Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jamie Geller Goes Quick & Kosher ... Again!

Quick and Kosher. These are two words that I live by. I keep kosher, and I prefer that keeping kosher not keep my calendar in the "rush" formation. When I cook kosher, I want to cook quick, but thoughtful. Quick, but healthful. Quick, but delicious. Can it be done? Is it possible to cook quick and kosher? To set aside generations of slaving over a hot stove for two days for Shabbat meals? Yes, yes it is. And Jamie Geller shows us how (and she makes it look incredibly easy).

I first heard about Jamie's work from the beautiful personality behind In the Pink, so I ordered the book immediately off Amazon, tabbed a bajillion pages, and got cooking. Aside from a few gripes about recipes coming out tasteless (which, to be honest, I can't blame on Jamie -- I am a super taster, if you are familiar with the term; I need lots of spice in order to taste anything), I was incredibly pleased with the ease and speed with which her recipes could be completed. Yes, there were opponents who scoffed at her Duck Sauce Chicken recipe (jar duck sauce, chicken, cook), but that's because people don't get what Quick & Kosher means.

Quick & Kosher: Meals in MinutesQuick & Kosher means easy meals that pack a flavorful punch with minimal ingredients that won't have you multi-tasking on three different devices. Quick & Kosher means giving you the options for meals that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise. Duck Sauce Chicken? Sure, it seems simple, but when you're scrounging for the easiest possible Shabbos dinner dish, would you, off the top of your head, just think about throwing some sauce and chicken together? And if you have a beef with the health issue (onion soup mix and what have you), then you, as the consumer, need to think: look for low sodium options, look for all natural ingredients, and find a way to make the recipes work!

Thus, with Jamie's new installment in the Quick & Kosher series -- Meals in Minutes -- we have a boatload of options that come adorned with side dishes! Jamie offers a main dish and a side dish on every page, so you don't have to think about what to make with your protein. Can you mix it up? Who's to stop you? But the nice thing is that you can stick to one page and have a healthy, quick, delicious meal. In the back of the book, Jamie offers a variety of meal options for every Jewish holiday from Shabbat to Shavuot, and, to be completely honest, I'll probably use the festive meal menus for a regular Shabbat in the future. Why? Because I'm the kind of person who starts building a menu and ends up with two main dishes, six side dishes, and three desserts plus a soup or salad or fish. I overdo it. I kill myself cooking for Shabbat, when I know that -- in reality -- a few side dishes with a main course, a delicious dessert and a hearty salad are all a meal and the guests need to be complete and satisfied. I also love that Jamie offers wine pairings and gives short and sweet explanations of the questions you know you're asking, like, what is lemongrass (check the Thai Chicken Soup recipe)? Or how to pick cheese or wine or why is awesome (for all intents and purposes, Jamie's their spokesperson).

Pumpkin cookies! FTW!

I know what you're thinking -- they gave me the book for free. I'm worshiping at the altar of Jamie Geller and the Quick & Kosher team. To be honest, aside from the spice/flavor issue, I haven't had a problem with any of the recipes from either book, and I've made probably a dozen or so in the past few months. And, as a gluten-free consumer, I've been able to fix up all of the recipes I've made for a gluten-free twist, including the Pumpkin Cookies in the new book. (Easiest cookies out there after, of course, an unhealthy pre-packed mix). I also am a huge fan of the Lamb Meatballs in Pita, which I made for my Israeli friends and paired with an abundance of Israeli salads (they loved the meatballs). I'm super eager to make the Greek-Style Chicken with Lemon and Dill, paired with Tomatoes and String Beans (okay, so I'll have to make Tuvia something else), as well as the Pumpkin Black Bean Soup (what a combo, right?). Spice-Rubbed Grilled Chicken with Fruit Salsa? Yes, please! The list goes on and on.

And if you know that you only have 40 minutes or 60 minutes, all you have to do is go to that chapter and get cooking. Organized, quick, and kosher. Bravo, Jamie!

So now, what you're really here for, the giveaway. Here are the rules:
  • There will be one winner who will receive one copy of Jamie Geller's new Quick & Kosher: Meals in Minutes.
  • The contest closes Sunday, November 7, 2010, at 10 p.m. 
  • To enter, you must write a fall/winter food haiku (or limerick, just for you M.E.) OR tell me (and, in turn, Jamie Geller) what recipe or food you love for which you wish there was a "quick and kosher" recipe. 
  • Tweet this, Facebook this, and spread the word. Let me know where you've thrown up a mention (honor system here, folks) for an extra entry into the contest.
Good luck, and happy cooking!