If you are looking for a Chanukah gift for a foodie (say… yourself!), or some new recipes for any of the Jewish holidays, then there’s a new book out that will be of help. Aviva Allen, author of the 2007 The Organic Kosher Cookbook, has just released a Holiday Edition. Ms. Allen provided me with a free copy for this interview and review.
Ms. Allen is a nutritionist in Toronto, CA, with a private practice. She also teaches private cooking lessons and Smart Food shopping. Smart Food shopping lessons introduces the client to new foods and how to prepare them, how to read labels, healthy substitutions, and more.
Ms. Allen’s interest in healthy cooking, eating, and education were originally piqued when she participated in the ADAMAH farming fellowship. She then went on to attend the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York, followed by an internship back at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, cooking healthy, vegetarian food.
Ms. Allen wrote her first cookbook, because she felt that Jewish food was mostly “a lot of brown food” and utilized “a lot of margarine and Crisco to make the food pareve.” She explains that “there are a lot of so-called healthy kosher cookbooks out there but they have a lot of [those unhealthy ingredients].”
Ms. Allen’s new cookbook is broken down by holiday and what traditional foods are eaten at each one. She supplies recipes for healthier versions of these dishes. It is an ideal book for anyone who wants to keep kosher and also eat organic.
She explains, “There are so many different food sensitivities, preferences, and restrictions. A lot of the time you are making food for someone coming over and it’s helpful to look in the book and know what to make for them.” The book has symbols indicating for each recipe if it is vegetarian, gluten-free, passover-friendly, and if simple substitutions can be made to accommodate any of the above restrictions. There is also an index indicating all of the vegan recipes.
The cookbook includes organic, kosher chicken and fish recipes, but no beef. At this time, there is no kosher, organic beef available in Canada, where Ms. Allen is based.
Here is a recipe for Ms. Allen’s Spicy Potato Latkes, just in time for Chanukah preparations:
Spicy Potato Latkes (vegetarian)
Yield: 10-15 latkes
5 cups SHREDDED YUKON GOLD POTATO (2 lbs. potatoes)
3 Tbsp. GRATED ONION (1 small onion)
1 Tbsp. MINCED JALAPENO PEPPER (seeds removed)
2 tsp. SEA SALT
2 tsp. CHILI POWDER
1/2 cup WHOLE WHEAT OR WHOLE SPELT FLOUR /*
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL FOR FRYING
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place shredded potatoes in a towel, a little at a time, and ring out the liquid.
Place into a large bowl and mix together with all other ingredients (except the oil).
Heat 3 Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan at a medium-high heat. Place a heaping tablespoon of mixture into your hands and flatten to form a disc while squeezing out excess liquid.
Fry latkes until golden brown onto both sides, adding more oil as necessary. Place latkes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 10-15 minutes.
Serve with Avocado Sour Cream. (If you want to know this recipe, you’ll need to check out the cook book! –Laura).
** Substitute an equal amount of whole wheat matzah meal for Passover-friendly version.