Cooking with books

A few special cookbooks with especially tasty and creative recipes

Pomegranate faloodeh (photo credit: SHALEV MANN AND EFRAT LICHTENSTADT)
Pomegranate faloodeh
We are currently in the midst of Israel's Shvua Hasefer (Book Week), and I'm so excited by all the Hebrew cookbooks that are newly available. The only thing I like doing as much as cooking and baking is getting my hands on a new cookbook. The gorgeous pictures, the smell of freshly printed paper, and of course the creative recipes – I feel like a kid sticking my hand into a jar of candy. I get so excited to see new recipes that I jump right into action and start preparing new dishes.
I'd like to celebrate this year's Shvua Hasefer by choosing a few special cookbooks with recipes I found to be especially tasty and creative. Bon appétit!
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
Persian Cuisine by Rottem Lieberson Most of my readers probably know how much I love delving into ethnic cuisine, and when I saw that Rottem Lieberson, the author of the popular Persian food blog, had come out with another beautiful cookbook in which she includes recipes she learned from her grandmother, I was overjoyed. Lieberson masterfully recreates these treasures passed down from previous generations and offers readers exact instructions. I’ve included here a recipe for pomegranate faloodeh.
Lunchbox Publishing House. Photos: Dan Peretz.
240 pages. Hard cover. NIS 158. Available at all bookstores.
Pomegranate faloodeh This delicacy is a mixture between a dessert cocktail and an exotic brandy, with a slight hint of sweet rosewater. My family serves faloodeh at the end of the Yom Kippur fast, but it’s also the perfect refreshment for a hot summer day.
Makes 4 to 6 servings Ingredients: ■ 50 gr. thin rice noodles ■ 2 cups ice cubes ■ 1 cup sugar ■ Fresh juice of 1 lemon ■ 1 tsp. rosewater Serving suggestion: Pomegranate syrup or sour cherries in syrup Directions: In a medium bowl, bring water to a boil. Remove from flame and place rice noodles in water for two minutes. Rinse and cool.
In the bowl of a food processor, pour in ice cubes, sugar, lemon juice and rosewater. Process. Taste and add sugar, lemon juice or rosewater to taste.
Pour mixture into bowls or cups, add noodles and one tablespoon of pomegranate concentrate or cherries to each bowl and serve.
Peace in the Kitchen by Kifah Dasuki I was very intrigued when I saw a cookbook with the bold title, Peace in the Kitchen, which offers recipes for vegan Arabic cuisine in both Hebrew and Arabic.
Dasuki grew up in Fureidis, a village near Zichron Ya’akov, and has a bachelor’s degree in physiotherapy from Tel Aviv University. She currently lives in Prague and has begun a master’s degree in gender studies. Dasuki is a feminist, vegan, and a liberal social activist who loves cooking and writing poetry.
In her cookbook, she aims to suggest alternatives for coexistence between humans and animals. Peace in the Kitchen includes recipes for vegan main dishes, appetizers and desserts, as well as creative variations of classic Arabic delicacies, such as mansaf and kanafeh. The recipes are suitable for amateur cooks.
Published by Kifahs. Photos: Shalev Mann. 146 pages. Available in hardcover (NIS 140) or as a digital book (NIS 70).
Akras sabanekh - spinach pastry triangle Makes 6 servings Ingredients: Dough: ■ 2 cups flour ■ ½ cup water ■ 1/3 cup oil ■ ¼ tsp. turmeric ■ 1 tsp. salt Filling: ■ 2 cups spinach, chopped ■ ½ onion, chopped (raw or fried) ■ 1 Tbsp. sumac ■ ½ small lemon ■ Salt Topping: ■ 1 Tbsp. olive oil ■ 1 Tbsp. nigella or sesame seeds Directions: To make dough, mix all the ingredients in a bowl until it forms a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes.
To make filling, wash the chopped spinach and rinse well. Add the spinach and onion to a bowl (if you fry the onion, let it cool down before adding to mixture).
Season with sumac, lemon and salt.
Separate the dough into six balls of equal size and roll them out into 10-cm. disks that are 2-cm. thick.
Place a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle and pinch closed into triangles. Place triangles on a tray lined with baking paper. Brush with oil and sprinkle with sesame or nigella seeds. Bake in an oven that was preheated to 180° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot, with salad or natural yogurt.
Naturally Up to 160 Calories by Revital Federbush Revital Federbush is a health and food journalist who studied to be a pastry chef at Leiths Cookery School, London, and also in the US. Her cookbook includes a selection of recipes, such as airy Indian chai cake, marble cake, yeast rolls, and even delectable crembo cookies.
As you can guess by the title, each dessert contains up to 160 calories and not one single calorie more.
All the ingredients are natural, and no substitutes or artificial sweeteners are used.
Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft
This English language cookbook was written by Uri Scheft, the owner of Breads Bakeries in Tel Aviv and in New York, who manages to bring together a variety of eclectic recipes that run the gamut of Israeli bread culture. It’s incredible to see what creations come from combining tradition with the modern world.
Artisan Books. 300 pages, with stunning hard-cover photographs.
NIS 149. You can order through Amazon or purchase from the stores in Tel Aviv.
Café Italia by Aviva Wexler and Devorah Fishman This cookbook is a conglomeration of recipes from dishes served at Café Italia, run by restaurateur brothers Yoram and Ari Yarzin. Ari handpicked a number of their top recipes, including handmade pasta, fish, and meat dishes, and of course a number of desserts. The recipes are simple, precise, and use quality and ingredients that are easily found in Israeli shops. You’ll find impressive dishes for entertaining, easy dishes for daily family meals, and of course plenty of recipes that call for olive oil, chili peppers, herbs and Mediterranean flavors.
Matar Publishing House. Photos: Michal Revivo. Design Photography: Michal Revivo and Dan Peretz.
229 pages. NIS 128.
Eat, So You’ll Have Energy to Suffer by Amalia Argaman-Barnea
At first, I admit, I thought this was a cookbook of Polish-Jewish cuisine, but I soon realized this just wasn’t the case.
While it does include Polish recipes, it is mostly a book that tells the story of a mother and a daughter through food. Argaman-Barnea reveals the secrets of a long and healthy life through the eyes of her 100-year-old mother, Zehava Barash, against the backdrop of historical events from prestate days in Israel until today, the era of Facebook.
Throughout the cookbook, you’ll find recipes that are written up exactly as they must have been told from mother to daughter, including gefilte fish, chicken soup, tsimmes, kneidlach, kugel and kasha-mit-lukshin Even Hoshen Press. 167 pages on thin cover. NIS 92.
Individual apple strudels Makes 12 strudels (158 calories each) Use pan for 12 muffins, 120 ml. (½ cup) in each muffin holder Ingredients: ■ 7.5 cups (850 gr. – about 8) green apples, peeled, cored, cut into cubes (398 calories) ■ ¾ cup (150 gr.) sugar (580 calories) ■ 1 tsp. cinnamon ■ ½ package (50 gr.) butter (367 calories) ■ 3 Tbsp. water ■ 6 large sheets filo dough (30 cm. x35 cm.), defrosted overnight in the fridge (492 calories) ■ 2 Tbsp. (16 gr.) powdered sugar for decoration (62 calories) Directions: Preheat your oven to 170°. Place cupcake holders in a muffin tray and spray them with oil. Cook the apple pieces with the sugar and cinnamon in a large pot for 10 minutes until the apples soften. Let cool.
Melt the butter and water in a bowl in the microwave.
Let come back to room temperature.
Drain apples (no need to keep liquid). Spread out a sheet of filo dough on baking paper (make sure to keep remaining filo dough covered so it won’t dry out). Brush on butter, starting at edge and brushing toward the center. Cut sheet into two, then fold each piece and place in a cupcake holder. Fill with apples and fold closed as if it were a paper bag.
Repeat with the other 11 strudels. Brush the remaining butter on top of the strudels and bake in the middle or bottom rack of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar (Note: Some of the sugar from the apples was filtered out in the liquid that was discarded, and therefore calories were lost.)