Kaufman’s Kitchen

Reinventing Great Ethnic Foods

I have noticed recently that many ethnic cuisines are trying to update older, traditional recipes to make them more healthful and fun. “Millennial Kosher: Recipes Reinvented for the Kosher Palate” by Chanie Apfelbaum (Artscroll/Shaar Press, 2018) is a good example. Chanie who is a well-known recipe developer and photographer, is also known for her culinary adventures at www.busyinbrooklyn.com. She was born and raised in a kosher home in Brooklyn and grew up eating traditional Jewish foods such as gefilte fish, stuffed cabbage and matzah ball soup. Today, kosher food is spicier and bolder than traditional Jewish food. There is an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, less processed foods, and healthier non-dairy alternatives.

Here are two recipes for you to try from “Millennial Kosher.”

Mushroom Barley Risotto

Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed
3.5 ounces oyster mushrooms, stems removed
3.5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup barley, rinsed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
8 cups vegetable stock
white truffle oil, for finishing

Heat a 5-quart stock pot over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add onion; sauté until translucent.
Add garlic; sauté until fragrant.

Slice mushrooms; add to pot. Cook until softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add wine; cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Add barley, soy sauce, thyme, bay leaf, and stock; bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium; simmer with the cover half off until barley is tender and the risotto is creamy, with a porridge consistency, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs; divide risotto between serving bowls. Finish with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Variation: For dairy meals, add Parmesan cheese to taste. For meat meals, use beef stock in place of vegetable stock.

Kaufman's Kitchen Lemon Meltaways

Lemon Meltaways

These are reminiscent of a crescent-shaped almond cookie covered in confectioners’ sugar that Chanie’s mother used to make. “They just melted on your tongue, but I really did not like the margarine she made them with. But the coconut oil craze changed all of that.”

Chanie suggests buying only the refined coconut oil. (She prefers Spectrum since it does not have a coconut flavor at all.) The coconut oil and the lemon take these meltaways to a whole new level—and they will melt on your tongue.

Makes 2 dozen

2 cups flour
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ cup powdered (confectioners’ sugar)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup refined coconut oil, softened
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest, lightly packed (from 2 lemons)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, and salt. Add coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir until ingredients start to come together, then knead with your hands until a dough forms.

Place heaping tablespoons of dough on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.

Cool completely before handling. Dust cookies with powdered sugar to coat.
Editor’s Note: Find more of Sheilah’s culinary treats at www.cookingwithsheilah.com.