New Jersey Jewish News
Kushner schools offer a second helping of their best-selling kosher cookbook
In 2002, a smartly bound volume of mouth-watering photographs and triple-tested gourmet dishes was a recipe for success for the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy and Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School. The Kosher Palette cookbook grossed over $1.2 million, with sales topping 75,000 copies. A project meant to benefit the Orthodox day school, located in Livingston, leaped from a local fund-raising tool to a Jewish version of the best-seller list.
Now Kushner is hoping the recipe works again: The Kosher Palette II: Coming Home, packed with 300 new recipes, was published in March and is already flying off the shelves. Ten thousand were sold in the first three weeks following publication, and Borders has picked up a few copies for its shelves.
The new Kosher Palette which is subtitled the art and simplicity of kosher cooking was edited by Sandra Blank and took two-and-a-half years to complete, including raising $150,000 in support from private and corporate sponsors. It was a no-brainer to capitalize on the success of the first book, said Blank. Were certainly hoping for the same kind of sales.
Upscale, sophisticated dishes like Leek and Brie Tart or Pear, Arugula and Endive Salad with Spiced Walnuts sit side by side with standards like Chicken Fricassee and Sweet and Sour Meatballs.
The book focuses on the ease of the recipes, said Blank. People are looking for something on their table that creates a wow! from friends and relatives but that only takes a short time to prepare. Thats what weve focused on.
And, Blank added, Coming Home evokes the idea of family memories and the joys of entertaining family and friends.
Coming Home follows the same basic structure as the original. Recipes were solicited from parents, board members, and friends of the school. The new cookbook also includes some new features, like the chapter openers, which offer sample menus of family-friendly recipes, quick and easy choices, sophisticated ideas, and hors doeuvres, and informational insertions on such topics as spices or the right wine to serve with a given dish. There are hints for refining fancy dishes the leek and brie tart recipe, for example, is accompanied by a side tip on creating individual tartlets basics for the beginner, like how to store chocolate; and good-to-know suggestions like how to revive crystallized honey.
Susie Fishbein of Livingston, who coedited the first Kosher Palette and then went on to launch her own professional career writing kosher cookbooks, did not participate in the new venture. Everyone is happy for her that she pursued her own career. Theres some confusion we encounter when people think the Kosher Palette was her book, but weve all moved on, said Blank.
Todd Aarons who was owner and executive chef at Mosaica restaurant in Vauxhall when Blank began work on the current book and is now executive chef at a restaurant in California contributed his expertise. Other professional advice came from Carole Walter of West Orange, a dessert and cookbook expert, and Monita Buchwald, a recipe tester at Martha Stewart Living magazine.
The nice thing about a community volunteer project is that people step up to the plate to lend their advice and support, said Blank.
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