Cook­ing Jew­ish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabi­nowitz Family

Judy Bart Kancigor
  • Review
By – December 12, 2011

Food has always played an impor­tant role in Jew­ish life. Whether it be spe­cial dish­es for hol­i­day obser­vance or fam­i­ly gath­er­ings, the oper­a­tive phrase is ess mien kind.” Judy Bart Kan­cig­or has gath­ered the trea­sured recipes from sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions of her extend­ed fam­i­ly to pre­serve them and share them with inter­est­ed cooks. The book con­tains a fam­i­ly his­to­ry, as well as a large col­lec­tion of recipes. Most are tra­di­tion­al Ashke­naz­ic fare — brisket, gefilte fish, borscht. As the fam­i­ly grew, new influ­ences entered. Rata­touille, Cajun sweet pota­toes, and Moroc­can spice mix add Sephardic and Mizrahi ele­ments. Of course read­ers will find sev­er­al vari­eties of chick­en soup and kugel as well as recipes for the New York Egg Cream and the black and white malt­ed. The appe­tiz­ers, soups, sal­ads, meats, fish, drinks, and desserts are all labeled as meat, dairy, or pareve. The book also has a Passover sec­tion. Any cook who can’t quite remem­ber her bubbe’s recipe for tzimes or chopped liv­er will be able to find an accept­able ver­sion here.

Recipe: Malaysian Latkes served with Cucum­ber Sal­ad with Minty Yogurt Sauce 

1/2 cup chopped unsalt­ed cashews or peanuts
1/4 cup chopped mint or flat-leaf pars­ley, or a com­bi­na­tion
1/4 cup fine­ly chopped red bell pep­per
2 table­spoons fine­ly chopped jalapeno pep­per, seed­ed and deveined
2 tea­spoons grat­ed fresh gin­ger
1 1/2 to 2 tea­spoons kosher (coarse) salt, or to taste (see Note)
1 tea­spoon cur­ry pow­der
2 large eggs, beat­en
2 large bak­ing pota­toes (12 ounces each), cut into wedges
1 medi­um-size onion, coarse­ly chopped
1/4 cup all-pur­pose flour
Veg­etable oil, for fry­ing
1 recipe Cacik, sub­sti­tut­ing 1 tea­spoon toast­ed cumin
seeds for the fresh and dried mint

1. Com­bine the cashews, mint, bell pep­per, jalapeno, gin­ger, salt, cur­ry pow­der, and eggs in a large bowl, and mix well. Set it aside. 

2. Shred the pota­toes and onion togeth­er in a food proces­sor fit­ted with the shred­ding disk. Squeeze the potato/​onion mix­ture between sev­er­al changes of paper tow­els to release as much liq­uid as pos­si­ble. Add the potato/​onion mix­ture to the egg mix­ture, and com­bine well. Stir in the flour. 

3. Pour enough oil into a large, heavy skil­let to cov­er the bot­tom, and heat it over medi­um-high heat. When the oil is quite hot but not smok­ing, add a scant 1/4 cup bat­ter per latke and flat­ten them with a fork. Fry only as many latkes as will fit in the skil­let with­out crowd­ing. Cook on one side until crisp and brown, 2 to 3 min­utes. Trans­fer the latkes to paper tow­els to drain. Keep the latkes warm while fry­ing the remain­der. Serve imme­di­ate­ly, with the Cacik. 

To taste the pota­to mix­ture, or any mix­ture con­tain­ing raw eggs, microwave a table­spoon or so until cooked, 5 to 15 sec­onds, depend­ing on the size and strength of your microwave; then taste. 

Cook­ing Jew­ish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabi­nowitz Fam­i­ly by Judy Bart Kan­cig­or
(Work­man; 2007; Paper­back $19.95

Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

Discussion Questions