I was so excited to receive Miriam Pascal’s newly released cookbook, “Real Life Kosher Cooking: Family-Friendly Recipes for Every Day and Special Occasions” (Mesora, 2017). Miriam is the well-known and beloved author of “Something Sweet,” a dessert cookbook, and the creator of the blog The Overtime Cook, where she is always happy to answer cooking and baking questions from her fans online, and can be relied on for sharing recipes and menu suggestions for upcoming holidays.
The title of this cookbook derives from Miriam’s ability to understand that readers want to cook recipes that work “in real life.” Miriam says she did not want this to be “a coffee table book,” but one that was easily approachable. After quickly glancing through the book, I was reassured to see that each and every recipe had a glorious photograph, shot by Miriam herself, which gives readers the confidence to try a new recipe and be able to visualize how the completed dish will look. Each recipe is accompanied by notes for substitutions and tips, as well as a “Plan Ahead” note for those who like to cook in advance—all done with an eye toward helping people easily cook fresh delicious meals and not just admire the photos.
As I had previously baked my way through Miriam’s “Something Sweet,” I knew I could rely on her recipes to deliver. I am happy to tell you from firsthand experience that these recipes work, and are tasty and easy. You probably won’t believe this (or maybe you will) but I managed to immediately cook the Lemon Oregano Roasted Chicken, Maple Bourbon Minute Steak (although I used a chuck roast), Apple Upside-Down Lukshen Kugel, Lamb Meatballs in Onion Sauce, Tomato Roasted Potato Wedges and Lemon Crumb Cake. Intrigued? Is your mouth watering? The reason I was able to make all these recipes in short order was because they are made with ingredients you most likely have on hand already! My family was happy to see some new recipes on the table, and there were no leftovers. The Tomato Roasted Potato Wedges were especially well received, and snatched, wedge by wedge, right off the baking pan. I was happy to have some new ideas and recipes that didn’t make me feel like I was undertaking an all-day endeavor. The format of each recipe is clear, with the instructions laid out in an unintimidating and easy-to-follow manner.
When I asked Miriam for her favorite recipe in the cookbook, she was hard pressed to pick just one, but emphasized that the recipes that people “go crazy for” were the ones she loved. She did mention that her recipe for Asian Glazed Corned beef converted a former corned beef hater, and the Crispy Onion-Topped Potatoes was a huge hit at a family barbeque. Miriam said it has been “gratifying” to see people cooking from and enjoying the recipes from the book into which she has put her heart and soul.
With sections for Breakfast and Breads, Appetizers and Snacks, Salads and Spreads, Soups and Stews, Meat and Poultry, Dairy and Meatless Mains, Vegetables and Sides, you are covered for pretty much anything you can possibly want to cook. And don’t worry, there are also sections for Desserts and Drinks, and Baked Goods and Pastries, in addition to some Sauces and recipe staples.
If you are looking for a new collection of recipes that are easily within reach and guaranteed for success, make sure to pick up a copy of this new cookbook. If the buzz on Facebook is any indication, people are already cooking up a real-life storm!
(I was given a complimentary copy of “Real Life Kosher Cooking” for review.)
By Rachel Berger