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Levana's Table: Kosher Cooking for Everyone Hardcover – October 1, 2002
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About the Author
Levana Kirschenbaum is the founder of Levana Resaturant, the premier gourmet kosher restaurant in Manhattan, and Levana's Place, the first gourmet kosher cooking school in New York City. She recently appeared on the PBS special The United Tastes of America and regularly teaches master cooking classes around the city. She was born and raised in Morocco and has traveled extensively, incorporating these diverse culinary influences into her recipes. Ann Stratton is a New York City-based photographer who has contributed to House & Garden, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, and O, The Oprah Magazine, as well as to several books.
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The charming layout can perhaps best be compared to Joyce Esersky Goldstein's great books, e.g. Cucina Ebraica: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen, but while Mrs. Goldstein serves down-to-earth Mediterranean food in a wonderful way, Mrs. Kirschenbaum's recipes seem heavenly inspired.
The recipes are a proof that kosher can be for gourmets as well.
Additionally, so far I have not found any detail not corresponding to Kashrut, while other kosher cookbooks are sometimes a bit careless in this respect.
The target audience for Levana's Table is Kosher, yet Levana herself follows a mostly dairy-free diet, as evidenced in this book. Only a handful of the 150+ recipes contain any milk products, while several inviting dairy-free options, including a Tiramisu, are offered.
One thing I truly enjoyed about this cookbook was the adventurousness. Levana's recipes touch every portion of the globe. Chili Sans Carne highlights a famous Latin dish, Lamb and Eggplant Curry demonstrates an excellent use of Indian spices, and a jazzed up Miso Soup (with Shiitakes and Swiss Chard) offers some new flavors to one of my old favorites.
Several of the recipes call for more extravagant ingredients, so this may not be my daily go-to cookbook. Nonetheless, the instructions are uncomplicated and easy to follow. When guests are coming, or I need some inspiration to trial new foods, Levana's Table will certainly be the first place I look.