(photo credit: Courtesy)
Melting Pot: Embarking on Israel's Seventh Decade with Spiritual and Savory Servings
Edited by Dafi Forer Kremer
215 pages; $45/NIS 139
It's difficult to decide where this book belongs: on the kitchen table, the coffee table or the Shabbat table.
Conceived as a tribute to global Jewish cuisine in the melting pot of Israel on its 60th anniversary, Melting Pot includes recipes concocted by a who's who in Jewish cookery, including Jerusalem Post columnist Ilana Epstein, Syrian chef Poopa Dweck and "Kosher by Design" series author Susie Fishbein.
Stunning photographs by food stylist/photographer Hagit Goren put the book squarely in the coffee-table category.
And its unique structure paralleling the Five Books of Moses - a recipe and an essay for each week's Torah portion - suggests a Shabbat table placement.
Among the notable contributors are chief rabbis Yona Metzger (Israel), Sir Jonathan Sacks (Great Britain) and Warren Goldstein (South Africa); Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis; novelist Naomi Ragen; Chana Henkin of Nishmat and Malka Binah of Matan; rabbis Shlomo Riskin, Chaim Brovender, Levi Cooper and Nathan Lopes Cardozo; Dr. Deborah Weissman of the Interreligious Coordinating Council of Israel; and MKs Michael Melchior, Ze'ev Bielski and Yuli Edelstein.
It's hard to find fault with this tome, but it would be nice if it had an index of recipes and contributors. And although there is a bio on each essayist, the recipe credits are listed by name only. It would be nice to know more about these great chefs.
How Kremer managed to pull off a book of this quality and magnitude with four young children and a national position with Bnei Akiva is anybody's guess. She also produced a Hebrew version, Matamei Hamikra (NIS 129). Both are available in select Steimatzky and Tzomet Hasefarim bookstores as well as studios and galleries.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 liters water
4 Tbsp. vegetable soup powder
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Cut eggplants in half and score the flesh side with cross-hatch cuts. Brush cut sides with 1 tablespoon olive oil, place on hot grill and roast until browned and soft, about 20 minutes. Scoop out flesh and coarsely chop it. Set aside.
Heat remaining olive oil in a large, heavy pot. Add onions and garlic, and sautÃ© over medium heat until golden, 5 to 8 minutes. Add water, soup powder and eggplant flesh and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Add basil and oregano and cook 2 additional minutes. Strain the solids from the liquid, reserving the hot liquid in the pot. Puree the solids in a food processor or blender until smooth and creamy. Return the puree to the pot and reheat to just below simmer. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Serve with sour cream and pesto. Yield: 4-6 servings.