I love trying new cookbooks, don’t you? Thought so! Here are two I recently received to review. Maybe you can add then to your Chrismukkah wish list from Hanukkah Harry?
First up is The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat. I have to say, I’m kind of jealous. I wish I wrote this book honestly. Partly because author Michael Ruhlman isn’t even Jewish (don’t let the name fool you!), but mostly because I love the stuff. I have made schmaltz in the past, and believe it’s the key to delicious knishes and latkes. Schmaltz isn’t the healthiest food around, but it certainly isn’t the worst (so lose that Jewish guilt!) and with a nickname like “liquid gold” it adds a flavor like no other.
James-Beard Award-winning author Ruhlman begins the tome with step-by-step instructions for making schmaltz. Complete with lots of photos! There are then the traditional uses: Matzo Ball Soup, Chopped Liver, Knishes, Kishke. Oy my arteries! Though there is something disheartening about Ruhlman saying he had hardly tasted chopped liver before testing it out for the book, the recipe is solid thanks to an adapted recipe from his neighbor Lois Baron (Jew!).
After the classic recipes, Ruhlman attempts to use schmaltz to improve contemporary ones. Gnocchi with Spinach, Onion and a Poached Egg, Chicken Confit and even sweet Oatmeal Cookies with dried Cherries are all on my must-make list! Bravo, Ruhlman. You made schmaltz shine.
Next up is Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking from a Jewish-American Kitchen. It seems like everyone and their mom are gluten-free these days, especially the celiac and Crohn’s-prone Jew crew. Kind of unfair that they can’t enjoy rugelach and hamantaschen too, right? Well now they can! Hooray!
Husband and wife author team Lisa Stander-Horel and Tim Horel claim there is “no cookie, strudel, brownie, pie, cake, tart, or treat left behind” because of gluten. They figured out how to recreate all their favorites for their gluten-free family, using their “Nosh AP GF Flour” blend and lots of tough taste-testing, I’m sure. Cherry Chocolate Mandelbrot, Black & White Cookies, Chocolate Babka even Challah. It’s all in there!
Not all the recipes are Jewish, per say. But with Marshmallow Swirl Cocoa Brownies, Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Cupcakes or Caramel Banana Bread with Cranberries, who cares?
If you have your own copies of The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat or Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking from a Jewish-American Kitchen, what do you think?
I received these cookbooks for free, but was not required to review them and all opinions are my own.