I made aliyah years before the Bais Yaakov Cookbook came out – and I never went to a Bais Yaakov school, anyway – so I was only vaguely aware of it and the fact that it was very popular in American kosher homes. The name Rivky Kleiman didn’t mean anything to me.
But, when I was browsing Amazon to see what kosher cookbooks were coming out and I saw Simply: Simply Gourmet. Every Day. (Simply), by Rivky Kleiman, from the major Jewish book publisher ArtScroll, I figured that would be a good fit for this column.
It is no exaggeration to say that in the weeks since Simply arrived on my doorstep, it has become an integral part of my kitchen.
Simply has beautifully photographed recipes for every part of the meal, from appetizers to desserts, and every kind of meal, from fancy meat holiday to simple weeknight to dairy brunch. A lot of it is kid-friendly, but not in an annoying dress-up-schnitzel-and-ketchup kind of way – these are real recipes that adults like, but kids (or at least my kids) aren’t afraid to taste.
I love to bake, and this book has given me some really fun projects. Babi’s Butter Buns are heavenly for breakfast or brunch. I especially like the Cinnabun Cookies and look forward to an opportunity to make Cinnabun cheesecake – for which the cookies can be used as a topping.
The downside for those of us in Israel is that several of the recipes have ingredients that you won’t find in a standard supermarket here, like cranberry sauce, duck sauce or everything bagel topping.
The title of the cookbook does not lie. Most of the recipes are very quick and easy to make, which means I found myself consulting with it each week, as I planned out meals for my family.
I also like the Simple Supper section, which puts together menus using the recipes in the book, consisting of some kind of meat or fish dish, with a vegetable side. The quick meals clock in at as little as six minutes to make, though most are around the 30-minute range. I’m sharing two of them that come together quickly and passed the kid test.
Everything Bagel Spiced Turbot
I am obsessed with everything bagel spice. I put it on challah, macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs, and now, on fish. When I’m not able to get any from the US, I order in Israel from www.israelidelicious.com, which makes American-style spice blends. The recommended side dish for this in the Simple Suppers section is Herbed Cauliflower Rice, but really any rice and a simple salad would complete this meal quickly and easily.
As the cookbook notes, turbot is a firm white fish with a fantastic mild flavor. Although it can be a bit pricey, it’s naturally delicious and doesn’t need much to take it over the top.
Dairy; Yields 4 servings
4 (7.6 x 7.6 cm.) turbot fillets Everything bagel seasoning, to taste 1 pinch paprika 1 pinch sea salt 1 pinch onion powder 1 pinch garlic powder 4 Tbsp. butter Lemon slivers, for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to high broil. Spray a 22.96 x 33 cm. pan with cooking spray.
- Pat the turbot dry and place into a prepared pan. Evenly yet lightly coat the turbot with everything bagel seasoning. Sprinkle very lightly with the remaining spices. Place ½ Tbsp. butter toward the top and another toward the bottom of each slice of turbot.
- Broil for 7 minutes on the center rack. Serve warm. Garnish with a sliver of lemon, if desired.
Turbot can be substituted with fluke, flounder, or tilapia.
Beef and Broccoli Ramen Bowl
This is a full meal in one recipe, which is the best kind for a busy parent. I used entrecôte minute steak, which can be found in the freezer section of Israeli supermarkets, and I couldn’t get my hands on any hoisin sauce when I was making it, so I substituted a mix of soy sauce and peanut butter. It was great!
As the cookbook notes, preparation is fast, with hands-on time at 15 minutes from start to finish. Less expensive, and healthier than takeout, too.
Meat; Yields 4 servings
½ cup low sodium soy sauce1½ Tbsp. cornstarch6 Tbsp. rice vinegar4 Tbsp. hoisin sauce4 Tbsp. dark brown sugar½ tsp. ground ginger5 tsp. sesame oil, divided¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes2 cups water2 (85 g.) ramen noodle soup packages 2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided45 kg. New York-style strip steak or rib steak, sliced thinly across the grain4 cloves garlic, crushed16 oz. broccoli florets1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds4 scallions, sliced
- In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce and cornstarch to create a slurry. Add rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, brown sugar, ginger, 4 tsp. sesame oil and red pepper flakes. Stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- In a 1.9 L. saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add ramen noodles with 1 spice packet. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; drain. Add the remaining teaspoon sesame oil. Toss to combine.
- Add 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add beef strips and crushed garlic. Stir for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef to a bowl.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add broccoli and stir for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet and add the beef. Stir until sauce thickens. Add the previously prepared ramen noodles to the skillet. Toss to combine.
- Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls. Toss with sesame seeds and scallions.