The Gefilte Variations: 200 Inspired Re-creations of Classics from the Jewish Kitchen, with Menus, Stories, and Traditions for the Holidays and Year-Round

ISBN 10: 0684827190 / ISBN 13: 9780684827193
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Synopsis: "THE GEFILTE VARIATIONS" IS ABOUT MUCH MORE THAN GEFILTE FISH. Inspired by the rich traditions of the Jewish community, this cookbook offers all the excitement of a newly discovered world of eating. Food writer Jayne Cohen celebrates her culinary mother tongue, improvising with the foods she is passionate about. Faithful to the traditions -- all recipes are kosher -- she presents the full range of dishes: breakfasts and brunches, starters and noshes, soups and garnishes, fish, meats and poultry, dairy dishes, nondairy and pareve grains and vegetables, fruit sauces, sweet kugels and desserts -- 200 mouthwatering reinterpretations of traditional dishes designed for everyday meals as well as every holiday. EVEN IF YOU'VE NEVER GOTTEN BEYOND TOASTING A FROZEN BAGEL BEFORE THIS, you'll find the recipes in this book readily accessible. Transform ready-made wonton wrappers into sheer silken salmon kreplach floating in warm shav (sorrel soup), or fashion supermarket phyllo into airy knishes brimming with luscious garlic mashed potatoes. Or make a batch of buttery rugelach with store-bought caramels. HERE ARE THE DELICIOUS REINTERPRETATIONS OF A FEW CLASSICS...Matzoh balls that begin with roasted fennel and change with the seasons, a whole chicken rubbed with a garlicky marinade and roasted on a bed of lemons, and a sleek buttermilk noodle kugel bursting with fresh and dried peaches. THERE'S AN ENTICING VARIETY OF MEATLESS MEALS, emphasizing fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs, and using them in exciting, novel ways. A simple staple like hummus becomes a sensuous feast prepared with quick-cooking lentils, perfumed with pomegranate and mint, and served with toasted spiced matzohs.Kasha is lightened up with a caramelized onion marmalade and cubes of melting eggplant. Fabulous, easy-to-prepare cheese latkes are graced with fresh persimmon sauce. STORIES AS ENCHANTING AS THE RECIPES that you will want to read around your own table to family and friends. Follow the author as she takes you through the streets of the old Jewish community in Carpentras, France, sleuthing after a recipe for a Passover breast of veal from a forgotten novella. Learn why Jews light menorahs against the darkness of winter with everything from olive oil to goose fat in potato or egg shells. Or share a sip of Kiddush wine around her father's Sabbath table. IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE WORLD OF JEWISH CUISINE. Learn what Jewish food is, how to stock your pantry to make basic preparations such as olive oil schmaltz and yogurt cream to create lighter versions of your favorite dishes, and find the definitions of Jewish terms in a comprehensive glossary. CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS. Discover new recipes for your Sabbath and Hanukkah tables in the extensive section devoted to the holidays. Create memorable seders and complete break-the-fast Yom Kippur buffets using the suggested menus. Richly woven details of biblical origins and today's customs vividly bring these occasions to life.

Review: Jewish food--the cuisine of the Diaspora--has remained largely unchanged, even as other venerable cooking traditions have been renewed. But this savory fare was meant to be potchkeyed, or played with, writes Jayne Cohen, author of The Gefilte Variations. To prove her point, she offers 200 kosher recipes that reinterpret the classics of American, European, North African, and Asian Jewish cooking. Resisting the obvious pitfall of devising hybrid "cheffy" concoctions, Cohen has found a way to be satisfyingly innovative, lightening kasha, for example, with caramelized onion marmalade and melting eggplant cubes, or boosting matzo-ball flavor with smoky roasted fennel. Cooks, kosher and not, who have long sought a fresher take on Jewish fare, as well as those who relish hearty but sophisticated dishes, should welcome the book. Cohen first presents year-round favorites, organized by categories like breakfasts and brunches, dairy dishes, and sweet kugels and desserts. Among these, readers will want to try Aromatic Marinated Brisket with Chestnuts, Potato-Onion Kreplach Potsticker-Style, Sorrel-Flavored Mushroom Barley Soup, and Rich Noodle Pudding Baked with Fresh Plums and Nectarines. The book's second section offers a contemporary look at Jewish holiday cooking and introduces international dishes, such as Cheese Latkes with Persimmon Sauce, that would make a delicious Hanukkah-table addition. A pantry and procedures section, a collection of menus, and a glossary of useful terms, both culinary and cultural (finally--a right-on definition of ongepotchken, that onomatopoeic Yiddish word for "fussed with to tackiness"), round off this useful and imaginative book. --Arthur Boehm

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