Cooking Kosher the New Way

(NOTE: This is a reprise of a book I use on Jewish Holidays. The posting in 2009 was posted for Rosh Hoshana, but I just tried two recipes for Passover, so I am repeating the review with some adjustments for my favorite Passover recipe, charoset. The other one may appear in a later posting.)


One of my favorite Jewish cookbooks is Jane Kinderlehrer’s Cooking Kosher the New Way: Fast, Lite, & Natural. I have been a fan of the author for about 40 years, when I purchased her early book, Confessions of a Sneaky Organic Cook, which helped me when I made the transition to a natural foods diet. Kinderlehrer was a former editor of Prevention Magazine, and I used to read her column “Table Talk,” so I trust her approach to cooking naturally.

While the title implies that it is only a cookbook for Jewish people who keep kosher, the book is actually user-friendly for anyone interested in Jewish cuisine, kosher or non-kosher, Jewish or non-Jewish. For example, Chapter 2 is called Lower Your Cholesterol with Beans & Grains, Chapter 4 deals with being a healthy vegetarian, Chapter 15 focuses on tofu, and Chapter 16 highlights bread baking.

The chapters on Jewish holidays contain some tempting recipes that you may wish to try as a culinary experience.  Jane’s holiday recipes, start with Passover (spring) and cover all the major holidays with their culinary counterparts. Each chapter has a page or two of information that sets the stage for the recipes.

The information in the Introduction, entitled “Kosher is Not Enough,” reflects my own feelings about kosher not necessarily being healthful. Here is an excerpt from p. 11, discussing kosher dishes handed down from mother to daughter for generations.

“….They may be kosher, but they are neither wholesome nor nutritious. In fact, they have been shown to be harmful and been implicated as contributing to such debilitating conditions as high blood pressure, diabetes…obesity, etc.”

So Jane has taken these often unhealthful kosher dishes and cleaned them up so they are acceptable for anyone seeking a more natural diet.  Actually, because the author’s philosophy is so aligned with mine, this is usually the first book I grab for a special holiday recipe or when I want to make a traditional Jewish dish such as noodle kugel (noodle pudding).

Cooking Kosher the New Way is published by Jonathan David Publishers. The price for the hardbound book is $19.95


Charoset (Kha-ro-set)


Author’s Notes: This delicious sweet-tart mixture of fruit and nuts is served at the Passover Seder to represent the mortar used to make bricks for Pharoah. It is the morsel of sweetness meant to lighten the burden of bitter events.)

2 unpeeled apples,* scrubbed and grated
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon honey
Grated rind of one lemon+
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons red wine (approximately)

* I use organic apples and choose a mixture of different kinds. I make a large amount to use for the Seder and at home, so I buy 5 or 6 apples of mixed varieties. Also, I remove the stems and pits before grating. (ellensue)
+When I use the skin of a lemon, I make sure to buy organic. (ellensue)

In a small bowl, combine the grated apples, nuts, honey, lemon rind, and cinnamon. Add only enough wine to bind the mixture. taste-check for a good blend of sweet, sour, and crunch.

My Husband’s Matzoh Brie

As Passover comes to an end on Tuesday evening, this is a good time for those celebrating this spring, week-long  holiday to use up an opened box of matzoh* (also spelled matza or matzo) and make matzoh brei (fried matzoh; brei rhymes with sky).

My husband makes his omelet or frittata style, while I grew up on scrambled matzoh brie, that is, the small pieces of matzoh are soaked in water a few minutes before asdding eggs and are continually stirred while frying, so the result is small pieces. Until I married Alan, I only knew the scrambled variation, so I thought I would post the way he makes it, since it is more like a frittata and can be enjoyed whether you are Jewish or not! It can be served for breakfast, as a snack, or even dinner with a salad, as we did when Alan made it.

Note: If the matzoh (omelet/frittata) is too large to flip over in one piece, slice it down the middle, as Alan did, and flip over each half. My husband likes his well done, so this is darker than I would make.

Utensils: two bowls, smaller and larger, fry pan and spatula, serving platter
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: about 5-7 minutes, depending on how well done you like it
Category: Vegetarian (contains eggs, dairy, and wheat)


3 pieces matzoh (boards) broken
3 large or 4 small eggs
4 thick pats of butter (about 4 tablespoons; also can use coconut oil)
Salt (optional)
Toppings: jam, applesauce, cinnamon, yogurt, maple syrup


  1. Break matzoh squares, also called boards, into small pieces over the smaller bowl. Set aside.
    (Use your hands and do not use gluten-free matzoh; it will turn mushy.)

2. In the larger bowl, crack the eggs and whisk well. (Add a dash of salt if you wish.)

Add about 1/4 cup milk, half-and-half, or non-dairy milk and mix well. (Most recipes let the matzoh soak in water before adding eggs.)

3. Add the broken matzoh pieces from the smaller bowl into the larger bowl with whisked eggs and the liquid you are using (ex. non-dairy milk) and stir well. Let stand 3 or 4 minutes.



Make sure all the pieces of matzoh are moistened>>>>



4. On a medium-high flame, melt butter in a medium-to-large fry pan and brown the butter. (My husband would say burn the butter!) If using oil, heat oil a few seconds. Add matzoh brei mixture from large bowl, spread over the fry pan, and allow to cook about 3 or 4 minutes before flipping.

5. Flip carefully to brown other side. As noted above, if the half-cooked matzoh brie is too large for your spatula, slice the “frittata” down the center and flip over each half. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until desired crispness.

6. Cut matzoh halves in half again to have four pie-shaped pieces and serve plain or with any of the toppings above. (Alan likes his “naked” while I like cinnamon-flavored apple sauce and a dash of maple syrup.) This was our dinner (plus a salad) so we ate the whole thing even though it was enough for 4 servings as a side dish.

*In the last few years I have noticed a wide variety of matzohs now available at Passover: gluten-free, organic, whole wheat, flavored, etc. as well as different sizes: standard squares (boards), small pieces for soup, strips of matzoh, matzoh crackers, etc. The matzoh aisle or section before Passover is beginning to  look a lot like the cereal or cookie aisle in the supermarkets!

P.S. I love this version of matzoh brie. It is simpler than the way I learned, so thanks to my husband Alan for the cooking lesson.

P.S.S. Tablet Magazine online has an interesting article on matzoh brie. The author makes it under the scrutiny of his 90 something mom. His is the scrambled style, so to see his recipes, go to: and search for  “My Mother’s Matzo Brei” by Peter Gethers from his memoir. At the bottom of the article is this info: Excerpted with permission from My Mother’s Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and the Meaning of Life, copyright © 2017 by Peter Gethers, published by Henry Holt and Company.

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