The dialogue between Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek in the introduction of Starters and Sides sets the jovial and lighthearted tone of this cookbook, which contains seriously delicious recipes. For the authors of Passover Made Easy, this is the second in their “Made Easy”; series. Schapira is the co-founder of CookKosher.com, a popular online kosher recipe exchange, and the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking. Dwek is the managing editor of Whisk, a weekly kosher food magazine.
Outstanding dishes include “Green Mashed Potatoes,” “Za’atar and Rosemary Baked Olives” with instructions for preparing the toasted bread sticks, “Teriyaki Mushrooms,” “Kishka and Zucchini Towers,” Barbecue Noodles,” “Salmon with a Pocket” stuffed with pepper and mushroom slices, and “Sweetbreads with White Wine Parsley Sauce.” Herbs and their important role in recipes are highlighted. “Tangy Meat Pizzas (Lehme Bagine)” are prepared here with ketchup, which was not a staple in Aleppo; thus the admission, “That …doesn’t mean that authentic is always best.”
A highlight for me in the Dairy section was the recipe for “Cheesy Onion Rolls,” which freeze well. Desserts include a refreshing “Mango and Pineapple Salad with Citrus Sauce.” Each recipe begins with “Ahead,” for tips on stress-less food preparation, and also includes “Building Blocks,” for ways to expand on a recipe, as well as “Plate It,” for great ideas on presenting the dishes in an appealing way. The accompanying photos enhance the dishes dramatically. These are innovative, creative recipes and a first-rate read. Excellent index.