By COLlive reporter
Spoiler alert: Rosh Hashana is less than 4 weeks away.
With the onset of the new Jewish year will be a slew of consecutive family meals. With as much time spent in the kitchen preparing meals as the hours spent in shul davening, advance preparation could only help.
Some assistance in that area is always most welcomed.
A new cookbook, written by a young mother and a veteran kitchen virtuoso, offers a wholesome blend of traditional Jewish servings with a homey flavor, trendy ingredients and a dash of healthy conscience that can add excitement to yet another yomtov meal.
“The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular” is a result of a single phone call between a young, aspiring cook named Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz, a matriarch of kosher cookbooks who spent over 40 years as a visionary leader of the kosher food revolution.
“She reminded me so much of myself when I was about her age: a young mom, involved in the community, highly energetic and committed,” Gilletz says of her fellow Canadian collaborator. “Her passion for creating spectacular food from simple ingredients blew me away.”
Gilletz took on a protégé, a relationship with turned into a remarkable collaboration – and eventually a close friendship and a cookbook – between these two talented Toronto Jewish women.
“Daniella and I make a perfect partnership as a writing team because we each have unique strengths that merge together, resulting in one clear vision,” Gilletz says.
The Silver Platter can be best described as an intergenerational masterpiece that combines Silver’s modern recipes and presentation and Gilletz’s cooking repertoire featuring over 160 family-friendly recipes accompanied by full-color photos, nutritional information, prepare ahead and freeze options.
Published by ArtScroll Shaar Press, its 336 pages has the favorite Jewish meal staple: salmon. Yet, you have the option to prepare it in 5 different ways: Sticky sesame, herbed, balsamic honey-gazed, maple-glazed, cedar-planked with strawberry-chili salsa.
The main serving at any meal – meat – gets its full reverence: Raspberry or coffee-rubbed London broil, jalapeno short ribs, maple-mustard Miami ribs, bourbon-marinated prime rib, balsamic-braised brisket, lemon-lime lamp chops, chunky chili, among others.
Besides for the expected sections for appetizers, soups, salads, fish, poultry and meat, there’s a chapter for Grain Side Dishes offering bright flavors and crunchy textures that pack a nutritious punch. Here’s pomegranate and mango mix well with black rice and quinoa is served with nectarines and pickled onions.
Most of the are naturally gluten-free. Those that aren’t, have gluten-free alternative suggestions. Two of Silver’s children have food allergies which led her to modify many of her family’s favorite dishes, aiming to keep them beautifully presented and full of flavor.
What is perhaps most innovative about this cookbook are the “Norene’s Notes” on the bottom of each recipe. Gilletz draws on her experience as a food writer, culinary consultant and cooking teacher to ease your way throughout the cooking with simple and clear instructions and tips.
Whether for the Tishrei month of holidays, a year-round Shabbos meal, Pesach and any other occasion, this cookbook is one you’ll want to keep within arm’s reach to spruce up a meal for family and guests.
Artscroll provided COLlive.com readers with 2 sample recipes:
Gluten-free | freezes well | yields 8-10 servings
1 beef brisket (4-5 lb /1.8-2.3 kg)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 can (6 oz/170 g) tomato paste
2 Tbsp honey
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup dry red wine or water
1. Coat a large roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add brisket; sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Rub brisket with spices to coat on all sides.
2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions for 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in parsley, tomato paste, honey, bay leaves, vinegar, and wine. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.
3. Pour sauce over, around, and under the brisket. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight, turning occasionally.
4. Preheat oven to 325°F. Bake, covered, for 3-3½ hours or until meat is fork-tender. Calculate 45 minutes per pound to determine the cooking time. Discard bay leaves. Let cool.
5. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Discard hardened fat from gravy. Trim excess fat from brisket. Slice against the grain to desired thickness.
6. Reheat, covered, in pan gravy at 350°F for 25-30 minutes.
Slow Cooker Method: Season brisket and prepare sauce as above; add to slow cooker insert coated with nonstick cooking spray. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator. Place insert into slow cooker; cook on on low for 8-10 hours.
Ask your butcher to cut a very large brisket (8 lb/3.6 kg) in half. Total cooking time will be the same as for one 4 lb/1.8 kg brisket.
Brisket should be cooked “low and slow,” with lots of onions. The internal temperature should not rise above 180°F on a meat thermometer; after it reaches 200°F, the brisket will become dry.
Gluten-free option | do not freeze | yields 4-6 servings
11/2 cups Israeli couscous
(about one 8.8 oz pkg)
(see Norene’s Notes, below)
1/2 green apple, julienned (do not peel)
1/2 red apple, julienned (do not peel)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (preferably fresh)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup candied almonds or pecans (optional) (p. 280)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
1 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook couscous according to package directions. Fluff with a fork; let cool.
2. In a serving bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Add couscous and cranberries.
3. Dressing: Combine ingredients for dressing in a glass jar; seal tightly, and shake well.
4. Add dressing to couscous mixture and mix well. Top with almonds, if using. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
To make this dish gluten-free, use brown rice couscous, quinoa, kasha, or a rice blend; cook according to package directions. Israeli couscous is actually toasted pasta and originated in Israel. It is also known as pearl couscous or maftoul.