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Adventures in Jewish Cooking Hardcover – September 3, 2002
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Anyone looking for new takes on Jewish cooking or fresh ideas for their kosher table will want to explore Adventures in Jewish Cooking. The book pushes the whole concept of Jewish cooking--let alone kosher restrictions--to the limit with inspired, internationally inflected dishes. Jeffrey Nathan, executive chef of Manhattan's acclaimed kosher restaurant Abigael's and host of the popular PBS cooking show New Jewish Cuisine, delivers all the standards of Jewish fare, but his Matzo Ball Soup is intensified with a spicy Latin American Soffrito and studded with saffron-infused matzo balls. His gefilte fish is a sophisticated terrine, adorned with jewel-like carrot and beet salads tossed with a tangy, sharp Horseradish Mustard Vinaigrette. Even his chicken soup is accented with Japanese miso paste. Besides updated versions of typical Jewish dishes, Nathan calls on his widely varied culinary experience to create kosher versions of more unexpected fare. Nori-Wrapped Salmon with Pea Shoot Salad would be impressive on any table--it's merely an added bonus that it also happens to be kosher. Turkey and Sausage Barley Jambalaya proves that pastrami, veal sausage, and turkey thighs can go head-to-head with the nonkosher meats normally found in this spicy Southern dish. Many of the dishes are impressive enough for the holiday table, making this a welcome resource for any cook looking for unusual takes on international cooking and those looking to add new dimensions to their kosher fare. --Robin Donovan
From Publishers Weekly
At last, Nathan has produced a companion volume to his PBS cooking show New Jewish Cuisine. Executive chef of the kosher Abigael's Restaurant in New York, Nathan offers a mix of traditional and modern recipes spiced with occasional personal anecdotes and asides. The book covers appetizers, soups, salads, meat, poultry, fish, breads and brunches and dessert. Many of Nathan's offerings, such as the Fennel-Crusted Snapper with Grapefruit-Cilantro Sauce, the Asian Duck Stir-Fry or the Crispy Creole Chicken Breasts, reflect recent food trends and diverse cultural influences. The time-honored "heritage recipes" are sometimes given a new twist, as with the Sweet Noodle and Fruit Kugel, which brims with the unusual combination of dried cranberries and other dried fruits rather than just the customary golden raisins. Taking into account Jewish dietary laws, each detailed recipe is designated "Meat," "Dairy" or "Pareve" (containing neither meat nor dairy products). Many dairy dishes, such as the refreshing Lemon Mousse with Blueberry Parfaits, include a pareve variation. Explanatory notes appear at the end of recipes and in sidebars sprinkled throughout the book; they cover such diverse subjects as toasting nuts and using raw eggs safely. Nathan rounds out the book with suggested holiday menus and sources for hard-to-find ingredients (such as the kosher version of Japanese rice wine). With surprises on every page, this truly innovative cookbook earns its name.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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But once your shock subsides you will find yourself in posession one of the best kosher cookbooks out there. With a mish-mosh of ingredients and cooking methods from around the world, Jeff Nathan created a masterpiece guide for the I-need-a-break-from-the-potato-knish Jew. He was a pioneer when he opened up Abigail's, wandering into the Kosher-fusion restaurant desert. Back then there weren't yet kosher restaurants that served sushi, the idea of a good kosher restaurant was were you could get an oversized pastrami sandwich with a hummus appetizer.
Bottom line: great recipes for the kosher kitchen, with parve alternatives for many dishes requiring meat or dairy. When I need to cook for guests, I usually turn to Jeff for help. Most of the recipes have a Jewish twist to them (I cracked when I saw the recipe for "Gefilte Fish Terrine". He must've had one too many cups of Manischewitz wine that day, I thought.)
Highlights include: A chopped liver in which the onions are browned in brandy (a secret to using a food processor is taught); a Vegetarian Chopped Liver using apples and corn flakes in addition to the familiar green beans; and Latin American Cerviche, a Passover alternative to gefilte fish that uses salmon and red snapper cut on a bias and served with a crunchy salsa salad that incorporates matzo with mango, jalapeno, peppers, citrus, and tomatoes.
Speaking of gefilte fish, try the Gefilte Fish Terrine with Carrots and Beet Salads. Familiar with lox and cream cheese? Try his Smoked Salmon Cheesecake with a bit of roasted pepper vinaigrette (he explains how to roast the peppers). There are recipes for 16 soups and stocks, including, of course, a classic Chicken Soup, as well as a miso variation, and a Sephardic variation with Sofrito and Saffron. Tired of chickens? Try Salmon Corn Chowder or his (dairy) Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Do salads bore you? Among his 14 salads are Abigael's House Salad with crunchy greens, almonds, and roasted Garlic (a lesson on roasting garlic); a Hungarian Slaw, an Asian Two Cabbage Slaw (napa and red) with soy and sesame oil; and a Challah Panzanella Salad, inspired by the day old Tuscan bread salads and pita based fattoush.
What? No Brisket? Of course, there is. Try his herb and cilantro infused Latin Beef Brisket with Chimichurri, BBQ Vinaigrette, and Sweet Potatoes. Did I mention his Apple Cider Brisket (3 onions, 3 cups of cider, molasses and more)? His son's trip to Peru and a love of cumin crusted steak led to the recipe for Peruvian Steak with Red Grapes and Onions. His Lamb with Ratatouille and a Balsamic "syrup" are inspired. Syrian Lemon Chicken Stew "vibrates" like he said it will (better than the one they serve at Esca). Nathan's poultry recipes include those with Orange-Soy marinades, paprikash, preserved lemons, pojarski, Yemenite, and raisin and asian styles. A kosher Jambalaya? Yes, he makes it with turkey and veal sausage. Eleven fish recipes are included. Try the Falafel-Crusted Salmon, and the Jamaican Jerk Salmon. Vegetables? Yes, Jews eat vegetables. Try the savory hamantaschen with a vegetable based stuffing; a vegetarian chili; ginger applesauce; a Portobello fajita; wild mushroom kugel; and potato dumplings provencale. Among the nearly dozen pasta recipes is one for a spicy mac and cheese kugel with 3 peppers. Side dishes include a mango-date haroset; smoked trout and scallion mashed potatoes; root vegetable tzimmes; Yemenite curry rice; and string bean puttanesca (a Jewish puttanesca? Her mother has no nachas). Breads include a unique Bialy Loaf and Yemenite Skillet Breads. The book closes with sample menus, measurements, and several desserts, including Jewish standards and a Passover Banana Cake and a Banana Soufganiot pudding.
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from the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
August 30, 2002
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