If any cuisine could use lightening up, it’s Jewish cuisine. But Faye Levy doesn’t stop at simply cutting calories from old favorites like (peach pistachio) noodle kugel, (whole wheat) matzo balls, and (buckwheat) blintzes (with goat cheese and ratatouille). Levy, a food columnist for the Jerusalem Post and prizewinning author of more than twenty cookbooks, has fused traditional kosher cuisine with often surprising flavors hailing from the Middle East and Far East to the Americas, and everywhere in between.
This volume is like two cookbooks in one. The first half offers creative incarnations for all the major Jewish holidays, including Rosh Hashanah fruity rice, Turkish autumn vegetable casserole with chicken for Sukkot, and Passover chocolate cinnamon brownies with almonds. The second half is organized into chapters for different courses and categories, including appetizers, soups, salads, eggs and dairy, fish, poultry and meat, grains and pasta, and desserts. The author precedes each recipe with an anecdote that reveals snippets of her life’s story, an insight into a particular culture’s cuisine, or information on the nutritional content of the dish that follows. The book closes with a handy guide that covers elements of keeping kosher and basic cooking techniques, like making a quick fish stock or vegetable broth, making sauces and glazes, and toasting nuts. This section in particular makes this cookbook a great bridal shower or wedding gift. And it’s ideal for any amateur cook who appreciates the robust connection between healthy eating and being healthy
Recipe: Whole Wheat Blueberry Blintzes With Citrus Ricotta Filling
Whole Wheat Blintzes
3⁄4 cup whole wheat flour
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
About 1 1⁄3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil
Ricotta Blueberry Filling
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
3 to 5 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 cups ricotta, low-fat or nonfat (about 15 ounces)
1⁄4 cup low-fat or nonfat sour cream or lemon- or orange-flavored yogurt
1 large egg, or 1 egg white
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 to 3 teaspoons butter (optional)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Lemony Blueberry Sauce (found in Healthy Cooking), or 1 cup fresh blueberries
To make blintzes: Sift flour with salt. In a blender combine eggs, 1 – 1⁄4 cups milk, and flour mixture. Blend on high speed about 1 minute or until batter is smooth. Strain batter if it is lumpy. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour or up to 1 day.
When you’re ready to cook the blintzes, heat oil or mixture of oil and butter in microwave or in a very small saucepan over low heat. Stir batter well. Gradually whisk oil into batter. It should have consistency of whipping cream. If it is too thick, gradually whisk in more milk, about 1 teaspoon at a time.
Heat a 6- 6 1⁄2- inch crepe pan or skillet or an 8- to 9‑inch skillet over
medium-high heat. Sprinkle pan with a few drops of water. If water
immediately sizzles, pan is hot enough. Brush pan lightly with oil. Remove
pan from heat and hold it near bowl of batter. Working quickly, add 2
tablespoons batter to small pan or 3 tablespoons to large pan; add batter
to edge of pan and tilt and swirl pan until base is covered with a thin
layer of batter. Immediately pour any excess batter back into bowl.
Return pan to medium-high heat. Loosen edges of blintz with a metal spatula, discarding any pieces clinging to sides of pan. Cook blintz until its bottom browns very lightly. Slide blintz out onto a plate, with uncooked side facing up. Reheat pan a few seconds. Continue making blintzes, stirring batter occasionally with whisk. Adjust heat and brush pan with more oil if necessary. If batter thickens on standing, very gradually whisk in a little more water, about 1 teaspoon at a time. Pile blintzes on plate as they are done.
To make filling: Sprinkle blueberries with 1 tablespoon sugar and let stand for 5 minutes. Mix ricotta with sour cream, egg, remaining sugar, and lemon and orange zests until well blended. Stir in blueberries. Spoon 2 1⁄2 tablespoons filling onto brown side of each blintz near one edge. Fold over edges of blintz to right and left of filling so that each covers about half of filling. Roll up blintz, beginning at edge with filling.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange blintzes in one layer in a shallow, lightly oiled baking dish. Melt butter (if using) in a small dish in microwave and mix with oil. Lightly brush blintzes with mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned. Serve blintzes with sauce or with fresh blueberries.
Makes 6 servings, about 12 large or 15 small blintzes
Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home by Faye Levy
(William Morrow, 2008)