Monday, October 26, 2015


This review is a guest post by my wonderful aunt-in-law, or rather my sister's wonderful aunt-in-law A.C.  Enjoy!

Late in the summer, I volunteered to review a cookbook for Double Trouble Kitchen Edition.  The book is titled: 
"Modern Jewish Cooking. Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen".
I was interested in reading the book, as I was about to be going to an Arts/Music camp in the Laurentians, where the book's author, Leah Koenig, was to be giving a cooking demonstration.  It turned out to be a delightful experience.  Leah is young, warm, enthusiastic, and creative.  Her credentials as a food writer are sound.  She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, CHOW, and Every Day with Rachel Ray. Her first cookbook, "Hadassah Everyday Cookbook", (2011)
was named one of the Best books of 2011 by Library Journal.  Visit her at:

The book is full of beautiful photographs by Sang An, whose work has appeared in many magazines, including Martha Stewart Living and Real Simple.

The recipes in the book cover marvelous range of "Jewish Cooking".  You will find so many treats, from well-known Ashkenazi favourites like "Chicken Soup", "Kugel" and even "Gribenes" (crispy chicken fat renderings), an excellent recipe for "Bagels", to exotic Sephardic dishes, many of them vegetarian.  The Middle Eastern inspired recipes range from "Matbucha Salad", "Roast Chicken with Fennel and Orange", Leah's creative "Tahini, Roasted Fig and Pistachio Sundaes", to a tasty "Spinach Shakshuka".  As well, there are Jewish Italian recipes, and a superb "Ethiopian Chicken Stew".  Everywhere there are Leah's innovations and interesting new takes on the traditional. 

I had one criticism of the book.  In the recipe for the classic dish "Kasha Varnishkes", Leah neglected to brown the kasha (buckwheat groats), first, after coating it in beaten egg, before adding the boiling water (better to use broth) to cook the kasha.  Browning the kasha makes a big difference to the taste when added, along with fried onions, to the bow tie noodles (Varnishkes). 

And I would make one suggestion, if you buy the book, and decide to try the delicious "Potato Latke" recipe  - rather than squeezing the starchy water out of the grated potato/onion mixture in a tea towel (messy and onerous), you should try using a salad spinner.  It works perfectly. 

After the demonstration in August, Leah autographed the copy of her book for Eleanore.  It's taken me several months to test some of the recipes,  copy my favourites, and write this review.  Now it's time, sadly, to turn the book over to Eleanore!

"Happy cooking!"  (the dedication Leah wrote in Eleanore's book)

*Disclaimer: the book was provided to me by Raincoast Publishing for the purpose of testing and review.

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