JEW-ISH: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch | Jake’s Book Launch Shabbat Recipes

OneTable is thrilled to celebrate friend and board member, Jake Cohen, on the March release of his beautiful cookbook, JEW-ISH: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch.

About the book: When you think of Jewish food, a few classics come to mind: chicken soup with matzo balls, challah, maybe a babka if you’re feeling adventurous. But as food writer and nice Jewish boy Jake Cohen demonstrates in this stunning debut cookbook, Jewish food can be so much more. In Jew-ish, he reinvents the food of his Ashkenazi heritage and draws inspiration from his husband’s Persian-Iraqi traditions to offer recipes that are modern, fresh, and enticing for a whole new generation of readers. Imagine the components of an everything bagel wrapped into a flaky galette and latkes dyed vibrant yellow with saffron for a Persian spin on the potato pancake, plus best-ever hybrid desserts like Macaroon Brownies and Pumpkin Spice Babka! From elevated, yet approachable classics like Jake’s Perfect Challah, Roasted Tomato Brisket, Short Rib Cholent, and Iraqi Beet Kubbeh Soup to innovative creations like Cacio e Pepe Rugelach, Sabich Bagel Sandwiches, and Matzo Tiramisu, Jew-ish is a brilliant collection of delicious recipes, but it’s also much more than that. As Jake reconciles ancient traditions with our modern times, his recipes become a celebration of a rich and vibrant history, a love story of blending cultures, and an invitation to gather around the table and create new memories with family, friends, and loved ones.

Jake’s Perfect Challah

Yield: Makes 1 Large Loaf
Prep Time: 40 Minutes, Plus 2 Hours 30 Minutes Proofing Time
Cook Time: 35 Minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 cup water, heated to 115°F

½ cup (100g) granulated sugar

1 (¼-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

¼ cup honey

4 large eggs

5½ to 6 cups (745g to 810g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1½ teaspoons assorted seeds, such as sesame, fennel, poppy, nigella, and/or cumin, for garnish

Flaky sea salt, for garnish

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the warm water and 2 tablespoons of the sugar to dissolve, then sprinkle the yeast over the top. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, 4 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, honey, and 3 of the eggs, then whisk on medium speed until incorporated.

2. Switch to the dough hook. Add 5½ cups flour and the salt to the mixture in the bowl and, beginning on low speed and gradually increasing to medium, knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms, 3 to 4 minutes. (Your dough will be tacky but shouldn’t be sticky. If it’s sticky, mix in additional flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until tacky.) Transfer to a lightly floured work surface with floured hands and continue to knead by hand, dusting with flour as needed, until a very smooth ball forms, another 3 to 5 minutes. (Alternatively, if you make this dough entirely by hand, it will require about 10 minutes of kneading on a clean work surface after incorporating the flour.) Grease a medium bowl and your hands with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and add the dough ball, turning gently to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.

3. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each into a long rope, about 18 inches in length and slightly thicker at the center and thinner at both ends. Lay out all the ropes vertically, then link the top of each rope and pinch together to seal, tucking the sealed end under itself slightly.

4. Take the outer two ropes and cross them over each other to switch places, crossing the rope from the right under the rope from the left. Take the farthest rope on the right and cross it over to be in the middle (with 3 ropes on the left of it and 2 ropes on the right). Then, take the second rope from the left and cross it all the way to the far right. Now, take the farthest rope to the left and move it to the middle (with 2 ropes on the left of it and 3 ropes on the right). Take the second rope from the right and cross it all the way to the far left. Repeat this process until there are no more ropes to braid, then pinch the ends and tuck them under the end of the challah. (See instructions below.) Using your hands, carefully transfer the challah to a parchment-lined half sheet pan, placing it on a diagonal.

5. Beat the remaining egg and brush liberally on the challah. Let the challah rise again, uncovered, until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

7. Brush the challah again with the remaining beaten egg, then sprinkle with the seeds and a heavy pinch of flaky salt.

8. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time, for 35 to 40 minutes, until the challah is golden brown and has reached an internal temperature of 190°F. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before slicing. Serve the challah the same day you bake it.

 

BRAIDING:

1. Lay out all the ropes vertically, then link the top of each rope and pinch together to seal, tucking the sealed end under itself slightly.

2. Take the outer two ropes and cross them over each other to switch places, crossing the rope from the right under the rope from the left.

3. Take the farthest rope on the right and cross it over to be in the middle (with 3 ropes on the left of it and 2 ropes on the right).

4. Take the second rope from the left and cross it all the way to the far right.

5. Take the farthest rope to the left and move it to the middle.

6. Take the second rope from the right and cross it all the way to the far left.

7. Return to step 3 and repeat until all the dough is braided, then pinch the ends to seal and tuck the sealed end under.

Note: I love serving up one ornate challah at Shabbat, but if you’re keen on serving two for tradition, you can easily split this dough in half before dividing it into balls, rolling, and braiding. They can be baked on the same half sheet pan—just be sure to space them at least 4 inches apart.

Fresh Za’atar Pesto Risotto

Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes

 

Ingredients:

FOR THE ZA’ATAR PESTO

2 cups packed fresh parsley leaves and tender stems

1⁄2 cup packed fresh oregano leaves

3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1⁄4 cup pine nuts, toasted (see tip)

2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted (see tip)

2 teaspoons ground sumac

11⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 garlic cloves

 

FOR THE RISOTTO

8 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1⁄2 medium yellow onion, minced

2 cups Arborio rice

1⁄2 cup white wine

1⁄4 cup mascarpone cheese

  1. For the pesto: In a blender, com- bine the parsley, oregano, olive oil, Parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sumac, salt, garlic, and 1⁄4 cup water. Blend until smooth.
  2. For the risotto: In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a light simmer. Season with a heavy pinch each of salt and pepper.
  3. In a medium Dutch oven or pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring continuously, until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the wine and cook, stirring continuously, until it has been completely absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a ladle, add about 11⁄2 cups of the simmering stock to the rice. Cook, stirring continuously, until the liquid has been completely absorbed. Continue this process of adding the stock in increments and stirring until you have used up all the stock and the rice is tender, 20 to 25 minutes total.
  5. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the pesto and mascarpone until incorporated.Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Divide among serving bowls and garnish with Parmesan, then serve.

Note: When I’m working with nuts, seeds, or whole spices, I like to toast them first to awaken their oils, so they’ll add more flavor to whatever they touch. Simply throw them in a skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring continuously, until fragrant and lightly golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can toast them in the oven, a method I love for larger nuts like cashews or pistachios. Arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until fragrant and lightly golden. Note that in a recipe where the nuts, seeds, or whole spices will end up going into the oven—like the pistachios and pine nuts in my Persian-ish Granola (page 40), the sesame seeds for garnishing my challah recipe, and the cumin seeds in my Citrusy Cumin-Roasted Carrots (page 98)—you shouldn’t toast them in advance or you’ll risk the chances of them burning.

Roasted Cauliflower with Pistachios and Golden Raisins

Yield: Serves 6 to 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients: 

1⁄2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
2 medium heads cauliflower (21⁄2 pounds), leaves intact, each head cut into
6 wedges
1⁄4 cup raw pistachios, coarsely chopped 1⁄4 cup golden raisins
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves and tender stems

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together 1⁄2 cup of the olive oil, the coriander, pepper, and a heavy pinch of salt. Spread the cauliflower wedges in a single layer over a half sheet pan and rub them with the olive oil mixture. Pour 1⁄3 cup water into the pan, then roast the cauliflower for 30 to 35 minutes, until golden and tender. (If you still need more color, switch the oven to broil and broil the cauliflower for 2 to 3 minutes.)
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the pistachios, raisins, and cardamom. Cook over medium heat until the pistachios are toasted and the spices are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the pars- ley, then season with salt.
  4. Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a platter and spoon over the pistachio mixture, then serve.

Note: When it comes to roasted cauliflower, I have a few pearls of wisdom to offer. First, add some water to the pan. The water steams the wedges in the oven, then evaporates to let them get golden and crisp. Second, if you don’t get the color you want by the time the stems are tender, throw on the broiler for a few minutes! And last but not least, don’t trim the stem and leaves. They’re my favorite parts of the whole cauliflower, so don’t let them end up in the trash!

Rugelach’ed out of Heaven // Nutella-Halva Rugelach Filling

Yield: Makes 48 Rugelach
Prep Time: 30 Minutes, Plus 1 Hr Chilling Time
Cook Time: 20 Minutes

 

Ingredients:

DOUGH

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar

21⁄3 cups (315g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 recipe rugelach filling (recipe below)

1 large egg, beaten

 

FILLING

1 cup Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread

3⁄4 cup halva crumbles

White sesame seeds, for garnish

To make dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, com- bine the cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar. Beginning on low speed and gradually increasing to medium, mix until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and salt, then mix until a smooth dough forms. Divide the dough into 4 equal disks, wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disk of the dough into a 9-inch round. Spread one-quarter of the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1⁄2-inch border. Slice the dough into 12 even wedges. Roll each wedge up tightly from the outside edge in, then place the rugelach on one of the prepared sheet pans, spacing them 1⁄2 inch apart. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling, dividing the rugelach between the prepared pans. Brush the rugelach with the beaten egg.
  4. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, for 20 to 22 minutes, until the rugelach are golden brown. Let cool slightly, then serve.

 

To make nutella-halva rugelach filling:

  1. Spread 1⁄4 cup of the Nutella over each disk of dough and top with 3 tablespoons of the halva crumbles.
  2. Garnish each rugelach with a pinch of sesame seeds before baking.

OneTable Associate Director, Marketing + Communications | Patisserie aficionado, lover of trying new restaurants (specifically cheap eats), and world traveler.

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