Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek work together often. Instalments of their Made Easy cookbook series have been featured in the Jewish Independent, with positive reviews. And now, the pair have co-authored Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes (ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, 2015).
Here are not just 103 recipes, but they all come from restaurants, many from across the United States, but also from Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Israel, Panama, Thailand and Uruguay. For each recipe, there is information on the restaurant, a large introduction and photo(s), ingredients, instructions, tidbits or hints for the home cook, and sometimes comments from the chef.
There is also an essay on kosher food trends by Elan Kornblum, founder of Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine, and an interview with him, followed by some basics that prep cooks do. Another essay covers the topic of sweets in the prep kitchen, and yet another, the smoking of foods.
There are 21 starters and sides, like avocado egg rolls from Bocca Steakhouse in Los Angeles; 16 soups and salads, such as a green salad from Milk N Honey in Melbourne; 12 sandwiches, including Philly steak sandwich from Retro Grill in Brooklyn; 17 chicken and meat recipes, such as gong bao chicken from Dini’s in Beijing; 10 fish recipes, like a salmon from Fresko in Aventura, Fla.; 14 brunch and lunch suggestions, including fettuccine with pesto from Deleite in Rio de Janeiro; and 12 baked goods and desserts, such as a halva from Lula by Darna in Panama City.
There are 148 mouth-watering color photographs, both full-page and stamp-size. Whereas a previous version of the cookbook focused on upscale restaurants, this cookbook’s subtitle is “From Your Favorite Kosher Cafés, Takeouts & Restaurants.”
If you know someone who enjoys traveling and eating, or just trying new recipes, this would make a great gift. The cookbook is more than just recipes, it is also a wealth of information.
Tevere 84, New York City, Lattanzi brothers (owners/chefs)
6 medium or 2 pounds baby artichokes
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
additional oil for frying
12 minced garlic cloves
- Cut off the top of each artichoke just above the middle. Remove some of the outer leaves and the interior immature and hair-like leaves.
- Using a peeler, peel the stems of each artichoke.
- In a bowl, toss artichokes with lemon juice.
- Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic. Add artichokes and sprinkle with sea salt. Cook, side by side, stem side up. Cook until artichokes are tender, turning several times for overall browning, 15-20 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, press each artichoke firmly to the bottom of the pan so that the leaves flatten out. Cook for 10 minutes. (Optionally, for very soft and hot artichokes, you can also transfer to the oven and bake at 400˚F for an additional 10 minutes.
- Before serving, heat additional oil in a sauté pan. Flatten artichokes to the flower shape and fry for two to four minutes before serving. Makes one to two servings.
Café Tamara, Jerusalem Technology Park, Ohad Vansuv (chef)
2 finely diced Persian cucumbers
2 finely diced tomatoes
1/2 finely diced red onion
handful chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
pepper to taste
olive oil for frying
4 beaten eggs
1 tbsp preserved lemon/lemon spread
1 tbsp harissa
1 cup yogurt
2 tbsp tahini
- In a bowl, combine cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add eggs, preserved lemon, harissa, salt and pepper. Scramble eggs until cooked.
- Place salad onto a plate. Top with eggs, yogurt and tahini. Garnish with parsley. Makes two servings. Serve immediately.
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 weekly walks in English in Jerusalem’s market.