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Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today's Kitchen by Leah Koenig

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Notes about this book

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Lemon and rose water scones

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      The lemon and rose water flavours marry well in these dainty scones. They're quite rich with a very tender, cake-like texture. I'll definitely be making these again.

  • Sour cream coffee cake with pecan streusel

    • Zosia on March 11, 2016

      This is a delicious version of the classic that's moist with a light, fluffy crumb. The dark brown sugar adds a rich caramel flavour to the topping and the ginger, a little bit of a zing. I like that it's baked in a 9x13 pan rather than a bundt....shorter baking time and easier to portion.

  • Pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins

    • Zosia on September 27, 2015

      I think I'm just not a fan of pumpkin and chocolate. The texture of the muffins was nice - fairly fine and moist crumb - and the spice blend was good (I think) but there was far too much chocolate. These were a hit with the chocolate lovers but I'm going to make them again without. I used all purpose whole wheat flour instead of white whole wheat. Edited Oct 12. Made a second time with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts instead of chocolate chips. The flavour was very good but these are definitely best eaten freshly baked.

  • Cinnamon-sugar apple pancakes

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      This is a good basic pancake recipe that produces light and fluffy pancakes with a pronounced tang since there's no ingredient to neutralize the acid in the buttermilk. They'd go well with any topping but the quick apple saute was a delicious accompaniment.

  • Savory French toast with seared tomatoes and za'atar butter

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      I used the challah with leek filling to make this delicious alternative to sweet French toast. Since I don't cook French toast in fat, I didn't make the flavoured butter but added the za'atar directly to the egg mixture. There's far too much egg mixture for the amount of bread listed (2 eggs for 6 slices bread was sufficient) and the recipe fails to mention that the bread should be stale; fresh would disintegrate in the soaking time given. Flavour-wise, I would give this 5 stars but considering the issues (and the fact I didn't make it as written!), I'm giving it 4.

  • Tomato salad with fried capers

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      Fantastic way to enjoy tomatoes at their peak. Frying the capers intensified they're briny flavour, matching them perfectly with the sweet, caramel-like balsamic reduction.

  • Watermelon Israeli salad

    • Zosia on June 10, 2017

      I loved this twist on the standard, but very delicious, tomato-cucumber-herb salad. The watermelon added a little sweetness and was particularly delicious paired with the tomatoes. The only drawback is that it doesn't keep well because of the water content of the watermelon (I seeded the tomatoes and cucumbers). I toasted but forgot to add the pumpkin seeds......next time.

  • Carrot salad with mint and dates

    • apattin on November 10, 2016

      Did not use the arugula so I could prepare it in advance. It was very yummy.

    • apattin on December 27, 2016


  • Red cabbage and beet slaw with caramelized walnuts

    • ricki on December 29, 2017

      Made with what I had on hand: golden beet and green cabbage, sour cream, no walnuts. With these substitutions, it was a very nice basic slaw with a twist, but a bit on the sweet side. Next time, I'll use less honey and/or more vinegar.

  • Black bean and sweet potato chili

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      This chili had great depth of flavour despite a relatively quick cooking time, with enough tangy and acidic ingredients to balance the sweetness of some of the others. I did think it could use a little more heat but that may have been because of my choice of chili powders, a rather mild blend that's widely available in Canada. It was nothing some extra cayenne pepper couldn't fix.

  • Grilled zucchini with balsamic dressing

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      The dressing was a little sweet for me and I thought it overpowered the delicate flavour of the zucchini, but it was big hit with family and guests.

  • Balsamic-roasted mushrooms and corn

    • Zosia on September 14, 2015

      Good but a little too sweet for me. I will make this again since it was well received but I would omit the honey next time.

  • Roasted broccoli with shallots and lemon

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      The flavour of this was very good and I loved the fact that blanching the broccoli wasn't necessary but cooking the shallots separately was a little fiddly. I'd make this again but add the shallots to the broccoli part way through roasting. 425 was too high a temperature in my oven; a slower bake at 375 would have been better.

  • Saffron rice pilaf

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      Excellent side dish with good texture and flavour. Be wary of the amount of salt if you're using a salted broth - I only needed a pinch at the end. It wasn't at all oily, but I think I'll cut back on it next time I make this.

  • Pine nut and scallion couscous

    • Zosia on September 08, 2015

      Using stock, and frying the pine nuts and scallions adds extra flavour to this simple pilaf.

    • pennyvr on July 06, 2016

      A little bland on it's own but a good accompaniment to spicier foods.

  • Toasted almond Israeli couscous

    • Zosia on October 28, 2018

      Excellent cooking instructions that worked perfectly. Mine took the full 12 minutes to fully absorb the stock. The flavours are subtle but it's intended to be a side dish; it was particularly good with (Dorie Greenspan's) chicken tagine.

  • Tilapia in spicy tomato sauce

    • Zosia on September 27, 2015

      Quick and easy way to add lots of flavour to a mild-tasting fish. The tomato sauce enhanced without overwhelming it. My much smaller fillets cooked in 10 minutes.

  • Baked sole with bitter greens

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      I really enjoyed this dish but keeping family preferences in mind, I reduced the garlic and served the olives on the side. They weren't that enthralled with it but it really needed those olives to cut the bitterness of the escarole. I thought it was delicious eaten as the author intended.

  • Grilled salmon with orange and herbs

    • Zosia on September 08, 2015

      The lively citrus flavours complemented the salmon well and cut the richness of the fish. A big hit with family and guests.

  • Apple cider-braised chicken

    • Zosia on October 19, 2017

      The sauce was a little too sweet for our taste, primarily because the royal gala apples I used disintegrated into it during cooking, but the chicken was tender and quite delicious with just a small amount of braising liquid clinging to it.

  • Roast chicken with fennel and orange

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      This was a hit with everyone. The chicken was beautifully burnished with crisp skin and moist meat, and the orange flavour was noticeable but subtle. In lieu of the extra olive oil, I drizzled the remaining orange-thyme-oil chicken dip over the entire pan of chicken etc before roasting. Watch your baking time; smaller pieces of chicken will require less.

  • Rosemary-maple roast chicken

    • Zosia on September 14, 2015

      The flavour was excellent but the cooking method did not work for me at all - the chicken cooked unevenly and the dark meat was nowhere near done after an hour. Next time, I'll omit the raw onion "stuffing" which gets discarded in the end anyway and cook it at a more moderate temperature for a longer time. I added potatoes to the roasting pan and will do that again since they were fantastic.

  • Chicken schnitzel with caper vinaigrette

    • Zosia on September 14, 2015

      The chicken was good but not special, but the vinaigrette managed to dress it up a little and was a delicious change from the lemon wedges I usually serve.

  • Steak and za'atar fajitas

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      This is a pretty basic recipe but the beef in particular had excellent flavour.

  • Red wine and honey brisket

    • trmarvin on September 13, 2018

      This Dutch-oven brisket requires a bit more investment than the standard mix-pour-roast approach, but it comes out great. Not a huge difference from straight-up slow oven roasting, but discernibly more complex.

  • Spinach shakshuka

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      I loved the idea of this but didn't care for the sweet 'n' sour flavour of the spinach. I would make this again without the cinnamon and lemon juice and perhaps a smaller onion.

  • Porcini-tomato-. and kale-stuffed peppers

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      These had a very hearty, meaty-tasting filling but there was a bit too much for the number of peppers specified (or perhaps mine were just smaller) and it needed a little extra oomph; doubling the tomatoes would help.

  • Baked ziti with caramelized cherry tomatoes

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      This is a pretty basic recipe for baked ziti but the roasted tomato topping made it very special. The only problem was that there wasn't enough of it! Next time, I'll use a larger baking pan and double the topping.

  • Classic challah

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      This is an excellent recipe that produces gorgeous golden challah with a light and fluffy crumb that's a little on the sweet side. The dough was very easy to work with and the finished loaves kept well and were still quite good on day 2. I baked the loaves at 350 for 30 minutes (internal temperature of 200F)

    • Jane on August 29, 2016

      Each time I make this I swear I'm going to try a different recipe as the dough is very soft, making it hard to roll and braid the strands. But then the end result is so good I change my mind. It looks beautiful and the bread is light and flavorful with a good crust. I agree with Zosia that it is too sweet - I reduce the sugar. I bake mine at 350 degrees in a convection oven for 40 minutes and it is perfect.

  • Challah with sautéed leeks and thyme

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      Really tasty variation of the braided bread and perfect for the savoury za'atar French toast recipe. It started with the classic challah recipe from the book, a light and fluffy loaf, that was done in 30 minutes at 350F in my oven.

  • Pumpkin-apple challah

    • Zosia on October 05, 2015

      This recipe produced beautiful and delicious breads. The lofty loaves had a soft and fluffy crumb and lovely sweet spiced apple flavour with pumpkin providing the pretty colour. They were denser on day 2 but still very moist.

  • Spinach and cheese bourekas

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      At a glance, these don't look very different from most spinach-cheese hand pies but we loved the gooey mozzarella cheese and the additional crunch of the sesame seeds. Made as per the recipe, these were quite small. I'll make them twice the size next time for a more substantial snack.

  • Rhubarb-oatmeal crumble bars

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      These were quick to make and delicious, with layers of tender cake, tart fruit that retained its shape and flavour, and crisp and chewy topping. I used all-purpose whole wheat flour in place of white whole wheat.

  • Chocolate-banana bundt cake

    • Zosia on August 29, 2015

      Wow, this was good! Moist and rich with a perfect balance of chocolate and banana. It made a large cake that kept well for a few days. Definitely one to repeat.

  • Maple-cardamom roasted pears

    • Zosia on September 14, 2015

      The flavours of this were really lovely. The pears were the perfect accompaniment to the honey-cinnamon cake and made a very special topping for my morning oatmeal.

  • Honey-cinnamon pound cake (dairy-free)

    • Zosia on September 14, 2015

      The flavour was very good but the texture seemed off - moist but very dense. The batter fit nicely into an 8-1/2" x 4-1/2" pan, smaller than the one recommended.

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Reviews about this book

  • Publishers Weekly

    Interview with Leah Koenig.

    Full review
  • Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach

    This book is a wonderful resource for the holidays, yes. But it’s a treasure for everyday cooking, too — it’s also got a little of that Balaboosta thing going...

    Full review
  • Eat, Drink + Think

    Interview with Leah Koenig.

    Full review
  • Tasting Table

    In Koenig's capable hands, classics are respectfully reinvented (butternut squash kugel with crispy shallots), and new stars are born (steak and za'atar fajitas).

    Full review
  • Yahoo!

    Koenig’s Eastern European Jewish heritage meets her 21st-century kitchen. That means she keeps an eye on tradition, but isn’t married to it, and she cares about seasonality.

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1452127484
  • ISBN 13 9781452127484
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Mar 17 2015
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 352
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Chronicle Books
  • Imprint Chronicle Books

Publishers Text

From a leading voice of the new generation of young Jewish cooks who are reworking the food of their forebears, this take on the cuisine of the diaspora pays homage to tradition while reflecting the values of the modern-day food movement. Author Leah Koenig shares 175 recipes showcasing handmade, seasonal, vegetable-forward dishes. Classics of Jewish culinary culture—such as latkes, matzoh balls, challah and hamantaschen—are updated with smart techniques and vibrant spices. Approachable recipes for everything from soups to sweets go beyond the traditional, incorporating regional influences from North Africa to Central Europe. Featuring holiday menus and rich photography, this collection is at once a guide to establishing traditions and a celebration of the way we eat now.

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