Daily Israel Report

New Cookbook Adds 'Kosher Elegance' to Shavuot Table

T-minus very little time left to go, and what can you do to make Shavuot dinner look like a feat of excellence? Open that new cookbook of yours.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 6/6/2011, 9:38 PM / Last Update: 6/7/2011, 9:28 AM

courtesy of Feldheim Publi

Quick -- you've got 30 minutes, it's almost Shavuot and you've got to put together a decent-looking meal. Something out of the ordinary to impress your guests.

Where do you turn?

If you were smart and kept up with the latest offerings on the new cookbook shelf – or if you were real lucky and someone went shopping for you instead – you can open up Kosher Elegance: The Art of Cooking with Style.

The book is written by professional pastry chef Efrat Libfroind, whose recipes regularly appear in Binah magazine. A resident of Jerusalem, Libfroind speaks regularly on a wide range of culinary themes both in Israel and abroad.

Published in Feldheim's typical high-gloss top quality, the book appears to exude calories although there are recipes that won't break your diet. Still, this is not a volume with recipes that leave one wondering why one should bother to eat.

Even the book is heavy, filled with thick, creamy pages laden with full-color photographs of the cuisine one usually finds in Gourmet Magazine.

In fact, the book could -- and should -- be a coffee table tome.

But a word to the wise: this is not a cookbook for beginners. Many of the recipes and their presentations are fairly complex, requiring several steps and some knowledge of cooking beyond hummous, hamburgers and hotdogs.

In addition, it is important to understand that this cookbook is not organized in the traditional manner. If you open to the table of contents seeking a chapter on soups or entrees, you are going to be sorely disappointed.

Instead, the 115 recipes – each with a gorgeous photograph to explain what the dish should look like – are organized according to Libfroind's unique system.

“Occasions” presents recipes for the Sabbath, holidays and special events. “Brunch” offers recipes for breakfast, lunch and family get-togethers. “Simplicity” is the one that is probably the most useful for the business person on the go – this is the chapter containing two-minute recipes that make you look good in no time at all. 

But “Temptation” and “Chocolate” are the recipe collections that one can honestly drool over without even bothering to make them. Just flip through the pages. Then if you feel really brave, give it a go!

For Shavuot, here is one small sample of a recipe from page 46 of Libfroind's book, a pareve sweet and savory delight that can be used for any meal.

Onion Jam 

4 tsp margarine
1 tbsp oil
3 red onions, sliced into rings
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 c sweet red wine
2 sprigs thyme

  1. Heat margarine and oil in a small pot.
  2. Add onions and saute approximately 5 minutes.
  3. Add brown sugar, honey, wine and thyme, and let simmer for about 45 minutes until most of the liquid cooks down and the mixture has the consistency of jam.
  4. Remove thyme.

Libfroind recommends this especially with meat and liver dishes, but adds that it is also good with sweet potatoes.