With the success of our Joy of Kosher Cookbook Parties in the US, we decided to do them in Israel too. We had over 100 people from throughout Israel volunteer to host, we selected 12 participants spread out around the country and each host invited friends to share in a fun night surrounded by food. Here is a recap from some of our hosts with pictures so you can see how much fun it is, we encourage you all to host your own!!
Bracha Goldman from Beer Sheva
We had a great time sharing recipes, and trying out all the food that everyone made. I divided up the work, which made it easy and fun for everyone. We enjoyed trying out the recipes from Joy of Kosher. Our dozen participants ranged in age from 31 to 87, and from a brand-new bride (who LOVES Jamie Geller's cookbooks) to a talented cook of over 60 years experience. All the recipes were a great hit, especially the challah, the raw root vegetables and the rice salad. Both chicken recipes were fabulous. Good friends, good food, good wine, Rosh Chodesh WOW!
Tziona Rand from the Golan
Thanks to Jamie Geller and Joy of Kosher, women from four communities in the Golan enjoyed an intimate dinner together on Thursday, complete with local wine and candlelight. Each of the participants chose a recipe (or two or four) to prepare for the gathering via the Facebook event that I set up. Since we are spread out, I sent the recipes in PDF format to the cooks. During the evening, we tasted from a three course meal consisting of appetizers, mains, sides and desserts. Conversation flowed freely (as did the wine) and besides talking about our kids and lives, we discussed the recipes and how to adapt them to the Israeli kitchen as we don't have access to many American products in our local groceries. The evening was a great success and many of the woman have already prepared Joy of Kosher recipes from the evening for their families.
Beth Saar from Raanana
On March 3rd 2014 nine Raanana ladies got together to host a Joy of Kosher Cookbook dinner. The theme was dairy vegetarian based on recipes from the cookbooks. Appetizers were tri-color Hummus Trifle with wholewheat pita chips, veggie liver pâté, avocado and cucumber cream soup and nacho potato bites. The main courses were baked pumpkin penne, mock crab salad, rice salad with apples, walnuts and grapes, spiced apple challa kugel. Dessert consisted of black and white ice cream bomb and nutty caramel brownies served with home-made sangria. All in all we had a great time with great food.
Sara Mor - Beit Shemesh
The party was at my house on in Beit Shemesh with 10 women. I assigned recipes from both Quick & Kosher and Joy of Kosher cookbooks.
We ate and discussed and critiqued and had a lot of fun! People explained if they made any changes (and what they changed) or followed recipe to a tee. The biggest hit was the ktzitzot. After the party I created a whatsapp group and we all discuss our weeknight dinners and other various food related stuff.
Esther Soltani from Tel Aviv
The first thing I did was to look for the right guests and as an olah chadasha (new to Israel) I relied on my good friend from London Erifyli to find real foodies among her friends. Ben, Vicky and Michael were ideal. They jumped on the opportunity to contribute to the meal and were enthusiastic critics.
My flatmate Fina also helped. We're both passionate about food, especially how to cook healthy and tasty food, which looks good.
As soon as I received the book in the post I read it from cover to cover – yes, Jamie, there are people out there who actually do read a recipe book that way. I have to admit I have never done it in the past but I was so taken by the personal stories, the vivid descriptions of how each recipe came into being and the great concept of dressing down or up the dish that I read it like a memoir with some fantastic recipes thrown in.
I opted for a Mediterranean/oriental theme for the food and knew almost straight away the Moroccan Chicken would be the main course.
The starter was the Lemon Lover's Hummus dressed up as the Tricolor Hummus trifle. I made the mistake of wanting to get a darker green layer than the one on the picture and used a bit too much spinach which made the base of the trifle a bit too liquid. Still it was polished off by everyone and we all agreed it was a fabulous idea of presentation. So simple and yet so effective.
Michael made the Eggplant Caviar which was delish. He said that he had replaced the kosher salt with sea salt and instead of coriander which was on the banned food list used mint. He went for the dress down option as we had already agreed to have pitas for starter.
Being a lover of all things Moroccan, I instantly loved the roasted chicken recipe which features spices I had at home. To make things easier, I prepared this one on ahead in the slow cooker and reheated for dinner. I didn't put raisins (banned) but dates and instead of honey used date syrup. I used green jasmine tea instead of chicken stock and didn't put the pine nuts since there was already some in the Easy Cranberry Pine Nut Couscous which I wanted to make as a side.
Fina loves cooking vegetables and made the Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper Saute following the recipe but replacing the kosher salt with my Pink Himalayan salt. It looked and tasted great.
Erifyli had told me Vicky was a wonderful cook and baker – she proved it with her amazing rendering of the brownies recipe which we all agree we'd be like Jamie and wake up at night to have an extra piece of given the chance. She also made the chocolate chip cookies and with both she used whole wheat flour with very good results.
We talked about food a lot, our general aversion to all types of syrup and ready made stocks, food TV programmes, how to cook a chicken and how black tea makes a great stock for French onion soup among other foodie tips. The book was passed around and much praised. Vicky particularly loved the suggested Shabbat and Yom Tov menus and we all thought the dress down/dress up options were brilliant.
So this dinner was the occasion to make new friends, sample great food and find out the secret of the perfect British fish and chips.
Thanks to the Israel Postal Service, our cookbook club took place much later than originally planned, but we still had a great time. There's nothing like an excuse to get together with friends, schmooze and eat good food. Our entire meal was vegan, in deference to one of our friends. We started with garlic knots, made from a vegan challah recipe and topped with Joy of Kosher's garlic spread. Along with the rolls, we had tomato bean soup, although our cook didn't find fresh spinach and used frozen. We had a couscous salad which looked exactly like the picture in Joy of Kosher. The cook of the pepper and zucchini saute suggested that Israelis use fresh peppers instead of canned, since the canned ones sold here come in vinegar and even after washing they retained a bit of tartness. We passed the cookbook around and discussed what dishes we might incorporate into our own repertoires and I promised to share the recipes from the party with everyone who came.