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~ Anne Byrn

Mixes to Masterpieces

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Anne Byrn, author of the bestselling cookbook The Cake Mix Doctor, has recently introduced a welcome, updated "sequel", The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!

Anne, the former food editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Tennessean newspapers, lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.  According to Anne, it all began when she “wrote a story for The Tennessean in June 1998, sharing cake mix recipes my family had doctored." The reaction was so unbelievable… I asked readers to send in their own favorites. I received 500 recipes within one week and realized that this likely should be a book. Yes, it was a great idea, especially for summertime in the south.  Take a box of cake mix — add some additional ingredients — and go from the ordinary to extraordinary."

Anne’s newest book, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!, which is her sixth, updates some of the classic cake mix recipes and offers 160 new additions, including new cookies and brownies. As in the first book, all recipes consist of  purchased cake mixes along with other supermarket ingredients. Over 90% of America’s home cooks use pre-packaged mixes. Anne makes the old saying "let them eat cake" so much easier!

We were delighted to speak with Anne who shared some expert tips with us:

Do you prefer glass or metal pans for baking?
Metal pans bake more evenly.

Can margarine be substituted for butter?
Yes, when baking a cake, margarine is OK but I prefer to use oil. However, when creating a buttercream  frosting, it becomes more difficult. There really is not a good substitute for butter. (KosherEye suggested to Anne that she should consider trying Earth Balance, our favorite brand).  Anne recommended that when a cake needs to be dairy free, use a glaze instead of a frosting.

So, can yogurt, soy cream cheese and soy milk be substituted for dairy products?
Anne said, Yes.

Tips from Anne:
How can I reduce the fat content in my cakes?
Anne recommends reducing fat in small increments. For example: to reduce fat in a cake with no pronounced flavor, such as yellow cake, try swapping out some of the oil with unsweetened applesauce, or any mashed fruit such as banana, or pumpkin.

Will you share some of your favorites with us?
For dazzling, delicious dessert presentation, use any of the layer cakes, Blueberry Muffin Crumble Cake or Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Ganache; for the mom-on-the-go, any of the Bundt cakes would work.

Anne also recommends the Chocolate Espresso Pound Cake and the Apple Cider Cake; "The secret is to start with good apple cider!"  Sample Anne’s wonderful creations by trying her very moist and delicious Fresh Orange Birthday Cake — even if you are not celebrating a birthday.

And some exciting news from the Maestro of mixes:
Do you have a favorite cake mix brand?
"None are perfect. That is why I have been working on developing my own — a natural cake mix. It is quite a process. (KosherEye encouraged Anne to consider making it kosher!)

And a sensational scoop for our gluten free friends:
Sometime this Spring, Anne will be introducing her newest book, The Gluten Free Cake Mix Doctor (Workman Publishing).

Two important baking tips from Anne:
Be Organized: Read the recipe thoroughly before starting. Be sure that you have all of the ingredients on hand.

Be Temperature Aware: Of your kitchen, your oven, ingredients, frosting, eggs, etc. This includes knowing your oven.  Over time, some ovens tend to bake hotter and need to be calibrated. Check the temperature with an oven thermometer.

Visit Anne’s website and blog at The Cake Mix Doctor.

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~ Pam Reiss


Soup A Kosher Collection

Soup. It's the ultimate food. Perfect in any season and for any reason. Soup can be served hot or cold, winter or summer. Have a bowl of soup when you are happy, sad, sick or feeling great. It becomes a meal when served with bread or a sandwich or salad, and yes, it can even be enjoyed as dessert...(think chocolate!).

Soup --  A Kosher Collection, is a delightful cookbook consisting almost entirely of soup recipes. It is well written, well organized and contains an array of 140 recipes. This book entices you to make soup every day, every season. Included are traditional recipes, such as Chicken Soup, to an exotic recipe for Strawberry Sambuca Soup. Chicken soup invokes fond memories for Pam. "I make it the same way my grandmother and parents make it. Each pot takes me back to Friday night dinner with family," she said. The recipes are easy to follow and are not complicated. Each includes nutritional information, storage notes and helpful instructions.

KosherEye made several of the recipes and enjoyed each one. Pam’s Roasted Corn Chowder (dairy) was fabulous. It was just as good-- if not better-- the second day. (We used the Kuhn Rikon Stainless Corn Zipper, to zap the corn kernels cleanly off the cob.) We also made the Carrot Dill Soup and it was outstanding. It is a simple recipe that will become a favorite. We loved the Chicken Satay Soup. It is full of so many good ingredients; chicken stock, sliced chicken breast, water chestnuts and, that all-time favorite, peanut butter.

We asked Pam if she had a favorite soup recipe and it was hard for her to pick just one. Among the ones she listed was Pear Soup with Feta, Pecans and Balsamic Reduction. "It's simple, but really different and delicious," said Pam. A delectable picture of it is in the book — we will try that one next!

Soup — A Kosher Collection was nominated for the Cuisine Canada Cookbook Award.

About Pam Reiss:

Pam grew up behind the scenes in her parent's kosher catering company. She earned a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Minnesota, and is currently co-owner of a specialty food store, Desserts Plus, in Winnipeg, Canada. Pam's cooking philosophy is simple and straightforward. She has two rules: keep it simple and use the best ingredients. She knows about food and, after reading and using her book, it is clear that she knows how to cook.

She is currently hard at work on her second cookbook, Passover A Kosher Collection, and expects to have it printed by mid-January, 2010. It will contain a mix of traditional, modern (manicotti, stratas, quiche, etc.) and dessert (pecan flan, carrot cake, ice cream, etc.) Passover recipes. For updates on the book, follow Pam on her blog: blog.pamelareiss.com.

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by Mark Bittman (2nd edition)

How to Cook Everything is one of our “go-to” cooking reference and guide books.  Place it on an easy to reach shelf in the kitchen, and get 2,000 instantaneous, concise, basic recipes for just about EVERYTHING, with clear instructions on simple cooking techniques.  This revised 10th anniversary edition, published in 2008, is a great resource for both a new chef and a seasoned kitchen professional.   For more information and loads of recipes, visit www.howtocookeverything.com. Read Mark Bittman’s blog at www.nytimes.com.

Click here to look inside the book.

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~ by Chayale Braver and Rivky Braver


The Culinary Connoisseur, a publication of Hamodia Treasures and The Israel Book Shop, is an important, informative volume for the gourmet kosher cook.  It is packed with “bright ideas and culinary tricks and tips” from Chayale Braver and Rivky Braver, the owners of Brooklyn’s popular kosher kitchenware store, The Peppermill.  The book is a compendium and enhancement of their weekly Hamodia newspaper columns.  The authors share their expertise on culinary science, cookware, techniques and food preparation, along with many of their favorite recipes — some simple, some advanced.  The book provides information on kitchen ingredients, tools and food history.

Click here to look inside the book or to order.

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~ by Michele RB Friedman, Editor

EMUNAH of America has introduced an exciting 256-page cookbook, Chefs’ Confidential, edited by professional chef Michele RB Friedman.  The book features a collection of 100 favorite recipes adapted for the kosher cook and developed by renowned chefs including famous names such as Ina Garten, Giada de Laurentiis, Jeffrey Nathan and Daniel Boulud.  It is simply a gorgeous cookbook; recipes are accompanied by the beautiful photos of John Uher.

What a great Chanukah gift!  All profits from the sale of this book benefit EMUNAH’s 250 social welfare and educational facilities in Israel.  To order or to learn about the good works of Emunah visit emunah.org. Also available on Amazon.com.

Flanken Mushroom Barley Soup, A Sample Recipe from Chefs’ Confidential

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KosherEye
Featured Cookbook

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We have searched the world of cookbooks and selected some of the most exciting, enticing, fun, entertaining and informative to share in our popular feature Featured Cookbook.

Some of these cookbooks have recipes with non-kosher ingredients. No worries! KosherEye and our team of cookbook authors, chefs and foodies will help you convert these ingredients to kosher substitutes. In fact we are providing an initial, basic list of kosher substitutions for you.

Attention Cookbook Writers and Media: If you would like KosherEye to consider your cookbook for feature, send a note to contactKoshereye@gmail.com.

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