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Budget Cooking Elegant Dining: The Kosher Experience Hardcover – September 1, 1996
Top customer reviews
From the beautiful cover photo of veggies arranged as a bouquet on a silver platter to the budgeting tips inside of this 200+ page cookbook, one can tell lots of thought and design went into planning it.
The pages are easy to open and lay flat and all pages have no more than one recipe per page, with room in the margins for note taking, (or a place for stickie-notes for those who do not like to pencil in notes in cookbooks). The recipes serve from 4 to 12, depending on kind of recipe and they all appear to be straight forward and with readily available ingredients.
There are hints for budgeting and if followed, there is no reason why a meal cannot be elegant as well as affordable. Shopping tips, such as using house brands, eating before shopping (thus not buying everything in sight because it ALL looks delicious), and leaving children at home because we know they can add to the carts, are just a few of the hints she has listed.
I like the idea of simple, white dishes dressed up with colorful cloth napkins, natural garnishes of fruits or vegetables to dress up a serving plate, and even adding a few slices of lemon to water can dress up a meal and make it elegant.
Sue Epstein covers it all -- even menu planning and a list of Jewish Holidays and Life Cycle Events. Not being Jewish myself, I appreciate the list of holidays and the meanings associated with them. While "Budget Cooking-Elegant Dining" is a Kosher cookbook, you don't have to cook Kosher in order to enjoy the recipes that Sue has brought together for the traditional Jewish home. There is something here for everyone.
Having all the ingredients on hand for Sue's "Spinach Oriental" recipe I decided to try it tonight for dinner. It was a refreshing switch from my usual Spinach Salad. I am including the recipe below for you to try.
1 pound fresh spinach
2 tablespoons oil or parve margarine
1 teaspoon grated onion
2 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Wash spinach well. Drain and remove tough stems.
In a skillet, heat the oil or margarine.
Add onion and sesame seeds and saute over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the seeds are browned.
Add drained spinach and soy sauce.
Cover and cook about 5 minutes or until tender. Serves: 4
The recipes are well written and in an easy to follow format.
A feature I liked is the margin on each page for the cook to write her own notes, adaptations or impressions of the recipe. In some recipes, Sue has added her own little notes with a
hint or tip at the bottom of the note section.
Elegant dining on a budget might seem like a contradiction in terms, but Sue's many years of catering and teaching about cooking has shown her the way and she generously shares her tips with the reader. How to make your entertaining memorable without being costly; ideas on how to use leftovers for better advantage; careful menu planning ideas to take advantage of seasonal produce and products and a whole wonderful section on substitutions and equivalents.
As a non-Jew, I was very interested in Chapter 5 since she simply
explains the Jewish Holidays and Life Cycle Events. We have all
heard the names of the different holidays, but most of us don't
realize the meaning of them and Sue has also provided menus
appropriate for each. There is one whole chapter on Passover and the traditional and some not so traditional recipes associated with this holiday.
Several recipes captured my attention and have been marked for trying very soon, but there were two that really called to me and will be made today: Fresh Mushroom Soup (page 86) and Boursin-Style Cheese (page 123)
Whether you are Jewish or not, keep a kosher kitchen or not, this is a must in your cookbook library.