The founders of the world-famous Gefilteria revitalize beloved old-world foods with ingenious new approaches in their debut cookbook.
Liz Alpern and Jeffrey Yoskowitz are on a mission to reclaim and revolutionize Ashkenazi cuisine. Combining the inventive spirit of a new generation and respect for their culinary tradition, they present more than a hundred recipes pulled deep from the kitchens of Eastern Europe and the diaspora community of North America. Their recipes highlight the best of Ashkenazi home and storefront cuisine, tapping into the enduring Jewish values of resourcefulness and seasonality.
Drawing inspiration from aromatic Jewish bakeries (Classic Challah with a Marble Rye Twist, Seeded Honey Rye Pull-Apart Rolls), neighborhood delis (Home-Cured Corned Beef and Pastrami, Rustic Matzo Balls, and Old World Stuffed Gefilte Fish), old-fashioned pickle shops (Crisp Garlic Dilly Beans, Ashkenazi Kimchi), and, of course, their own childhood kitchens, Yoskowitz and Alpern rediscover old-world food traditions, helping you bring simple and comforting recipes into your home.
Dishes like Spiced Blueberry Soup, Kasha Varnishkes with Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Lokshen Kugel with Plums celebrate flavors passed down from generation to generation in recipes reimagined for the contemporary kitchen. Other recipes take a playful approach to the Old World, like Fried Sour Pickles with Garlic Aioli and Sour Dill Martinis.
The Gefilte Manifesto is more than a cookbook. It’s a call to action, a reclamation of time-honored techniques and ingredients, from the mind-blowingly easy Classic Sour Dill Pickles to the Crispy Honey-Glazed Chicken with Tsimmes. Make a stand. Cook the Manifesto. The results are radically delicious.
Some readers will be disappointed that Alpern and Yoskowitz, purveyors of a pop-up dining service called the Gefilteria, provide exactly three gefilte fish recipes. Whitefish, it seems, can be stretched only so far. One of the three is visually stunning, at least, and involves stuffing the fish and matzo meal mixture back into the skin to be baked and then served with the head reattached. There is also a discussion as to whether sweet gefilte is superior to peppery. The authors have actually dug deeper than the title implies, providing a comprehensive and joyful survey of Eastern European Jewish cuisine. Each chapter begins with an explanation, in detail, of just how much they love the foods that are about to be discussed (spoiler alert: they love them a lot). There are all the classics of Ashkenazi cooking, along with some contemporary variations: classic sour dill pickles, but also cardamom pickled grapes; chicken soup, but also spiced blueberry soup. Embracing the concept of "excellent when done right," there are instructions not only for making your own bagels but for churning your own butter or cream cheese. Schmaltz, of course, gets its due, as does its fried chicken-skin by-product, gribenes. Photos by Lauren Volo show stuffed cabbage, though these are stuffed with kimchi, and home-cured pastrami, at home indeed when nestled on rye and topped with spicy, whole-grain mustard.