cover image Healthy Jewish Cooking

Healthy Jewish Cooking

Steven Raichlen. Viking Books, $29.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-670-89312-6

Isn't healthy Jewish cooking an oxymoron? That's the typical response Raichlen, author of Barbecue! Bible and Steve Raichlen's High-Flavor, Low-Fat Vegetarian Cooking, got whenever he mentioned he was writing this book. It turns out that Jewish cooking can be low fat and flavorful: the Amazing Low-Fat Chopped Liver uses roasted mushrooms and hard-cooked egg whites to reduce fat and cholesterol while intensifying flavor. Middle Eastern dishes, such as Shish Kebab with North African Seasonings, and Moroccan Grilled Pepper and Tomato Salad, are well represented here. To make traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dishes lighter, recipes call for using broth instead of schmaltz (chicken fat) and no-fat dairy products, and for roasting and bake-frying. Raichlen also provides a wealth of meatless dishes, including a vegetarian version of chopped liver and a Portobello Paprikash. Raichlin emphasizes the innovative, such as Zucchini Kugel (usually a sweet noodle dish), without losing sight of traditional foods, like blintzes, Passover dishes, knishes and The Three B's Cholent, a Sabbath stew. While there are exotic touches such as Rhubarb Haroset and Tropical Tsimmis with ginger and fresh pineapple--Raichlen's dessert section seems incomplete (where are rugelach and hamentaschen?). He isn't great at cutting down sugar, either, although some sinfully tempting recipes, like My Great-Grandmother's Chocolate Roll, list original ingredients as well as slimmed-down ones. But with homey anecdotes, food counts and preparation times, one hopes for a sequel to this heart-warming and user-friendly book. Photos by Greg Schneider. (Oct.)