Some of the greatest chefs in the world have contributed their favorite recipes to “Chefs’ Confidential,” a 256-page cookbook just published by Emunah, a religious Zionist organization that benefits programs in Israel.
Contributors include Jeffrey Nathan, Helen Nash, Mike from Mike’s Bistro, Jacques Pepin, Ina Garten, and Giada De Laurentiis. All recipes are adapted for kosher consumers and are illustrated with full-page color photographs. In addition, there are bios about each chef and tips and techniques about the recipes. According to the cookbook’s editor, Michele RB Friedman, “the focus is to effectively transmit to the home cook precise and comprehensible instructions on how to prepare, cook, plate, and garnish a dish, exactly the way a professional chef would.”
Books cost $40 and are available in local Judaica and bookstores or by calling Emunah at (212) 564-9045. All proceeds benefit Emunah’s 250 social welfare and educational facilities in Israel.
Moist Orange-Pineapple Bundt Cake
Prep time: 10 minutes/ cooking time: 1 hour
1 1/2 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice
1 6-oz. can pineapple juice
1 tsp. grated orange zest
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Optional Orange Strip Garnish:
1 orange peel
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Optional Glaze: 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tbsp. orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray. In the bowl of a food processor, mix oil, eggs, and sugar. Add vanilla, orange, and pineapple juices, and orange zest. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to food processor bowl and pulse until combined, but avoid over-mixing. Pour into prepared pan; bake 1 hour.
While cake is baking, prepare orange strip garnish. Using a grooved citrus zester, cut a strip of peel from around the orange until there are several long strips. Put sugar and water in a pot. Add peel; simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove strips from liquid and allow to cool on parchment paper. Set aside. When cake is done, cool 10 minutes, then invert onto a rack set over a tray and cool cake completely.
For glaze, in a small bowl, with wire whisk, combine confectioners’ sugar and orange juice. Pour over cake, allowing glaze to drizzle down sides.
To plate: Serve individually sliced with orange strip for garnish.
Note: For orange peel garnish, if you do not have a zester, use a peeler to remove zest. Trim zest into a rectangle, then with a chef’s knife, cut into thin strips, approximately the size of matchsticks (also known as julienne). If using a dark, non-stick baking pan, count on shorter baking time or reduce baking temperature by 25 degrees.
Sugar, aside from its capacity to sweeten, is also used in the culinary kitchen to accelerate the browning of meats and vegetables. In the pastry kitchen it tenderizes dough, provides texture, and gives stability to egg whites whipped into meringues. Granulated sugar or table sugar is the most versatile. Brown sugar, whether light or dark, is white sugar with molasses added. Confectioners’ (powdered) sugar is ground to a fine powder and mixed with a small amount of cornstarch. It is used for icings because it dissolves easily and is also used as a decorative dusting on baked goods.
Schocken Books has released “The Book of New Israeli Food” by Janna Gur, with gorgeous color photographs by Eilon Paz. More than merely a cookbook, it’s also a a stunning and useful guide to Israel. There are selections for simple meals at home or gatherings with family and friends, including special sections devoted to Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Couscous and Roasted Vegetables Salad
1 lb., 2 oz. instant couscous, medium or coarse grain
1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 zucchinis, sliced
2 sweet peppers (one red, one yellow), seeded and cut into large chunks
10 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp. pine nuts
1 red onion sliced
1 small bunch basil leaves cut into strips
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare the instant couscous according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Arrange the eggplant, zucchinis, peppers, and unpeeled garlic cloves in a baking dish lined with baking paper.
4. Mix the olive oil with salt, pepper, and crushed garlic and pour over the vegetables. Toss lightly to mix the sauce with the vegetables.
5. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly.
6. Roast the pine nuts in a hot frying pan, without oil, until they are golden-brown.
7. Mix the couscous with the roasted vegetables. Add the pine nuts, onions and basil and toss everything together. Sprinkle more olive oil and serve immediately.Serve immediately. Serves six.