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Our Table Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

I’ve been following Renee Muller for years, and when word got out that she was coming out with a cookbook, I knew it would be something special. You see, Renee doesn’t see food like the rest of us. To her, a table is a canvas, and each dish is another way to paint a beautiful picture. Renee is a food stylist par excellence and her magazines spreads are jaw dropping. I knew the photography would be out of this world, but I was in for even more. In Our Table, Renee invites us to experience the joy of eating memorable meals together, something she cherishes from her upbringing in Lugano, Switzerland. Her recipes are homey, family friendly and diverse. She’s got a little something for everyone – part healthy, part indulgent, some easy and some more complicated. The Chapters span the basics from appetizers and soups/salads to fish/dairy, meat/chicken, snack/sides, breads/cakes/cookies and desserts.

Beautiful photography and a range of mouthwatering recipes wasn’t enough for Renee. So she created a guide with never-before-seen video tutorials of some of her most popular recipes. From “how to stuff cabbage” to “how to cut caramels”, “how to make gnocchi” to “how to braid challah”, these videos are not just visually stunning, they are informative too. (You can watch them here!) You’ll also find a Pesach guide in the book to help you easily adjust many of the recipes and make them holiday approved.

I’ve already tried Renee’s seared tuna cubes over the holidays to rave reviews, but I’m looking forward to trying the broccoli winter salad below, the gnocchi di casa, sugo della nonna (her grandmother’s Italian marinara sauce), Belgian birthday waffles, lattice minute roast, meat manicotti, honey walnut brittle, irresistible toffee, buttery chocolate scones, deconstructed lemon meringue pie (what an awesome idea!) and more!

Of course I can’t do a cookbook review without giving one lucky winner a chance to own this beauty, so…

To enter to a win a copy of Our Table by Renee Muller,

  1. Comment on this post and share your most memorable meal or dish.
  2. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, November 14th, 2016.

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Kosher by Design Brings It Home Review & Giveaway

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Kosher by Design Brings it Home VIRTUAL BOOK RELEASE PARTY! I’ve been a fan of Susie Fishbein since the early years, before there was a Busy In Brooklyn and the only things I knew how to cook came out of a cookbook. When I got married, her books were my go-to for Shabbos and Yom Tov meals and everything in between. In the early days of BIB, I posted some of her recipes like thisthis and this and was honored to attend her book release party for KBD Cooking Coach where I met her in person for the first time.

I have a deep respect for Susie’s work because she was the go-to kosher recipe developer before there were hundreds of cookbooks to compete with, an endless supply of free recipes on the web to copycat and growing network of kosher foodies who share, connect and interact in the industry. Fishbein literally set the groundwork for all the kosher cookbooks to come with her solid cookbook collection filled with original and unique recipes as well as beautiful food photography. I’ve followed Susie’s journey through the years and I’m thrilled to see a culmination of her travels in her last of the KBD series, Bringing it Home.

As a foodie, I have learned that the only way to really expand your culinary horizons is to travel. Traveling opens your eyes to unique ingredients, food combinations and flavors that you never thought of or experienced. Not all of us have the luxury to host culinary tours throughout the world, so luckily Susie has done the work for us. In Kosher by Design Brings It Home, she fills us in on her travels throughout  Israel, France, Italy and Mexico, sharing food traditions and fiercely guarded recipes that are unique to those regions.  It’s an honor to have an inside look into restaurant and chef’s recipes throughout the kosher world and I can’t wait to start cooking more cultural cuisine!

Purchase Kosher by Design Brings it Home on Amazon

A book release party is nothing without a giveaway, and what a giveaway it is! Follow these instructions to enter.

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The Silver Platter Review & Giveaway

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

My first impression of The Silver Platter cookbook was how big and beautiful it is, almost a coffee table book. Having formerly trained in graphic design, I always look at the layout first. And the pictures. Both are stellar. Beautiful, bright and colorful photos accompany each meticulously-written recipe. And the food doesn’t just look good, it looks inviting, and not intimidating in the least. I love the partnership of Daniella and Norene in this book. Daniella is a young mom looking to feed her kids easy and healthy dinners, while Norene brings her culinary expertise, offering sage advice for each recipe.

I think my favorite part about The Silver Platter is that all of the recipes can be made with basic pantry ingredients. Daniella managed to bring a variety of dishes that are packed with flavor using basic ingredients and no added junk. Her recipes are healthy, wholesome and family-friendly without being boring. Many are gluten free and allergy-friendly too. A nutritional index for each recipe is even included in the appendix.

The Silver Platter features recipes that are both basic enough for every day and innovative enough for the holidays. From appetizers, soups and salads, to fish, poultry, meat and dairy, as well as grain side dishes, vegetable side dishes, cookies, treats and cakes, they’ve got everything covered! I can’t wait to try the baby eggplant fans (genius!), crunchy corned beef strips, berry plum soup, snap pea salad with basil-mint dressing, broiled lemon fish, three-seeded schnitzel, basil chicken with sundried tomatoes, raspberry london broil, cheesy quinoa bites, panko-topped bok choy and edamame, fudgy pretzel brownies, white chocolate popcorn clusters, blueberry flan and heavenly halva cheesecake!

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m sharing some festive recipes for apple cranberry couscous and sweet potato squash soup below, AND, I’m also giving away a copy of The Silver Platter! To enter, simply leave a comment below about your favorite Thanksgiving dish. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015.

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Something Sweet Review & Giveaway

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a cookbook. OK maybe I do. It was Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. But other than Ottolenghi books, I don’t usually count the days until a cookbook comes out. It’s different when that cookbook is written by a friend and fellow kosher blogger, and when it’s jam-packed with mouthwatering desserts. Only desserts. 

The talented Miriam Pascal of OvertimeCook has been giving me (and all her readers!) sneak peeks into her cookbook for months now. As a foodie friend and fellow food photographer, I got a behind-the-scenes look at Miriam’s amazing photography, and I couldn’t wait to see it in print. Miriam and I started our blogs around the same time, back in 2011. We both had little experience with photography, but as our blogs grew, our photography improved and so did our traffic. As a food blogger, Miriam takes the cake (literally) for the most amazing desserts that she posts on her blog, as well as in her food column for Ami Magazine. I’m not much of a baker, but when I actually feel like shlepping out my kitchenaid, I turn to Miriam for delicious, no-fail recipes every time. I’m so proud of her achievement, that I even filled in for her, guest posting on her blog while she was busy putting the finishing touches on this book.

Leave it to Miriam, I just knew there would be no stone left unturned in her cookbook. She has literally covered all the bases, from a baking guide, to ingredient substitutions, kitchen equipment, baking tips and a holiday guide. I love the range of desserts she covers, including cookies and bars, cakes and cupcakes, muffins and pastries, pies and tarts, desserts and party treats, candy and chocolate, drinks and frozen treats and finally, frosting and toppings. That last one seriously has me drooling. I am a frosting addict.

Now not only did Miriam cover pretty much every dessert you can think of, she also listened closely to her reader’s requests, and developed recipes like no-margarine chocolate chip cookies, no-margarine sugar cookies, healthy muffins, egg-free chocolate mousse and even a coconut oil pie crust (I truly appreciate this one!). The best part about the recipes in Something Sweet is that they are truly accessible. Nothing is over-the-top fancy and all the recipes use basic ingredients that we can all find in our pantry.

Many of my followers know that I’m not a big baker, so I truly appreciate the clearly written recipes, thoughtful variations and plan ahead options. I don’t think there’s a single recipe in Something Sweet that overwhelms me, and that says a lot! Some of the recipes I’ve got my eye on include the bourbon pecan snowball cookies, gingerbread biscotti, oatmeal cookie wedges, honey sour cream pound cake and cinnamon cheese buns.

It doesn’t get more perfect than gorgeous photos, great recipes and an all-around well-written book. Congrats to Miriam on this tremendous achievement!

I’m excited to be giving away a copy of SOMETHING SWEET just in time for the holidays! To enter:

  1. Comment on this post and share your favorite “something sweet” (it can be food or dessert).
  2. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, September 21st, 2015.

Purchase Something Sweet on Amazon

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Dairy Made Easy Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Leah Schapira & Victoria Dwek turn out new cookbooks faster than I develop recipes. Their latest addition to the Made Easy series is a fantastic collection of dairy recipes, just in time for Shavuot!

Like Starters & Sides Made Easy, Passover Made Easy, and Kids Cooking Made Easy, the Dairy edition is layed out in the same attractive, easy-to-read style. Even their cookbook-making skills seem made easy. They’ve mastered a template that provides a small soft-cover book that’s beautifully styled, easy to flip through, and filled with tips and tidbits, all without seeming overwhelming. The beautiful pictures draw you in and the down-to-earth recipes make you want to open your pantry right then-and-there to whip up one of their quick and easy dishes.

Besides for 60 easy-to-make recipes, you’ll also find a comprehensive cheese guide, a Make It Light section, a Make it Pareve Guide, and bonus serving ideas. Leah and Victoria fill each page with great tips, like how to measure frozen fruit, how to soften butter quickly or how to bake pizza without a pizza stone. They also share their thought processes and family anecdotes in a fun and friendly way.

What do I not want to make from this cookbook? It’s filled with mouthwatering recipes for breakfast, great starters & sides, soups, salads & sandwiches, and of course pizza, pasta and dessert (hello 180 calorie cheesecake!).

Some of the recipes I look forward to trying are the granola thins, arancini, sweet chili home fries, stuffed sole, French mushroom soup, hasselback baguette, honey pomodoro pizza, cajun creamy penne, cheese buns, peanut butter creme brulee and strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Shavuot, I’m giving away a free copy of the Dairy Made Easy cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below with your favorite Shavuot dish. You can also follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below for an extra entry. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, May 26th, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Joy of Kosher Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Monday, March 24th, 2014

When Jamie Geller coined herself “the bride who knew nothing” I believed her. In her Quick & Kosher cookbooks series, Jamie shared recipes that were exactly as titled – simple, easy and quick dishes that the most novice of cooks could whip out of their kitchen. Some recipes were as simple as pairing store-bought barbeque sauce with shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken – now who can’t do that?

Being a fan of Jamie’s spunky personality and can-do attitude, I owned both of her cookbooks and was familiar with all the recipes from the bride who knew nothing. Which is precisely why the Joy of Kosher cookbook swept me right off my feet. That clueless young bride that could not make a pot of chicken soup evolved into a sophisticated cook with innovative recipes that are as pleasing to the eye as they are on the palate.

I know that because I was lucky enough to attend Jamie’s cookbook launch party where I sampled many of the dishes in the book including ktzizot (Israeli mini burgers), Meditteranean lamb skewers, cilantro corn cakes, mini slow cooker turkey spinach meatloaf, BBQ short rib sliders, fudge brownies, caramel apples with crushed candy and kiddie candy bark.  I was literally blown away by the amazing flavor in each and every dish. The cocktail meatballs with sweet and sour sauce were some of the most tender meatballs I’d ever had, and the carrot honey cake was an eye-opening experience for a honey-cake-purist like myself.

Recipes from the bride who knew nothing? Not anymore.

Browsing through Jamie’s book, you’ll find that she shares a lot more than just stellar recipes. She shares of piece of herself. With each chapter, Ms. Geller opens another door to her life and home, drawing you in like you’re part of the family. An adorable one, I might add. As a food photographer, I don’t know which I like more – the expertly styled food photos that jump off the page, or the out-of-this-world moments captured of her precious clan of five.

Aside from beautiful photos and mouthwatering recipes, Joy of Kosher packs it all in by offering a dressed up an dressed down version of each recipe. That means you can whip it up real fast for family, or polish it up for Shabbat or holiday meals. A handy holiday menu guide and Passover conversion table complete the book, making it perfect for year-round use.

In honor of the upcoming holiday of Passover, I’m giving away a free copy of the Joy of Kosher cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below with your favorite Passover dish. You can also follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below for an extra entry. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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SAMPLE PASSOVER RECIPES FROM THE JOY OF KOSHER COOKBOOK:

Jamie Geller and I at the Joy of Kosher Cookbook Launch Party

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Starters & Sides Made Easy Review & Giveaway

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek know a thing or two about food. Leah is the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking and co-founder of CookKosher.com, and Victoria is the managing editor of Whisk Magazine. The pair are always surrounded by good food, so they decided to join forces and write a cookbook together. Passover Made Easy was their first collection of favorite triple-tested recipes, and now, the two have done it again. They have moved on to create a series of “Made Easy” cookbooks including Starters & Sides as well as Kids Cooking (review coming soon).

There’s something nice about a cookbook series. It’s familiar and you know what you’re gonna get. In the case of the “Made Easy” series, that’s great graphics, building block recipes, plating ideas and great kitchen tips. I especially love the friendly “conversations” that Leah & Victoria have throughout the book. They are set out in speech bubbles, making you feel as if you’re standing in the kitchen with two friends.

Starters & Sides Made Easy starts out with an elaborate spice guide to help guide you through the different herbs, spices and blends. It continues with building block recipes and chapters on vegetables, grains, meat & chicken, fish, dairy and sweet. The book finishes with ideas on how to convert some of the dishes from starters to mains. Each recipe is accompanied by a beautifully composed photo of the dish.

Some of the recipes I look forward to trying, include broccoli stuffed artichokes, sticky red potatoes, Yemenite yellow orzo rice, crispy beef, falafel cigars,  silan chicken salad, tangy tilapia nuggets, parmesan sticks, and whiskey sweet potatoes.

My only issue with this book is the size. I know it sounds weird but it sticks out of my cookbook shelf because it’s wider than most cookbooks.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Busy In Brooklyn is giving a copy of Starters & Sides Made Easy! To enter the giveaway, you must:

1. Share you favorite Chanukah dish in the comments below.
2. Follow Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook, Twitter. Pinterest, and/or Instagram (one entry per media channel you follow – please specify which ones you follow in the comments).

Winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, December 4th, 8:00 PM.

BONUS RECIPES FROM STARTERS & SIDES MADE EASY:

RELATED POSTS: Passover Made Easy Cookbook Review

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The Holiday Kosher Baker Review & Giveaway

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Anyone who reads my blog knows I’m not the biggest baker (understatement) so I was a little intimidated going in to this book of heavenly pastries. The Holiday Kosher Baker is written by Paula Shoyer, a graduate of the esteemed Ritz Escoffier pastry program in Paris. Shoyer is a regular contributor to countless kosher websites, and has appeared on The Food Network’s Sweet Genius. She is the author of “The Kosher Baker: 160 Dairy Free Desserts from Traditional to Trendy.”

The Holiday Kosher Baker begins with a kosher baking encyclopedia – literally everything you need to know about baking equipment, tips, techniques and tools. It continues with recipes categorized by the Jewish holiday, including, Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim, Passover and Shavuot. Most of the recipes are accompanied by a beautiful picture, as well as detailed instructions even a novice can understand. And of course, you’ll be sure to find invaluable baking tips along the way.

There’s something for everyone in The Holiday Kosher Baker. Easy one bowl recipes for non-bakers like me, and fancier multiple-step recipes for those who like to patchke in the baking department. There’s also low sugar, vegan, gluten-free and nut-free recipes for those on a special diet. The book is truly a holiday baking manifesto, complete with over 45 Passover recipes as well as traditional and contemporary holiday desserts.

Some of the mouthwatering recipes I look forward to trying include babka bites, honey cake biscotti, pecan sticky buns with butterscotch whisky glaze, sticky toffee pudding, everything rugelach, gingerbread cookies (recipe below), red velvet hamantaschen, root beer chocolate truffles and chocolate mille-crepes cake. I also have my heart set on some of Paula’s fantastic Passover recipes including carrot cake, rosemary nut brittle, florentine bars and moscato granita.

Paula’s exceptional baking skills are clearly evident in this book, as are the years of hard work she put into it. While the graphics and photos are nice, I’m a little puzzled by the layout. Instead of having one recipe per page, one recipe leads into another, making the text appear overwhelming.

Busy In Brooklyn is giving away a copy of  The Holiday Kosher Baker! To enter the giveaway, follow one, or all, of my media channels below. You will receive one entry per media channel that you follow. Leave a comment below letting me know where you have followed me.

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Winner will be chosen at random at 12:00 PM EST on November 18th, 2013.

Cook In Israel Review & Giveaway

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Orly Ziv, a nutritionist and cooking instructor from Tel Aviv Israel, is a cook after my own heart. In her debut cookbook, Cook In Israel, Orly showcases recipes that draw on her Greek Jewish Heritage, with flavors of the Middle East and Mediterranean. Her entire first chapter is dedicated solely to eggplant and tomatoes, ingredients which are central to my kitchen. Page after page, Orly’s simple, healthy and flavorful recipes are ones you would find on my dining table any day of the week.

Cook In Israel bears the subtitle “Home Cooking Inspiration” and that is precisely what Orly’s book is all about. In a warm family-oriented way that is customary for Israelis, Ms. Ziv welcomes you into her kitchen with open arms. Her book is clear, simple and straight-forward, with many step by step photos to help guide you along the cooking process. Orly shares family favorites, holiday dishes and an expansive array of vegetarian recipes that are mainstays in Middle Eastern culture.

What is most impressive to me is that Orly self-published this beautiful collection of recipes with masterful results. The typography, layout and picture-perfect photography can only be matched by her clear and concise style of recipe writing – a welcome change from most cookbooks (which include too much commentary).

As someone who relishes Middle Eastern cuisine, this book lacks traditional Israeli fare like “al ha-esh” bbq , shishkebab and other chicken & meat recipes. It is somewhat confusing that Orly only makes slight mention of the fact that her book is almost entirely vegetarian, with only two meat recipes, which in my opinion, are better left out altogether.  As someone who is not ready to give up her carnivorous ways,  this cookbook still offers countless recipes that are filling and flavorful, such as breads, fish, grains and legumes.

Vegetarian or not, Cook In Israel is a keeper after all.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Busy In Brooklyn is thrilled to be able to give away a copy of Cook in Israel to one of my readers!

To enter the giveaway, vote for my grilled portobello burger with sundried tomato aioli in Swap it or Top it Mushroom Contest from The Mushroom Channel. You can vote once per day until August 31, 2013. Each vote will include one entry into the giveaway. Just leave a comment below letting me know when you have voted.

Winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, September 1st, 2013.

SAMPLE RECIPES:

Busy In Brooklyn Middle-Eastern Inspired Recipes:

roasted eggplant parmesan with feta
roasted eggplants with Israeli salad
summer tomato feta salad
malawach cheese pastries with dipping sauce
banana dates milk & honey smoothie
grilled chickpea burgers

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The Modern Menu Review & Giveaway

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

While this cookbook may have been published back in March, it’s never too late to bring a fabulous collection of kosher, innovative recipes to your attention.

At first look, The Modern Menu is exactly what it appears to be – modern. The food is laid out perfectly sleek and contemporary, without any over the top garnishes or plating. It simply speaks for itself, and I love that.

Unlike traditional cookbooks, Kim Kushner brings her own style and pizzazz, arranging the cookbook by how the dishes make you feel – from vibrant and indulgent to gutsy and clever. “To my mind,” says Kim, “Less is more, simple is always best, and food should look as good as it tastes and taste as good as it looks.” A healthy philosophy and outlook that should be the motto of every cook in the kitchen.

Browsing through the cookbook, I can’t help but be inspired by Kim’s clean and simple dishes that are so fresh and appealing. I find myself wanting to bookmark every single page. While Kim emphasizes healthy from-scratch ingredients, her Middle Eastern inspired recipes are possible for the novice chef with a well-stocked pantry.  Her dishes remain light, but the flavors seem anything but. Kushner does not shy away from herbs and spices, adding surprising notes to every dish.

I look forward to trying many of The Modern Menu Cookbook recipes including the kohlrabi cabbage salad with maple lemon dressing, crunchy curry cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate, crispy miso marinated chicken, jalapeno and tomato chutney, chicken with pumpkin, figs and honey, tequila london broil with mango chutney, black sesame crusted char, sticky beef ribs, fig and pecan biscotti, plum crumb cake with star anise and individual halvah, gelato and sorbet towers.

If I could critique anything about this wonderful cookbook, it would be to say that some of the recipes require ingredients that may be hard to find. In addition, while I love Kim’s concept for arranging the book’s chapters, it’s slightly difficult to follow the sections when they are categorized this way.

Busy In Brooklyn is giving away a free copy of The Modern Menu.

To enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment with your favorite light & healthy summer food/recipe.
2. Like Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook.

Winner will be chosen at random on August 2nd, 2013.

Related posts: cookbook reviews