Food safety and you

A few simple tips can help ensure everything you prepare stays fresh and healthy.

  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling foods.
  • Wash all fruits and veggies.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling raw meat, poultry, or fish. Keep their juices away from other foods.
  • Cook poultry and meat until they are done. Poultry should not be pink when cut into. Use a thermometer if in doubt. Ground meats should be cooked to 160˚F minimum and poultry to 165˚F.
  • Wash the tops of cans before opening.
  • Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator or microwave, not for long periods on the counter.
  • Don’t leave food out too long at room temperature or bacteria will grow.
  • Buy a thermometer for your refrigerator and make sure the temperature stays at or under 40˚F to keep food safe. A freezer should be set at zero degrees or below.
  • Use cooked leftovers within four days.
  • Have a fire extinguisher handy in case of flare-ups and be sure you are familiar with how to use it.

kosher by design, susie fishbein, teens and 20-somethings, kosher recipes, simple kosher cookingThis post comes from the upcoming release “Kosher By Design: Teens and 20-Somethings” by Susie Fishbein and published by ArtScroll Shaar Press. Preorder your copy today and receive free shipping within the continental U.S. on your entire order from ArtScroll.com.

A few notes on ingredients

Always use unsalted butter in sticks. Salt is added to butter topreserve freshness. Use unsalted for the cleanest, freshest flavor. This way you can control the amount of salt added to your recipes.

Unless otherwise stated, eggs are always size large. They do vary involume and recipes can be affected if you use jumbo or other sizes.

Measure liquids in liquid measuring cups and dry in dry measuring cups.The volume of wet and dry ingredients differs, requiring separate measuring cups for accuracy. Using a liquid measure for dry ingredients and vice versa may alter the outcome of a recipe, especially in baking, where ingredients mix in a precise chemical way.

For better taste and texture, I use fine sea salt, coarse sea salt, or kosher salt, rather than table salt. The recipes specify which kind to use.

Low-fat versions of cheeses, milk, or sour cream may be substituted, except where specified. Sometimes the higher-fat version is needed for taste, texture, or meltability.

In recipes that call for chocolate, always use good-quality bars that you would enjoy eating. Chocolate chips were designed to hold their shape, so they are not ideal for melting. Make sure you use good-quality chips as well, made from real chocolate, not just chocolate flavoring.
kosher by design, susie fishbein, teens and 20-somethings, kosher recipes, simple kosher cookingThis post comes from the upcoming release “Kosher By Design: Teens and 20-Somethings” by Susie Fishbein and published by ArtScroll Shaar Press. Preorder your copy today and receive free shipping within the continental U.S. on your entire order from ArtScroll.com.

Q&A with Susie about “Teens and 20-Somethings”

Q: You’ve produced six bestselling cookbooks in less than ten years. Was this what you had in mind when you started?

A: Not at all. But the response from the early adopters of Kosher by Design was so enthusiastic, I just kept going. My family and friends were very encouraging, as well. And the world of kosher food has shifted dramatically in the last decade. We have choices today that would have been unthinkable ten years ago, with world class kosher wines, kosher sausages, kosher gelatin, and many new kosher ingredients. Also, we have a proliferation of fine kosher restaurants which have influenced how people cook and entertain at home.

Q: Your latest project focuses on teens and 20-somethings. Why this group?

A: There are really two groups in this demographic. There is the segment that subsists mostly on fast food, whose idea of home cooking is a store-bought entrée warmed in the microwave. I want to widen their choices. Then there’s another segment that is really into cooking, that has a more developed and health-conscious approach to eating. This group is more aware of ingredients, portions, nutrition, and actually reads packaging labels. I’ve observed firsthand that this is true of boys as well as girls. They are looking for new recipes and new approaches to eating. I also have in mind the college student cooking in a dorm or a first apartment. I considered the adventurous teen who wants to have friends over for something more substantial than pizza and pretzels. More personally, I have teens in the kitchen now. Their tastes have changed; they and their friends are more sophisticated. You should see what my kids can create in our kitchen! My recipes designs are crafted with all these in mind, as well as the adults who cook for them.

Q: So this cookbook isn’t just limited to the young, aspiring home chef?

A:  Not at all. Over-30’s will find great ideas in Teens and 20-Somethings. And if you are a parent who cooks for this age group, you’ll be very happy because they’ll love the diverse cuisine – not to mention that all the older adults I’ve surveyed said that would use this cookbook for their regular meal planning as well.

Q: From looking at your previous cookbooks, it seems you like an international mix of recipes. Does that carry through in Teens and 20-Somethings?

A: I simply write about what I like to eat. I like to keep things fresh and exciting in the kitchen. I look for inspiring ideas from countries that have interesting cuisine. I take an eclectic approach and end up with fun combinations. Imagine coming home to a dinner made by your college student, featuring Mexican Pizza Empanadas, Creamy Gnocchi Pesto Salad, Thai Chicken Burgers, Hoisin Vegetables, and finishing with a Chocolate Tart in Pretzel Crust. There are dozens of suggestions here to “eat your way around the world.”

Q: It’s an odd question but how “Jewish” is this kosher cookbook?

A: As you’ll notice with Kosher by Design Short on Time, Teens and 20-Somethings is not a thematically Jewish cookbook, though many of the recipes are great for Shabbat and holiday meals. Among the 100 new recipes, few are discernibly Jewish (OK — the Hot Pretzel Challah, perhaps — and there is a good recipe for traditional Chicken Soup). You’ll find some pretty tantalizing American-style dishes such as Turkey Sliders, Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast, Tater Tot Casserole, and Tie-Dye Cookies. But they are all kosher.

Q:  How labor-intensive are these recipes?

A: They were designed for young people in minimally-equipped kitchens – like a dorm room or a first apartment. They are simple, quick, fun to prepare, and really delicious. While these recipes are really for anyone anywhere, we’ve prepared them with a specific demographic in mind that has shown a keen interest in eating and learning about cooking.

Q:  Is the last installment in the Kosher by Design series?

A: Would you be surprised to know that I’m already thirty recipes into the next project?
kosher by design, susie fishbein, teens and 20-somethings, kosher recipes, simple kosher cookingThis post comes from the upcoming release “Kosher By Design: Teens and 20-Somethings” by Susie Fishbein and published by ArtScroll Shaar Press. Preorder your copy today and receive free shipping within the continental U.S. on your entire order from ArtScroll.com.

Susie’s visit on the Nachum Segal Show

In case you missed the Five Minute Food Focus with Gavriel Sanders on the Nachum Segal Show in NY, you can listen below.

5 Min Food Focus Mix

Eat a rainbow of color for health

Nutrition experts agree: A healthy body should get a variety of at least five fruits and vegetables per day for more optimal health. Fruits and veggies are great sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (aptly pronounced “fight-ochemicals”).

These are substances that naturally occur in plants, and some of them may yield health benefits beyond anything your body can absorb from a multivitamin.
It’s important to eat fruits and vegetables of many different colors, since each color group carries unique nutrients. If you eat at least one cup from each color group, you’re on your way to getting your five servings per day. So go ahead and eat the rainbow!

kosher by design, susie fishbein, teens and 20-somethings, kosher recipes, simple kosher cookingThis post comes from the upcoming release “Kosher By Design: Teens and 20-Somethings” by Susie Fishbein and published by ArtScroll Shaar Press. Preorder your copy today and receive free shipping within the continental U.S. on your entire order from ArtScroll.com.

Serving in the Sukkah – some tips from Susie

Susie’s answering your questions on serving in the sukkah – send your questions to us at socialmedia@artscroll.com.

How do you keep everything nice and organized (and hot) while not making a huge amount of work for every meal in the sukkah? I feel like it’s always a mess, I don’t have enough room and nothing is the right temp by the time we get the kids in their seats to eat and everyone washes. Susie help! Do you have some tips to keep things going smoothly?

Susie’s reply: Plan on making dishes that don’t take long to plate or platter. To keep the food hot, I  don’t start plating until after motzei.  A good warm challah to linger over and no one will mind the wait. Also, be sure to enlist your family to help; we are an assembly line in my house,  don’t be a one-man/woman show.  It’s no fun that way. The logistics are too hard to juggle with just one person working in the kitchen.

Can you recommend inexpensive and natural decorations that aren’t “too flashy” – tips for making things look nice that can work well with my table centerpiece and other table dressing.

Susie’s reply: Look to nature.  You can scatter baby crab apples and seckel pears around the table or fill glass vases with them. Beautiful leaves with a single peacock  feather tied with a  ribbon is also a great inexpensive centerpiece.

And enjoy those last few nights in the sukkah!

Planning ahead for a smooth holiday

What’s the best way to plan ahead without creating a headache? How can you balance a cooking bonanza at the last minute with a kitchen full of half-prepared entrees?

Susie recommends preparing almost everything until its final steps.  Dressings and marinades are made so they can be quickly and neatly tossed on their dish and baked.  Salad is cleaned, chopped and stored in moist paper towels.  Soups are completely made and stored until ready for use.

“Sometimes that means not making an entire recipe all at once, so on my menus I keep notes with a check list of what still needs to be done for each dish.”

Keeping Organized for a Three-Day Chag

Kosher By Design author Susie Fishbein is answering questions from readers. You can email your questions here.

Whenever we have a three-day chag, I always prepare too much food and end up forgetting to set some of the items out. I did the same thing this year for RH. Do you have tips on keeping everything organized? I’m already worried about the next two.

Susie’s reply:

Writing menus are a must.  This will assure that you do not over-plan, over-cook or over-look.  I always make one meal a smorgasbord of leftovers- an “all-star” review of sorts. Planning carefully days in advance and not being overly ambitious on new menu items will keep even the least experienced host from making mistakes.

Thanks – and please keep the questions coming!