(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
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.