Ordinary Ingredients, Extraordinary Meals
by Leah Schapira
A busy wife and mother, Leah Schapira knows the importance of being able to prepare nutritious, tasty meals, using ingredients that are staples in the pantry, in a short amount of time. As the former food editor of Mishpacha Magazine and currently the Food Editor of Ami Magazine, Leah aptly conveys her food philosophy in Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredients - Extraordinary Meals .
With over 170 recipes, each accompanied by a beautiful photo, it is easy to find something that will please your family, or guests, and not keep you in the kitchen all day. The book is well organized, the recipe directions are easy to follow, and we especially liked the recipe picture thumbnails at the beginning. Meant to give the reader a peak into what the book contains, they are very enticing. The recipes include those from Leah's past food columns and some new ones. Also included are time–saving tips, menu suggestions, freezer–friendly meals, side dish pairing suggestions, and seasonal produce buying guides that encourage the home cook to take advantage of market–fresh, simple, seasonal ingredients. "Food preparation shouldn't be a point of tension. This cookbook is all about easy, uncomplicated recipes for every day or for any occasion. I like to use ingredients from my pantry, adding new twists and improving on techniques." said Leah.
This is not Leah's first introduction into the cookbook publishing world. Her first project, which she co–authored, was a community fundraising cookbook, Silver Spoon: Kosher Cooking for the Discerning Palate. Containing four hundred recipes contributed by friends, neighbors, and Leah, it is now in its third printing. The skills she learned with her first book are very evident in this current one.
We asked Leah how she decided on the theme of her cookbook – fresh and easy:
"The cookbook theme is what I cook and I find it's what most busy woman are looking for. As a Jewish woman, I find that most of us need to cook. Between holidays, shabbos, and kids, there is a limit to how much takeout or non–cooking you can get away with. My motto is: if we're going to cook, it needs to be easy, delicious and food that our families will enjoy."
And what is Leah's personal cooking style and philosophy?:
"I love food with flavor yet still kid friendly. I believe you can make delicious awesome food without a lot of ingredients or gadgets. Sometimes it's about technique and sometimes it's about great flavor combinations. (I devoted a couple of pages of my cookbook just to pizza tips!). A recipe can't have a long list of ingredients or instructions. If my family likes it, then I consider it a success." We think that Leah has accomplished her goal.
Enjoy the following two recipes from Leah's cookbook: Lo-Mein Noodles and Garlic Knots.
Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking is available on Amazon.com .
About Leah Schapira
A self–taught cook and seasoned traveler, Leah is a recipe developer and food writer; her column, 350 Degrees, is featured in Ami Magazine. She is the co–founder, along with her brother Zalman Roth, of CookKosher.com, an online kosher cooking community where home cooks can share their recipes with an eager audience.
January 10, 2012