I love browsing through cookbooks. In my own cookbook collection you can tell which recipes are my favorites by which pages are the most stained with food spills. I also have pencil marks up and down the margins for ingredient quantities, as I usually double or triple recipes when I make them.
When I am baking cookies, for example, I always make an extra batch to put in the freezer, for those last minute emails from the PTA that I need to bring in baked goods. When I am making savory dishes, such as soups or pasta, I portion some of the dish directly into individual sized containers, which also go right into the freezer. These come in extremely handy when my daughter needs to take care of dinner on her own, or when she is so hungry, she can’t wait for what I’m making. She can heat something up that is homemade and healthy. They are also great for taking to work for lunch.
I highly recommend keeping a well-stocked freezer, whether you keep kosher or not. It saves both time and money! If you make your own convenience meals, by containerizing what you already prepared, you won’t need to buy ready-made items. My mom actually has a separate freezer in her pantry, which is always stocked with homemade baked goods and staples for baking.
Speaking of stocking the freezer, I saw a comment posted on my “Easy Dinner for a Monday” recipe about having roasted vegetables on hand. I usually have some sort of vegetables waiting in my freezer, for last-minute dinners that are easy to throw together. My Market on the Move box from this weekend had close to 20 red and yellow bell peppers in it. I knew I wouldn’t use all of them in time, so I roasted ten of them, to chop and freeze for future dishes. I roasted the peppers on a sheet pan at 425 F, for about 15 minutes, turning them periodically. I put them in a bowl, in the refrigerator, until I had some time to chop and bag them. Chopping and bagging them tonight only took 11 minutes, so it is really not time consuming to prep your own freezer foods!
Having ingredients prepped and ready also makes it easier to try new recipes, knowing that you don’t have to run to the store for twelve different things. I recently checked out Kosher Revolution from the library. It’s a beautiful cookbook, with photos, explanations and fresh, new ideas. Written by Geila Hocherman and Arthur Boehm, Kosher Revolution features recipes that are modern and interesting…it’s not your grandmother’s kosher cookbook! My mouth is watering looking at the “Fried Pea and Parmesan Ravioli” recipe (page 43) .
Our pastry chef at Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging is going to bake the “Peshwari Challah” recipe for our upcoming Tu B’Shevat seder. It’s a twist on classic challah (no pun intended) with Indian spices in the dough and pistachio-coconut filling (page 190).
I have renewed Kosher Revolution a few times already, but I’m thinking this needs to part of my well-loved cookbook collection.