Gourmet and light fare to serve at kosher table

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December 13, 2006|By Susan Reimer | Susan Reimer,Sun reporter

Jewish Cooking for All Seasons

Fresh, Flavorful Kosher Recipes for Holidays and Every Day

Enlitened Kosher Cooking

By Nechama Cohen

Feldheim Publishers / 2006 / $39.95

If Laura Frankel is a gourmet cook who also happens to keep kosher, Nechama Cohen is a kosher cook who changed her ways after a lifestyle-altering diagnosis.

For Cohen, chicken soup is no longer greasy, chocolate mousse doesn't have to be full of fat and chopped liver doesn't have to be high in cholesterol. She has adapted all the traditional recipes that Frankel eschewed to the low-carb, low-fat, sugar-free diet she had to adopt when she was diagnosed with diabetes.

The result is somewhat demoralizing.

You can make anything out of anything. But kugel made with spaghetti squash instead of noodles? And when is chopped liver not chopped liver? When it is made with walnuts instead.

Most of us who bought into the drastically low-carb diets of the 1990s have moved on to moderation. But Cohen has attempted to scrub just about every bit of fat and carbohydrate out of her recipes.

She recommends making chicken stock of bones and turkey necks, and cleaning the fat from the stock according to a set of detailed instructions. If you can't give up carrots and potatoes, she says, cook them separately and discard the carbohydrate-filled water before adding the vegetables to soup.

And she must use nonstick cooking spray by the case - in place of beloved olive oil.

Cohen is cooking as if her life depended on it. If you have diabetes, too, this book is for you. Otherwise, enjoy kugel and chopped liver the way your Bubbe made them. If you want to eat more healthfully, just leave some on your plate.

susan.reimer@baltsun.com

Roasted Pineapple With Pineapple Sorbet

Serves 4

seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean

1/2 cup dark-brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light rum or apple juice

1 whole large pineapple, peeled

Pineapple Sorbet (see below)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat the vanilla-bean seeds and sugars and rum in a large ovenproof saute pan over medium-low heat, stirring, until the sugars are completely dissolved.

Add the pineapple to the pan and cook, gently turning it several times, until thoroughly coated with the rum mixture. When the pineapple has become fragrant and is starting to give off its natural juices, about 15 minutes, transfer the pan to the oven.

Roast the pineapple, basting it frequently with the pan juices, until it is a deep golden brown and very fragrant, about 30 minutes.

Carefully remove the pineapple from the pan and set it aside to cool slightly. Return the pan to a low burner and simmer the roasting juices until they are thick and syrupy.

When the pineapple is cool enough to handle, cut it into 4 wedges, and cut out the tough core from each piece. Slice and serve with Pineapple Sorbet and drizzle with the reduced syrup.

From "Jewish Cooking for All Seasons"

Per serving (with 1/2 cup pineapple sorbet): 383 calories, 1 gram protein, trace fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 98 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 20 milligrams sodium

Pineapple Sorbet

Makes about 1 1/2 pints

4 cups cubed fresh pineapple or drained unsweetened canned pineapple

1/2 cup dark-brown sugar

seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Puree the pineapple, sugar and vanilla-bean seeds in a food processor or blender. Let the mixture stand for several minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve. Chill completely.

Process the sorbet mixture in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the sorbet to a covered container and freeze until hard, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Note: The sorbet can be made up to 4 days ahead and kept frozen. If the sorbet begins to separate, simply melt it and reprocess it in your machine.

Per serving ( 1/2 cup): 119 calories, 1 gram protein, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 31 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 8 milligrams sodium

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