More Cookbooks

I… may have gone a little overboard with my last library run. Well, actually I’m rather certain I did go overboard, what with having 5 cookbooks within 2 weeks. ::shrugs:: Holds come up when they come up and trying to time them just makes me crazy – one week it’ll take two days for a hold to come up as filled, another it’ll take 3 weeks even when I was first in line.

Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just for You

by Kathy Hester

end result: will NOT be buying

I really, really wanted this to be a purchase one. I would like more in my repertoire of the non-protein featured variety. As you may have noticed, Adam and I like our protein but in our continual drive for better health, I’d like to mix in some more non-meat options. And if I could do it with a slow cooker and have it scaled for just Adam and I (thus fewer leftovers and more opportunities to try new things)? Even better. So, I really, really wanted this one to work.

So, why am I calling no on this one? Too many recipes calling for ingredients I don’t have around the house. I would bet people keeping vegetarian or vegan will have at least some of them in house and/or be willing to buy them. Sure, I could de-vegan the recipes by using milk instead of non-dairy milk and sugar instead of stevia. But I’m not buying tamarind paste (for 2 or 3 recipes) or liquid smoke. Port wine or agave nectar. Nutritional yeast flakes. Someone who keeps vegetarian or vegan, what the heck are soy curls? Not enough recipes I found interesting.  Not enough that Adam did not react to with ‘why would you pair that?!’

Plus Adam near had a conniption over the idea of grits in a slow cooker.

Don’t ask, I don’t quite get it.

The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

by Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman

end result: WILL be buying

There might be some nostalgia involved in this one, seeing as I can actually remember eating various examples of the recipe titles as a kid.  I’m not a particular fan of deli sandwiches but knishes, matzo ball soup, latkes, corned beef hash, and rugelach? Oh and hamantashen. Yep, definitely want those and to make them. The challah though? It’s only a three-braid challah. Why make a 3 braid when I’ve got a 4-braid recipe I’m happy with? Oh heck, the gefilte fish and bagel recipes even look possible. I mean if I have a three day weekend; one day to spend on trying just one of those recipes and still have 2 days for all the weekend chores. I might even try matzo brei again – childhood Passovers not with standing.

This book is a good introduction and overview to quintessentially American Jewish food as seen through the history of the New York deli. But you know, updated and with seasonality. The authors give a good overview of  food lineage and how various recipe ideas developed once they’d emigrated to America along with interviews with a current crop of deli owners. They’ve got suggestions for how things work together but also get out of the way and let recipes speak for themselves.

Things to make:

  • Kreplach with savory cheese filling
  • Open-face potato knishes
  • Fluffy potato latkes
  • Matzo Ball Soup
  • Wise Sons’ Corned Beef Hash
  • Challah Sticky Buns
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