I would have liked to serve the beautiful photograph of Denise Phillips’s Mother-in- Law’s Boiled Gefilte fish as a tempting Erev Shabbat appetizer, but whereas photos won’t do, the actual preparation will, in a distinct way. The charming photographs are of a family in the kitchen busily preparing all the goodies. The recipes are excellent examples of home prepared victuals and I know the aroma and presentation will draw you to the table.
There are “handwritten” hints scattered throughout to encourage you. Alongside the mouth-watering Potato Salad with Lemon Mayonnaise recipe, we read, “Mama says: To save curdled mayonnaise, gradually add one egg yolk while whisking the mayonnaise constantly.”
The fare reflects the traditions of Eastern European, Sephardic, and the cuisine of Israel as well as modern Jewish cooking everywhere.
For Purim, “Fritlach” are also featured, which Ms. Phillips explains “is the generic Yiddish word for anything fried…Resembling half moons, these fragile golden bubbles are meant to represent Haman’s ears (Hamans Ohren).” The Hamantaschen with Apple are a delectable twist on the popular pastry.
This reviewer was pleased to see the instructions for Goulash with caraway seeds as part of the plan. What could be better than these pieces of chuck steak, redolent of paprika, served on a plate of noodles, or rice, or potatoes, or just by itself?
Ms. Phillips runs her own cooking school in London, has written regular columns for Jewish newspapers in New York and Toronto, and has hosted a radio show.
Be ready to celebrate with Denise Phillips and thus in many ways with her Booba and family, whose voices are lovingly recreated in this book. Index, glossary.
Recipe: Hearty Lentil Stoup
This rustic winter soup was a real favorite of my mother’s when she was a little girl. I’m not sure that she was aware that lentils are naturally low in fat, high in fiber, and rich in protein — she just loved the taste! I like to make this with red lentils, as they give the soup a wonderful color, but green lentils can be used instead, if desired.
PAREVE: contains no meat or dairy products/can be made in advance/can be frozen up to 1 month
PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
COOKING TIME: 45 minutes
SERVES: 6 to 8
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped coarsely
2 celery stalks, chopped finely
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped coarsely
7 cups hot vegetable stock
1 1⁄2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
Two 14 ounce cans tomatoes chopped with juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 sprigs fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and potato, and sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the vegetable stock, lentils, and tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 40 minutes. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.
4. Transfer to large, individual soup bowls. Garnish the bowls with parsley sprigs and serve hot.
From The Jewish Mama’s Kitchen by Denise Phillips. Copyright © 2009 Octopus Publishing Group Ltd. Reprinted by permission of Octopus Books USA