THE JEWISH KITCHEN
It's a small spiral notebook, the kind that you can find in any store. On the soft cover is a color photograph of a biker in front of a garden bright with summer flowers; the title: Recipes for Rothschild: Battling Cancer One Meal at a Time.
What makes it so exceptional is that the healthy-looking biker is John Rothschild, a survivor of a type of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma known as Burkitts. Although this occurs mainly in children, it also occurs in older white men. And the recipe collection and information has been compiled by his daughter, Amy Rothschild.
When John was diagnosed, the family was devastated. Chemotherapy treatments were aggressive, requiring frequent and lengthy hospital stays. Amy remembers: "As my Dad began undergoing treatment, I desperately wanted to do something to help him … food became important, but he needed nourishing meals that didn't make him feel sick."
Beth Rothschild, John's wife of 40 years, admits that before John got sick, she hardly ever cooked, except on special occasions like holidays. As empty-nesters, they generally ate takeout or dinner in restaurants. The diagnosis brought the understandable life changes. Amy remembers: "It was a hard time — as Jews, we love to eat, and food is such a source of comfort."
During certain parts of the treatment, it was essential that John be on a neutropenic diet, that is, for people with weakened immune systems. The diet offers protection from bacteria and other harmful organisms found in certain foods and drinks. It wasn't easy to suddenly be faced with cooking nourishing meals following strict guidelines.
Support came from family and friends, many from Temple Beth Hillel/Beth El in Wynnewood, where Beth Rothschild was a past president. Another comfort were meals prepared by friends and delivered each day — all adhering to the special dietary guidelines. All dishes had to be freshly cooked, and John could not eat any leftovers.
Amy is emphatic that her purpose in creating Recipes for Rothschild was to make it easier for others going through the same ordeal. The more than 90 recipes are kitchen-tested, and those labeled "N" are prepared according to the guidelines for a neutropenic diet.
Also included in the book is a detailed list of foods allowed and foods to be excluded. All monies go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for research purposes. Below is a sampling of recipes.
To order the cookbook, e-mail: [email protected]
Zucchini, Pear and Spinach Soup
(Meat or Pareve, 'N')
From Jodie Rittenberg
3 Tbsps. oil
3 leeks, white parts only, cleaned and sliced thinly
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
4 medium zucchini, sliced
2 pears, cored, cut in chunks
4 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft.
Add the zucchini and pears. Cook 5 to 6 minutes over medium heat.
Add the stock or water, and bring to a boil. Partially cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the spinach and cook for 3 minutes more. Purée in a blender or food processor.
Season with salt and pepper.
Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 113; protein, 2 g; carbohydrates, 9 g; fat, 8 g; cholesterol, 3 mg; sodium, 72 mg.
From a family friend
1/2 lb. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 carton (16 oz.) nonfat cottage cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 Tbsps. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 375°.
Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Spoon into the prepared baking dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.
Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 150; protein, 13 g; carbohydrates, 4 g; fat, 9 g; cholesterol, 90 mg; sodium, 381 mg.
Fish Wrapped in Parchment Paper
From Beth Rothschild, via the Viking Cooking School
3 Tbsps. canola oil, divided
1 large leek, cleaned and cut into juliénned strips
1 medium red bell pepper, stem, seeds and ribs removed, cut into juliénned strips
4 fish fillets (6 oz. each) (tilapia, halibut, etc.)
11/2 Tbsps. freshly squeezed lemon juice
11/2 tsps. finely minced lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
4 (1/2-inch thick) slices of shallot butter (may use 2 Tbsps. unsalted butter, blended with 2 tsps. finely chopped shallots)
oil for brushing
Preheat oven to 450°.
Rack should be positioned in center of oven.
Fold 4 (24×16 inches) pieces of parchment paper in half to form four 12×16-inch rectangles. Using scissors, cut each folded parchment into a wide, plump heart shape. When opened, the crease of the fold should run down the center of the heart from top to bottom.
Place an open parchment heart on a work surface with the fold running vertically and the pointed end facing down. Lightly brush the right side of each heart with some of the oil; do not brush the edges.
In a medium bowl, toss the leeks and red pepper with the remaining oil. Place 1/4 of the vegetables on each piece of oiled parchment. Place one piece of fish on top. Sprinkle with lemon juice and zest. Season generously with salt and pepper. Top each with a slice of shallot butter.
Fold the heart in half from left to right. Seal by crimping in 1-inch sections until packets are completely sealed. Brush the top of each packet with oil. Place on a baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and transfer to dinner plates.
Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 369; protein, 33 g; carbohydrates, 0 g; fat, 26 g; cholesterol, 118 mg; sodium, 88 mg.
Chicken Breasts in Caper Wine Sauce
From Elli Weinstein
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (recommend 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and garlic powder)
2-3 Tbsps. all-purpose flour for coating
2 Tbsps. olive oil
2 Tbsps. white wine
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsps. capers
If breasts are thick, pound them to an even thickness.
Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons flour, salt, pepper and garlic on a flat dish.
Lightly pat the chicken in the flour mixture to coat both sides.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Add the chicken and cook until golden-brown on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Cover and continue cooking until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes longer.
Remove chicken from pan.
Pour the remaining ingredients into the frying pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to get whatever is stuck there. If more liquid is needed, use either a little water or more wine.
Return chicken to the pan, warm through and serve immediately.
(Elli recommends serving this dish with hot fluffy rice.)
Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 168; protein, 33 g; carbohydrates, 1 g; fat, 2 g; cholesterol, 82 mg; sodium, 348 mg.
Cranberry-Apple Turkey Breast
From Beth Rothschild. Prepared in a crockpot.
2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 large apple, cored and chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
3/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 cups seasoned crumb-style stuffing, prepared as directed on package
2-3 lbs. turkey-breast cutlets
In a large bowl, combine the oil, chicken broth, apple, onion, celery, cranberry sauce and poultry seasoning to make the gravy.
Place 3 tablespoons of prepared stuffing on each turkey cutlet. Roll up tightly, as for a jelly roll. If necessary, tie with string or secure with toothpicks.
Place the cutlets in a crockpot. Pour the gravy over top.
Cover and cook at low for 8 hours or at high for 4 hours.
Serves 8 to 10.
Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 264; protein, 28 g; carbohydrates, 23 g; fat, 6 g; cholesterol, 66 mg; sodium, 274 mg.
Ethel G. Hofman is a past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. E-mail her at: [email protected].