Kosher By Design Cooking Coach: Release Party and First Impressions

If you keep kosher, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that you have heard of Susie Fishbein. If you don’t keep kosher, I’m going to introduced you to the woman who revolutionized the kosher food world and just published her eighth amazing cookbook.

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Gavriel Sanders, PR guy for Artscroll introduces Susie

A couple of weeks ago, Artscroll publishers and Pomegranate market hosted an amazing event which I was privileged enough to attend. In celebration of the release of Susie’s
eighth book, as well as the ten year anniversary of her first book, they held a media event with Susie as the guest of honor and star of the show.

In order to explain just how exciting it was to attend this event, you have to realize that I grew up on Susie’s cookbooks. Everyone I know has at least a couple of her books, and no holiday meal is complete without at least one of her recipes. And it isn’t just us. Susie Fishbein has sold over 400,000 cookbooks, appeared on national TV, and been called the “Jewish Martha Stewart.” Meeting her was amazing, and not only because everyone I know was green with envy over the opportunity.

As an aside, when I walked into Pomegranate and into the media area, I immediately knew who the other bloggers were because we were the ones sporting big clunky cameras. It was super fun meeting Melinda, Hindy, Shelly, Sarah, Chanie, Ali, Melissa, Tamar, and Levana, to name a few.

After a gorgeous buffet courtesy of the folks at pomegranate, Susie began to talk about her journey across eight cookbooks and her decision to write a cooking manual, as opposed to another cookbook. She talked about how she has been giving cooking demos constantly over the last ten years, and how she found, while talking to participants, that people are dependent to the point of being crippled on following recipes. And so she set out to write a book that would change that. In her newest book, every chapter starts out with a wealth of information about the ingredients and cooking methods you will be using.

When browning ground turkey, Susie explains, brown it whole to maximize the surface available for browning and caramelizing.

Then Susie started her food demo, throwing in little tips and tricks as she showed us how to make her Turkey Taco Eggrolls. After she demoed the Eggrolls themselves, Susie talked about the idea behind another amazing feature in her cookbook. After traveling overseas and returning early on Friday morning, Susie’s daughter kindly offered to cook the Shabbat meals. For an appetizer, they were served a delicious meat-stuffed portobello mushroom. When Susie inquired how the filling was made, her daughter laughed and said she found the mixture in the freezer. Yep, that’s right. It was the filling for the eggrolls!

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Susie is wealth of knowledge and experience!

That’s when inspiration struck, and Susie decided to add a “playbook” section to the new book. For many of the recipes, it lists ideas of things you can do to either repurpose leftovers so your family will never know, or intentionally double one part of a recipe in order to make something completely different with it. In case anyone in the audience had doubts about the practicality or usefulness of this section, waiters started bringing out plates with samples of the egg rolls, the stuffed mushroom, and a third dish which Susie demoed which basically involved tossing the filling with pasta. All three were divine, and totally going to be made in my kitchen.

Probably the worst food photo I ever took, but here ya go: filling with penne, filling baked in a mushroom and the original eggroll filling.

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After that, we all had the opportunity to ask Susie questions. It brought up a lot of interesting information about her rigorous recipe testing process, her experience on the changes to both the cookbook and kosher food scene over the last number of years, and her cooking inspiration. I asked Susie about a difficult situation I experience as a food writer: how do you handle the question of “what went wrong with my recipe?” Unsurprisingly, Susie didn’t have much of an answer for me, because the only true answer is “I can’t know because I wasn’t there.” However, it was clear from the reaction of many other people in the room that its something all food writers deal with.

She was completely friendly and personable during the Q&A!

Once the Q&A was over, we had the opportunity to take pictures with Susie and have out cookbooks signed. Hindy of Confident Cook was kind enough to take an iPhone picture of me when I had my turn.

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Me and Susie, the queen of Kosher food writers. No Biggie. Yeah RIGHT.

I may or may not have texted that picture to everyone who I know to be a huge Susie Fishbein fan to make them jealous.

During the long ride home, I perused the cookbook, which is as beautifully done as all of Susie’s previous books. I isn’t expect to learn so much, considering that I’m fairly educated on all things food, but I really learned a lot. There are a ton of pictures of things like how to spatchcock a chicken or what various dice sizes mean. The recipes are unique and interesting, and I’m excited to get cooking and post a full cookbook review shortly!

PS: if you don’t keep kosher and you’re still reading, trust me. This book is totally for you as well. You do not need to keep kosher to appreciate Susie’s creative ideas and delicious recipes.

PPS: I have a copy of the book to giveaway as well, so come back soon!

PPPS: Now I am just doing this to mess with you.

PPPPS: Oh. Right. I meant to say come back soon because I have a fabulously delicious and completely healthy recipe to share with you soon. Then some sweets, because…because I’m me. And you know you can’t resist.

Disclaimer: the event was sponsored by Artscroll publishers and Pomegranate supermarket. I was given a review copy of the book as well a swag bag of some products Susie recommends. All opinions are my own.

Thanks for stopping by! -Miriam

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