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The Jewish Kitchen: Recipes and stories from around the world Hardcover – 15 May 2003
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Jewish cooking is often regarded as a complicated affair by those not of that faith - no pork, no cream with meat, separate sets of crockery for particular dishes and feasts. The list is endless and highly complex but the food itself, when prepared by a wife with many years of experience, is something else. Tasty, full of history and immensely satisfying, it is comfort food of the highest order. Here, award winning cookery writer Clarissa Hyman brings together, through nine Jewish families, an assortment of trans-global Jewish recipes. Ranging from bagels to kugels, babka to borscht, the dishes also reflect the amalgamation of Jewish culture with the country of settlement - zwetschgenkuchen, green masala chicken curry, North African coconut and orange cake and Moroccan chicken with dates. Beautifully illustrated with the photographs of Peter Cassidy, this is a celebration of Jewish cooking and an education for non-Jews into their troubled yet successful family lives. - Lucy Watson
Includes new kosher recipes and old favourites. A diverse range of recipes with international influences. Divided into kosher-friendly chapters - Meat, Dairy and Pareve. Includes 9 illustrated family stories and their recipes. Illustrated with mouthwatering, evocative photography. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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from the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles
December 19, 2003
An Auschwitz survivor, only one of four, returns to his Norwegian town to rebuild a Jewish community. A group of Spanish Jews, fleeing the Inquisition, cross the savage seas to Curacao and establish the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the New World. The tiny, but active, Jewish community of Salonika rebuilds itself on the ashen remains of what once was a 2,000-year-old thriving metropolis of Jewish culture.
Clarissa Hyman's beautifully photographed new cookbook, The Jewish Kitchen, is alive with miracles - stories of remnants of Jewish life, war-torn Jewish communities, displaced and rebuilding, bringing with them their glorious history, rich culture, and a cuisine passed through the generations, itself a story of miraculous survival.
This award-winning author crisscrossed the globe, visiting eight families in nine months, recording their stories, their recipes, even taking some of the location photographs herself. The rest she filled in through the miracle of email, which is how I interviewed her from her home in Manchester, England.
"The stories were as important to me as the recipes, because I believe in context and background, and I wanted to give snapshots of the Jewish world today to show that there are so many different aspects to the Jewish experience. Sadly, time and budget put limits on my voyage around the Jewish world, which is why email is so wonderful. It's been an unexpected
bonus, making friends around the world."
Hyman's nine months' work on the book - "research, traveling, writing, testing, a miracle in itself!" she said - started at the beginning of the year and ended just after Simchas Torah. Rosh Hashanah she spent in Trondheim. "Here was this tiny community that by all rights should not exist at all and that has been almost completely brought back to life after the Holocaust by one Auschwitz survivor, Julius Paltiel, who invited me to share the holiday with his family."
In Antwerp, Leila Rubens organized a lunch for 16 Jewish women from different countries. "Each arrived with a special family dish that none of her friends had ever sampled before," she recalled. "By the end of lunch everyone was swopping recipes, most of them included in the book. I didn't dare leave anyone out! It really brought the essence of the Jewish kitchen alive for me."
By Hanukkah, a favorite festival rich with childhood memories, she was home in Manchester. "I was the only child, so I always got to light the candles with the shammas and would sing, badly, Ma-oz Tzur to my proud parents and would get the first latke out of the pan." In fact, Manchester is the ninth spot on the tour, where Hyman recounts the miracle of her own family. Her grandfather survived the sinking of the Titanic and returned to Manchester to open a kosher deli called Titanics, where Hyman grew up. "I was raised in a pickle barrel," her mother would sometimes joke.
No Jewish cookbook would be complete without latkes, and Hyman's recipe is her own. But Hanukkah is about the oil, not the potato! Jews the world over also celebrate with doughnuts and fritters. Hyman tells of Moroccan and Turkish Jews who feast on special meals on the sixth and last nights of Hanukkah and of Russian Jews who used to celebrate a Flaming Tea Ceremony in which sugar cubes were dipped in brandy, placed on spoons and lit with candles.
For a change from latkes, Tunisian briks, when fried, are perfectly appropriate for the holiday. They recall a community that shrank from 80,000 in 1948, Hyman observed, to about 2,000 today, as Tunisians emigrated mostly to Israel and France.
From the Israeli food and wine writer Daniel Rogov come Pineapple Fritters, a classic for Hanukkah in Lyon, France, where owner Celestine Benditte-Strauss served them at her renowned Restaurant Cercle.
Rugelach for Hanukkah? Hyman describes the lesser known Hanukkah tradition of eating cheese and dairy products in memory of Judith, a brave Jewish widow who beheaded the enemy general Holofernes after feeding him...what? Hyman says "fatal small cakes." Some say perhaps she got him thirsty on cheese so he would drink wine and fall asleep. Others insist it was rich, creamy food for the same reason. While stories differ, the message is clear.
"One Jewish dish, twenty different versions. One Jewish story, twenty different tales. I doubt if there can ever be one single definitive explanation in Jewish lore. Regardless, Judith's bravery was said to have inspired Judas Maccabee. Who knows? I think it's more a case of parallel stories coming together. It's one of the wonderful things about Jewish food: We are as lavish with our symbolism and myths as we are with the sour cream. Any excuse for something delicious to eat!"
TUNISIAN BRIK WITH TUNA AND POTATOES
1 small onion, finely chopped
vegetable oil, for frying
3 1/2 oz canned tuna in olive oil, drained and crumbled
3 potatoes, peeled and boiled
1 egg, beaten
1 oz parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers
1/2 tsp turmeric
pinch of harissa (or more to taste)
salt and pepper
16 sheets phyllo pastry or 8 sheets brik pastry
Lightly fry the onion in a little oil and let cool. Mash the tuna and potatoes with the rest of the ingredients except the pastry and oil and set aside. Cut the phyllo pastry into 6-inch squares. Brush a pastry square with oil; then place another phyllo square on top - you need 2 layers for each brik unless using special brik pastry.
Place a large tablespoon of filling in the center, then either fold to make an oblong or triangular shape. Moisten the edges with water in order to seal the pastry. Deep-fry for a minute at 375 °F until golden brown, turning if not completely submerged in the oil, then drain on paper towel.
PINEAPPLE FRITTERS À LA CÉLESTINE
2 large pineapples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
superfine granulated sugar, for dredging
1/4 cup Kirsch
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water
7/8 cup beer
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp brandy
pinch of salt
2 egg whites, whisked
apricot jam, for spreading
vegetable oil, for deep-frying
superfine granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Dredge the pineapple with sugar, then sprinkle generously with the Kirsch. Let steep 30-40 minutes.
Sift the flour and mix with the water, beer, oil, brandy and salt to make a batter. Dry the pineapple slices on paper towel, then coat them with a thin layer of apricot jam.
While the oil is heating, fold the whisked egg whites into the batter. Take the fruit and batter to the stove. When the oil is not (350 ° F), dip the pineapple slices into the batter, then fry until golden brown on both sides. Serve hot, sprinkled with sugar, if desired.
Makes 32 small or 16 large
13 tbsp butter, softened
7 oz cream cheese
2 tsp superfine granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted with a pinch of salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp cinnamon
7/8 cup finely chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg white beaten with a little water
granulated sugar (optional)
Cream the butter and cheese until well blended. Stir in the superfine sugar, then the flour and mix until the dough begins to hold together. Gather into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Combine the brown sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and nuts and set aside. Cut the dough ball in half and return one half to the fridge while you work with the other. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a thin circle about 10 inches in diameter. The pastry may feel hard at first but it quickly softens. Use a cake pan or plate to help cut out a neat circle. Cut the dough circle into 16 or 8 equal pie-shaped wedges.
Brush the surface of the wedges with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with half the nut mixture. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to press the filing lightly down into the dough.
Remove the plastic wrap and roll up each wedge from the outside, wide end toward the point, so you end up with mini croissants. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and brush with the beaten egg white. Sprinkle with a little sugar, if desired. Repeat with the remaining dough and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly before transferring to a wire cooling rack.