Jack's Wife Freda - Cookbook, Restaurant, and a Love Story Generations Old

Jack's Wife Freda: Cooking From New York's West Village by Dean and Maya Jankelowitz is a crush-worthy book. From it's funky green cover with the image of Dean's grandmother, Freda, to the photographs, recipes and overall cool vibe of this book - I am smitten.

Jack's Wife Freda are a pair of wildly popular restaurants that deliver Jewish comfort-food to New York's Greenwich Village. It's books like this that make me miss being a New Yorker (living there fifteen years and marrying a New Yorker makes me an honorary one). In February when I'm back to the city, save me a table Dean and Maya because I'm bringing my stretchy pants.

Recipes include Orange Blossom Pancakes, Mustard Seed-Crusted Tofu and Peri Peri Chicken Wings making sure that breakfast to dinner is covered. I've made the Peri Peri Chicken Wings so far for a quick dinner one night and they were fabulous. The wonderful problem with all these truly great cookbooks I feature is that there aren't enough meals in the day but like the good Midwestern girl that I am, I will try harder. 

Dean and Maya, the couple that own Jack's Wife Freda are as quaint as the restaurant itself. Their story begins with Freda, Dean's grandmother, who met Jack in Johannesburg in the 1930's and were wed. Fast forward to Dean who packed his meager belongings as a teenager and began his great adventure to America. In 2003, Dean met Maya who had come to New York City to find "her spark" which turned out to be Dean. The igniting of their two creative spirits was the beginning of a delicious immigrant love story.

Years later, on Friday the 13th of January 2012, they opened the doors of Jack's Wife Freda. Freda, Dean's grandmother, "was an incredible host, gracious and warm, always having family, friends, and couple strangers over- and always lots of food". Freda is my kinda gal and opening a restaurant in New York on Friday the 13th takes all kinds of chutzpah.
Jack's Wife Freda is a love story of a couple, their family and the restaurant where good food is shared - the recipes are gravy. Special thanks to the authors and publisher for sharing the following recipe with our members. Be sure to head over to our contest page to enter the giveaway for a copy of this cookbook


Jalapeno and Gruyère Pasta
Yields 4 to 6 portions
This pasta is our version of a spicy, grown-up mac and cheese! Jalapenos can have different levels of heat but cooking them will mellow the flavor a bit. If you prefer more spice, add additional raw sliced jalapenos to garnish before eating.
3 jalapenos chilies
8 garlic cloves
1 (16-ounce) box orecchiete
2 tablespoons olive oil
1⁄2 cup white wine
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) butter
2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
¼ cup kosher salt
Slice the jalapenos across into thin rounds and finely mince the garlic. Set aside the
garlic and jalapenos. Bring 5 quarts water-salted to taste like the ocean!-to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook for 9 minutes (the instructions on most packages say
13 minutes, although the pasta will absorb more liquid later, so stick to 9 minutes to avoid overcooking). Before straining the pasta, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
In the same pot used for cooking the pasta, combine the olive oil, garlic, and
jalapenos. Cook over medium-low heat until the garlic begins to toast and the
jalapenos soften. Add the white wine and butter. Once the butter has melted, return the pasta to the pot and stir. Add the shredded Gruyere cheese and reserved pasta water, a little at a time, until all the cheese has melted and the pasta appears creamy. Note: You may not use all of the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately with thinly sliced, fresh jalapenos on top if desired.
From JACK'S WIFE FREDA: Cooking from New York's West Village by Maya and Dean Jankelowitz. Recipes by Julia Jaksic. Published by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2016 by NoamBennyLLC

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  • monique.potel  on  4/13/2017 at 11:21 AM

    want ot make sure i visit this gem next time i come to new york

  • Sueskitchen  on  4/13/2017 at 1:22 PM

    I love NYC. Can't wait to read the book!

  • lgroom  on  4/13/2017 at 7:16 PM

    What a neat story -- sounds like my kind of book.

  • sgump  on  4/14/2017 at 12:57 PM

    A restaurant recipe I've successfully recreated at home, you ask? With a trip to an Asian market (for the right mushrooms and shredded bamboo shoots), I can recreate a pretty good hot and sour soup!

  • bstewart  on  4/14/2017 at 2:16 PM

    I recreated the Crack Pie from Milk Bar for Thanksgiving last year and *wow*.

  • hippiechick1955  on  4/14/2017 at 6:56 PM

    Tuna Steak Burger with Capers & Lemon Aioli

  • t.t  on  4/15/2017 at 1:27 AM

    I don't think I've ever recreated a restaurant recipe--I tend to use them more for inspiration.

  • Aproporpoise  on  4/15/2017 at 3:27 PM

    Pea and Ricotta Toast! Yum!

  • fiarose  on  4/16/2017 at 5:13 PM

    one of my favorite japanese dishes from my favorite japanese restaurant--shrimp shu mai!

  • Siegal  on  4/17/2017 at 8:23 PM

    I made nopis rice pudding

  • Uhmandanicole  on  4/18/2017 at 12:33 AM

    In college I somehow replicated this Korean fish stew from a restaurant around the block from me. But sadly I have never been able to do it again.

  • lebarron2001  on  4/19/2017 at 4:19 PM

    I have recreated Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream !

  • klrclark  on  4/20/2017 at 9:57 AM

    Last year I took my daughter here for Brunch! Wow fantastic place

  • pandapotamus  on  4/20/2017 at 11:13 PM


  • meggan  on  4/21/2017 at 10:05 AM

    I once recreated an espresso hollandaise I had somewhere. It was pretty good if I don't say so myself.

  • cheftina888  on  4/21/2017 at 10:19 PM

    I would like to be adventurous and make some duck bacon for the bacon lovers. It would definitely be different in taste and it would be quite interesting experiment . I would make that with orange blossom pancakes.

  • earthnfire  on  4/22/2017 at 7:44 AM

    I made a pork tenderloin with apricot and chilis from the Coyote Cafe

  • edyenicole  on  4/22/2017 at 2:52 PM

    Nothing comes to mind... Sorry! :)

  • drjeff  on  4/28/2017 at 9:04 PM

    Bloody Mary

  • imaluckyducky  on  4/30/2017 at 12:55 PM

    I've been able to recreate + improve Olive Garden's chicken marsala dish :)

  • Teruska  on  5/5/2017 at 7:01 AM

    I am making this recipe this weekend! Sounds great!

  • Teruska  on  5/5/2017 at 7:03 AM

    Bang Bang Shrimp!

  • nadiam1000  on  5/9/2017 at 6:41 AM

    Great story, great restaurant and now great cookbook! I ate there on my last NY trip and enjoyed it immensely. I did not even realize there was a cookbook and now I must have it! I have had great success recreating Almond Croissants at home - once I found out they were made with leftover croissants and found a recipe, I was off and running...

  • bdmltm  on  5/13/2017 at 7:06 AM

    I've recreated a favorite restaurant's version of shrimp scampi.

  • Ordinaryblogger  on  5/15/2017 at 7:49 AM

    I haven't really recreated any restaurant recipes but every time I make rib steak I try!!

  • AnnaZed  on  5/15/2017 at 5:27 PM

    I can make Shrimp Remoulade just like Galatoires in New Orleans where I grew up. I'm not in New Orleans anymore so it's an homage Chef Leon! (I promise).

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