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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

Portobello Burgers with Sundried Tomato Aioli

Thursday, June 20th, 2013


When Dena from Chai & Home contacted me about a collaboration between Jewish bloggers to celebrate summer recipes, I was more than happy to join the team. I love the opportunity to work with and promote other bloggers, especially those that share the same traditions and customs as me. “A Very Jewish Summer Week” has been underway since Monday, with fun and exciting posts ranging from tablescapes to summer camp packages.

You can join in on the fun, by visiting the following blog posts:

Monday: Evoking Childhood Shabbat Memories on YentaMamas
Tuesday: Shabbat Style: Alfresco Orange Tablescape on Chai&Home
Wednesday: Summer Camp Care Packages on MadeByMamaleh
Thursday:  Grilled Portobello Burgers with Sundried Tomato Aioli by ME ;)
Friday: Ceviche & Champagne on Bisstyle. English translation here.

When I thought about what kind of recipe to post as part of a weeklong summerfest, I just knew it had to involve grilling. It doesn’t hurt that my newly purchased grill pan was waiting to be broken into! Well what better way to celebrate “A Very Jewish Summer Week” than with the  quintessential American summer food – burgers. Burgers, especially grilled ones on the BBQ, are a summer staple in our culture. When you think of summer BBQ’s – burgers and hot dogs are the very first things that come to mind. They cook up rather quickly on a hot grill, and paired with some fresh lettuce, tomato and onion, make the perfect summertime meal.

The only problem with featuring an authentic burger on “A Very Jewish Summer Week” is that as an observant Jew who keeps kosher, cheeseburgers are a no-no (we don’t eat milk and meat together). I’ve never been to McDonalds or Burger King, and I’ve never tried a slice of melted cheese on a beef patty.

So what’s a kosher blogger to do? I decided to celebrate both my Jewishness, and the joy of Summer BBQing with something even better. A grilled portobello burger with all the fixings. With the Nine Days (a period of mourning in which observant Jews abstain from eating meat). soon approaching, we’ll be thankful for this delicious vegetarian take on a summer classic!

Now, back why you’re all here. The burger. I decided on a portobello mushroom cheeseburger because thick and meaty portobellos are the perfect stand-in for beef in a vegetarian sandwich. They also lend themselves really well to grilling. To take this vegetarian burger over the top, I topped it off with some sundried tomato aioli, the perfect complement to grilled mushrooms. The addition of mozzarella cheese, beefsteak tomatoes, bitter arugula and red onions leaves nothing behind. One bite of this heavenly sandwich and you’ll forget what meat burgers are all about!

UPDATE 10/2/13: This recipe won 2nd place in The Mushroom Channel’s Swap It or Top It Contest. To watch me make the burger for News 12 Brooklyn, click here.

1 year ago: kid-friendly dirty rice
2 years ago: easy strawberry shortcake

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Bitayavon Magazine Review + Sample Recipe + Subscription Giveaway!

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Busy in Brooklyn is giving away a ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to Bitayavon Magazine. For a chance to win, “like” our facebook fan page (click the “become a fan” button on the side of the blog or go to www.facebook.com/busyinbrooklyn to get to our fan page). A winner will be chosen on Sunday, April 17th.

If you love cookbooks as much as I do, you probably love cooking magazines too. Cooking magazines, to me, are like mini cookbooks, with a lot more advice and interesting food-for-thought (pun intended!). And so back in the day, when eBay used to offer magazine subscriptions for next to nothing, I subscribed to a LOT of them. Here’s the problem (besides for the fact that I had piles and piles of cooking magazines) – every page you turn to has another mouth-watering photo that you just have to make. Then you look at the recipe and either it has meat seared in butter, or it’s loaded with nonkosher unmentionables. And so, after admiring the food photography of loads of magazines, I let the subscriptions run their course and I didn’t renew a single one.

Imagine my excitement when I heard about the new kosher magazine, Bitayavon. I was first in line for their premiere issue back in February, and I couldn’t wait for their spring edition. The premiere issue was full of exciting recipes, articles and tips. The spring issue shines even more, with brighter pictures and even better recipes (yes, even, and especially, the Pesach ones). You’ll find a nice mix of simple fare for the on-the-go cook, and more advanced recipes for the gourmand.

The Pesach issue boasts over 70 recipes and tips. It starts off with protein-packed family dinners like Quinoa israeli salad and Bran Flake crusted turkey breasts. The “Going Gourmet” section is chock-full of original gourmet sandwich ideas such as Banh Mi, a Vietnamese recipe that uses leftover roast chicken as well as a Tiramisu sandwich using store-bought sponge cake. The recipes are paired with mouth-watering photos as well as additional winning recipes from the sandwich contest that was introduced in the previous issue.

The magazine continues with a twist on traditional recipes such as “gefilte fish crab cakes” and an “eggplant deli roll”. These deconstructed recipes are creative and simple enough for the novice cook. It’s Pesach section runs the gamut of fish, salads, meat/poultry, sides and desserts. Each recipe is clear with numbered instructions. You will find original preparations such as salt encrusted sea bass, as well as chicken noodles, all paired with an apropo wine.

Rounding out the issue are articles on kashrus, the kosher challenge abroad, seasonal recipes, an interview with a chef and a look at a cookbook, among others. The magazine is well thought out, with interesting topics and an all-encompassing menu (both in the articles and recipes) for the kosher consumer.

I guess I will be subscribing to a food magazine after all. This time, only one.

Bitayavon!

Thanks to Bitayavon Magazine for sponsoring the subscription.
Photos & Recipe courtesy of Bitayavon magazine.

{UPDATE added April 17th, 2011: Mashi Laufer of Brooklyn, NY has won the Busy in Brooklyn subscription giveaway! Congratulations Mashi and Chag Kasher Vesameach!}

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