When I visited Israel six years ago, I bought a small cookbook which I have loved. For some time now, though, I’ve wanted to try out new Jewish recipes. So when I stumbled across The New Jewish Table online, I knew I just had to review it. Little did I realize the treat I was in for.
The first surprise came as soon as I retrieved it from the package. It is a beautiful, hardcover book, heavy with mouth-watering recipes. The next surprise was discovering it’s more than just a cookbook. The first few pages are an introduction in which Todd and Ellen Gray tell you a little about their story and how the blending of Jewish and non-Jewish cooking came about in their home and restaurant. Before every recipe, they share some thoughts on it. In case you were wondering, it is possible to stay up into the wee hours of the morning engrossed in the reading of a cookbook!
The Grays divided the book into seasons — Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer — to encourage readers to support local farmers and food artisans. Each season is then split into six chapters — Brunch, Starters, Lunch, Dinner, Sides, and Desserts. Finally, every recipe is marked in one of four ways — Dairy, Parve, Meat, and Mixed. This is especially helpful for families who keep Kosher.
For the sake of this review, I chose recipes from each season to offer a broader feel for the cookbook. I’ll share a few thoughts on some of my family’s favorites so far.
RED CABBAGE COLESLAW: Coleslaw may sound like a common enough recipe, but the mixture of toasted seeds in it, makes this anything but common. Several people asked me what I put in it to get such a distinct flavor.
CUCUMBER SALAD: I must confess, initially the thought of cucumber, onion, and raisins worried me. I actually considered leaving out the raisins. I’m so glad I didn’t. They provided the salad with a perfect, slightly sweet flavor. Everyone else must have agreed because when I returned for seconds an empty bowl awaited me.
CABBAGE STUFFED WITH GROUND BEEF AND ONION: This dish was another winner, even amongst the pickiest eaters. My youngest brother, who would usually balk at veggies like hot, cooked cabbage, took one look at it and stated it didn’t look that bad and proceeded to eat without a single complaint. That’s no small miracle!
SUMMER TOMATO SALAD WITH CRISPY ONION: So far this one has been my favorite. I admit what initially drew me in was the gorgeous, full-page image. So colorful! But once I tried the first bite…oh my! It’s heavenly. The Balsamic Vinaigrette is to die for. Even after the salad disappeared, and quickly I might add, everyone used their bread to soak up every last drop of the Vinaigrette. It was that good!
BBQ’D SALMON: If you are looking for a dish to impress, this one will definitely do the trick. By the time I set it before my family, I felt like I was serving something taken right out of a five-star menu. Two tasty sauces, a deliciously colorful corn salad, and the fresh salmon made for one elegant dish that earned many compliments. Thank you Todd and Ellen for making me look good!
Whether you are looking for good kosher recipes, or simply want new ideas to try out in the kitchen, I highly recommend The New Jewish Table. It is truly a cookbook bound to please.
Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!
**Originally posted on Radiant Lit.