'The New Jewish Table' spins traditional dishes
Modern seasonal recipes for traditional dishes
Tradition with a twist: What happens when an ambitious chef raised Episcopalian falls in love and marries a Jewish woman working in the food industry? (Handout)
What happens when an ambitious chef raised Episcopalian falls in love and marries a Jewish woman working in the food industry? Well, if it's Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray, you open a restaurant called Equinox in Washington, D.C., garner attention and acclaim, branch out into other restaurant gigs and catering, and write a cookbook together that tells the story of living and working and eating together.
The book, "The New Jewish Table," written with David Hagedorn, tells the story of Todd Gray's introduction to the world of Jewish cooking and how the two developed their own style of cooking locally, seasonally and thoughtfully.
Subtitled "Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes," the book is arranged by the season. Recipes include an assortment of dishes popularized by Equinox, as well as interesting spins on such Jewish classics as matzo ball soup, brisket and tzimmes, which is made here with plums rather than prunes.
Recipes are conveniently tagged meat, dairy or parve; kosher for Passover substitutes are offered for certain recipes; and there are suggested menus for various Jewish holidays.
Gorgeous color photos help tell the story. The appendix is particularly useful, a collection of recipes for spice blends, vinaigrettes, stocks and various staples, from toasted breadcrumbs to oven-dried tomatoes. Techniques are covered as well, from warming bread to cooking pasta to using vanilla beans, making this a book even a novice cook can enjoy.
Husband and wife both "speak" in this book; their comments are set down transcript-style.
It's a technique that can read a bit sing-songy, but in the long run it's a minor distraction. For "The New Jewish Table" is a very practical, useful book for anyone looking to eat locally, seasonally and well.
— Bill Daley, Tribune Newspapers