I have a ton of cookbooks.
Seriously. Here, I’ll show you.
These are only my favorites. I have a bunch in a cabinet that even though I don’t really use that much, I can’t let go of. And, yes, I keep cooking magazines.
Like a true hoarder.
Recently, the publisher of The New Jewish Table sent me a copy for review. I got excited; I love getting fun mail – and as you may (or may not) know I married into a Jewish family 8 years ago. I have really enjoyed learning about real Jewish food and so far, this is what I’ve learned:
- You can’t get a real bagel with lox in the state of Alabama. I’ve officially tasted the difference.
- Rugelach – a Jewish pastry – rocks, you can do so many things with it – here’s an example of what I did.
- Matzo ball soup fixes every ailment, especially when 1) It’s cooked in a pot handed down from a cherished grandparent and 2) Your husband makes it for you and brings it to you in bed. My last virus is proof that it works, people.
- I suck at making latkes.
Now, onto the book.
The New Jewish Table is written by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray – owners of Washington DC’s Equinox Restaurant. Their marriage, a union of a Jew and non-Jew, have been together for 20 years. As they say in the book, it’s “a blending at our table in the truest sense”.
I love that.
That’s real romance.
To begin with, it’s a beautiful, colorful hardcover book with a sturdy spine. When you first open it, you see the “bookplate”, which is a picture on the inside cover of their Cabbage Stuffed with Ground Beef and Onion.
It made me want the cabbage. I won’t lie.
The recipes are divided by seasons, and each section includes Brunch, Starters, Lunch, Dinner, Sides and Desserts. At first, I didn’t think that approach to a cookbook would be user-friendly. Once I got through the book, I really liked it. Not only do you have the contents section in the front, which are divided by seasons, but you have an entire alphabetical index in the back with every recipe. After going through it many times now, I think the idea is brilliant; they are laying out for you seasonal dishes/ingredients – and finding something specific is a no-brainer. They also include a Holiday section near the end of the book that gives you menu suggestions for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah and Passover.
I love their “interview” which continues throughout the book that lays out for you how they met, their love of food, family snippets, along with personal details about recipes.
To accompany my written review, I decided to make their Smoked Salmon and Sweet Corn Beignets.
I followed the recipe exactly as written in the book. Now, I won’t say these completely blew me away – but that being said – they are very good. I loved the lime sour cream that accompany them.
If I made these again, I would add several dashes of Tabasco to the batter – but that’s just me. The combination of salmon and corn is a fantastic idea.
Here’s the recipes – taken from The New Jewish Table:
- 2 medium ears of corn, husked
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 cup finely diced cold smoked salmon
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced, including the green parts
- Canola oil for frying
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tbsp mayo
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 tsp lime zest
- 1 tbsp chives
- Blanch the corn in a steamer basket over boiling water; cover and steam for 5 minutes.
- Slice the kernals from the cobs when cool enough to handle.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in large bowl.
- Add eggs and sour cream, whisk to combine.
- Whisk milk into egg mixture.
- Fold in corn, salmon and scallions.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Pour 4 inches of oil into heavy saucepan, bring to 350 degrees (medium heat).
- Drop balls of batter into oil using a soup spoon or ice cream scoop, working in batches to avoid crowding the beignets.
- Fry until golden brown on all sides, about 2 minutes total.
- Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain.
- For Lime Sour Cream:
- Whisk together sour cream, mayo and lime juice in a small bowl. Add zest and 1 tbsp chopped chives.
- Serve with beignets.
I love the fact that this book combines recipes from Ellen’s traditional Jewish upbringing and Todd’s love of Mediterranean food. The grilled lamb burgers with olive tampenade look amazing. I’m going to need to make those very soon.
To sum it up – the format is nicely laid out, pictures are great and recipes are easy to follow. I love the engaging family stories.
Thanks so much to Sarah Goldstein of St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy of the book.