Just in time for Hanukkah, Jamie Geller, best-selling author and GKC friend, is back with a new book that you will love. Joy of Kosher,  Fast, Fresh, Family Meals is filled with gorgeous (so gorgeous!) pictures, and tons of recipes that will go from weekday to weekend. With her fun flair and great style, Jamie makes everything look easy and delicious.
The book is filled with tips and ideas on how to dress up a dish for Shabbos or dress it down for a terrific quick dinner. Recipes like Crystal Clear Chicken Soup with Julienned Vegetables and Angel Hair (Dress It Down: Chicken Noodle Alphabet Soup), Garlic Honey Brisket (Dress It Down: Honey Brisket Pita Pockets ) , Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (Dress It Down: Mac and Cheese Muffin Cups) , and Gooey Chocolate Cherry Cake (Dress It Up: Red Wine Chocolate Cherry Heart Cake) . Plus, Jamie offers a whole chapter on the art of making challah, 10 sweet and savory recipes, holiday menus, and a special Passover section. See the sneak peak recipes at the end of this post.
I love the introduction too. We get to meet Jamie’s adorable family in photos and see them all at work and play in their home. Jamie is candid and funny about her life in food and how she has grown from the “bride who knew nothing” to as I call her, the “girl who uses saffron and sumac”. That’s a lot of progress.
As Jamie says, “This book is for busy parents who want to make tasty food without a lot of fuss and who want to entertain without slaving in the kitchen and always elicit a lot of oohs and aahs.” I think that makes it for just about everyone!
GKC got to speak with Jamie this week and she even squeezed in some time for some of our pressing questions. Here is what she had to say.
GKC: What’s your favorite kitchen tool? Least favorite?
Jamie: Tongs – they are an extension of my arm! Tied with my Wusthof 8-inch Chef’s Knife, also an extension of my arm. 2nd Most Favorite: Dutch Oven – feels homey and “professional” all at the same time. Anyone that has a Dutch oven is serious (about cooking, or has some serious cash!) and knows what they are doing. (Well at least that’s what I like to tell myself). But I really love it because mine is RED – my fave color (after black and white – which are colors to me!). Sorry Elizabeth I know you asked for just one but I can’t help myself. Least Favorite: My stand mixer. In truth I absolutely adore it. I have been known to hug it. But right now it’s my nemesis because in my new Israeli kitchen I don’t have very much counter space so it lives on top of my fridge – and is such a production to pull down and plug in (to a 10 pound transformer!). But once it’s doing its thing it falls into my most favorite kitchen tool category.
GKC: Any pantry items you can’t live without?
Jamie: Olive oil. I live for olive oil, literally. I don’t measure it (unless I am writing a recipe) I think it’s sacrilegious – as there is almost no such thing as too much good quality, extra virgin, cold pressed, fruity, rich, olive oil.
GKC: What’s your go to dinner?
Jamie: Duck Sauce Chicken with Herb Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes from my first book, Quick & Kosher Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing. This old habit just won’t die.
GKC: Wow, from the “Bride Who Knew Nothing” to a foodie who uses sumac and saffron, what’s your best advice for someone new to preparing meals?
Jamie: Don’t overdo things. Start slow, don’t stress and cook with a smile. Simple can taste good – really, really, really good. Trust me! I have both built a career and feed my family around this very concept.
And just for GKC this week, a few of Jamie’s recipes from Joy of Kosher. Garlic Honey Brisket (Dress it Up) and Honey Brisket Pita Pockets (Dress it Down) . AND…WOW! Gooey Chocolate Cherry Cake  (super rich and delicious, with a hint of the cherry chunks running through it) and Dress it Down, Red Wine Chocolate Cherry Cake. Thanks Jamie!
I made the Cilantro Corn Cakes (filled with my favorites like, cumin, corn, cilantro and lime) and the Stuffed Baked Onions (yum, stuffing with cranberry and challah and nutty crunch). Both are easy, beautiful and just my kind of food.
Joy of Kosher  is available in bookstores nationwide including Barnes & Noble,  Amazon  (just $18 on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble), and Jewish bookstores everywhere. GKC has one to giveaway so SUBMIT  to win one too.