A few months ago I heard some friends raving about a new Jewish cookbook, “The Organic Kosher Kitchen.” I’m a nut for good new cookbooks, and I’ve been working hard to make sure that I cook healthy and mostly organic food, so this seemed right up my alley. Aviva Allen, a nutritionist and chef in Toronto is the author of both The Organic Kosher Cookbook, and The Organic Kosher Cookbook: Holiday Edition, and she sent me a copy of the Holiday Edition to try out.
This past Shabbat I made three recipes from the cookbook for my Friday night meal. First, I made a fig and date spread from her section on Tu Bishvat. This was a huge hit–easy to make, and a really delicious spread on challah. I will definitely be making this recipe again, not just during Tu Bishvat season, but anytime I am looking for something sweet and fruity.
Then I made a leek, zucchini and potato soup. I was excited about this recipe because it seemed very similar to one of my favorite easy soup recipes and while it did have many similarities to my old standard, I found it really needed a lot more kick, so after it was done cooking I did a fair amount of seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, some garlic powder, a hint of red pepper, and some oregano. At that point it was really delicious (so much so that one of my guests asked if he could take some home).
Finally, I made some sautÃ©ed green beans with garlic and lemon juice. I love green beans but I usually steam them and then add some spices and sesame seeds (like in this easy recipe). Aviva’s take had me sautÃ©ing the beans with some garlic and lemon juice. The results were definitely yummy, but not as crunchy as I usually like my green beans. That was probably my fault, not the recipe’s, but in general I think I prefer steaming. I will definitely be using the garlic and lemon combination on my green beans in the future, though–it was a nice bright flavor.
Over all I like the cookbook for its simple recipes and innovative ideas. I also like that every recipe is dairy-free (perfect for making meat meals on Shabbat and holidays) and that the recipes are listed by holiday. I wouldn’t say this is a great beginner cookbook, because my sense was some of these recipes will need to be substantially seasoned to taste, but if you already know your way around the kitchen and are looking for some fresh new ideas featuring organic produce that will match nicely with the Jewish calendar, this is definitely the cookbook for you.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
Pronounced: too bish-VAHT (oo as in boot), Origin: Hebrew, literally “the 15th of Shevat,” the Jewish month that usually falls in January or February, this is a holiday celebrating the “new year of the trees.”