Chef’s Confidential


One of my favorite new cookbooks is “Chef’s Confidential” Secret techniques and signature recipes made kosher. Published in 2008 by EMUNAH, this cookbook encompasses the recipes of famous chefs and caterers from across the country.

Not only are the recipes innovative and creative, the inviting photos wet my taste buds and excite my imagination. Yum!

The Chocolate Bobka is the best I have ever had although I was only able to grab a small taste because my kids devoured each bobka as soon as I brought it out.

I also like the texture and color combination in the Pear, Curried Cashews and Dried Cranberry Salad. Not to mention the taste!
The Flanken Mushroom Barley Soup is right up my alley and perfect for a winter’s night and I can’t wait to try the Braided Bread Filled with Pesto, Dried Tomatoes, Cheese and Olives.
This cookbook is a pleasure to look at and a pleasure to cook from. The recipes are clear and the results more than delicious.
Best of all, the proceeds go to tzedaka, supporting the work EMUNAH in Eretz Yisrael. Click through and purchase your copy today. You can thank me later!

Chocolate Bobka

Yield: 4 Bobka Loaves

7 cups all purpose flour plus 1 additional cup, if necessary
6 (1/4-ounce) packages or 4 ½ tablespoons instant yeast
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar or 1 (0.35 ounce) package
1 ½ cups margarine, melted
1 ¾ cups warm water
2 large eggs
2 yolks
2 teaspoons salt

Chocolate Filling
1 cup margarine, melted
1 (4.1-ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
1 large egg
½ cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup cocoa

Crumb Topping
½ stick margarine
1 cup all purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar

In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, vanilla sugar, margarine, water, eggs, egg yolks and salt. Turn out on floured board and knead 5 minutes, adding up to 1 cup of flour if necessary. Allow to rise in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap for 1 ½ hours.

Meanwhile, prepare filling by combining margarine, chocolate pudding, egg, water, sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Set aside.
To make crumb topping, in a small bowl, crumble margarine with flour and sugar using fingertips.

Spray 4 (10-inch) loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle, the length of the loaf pan. Spread one-eight of filling onto each rectangle, within 1 inch of the borders. Roll from long side like a jelly roll. Twist 2 rolls around each other and place a twist in each pan. Using all the crumbs, sprinkle one-fourth of crumbs on top of each bobka. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow to rise 30 minutes, then bake 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove from pans and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Slice when cool.

To plate: Serve sliced on a rectangular platter

Note: Although this recipe uses a lot of margarine, notice that it does yield 4 bobkas. The bobkas freeze well when properly wrapped
Instant yeast, also called rapid-rise, is easy to use. It differs from active-dry yeast in that it does not need to be proofed (mixed with warm water and sugar resulting in a foamy liquid) and can be added directly to dry ingredients.

To purchase Chef's Confidential please visit this link It is onsale for $30 for Gourmet Kosher Cooking readers.

Silver Palate Cookbook

Although I am always intrigued my new cookbooks and love to discover new recipes, there are some old standbys that I turn to when I just don’t have my creative juices on high, old standbys that I know will be reliable whatever I make. One of these is the famous Silver Palate Cookbook. Besides the famous Chicken Marbella, the Silver Palate offers great recipes for Seviche (substitute a fleshy white fish for the scallops), Potato Cheese soup (use pareve chicken broth), Semolina Bread, Raisin Pumpernickel Bread, Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Pecan Squares, just to name a few that I have tried. In fact they sound so good I think I’m going to go make something now. Should I make something new or one of the familiar recipes?…hmmm…

Southern Living Cookbooks


I have a dirty little secret. I love the Southern Living Cookbooks. The desserts (and everything else!) are rich and decadent and oh so delicious! I highly recommend The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, The new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook and The Southern Living Homestyle Cookbook. I even enjoy just looking at the pictures and imagining eating the results of following their recipes, especially the desserts. (It’s a lot less fattening that way). Some of the non-kosher recipes obviously need to be ignored while others can be adapted but there are so many different recipes in each of the cookbooks that the kosher consumer can feel comfortable buying them. Like I said, there’s always the pictures…

Best-Ever Cookies


Purchase book: Best-Ever Cookies

Lots of brand name cookbooks seem forced. The company is desperate for you to purchase their products and willing to concoct very creative (read: unappetizing) recipes in order to encourage you to do so. Some products are just not as versatile as their manufacturers would have us believe.

However the dessert possibilities with chocolate chips are truly endless and Nestle’s best-ever cookies makes great use of them. If you like chocolate with your peanut butter, try these cookies:

Chunky Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (I use a pareve non-Nestle brand but don’t tell them!)
½ cup coarsely chopped peanuts (I usually leave these out but it’s up to you)

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter (or margarine!), granulated sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and peanuts. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Press down slightly to flatten into 2-inch circles.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 7 to 10 minutes until edges are set but centers are still soft. Let stand for 4 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

If you can’t get enough chocolate, try the double chocolate dream cookies. My 13 year-old son’s been making them for years whenever he’s in the mood for cookies and no one else is willing to do the work for him!

Double Chocolate Dream Cookies

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Baking Cocoa (I actually usually have Hershey’s in the house)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-ounce package) NESTLE TOLL HOUSE Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels (or your own pareve substitution)

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter (or margarine), brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in preheated 375 degree oven 8 to 10 minutes or until puffed. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 4-1/2 dozen cookies.

Books for Cooks


A cooking memoir that is a big hit with all members of my family (an unusual event in and of itself) is White House Chef by Walter Scheib, published in 2007. Although I confess to not having made any of the recipes (The White House Chef has a White House staff to assist him after all!), it is interesting just for the glimpse of life at the President’s home.

We learn what Bill Clinton liked to eat when Hilary was out of town and the different atmosphere created by different residents.

The truth is the recipes don’t even look very difficult.

Check it out from your local library; it’s a fun read.

Books for Cooks

I have a favorite cookbook these days. And since my real passion is baking (probably because that’s what I most like to eat!), it is a dessert cookbook that features great recipes for familiar treats.

It is not fancy or elaborate or difficult. The recipes are all just really good.

It’s called The Bake Sale Cookbook *Quintessential American Desserts* by Sally Sampson. It was published in 2000 but remains timeless.

I was on a personal quest for the perfect hermit – a more grown-up kind of cookie – and the ones here (on page 41) passed the test. I adjusted the recipe slightly, baking them as drop cookies, thereby avoiding rolling them out, a task I really don’t enjoy.

For peanut butter purists, you can’t beat the cookie recipe on page 59. I can’t keep them in the house. They freeze very well but most of the members of my family are shameless about raiding the freezer and finishing them off.

I also made the All-American brownies on page 76 to rave reviews.

Now that Pesach is over I’m looking forward to working my way through the rest of the cookbook and refilling my, now empty, freezer.