Lévana Kirschenbaum, co-owner of a highly regarded kosher restaurant for thirty years and author of two previous cookbooks, has now turned her attention to whole foods and their place in a healthful diet. And because Kirschenbaum has the instincts of a teacher, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen offers more than recipes.
After a painful bout of irritable bowel syndrome and frustration with ineffective medication, Kirschenbaum decided to follow her mother’s advice, “The cure is in the pot,” and changed her diet. Focusing on dark-colored and deep red vegetables and fruits, low-fat proteins, and whole grains, she not only felt better but also lost weight — all without sacrificing flavor or her pleasure in eating.
An avid advocate of home cooking from scratch, Kirschenbaum serves up a host of the uncomplicated flavorful dishes that she developed on this basis. More important than the recipes, however, are her kitchen skills and practical advice — how to make and always have on hand a variety of salad dressings, spice rubs, marinades, and other flavor enhancers that make any dish notable. An example of the practicality and flexibility of her approach is found in Stove-top Chicken Variations, which also apply to fish and meat. With just three ingredients — chicken pieces, celery, and turmeric, plus water — Kirschenbaum provides a basic recipe then gives fourteen variations by changing the celery for another ingredient. Variety is also achieved with a wide range of flavorings — Moroccan, Japanese, Indian, Chinese. And treats are by no means neglected; beverages, breads, and desserts are particularly appealing.
With dietary requirements in mind, there are indexes for general and Passover recipes but also for gluten-free recipes. In addition, throughout the book Kirschenbaum explains various ingredients and their uses and benefits and passes along many helpful tips. Full-color illustrations in this large-format book add to its appeal for the health-conscious kosher cook seeking easy-to-prepare flavorful food. An enclosed DVD covers a Shabbos and a seder feast.
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Maron L. Waxman, retired editorial director, special projects, at the American Museum of Natural History, was also an editorial director at HarperCollins and Book-of-the-Month Club.