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Friday, December 4, 2020


by Kenneth M. Horwitz


Recently I had the pleasure of trying out an interesting and award winning (2020 International Book Awards, Bronze Medal Winner- Non-Fiction-Cooking/Food) cookbook entitled, Deep Flavors: A Celebration of Recipes for Foodies in a Kosher Style. It is a kosher cookbook and although I am not Jewish, I happen to love the traditional cuisine. What is so fascinating about this cookbook is the author's philosophy about cooking. He believes that attention to detail is the most important thing about cooking and "if something is worth doing it is worth doing right". I couldn't agree more. 

Immediately upon opening the book, I learned something new. I learned the correct way to hard-boil an egg. All of this time I had been cooking eggs the wrong way! Mr. Horwitz advises that when you hard-boil an egg you should cook it on a low simmer, never just put it in the pan with water and place it on the stove to boil. He also advises carefully piercing the large end of the shell with a thumbtack to allow excess air to escape. He said he learned this trick from watching chef Jacques Pepin. By doing you avert shell breakage and avoid the concave area on one side of the shell. Mr. Horwitz then goes on to describe that you lower the eggs into cool, salted water. Then, start to heat the pot. As soon as it reaches a simmer, turn down the heat to a bare minimum. Then set the timer for 10 minutes. Do not cook the eggs for longer than 12 minutes. When the timer is done, drain the eggs and shake the pots to break the shells. Then cover the eggs with cold water and ice. Let them sit 30 minutes before peeling. By doing this you avoid the green sulfurous ring around the yolk. Peel them under cool, running water. Some eggs will still be easy to peel and some might be difficult. He explains that he has not figured out why this is the case. To me, this tip alone is just about worth the price of the book. Everyone cooks hard-boiled eggs and they never come out right. 

The book is divided up into ingredients (since that is the most important part of Kosher cooking) and then recipes. This cookbook has so many wonderful Kosher recipes as well as comfort food and traditional Jewish delicacies. I get hungry just thinking about eating them!

I am going to discuss a very easy recipe, since I do not cook much anymore (due to my knees and back). There is a section on making the perfect Grilled Cheese Sandwich, which happens to be just about my favorite comfort food. First, you must have the right kind of bread. A good rye, pumpernickel, whole wheat, sourdough or white bread will work. Not a pre packaged bread, that won't do. The cheese needs to be a good kind that will melt well, such as an American, mild cheddar, brie, Monterey Jack, colby, longhorn, gruyère or raclette. Personally I happen to like cheddar, brie or gruyère in my Grilled Cheese. Mr. Horwitz adds that you can spread a bit of dijon mustard on the inside of the sandwich if you'd like. Or, if you are using brie, a bit of pesto. Yummy! 

For another variation you might want to try cream cheese. Add lightly sautéed, minced jalapeños (with or without seeds depending on how spicy you want your sandwich) for a zesty kick. In this case you would use American, colby, Monterey Jack, longhorn or mild cheddar cheese along with the cream cheese. This also makes a wonderful Quesadilla!

To make the perfect grilled cheese, preheat the oven to 350°F. Liberally butter the outside of two pieces of bread. Then layer in as much cheese as you would like inside, but do not overlap the bread outside. In a hot cast-iron or non-stick pan cook with buttered side out, on high heat on 1 buttered side of sandwich. Press lightly. Flip the sandwich, being careful not to let the cheese melt out onto the pan. Immediately put the pan into the pre-heated oven and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is thoroughly melted. Mr. Horwitz notes that it makes the perfect Grilled Cheese sandwich, melting the cheese without burning the bread. 

In this case I can attest to this fact. I tried it with a mild cheddar and whole wheat bread. My sandwich came out thoroughly toasty, crisp and the cheese was melted all the way through. This was by far the best Grilled Cheese Sandwich I had ever tasted. I ate it with Tomato Soup, which reminded me of eating at my grandmother's house when I was little, which happens to be my favorite lunch. 

Another recipe I happen to like is the Cheese Noodle Kugel (Jewish Mac & Cheese). It's kind of like a pudding with noodles. Cheese Kreplach are another favorite of mine (Vareniki). They are kind of akin to cheese blintzes. And extremely delicious! In case you haven't noticed, I love cheese and don't eat meat. However, there are plenty of meat (beef and chicken) recipes in this cookbook that will be sure to satisfy your taste for Jewish cuisine. 

Deep Flavors has a wealth of information and is definitely worth purchasing. As I mentioned it is an award winning cookbook. It doesn't matter if you are Jewish or not, this book is a great cookbook and will teach you about cooking in general. As I discussed, I am amazed at the amount of information I learned by just reading the first few pages. Deep Flavors is available through www.deepflavorscookbook.com and www.amazon.com

Happy Holidays!

Marie Papachatzis

(This item was sent for consideration)

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