Millennial Kosher: Get your copy on Amazon!
My first thought on receiving my copy of the gorgeous Millennial Kosher by the talented Chanie Apfelbaum of Busy in Brooklyn fame was, do my little Go Chanie dance. A GenXer, conveniently revamped and rejuvenated (ever so little) as Millennial for the purpose of her catchy book title, dared to display tacos on her book cover. It conjured up the epic line in The Devil Wears Prada: I mean you eat carbs, for Chrissake!
That’s right! Chanie made sure to set the fun and playful tone even before you get a chance to open the book. Thank goodness, none of the didactic preachy food trends du jour that we get bombarded with daily, all in the name of Millennial political food correctness. Phew, for a while there I confess I was a little concerned with the title: Is Millennial Kosher another tiresome list of admonitions about Paleo, Keto, detox, sprouted, raw, low carb, no grain, gluten-free, vegan? But Chanie is no slave to any of the hype. The food-fad coast is clear, so go right ahead and dig in!
All your favorite foods are included in Millennial Kosher.
The repertoire is blissfully expansive, not restrictive. Seasonal, colorful and vibrant. And she knows we don’t like to slave away in the kitchen (duh!), so the recipes are straightforward, with only few steps and few utensils from beginning to end.
I trust you will make peace with a good number of dishes you used to have trouble getting near as a teenager: dismal memories of that overcooked salmon, those greasy short ribs, those cloying lokshin, those unappealing beets, that honey cake that remained in its wrappings and kept changing hands? Give them all another chance, as they were “reinvented for the modern palate”; they make a slick comeback, lightened up, accessible and streamlined. And yes, youthful is the right word.
Chanie has quite an eye for photography.
Of course we all knew that from frequent visits to her site. But there is something immensely appealing in the book’s beautiful photos (all hers, by the way, and one for every single dish; these two facts alone are pretty amazing); they look like what you would be served in a modern, all right, millennial, diner. At once modern and timeless, with a rustic flair. Just take a look, on pages 114-115, at the kale-ale-kielbasa soup, at the wonderful quaint crockery it is displayed in!
Chanie liberally borrows from familiar and popular crowd pleasers, and runs with them. In her creative hands, school-lunch chicken nuggets with mayo get all dressed up as corn chex nuggets with maple mustard aioli; she spreads the harissa love really thick in her chicken sliders; old world matzah balls find their sexy way in minestrone; love me some of her spice-rub short ribs with parsnip puree.
The soups in Millennial Kosher deserve a special mention
Most of them achieve the status of a complete meal. Veggies, grains, meat, noodles, all aboard in a single pot: to name just a few soup winners, Bubby’s cabbage soup with flanken, pea soup with smoked turkey, and the aforementioned kale-ale-kielbasa soup. Comfort foods at their best and simplest, and most unpretentious.
Something did get me stumped in the soup chapter:
Vegetable stock, Chicken stock. Hello, where did it all come from? Was is homemade? Store-bought? Canned? Reconstituted? It goes totally undiscussed and remains a mystery, ever the controversial don’t-ask-don’t-tell ingredient. If I missed a clarification as to their sources, I will stand corrected. Stock, broth and bouillon always being issued from dubious intractable lineage, it would have been a comfort to have it frankly discussed in an intro to the soup chapter.
Savory snacks, spicy and smoky!
That includes savory granola: they might even be the new croutons!
The Millennial Kosher Last Course
Dessert often opts for not taking itself too seriously in Chanie’s repertoire. Some desserts even flirt with silly. One senses that she is more at home as a cook than as a baker, and you know what, that’s OK, as she has contributed enough wonderful stuff to the cause.
Still, that mean-looking red wine chocolate cake with poached pears, cowboy biscotti and fruit crisp (a winter one and a summer one) look mighty inviting!
So proud of her! Wishing her Hatlacha. May her masterpiece take her to the most exciting places!