Oct 27, 2010

Cooking w/Giveaway, Susie Style!

Ever since Pesach 2008, I've been in love. The love affair has taken me to flavorful heights and through disastrous experiences. No, I'm not talking about my life since meeting Tuvia, I'm talking about my falling in love with the kitchen and cooking. I've always loved baking -- for me, it was easy to throw together cookies or a cake or some brownies. But cooking? It required knowledge of recipes and vegetables and spices and oils and other things I had zero experience with. Home was not a place where I was prepared for the big, bad world of food, so I took it upon myself to learn. I never wanted to learn to cook. After all, my original desire in a spouse was for him to be completely kitchen trained. I dated a few guys with skills that would put Martha Stewart to shame (Manishewitz in a pasta sauce? you bet!), but in the end, I need to figure it out for myself.

More than two years later, I consider myself pretty skilled in the kitchen. I've cooked for a few people, for two families with kids, for my in-laws ... you name it. I'm confident in the kitchen (except when it comes to serving, and then I sit on the edge of my seat waiting for pleased responses). But I didn't get here alone. I've had the help of my favorite Kosher cooks: Jamie Geller, Susie Fishbein, and the Internet! Thus, here begins an ode to one of my chef partners, Susie Fishbein.

I promise you, at the end of this post, there will be a giveaway for the book I'm about to discuss, so keep reading!

I received a copy of Susie Fishbein's upcoming (as in, today's its release) cookbook, the newest in the Kosher by Design series, Teens and 20-Somethings, and upon receipt I 3M flagged the heck out of it. Okay, I'm getting ahead of myself. At first, I was amused by the cover design -- a spaghetti squash with headphones ... how silly. But I wasn't completely sold on the concept. I flipped through the cookbook and the first thing I noticed was the layout and design, which, to be completely honest, I wasn't jazzed about. As a proverbial "20-something," I felt sort of ... talked down to. I know that this cookbook is geared toward a variety of ages and that the goal is for the book to appeal not only to the title's demographic but also to those cooking for them ... but the design just rubs me the wrong way. It reminds me of 1980s teen style. Bright colors, paint splatters, quirky phrases. It's just trying to hard. Susie gives party ideas in the back of the book with menu suggestions, and the party suggestions seem very, well, geared toward a 5-year-old. Again, I felt like the book was talking down to me. But is the point of the book the layout and design? Probably not. But aesthetics are big when it comes to appeal and selling points. But let's move on to the food. That's why you're here, right?

I decided to make a few things straight out of the book to get a feel for this edition and whether it rocks my world as much as the others I have purchased since moving to Teaneck. I opted for the Mexican Chicken and the Blondies, both which surpassed my expectations in ease of preparation, cooking time, and taste. The great thing about the new edition is that Susie took the time to label each recipe with its "free-ness." That is, nut free, gluten free (GF), dairy free, etc. Although the number of gluten-free recipes is minimal, I'm a firm believer that just about anything can be made gluten-free. Neither of these recipes were labeled as such, but some simple replacements made for an easy cooking experience.

The Mexican Chicken was a breeze (once my husband chopped up some chicken thighs because, well, we're in the Poconos and the chicken selection is limited in the kosher department). All I had to do was crush some tortilla chips (corn = GF), some corn flakes (GF), and put in some taco seasoning (of the GF variety), throw it in a bowl, then toss the chicken pieces in some salsa to coat and then in the chip/corn flake mix to coat, in a pan, bake at 350 and blamo. Twenty minutes later I had some nommy eats. I mixed up the sauce offered with it, which my husband used to mask the seeming "salsa taste" that the chicken had. He doesn't dig salsa, I do. We compromised. It looks yummy, right? It was, believe me.

Once the chicken was in, I got to work on the Blondies, which, I learned, are basically chocolate chip cookies in brownie form (note: this is my first-ever blondie attempt). It was a quick and easy substitution of Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose GF Flour with some xanthum gum, mixed in with the other bits and pieces of the recipe (you'll have to buy the book for this, folks), and ta-da. Blondies. Oh, and don't worry if you messed up -- I put (on accident) probably two to three times more vanilla that I should have. And? Even still: soft, moist, scrumdiddlyumptious. And I guarantee a stranger wouldn't know they're gluten free, either.

Evan really enjoyed the blondies. Really.
Overall, I'm excited about many of the recipes -- which range from drinks to desserts and include a variety of cuisine styles -- in this cookbook, including Orange Butternut Squash Soup (p. 56), the Pizza Soup (p. 62), the Amalfi Chicken (p. 102), and, especially, the Confetti Spaghetti Squash (there's a squash at home calling my name; p. 160). Oh, and, of course, there's the Cappuccino Mousse (p. 210) and the Molten Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Cookies (p. 214) -- gluten-free-ified, of course!

So now you know there are good eats, are you ready for the giveaway? Read carefully!
  1. This giveaway starts now and ends on Tuesday, November 2 at 10 p.m. 
  2. One winner will receive their very own copy of Susie Fishbein's Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings.
  3. How do you enter? I'm giving you two options. 
    1. Pick your favorite recipe from the Kosher by Design series and post it to the comments, and tell me what you love about it. 
    2. If you don't happen to have the Kosher by Design series on-hand, pick your favorite go-to recipe and post it to the comments and tell me how you found it and why you love it.
  4. BONUS entry for those who also post a link to a picture of their favorite Kosher by Design recipe! (Note: you have to have made the food in the picture, no taking pictures from Susie's cookbooks.)
I'll post the winner late Tuesday night. And if you don't win? Never fear. Following this giveaway will be another giveaway of Jamie Geller's new cookbook, Quick & Kosher: Meals in Minutes.

Also, probably the coolest part of this post and the giveaway? Your access to the Kosher by Design Recipe Index! Seriously, the best invention ever! No need to look through all of your KbD books, just check out the index if you can't find a recipe.

Rocking Kosher Fest with Susie Fishbein!
Finally, a little ditty with goods and details: Preorder your copy today at ArtScroll.com – enter the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout to save 10% and receive free shipping in the continental U.S. Join us online to find more reviews and giveaway contests! Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings: cooking for the next generation is aimed at the young and digital-savvy fast-food generation and those who cook for them. Susie Fishbein is an everyday cook who loves to share her passion for cooking and entertaining with friends and family. Her enthusiasm for food and entertaining led to the creation of her best-selling cookbook, Kosher by Design, published in 2003 by ArtScroll Shaar Press. For more recipes and updates, visit our blog or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


Rivkah T said...

I hope you auto-posted this. Hopefully you are not up at this crazy hour too!

So many faves from Susie! But, the killer recipe is the Mushroom Veloute Soup from KBDE (aka The Pink One). I have converted avowed soup-haters to soup-lovers with this one. I frequently make it GF with soy flour (I watch my carbs). The Asian-Inspired Silver-Tip Roast (I think it's also from KBDE) is also vv awesome..I just add wine to the baking dish, as dry roasting and my oven do not seem to agree. Fresh ginger + lots of cumin = awesomeness.

Hoping I win a copy of this one...even tho I'm ever so slightly outside of the age range (well, less than a decade). If not, will have to drop Significant Hints to family for my upcoming birthday. That's how I scored KBDLU!

Caroline said...

Okay, I'm a total Susie Fishbein junkie. My favorites include Layered Chopped Salad and Sunken Apple and Honey Cake from the original KBD, Sweet Potato Pie and Carrot Muffins from KBDKids, and the Peanut Butter Cup Diamonds (not sure of the name...something like that) from KBD Entertains. I'm also a huge fan of Kickin' Chicken from KBD Short on Time.

I'd like to point out that these recipes are simply off the top of my head; I'm at work, 25 miles away from my cookbooks. Susie is a gem. Her recipes ALWAYS look perfect, just like in the pictures, and they taste great, too!

Glad Hatter said...

I don't have any of the KBD books (gift ideas people!) so I rely strongly on my mom and the internet for recipes. I love using my crockpot so any recipe that can be chucked in there is a winner in my book!

Lily said...

I don't really want to take this cookbook away from someone who wants it, since I've already had a chance to browse it/have a copy I can borrow whenever I want. (My other half is related to Susie :P We taste-tested a fair amount of this cookbook, like when she brought the bbq popcorn over for our chanukah party) I just wanted to comment on it, since I've browsed it too!

The cover design was an annoyance of mine. While they were shooting the cover itself, they were emailing Danny and I(and maybe a few others in his family) the designs and asking what we thought. Well, honestly, we hated all of them and said so, but after a time and their 'improvements' we kind of gave up our expressing the hate and let the madness continue. This cover is much better than the "original", which had weird googly eyes. The biggest annoyance on the cover for me is that the eyes and mouth are totally photoshopped. If you look closely you can see the wavy lines on the mouth. The original resolution makes it very obvious. Although I am told the cover is "very well received", I am not sure if it is well received by its target audience or a different crowd.

There were a lot of yummy sounding recipes, but I didn't actually read them(to see if I felt 'talked down to'). The thing is, I feel like teens and 20 somethings are two very distinct age groups in the Jewish world. Teens are probably living at home, wanting to cook the random meal to impress the family. A lot of kosher-keeping Jews who are in their 20's are married or attempting to be married, and like you said, the party ideas and some recipes just speak to a younger crowd. Perhaps it would have been better to milk two cookbooks out of this one age group by having the teen's cookbook, then making a "newlywed cookbook" for the 20-somethings, which could have included things like good food to reheat on shabbos or make in bulk for shabbos, easy meals during the week, etc.

In general I love the KBD cookbooks, so the criticism is not out of spite or negativity, just things I noticed. I can't wait to try some of the recipes. :) The pesto gnocchi is fabulous(although I know for Chaviva it's not gluten free, but for anyone else reading!), and it's really cute that she included a recipe for Chickie's sandwiches.

Rucheli said...

I wish I could post up a favorite recipe, but we don't have a kitchen here in seminary, so I haven't cooked in forever :( Do they have any microwave meals in the book? Hehe.

Aidel Knaidel said...

My favorite recipe (and I think many people agree with me) is Cauliflower Popcorn. I like it because it is one of the few things I can make that EVERYONE in the family likes. I use a big bag of Bodek cauliflower, and there are never any leftovers. I love that I am getting some veggies into my picky family!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I have the first book and I loves it loves it loves it. Mine is pseudo spiral bound too which makes me loves it even more!

My favourite recipe EVAH is the (now remember I am at work and I can't remember all the names) chicken pastrami knish recipe. You take puff pastry squares, a schmear of brown mustard, a chicken breast cutlet and a slice of pastrami...a dollop of mashed and wrap that puppy up. Might even be called Hush Puppies or something like that. I think it was the first thing I ever made from that book. Evan LOVED it. Also, her chocolate pecan pie....easy peasy and DELICIOUS (would probably KILL me now but still). I did her roasted green beans but with asparagus for Pesach one year...MAJOR hit at the Savta's! Oh and the pomegranate chicken...awesomesauce on a bone.

Now...let me win!!!!! :)



PS Your hair is getting LONG!

Devora said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE everything that I have ever made from Susie Fishbein.
But some repeats that my family requests often are:
Mexican Gefilta Fish (KBDE)
Orange Chicken (KBDSOT)
Mexicotti (KBDSOT)
Middle Estern Couscous Chicken (KBDSOT)
Wine Braised Brisket with tomatoes (KBDSOT)
Tuna Croquettes (KBDSOT)
Pumkin Cranberry Muffins (KBDSOT)
Brownie Bites (KBDSOT)
Giant Zebra Fudge Cookies (KBDSOT)
Mini Chicken Wellingtons (KBDE)
Roated Cauliflower Soup (KBDE)
Broccoli Cashew Salad (KBDE)
Chopped Salad with honey Mustard Dressing (KBDE)
Glazed Chicken with Strawberry Salsa (KBDE)
I'm gonna stop now, because I can really go through all of her cookbooks and keep listing family favorites.
Happy Cooking!

Anonymous said...

i am hungry for blondies now!!!
where did you find your GF Corn Flakes? i keep hearing that they're out there someplace, but haven't had any luck.

Mrs. S. said...

We love the Giant Zebra Fudge Cookies from "Passover by Design"! It's a very nice change of pace from our usual Pesach dessert fare - brownies, brownies, and more brownies... :-)

Chana said...

Susie taught me to like hummus, I never liked it until I discovered her recipe from KB Short on Time.

I had a big Friday night coming up with lots of guests and was looking for a cheap, nutritious and easy side dish. Found the recipe mentioned above and figured I'd make it without eating it. Well, after whipping up the ingredients in the food processor I couldn't resist a taste and the rest is history...that hummus dish has become a staple on our Shabbos table, if I don't make it the guests complain!

melissa said...

The Cream of Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Roasted Pecans from KBDE is my favoritest ever! Before this soup I hated both soup and sweet potato, but somehow this soup is just perfect! I had it first at my rebbetzin's house and she was sad to say it was not her recipe. Meanwhile, I was excited it was a recipe from a cookbook I owned - but would never have tried otherwise.
Susie sure knows how to make my Shabbat table better, and if she could transform my daily meals too - I'd be in gan eden ;-)

(PS - For some reason I can't post as me, but I promise it is really me!)

Cantor Neff said...

My favorite recipe isn't from the kbd series, but it is seriously yummy! My friend made it in college and I made her share the recipe (thanks Miriam!!)
Wild rice & turkey - Miriam Hornstein's recipe

3 cups cooked wild rice
1 lb ground kosher turkey breast
2 tbs spice mix consisting of:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp sage
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp thyme

1/2 chopped onion
2 cups broth
(optional 1/2 cup wine)

Mix the ground turkey and the prepared spice mix.
Brown the turkey in a large pan.
Add the onion
Add the rice and broth (and wine)
Cook on simmer for 20-25 mins or until liquid is gone

Mara ~ Kosher on a Budget said...

I'm glad you said what you did about the cover, b/c I feel the same way! Interesting to read Leah Sarah's feedback as well.

Please don't enter me into the drawing, as I have the copy that I was sent to review, but there are some pictures of two of the recipes I made on my blog -- the spinach & shells, and the broccoli quiche (my kids' choices, believe it or not.) I am psyched to try the molten chocolate chip cookies. Those look fab!

dena said...

"spinach matzoh balls" from "Kosher by Design Entertains" sounds very tasty. I plan to make a batch for pesach.

decadent cookie said...

the kbd series is my bible! off the top of my head is the popcorn cauliflower (which i see someone mentioned already), I love the asparagus shitake loaf - not to difficult, tastes great and great presentation from kbde. the chicken wontons are always a hit, and i use the kids in the kitchen TONS! the granola is my daily breakfast, the pancakes are my kids fave and the chicken pot pie is actually a dish i make for special company - so I would love to get my hands on the latest kbd!

Talya Weinberg said...

I love the Asian Big Bowl soup from Short on Time (p 54). It was easy to make and it went with my carefully thought out Asian themed Shabbos dinner: Asian big bowl soup, Pad Thai in egg roll wrapper bowls, Sesame Chicken, and Avocado Spring Rolls (also from short on time- also delish, p 40).

The KBD books have been a G-d send to the orthodox cooking world. I love browsing through my KBD books knowing i will always find something exotic and yummy to whip up!

PS- While rereading my post out loud to the hubby, I barely finished the first sentence when he quickly interjected, "yumm! I LOVE asian big bowl-- you haven't made it in so long!" Better get me self back into the kitchen. ;-)

Unknown said...

No doubt chopped layered salad. Looks magnificent, packs a lot a nutrition and tastes amazing. Oh, and it's relatively easy to make. A classic favorite.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@Rivka It was auto-posted :) Never fear!

You guys have such AWESOME favorites and recipe suggestions! I'm so excited to try all of your suggestions out (at least, the ones I haven't tried yet).

Also, don't forget, that if you don't win this round, stay tuned for the next cookbook giveaway, of Jamie Geller's newest Quick & Kosher, which, by the way, is amazing!

Mrs. S. said...

Hi Chaviva.
Please remove my entry above from the drawing. (I won over at G6's!)

Thanks anyway.

Shifra Staiman said...

With 2 minutes to go...
I'm going to go with a more obscure recipe since its hard to choose and since I don't have all the cookbooks in front of me now!

I LOVE Susie's Zuchinni Lentil Soup (KBD lightens up 76). I happen to love lentils- especially perfect for this week's parsha when Esav sells Ya'akov the birthright for a bowl of lentil soup (as the story is told at least)! This super is just super fresh and healthy tasting. I love all the spices- fresh garlic dill, basil, sage, thyme and fresh dill. Definitely try it to celebrate Parshat Toldot if you haven't already!

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

A winner is chosen!


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