Category Archives: Cookbook Review

Perfect for Pesach Cookbook {Review and Giveaway}

Perfect for Pesach

Naomi Nachman aka “The Aussie Gourmet” is out with her debut cookbook “Perfect for Pesach”. This cookbook is geared toward Passover cooking and baking, but according to Naomi, the recipes are so good, you’ll want to make them all year. 120 of the recipes are gluten free which makes this cookbook perfect for those with gluten dietary restrictions. When I asked Naomi why she chose to write this specific book she noted that she really wanted to break the mold of Passover cooking. It doesn’t have to be all meat and potatoes.

Not only does this cookbook contain 125 recipes, it is also a great Passover kitchen resource. It starts off with an entire page breaking down 6 cooking oils you may come across at the supermarket and why certain oils are chosen for certain recipes. Naomi includes a breakdown of her essential kitchen tools which is a perfect checklist for anyone cooking for Passover. She also includes tons of freezer tips because nobody wants to spend the entire holiday cooking in the kitchen.

The book is then broken up into classic categories: appetizers, dips ad salads, soups, fish, poultry, meat, dairy, sides, and desserts. Each recipe has a little note from Naomi, as well as a clear list of ingredients and a step by step method for preparing the dish. There are also cooks tips such as ingredient substitutions or different cooking methods that can be used. Many of the recipes also include ways to prep the recipe in advance. This sets you up for success in the kitchen. And although these recipes can be prepared as is for year round use, there is a page of non-Passover substitutions that can be used in place of Passover specific ingredients.

The best part of any cookbook, in my opinion, is the pictures. And this cookbook has a gorgeous full page color photo of every recipe. Miriam Pascal the Overtime Cook did all the photography for this book. She really knows how to make the food pop off the page.

So many of the recipes look amazing, but the recipes I really want to try first are southwestern chicken egg rolls, hush puppy potato knishes, quionoa “hummus”, charoset salad, goat cheese salad with raspberry vinaigrette, flanken butternut squash soup, meat and cabbage soup, pistachio crusted salmon, braised chicken with apples and sweet potatoes, citrus glazed duck breast, cranberry glazed turkey and spinach meatloaf, maple glazed rack of ribs, veal roast with mushroom sauce, pastrami meatballs, almond butter banana pancakes, cheesy hash browns, apple kugel muffins, blueberry cobbler, and fudgy chocolate bundt cake with coffee glaze. Lucky for us, with permission from Artscroll/Shaar Press/ March 2017 I am able to share Naomi Nachmans Passover recipe for fudgy chocolate bundt cake with coffee glaze!

fudgy chocolate bundt cake with coffee glaze

Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake with Coffee Glaze
  • 2½ cups almond flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • 1 Tbs. instant coffee granules
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 Tbs. imitation vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
Coffee Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbs. brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp. oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan well; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, coca powder, potato starch, coffee, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add dry ingredients; stir to combine.
  4. Pour batter into Bundt pan; bake 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely in the pan. Remove from pan; glaze with coffee glaze.
Coffee Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients to form a glaze. If the glaze is too thick to pour, add water, ½ teaspoon at a time, until desired texture is reached.
  2. Pour glaze over cooled cake.

I was generously given a review copy of Perfect for Pesach by Naomi Nachman from Artscroll/Shaar Press/ March 2017 and they have agreed to give one away too! To win your very own copy of Perfect for Pesach by Naomi Nachman, head over to my Instagram @lilmisscakes to enter. US mailing address only.

The Silver Platter: Simple Elegance {Review and Giveaway}

The Silver Platter: Simple EleganceThe Silver Platter: Simple Elegance is the second book by Daniella Silver. After the success of her first cookbook, The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular, Daniella has yet again teamed up with cooking guru Norene Gilletz. These two ladies make an amazing team and have put out another winning cookbook. Daniella comes up with impressive dishes with simple ingredients and Norene gives some really interesting and helpful tips for each and every dish. This book contains over 160 new recipes with tricks and techniques for planning, prepping, and serving stunning dishes for any occasion.

I love the layout of this book. Each recipe has a small introduction. The ingredients are clearly listed, and the directions are easy to understand. Each recipe includes “Norene’s Notes” which can be anything from make ahead tips, to substitutions,  leftover ideas, Passover options, preparation tips, and even nutritional information. Every recipe is also paired with a gorgeous color photo to give you an idea of what your dish will look like as well as plating ideas. The cookbook itself is nice and big and is just gorgeous to flip thorough-it makes a beautiful coffee table book and makes the perfect gift.

The book is broken up into categories: appetizers, soups, salads, fish, poultry, meat, dairy, grain side dishes, vegetable side dishes, cookies and treats, and cakes. I like how easy Daniella and Norene make it to be healthful. Not only are the recipes lightened up when possible, but at the end of the book you will find a clear breakdown of the nutritional information for each recipe.

Some recipes I’m excited to try: roasted eggplant salad, pulled BBQ beef nachos, sweet potato and kale soup, cheesy potato leek soup, balsamic spinach salad with carmelized onions, honey garlic herbed salmon, chili lime fish fillets, smoked turkey cabbage slaw, asian flavored miami ribs, quinoa pizza ramekins, spinach cheese bites, candied cauliflower with almonds, peanut butter cookie brownies, brown sugar peach crisp, and salted chocolate ganache tart.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake

I am excited to share this recipe for Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake from THE SILVER PLATTER SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results by Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz reproduced with permission from the copyright holder, Artscroll, November 2016.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake
Serves: 2 Loaves
You can’t beat the combination of fruit and chocolate in this fragrant cranberry loaf. Perfectly tart and sweet, it’s a great cake for breakfast, brunch, or an after-dinner treat. It makes two loaves, so freeze the second one for another occasion.
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups orange juice
  • 2 ½ cups flour (or gluten-free flour with xanthan gum)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw)
  • 1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs with sugar, oil, and vanilla on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually blend in orange juice.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared loaf pans; spread evenly. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.
  6. Allow loaves to cool for 20 minutes. Invert onto serving platters.
Norene's Notes
  1. Muffin Variation: In Step 5, scoop batter into muffin pans coated with nonstick spray or lined with paper liners until ¾-full. Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes. Yields 18-24 muffins.
  2. Frozen cranberries don’t need to be thawed. Just rinse and pat them dry with paper towels before folding them into the batter.

Want to win your very own copy? Artscroll has offered to give one free copy of The Silver Platter: Simple Elegance to one of you! Head over to my Instagram @lilmisscakes for a chance to win! US mailing addresses only.

Our Table Cookbook {Review and Giveaway}

Our Table by Renee Muller


 In Our Table, food stylist and recipe columnist Renee Muller shares her simple and delicious kosher family recipes. Each recipe calls for everyday ingredients, all easily accessible, and is accompanied by full color photos. Both of those components as well as the easy to follow directions and tips make this cookbook perfect for a beginner in the kitchen as well as a great resource for the seasoned chef. The cookbook is not only for the kitchen, it makes a stunning coffee table book. Renee brings her expert food styling skills to each and every photo. This is something I really look for in a great cookbook. I love looking at beautiful food and love seeing what the recipe will look like.

The book is filled with recipe tips, suggestions, and techniques to help in the kitchen. Some of the recipes also include links to online video tutorials. As Renee was writing she wished she could be there with her readers in the kitchen. “Many times while writing down recipe instructions, I wished I could just invite my readers to join me in my kitchen and cook with me.  That thought led me to create a variety of videos of some of the recipes so you can view them as you want and see some of the techniques I use when cooking my recipes.”  I love this idea, it’s like getting personal cooking classes with Renee Muller!

The categories in the cookbook include Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Fish & Dairy, Meat, Chicken & More, Snacks & Sides, Bread, Cakes & Cookies, and Desserts. Each recipe is labeled as Meat, Dairy,  or Pareve as well as Freezer Friendly or Gluten Free. There is even a Pesach (Passover) guide with substitutions so many recipes can be used over the holiday as well.

I have already made the Belgian Birthday Waffles  and My Most Favorite White Flour Challah which were both a huge hit! I cant wait to try Mommy’s Stuffed Cabbage,  Mushroom Barley Soup Done Right,  Lo Mein, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, Sweet and Tangy Spare Ribs, Oven Baked Honey Mustard Chicken,  Babka Swirls, Just Right Cookies, and Malky’s Old Fashioned Apple Bake.

Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins | Renee Muller

I am delighted to share this recipe for Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins from Our  Table by Renee Muller reproduced with permission from the copyright holder, ArtScroll Publications, October 2016.

Apple and Honey Rosh Hashana Muffins
Serves: 48
At our house, Rosh Hashanah cannot happen without honey muffins. At least, that’s the way my kids see it. It’s a family project, and by now, a family tradition, too. This recipe was given to me by a relative in Israel who bakes them all the time and claims that no matter how many batches she bakes, there are never enough. She’s absolutely right. We once baked a quadruple batch of these (sans the apples) for a bake sale on our block and we were left without a crumb!
For The Apples
  • 2 Tablespoons butter OR margarine
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the muffins
  • 2 cups prepared tea, lukewarm
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups oil
  • 2 cups honey
  • 12 eggs
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Prepare the apples: In a saucepan, melt butter over a medium-low flame. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon; cook until apples are fragrant and soften a bit, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare the muffins: In the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed, combine tea, sugar, oil, honey, and eggs. Mix until smooth. Reduce speed; gradually add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Fill each muffin cup halfway with batter. (I like to use a cupcake pen for this; I find it very helpful.) Top with a teaspoon of prepared apples. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost dry with some moist crumbs attached.
note: The apples are optional; I find that some children prefer the muffins plain. We add the apple for Rosh Hashanah (very loudly singing, “Dip the apple in the hooooneeeyy” as we do so) but throughout the year, we bake them plain.
tip: I recently discovered an amazing gadget called “The Cupcake (or Muffin) Pen.” It really removes the whole messy aspect of filling cupcake pans with batter. Look for it in specialty equipment stores.

Want to win your own copy? Artscroll has graciously offered to give one copy of Our Table to one of you! Head over to my Instagram @lilmisscakes and enter for a chance to win! US mailing addresses only-sorry!

Kosher By Design “Brings It Home” {Review and Giveaway}

Kosher By Design brings it home

I am so overwhelmed by this post right now I don’t even know where to start! A cookbook review, a new recipe, a huge giveaway…aaah! First of all, Susie Fishbein, a kosher cookbook legend and one of my personal idols, is back with her final installment of the Kosher By Design series. Kosher By Design Brings It Home: picture-perfect food inspired by my travels (affiliate link) is the grand finale, if you will,  and it is filled with recipes and stories inspired by Susie’s travels around the world.

What I love about this cookbook already (…and I’ve only seen a preview!) are the gorgeous color photos that accompany each recipe. I love seeing these photos because not only do I know what my dish will look like, but just thumbing through a gorgeous cookbook is enjoyable! To me, cookbooks are more than just a resource, they are a work of art, and this cookbook series proudly sits on my bookshelf!

Another thing I love about Susie’s cookbooks is that although her recipes are delicious and perfect for presentation, she makes the cooking process accessible and easy to understand. Many of her recipes are quick an easy, some are for the more seasoned chef, but there is something for everyone. In her most recent cookbooks and especially in “Brings It Home”, there are new and interesting ingredients introduced from around the world. Susie introduces new ingredients through dishes that sound exciting and will have you running to to the store to sample those new flavors.

The official release of this beautiful cookbook is Thursday, February 25, 2016 but I got a sneak preview and I’m finally able to share a recipe with you! I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy but until then please enjoy this recipe for halvah baklava reproduced from Kosher by Design Brings it Home, by Susie Fishbein, with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications. You don’t have to wait for the release, you can preorder your copy right now! I made it easy for you, just follow my affiliate link and place your order asap- Kosher By Design Brings It Home: picture-perfect food inspired by my travels.

Halva Baklava |Kosher by Design Brings it Home

Kosher By Design "Brings It Home"
Serves: 10-12 Servings
  • 15 sheets (from a 1 pound box) phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup roasted pistachios
  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 1 cup roasted pecans
  • 1 pound halvah, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Honey Syrup
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Prepare the filling
  1. Place the pistachios, almonds, pecans, halvah, and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal "S" blade. Pulse until ground but not a paste. Set aside.
Prepare the syrup
  1. Place the sugar, honey, water, and lemon juice into a medium pot. Over medium heat, bring just to a boil. Turn down to a simmer; cook for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Place a sheet of phyllo lengthwise on the work surface. Brush with canola oil. Top with another layer of phyllo. Brush with canola.Top with a third layer of phyllo and oil. Roll all four edges ½-inch inward to make a frame. Brush rolled edges with oil.
  3. Spread a thick layer of nut filling over the phyllo. Starting with a short end, roll up, jellyroll fashion; transfer to prepared sheet. Repeat, making 4 more rolled logs. Brush the logs with oil. Using a serrated knife, cut 4 diagonal slits across the top of each log.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately spoon syrup over the logs. Slice each log into 4-5 slices. Serve 2 slices to a plate. Drizzle with more syrup around the plate.

Now on to the giveaway! This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway will end in one week from today. Please don’t forget to enter! Do it now!

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Something Sweet Cookbook {Review and Giveaway}

Something Sweet Cookbook | Lil Miss Cakes

If I were to write a dessert cookbook, I would want it to be exactly like this one. My friend and fellow food blogger, Miriam Pascal, has worked tirelessly for months on her gorgeous cookbook debut. I had been talking to Miriam throughout the process and am blown away by how much work it takes to put this all together. Miriam shares her kitchen talents on her blog Overtime Cook. She understands that nobody has time to spend hours in the kitchen and tailors her recipes to be quick, simple and impressive. Over the years she not only perfected some amazing recipes, but she also honed her photography skills and took every photo in her cookbook.

Here is some exiting trivia for you: I baked 3 of Miriam’s recipes for her to photograph for this cookbook! The chocolate celebration cake, bakery style cake donuts, and the cookies decorated with royal icing were all done by me using Miriam’s recipes. How cool is that?! I’m so happy to help and I would love to do it again.

“Something Sweet” is really the perfect baking resource. It includes notes about every essential kitchen tool, recipe ingredient substitutions, and baking tips and tricks. Most of the recipes in this stunning book are new, but Miriam did include a few of her readers favorite recipes that were originally posted on her blog.

While Miriam does it all in the kitchen, this book specifically focuses on desserts which I am really excited about. There really is a lack of good kosher dessert cookbooks on the market. Although all the recipes in the book are strictly kosher, these desserts will appeal to everyone; especially those with dairy sensitivities. Nearly every dessert category is covered from cookies and bars, cakes and cupcakes, muffins and pastries, pies and tarts, desserts and party treats, candy and chocolate, drinks and frozen treats and finally, frosting and toppings. She even included a healthy, dairy-free pie crust recipe!

As a cookbook lover, I have read many, many cookbooks. This one has a perfect layout. The recipes are easy to read and the directions are very clear.  Each and every recipe is accompanied by a high quality color photo. A few of the recipes have step-by-step photos to make those possibly complicated steps really easy to understand.

I can’t wait to dig in to these delicious dessert recipes, but the few that immediately caught my eye are the fruity pebble cookies, snickerdoodle bundt cake, cinnamon cheese buns, cookie dough fudge pie, cookies n’ cream stuffed waffles, and chewy sea salt caramels.

Do you want a preview? This recipe for Neapolitan Trifles from Something Sweet by Miriam Pascal, is reproduced with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.

Neapolitan Trifle Recipe from Something Sweet | Lil Miss Cakes

Neapolitan Trifles | Something Sweet Cookbook
Serves: 12-14
Chocolate Crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup oil
Strawberry Mousse
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or nondairy whip topping
  • 1 cup strawberry pie filling, pureed
  • 8 oz. cream cheese or soy cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup sour cream or soy sour cream
  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Vanilla Cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or nondairy whip topping
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
Prepare the chocolate crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Combine all crumb ingredients in a bowl. Mix until combined and the texture of crumbs. (I found it easiest to mix this with my fingers.)
  3. Spread the crumbs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely before assembling the trifles.
Prepare the strawberry mousse
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.Remove whipping cream to another bowl. There's no need to wash the bowl before continuing.
  2. Add pie filling, cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla to mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until combined and smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until combined. Set aside.
Prepre the vanilla cream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until combined.
  1. Place crumbs into a 6-ounce jar or cup, filling it about one-quarter full, Spoon or pipe strawberry mousse over crumbs, filling container a little more than three-quarters full. Pipe on vanilla cream, filling container almost to the top. Repeat with remaining jars.

Plan Ahead: These trifles freeze beautifully. Move them into the fridge for a couple of hours before serving to allow them to soften a bit.

Now for the giveway sponsored by Artscroll/Mesorah Publications!  One lucky reader will win a free copy of Something Sweet.  Contest open to US mailing addresses only.  One winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends  at 11:59PM EST on Monday, December 28, 2015. Please provide a valid email address; winner will be notified via email. Winner has 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Good Luck!

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Secret Restaurant Recipes Cookbook {review and giveaway}

Secret Restaurant Recipes

I’m sure by now you have heard of this exciting new cookbook!  Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek, authors of the “Made Easy” cookbooks are back with an exciting new cookbook concept!  Leah and Victoria go into the kitchens of more than 70 top kosher restaurants for all over the world to share the recipes behind the dishes that keep us coming back for more. Not only does this book share secret recipes, but these famous chefs share tips, tricks, and techniques that every home cook would love to learn!

What really draws me to cookbooks these days, are the photos included, and this cookbook does not disappoint.  There is  huge color photo for every recipe in this book!  I have already made a few dishes from this book, and they came out exactly as pictured!

I was expecting this gorgeous book to be filled with complicated recipes, but there is a nice range of recipes from simpler to slightly more complex.  A beginner cook will find plenty of recipes to try and can work up to more complicated recipes and techniques.  Some of the recipes require a bit of ingredient sourcing, but as a foodie, this is not a drawback!  I love learning about new ingredients and given a great recipe, I learn how to use these ingredients.  With kosher supermarkets really catering towards kosher foodies, it is not too hard to find new and interesting ingredients.

I love to cook, but as a pastry chef, I am always drawn to the dessert section of cookbooks.  While this book does not offer a huge selection of desserts, the recipes that Leah and Victoria do share look incredible.  Artscroll/Mesorah Publications has given me permission to share this decadent dairy dessert recipe for Praline Brownies from Bagels ‘N Greens.

Praline brownies

Praline Brownies
Serves: 24-30 bars
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1⅓ cups (11 oz) sugar
  • 1 cup (5 oz) flour
  • ½ cup (2 oz) cocoa
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp nut extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp praline extract (optional)
  • 7 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Chocolate Frosting
  • 10 oz milk chocolate
  • 4 Tbsp praline paste
  • 4 oz mixed crunchy nuts
  • chocolate and white chocolate curls
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a rimmed 9 x 13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt chocolate with the butter.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip eggs and sugar at high speed for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Carefully pour in melted chocolate mixture. Sift in flour, cocoa, and salt. Mix until mixture is smooth and shiny, about 4 minutes. Add in extracts, if using. Fold in white chocolate.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes (the edges should be hard, top cracked, and middle soft).
  6. Prepare the frosting: Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Add praline paste and mix until combined. Gently pour over the top of the cake. Tilt the pan sideways until entire cake is fully covered. Sprinkle nuts or chocolate curls on top. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until frosting is set. Let cool before slicing into bars.

Now for the giveway sponsored by Artscroll/Mesorah Publications!  One lucky reader will win a free copy of Secret Restaurant Recipes.  Contest open to US mailing addresses only.  One winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends  at 10AM EST on Wednesday, January 15, 2015 Please provide a valid email address; winner will be notified via email. Winner has 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Giveaway is over! Congrats to Manda!
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A Taste of Pesach {review and giveaway}

A Taste Of Pesach

I am really pleased to be able to share my thoughts on this exciting new cookbook with you!  Artscroll has done a fabulous job in presenting over 150 triple tested Pesach recipes.  There are pictures for every recipe, which I always enjoy.  I want to know what my dish will look like so I don’t have to guess at what I’m preparing.  After all, Pesach is stressful enough!  This beautiful cookbook was 6 years in the making.  Each Pesach for the past 6 years, 6 women have been sharing their fabulous Pesach recipes with their community.  There has been so much positive feedback about these pamphlets year after year, that these recipes were finally published into one gorgeous cookbook.

The cookbook is divided into 10 chapters: appetizers, soup, salad, fish, poultry, meat, sides, dessert, cake & cookies, and gebrokts.  Believe it or not, almost the entire cookbook is made up of gluten free (non-gebrokts) recipes.  With so many people living with gluten allergies, this is the absolute perfect cookbook for not only Pesach, but year round use.  As a Pesach cookbook, the variety in recipes is amazing.  Many of the recipes have useful tips or little stories paired to make this book more personal.  There are even hand written notes throughout from those who have truly enjoyed these recipes after making them for friends and family.

I am a professional baker and pastry chef, so the huge dessert and cake & cookie section really impressed me.  My family and friends always expect me to prepate fabulous desserts even on Pesach when so many of my staple ingredients are off limits.  This cookbook is my new secret weapon!  I can’t wait to try the glazed chocolate cake, chocolate crinkle cookies, shehakol freezer cake, and the chocolate cupcakes!  Yum.

While the dessert section is definitely impressive, as a wife, mom, and daughter, I am equally excited by the huge salad section.  There are over 20 salad recipes to choose from. I like including salad as a part of every meal, it’s fresh, and healthy.  Pesach can feel like an eating marathon, and some meals I’m just looking for a lighter option.  I love that I can turn to this new cookbook for answers!  I’m sharing this recipe for Sweet Potato Crisps Salad from A Taste of Pesach; reprinted with permission from the copyright holders: ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.

Sweet Potato Crisps Salad

Sweet Potato Crisps Salad
Serves: 8
  • 1 8 ounce bag Romaine lettuce
  • ½ red pepper, sliced into strips
  • ½ yellow pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 8 ounce can hearts of palm, drained
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp. imitation mustard
  1. Prepare sweet potato crisps: Peel sweet potato. Using a vegetable peeler, continue to peel wide paper-thin strips of sweet potato.
  2. Heat oil in a deep skillet. When oil is hot, add sweet potato strips a few at a time. When golden and crispy (about 5-7 minutes) remove with a slotted spoon. Can be made a few days in advance; store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  3. Prepare the dressing: Place dressing ingredients in a small container. Shake to combine.
  4. Assemble salad: Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. Place sweet potatoes on top right before serving.

Now for the amazing giveaway sponsored by ArtScroll!  Enter to win a free copy of A Taste Of Pesach! Contest open to US mailing addresses only.  One winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends on Monday, April 7th at 11:59PM EST. Please provide a valid email address; winner will be notified via email. Winner has 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
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The Holiday Kosher Baker {review and giveaway}

The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer

There is nothing more exciting for me than receiving a brand new cookbook, hot off the presses.  I received a review copy of Paula Shoyer’s new cookbook The Holiday Kosher Baker, and couldn’t wait to crack it open.  As a fellow pastry chef, I am in constant awe of Paula.  She is a former practicing lawyer who decided to follow her love and passion for baking, and I’m so glad she did!  This is Paula’s second book.  Her first book, The Kosher Baker, is designed like a baking bible.  It has every basic recipe a Jewish baker could hope for.  In her second book, Paula focuses on holiday baking which is great, because there are so many Jewish holidays, each with it’s own unique holiday desserts.

Paula and me at Kosherfest 2013

The cookbook begins with a Kosher baking encyclopedia explaining everything you need to know about using this book as well as general kosher baking skills.  The cookbook is then broken down by holiday, starting with Rosh Hashana and following the Jewish calendar all the way through to Shavuot.  Each chapter is color coded making the cookbook even more beautiful and easy to navigate.  The most exciting section has to be Passover.  This cookbook includes over 45 recipes for the scariest holiday a pastry chef could possibly face. Paula makes baking easy and exciting.  Her recipes are clear, and easy to follow.  Most of the recipes are accompanied by gorgeous color photos to inspire.  There are plenty of tips and tricks included to help you along the way.  Paula even labeled every recipe, explaining it as easy, moderate, or multiple steps so you can decide for yourself what you are in the mood to tackle.

Almond Olive Oil Cake

Most of the recipes are non-dairy, perfect for serving after a meat meal, but she also includes her best dairy desserts.  Recipes for low-sugar, gluten free, vegan, and nut-free treats are also included—something for everyone in your family.  I already use Paula’s red velvet cake as my default recipe and can’t wait to try more!  The recipes I have already bookmarked to try are babka bites, gingerbread cookies, red velvet hamantaschen, and Passover Mexican chocolate cookies.  To celebrate Chanukah, I’d like to share Paula’s recipe for Almond and Olive Oil Cake.

Almond and Olive Oil Cake
Serves: 8 to 12
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds (with or without skins)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • ½ tsp. orange zest (from one orange)
  • spray oil containing flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Trace an 8-inch round pan on parchment paper and cut it out with scissors.
  2. Grease and flour the pan, press in the parchment circle; and grease and flour the top of the parchment and sides of the pan.
  3. Sprinkle and spread the sliced almonds on the bottom of the pan to cover it.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and olive oil for about one minute at medium speed until creamy.
  5. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, almond extract, and orange zest and beat until combined.
  6. Pour the mixture over the sliced nuts.
  7. Bake fr 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then run a knife around the sides.
  9. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and let it cool.
  10. Serve the cake almond side up.
  11. Store it covered at room temperature for up to four days or freeze for up to three months.

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