Sunday, January 03, 2016

Cook, Pray, Eat Kosher

There are cookbooks that you simply cook from, return to the shelf, and then go about enjoying your meal.

And then there are cookbooks that leave a lasting impact, whether it's a new technique, flavour combination or piece of knowledge, that carries on. 

              

Mia Adler Ozair's cookbook, Cook, Pray, Eat Kosher is definitely the latter. It nourishes more than just your appetite. While it offers recipes to satisfy both Ashkenazic and Sephardic cuisine, it also satisfies a thirst for knowledge and insight into Judaism itself. It's multi-dimensional, in the sense that it is a cookbook, with a layer of in depth Torah thought, as well as Mia's very own insights and personal story.

I love that our initial approach to cooking was very similar! She had her favorite dishes and her Mom's recipes and while she knew the basics, didn't venture out too much - until she met her husband! I can definitely relate! Seriously, I hadn't even tried an avocado before meeting M! I love that the cookbook is another example of how her and her husband joined forces, since it was he who helped to incorporate the, "golden nuggets of Torah," found throughout the book.

This isn't just a kosher cookbook for meal planning purposes. As the subtitle makes clear, it's a cookbook for the soul. If you're looking to pick up a book to flip through and find a recipe here or there, this isn't it. If you're looking for a cookbook that is brimming with Torah and recipes from a variety of traditions, infused with history and meaning, than look no further. The detail included to connect the spirituality of taking part in a meal, and how eating helps to elevate our connection with Gd, with recipes to encourage you to do so, is intricate and in depth. The book is brimming with discussions around, "Food and the Neshama," "Food and Mussar," Kashrus and more. Again, it is as much a spiritual journey as a culinary one! 

I will admit that the layout at first, wasn't what I'd usually expect from a cookbook. The recipes are split into two columns on most pages, with pages often having titles, which makes it easy to sometimes miss the recipe you're looking for if you're quickly flipping through (i.e the Pumpkin Bread recipe is found in the Dessert section but the title on the page is, "Coffee And..." with the recipe listed below).

The recipes vary with different cuisines and cultures infused into their ingredients and presentation. They all however, have a common thread tying them together. They are simple, flavorful and require ingredients you most likely already have. Having access to recipes that are simple with familiar ingredients, when preparing Shabbos with two under two, is definitely a win!

The simplicity in terms of both preparation and ingredients, urges you to want to try everything! I'll be honest, I usually skip right over the salad recipes in most cookbooks. Unless it's hummus or a caesar salad I'm generally not that interested. It doesn't help that I have little luck making dressings and that raw veggies are hit and miss! 

So, when I tell you that not only did I make two salads from this cookbook, but that they're basically Shabbos staples now, you know there's something big here!


The cucumber salad is simple, flavorful and refreshing! It took barely any time or ingredients and was a great addition to our first course!


The corn salad is now one of my favorites and a staple on our menu! The ingredients are basic and friendly to even the pickiest of veggie eaters! It takes little effort to make, is a colorful addition to the table and a perfect combination of sweet and tart! I love it with the fish course, but it also fits in seamlessly throughout the rest of the meal!



If you're looking for a cookbook that will inspire you both in Torah thought as well as trying recipes you'd previously skim over before, Cook, Pray, Eat Kosher is the perfect resource!

Simple Corn Salad
Serves 4 to 6 (Cook, Pray, Eat Kosher page 130)

1 can sweet corn, drained
3 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
2 or 3 large pickles (sweet or sour as desired), chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve chilled and stir just prior to serving.

This cookbook was generously provided for this review, however all thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own. Recipe has been reproduced with permission.