When Paula Shoyer’s publicist asked me if I wanted to review her latest book, I jumped at the chance. I have all of Paula’s earlier books: The Holiday Kosher Baker, The Kosher Baker, and The New Passover Menu. They are all beautiful books with recipes that work and don’t require a legal pad-sized list of unique ingredients. The Healthy Jewish Kitchen is no exception. Paula has captured the mood of the times: no margarine, baked not fried, and many recipes that are gluten free with reduced sugar. The fact that she has a pastry degree from the Ritz Escoffier in Paris certainly doesn’t hurt matters! She truly knows how to balance healthy ingredients and maintain maximum flavor.
In order to properly review a cookbook, you can’t just drool over the pictures and read the fascinating bits of culinary and personal information included with each recipe – you need to make a couple of the recipes yourself. So that’s exactly what I did.
It was an easy decision for me to choose the recipe for Brisket Bourguignon. Paula tells the
reader that it was inspired by Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon. Julia Child has inspired so much of my cooking, and her Boeuf Bourguignon is the basis for my own kosher version. Paula’s Brisket is absolutely melt in your mouth delicious! I followed her directions almost exactly; and everything turned out beautifully. What did I do differently?: 1. I made the brisket over two days; rather than doing it all in one afternoon. I didn’t have enough time to do it all at once. In truth, I prefer to make brisket over two days; so I can remove the congealed fat that forms overnight. 2. I used frozen peeled pearl onions rather than peeling fresh ones. As long as you dry them off before browning them, they work perfectly. We ate it Friday night and Saturday afternoon for lunch. The flavors are rich and satisfying. I will definitely be making this again. It is gluten-free and can be made for Passover; but why wait? I would make it all year long.
The second recipe I tried was her Chocolate Quinoa Cake (pictured above). This Chocolate Cake is dense, moist, chocolatey and delicious. It’s a one bowl food processor cake – except for cooking the quinoa. For any one who is gluten free, this cake is the answer for a rich and satisfying cake experience that doesn’t taste healthy! For anyone who is allergic to nuts (like my grandchildren) and needs a dessert for Passover, this is the perfect one. For those of us without any food restrictions, this cake is just plain scrumptious. Add a scoop of ice cream and WOW!
Paula Shoyer has done it again. I look forward to trying out many more recipes from this wonderful book!
Note: Paula doesn’t have a picture of her Boeuf Bourguignon. The picture you see was taken by me. It doesn’t do the recipe justice but it gives you an idea of the finished product.