As a well-known TV culinary channel emboldens us with the words, “Stay Hungry,” I urge you to feast (pun intended) your eyes on the elegant but approachable recipes coupled with exquisite photographs by Antonis Achilleos in Kosher Revolution. This cookbook will inspire the novice as well as the experienced cook to put a delectable meal together. The book’s premise is reflected in “The Chart: Ingredient Exchanges at a Glance.” For dairy, pareve, or meat dishes, the authors list exchanges for Kosher Foods and Non-Kosher Foods, (e.g. Smoked dark meat turkey for ham) as well as for Passover, (e.g. 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water, boiled, for 1 cup corn syrup).
The detailed source list for ingredients with their web pages is well thought out. The luscious dishes are highlighted by “Geila’s tips” featuring explicit instructions and guides for serving. Recipes for Miso Glazed Black Cod, Fried Pea and Parmesan Ravioli, Hamentashen with Four Fillings, or Ceviche with Avocado and Tortilla Chips draw you in as you leaf through the pages. The clear instructions for making paneer (an unripened cheese which is a staple of Indian cooking) is something I had never seen in my collection of close to a thousand cookbooks.
In the introduction, the author indicates, “Your understanding of cooking anatomy, of the techniques that define dish making, will expand too, so you’ll become a crack improviser, a creative kitchen force.” Geila Hocherman further admits, “Because I fell off the kosher wagon for a while, I know what trafe tastes like, and some of it is very, very good. So I can help you create the best, most diversely flavorful kosher cooking.”
Important guides such as “Your Menu Comes First,” “More about Texture,” “The Pantry,” and “Baking” spur you on. This is a blue-ribbon volume, with a clear index.
Recipe: Ceviche with Avocado and Tortilla Chips
From Kosher Revolution by Geila Hocherman and Arthur Boehm (Kyle Books; 2011)
Here’s a confession: I never serve gefilte fish. That favorite has been replaced on my table by this more exciting dish, which will do wonders for your menu as a starter or light main. Tangy with fresh lime, the ceviche also pairs buttery avocado and crunchy chips, a terrific textural play. And most of the dish is made ahead, a big plus when you’ve got other cooking to do.
1½ pounds fluke, flounder or other non-oily, white-fleshed fish, cut into bite-size pieces (about 1‑inch square)
1 medium tomato, skinned, seeded and cut into
4 scallions, white parts only, sliced thin
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup of mango, cut into ¼ ‑inch dice (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ jalapeño, seeded and minced
�“ cup fruity, extra-virgin olive oil
�“ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
2 avocados, sliced ¼ inch thick
Tortilla chips, for serving
1. In a medium nonreactive bowl, combine the fish, tomato, scallions, cilantro and mango, if using.
2. In a separate small bowl or large measuring cup, combine the garlic, jalapeño, oil, lime juice and salt, and stir to blend. Pour the mixture over the fish and toss gently. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
3. Using a slotted spoon, fill a 4‑ounce ramekin with the ceviche. Tip to drain any excess liquid and unmold onto the center of each serving plate. Alternatively, mound portions of the ceviche onto the plates. Fan the avocado around the ceviche, garnish with the chips, and serve.
Geila’s Tips: To dismantle an avocado for slicing, first cut it lengthwise and gently twist the halves apart. Embed the pit on the blade-heel of a large knife, twist, and lift to remove the pit. Peel the avocado, then slice the flesh as required. I’ve found that jalapeños with a brown line or veins on the outside are hotter than those without.
Ceviche Photo: © Antonis Achilleous