Healthy Cook­ing For the Jew­ish Home: 200 Recipes For Eat­ing Well on Hol­i­days and Every Day

Faye Levy
  • Review
By – January 27, 2012

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
34 cup whole wheat flour
34 tea­spoon salt
3 large eggs
About 1 13 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)
14 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 – 14 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 12- 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 12 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)

Robin K. Levin­son is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and author of a dozen books, includ­ing the Gali Girls series of Jew­ish his­tor­i­cal fic­tion for chil­dren. She cur­rent­ly works as an assess­ment spe­cial­ist for a glob­al edu­ca­tion­al test­ing orga­ni­za­tion. She lives in Hamil­ton, NJ.

Discussion Questions