What is it about the Hebrew month of Kislev? So many Jewish oriented cookbooks get purchased. Here are some of my favorites of the season.

The Gefilte Manifesto
New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods
by Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern

Flatiron Books

I met co-author Liza Alpern in Washington, DC at a panel discussion and party where her latkes were served (she was not happy with the way the caterer applied her recipe though. shhh). She and Jeffrey Yoskowitz are on a mission to reclaim and revolutionize Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. Their book’s recipes combine the inventive spirit of a new generation of Jewish cooks and “shep” respect for the Jewish culinary traditions of their forebears. Their recipes highlight the best of Ashkenazi home and storefront cuisine, tapping into the enduring Jewish values of resourcefulness and food seasonality.

Also, Liz told me that food is a perfect entry point for Jewish organizations to build new members. Food is loved by all and not political or religious. Many non affiliated people will show up for food events, and it is a entry point to future group involvement.

The cookbook draws inspiration from aromatic Jewish bakeries (Classic Challah with a Marble Rye Twist, Seeded Honey Rye Pull-Apart Rolls), neighborhood delis (Home-Cured Corned Beef and Pastrami, Rustic Matzo Balls, and Old World Stuffed Gefilte Fish), old-fashioned pickle shops (Crisp Garlic Dilly Beans, Ashkenazi Kimchi), and, of course, their own childhood kitchens, Yoskowitz and Alpern rediscover old-world food traditions, helping you bring simple and comforting recipes into your home. Dishes like Spiced Blueberry Soup, Kasha Varnishkes with Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Lokshen Kugel with Plums celebrate flavors passed down from generation to generation in recipes reimagined for the contemporary kitchen. Other recipes take a playful approach to the Old World, like Fried Sour Pickles with Garlic Aioli and Sour Dill Martinis. The Gefilte Manifesto is more than a cookbook. It’s a call to action, a reclamation of time-honored techniques and ingredients, from the mind-blowingly easy Classic Sour Dill Pickles to the Crispy Honey-Glazed Chicken with Tsimmes. Make a stand. Cook the Manifesto. The results are radically delicious.

Cooking for Jeffrey:
A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
by Ina Garten

Clarkson Potter

For America’s bestselling cookbook author – Ina Garten – there is no greater pleasure than cooking for the people she loves — and particularly for her husband, Jeffrey. He helped to set her up in business in the Hamptons. She has been cooking for him ever since they were married 48 years ago, and the comforting, delicious meals they shared became the basis for her extraordinary career in food.

Ina’s most personal cookbook yet, Cooking for Jeffrey is filled with the recipes Jeffrey and their friends request most often as well as charming stories from Ina and Jeffrey’s many years together. There are traditional dishes that she’s updated, such as Brisket with Onions and Leeks, and Tsimmes, a vegetable stew with carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and prunes, and new favorites, like Skillet-Roasted Lemon Chicken and Roasted Salmon Tacos. You’ll also find wonderful new salads, including Maple-Roasted Carrot Salad and Kale Salad (… with Pancetta and Pecorino…), Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Parmesan, asparagus & fennel soup, rigatoni with fennel, baked shells with cauliflower, vanilla cream cheese pound cake, sauteed shredded Brussel sprouts, and roasted plum chutney. Desserts range from simple Apple Pie Bars to showstoppers like Vanilla Rum Panna Cotta with Salted Caramel. For the first time, Ina has included a chapter devoted to bread and cheese, with recipes and tips for creating the perfect cheese course. With options like Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschettas and Challah with Saffron.

Molly on the Range:
Recipes and Stories from An
Unlikely Life on a Farm
by Molly Yeh

Rodale Press

In 2013, food blogger and classical musician Molly Yeh left Brooklyn to live on a farm on the North Dakota-Minnesota border, where her fiancé was a fifth-generation Norwegian-American Christian sugar beet farmer. Like her award-winning blog “My Name is Yeh,” Molly on the Range chronicles her life through photos, more than 100 new recipes, and hilarious stories from life in the city and on the farm.

Molly’s story begins in the suburbs of Chicago in the 90s, when things like Lunchables and Dunkaroos were the objects of her affection; continues into her New York years, when Sunday mornings meant hangovers and bagels; and ends in her beloved new home, where she’s currently trying to master the art of the hotdish. Celebrating Molly’s Jewish/Chinese background with recipes for Asian Scotch Eggs and Scallion Pancake Challah Bread and her new hometown Scandinavian recipes for Cardamom Vanilla Cake and Marzipan Mandel Bread,
Also Challah Waffles and Brunch Brisket which is inspired by the time she went to Belgium at the age of eight and saw a lot of nude lady boobs at the beach and experienced Belgian food (waffles); Spinach and Feta Rugelach, inspired by her sojourn at Julliard; Spaghetti and My Ex=Boyfriend’s Meatless Balls, inspired by her sophomore year boyfriend who was a vaguely macho vegetarian from Philadelphia (Philly and NYC were sort of close enough that you think you can have a close but long distance relationship and eat and play xylophone together; Everything Bagel Bourekas with Eggs, Scallions & Cheese; Mum’s Matzo Brei with Tabasco Sauce; and Cauliflower Shawarma Tacos. Molly on the Range will delight everyone, from longtime readers to those discovering her glorious writing and recipes for the first time.

Classic Breads from Europe and America
by Stanley Ginsberg

(The New York Bakers website)
Norton Books

The Rye Baker joins – for me – a holy space on my shelf next to The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook: Artisanal Baking from Around the World and the Holiday Jewish Baker. To many Americans, rye bread is a bland. It is a store-bought loaf with an oval cross-section and, sometimes, a sprinkling of caraway seeds. But the true rye bread… the kind that stands at the center of northern and eastern European food culture is so much more. In The Rye Baker, Stanley Ginsberg brings this overlooked grain into the culinary limelight, introducing readers to the rich and unimaginably diverse world of rye bread.

San Diego-based Stanley Ginsberg is co-author and writer of 2012 IACP Jane Grigson Award winner Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking. In this new book of his, readers will find more than 70 classic recipes that span rye’s regions and terroir, from dark, intense Russian Borodinsky and orange-infused Swedish Gotland Rye to near-black Westphalian Pumpernickel (which gets its musky sweetness from a 24-hour bake), Boston Brown Bread, Jewish Bakery Pumpernickel, Slow-Baked Frisian Rye from the Netherlands, South Tyrolean Zelten from Italy, Sauerkraut Bread, French style Normandy Apple Cider Rye, Riga Latvia style Rye, Ginger-Plum Bread. Polish Yogurt Rye, French Spiced Honey Rye from Auvergne, and even Old Milwaukee Rye. Chapters detailing rye’s history, unique chemistry, and centuries-old baking methods round out The Rye Baker, making it the definitive resource for professional and home bakers alike. Mr. Ginsberg runs NYbakers.com, a retailer of special flours and items for bakers.

Breaking Breads:
New World of Israeli Baking–
Flatbreads, Stuffed Breads,
Challahs, Cookies, and the
Legendary Chocolate Babka
By Uri Scheft and
Contribution by Raquel Pelzel

Artisan Books

Note: There is no recipe for the bread ring that is on the book’s cover. I guess they keep their signature item a secret.

I once took a baking class at BREADS BAKERY near Union Square in Manhattan.
And on a worktable, I spied a lovely baking cookbook, but it was all in Hebrew.
One day, I was told, there would be a BREADS BAKERY cookbook in English.

It has arrived. And on it cover is their famed bread with a variety of seed toppings.

Israeli baking encompasses the influences of so many regions — Morocco, Yemen, Germany, and Georgia, to name a few — and master baker Uri Scheft seamlessly marries all of these in his incredible baked goods at his Breads Bakery in New York City and Lehamim Bakery in Tel Aviv.

Nutella-filled babkas, potato and shakshuka focaccia, and chocolate rugelach are pulled out of the ovens several times an hour for waiting crowds. In Breaking Breads, Scheft takes the combined influences of his Scandinavian heritage, his European pastry training, and his Israeli and New York City homes to provide sweet and savory baking recipes that cover European, Israeli, and Middle Eastern favorites. Scheft sheds new light on classics like challah, babka, and ciabatta—and provides his creative twists on them as well, showing how bakers can do the same at home—and introduces his take on Middle Eastern daily breads like kubaneh and jachnun. Included are recipes include for basic, black tie, crazy and festive, chocolate and orange confit, and pull apart cinnamon challot; Pan Pita, Focaccia, Lachmajun (with Roasted Eggplant and Scallions), malawah, and mofleta, as well as chocolate chip and vanilla cream Hamantaschen, and the bakery’s chocolate babka.

The instructions are detailed (though some complained they are not detailed enough) and the photos explanatory so that a good baker can make Scheft’s Poppy Seed Hamantaschen, Cheese Bourekas, and Jerusalem Bagels, among other recipes. You really need to be familiar with a strong standard mixer to make his doughs. Also, everyone should study pages 15-16 on how Uri kneads his dough. Although the title of the book is about breads, most of the recipes are for pastries.

Bubbe and Me
in the Kitchen:
A Kosher Cookbook of
Beloved Recipes and Modern Twists
by Miri Rotkovitz

Sonoma Press

You know how you are supposed to add “in bed” to the end of fortune cookie fortunes?
Try “with Bubbe and me” instead.

This is a touching and funny kosher cookbook that reinvigorates family recipes. Author Miri Rotkovitz spent her childhood in the kitchen of her grandmother, Ruth Morrison Simon. Miri holds an M.A. in Nutrition & Food Studies from NYU. She also has a B.A. in Theater and American Studies from Brandeis University. Her book contains the treasures from her grandmother’s recipe box, plus more than 80 original recipes. There are recipes for babka, brisket, and matzo balls, but also rice bowls, watermelon gazpacho, Persian chicken stew, and za’atar pita chips. Her Marmalade Roasted Chicken with Potatoes is inspired by her grandmother’s love of marmalade. The Apricot Pistachio Babka adds Sepharic citrus flavours to an East European pastry. For potlucks she recommends Farro Salad with Lemony White Beans, Roasted Red Pepper, and Cauliflower. Her Savta’s Pareve Semi-famous Jewish apple cake makes use of sweet-tart apples (Gala, Fuji, Lady Alice, Cameo, Granny Smith).

Sweet Noshings:
New Twists on Traditional
Jewish Desserts
by Amy Kritzer
Rock Point

From the wacky mistress of “Sugar Chai’s” and the author of the WHAT JEW WANNA EAT blog, Amy Kritzer, comes a first cookbook. Growing up, Amy Kritzer loved to cook traditional foods with her Bubbe Eleanor. Whether they were braiding challah or rolling out rugelach dough, there was always tons of laughter (and a messy kitchen.) These days, inspired by Bubbe’s best dishes, Amy puts her own modern twists on everyone’s favorite classic Jewish recipes. She incorporates modern ingredients and techniques to make some of the most innovative Jewish creations ever! Her recipes have been featured in The Huffington Post, The Today Show Food Blog, Bon Appetit and more. Jewish food is totally having its moment.

When Amy – an Emory grad and current President of ModernTribe.com – started her blog five years ago, she dreamed of writing a cookbook, drinking kosher win e shot with Andy Cohen, and becoming a Jewish Giada. She can check the first item off her list.

Sweet Noshings takes the ever-evolving world of Jewish desserts to the next level. With stories of life as a Jew in Texas, and plenty of kitsch, Amy’s modern interpretations of classic recipes bring new light to old favorites and creates a whole new unique cuisine. You don’t have to be Jewish to love these sweets; just enjoy getting creative in the kitchen. Over 30 delicious recipes including: Chocolate Halva Hamantaschen; Lemon Ricotta Blintzes with Lavender Cream; Apricot Fig Stuffed Challah; Manischewitz Ice Cream with Brown Butter Charoset and Manischewitz Caramel; Black and Pink cookies; Tex Mex Chocolate Rugelach; Honey Pomegranate Whiskey Cake; and Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Babka.

A Cookbook
by Anthony Bourdain

ecco Press

You love to hate him. At least I do. When he is not traveling the world, getting tattooed and drunk, or insulted local residents, Anthony Bourdain is man of many appetites. The son of newspaper editor, he actually was a bar mitzvah as a teen. He then gained fame as a chef and writer.

Appetites, his first cookbook in more than a decade, boils down forty-plus years of professional cooking and globe-trotting to a tight repertoire of personal favorites—dishes that everyone should -in Bourdain’s opinion – know how to cook, including Macaroni and Cheese. Once the supposed “bad boy” of cooking, Mr. Bourdain has, in recent years, become the father of a little girl — a role he has embraced with enthusiasm. Now that he has embraced fatherhood, the says he is like a his Jewish mother or a stereotypical Jewish mother. He doesn’t want his daughter to eat in front of the TV. He wants her to sit at the table with him in an organized meal. He thinks, “Honey, you don’t like your food? Eat, eat.” He tries to express his love through food in a tyrannical, overbearing way. And he dies a little bit when she says, “Can I just eat in front of the TV?”

So, after years of traveling more than 200 days a year, he now enjoys entertaining at home. Years of prep lists and the hyper-organization necessary for a restaurant kitchen, however, have caused him, in his words, to have “morphed into a psychotic, anally retentive, bad-tempered Ina Garten. He has a lot of techniques he teaches as well, such as how to crack an egg so the shell doesn’t end up in your mix. SPeaking of eggs, he teaches the reader how to make scrambled eggs: how to beat the eggs, and why he doesn’t add milk or cream. His ratatouille is unique, and his mac and cheese uses many cheeses and complementary spices. His Chicken Satay uses “Fake-Ass Spicy Peanut Sauce.” He includes – as seen on his CNN show – a recipe for Budae Jjigae, the Korean army stew, that uses meat, kimchi, hot dogs, fermented chili paste, ramen, baked beans, and more.

Traditional Jewish Baking:
Retro Recipes Your
Grandma Would Make…
If She Had a Mixer
by Carine Goren

Page Street

Celebrate Beloved Keepsake Recipes with Modern Techniques with the host of a popular Israeli TV cooking show. Learn the best of a Grandma’s baking secrets, and make them approachable with new and simple techniques. Thanks to Carine Goren, a baking phenomenon on Israel’s Channel 10, you can learn how to make deliciously nostalgic treats straight from the homeland like Bubbe would. Carine spent years researching and testing grandmothers’ loved and cherished recipes to learn what “as it feels” and “by the eye” really mean. As some background… At age 26, Carine was laid off from her job as a webmaster. She used her severance pay to enroll in a 12-week pastry-making course. She began to experiment with dessert-making and baking while working as a computer programmer for the Israeli food magazine Al Hashulchan (Around the Table). By feeding her colleagues with her treats, she was promoted to writer / editor and produced three dessert cookbooks. She wrote for Maariv’s food supplements and worked for Lehem Erez restaurant and coffee shop in Herzliya under Erez Komarovsky.

Carine shows readers how to re-create the best versions of timeless and traditional Jewish baked goods in today’s cutting-edge kitchens-from exceptional cakes, distinctive pies, standout cookies, festive holiday desserts and special homemade candies to some delicious new favorites-all of which are bound to satisfy any sweet tooth. Enjoy a tasty trip down memory lane, and let the incredible flavors of the past go straight to your heart.

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