Today’s home cooks are busy. They want healthy, tasty meals that are quick and easy to make. In Real Life Kosher Cooking, Miriam Pascal, a self-taught cook and creator of Overtime Cook, provides a selection of recipes for the time-challenged. She assumes a basic knowledge of kashrut and labels the recipes “meat,” “dairy,” or “pareve.” Her introduction gives cooks basic information about selecting quality ingredients, meal planning and cooking ahead, purchasing a good chef’s knife, and choosing the appropriate salt and oil.
The book is divided into sections: breakfast and breads, appetizers, soups, etc. Each recipe includes a simple ingredient list, clear instructions, and a lovely color photograph of the finished product. Notes provide useful information about variations, what can be done in advance, and hints about using frozen rather than fresh vegetables. (The recipes frequently include canned, frozen, and prepared items to save time.)
Dishes such as Oatmeal Pumpkin Pancakes and Cinnamon Apple Beer Bread will make breakfast interesting, and the author notes that the pancake batter can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Crockpot Beef Fajitas can cook all day while one is at work, and popcorn served with assorted flavorings (chocolate sea salt, BBQ, garlic herbs) makes for a popular snack. Mac and Cheese, Lemon Dill Salmon, and Garlicky Toasted Mushrooms and Snow Peas are examples of entrées and side dishes. Desserts include Marbled Chocolate Mint Cupcakes and PB&J Sandwich Cookies. Pascal’s dips and sauces, spice rubs, and croutons will enhance any meal. The Pesach Guide at the end of the book offers helpful hints for modifying the recipes for holiday use.
Real Life Kosher Cooking is a useful book for novice cooks and those new to keeping kosher. Busy parents and working people who want to eat well and quickly will enjoy it as well.