Millions have incorporated the tradition of kosher cooking into their lives, and in Jamie Geller’s new book, Joy of Kosher, she stresses that if she can put really good food on the table, anyone can!
There is no slaving in the kitchen (no rabbi required!), and cooking kosher is really not as tedious or complicated as one might think.
From sharing her stories of struggling in the kitchen to her triumph when hearing the highest praise of all — “More please, Mommy” — Geller takes her family meal recipes and makes them worthy of entertaining by including a “Dress It Up” option or an everyday “Dress It Down” option for each.
Fail-proof, family-friendly and delicious, Joy of Kosher is stocked with more than 100 authentically kosher recipes for double-duty cooking.
Our Family Fricassee
2 cartons (8 oz. each) fresh mushrooms, sliced
1⁄2 red pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1⁄2 green pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1⁄2 yellow pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. ground beef
1⁄4 cup marinara sauce
2 Tbsps. seasoned dry bread crumbs
2 lbs. chicken wings (or a combo of necks, wings and gizzards)
1 and 1⁄4 tsps. hot sauce
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsps. dried parsley
2 tsps. garlic powder
2 tsps. onion powder
2 tsps. kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 box (6 oz.) rice pilaf, cooked according to package directions, for serving
Pour 1 and 1⁄2 cups of water into a medium stock pot. Add the mushrooms, peppers, onion and garlic.
Place the ground beef, marinara and bread crumbs in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, lightly mix to combine. Form into 1-inch meatballs.
Add the meatballs to the vegetables along with the chicken, hot sauce, tomato sauce, paprika, parsley, garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine.
Cook, covered, over low heat for 1 hour. Stir and continue cooking covered, until the chicken is falling off the bone, 1 hour more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate of rice pilaf. Serve warm.
Serves 6 to 8.
Dress it down: Make Fricassee Sloppy Joes. Lose the bread crumbs and the rice. Replace the chicken parts with 2 pounds of ground chicken.
Brown the meats, using a wooden spoon to break them into very small pieces. Use chopped mushrooms.
Increase the marinara to 1⁄2 cup and add it to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients to the meats and cook until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Pile the fricassee high on a bun and top it with coleslaw and a few slices of avocado and tomato.
Butternut Squash Mac ‘n’ Cheese
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1⁄2 cup panko bread crumbs
1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme
4 Tbsps. unsalted butter
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1⁄2 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp. dry mustard
1⁄2 tsp. paprika
1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder
10 dashes hot sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 box (10 oz.) frozen butternut or winter squash, thawed
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. box cavatappi, spiral, elbow or similar pasta, cooked al dente and drained well
Preheat the oven to 400˚. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Combine 1 cup of the cheddar, the panko, Parmesan and thyme in a small bowl and set aside.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk constantly until smooth and melty, about 5 minutes.
In a slow, steady stream, pour in the milk, then the broth, whisking constantly. Add the dry mustard, paprika, garlic powder and hot sauce. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Temper the egg by slowly whisking in 1⁄4 cup of the warm sauce. Add the egg mixture to the sauce and whisk. Add the remaining 2 cups of cheddar and the Gruyere and whisk to melt and form a thick cheese sauce.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the squash until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and toss to coat.
Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheddar-panko mixture over the pasta. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 20 minutes.
Dress it down: Make Butternut Mac ‘n’ Cheese Muffin Cups. Spoon the mixture into muffin tins lined with lightly greased cupcake papers and sprinkle with the panko topping, if desired.
Bake at 400˚ for 15 minutes. Easy to eat — no utensils required!
Cannoli Egg Rolls With Chocolate Sauce
2 cups ricotta cheese
6 Tbsps. confectioners’ sugar
grated or finely chopped Zest of 2 small lemons
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
2 tsps. pure vanilla extract
8 egg roll wrappers, thawed
canola oil, for frying
1 cup store-bought chocolate sauce, for serving
To make the filling: Combine the ricotta, sugar, lemon zest, pistachios and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and stir well.
Lay out the egg roll wrappers on a large work surface. Working with one wrapper at a time, spoon about 1⁄4 cup of the ricotta mixture across the middle of the wrapper, on the diagonal. Lightly brush all the edges with water.
Turn the wrapper so that one corner is directly in front of you. Fold that corner up just enough to cover the filling. Fold each side over to meet in the middle and roll up from the bottom.
Brush the final corner with water and press lightly to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet, seam side down.
Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Heat about 1⁄4-inch of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the rolls, turning often, until golden brown on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Remove the cannoli rolls with tongs and drain them on the prepared baking sheet.
Serve warm or at room temperature with chocolate sauce on the side for dipping.
Makes 8 egg rolls.
Dress it up: Dip the tops of 6 sugar cones in the chocolate sauce, letting the excess run down on the inside. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a wide tip, or a resealable plastic bag with a corner snipped off, with the ricotta filling.
Pipe the filling into the cone and sprinkle with extra chopped pistachios for garnish.
Variations: Finish some cannoli cones with a cherry on top. Also try filling sugar cones with fresh whipped cream and berries.
Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Mousse
Note that this mousse contains raw eggs. If you’re concerned about the risks of eating raw eggs, you can use pasteurized eggs without affecting the results.
10 oz. high-quality 72 percent cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped or chocolate chips
8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 Tbsps. boiling water
grated zest of 1 small orange (optional)
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt in a microwave, stirring after each 10-second increment, until smooth, about 11⁄2 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Place the egg yolks and 1⁄2 cup sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until pale yellow. Whisk in the olive oil, coffee, zest (if using) and salt until combined. Add the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar and beat just until stiff peaks form. Add a generous spoonful of the egg white mixture to the chocolate mixture. Stir firmly until completely incorporated.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl of egg whites. Gently fold with a large spoon or rubber spatula until completed combined.
Divide the mousse into six 6-ounce ramekins and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Dress it up: Serve the mousse with various toppings in individual shot glasses. Try whipped cream, orange zest curls, coarse-flake sea salt, fresh berries or crushed nuts.
For something really special, try making salted nut powder: By hand or in a mini-food processor or coffee grinder, combine 3 tablespoons shelled pistachios and 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt. Pulse until ground and slightly powdery but still with some rough chunks. Sprinkle on top of the mousse before serving.
Sweet Potato Cake
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 and 1⁄2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
Steam the sweet potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Mash them into a smooth texture and set aside a cup; reserve any remaining sweet potatoes for another use.
Preheat oven to 325˚. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and whisk well. Combine the 1 cup of sweet potatoes, sugar and canola oil in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate after each addition. Add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing by hand just until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, and then let cool completely on a wire rack.
Serves 6 to 8.
Dress it up: Cut the loaf horizontally in thirds. Spread the top of the bottom layer with raspberry jam, top with peach slices and then the middle layer of the cake. Repeat with more jam and peaches and place the top layer of the loaf on top.
Can be served immediately or prepared a few days in advance. (Store, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, on a cake platter with a top, or in a container with a tight-fitting lid).
You can also try whipped cream in place of the jam and use different fruits like kiwis, strawberries or bananas (sliced lengthwise) in place of the peach slices.