Healthy Jewish Cooking Paperback – Sep 28 2000
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No, says author Steven Raichlen, healthy Jewish cooking is not an oxymoron. Inspired by the large family gatherings of his childhood which were filled with homemade Jewish delicacies, Raichlen set out to re-create these meals with an eye towards the fat- and cholesterol-conscious. And he's done well. Raichlen finds still-tasty ways to greatly reduce or cut out schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), butter, oil, and eggs. With meat, he advocates using just enough for flavor but upping the ratio of vegetables, and to try grilling to release a smoky sweetness.
By following his "10 commandments" of healthy cooking, you'll be able to have traditional and not-so-traditional Jewish meals--but with drastically less fat and calories. Remember to "Think flavor, not fat" and "Roast your way to aroma" and you're on your way to lighter versions of old favorites like the Amazing Low-Fat Chopped Liver, Cheese Blintzes, and Sweet and Sour Turkey-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. Raichlen's family included Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, so in addition to German and Eastern European-inspired recipes, he also includes Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes like Greek Lamb Stew with Romaine Lettuce and Dill and Bulghur Pilaf. For kugel aficionados, there is an entire chapter of sweet and savory recipes. There are many kosher recipes and suggestions on how to amend nonkosher dishes.
Besides the appetizing, straightforward recipes, the allure of Healthy Jewish Cooking is Raichlen's remembrances of the men and women in his family who taught him how to cook and appreciate the importance of food in the Jewish culture. "Above all, have fun," says Raichlen. "Jewish cooking is about family, love, and abundance. Cook with all three and your life will be rich beyond measure." --Dana Van Nest
From Publishers Weekly
Isn't healthy Jewish cooking an oxymoron? That's the typical response Raichlen, author of Barbecue! Bible and Steve Raichlen's High-Flavor, Low-Fat Vegetarian Cooking, got whenever he mentioned he was writing this book. It turns out that Jewish cooking can be low fat and flavorful: the Amazing Low-Fat Chopped Liver uses roasted mushrooms and hard-cooked egg whites to reduce fat and cholesterol while intensifying flavor. Middle Eastern dishes, such as Shish Kebab with North African Seasonings, and Moroccan Grilled Pepper and Tomato Salad, are well represented here. To make traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dishes lighter, recipes call for using broth instead of schmaltz (chicken fat) and no-fat dairy products, and for roasting and bake-frying. Raichlen also provides a wealth of meatless dishes, including a vegetarian version of chopped liver and a Portobello Paprikash. Raichlin emphasizes the innovative, such as Zucchini Kugel (usually a sweet noodle dish), without losing sight of traditional foods, like blintzes, Passover dishes, knishes and The Three B's Cholent, a Sabbath stew. While there are exotic touches such as Rhubarb Haroset and Tropical Tsimmis with ginger and fresh pineappleARaichlen's dessert section seems incomplete (where are rugelach and hamentaschen?). He isn't great at cutting down sugar, either, although some sinfully tempting recipes, like My Great-Grandmother's Chocolate Roll, list original ingredients as well as slimmed-down ones. But with homey anecdotes, food counts and preparation times, one hopes for a sequel to this heart-warming and user-friendly book. Photos by Greg Schneider. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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September 13, 2001
by Judy Bart Kancigor, author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family
With Jewish cooks busily preparing for Rosh Hashanah (beginning Monday
night), the last thought on anyone's mind is low fat, but Steven Raichlen's
new cookbook, "Healthy Jewish Cooking" (Viking), a lusciously photographed
homage to his family, offers tasty renditions of over 150 classic Jewish
recipes that nourish the soul without damaging the heart. And with his
slimmed-down versions of his family's beloved recipes, we can now have our
knish and eat it too.
"The great cooks of my childhood - who came of age during the depression - were more interested in filling plates than in the health consciousness of their dinners," says Raichlen, who was a restaurant critic for a major city magazine in the '80's and eating out constantly when he developed a cholesterol problem.
So he began reducing the fat in his favorite recipes, and the result was his "High-Flavor, Low-Fat" series. Now Raichlen, famous as the grilling guru ("The Barbecue Bible," "How to Grill"), applies his 10 Commandments of
low-fat cooking to the last bastion of the clogged artery, Jewish food, with "think flavor, not fat" his mantra.
"'Barbecue Bible' took me four years to write," says Raichlen, who
traveled to 25 countries on five continents researching the book, writing
"Healthy Jewish Cooking" during the same period. "There was a lot of
overlap. The Middle East is one of the real hotbeds of grilling expertise.
Barbecue is not part of the Ashkenazi (Eastern European) tradition. I don't
ever remember watching my grandfather grill, for example, but in Israel it's very much a part of their culture."
So what will the Raichlen family be eating this Rosh Hashanah? Surprise, surprise.
Son Jake Klein of HeartBeat at the W Hotel in New York (and incidentally the food stylist for "Healthy Jewish Cooking") will be visiting, and together father and son will fire up the grill. "We will probably be the only Jewish family in Miami to barbecue its brisket instead of braising it in the oven with dried fruits. We will rub it with cumin, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper and smoke it for six hours. It will be amazing barbecue, the way God meant for you to eat it!"
Sweet foods are the order of the day on this holiday. "At the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, we wish for sweetness," says Elaine Asa, wife of Fullerton Temple Beth Tikvah's Rabbi Emeritus, Haim Asa, "so we dip apples in honey as our hope for a sweet year." Challah, the symbolic sweet egg bread, normally braided, is baked round for Rosh Hashanah "to symbolize the continuity of life," says Asa. "It has no beginning or end. This is the season when we are written in the book of life."
A lovely sweet side dish for the Rosh Hashanah table is Raichlen's Moroccan Carrot Salad, "the round slices of carrots representing gold shekels, a symbol of prosperity." Rose water or orange liqueur may be substituted for the orange-flower water, which is available in Middle Eastern and Indian markets, "but," says Raichlen, "the effect won't be quite the same."
MOROCCAN CARROT SALAD (from "Healthy Jewish Cooking" by Steven Raichlen)
1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4" rounds
2 TBS. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt + 1/8 tsp. for the final seasoning
3 TBS. raisins
1 TBS. lemon juice
1 tsp. canola oil
1 tsp. orange-flower water
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Place the carrots, 1 TBS. sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt in a saucepan and add water just to cover. Cook the carrots over high heat until tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the raisins. Let the mixture cool. Drain the carrots and raisins and place in an attractive serving bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 TBS. sugar, the lemon juice, oil, orange-flower water, cinnamon, and remaining 1/8 tsp. salt. Correct the seasoning, adding any of the flavorings to taste. The salad should be sweet and perfumy. Serves 4 to 6.