This month two big names in the kosher world came out with new cookbooks: The Prime Grill Cookbook by David Kolotkin and Joey Allaham and Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes by internet-famed Jamie Geller.
Both are beautiful and packed full of recipe choices but that’s where the similarities end. The Prime Grill Cookbook positions itself as “redefining the kosher experience,” in line with what the upscale midtown Manhattan restaurant has sought to do. While Joy of Kosher features family focused recipes that are easily “dressed up, or dressed down.” It’s sort of a Jewish mom meets Rachael Ray meets “Semi Homemade” guide to weekly family meals.
As a food writer, home cook and all around culinary-obsessed person, the family recipe route has never been what gets me really excited but I can see how the Joy of Kosher enterprise has amassed such a loyal following with their relatable recipes and striking photography.
Geller’s second cookbook is beautiful with fun ideas, but her narrative not only doesn’t speak to me, but kind of turns me off. She writes in the book that she wrote this cookbook at 3:00 am on her phone; all moms and busy working ladies can relate to multi-tasking and getting stuff done at weird times. But at 3:00 am, you better believe I am sleeping, or watching some awful re-run of Real Housewives of New Jersey. She also writes “Yes, I taste test every recipe. That’s why I look this way.” The woman has had 5 kids for goodness sake – she looks great! Jamie, why put yourself down like that girl!? Own your fabulousness!
Aside from Geller’s stories sprinkled throughout the book, there are simple, beautiful-looking recipes and other special features, like a guide to ingredients one will need to make the dishes. I really enjoyed the eye-catching “Fruit, Flower and Mint Ice Cubes” – such a pretty and fun idea for a special meal or cocktails. Other highlights: Hummus Trifle, Wilted Spinach with Crispy Chips, Balsamic London Broil and Caramel Fruit Bites.
If you are looking for family-friendly recipes that are accessible for the everyday cook, true to advertising, this is definitely the cookbook for you.
Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes, October 2013, William Morrow Cookbooks
I have been following Chef David Kolotkin’s career for some time and have eaten at several of the Prime Group’s restaurants in NYC, so I was eager to have a look at The Prime Grill Cookbook when it came out last month.
It is large, straightforward, not overly-fancy with staged photos of barns and props and sunsets that I just don’t care about. I am in this for the food, and I cannot decide which of the delectable-looking recipes from the cookbook I want to make first: Truffled Deviled Eggs, Potato Gnocchi with Duck Bolognaise and Sage, Falafel Crusted Salmon or the Sweet New Jersey Corn Flan with Sautéed Mushrooms.
I wasn’t impressed with the dessert recipes offered, but I did think that the basic stock recipes, salad dressings and infused olive oils were a great tool for the cook (like me) who likes to whip up everything from scratch when possible. It’s no surprise that the real recipe stand-outs of the cookbook are the meat recipes, which seem accessible enough that they aren’t scary to prepare, but unique enough to provide culinary inspiration.
Adventurous meat-loving home chefs rejoice – The Prime Grill Cookbook is here for you.
The Prime Grill Cookbook, September 2013, Pelican Publishing
It’s a new year and there’s plenty going on in the world of Jewish and kosher food.
Here in New York, The Prime Grill will be celebrating its Bar Mitzvah year by relocating to its new location at 25 West 56th Street. Joey Allaham, owner of Prime Hospitality Group, felt that it was time to move on to another space and present the customers with the “new generation” of The Prime Grill.
According to the press release last week, the expanded Prime Grill will feature more options on the menu and a wood-brick oven. It will also offer a new feature, The Herzog Room where customers will be able to enjoy rare vintages of Herzog Kosher wine, as well as arrange tastings & pairings with a Herzog sommelier.
Meanwhile one of my favorite kosher eateries continues to expand – Soom Soom will soon open its newest location on the Upper East Side. I love everything at Soom Soom, but my favorite things to order are the Sabich sandwich, limonana and the fried potato on a stick – its heavenly! And the best part? Mondays are buy one-get one free night – buy one sandwich and get the second free! Best kosher dinner deal around.
If you love to hear and share stories about family and food, an upcoming event at 92Y Tribeca might be just the ticket for you. On January 16th the venue will be hosting “Beyond Bubbie: Tales from the Kitchen.” More about the event:
Join MC David Sax (Save the Deli) as the stories overflow like your Bubbie’s boiling chicken soup. Raconteurs include Mo Rocca (“My Grandmother’s Ravioli,” “CBS Sunday Morning” and “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”), Carla Hall (“The Chew,” “Top Chef” and Cooking with Love), Joan Nathan (New York Times Contributor and cookbook author), Jake Dell (Katz’s Deli), Alan Richman (GQ food correspondent and James Beard Award winner), Judy Batalion and Cantor Shira Ginsburg Bubby’s Kitchen.
You can join in on the show and share a one-minute story – write to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be chosen to dish out your culinary guru’s story. And don’t forget to bring a favorite recipe to be entered into a drawing for a variety of gift certificates and prizes. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.92y.org/tribeca/tickets/production.aspx?pid=90553.
I’ve been pretty NYC-centric in this update so I wanted to share some non-New York Jewish Foodie news, which comes straight from our Nosher contributor What Jew Wanna Eat. On February 10th, Austin, TX will hold their 8th Annual Kosher Chili Cook-Off at the JCC. This cook-off is not just some small-time community cook-off – sounds like they take their chili contests seriously!
Anyone who deems their recipe worthy can enter in a four-person team and battle it out for chili glory. In the past, restaurants and foodies of all ages have participated. Upon arrival at sunrise (okay, 8:00 a.m.), each team will receive 20 pounds of beef (except the vegetarians of course) and the kitchen utensils needed to feed a few hundred community members. Teams can bring in the spices, vegetables, beans and sauces they desire, but everything must be in the original packaging, not pre-chopped and certified kosher. Rabbi Neil Blumofe will be onsite to inspect the items.
I just wish I could be there to taste! Got some good Jewish Foodie News? Let us know!