Not every day is the holidays (oh, but if it were). Some days we just have to get a meal on the table, ideally while it’s hot. With any luck everyone will enjoy it, but what about the Jewish content? What about keeping it real?
Fact is, most of us aren’t going to be braising briskets on our average thursday night. We want something fresh, simple, and if possible, tied to our roots.
Enter the Hadassah Everyday Cookbook, written by a good friend, Leah Koenig, one of the finest young food writers I know. Leah’s passion for sustainability is matched only by her appetite for great food. She’s a kosher gastronome, and here, in these beautifully crafted pages, she not only gives us recipes, but reasons to love the food.
Here’s the book’s description:
The Jewish love of eating extends far beyond the Shabbat and holiday tables to the every day. And while cholent and challah sate our appetites on Shabbat, and classics from brisket to latkes grace our holiday menus, what do we make for dinner on Monday night? Or prepare for Sunday brunch, or snack on in front of a movie? Here, America’s leading Jewish women’s organization, Hadassah, answers those culinary questions, sharing over 160 delicious, simple, kosher recipes that are destined to become family favorites.
The recipes in this book span the culinary globe, combining iconic American and Jewish tastes with Mexican, Italian, French, Asian and Middle Eastern-inspired cuisine. They also celebrate the growing availability of fresh, seasonal produce and gourmet kosher ingredients, from artisanal cheese and chocolate to organic meat and poultry. Vegetarians and omnivores alike will be delighted to find a wide variety of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes (not to mention snacks and cocktails) that cater directly to them. Focusing on freshness, flavor and no-fuss technique, The Hadassah Every Day Cookbook brings the flavors of the world—and the farm—to the kitchen.
What that translates into is wonderful dishes like challah french toast with a pear compote (I made something similar this weekend) and a grilled tzimmes.
But it’s Leah’s touches of care and love for the cook that really bring out the spirit of Hadassah, that venerable women’s organization in the Jewish community. Look no further than her blessing for the cook, which she devised a few years ago at a conference on Jewish environmental sustainability:
Blessed are You Creator of the world Who brings forth fruit from the Earth.
Blessed are You, Who gives us knowledge of cooking, and time to cook
And who has blessed us with the need for nourishment so that we can fully understand Your gifts.
May it be Your will
That the food that I cook Brings nourishment, fulfillment and happiness to those who eat it
And bring honor to the land and all the people that make this meal possible.
Amen to that.