I love my job as a food writer! One of the great perks is receiving wonderful new cookbooks to devour. I was recently sent a copy of Estee Kafra's latest, titled Cooking Inspired - Bringing Creativity and Passion Back Into the Kitchen and I was wowed by the taste tempting recipes. Estee is an accomplished food photographer, cookbook author and magazine editor. After a couple of stints as a food editor for print magazines, one of which, Kosher Inspired, morphed into an online magazine KosherScoop.com. Estee serves as the site’s editor and contributes recipes and photographs on a regular basis. Believe it or not, Estee never uses cookbooks. Her love of new things ensures that she is always original and creative in the kitchen. Estee lives in Toronto with her family.
As I read through this fabulous cookbook I felt as though I got to know Estee, her friends and family. Many of these family members and friends inspired or contributed recipes to her book Cooking Inspired. I also realized that though I do not keep kosher myself, the recipes are really for anyone who enjoys good food. Using the best quality ingredients you can afford means that you don't have to play around with them too much to make a delicious dish. And being a creative cook means that you can use her recipes as guides, as all recipes should be used, to prepare the dish your way. If you don't keep kosher it really doesn't matter. I was having friends for dinner and making an Italian inspired meal so I tweaked Estee's fabulous mushroom lasagna recipe and added spicy Italian sausage. Since neither our guests nor Steve and I keep kosher it was perfectly all right. And was it ever good!!!
“Creative cooking does not have to be time-consuming cooking", states Estee. "You may think that trying new ingredients or cooking with the seasons must mean more work, but on the contrary—when using fresh and seasonal ingredients, it takes less time to make your food sing. Inspiration can come from every day, simple things. Usually, a few simple ingredients and some basic techniques are enough to do the trick—and when you’ve done it long enough, this sort of cooking becomes second nature.”
“Food is one of our most primal needs, and for most of us, cooking is a basic, everyday chore. But food represents much more than the way in which we satisfy our cravings and keep ourselves alive. It is the way we nurture both ourselves and the people around us,” Estee says. “I believe we can take this everyday act and elevate it into an experience of creativity, mindfulness, and meaning. In order to make the most of the world we live in, we need to open our hearts and minds to the inspiration all around us, to the myriad experiences and items that can shape our everyday lives. That’s Cooking Inspired.”
I highly recommend that you purchase a copy of this wonderful cookbook. I am totally confident that Jews and non-Jews alike will enjoy cooking her recipes and learn to become very inspired cooks!