Some of the best recipes from the 'Best of Kosher' cookbook

The recipes really live up to the hype. There are quick and easy options for weeknights, and fancy ones for Shabbat and holiday guests, some with beautiful presentation tips, and all delicious.

 BBQ skirt steak Caesar salad (photo credit: Artscroll)
BBQ skirt steak Caesar salad
(photo credit: Artscroll)

The biggest kosher event of 2022 wasn’t a chef restaurant opening or The Great British Bake Off once again attempting and failing at Jewish foods. It was the publication of Best of Kosher, a new Artscroll cookbook that compiles the most popular recipes from the Jewish book publisher’s 20 years of cookbooks. Orthodox foodies were snatching it up as ArtScroll distributors around the world reported it selling out within days of release.

The recipes really live up to the hype. There are quick and easy options for weeknights, and fancy ones for Shabbat and holiday guests, some with beautiful presentation tips, and all delicious. As befits an ArtScroll cookbook, there are tips on preparing in advance and reheating in ways that are permissible on Shabbat without the food getting soggy. Just about every dessert can be made parve or dairy.

The cookbook was written and designed by the Between Carpools team. If you’re a Jewish parent – especially (but not only) a religious one – the Between Carpools website is a great resource. It has all the tips and tricks of a general parenting website, alongside specifically Jewish and kosher content. Some of the easy dinners in one 9x13 inch pan have become staples in my home – and the website convinced me to start using packing cubes when I travel.

The writers brought their clean, aesthetic and conversational voice to Best of Kosher, the second cookbook for the Between Carpools team, and the ninth for its best-known members, Victoria Dwek and Leah Schapira.

Best of Kosher introduces all of the recipes’ writers, with their backgrounds, books, favorite foods, recipes, and more. For example, Susie Fishbein of Kosher By Design fame and the grande dame of kosher cooking is “in pursuit of the best slice of kosher pizza” and “has been invited to the White House to meet the president… and was the first kosher food writer to appear on the Today Show.” 

 Salmon rolls with crazy-good sauce. (credit: Artscroll) Salmon rolls with crazy-good sauce. (credit: Artscroll)

Peas, Love & Carrots author Danielle Renov always shares her recipes less spicy than she actually makes them for herself.

The book has also courted controversy among Orthodox feminists because there are no photos of the dozen women who contributed. Instead, each woman is represented by a different color scheme on the pages. 

As someone who owns six ArtScroll cookbooks and whose mother owns several as well, I can attest that the publisher’s policy of not featuring photos of female cookbook authors stretches back to 2002’s Kosher By Design; it’s not new. 

As much as I agree with the general campaign against the absurd and offensive bans on women’s images in some Orthodox publications, this specific target seems misguided. This isn’t a celebrity cookbook where the writers’ faces are genuine marketing tools. There are plenty of non-kosher cookbooks that don’t have a photo of their writers or just a small headshot at the end with their bios. 

I don’t really care what the person who wrote a recipe looks like. If you’re curious, some of these women have social media accounts where you can see them. Additionally, the Between Carpools team is always behind the camera of their very active Instagram account.

With that out of the way, here are some of the best recipes from Best of Kosher.

BBQ SKIRT Steak Caesar Salad 

By Danielle Renov

I made Danielle Renov’s salad as Shabbat dinner for my family twice when I was nine months pregnant. That tells you a lot. First of all, the recipe really is a whole meal in one, especially when you add in challah with hummus and other dips. Second, it’s easy and quick enough to make when waddling around the kitchen like a penguin with swollen ankles. Third, kids and adults ate it happily. Another bonus is that the recipe makes enough dressing to save for other salads during the week.

Renov’s tip for Shabbat reheating is to “take meat out of the fridge early in the morning and let it come to room temperature. You can also warm on the plata [hot plate], on top of another dish, 30 minutes before serving.”

  • 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 red Belgian endive, cut into ¼-inch strips
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups prepared white rice

Best Caesar Dressing Ever

  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 4 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 4 tsp. fish-free Worcestershire sauce (This is not an easy ingredient to find in Israel. Equal parts soy sauce and ketchup is a good substitute)
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1¹⁄3 cups oil
  • Steak
  • 2¼ lb (1 kilo) skirt steak
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups favorite BBQ sauce, divided
  • ¼ cup Franks hot sauce (Given its scarcity in Israel, I just used Tabasco sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  1. Prepare the dressing. Place all ingredients – except oil – into a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. Process until the garlic is well blended into the ingredients. While processor is running, slowly drizzle in oil. Dressing will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
  2. Cut steak into 5-inch pieces. Place into a large bowl; fill to cover with cold water. Add vinegar. Stir and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Drain, rinse, and return to the bowl. Add 1½ cups BBQ sauce, hot sauce, and maple syrup, mix to coat. Allow to marinate for 1 hour.
  3. Preheat grill pan over medium-high heat. Cook skirt steak for 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side. Remove steak from pan and immediately brush with remaining BBQ sauce. Set aside.
  4. Prepare the salad. Place veggies in a large, wide bowl; add warm rice. Toss to combine. Dress salad with Best Caesar Dressing Ever (you may have extra).
  5. Slice skirt steak against the grain into ½ inch slices; fan meat over the salad. Drizzle with any accumulated juices. Serve and enjoy!

Tip! If you don’t want to grill the steak, you can broil it! Place the steak on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the lower middle section of the oven. Broil for 5 minutes on the first side, then flip (brush second side with any of the accumulated juices) and broil for another 4 minutes.

SALMON ROLLS with Crazy-Good Sauce

By Sina Mizrahi

My family loves spring rolls. My daughter also loves helping me make them – she puts the vegetables on the rice paper and rolls them up. I always made them raw as a cold summer side dish, but Sina Mizrahi’s fried version is a delicious twist, and the sauce is, yes, crazy good. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you and your family like. Mizrahi suggests sprouts and radishes, or even some mango.

  • 1½ lb salmon fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Dipping sauce

  • 3 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. peanut butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1-inch ginger, minced
  • ½ tsp. chili flakes
  • ½ tsp. toasted sesame seeds

For assembly

  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced
  • 2-3 scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 10 rice papers
  • Oil, for frying
  • Sesame seeds
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to broil.
  2. Place salmon in a baking dish; season with garlic, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil; rub to coat. Broil until golden and cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  3. Prepare the dipping sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Set aside.
  4. Set up an assembly station with salmon, sliced avocado, jalapeño, scallions, and cilantro. Coat a cutting board with oil.
  5. Fill a wide bowl with lukewarm water. Immerse 1 sheet of rice paper in the water, leave it in for 30 seconds or until the edges start curling. The paper should be pliable but still slightly firm. Place on the greased cutting board. Layer center with jalapeno slices, avocado, scallions, cilantro, and salmon. Fold the edges over the filling to create a tight roll. Set aside; repeat with remaining rice paper and filling.
  6. Heat a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add a thin layer of oil. Fry each roll on all sides until golden and crisp, 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with the rest of the rolls. Place on a platter, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with dipping sauce.

Tip! You can use leftover salmon in this dish.

Yield: 10 rolls

 Daniella's chocolate chip cookies. (credit: Artscroll) Daniella's chocolate chip cookies. (credit: Artscroll)

DANIELLA’S CHOCOLATE Chip Cookies 

By Daniella Silver

Susie Fishbein may be pursuing the best kosher pizza, but I am always on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. I thought I found one during the pandemic when I did a blind taste test for my family and two friends (search “@lahavharkov cookies” on Twitter), but Daniella Silver’s gave me a run for my money. I replaced her cup of oil with a cup of butter (two sticks, or 200g), which I melted and browned, making the recipe dairy, but her original parve recipe below is excellent as well. Note that the recipe requires advanced planning – the dough needs at least 24 hours in the fridge. Maldon salt can be found in specialty cooking and baking stores in Israel and is the best for this kind of sprinkling, but a very delicate hand with coarse salt is fine, too.

  • 1 cup oil
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour (or gluten-free flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt
  • 9 oz. chocolate chips
  • Maldon salt, for sprinkling, optional
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine oil and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until light in color.
  2. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Press plastic wrap against surface of dough; refrigerate for 24-36 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Using a large cookie scoop, drop mounds of dough the size of golf balls onto prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle lightly with Maldon salt, if using.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown but still soft. Store at room temperature or in the freezer in an airtight container.

Tip! Gluten-free? This cookie works perfectly when swapping out the flour for gluten-free flour.

Yield: 15-18 large cookies