Monday, November 8, 2010

Review: Kosher By Design Teens and 20-Somethings

When I discovered that the publicity team for Susie Fishbein’s new cookbook was running a blog promotion, I knew I had to get on board. Susie Fishbein’s cookbooks are the holy grail of cooking in my house. All I can say is, thank goodness for Twitter.

When the book arrived, I tore open the box and disappeared to my bedroom to read and enjoy the new cookbook. The first thing that hit me was the cover:
I think its pretty clever. Stuff that teens and twenty somethings generally use such as headphones and car keys, combined with food, which is, obviously, the main focus of a cookbook.

Once I opened it up, I was immediately impressed with the colorful, eye catching design of the book. The clear, clean style of the layout is easy on the eyes and very inviting. Before I even reached the recipes, however, I was wowed by the introduction. In lieu of the usual boring introduction that we all don't read, as found in most cookbooks, this one has a number of helpful guides as well as healthy eating tips.

I made the mistake of looking through the recipes while hungry. Really. In my case, to say the pictures were mouthwatering is no exaggeration. I drooled as I looked through the delicious looking recipes. I drooled as I read the delicious sounding names of the recipes. And of course, I drooled when I looked at the enticing photos.

I think that the majority of my readers are teens and twenty-somethings, but perhaps many of you wonder if this cookbook is really for you. Well, my sister and sister-in-law, both of whom are twenty-somethings, were wondering the same thing. As two huge fans of Susie Fishbein and her work, they were discussing the upcoming cookbook with a mixture of anticipation and uncertainty. My sister-in-law, rightfully wondered if the cookbook would be overwhelmingly simple for someone of her cooking skill. After much consideration, they decided that they would wait and see what it looked like, and then decide.

And that's what I want to do, help you decide. Does this cookbook have some very basic recipes? Definately. But I am not a novice cook by any means, and I found plenty of recipes that are exciting and creative. There is a section called Munchies, which is not generally found in cookbooks, which I believe is where you will find the majority of the basic recipes, as well as the recipes that wouldn't be of interest to people who are no longer teens and twenty somethings. (Think Chocolate Fluffernutter Quesadillas...) But the other sections, specifically the Poulty and Meat section, have enough interesting, sophisticated and practical sounding recipes to make up for it. (More on those later.)

Another issue that might be bothering some people is whether or not the recipe's instructions are written with the assumption that you can't tell an oven from a dishwasher and that your idea of cooking a gourmet meal is sticking the leftover takeout food into the microwave. And the answer is no. I actually think that the cookbook is written in a very smart and balanced manner. As someone with extensive cooking experience, I didn't feel like the instructions were talking down to me, but I aso see how they would be simple enough for someone with no cooking experience to follow accurately. In fact, I think Kosher By Design Teens and Twenty Somethings would be an excellent cookbook for some of my newly married friends who know nothing about cooking. (Yes, I mean you. And you.)

Back so some of the great recipes... I made a number of recipes so far, with excellent results. I know that people criticised the poor picture I posted last week of the spicy carrot sticks, still on the baking paper, but I actually think it's the ultimate compliment. Those carrot sticks never made it off the paper!

Here's the recipe, I challenge you to make 'em and have em last long enough to sit through a photo shoot.

6 large carrots, peeled, ends trimmed

1 egg white from a large egg
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 1⁄2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1⁄2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Cover a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Cut each carrot in half to make 2 (3–4 inch) pieces.
3. Cut each carrot half in half lengthwise. With the cut-side-down on your cutting board, cut each half into 3 equal strips to make thin carrot sticks.
4. Place the egg white into a large shallow bowl or container and whip with a fork or whisk till foamy.
5. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, water, garlic powder, cumin, sugar, paprika, and white pepper.
6. Place the carrot sticks into the beaten egg; toss to coat the carrots in the egg white.
7. Stir the carrots into the spice mixture. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the salt.
8. Roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
9. Transfer to a serving plate or bowl.
As I said, you just try doing number 9. I couldn't get that far.

Additionally, I also made a delicous dessert, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Sticks. They are a cross between biscotti and brownies, easy to make, require no mixer, and best of all, don't have margerine...and they received rave reviews. The Schwarma Chicken and Za'atar Cauliflower were equally delicious.

In conclusion, this cookbook has an excellent blend of old favorites, international recipes, fresh takes on classics, and new and creative ideas. If you are a more experienced cook, you may find some of the recipes to be a little bit basic and simplistic, but I doubt there is anyone who wouldn't find a large number of delectable recipes to try.

If you are as excited about this cookbook as I am, and want to start making delicacies such as Firecracker Beef, Smashed Potatoes, Cappuccino Mousse and Molten Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies, you can order the cookbook online here. Make sure to use the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout to get 10% off and free shipping. Or you can wait till tomorrow when I post the details of my giveaway. You may just be the lucky winner of this excellent cookbook.

You can also checkout the Kosher By Design blog, for sample recipes and news, or download a Kosher By Design recipe index here. And of course, come back and check tomorrow for the giveaway. I won't tell you specifics, but its going up on Tuesday...


Soul Comfort said...

I already make something similar, only with sweet potatoes and without the added sugar.
Who needs extra sugar?

Anonymous said...

Why are you bringing up those carrots again? I never liked the KBD series. The recipes call for outlandish ingredients, and then I am stuck with thyme and ground mustard for the rest of my life. I also think the recipes are more complicated than they need to be. My recommendation are the Dining In cookbooks. Those are easy and delicious. Plus, each one has over 500 recipes! Definitely a staple for the kosher kitchen.

Bas~Melech said...

OK enough teasing already, where's the giveaway? I think I need to win; I don't own a single cookbook and my husband's getting hungry.

At the very least, can I pleeeeease have a chocolate fluffernutter quesadilla now?

itsagift said...

Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

Awesome review, btw. You wrote that really I'm waiting for the giveaway details cuz I really wanna win!

itsagift said...

I like the way you say you couldn't get to the last step of the recipe - cuz they were so good they never made it off the tray! Awesome!

Anonymous said...

I noticed on the back of this cookbook, there are little pictures of food from the book, and the last one are these carrot thingies---still on the paper!! Was your picture intentional or just pure luck?

Anonymous said...

Hey Beheima,

I love the Dining In cookbooks too. I have 3 KBD cookbooks and I never found anything interesting to make in there. They all look like these gorgeous meals, but not tasty and they call for a bunch of weird ing. Dining In has introduced me to some new spices that I now use in a lot of other foods as well.