Recipes for good eating

by | Mar 21, 2014 | Book Reviews

Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration
Orly Ziv
245 Pages, Hardcover $35, ISBN: 978-9659207107

Readers will doubtless recall the featured revue of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s gorgeous Jerusalem, A Cookbook. The Mediterranean menu, with its de-emphasis of meat and fats, has been gaining in popularity with Jewish and non-Jewish home cooks and professional chefs. Orly Ziv, a professional nutritionist before striking out with her company, Cook in Israel, is passionate about teaching readers and students about cooking Mediterranean meals that are healthy, flavorful, have heightened eye appeal and are easy to prepare.

Ziv’s recipes are inspired by those of her mother and grandmother, by newspaper clippings (don’t confuse those in Israel with the sorry recipes found in our local press), and by the marketplace. There are essentially 100 illustrated recipes (photographed simply in her own kitchen with no food-styling tricks) that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

If you or your family are among the non-eggplant eaters, feel free to skip the first 12 pages of recipes—but don’t overlook the creative vegetable dishes and hot and cold salads. There are nine fish recipes, several variations of which I have had the pleasure of eating over the years in Israel. (My first experience was in the cramped apartment of Etti, who made a Moroccan style fish that had Persian overtones—she was Moroccan and her husband was Iranian. I still have the recipe for “Etti’s Fish” given to me in 1984.)

Readers will love the simplicity and flexibility of these recipes. If a particular spice is not found in your pantry, another can usually be substituted. Orly Ziv conducts cooking classes in her home and food tours in Israel.

Let My Children Cook: A Passover Cookbook for Kids
Tamar Ansh
2014 Judaica Press, 96 Pages, $9.95, ISBN 978-1-60763-142-1

Kids like to cook. And when not actually cooking, they like to play at it.

This Purim, during one of the snow days in Rockville, Md., our three-year-old great-grandson was thrilled to have his dad home, and they made Hamentaschen together.

So I’m sending my copy of Tamar Ansh’s Passover cookbook for kids, Let My Children Cook, to Rockville where I’m sure it will be put to good use. Designed for kids from “8 to 108,” the recipes are not totally dumbed down, but aside from the frequent warnings about adult supervision and permission, the recipes appear to lead the cook to a successful and definitely edible result.

Adults may or may not be enthusiastic about Matzah Marshmallow Melts, Rocky Road Brownies, or Pizza Potatoes, but the Matzah Brie, Gefilte Fish, Spicy Chicken Bake, and Meatloaf could be welcomed at any Passover table.

Included are some uncomplicated craft projects for Passover.

—Hal Sacks is a retired Jewish communal worker who has reviewed books for Jewish News for more than 30 years.