Hip Kosher: 175 Easy-to-Prepare Recipes for Today's Kosher Cooks
Ronnie Fein's commonsense cooking for every religion
Reviewed by Marilyn Scher, Fri., May 9, 2008
Hip Kosher: 175 Easy-to-Prepare Recipes for Today's Kosher Cooksby Ronnie Fein, Da Capo Press, 228 pp., $16.95 (paper)
The title alone would be enough to entice most people to reach for Ronnie Fein's new cookbook. On one hand, these two words aren't usually paired together, but on the other hand, they've never seemed so perfectly matched. Some of the hottest buzzwords today – "green," "natural," "pure," "humane" – happen to also perfectly describe the essence of kosher cooking. Where traditional kosher cooking used to connote heavy dishes that were labor-intensive and time-consuming to make, the trend today is toward much lighter fare, emphasizing fresh ingredients and simpler cooking methods that don't require hours in the kitchen.
These days, the appeal of kosher cooking spreads beyond those who observe the Jewish dietary laws. Being mindful of what we put into our bodies is an enlightened and responsible way to eat, and, therefore, an approach whose popularity is on the increase among the general population. Who wouldn't be intrigued by recipes such as Farro Salad With Grape Tomatoes, Green Beans and Sweet Onions, or Roasted Haddock With Tangerine-Paprika Panko Crust? Packed into the 228 pages of this soft-cover book are 175 easy-to-follow recipes, arranged by food groups, including a separate chapter for dairy. Along with a clear, informative explanation of kashruth, or the Jewish dietary laws, is also a description of halal, the permitted Muslim foods; the similarities between the two cultures and their approaches to food and eating are in fact quite interesting and not that widely known.
Perusing all this book has to offer can be done at a glance, as the thoughtfully arranged table of contents lists every recipe in one convenient location. Helpful guides with regard to kosher cooking are sprinkled throughout the book, and each chapter is chock-full of suggested shortcuts, menu ideas, and other tips. Hip Kosher offers simple, quick recipes featuring fresh ingredients, making it a welcome addition to anyone's cookbook library, whether they cook kosher or not.
Austin cooking teacher Marilyn Scher (www.marilynschercooking.com) is also a columnist for the local Jewish Outlook.