Category Archives: Cookbook Review

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.

Now for the amazing giveaway!  Enter to win a free copy of The Holiday Kosher Baker! Contest open to US addresses only.  One winner will be chosen at random, good luck!

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