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Book A Gift for Foodies

Despite its modest size, Jewish Holiday Feasts (Chronicle Books), a festive little book by nationally known cooking teacher Louise Fiszer and food writer Jeannette Ferrary, covers a lot of territory. There are five—count ’em, five—latke recipes for Chanukah, as well as an easy and creative crop of dishes featuring fresh, flavorful ingredients for the rest of the Jewish holidays, including Shabbat. Between-recipe commentary on Jewish holiday customs is lively and enlightening. At $9.95, it’s a thoughtful gift that won’t tax your budget.

Fresh Salmon Latkes

1-1/2 pounds boneless and skinless salmon fillet
1 small onion
1 stalk celery
3 sprigs parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 egg
1 egg white
1-1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
1/2 to 1 cup oil, for frying
Tartar sauce, for serving (optional)

Cut the salmon into chunks and place in a food processor with the onion, celery, parsley, dill, salt and cayenne. Process until chopped but not pureed. Add the lemon juice, egg, egg white and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs and process again, just until combined. Measure out about 1/4 cup of the salmon mixture for each latke, and form into 3-inch patties. Spread the remaining bread crumbs on a plate, and coat both sides of each latke with them. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat about 1/3 cup oil. Fry the latkes until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Use more oil for each batch as needed. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a 250°F oven until ready to serve. Serve as soon as all are done. Serve with tartar sauce, if desired. (Makes about 15)

© 2005 Louise Fiszer and Jeannette Ferrary

More Cookbooks for Foodies

Cookbooks make great gifts for Chanukah, for birthdays, for just about any occasion. Here are few that you should know about:

Susie Fishbein has done it again! The author of Kosher by Design and Kosher by Design Entertains now brings us Kosher By Design: Kids in the Kitchen (Mesorah, $22.99), an imaginative collection of dishes that are kid friendly in taste and ease of preparation. You'll find recipes for such dishes as Crunchy French Toast Sticks, Saucy Franks, Chicken Pot Pie, Rainbow Salad, French Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts and Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake, all real foods that the rest of the family will want to eat. Experts tell us that getting kids into the kitchen teaches them math through measurements, nutrition through food selection, and independence through increased skills, along with being a great way for parents and children to spend time together. Fishbein's attractive and fun new book can be the incentive for achieving all of these aims.

If the question, "What's for dinner?" leaves you running for the nearest takeout menu, try this alternative: Jeff Nathan's Family SuppersMore than 125 Simple Kosher Recipes (Clarkson Potter, $32.50). In developing the book, Nathan, who is host of "New Jewish Cuisine," a cooking series seen by more than 3 million viewers each week on PBS, merged his trained chef creativity with a awareness of the time limitations of everyday families. The outcome is a collection of recipes that use readily available ingredients and are generally easy to prepare, yet are laced with interesting seasonings and international flair of the best of contemporary cuisine. Just a few to whet your appetite: Provencale potato latkes with roasted red pepper relish; twice-cooked chicken with tomatoes and cumin; garbanzo bean and cilantro soup, known as falafel soup in his house because the flavors remind his family of the Israeli snack; Korean style short ribs; hummus and roasted garlic mashed potatoes, loaded with flavor, not fat; and apple latkes with spiced sour cream, a wonderful Chanukah dessert. Along with the recipes, Nathan provides a list of foods for a well-stocked pantry and suggestions for kitchen equipment, as well as hints for getting the family around the table for family dinners.

Jewish families have lived in Italy for 2,000 years, since the time of the Second Temple. Read about their fascinating saga and the cuisine that has developed along the way in Cucina EbraicaFlavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen by noted chef and author Joyce Goldstein with delectable photos by Ellen Silverman. Originally released in hardback in 1998, this magnificent book is now out in paperback (Chronicle Books, $19.95). Goldstein, who became enthralled with Italian-Jewish cuisine when she was an art student in Italy in the late 1950s, shares an array of stellar recipes including Butternut Squash Risotto, Pumpkin-Filled ravioli; Venetian Fish Soup; and Double-Crusted Vegetable Pie, a Jewish-style pizza.

If you missed British food writer Clarissa Hyman's book, The Jewish Kitchen: Recipes and Stories From Around the World, when it came out in hardback a year or two ago, then you should be sure to check out the new paperback version (Interlink Books, $20). She references many of the Jewish communities of the world, both current and former, and gathers recipes from all of them. From Salonika, stuffed vegetables; from the Republic of Georgia, an aromatic chicken dish in tomato sauce; from Tunis, pepper and tomato salad; from Libya, spicy fish; from Iran, Persian jeweled rice with chicken. She also includes recipes for a number of Ashkenazic stand-bys including several kinds of kugel, hazelnut rugalach and mushroom and barley soup.