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Healthy Jewish Food–Fact or Fiction?

Healthy Jewish Food–Fact or Fiction?
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When you grow up in a Jewish home, you get used to traditional holiday fare being heavy and filling.  My mom and the women of her generation used chicken fat instead of butter because they were kosher.  Being kosher meant you couldn’t mix meat (chicken and beef) with any dairy products. And the matzoh balls?  No light and fluffy ones for us!  We ate golf-ball sized ones that could sink a ship.  Side dishes were always root-vegetable heavy; potatoes and carrots were in everything.

Recently, I was invited to attend an event at Melissa’s Produce.  It was to showcase a new cookbook by Paula Shoyer called “The Healthy Jewish Kitchen.”

“What’s THIS?!” I thought.  It can’t be!  Healthy AND Jewish?  It’s an oxymoron.  I had to see for myself.  Being in the health and fitness field for…well…a LONG time, and being a cook, myself, I was anxious to see how she re-engineered the classics of Jewish cooking. I haven’t kept kosher since I left home for college, (I’m what you call ‘Jew-ISH’) but my curiosity got the better of me.

Paula has an interesting background.   Known as “the kosher baker,” she is the author of four cookbooks: The Healthy Jewish Kitchen, The Holiday Kosher Baker, The Kosher Baker and The New Passover Menu.

A former lawyer and speechwriter, Paula has been selling, teaching and writing about food since 1995. She graduated with a pastry degree from the Ritz Escoffier in Paris and does cooking and baking demonstrations and workshops all over the United States and even around the world in places such as Canada, China and Israel. She has taught teenagers to cook at summer camps for 13 years. As a former East Coast camper (Indian Head, in Honesdale, PA), I would have loved to have classes like this!

This was the menu she served us. Because everything was kosher-style and she served meat, nothing had any dairy in it.  She substituted coconut oil for butter in her fruit chocolate galette.  I asked her for another substitute, as I can’t stand anything with coconut in it.  She said any of the healthier margarine’s would work.  I may have to try it with grass-fed butter, because it was fabulous (despite the coconut taste!).

Mango Coleslaw pg. 7

Apple, Squash and Brussels Sprout Salad pg. 9

Grilled Steak with Everything Marinade pg. 60

Red Quinoa Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash pg. 79

Chopped String Beans with Basil and Pine Nuts pg. 85

Charred Cauliflower with Orange Vinaigrette pg. 89

Fruit Galette with a Chocolate Crust pg. 129

Mango is my favorite fruit and it made the coleslaw something special. There’s no mayo in it, which is a nice change.  It’s a great summer dish that will go well with burgers.  However, with fall just around the corner, I’m sharing her roasted brussels sprouts, squash and apple salad with you.  Full disclosure: when I shared pictures of her dishes on Facebook and other social media, this was the one people commented on the most, so I decided to share it.  If you’d like the coleslaw recipe, buy the book!  There are a ton of recipes you’ll want to make.  And just like Levy’s Rye Bread, you don’t have to be Jewish to eat them!

One more thing, although it says “by ronalewis….it’s not.  It’s Paula Shoyer’s recipe.  I just don’t know how to change it!  Credit where credit is due!! Enjoy….


@kosherbaker  @melissasproduce  #InMelissasKitchen




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