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The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat Hardcover – August 13, 2013
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"The foundation of the book is, of course, Ruhlman's schmaltz recipe, which is extraordinarily easy. Six steps, 90 minutes, and you're in business. Classics such as chopped liver, kreplach, and potato kugel follow, as do unconventional dishes including vichyssoise with gribenes and chives-and-chicken confit. They're now yours for the making."―--David Leite, Leite's Culinaria
"Ruhlman, who has authored cookbooks with culinary greats like Thomas Keller and Michael Symon, puts his own spin on even the most classic recipes."―--Katherine Martinelli, The Jewish Daily Forward
"If for some reason you never thought frying chicken fat could be made beautiful, you really need to check this out."―--Russ Parsons, Los Angeles Times
"Sometimes it takes and outsider to see a subject clearly. That is what Michael Ruhlman has done with schmaltz, portraying this much-maligned fat thorugh his lens and that of Lois Baron, a friendly Jewish neighbor and a traditionalist in the kitchen. Mazel tov on the results!"―--Joan Nathan, author of Jewish Cooking in America
"It's about time that schmaltz got its due. And from, no less, a great food writer who isn't Jewish. Michael Ruhlman understands, as too many Jews don't, that Yiddish cooking is a worthy cuisine, deserving of attention and respect - not to mention the carefully composed recipes and gorgeous photographs you'll find in this book."―--Arthur Schwartz, author of Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited
About the Author
Michael Ruhlman's innovative and successful food reference books include Ratio, The Elements of Cooking, Ruhlman's Twenty, and Charcuterie. He has appeared as a judge on Iron Chef and as a featured guest on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations. He has also co-authored books with Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, and Michael Symon. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife, photographer Donna Turner Ruhlman.
Top customer reviews
I went to the local kosher supermarket and got two pounds of chicken fat and skin. I attempted the schmaltz recipe in an all-clad 13" stainless steel skillet and ended up with what looked like beautiful schmaltz, and it smelled great, too. I haven't used it in a recipe yet, but there is a potato knish recipe in the book that I will try. I may try to use my Le Creuset cast iron skillet next time, since the stainless steel pan had a lot of browned pieces stuck to it and I was scared they would burn by the end and ruin my schmaltz, but I don't believe that happened. The author does recommend to use a non-stick pan, but I do not cook with non-stick cookware.
To sum up, if schmaltz is something you are interested to make, this is the book you should get, unless you have a grandmother that can show you.
Edit: 10/18/13- I attempted to make the potato knish recipe. I believe I followed the directions very carefully. I weighed the ingredients to be as accurate as possible. I used a pastry cloth as the author recommends to get the dough very thin. Now the problem I had was that the directions state to bake the knishes in a 400 degree farenheit oven for 15 to 20 min until golden brown. I checked them during that time frame but the knishes were not getting brown, and I let them stay in the oven longer but by the time they were golden brown they were too dry and didn't taste good. The next batch I took out at 16 minutes and they were not dry but not golden brown either. I'm not deducting any stars because perhaps this was my fault, but I wasn't satisfied with the results. I guess it's more of a heads up not to bake them too long even though they may not be brown enough, probably because the dough is so thin.
The book talks about schmaltz, which is rendered chicken fat, and the traditional Jewish recipes made with it. I've cooked with schmaltz a bit, and like it--it's almost liquid at room temperature and is very easy to work with. If you're interested in making a truly traditional Jewish chopped chicken liver dish, this book will show you how to do it. It'll also teach you-in Ruhlman's careful, easy to understand style, how to prepare a number of other traditional dishes that are made with schmaltz.
Needless to say, once our friend had browsed the book, she left with it, so I don't have it any more. I'm happy that it has a home where it's treasured. And I will order another book. I've read a number of Ruhlman's books and liked them, so may well go ahead and get all of them.