I stumbled upon this beautiful little cookbook in the library recently and picked it up based on the cover photo alone initially. The Little Book of Jewish Appetizers by Leah Koenig is photographed in my favorite style for food, utilizing slate-colored backgrounds to allow the bright pops of color from the food to really shine. Despite living in an area with a large Jewish population, my knowledge of Jewish foods is sorely lacking outside of the traditional dishes we hear about around the holiday season. I decided to take this book home to expand my culinary horizons a bit more! Because I’m not terribly familiar with many of the recipes presented, I really liked that Koenig included a few paragraphs providing background information and techniques for preparing each recipe, in addition to the ingredient list and specific directions.
The Sweet Cheese and Fig Strudel recipe is the first I’ve tried from the book. The recipe was easy to follow and used ingredients that you’d find in any grocery store. I prepared it without modification and was pleased to find that the sweet cheese actually isn’t too sweet – it is a perfect balance with the figs and raisins. I tend to cut back or eliminate a lot of sugar in recipes because it is easy for the sweetness to be overpowering. I know a lot of people aren’t fans of raisins, but I think you could substitute them for additional figs and still have the strudel turn out really well (my husband mentioned not liking them while we shopped for ingredients, which is why I thought to add this here).
Next on my list to try is the Smoky Sweet Potato Hummus!
I’d absolutely recommend borrowing it from your library, adding it to your cookbook collection, or pairing it with a kitchen gadget or accessory to give as a gift to your favorite foodie. I’m especially eager to use recipes from this book for the upcoming holiday season; whether you’re hosting a holiday gathering or bringing something to a party to share, this book offers a lot of recipes that are unique, including many options that are vegan and vegetarian friendly. And of course, the food is very pretty and easy to arrange for a really nice presentation. 🙂