Cook­book

The Best of Mex­i­can Kosher Cooking

Shifrah Devo­rah Witt & Zip­po­rah Mal­ka Heller
  • Review
By – April 25, 2012

This Mex­i­can, Tex-Mex, and South­west offer­ing is a moth­er-daugh­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion. The authors explain their goal as want­i­ng to present authen­tic dish­es in taste and sim­plic­i­ty so that one’s guests will believe the cook to be a mas­ter chef. Dis­cov­er the col­ors, fla­vors, and the flair of Mex­i­can cook­ing,” they say encouragingly.

Those who love spicy sal­sa will appre­ci­ate the impos­si­bly spicy pep­per, the habanero, dis­played in liv­ing col­or with a note that it is for the fear­less.” The authors advise quite wise­ly that one should “…start out mild and work your way up…always be care­ful not to rub your eyes once you’ve han­dled pep­pers…” Learn this les­son well.

The book fea­tures over nine­ty recipes and help­ful guides. It assists you in Stock­ing Your Mex­i­can Kitchen and gives you Tips for Mex­i­can Cook­ing. Among the sal­sas is an easy recipe with ingre­di­ents that are all mixed togeth­er and does not involve com­pli­cat­ed machines. The Man­go Sal­sa” is refresh­ing and has great fla­vor as an accom­pa­ni­ment for grilled fish or tacos. The Jalapeño Corn Bread” can be made dairy or parve, and can be pre­pared as corn muffins for the younger crowd. It is grat­i­fy­ing to note that the authors are sen­si­tive to adult” food and what would be per­fect for chil­dren, such as Corn Soup.”

There are Shab­bos recipes, dish­es for a Melave Malkah, for a Sum­mer BBQ (with Argen­tinean influ­ences), for scrump­tious Side Dish­es, Desserts and Bev­er­ages, includ­ing the His­pan­ic Flan” so pop­u­lar in South Amer­i­ca and Europe, along with Mex­i­can Wed­ding Cook­ies” and Mex­i­can Brown­ies.” I want­ed to sip the Mar­gari­ta off the page’s pho­to. In this book, the Mar­gari­ta is alco­hol-free for all ages to enjoy.

The com­pelling pho­tos, vari­a­tions in some recipes, and the help­ful index are big plus­es. Ojalá que dis­frute” — it is my hope that you will derive great enjoy­ment from this cookbook.

Recipe: Cheese Enchiladas

A per­son­al child­hood favorite. As an adult, I love enchi­ladas even more.

Yields: 8 enchi­ladas, serves 4 


Enchi­la­da Sauce Ingredients:

2 table­spoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped fine
6 cloves of fresh gar­lic, chopped
2 15-ounce cans of toma­to sauce
1 tea­spoon salt
1 table­spoon cumin
2 tea­spoons dried oregano
1/22 table­spoons bot­tled diced jalapeño pep­pers (option­al) or
1 – 2 tea­spoons fresh Ana­heim chili, seed­ed and diced (option­al)
1/4 cup canola oil – for fry­ing the tor­tillas
8 corn or flour/­corn-blend tor­tillas (Plain flour tor­tillas get too sog­gy)
3 1/2 cups of orange ched­dar, Mon­terey Jack, Muen­ster, or moz­zarel­la cheese (or mix them togeth­er) for the fill­ing (reserve 3/4 cup of cheese to top the enchi­ladas at the end of bak­ing)

Enchi­la­da Sauce:

In a saucepan, heat 2 table­spoons olive oil over a medi­um-high heat. Add onions and sauté until translu­cent, 2 – 3 min­utes. Add gar­lic and sauté for anoth­er thir­ty sec­onds to a minute. Add toma­to sauce, salt, cumin, oregano, and jalapenos. Heat thor­ough­ly and stir. Allow the sauce to sit while you pre­pare the tor­tillas. In a fry­ing pan, heat 1/4 cup of oil over a medi­um heat. Place one tor­tilla in the pan and let it heat for approx­i­mate­ly five sec­onds. Then flip and do the same on the oth­er side. Drain each tor­tilla on a paper tow­el. Repeat with all of the tor­tillas. This is only to soft­en tor­tillas, not to fry them crisp. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

To assem­ble enchiladas:

Pour most of the sauce into a bak­ing dish. Place one tor­tilla in the dish; cov­er it with the sauce on both sides. Place 1/3 cup of cheese even­ly across the bot­tom third of the tor­tilla. Roll the tor­tilla up, away from your­self, as tight­ly as pos­si­ble. Then place
the enchi­la­da, seam side down, into the pan in which you will bake the enchi­ladas. Repeat until all of the enchi­ladas are pre­pared. Pour the remain­ing sauce over the enchiladas.

Bake at 350 for 20 – 30 min­utes. If the sides of the enchi­la­da break, don’t wor­ry about it. After they are baked, cov­er enchi­ladas with 3/4 cup of cheese and return to the oven for 5 min­utes or until the cheese melts. Serve imme­di­ate­ly.

Vari­a­tion:

Enchi­la­da Stack – refer to the enchi­la­da recipe above. Pre­pare the enchi­la­da sauce. Then fry tor­tillas in oil for 5 sec­onds on each side. Remove them from the oil, and drain them on a paper tow­el. Next dip them in the enchi­la­da sauce, mak­ing sure both sides of the tor­tilla are cov­ered in sauce. Place a tor­tilla in a shal­low, ungreased bak­ing dish. Add 1/3 cup shred­ded cheese and enchi­la­da sauce to the tor­tilla. Add anoth­er tor­tilla and cheese and sauce. Repeat the lay­er­ing until all of the tor­tillas are in place. Pour remain­ing sauce over the stack of tor­tillas and top with the remain­ing cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 min­utes. Cut in pie-shaped pieces to serve.

Accom­pa­ni­ments:

Serve with shred­ded let­tuce, sliced black olives, diced toma­toes, fresh toma­to sal­sa, sour cream, and guacamole.


Danièle Gor­lin Lass­ner (wife, moth­er, grand­moth­er) retired after 35 years at Ramaz where she served as Dean of Admis­sions, For­eign Lan­guage Depart­ment chair and teacher of French and Span­ish. She owns hun­dreds of cook­books. She has trans­lat­ed sev­er­al chil­dren’s books from French into Eng­lish. She has recent­ly trans­lat­ed “ A Mem­oir of Sanc­ti­ty “ by May­er Moskowitz (Mazo Pub­lish­ers, Jerusalem, Israel) from Hebrew into Eng­lish. No mat­ter the lan­guage, food is a con­stant.”

Discussion Questions