Diversity is the name of any restaurant kitchen with all ethnicities cooking cuisines not their own. Award winning, James Beard multi nominated Chef Todd Gray, a Virginia homeboy marries an urban raised Jewish girl and they make history with their Washington DC restaurant Equinox. The cookbook is The New Jewish Table – Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes. Yes the book is just in time for Passover although the recipes are fit for any table.
The cookbook is the chef’s seasonal modern take of the Jewish table. Jewish Cooking in America’s Joan Nathan writes of Chef Gray in the book’s introduction of his epicurean interpretation of simple dishes. The New Jewish Table is packed with 125 recipes that are broken down into the four seasons with subchapters; brunch, starters, lunch, dinner, sides and desserts. The cookbook is not a Kosher cookbook although all the recipes are noted to be parve, dairy, meat or mixed. With that said, numerous recipes are applicable to the kosher table.
Washington Post’s writer David Hagedorn, food writer and cook extraordinaire, guided the writing of this cookbook. Personally, I look at a cookbook like a novel. The New Jewish Table is a good read. The Grays and Hagedorn don’t disappoint with Ellen and Todd telling their own stories of growing up in their respective households, how the romance began and continues with notes in each recipe. The uniting of two vastly different backgrounds into one household is always a challenge and Todd and Ellen have done that successfully both in their personal and business lives.
So let’s talk recipes; Frittata of Wild Mushrooms and Muenster Cheese, BBQ Wild King Salmon with Sweet Corn, Cider Glazed Root Vegetables, Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Dumplings, Smoked Salmon and Sweet Corn Beignets, Salad of Roasted Heirloom Beets with Capers and Pistachios and let me not forget Not Exactly Aunt Lil’s Matzo Ball Soup.
I am a chicken soup fanatic; I make chicken soup on a regular basis so I’m always intrigued when I see a chicken soup made differently from mine. I made Not Exactly Aunt Lil’s Matzo Ball Soup and followed the instructions to the letter. I caramelized sliced onions for the matzo balls that were made from scratch, used a whole bunch of parsley in the broth, and garnished the soup with diced carrots and turnip. The soup chicken was pulled from the bones and added back to the soup, the noodles were cooked in the broth and the matzo balls, which were cooked separately, were drained and added to the heated bowls just before service. The results were a filling bowl of soup that has taken on the natural sweetness of the carrots. It was so hearty that nothing else was needed for our dinner.
Need a menu for a Jewish holiday, the Grays make it easy with pre-planned menus for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, and Passover in The New Jewish Table – Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes.
The New Jewish Table – Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes
By Chef Todd Gray, Ellen Kassoff Gray with David Hagedorn.
St. Martin’s Press / Release March 5, 2013
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