Posts Tagged ‘Artscroll’

Review: Everyday Secret Restaurant Recipes

November 30, 2015

everydaysecretrestaurantrecipes

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.

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The Silver Platter

May 19, 2015

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Disclosure: Artscroll provided me with a review copy of The Silver Platter. Opinions expressed are my own.

The Silver Platter is what you would expect from an Artscroll cookbook: beautiful photos of food, attractive layout and stylish recipes. The book also represents the launch of a new kosher food personality, Daniella Silver, under the mentorship of the beloved cookbook author (and fellow Canadian) Norene Gilletz.

If the book has a distinct “culinary point of view,” it is best summed up as follows: easy, uncomplicated recipes that are simply seasoned, gluten-free (or adaptable to gluten-free) and feature lots of fresh vegetables/grains/legumes. While the cookbook looks like it belongs on a coffee-table, it will get a work-out in the kitchen.

Within two days of getting the book, I made four recipes from it. On Thursday, I made the Cheesy Smashed Roasted Potatoes (big hit–see below for recipe), and on Friday, I made the Lemon-Infused Lentil Rice, the Roasted Baby Potato & Tomato Medley and the Shaved Corn & Asparagus Salad (substituting string beans for the asparagus–also see below for recipe). Everything was easy to make and was a success.

The cookbook has a certain level of health-consciousness, prominently featuring trendy grains and vegetables like quinoa and kale. As a nice bonus, the back of the book lists nutritional data for every recipe. But, the cookbook seems to be more about “family friendly” than “super healthy.” While sweeteners aren’t tossed into every recipe, sugar, honey, maple syrup, ketchup and jam are fairly frequent additions to marinades/sauces for fish/chicken/beef and to salad dressings.

The dessert section features mostly simple, home-ey recipes, like cookies, brownies and bundt cakes, which all use oil instead of margarine or butter. Additionally, every dessert recipe is either flourless or can be made with gluten-free flour mix. Not all the dessert recipes will work for Passover, but quite a few will, such as the Rocky Road Brownie Cake and the Almond-Crusted chocolate Tart.

Here is one thing that I wished this cookbook had: suggested menus. I would have loved to have seen how Daniella Silver puts these recipes together into full meals for different occasions.

Speaking of menus, if you are still looking for dairy recipes for Shavuos, here is a list of dairy recipes in the book: Dairy Blueberry Soup, Double Cheese Cauliflower Gratin, Crustless Spinach & Feta Cheese Tart, Caprese Penne Salad, Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes & Feta Cheese, Fresh Berry Toast, Lemon Garlic Spaghetti, Cauliflower Crusted Pizza, Grandma Marion’s Cheese Muffins, Carrot Cake and Heavenly Halvah Cheesecake.

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Reproduced from The Silver Platter, by Daniella Silver with Norene Gilletz, with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications. http://artscroll.com/silver


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