orange zest and vanilla.
Stir in enough of the flour to make a rollable, nonsticky dough. Knead until smooth then roll onto a floured board until a half-inch thick.
Sprinkle the dough with sugar, roll lightly to press it in. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters and arrange on prepared trays, leaving room for cookies to spread. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until pale gold in color. Leave on wire racks to cool.
Makes about 50. Will stay fresh two weeks in an airtight container and freezes for three months.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, foreign correspondent, lecturer, food writer and book reviewer who lives in Jerusalem. She also does the restaurant features for janglo.net and leads walks in English in Jerusalem’s market.