I am always excited to receive and use synagogue cookbooks, and it has been awhile since one came my way, so when “Favorite Recipes from Congregation Gesher Shalom” in Fort Lee was published, I was thrilled. The spiral-bound, easy-to-use cookbook edited by Paige Soltano and Rachel Schulman, with recipes by congregants, includes appetizers, soups and salads, vegetables, main dishes, breads, desserts, and traditional and holiday recipes.

With the cold weather upon us, a nice hot brisket dinner sounded just right.

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Brisket

Susan Kolodny

3 lbs. brisket
1 envelope pareve onion soup mix
1 cup ketchup
1 12-ounce can regular Coke
3 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place brisket in roasting pan, fat side up. Combine ketchup, soup mix, and Coke in a bowl. Pour over brisket. Add carrots and onions around brisket. Cover pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 2 1/2 hours, uncovering for the last half hour. Remove from oven and transfer brisket to a cutting board. Let meat rest for 20 minutes before slicing against the grain.

Sweet Potato Pudding

Shirley Weinstock

6 large sweet potatoes or yams
6 tbsp. brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp. margarine, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Topping

3 tbsp. margarine, slightly softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes until very tender (1 hour, 20 minutes). Remove and let cool. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half, scoop out flesh, and mash until smooth. (You should have about 4 cups.) Stir in brown sugar, eggs, orange juice, margarine, vanilla, and salt.

Place in casserole dish.

To make topping, combine the margarine, brown sugar, and pecans. Sprinkle over potato mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 8.

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Newlyweds Yael and Jason Gevertzman of Teaneck have published “Newlywed Kosher: A Marriage of International and Traditional Kosher Cuisine.” The hardcover book, in its second printing, has more than 150 international and American recipes, some with color photos. The recipes are simple to follow and most use common ingredients. All recipes include suggestions for foods to pair the dish with, using other recipes in the book, as well as “helpful (healthy) hints” and “(low-fat) alternatives.” Categories include appetizers, salads, soups, poultry, meat, sides, fish and pasta, brunch and dairy, and desserts.

During the couple’s first year of marriage, they experimented with cuisines from Italy, Spain, Cuba, Turkey, France, China, Thailand, and Mexico. The book sells for $29.95 and is available at www.NewlywedKosher.com.

Pollo Ajillo

Spanish Garlic Chicken

Serves 4-6

1 (8 pieces) cut-up chicken
Salt and black pepper
4 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. parsley flakes (Editor’s note: I prefer fresh parsley)
Sprinkle of thyme
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Brown the chicken, skin side down, in oil in a large skillet or wok. Cook for 10 minutes.

Flip chicken so skin side is upward. Add garlic, parsley, and thyme to skillet. Cook for five minutes to brown.

Add wine. Cook for 10 minutes to reduce.

Add lemon juice.

Cook for 15 minutes more or until done.

Mediterranean Sea Style Pasta

Serves four

1/2 box spaghetti
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 lb. salmon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. chives
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Sprinkle of parsley flakes (Editor’s note: Fresh parsley is preferable)
3 oz. tomato sauce
1/2 tbsp. sugar
(Optional) 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Cook spaghetti according to box directions. Drain and set aside.

Sauté sun-dried tomatoes and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat for two minutes.

Add diced tomatoes and salmon pieces. Cook for five minutes.

Add spices, tomato sauce, and sugar. Cook on low flame for another 10 minutes or until salmon is cooked.

Add spaghetti and mix. Cook for two more minutes.

Add red pepper flakes to make the dish spicy, if desired.