Baking

Two new Jewish cookbooks offer sure hits for Hanukkah – Los Angeles Times

Summary

Hanukkah starts at sundown Sunday, and I’m pleased to report that I have figured out my menus and gifts. Two new Jewish cookbooks helped me get there: “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen” by Faith Kramer and “The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook: 50 Traditional Recipes for Every Occasion” by Beth A. Lee.

“52 Shabbats” (due out Dec. 14) is built around the custom of Shabbat dinner, the Friday night holiday meal that is the Jewish way of …….

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Hanukkah starts at sundown Sunday, and I’m pleased to report that I have figured out my menus and gifts. Two new Jewish cookbooks helped me get there: “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen” by Faith Kramer and “The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook: 50 Traditional Recipes for Every Occasion” by Beth A. Lee.

“52 Shabbats” (due out Dec. 14) is built around the custom of Shabbat dinner, the Friday night holiday meal that is the Jewish way of saying “welcome to the weekend.” The book is unique on several levels.

First, the primary focus is a single holiday meal — as opposed to on all holidays or all meals for a weeklong holiday — but that meal happens every week. Some people may be content with the same menu every week, but Kramer is evidently not.

She embraces not only particular dishes from countries where Jews have lived and adapted to the culinary culture, but also particular ingredients from those cuisines. Kramer’s recipes are rooted in classic Jewish preparations and have familiar-sounding names, but her unique spin often completely transforms them into something new.

Brisket becomes Pomegranate Molasses Brisket. Pulled Pork becomes Pulled Turkey. Kramer also simplifies traditional time-consuming preparations and repurposes ingredients in unusual ways, as with Stuffed Cabbage Meatloaf, Falafel Pizza and Brisket Fried Rice.

Most of the recipes in the book are for main dishes, which are organized by season and thus use seasonal ingredients.

A standout for me is the Pomegranate Molasses Brisket. It uses an ingredient used in Sephardic and Mizrachi kitchens — pomegranate molasses — in the Ashkenazic preparation of brisket. The result is reminiscent of fesenjan, the Persian chicken and pomegranate stew, and you can’t help but swoon as you take in the tender brisket and that piquant, just-shy-of-too-tart sauce.

Inspired by a friend’s story of a Mexican American grandmother who made kosher tamales at Hanukkah for her Jewish grandchildren, Kramer’s Friday Night Tamales use Ashkenazic beef tzimmes (a stew of meat and fruit) as the tamale filling. The masa is made with schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) instead of lard (pig fat in the masa harina is what makes tamales off-limits for Jews who adhere to the dietary laws). Z’hug and harissa are suggested in place of — or along with — salsa.

Stuffed Cabbage Meatloaf reduces the hours of futzing to fill and roll cabbage leaves one-by-one to a few minutes of layering and wrapping several cabbage leaves around one large loaf of meat the way one would wrap a roast in puff pastry to make a beef Wellington.

And then there are the Challah Fritters with Sweet Tahini Sauce. This brilliant repurposing of leftover challah had me addicted at first bite. A thin, crackly crunchy crust encases a chewy, distinctly banana-y and not overly sweet interior. They are sort of like a deep-fried, banana-flavored challah French toast.

I applaud Kramer’s ingenuity. She has assembled a …….

Source: https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2021-11-26/these-two-new-jewish-cookbooks-are-sure-hits-for-hanukkah