Review: Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes


Disclosure: Artscroll supplied me with a review copy of Every Day Secret Restaurant Recipes. Opinions expressed are my own.

For those of you who loved Secret Restaurant Recipes, there is good news: Artscroll has just released Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes. It is an even bigger, wider ranging cookbook than its predecessor, jam packed with lots more recipes from a much larger number of restaurants. The new book repeats the original’s successful concept of dishes from popular kosher restaurants with a side order of chef tricks and tips.

While the first book had lots of special occasion recipes, the twist of the new book is that the recipes are more down-to-earth. The authors, Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek said their readers asked for “more casual recipes that work for everyday meals (or easier recipes that can also work for special occasions!).”

There is plenty here for home cooks looking to try a new technique or trend. Authentic smokehouse BBQ is an important trend, the authors say, and they explain how to home-smoke using a regular grill. A pizza recipe uses the interesting technique of par-baking the crust before adding the toppings, which is a great do-ahead trick.

If you are thinking ahead to Chanukah, there are quite a few recipes here that call for deep-frying and that would work for a party: Avocado Egg Rolls, Kani Poppers, Champignon Crispy Rolls, Broccoli Nuggets, Buffalo Cauliflower, Tater Poppers and Churros with Strawberry-Ginger Coulis (a perfect Chanukah dessert). If you like to make rugelach for Chanukah, there is a recipe for Chocolate Rugelach from Zak the Baker.

Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes makes for great armchair travel, with fascinating descriptions of kosher restaurants across the United States, Israel and beyond. The book covers an impressive 100 restaurants from 11 countries, spanning 5 continents. And the range of places covered is broad, too, encompassing high-end restaurants, cafes, pizzerias, fish grills, falafel spots, sushi bars, burger bars, delis, sandwich shops, BBQ joints, steakhouses, bakeries and gourmet take-out places.

I worked my way through 22 of the approximately 104 recipes in the book. The soups and salads were all excellent (especially the Harvest Salad from Pantry in Toronto) and the Par-Baked Pizza (from Brooklyn Pizza in Uruguay) worked brilliantly. The Dilled Salmon with zucchini and bell peppers (from Mocha Bleu in Teaneck) was delicious, super easy and had the added benefit of being a main dish and side dish all-in-one. The Gong Bao Chicken (from the Chabad restaurant Dini’s in Beijing) worked out really well made with tofu instead of chicken. The Peanut Butter Sundaes (molten chocolate cakes topped with ice cream and peanut butter sauce, from Glatt-A-La-Carte) were easy enough to make on a weeknight and a delicious twist on the usual lava cake.

Here, reprinted courtesy of Artscroll/Mesorah Publications, are two recipes from Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes.

Quinoa Salad – BOROCHOV 88
Location: Ra’anana, Israel | Yield: 4 servings | Category: pareve

Before the 2013 elections, Naftali Bennett, Ra’anana resident and head of the Israeli political party Bayit Yehudi, would hold meetings with fellow Knesset members at Borochov 88. Qinoa Salad LRThey’d eat lunch there every day while planning their campaigns.

1 cup tri-colored quinoa
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
2 Persian cucumbers, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
3 Tbsp dried cranberries

2½ Tbsp lemon juice
½ Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, crushed
7 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
½ cup tahini paste
½ cup water (add gradually, may not need all)
Pinch cumin
1 tsp salt
Pinch black pepper

 Wash and drain quinoa. Add oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Add quinoa; toast for 20 seconds. Add water and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook for 15-20 minutes, until water is absorbed.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, and cranberries.

Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, salt, and garlic. Drizzle in olive oil while whisking. Add dressing to quinoa; stir to combine.

Prepare the techina: In a blender or food processor, combine lemon juice, garlic, and parsley. Add tahini paste and blend. Add water, a little at a time, until techina is desired consistency. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper.

To serve, drizzle some techina over each serving of quinoa.

Home Cook: When I couldn’t find tri-colored quinoa at my grocery, I used ½ cup white quinoa and ½ cup red quinoa so I could still have those different quinoa textures in my salad. -L.

Home Cook: When I want to prep this in advance, I keep the quinoa, vegetables, dressing, and techina separate and toss them all together when I’m ready to serve. -L

Feel free to use store-bought techina.

Reprinted from Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.

Gong Bao Chicken – Dini’s Kosher Restaurant
Owner:Chabad Beijing |Location: Beijing, China |Yield: 4 servings |Category: meat

At Dini’s, Beijing’s only kosher restaurant, the chefs cook authentic Chinese food along with traditional Jewish dishes and Western favorites that travelers expect (there’s a sushi bar too). The restaurant is named for Dini Freundlich, the local Chabad shlucha. Local Chinese residents also enjoy eating at Dini’s because they feel that kosher food is safer to eat; the Chinese term for kosher is “Jie Shi,” “clean food.”

1 lb chicken breast, cubed
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
Pinch coarse black pepper
oil, for frying
2 Chinese leeks or scallions
3 Tbsp salted peanuts

2 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
4 tsp vinegar
2 tsp hot sauce
4 tsp ketchup

Place chicken into a small bowl. Sprinkle with cornstarch; top with water and black pepper. Mix to coat the chicken. Let stand for 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a wok or sauté pan over high heat. When oil is very hot, add chicken cubes in batches; fry for 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Drain oil from the pan. Add soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, and ketchup. Cook until sauce thickens slightly, 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and scallions; toss to coat. Top with peanuts.

Tidbit: Dini makes her own version of hot chili sauce to use in the restaurant. She says it’s the Asian equivalent of Israeli red schug.

Home Cook: We’ve tested this with all different types of hot sauce and they’ve all been successful. Halve the quantity if serving this dish to children -L.

Reprinted from Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “Review: Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes”

  1. shilohmuse Says:

    Looks like fun. I haven’t gotten any review copies of cookbooks for a couple of years. My loss…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: