KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Cook by the Book: The Healthy Jewish Cookbook
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Santa Monica Farmers' Market
Destination Dishes
Le printemps est arrivé!
Check, Please! Bay Area: Pledge Special
Cooking With Celebrities
Take 5 with Tony Gemignani
Eggbabies: The Kitchen-Sink Breakfast Souffle
Through the Bloggers, Curmudgeonly
Belly Up to a Bellybar
America's Next Top Project Chef
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Cook by the Book: The Healthy Jewish Cookbook

I confess. When I first came upon this cookbook I barely gave it a look. While the subtitle "100 delicious recipes from around the world" sounded great-- "Healthy Jewish" in The Healthy Jewish Cookbook concerned me. So here's the deal, I'm Jewish but not very fond of what I know of as Jewish cuisine. My general impression is that Jewish food is heavy, bland, often overcooked and fattening. Healthy food on the other hand sounds dull, unsubstantial, undercooked and fat free. To top it all off, the book is written by a British writer. I won't even go near that stereotype. Needless to say I'm glad I gave the book a second look.

Michael van Straten may be unfamiliar to American audiences but he's probably more well-known to the British. A prominent health journalist and practitioner, van Straten has written around 30 books and has run a health radio program for about 30 years. He begins the book with a delightful story of how his parents met and a bit about his upbringing. Though his family is European, he looks far beyond the Eastern European cuisine so many American Jews are familiar with to explore the fusion cuisine that came of the diaspora.

The recipes themselves come from all around the globe--all parts of Europe, the Mediterranean to Persia, the Middle East, North Africa and the Far East. The flavors and colors are vibrant and excite the senses. He reconfigures some less than healthy recipes but mostly the recipes are delicious first, healthy second and just happen to be popular with Jews, somewhere in the world. Most recipes come with a "health note" that points out the health benefits associated with the ingredients. Risotto, couscous and smoked haddock all find there way into recipes. My only complaint is that while there is a section devoted to Jewish holidays, a section of recipes specifically for holidays would have made the book easier to navigate.

This recipe would certainly perk up a Passover seder. Recipe reprinted courtesy of of Frog, Ltd. North Atlantic Books

Olive and Orange Salad
Serves 4

Jews were the earliest cultivators of citrus fruits. Olives have been cultivated for at least 5,000 year, and they're part of Jewish biblical history. Widely used in Sephardic cuisine, this salad is a favorite in Israel, although its origins are probably north African.

4 oranges, peeled and sliced horizontally
About 18 black olives, pitted and cut in half
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika, plus 2 pinches for serving

Put the oranges into a serving bowl. Scatter the olives over the oranges. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, mint, cumin, and paprika. Pour the dressing over the salad, adding 2 pinches of paprika for serving.

Health Note
This recipe combines the taste and vitamin C of oranges with the bitter flavors of olives. Because they're such a good source of oil, olive are often thought to be fattening, but this isn't the case: 18 olives contain only 60 calories, but they provide vitamin E and lots of protective antioxidants.

For another recipe from the book, Cinnamon Ball cookies, also a Passover friendly treat, head over to Cooking with Amy.


Anonymous ellen said...

I didn't know there was such a thing as healthy jewish food-my grandmother would be rolling around in her smalzy grave right now.

3/22/2006 2:11 PM

Blogger Catherine said...

Sterotypes are made to be broken!

3/24/2006 10:19 PM

Blogger dan said...

As a Brit, I've never heard of Michael van Straten and can almost guarantee that nobody that I know does either - some well known guy then.

Secondly, what on earth is wrong with British cuisine, and what makes American cuisine so much better? Like your criticism of Jewish food, American food (I'm well versed in both!)is fattening, grease based and stodgy.

3/28/2006 8:33 AM

Blogger Amy Sherman said...

I didn't say anything was wrong with British food. I said "I won't go near that stereotype". And I certainly didn't say the stereotype of American food was any better.

3/28/2006 10:26 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
Tasty Food Sites
Chowhound SF
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
Leite's Culinaria
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Eater SF
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
The Amateur Gourmet
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
Food Books
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
by Lisa Yockelson
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
by Thomas Keller
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.