The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook

This is a guest post by Naomi Kramer, longtime friend of Jewschool and even longer time lover of cooking and cookbooks.  
The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook, ed. Leah KeonigYou don’t have to love women or Zionism to enjoy the beautiful Hadassah Everyday Cookbook.  Non-female identified cooks, post-zionists, never-were-zionists, and everyone else will still enjoy the delicious eats from Leah Koenig. I regularly rely on its easy-to-browse recipes for hosting Shabbat dinners. I use it so much that I voted it for Best New Kosher Cookbook here.
For me, a cookbook needs a few key ingredients to get me excited: mouth watering pictures, tasty recipes, and guidelines that are easy enough but not written for four year olds. But this gorgeously-photographed book isn’t just sexy gastro-porn — though there are lots of spectacular photos in full color. 
Most of these recipes are delicious. None of the items are completely out of the ordinary, but they are almost all something familiar with a new twist.  Do you like baked tempeh?  Bake it in a marinade with honey, orange juice, and ginger.  Do you like brussel sprouts?  Add soy sauce and toasted almonds!  For example, a surprisingly big hit was the maple salad dressing.  I used to always just mix honey, mustard, oil, and vinegar for salads.  That was good but this is way better.  I’m pretty sure that this maple syrup, mustard, soy sauce salad dressing extravaganza could also be a delicious marinade for anything – vegetables, tofu, meat, or fish. There were a couple of recipes that didn’t quite hit the mark for me.  Last night I made the Colcannon.  It is basically mashed potatoes with kale.  I think a bunch of roasted garlic in the mash and more spices might have picked it up a bit more.
The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook is not the kind of cookbook that you use as a reference guide, like Mark Bittman’s books or The Joy of Cooking. You don’t look up a vegetable going soft in your fridge. This is the kind of cookbook that you peruse, looking for something delicious for that potluck on Saturday or when you invite your boss to dinner.  Leah fills the book with grown-up, fancy looking dishes that are pretty fast.  I have made entire meals for big groups in just a couple of hours — including the trip to the grocery store (to be fair, it is just one block away).  Don’t get me wrong, I love my reference cookbooks – the Joy especially – but sometimes I feel like those books are written for beginners.  Leah writes for people who like to cook, are familiar with their own kitchen, but don’t have time to cook for days the way my grandmother does.
The last thing I need to say about this cookbook refers to the kosher-ness. I’ve never kept kosher, so I am no expert.  However I often need to make something without dairy and I’m out to reduce my own meat consumption too.  This cookbook is very friendly to the kosher cook, the vegetarians, the lactose-intolerant, and so on among us.  All recipes are clearly categorized as Dairy, Pareve, or Meat and many things have optional ingredients to turn a dairy item parve.
For those who do not cook, but have a loved one who cooks for them – buy this cookbook for them for Hanukkah, Christmas, or whatever other excuse you can find.  Then, invite me over for Shabbat.
And you too should vote for The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook as the Best New Kosher Cookbook here. (Voting ends Jan 11th!)

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