Cooking Inspired: Bringing Creativity and Passion Back into the Kitchen
By Mel Fabrikant Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 11:32 AM EST
Food websites have become favorite destinations for home cooks to review and share recipes and cooking tips. Kosher recipes are especially popular whether Jewish or not and one of the fastest growing of the kosher websites is KosherScoop.com. Wanting to make cooking easier and more creative for home cooks, founder and cookbook author, Estee Kafra, has put together a collection of the best recipes from the site.
Cooking Inspired (Feldheim Publishers; September 2013; Hardcover/$35.99) is a sampling of the creative and reliable recipes that the site has become known for and will inspire home cooks to let loose their culinary creativity. Over 200 recipes are beautifully photographed and award- winning photographs are scattered throughout the book creating a visual feast for the eyes as well as the palate.
“Food is one of our most primal needs, and for most of us, cooking is a basic, everyday chore. But food represents much more than the way in which we satisfy our cravings and keep ourselves alive. It is the way we nurture both ourselves and the people around us,” Estee states. “I believe we can take this everyday act and elevate it into an experience of creativity, mindfulness, and meaning. In order to make the most of the world we live in, we need to open our hearts and minds to the inspiration all around us, to the myriad experiences and items that can shape our everyday lives. That’s Cooking Inspired.”
In that spirit of community, family and creativity, recipes are divided into categories of inspiration such as: For the Five Senses, Family, Community, Roots, Nurture, Healthy Living, Holidays, Seasons, Special Occasions and Counter Cakes. Recipes are also easily identified as Gluten-Free, Passover-Friendly, and seasonal and include:
- Ceviche - Empanadas
- Bistro Mushroom Salad - Grilled Avocado Crostini
- Parsley Root and Potato Latkes - Purple Eggplant Dip
- Roasted Vegetable Shakshouka - Zucchini Parmigiana
- Gluten Free Oat Challah - Honey Quinoa Rolls
- Fennel and Sweet Pea Soup - Squash Pear Soup
- Roasted Citrus Quinoa Salad - Endive and Orange Salad
- White Fish with Herbed Tomato Sauce - Sweet Corn Flake Chicken
- Slow-Cooked English Ribs or Spare Ribs - Cumin-Spiced Brisket w/Leeks & Dried Apricots
- Lamb with Lemon—Mint Sauce - Vanilla Nectarine Cake
- Plum Season Cake - Decadent Halva Ice Cream Cake
Many recipes in the book have direct links to cooking videos on KosherScoop.com, providing home cooks with step-by-step visual instructions.
“Creative cooking does not have to be time-consuming cooking. You may think that trying new ingredients or cooking with the seasons must mean more work, but on the contrary—when using fresh and seasonal ingredients, it takes less time to make your food sing. Inspiration can come from every day, simple things. Usually, a few simple ingredients and some basic techniques are enough to do the trick—and when you’ve done it long enough, this sort of cooking becomes second nature.”
From appetizers to side dishes, to main courses and a vast array of desserts, Cooking Inspired is the go-to cookbook for year-round inspirational kosher meals.
Including Estee’s recipes, contributors to the book read like a who’s who of Jewish food writers and chefs including: David Blum, Chaia Frishman, Levana Kirschenbaum, Norene Gilletz, Daphna Rabinovitch, Sharon Matten, Paula Shoyer, and Alexandra Zohn.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After completing photography classes in both Israel and Manhattan, Estee Kafra’s interest in beautiful food photography led her to photograph some well-known kosher cookbooks. Estee later joined the team at Binah magazine, where she served as food editor for four years, publishing two best-selling cookbooks during her tenure at the magazine. Both Spice it Right and Cooking With Color were instant best sellers that continue to serve as great assets to thousands of kosher cooks. When Mishpacha magazine launched Kosher Inspired, Estee headed the team as editor, and the food magazine was hailed as a major success among its readers and fans. A year-and-a-half later, Kosher Inspired morphed into an online magazine called KosherScoop.com. Estee serves as the site’s editor and contributes recipes and photographs on a regular basis. Believe it or not, Estee never uses cookbooks. Her love of new things ensures that she is always original and creative in the kitchen. Estee lives in Toronto with her family.
For more information on Estee and Cooking Inspired, go to www.KosherScoop.com
Pumpkin Soup with Parsley–Sunflower Pesto
Gluten-Free - fall
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Every year we go apple picking and schlepp home more apples than we know what to do with. We also always buy a small pumpkin for soup. This is what we made with last year’s pumpkin. It was so good that the kids have already threat¬ened to bring home 2 pumpkins next year. Pumpkins may be daunting because of their size, but are really simple to work with if you follow this technique.
1 Tbsp oil (or more)
1 large pumpkin (about 3 lbs)
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp dried thyme
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or 1 Tbsp chicken soup mix, msg-free, mixed with water)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
1 very small clove garlic (or half of a big one)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil Roasted sunflower seeds, extra-salted, for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds with a large spoon. Rub the inside of the pumpkin with the oil and place face-down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes. The pumpkin will have softened considerably. Scrape out the flesh and transfer to a large saucepan. (If it’s too hard to scrape the filling out, return the pumpkin to the oven and bake longer.)
Add all of the remaining ingredients to the saucepan. Pour in just enough stock to cover the vegetables.
Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook over medium heat for 45 to 60 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Use an immersion blender or ladle batches into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal “S” blade and purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pesto: Separate the leaves and small stems of the parley from the main stem. Discard the main stem. Place the parsley, sunflower seeds and garlic into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal “S” blade.
With the machine running, slowly pour the olive oil into the feed tub, combining the ingredients until the mixture is chopped and pasty. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Dollop the pesto on top of the soup and garnish with extra-salted roasted sunflower seeds.