Q&A: Jamie Geller Discusses ‘Quick & Kosher’
This blog is cross-posted from Joy of Kosher.
Jamie Geller claims she knew nothing about cooking or food until she was married several years ago, left a fast-track career as a New York City television producer to embark on the frazzled career of Jewish wife and mother. Geller tells part of her story in her first book Quick & Kosher – Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing.
This winter she follows it up with her new book Quick & Kosher: Meals in Minutes , which, responds to the needs of today’s busy home cook, by sharing quick, simple dishes that have the gourmet look and taste, without elaborate preparation.
You began your professional career as a writer and producer for HBO, what made you decide to switch from cable to a cutting board?
Jamie Geller: The switch was born from necessity. I had never intended to leave TV and that was my life’s goal for a very long time. However, as I adopted a kosher lifestyle, my goals changed. Having 20 people in my home for shabbos quite regularly became one of them. So I quickly realized that it was time to hit the cutting board!
In your new book, you organize recipes based on how much time it takes to cook. How do you make a meal in minutes that looks like it took hours?
That was my exact goal and I’m glad that it comes across. I wanted to come up with meals in minutes that look and taste like you slaved all day – I’m the only cookbook author who wants to get you out of the kitchen. (Another one of my new life goals)
How do you juggle three full-time jobs: mom, cookbook author, food spokeswoman at Kosher.com?
Well, my official title is CFO, Chief Foodie Officer at Kosher.com. It is fun and busy – I’m a spokesperson and I also run my own blog. I post something new almost every day – recipes, videos, my famous “Confessions of a Jewish Bride” and there’s even a special section called “Ask Jamie” where I answer a new reader’s question every week.
As far as juggling goes, I am a work in progress – always. There’s always room for improvement and I’m always working on it. I’m trying to leave the blackberry at home when I take my kids to the bus in the morning so I can really give each facet of my life complete focus, especially the most important job of all, being a mother and wife.
What is your favorite dish to make with your children?
That would be challah . I love to daven [pray] for my kids when I am kneading the dough and hear them say “amen” to my bracha [blessing] when I separate the challah. They love getting creative and making special shapes and just getting their hands all doughy. We top their challah with sprinkles, chocolate chips whatever they are into that erev Shabbos. They take such pride in passing out their challahs at the table.
Desserts are another favorite mommy and me cooking adventure. Personally I love desserts. Some of the dessert recipes my kids really enjoy are: Puff Pastry Apple Purses (from my first book, “Quick & Kosher Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing”) and the Chocolate Pretzel Crust Tart (pg. 246 in my new book). The kids love to bang on the pretzels with wild abandon and make crumbs for the crust and topping.
What do you see as the next big trend in kosher cuisine?
I think that trend will be experimenting with different cuisines from all over the world. I started doing that. In my new book you’ll see find Irish Stew, Vietnamese Beef and Noddle Soup, Tex Mex Mac and Cheese, Mexican Burgers and I have an Indian themed Chanukah menu which includes Bombay Salmon, Samosa Latkes and Mango Cardamom Shortcakes. The book is also filled with a lot of traditional dishes with an inspiring, creative or international twist. So many interesting new products are now kosher and available to the consumer.
What do you have planned next?
I have a super top-secret plan next. You’ll find out soon enough! For now, I’m focusing on my blog. While on tour for my first book, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of meeting so many people and really connecting with them. And now with the launch of my new blog in November, I’ll have the opportunity to connect with everyone I’ve met and so many more on a daily basis so check it out…I will let you in on my super-duper surprise when I’m ready to share!