2012-09-05 / Local News

‘The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen’ makes a great addition to any home

For The Voice

Boeuf bourguignon from Levana Kirschenbaum’s “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.” Boeuf bourguignon from Levana Kirschenbaum’s “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.” Levana Kirschenbaum’s book “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen” has nothing to do with the chain of Whole Foods stores. Inasmuch as I have lived in Israel the past four years and have not gotten to the New York kosher restaurant scene over the years, I was unfamiliar with the restaurant, Levana, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Apparently, she and her husband and her brothersin law “pioneered” upscale kosher dining in their restaurant for 32 years. For more than 30 years, Levana also gave weekly demonstrations and authored “Levana’s Table, In Short Order” (a book/DVD based on her demo series) and “Levana Cooks Dairy Free.”

Now that Lavana has closed her restaurant, she focuses on weekly demos in her Upper West Side classroom.

This cookbook explores recipes that contribute to a wholesome lifestyle. Her philosophy is minimal use of processed and packaged foods and incorporation of “all the ingredients that are good for you in your daily food preparation.”

Cooked tomato salad makes a fine addition to any meal. From Levana Kirschenbaum’s “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.” Cooked tomato salad makes a fine addition to any meal. From Levana Kirschenbaum’s “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.” She uses the “bulbous monolithic roots...homely leaves...and powerful antioxidants,” advocating cooking from scratch.

There are many variations for recipes and many of the more than 350 recipes that she developed have her Moroccan origin.

One of the nicest things about the recipes is the personal comments. The other special touches are the paragraphs scattered throughout the book with discussions on topics such as turmeric, sea salt, roasting garlic, orange flower and rose water, roasting peppers and many more.

Cabbage, beet and seaweed salad from Levana Kirschenbaum’s “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.” Cabbage, beet and seaweed salad from Levana Kirschenbaum’s “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.” Chapter 1, the Party, includes recipes for edible gifts to yourself and beyond and includes salad dressings, homemade infused oils, condiments, sauces, marinades, preserves, liqueurs and dessert sauces.

Chapter 2 contains 33 soup recipes; Chapter 3 has 23 salads; Chapter 4 consists of 22 fish recipes; Chapter 5 has 49 poultry and fish recipes; Chapter 6 has 29 vegetable dishes; Chapter 7 has 20 grains and pasta recipes; Chapter 8 comprises 17 breakfast and brunch recipes; Chapter 9 has 12 breads and flat breads; Chapter 10 has 52 desserts.

There are menus at the end and one of the most unique ideas is the three indexes—one general, one for gluten free recipes, and one for Passover.

If you know a newly engaged couple, a new bride or anyone else who keeps a kosher kitchen, this will be a wonderful, valuable, user-friendly addition to their cookbook shelf.

Friends and family will rave if you offer them Levana Kirschenbaum’s chocolate salami. Friends and family will rave if you offer them Levana Kirschenbaum’s chocolate salami. For those looking for some special recipes for Rosh Hashanah, try these from the cookbook.

Fish mixture:
2 lb. salmon or tilapia fillets
1/2 cup olive oil
4 eggs
1/3 cup tapioca flour or
arrowroot or potato starch
1/2 cup dairy-free milk, lowfat

OK, or dry white wine
1 medium onion, quartered
Zest of 1 lemon
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen spinach,
squeezed thoroughly dry
1/4 cup basil leaves
1 cup sun-dry tomatoes,
briefly soaked in warm water
squeezed thoroughly dry or
use 1/4 cup tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Greasea11/2quartrectangle mold and line it with plastic, letting the sides overhang. Grind the fish mixture ingredients in a food processor until perfectly smooth. Divide the mixture in three. Process onethird in the food processor with the spinach and the basil. Scrape the bowl of the food processor thoroughly so you won’t have to wash it to mix the red layer. Pack tightly and neatly in the mold. Tightly pack the second (white) third on top of the green layer in the mold. Process the last third with the sun-dried tomatoes or tomato paste until perfectly smooth. Pack on top of the white layer in the mold gently, so as not to disturb the layers beneath. Fold the overhanging plastic over the top of the mold. Bake for 1 hour or until the top is firm. Serve chilled.

Serves 12.

You will create a sensation with this dish! It will make you look like a chef without too much hard work.

You will like the freedom it gives you on party day, as you can make it a day or two ahead of time and keep it chilled. If you get ambitious, layer the mixture in a dozen greased muffin tins and invert them at serving time.

3 Tbs. olive oil

4 Granny Smith (green)
apples, peeled and cut in
2 Tbs. sugar or Sucanat
Zest of 2 lemons
3 leeks, sliced
8 serving pieces chicken—16
pieces total: legs, thigh, half
breasts, skins on
2 tsp. turmeric
1 bottle hard cider
2 Tbs, cinnamon
Freshly ground pepper to
3 Tbs. calvados, applejack,
or slivovitz

Heat the oil in a heavy, wide-bottom pot. Add the apples and sauté until golden. Add the sugar and lemon peel, and cook 2 more minutes until caramelized. Remove the mixture and set aside. Place the leeks, chicken, turmeric, cider and cinnamon in the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium and cook covered for 1 hour. Add the reserved apples, ground pepper and Calvados, and cook a few minutes more until just heated through. Transfer the chicken and apples to a platter and check the sauce.

If it is too thin, reduce on a high flame 2-3 minutes until syrupy. Pour over the chicken and serve hot, with rice, puréed vegetables, or noodles.

Serves 8.

1 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup dark honey
1 cup orange marmalade, try
your best for all-fruit
4 eggs
3/4 cup strong coffee at room

3 Tbs. rum or brandy
3 cups flour: all-purpose,
whole-wheat pastry, or spelt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Good pinch salt
1 tsp. each cinnamon, allspice and ginger
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Mix the first set of ingredients in a food processor. Mix the second set of ingredients in a bowl, and add in three additions to the egg mixture, using the pulse button, mixing each time only until combined. Pour the batter into a greased tube pan or 10-inch pan, or 11-by- 14-inch pan. If you are using the almonds, sprinkle them evenly over the top.

Bake the cake 1 hour, or a little longer, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Invert onto a rack to cool.

Makes a dozen ample servings.

Honey cake is the traditional cake of the Jewish New Year! I actually succeeded in turning quite a few people on to my honey cake. Mine is moist and spicy and easy to love; I trust it will make you forget all the indignities of past dried-out and brittle honey cakes. I make it several ways, all scrumptious, but this is one of my favorites. The secret ingredient, orange marmalade, was shared by my dear friend Leah. Some people don’t use nuts during the holiday of Rosh Hashanah: No problem skipping them.

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