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Your cookbooks are on baking and desserts; were you always interested in baking?
Yes, I was always drawn to the precision of baking. I’m a planner, and I like to have everything worked out before I start a project. I don’t do as well on the fly. I have the classic traits of a pastry chef, not of a freewheeling, improvisational chef, though I do love to cook savory food, too. After cooking school in Paris, my first job was as a cook on a barge traveling the canal in Burgundy. I had to cook lunch and dinner for 30 people six days a week. I also had to do all the shopping. It was trial by fire, so I learned to cook the hard way. But I was always much more interested in making a splash with the dessert than with the main course. I eventually became a pastry chef, which was a better choice for me.

Was food/baking an important part of your childhood/growing up?
Yes—I loved to bake with my Mom, who always encouraged me (and cleaned up after my kitchen messes). I’d come home from school and make brownies or a cake, and the family would eat it for dessert at dinner.

You were a food stylist: how does that help you in the development of a new recipe?
It makes me very conscious of the finished look of a cake or dessert during the development process. Garnish shouldn’t be an after-thought, it should be integrated into the recipe.

What are 2 or 3 of your favorite dessert/cake recipes to prepare for family and friends?
I like to make a simple cheesecake with gorgeous strawberries or raspberries on top, brushed with a little red currant or strawberry jelly. I also love to make crème brulee, because you can make it up to 2 days ahead and then caramelize the top a  minute. It’s so simple, but people go nuts for it.

What is your personal favorite dessert/cake?
I love chocolate, so I’d have to say my Brooklyn Blackout Cake. It’s really moist and gooey and delicious. And chocolaty.

What important tips can you share with the home baker? Or a "Kitchen Tip or Secret"?
The most important tip I have is to read a recipe through before you do anything. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises (i.e., ‘Oh, I need a blow torch for this recipe?’). Another simple tip is when you crack an egg, don’t do it against the side of the bowl. Do it against a flat surface, such as a counter. This way there’s less chance of getting eggshell in the egg.

Is there a new cookbook planned?
Yes, I am negotiating a deal on a new book now. All I can say is that it will be a dessert cookbook (big surprise, I know).

How about sharing a little known fact about yourself!
 I am a certified tennis nut, and I play four times a week.


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~ Tish Boyle

cake-book-tish-boyle-hardcover-cover-art

There is nothing better than to curl up with a good book—a cookbook that is. We love to read cookbooks! And when we are finished reading, based on the number of "sticky notes" peeking out of the pages, we know whether the content inspired us to make the recipes. Inspired us to want to start taking out the pans, checking the pantry for the ingredients and dreaming of the end result.

The Cake Book is such a book; written by Tish Boyle, award–winning cookbook author and editor of Dessert Professional Magazine (prior to assuming that position she was the editor of Chocolatier Magazine).  The book reflects the author's attention to style and detail as evidenced in the chapters describing ingredients, cake-baking equipment and techniques/tips. We found them to be very informative, especially the following statement, "If you put great things into your cakes, with a little effort and some luck, great things will come out of your oven." How true and, with the recipes in this book, great things will come out of your oven.  

The Cake Book contains a selection of 200 recipes that range from Basic White and Yellow Cake Layers to Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake, Meringue Cakes (White Chocolate Strawberry Meringue Cake), Brownie Latte Cheesecake, Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake and Sour Cream-Blueberry Crumb Cake. The recipes are clearly written, each one includes a short descriptive note from the author and a rating to indicate the complexity—from simple to very advanced. The ingredients for each recipe are listed  in volume and weight; those who like to measure using weight will appreciate this detail. 

KosherEye asked Tish about her inspiration for writing The Cake Book, "Cakes are, hands-down, my favorite things to make. I love the idea of perfecting their individual components—the cake layers, the filling, the frosting and the garnish—and assembling them in creative ways. I wanted to do a comprehensive collection of cake recipes in every category, from simple buttery pound cakes to sky-high layer cakes, and I hope I’ve achieved that."

We would say that she has achieved her goal with this cookbook.  The book reflects her skill, experience, creativity, and love of baking. The beautiful photographs by John Uher, capture her creations and makes you want to bake, bake, bake. 

About Tish Boyle:
"A graduate of Smith College and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris, Tish Boyle has been working in the food world for over 20 years. She is currently the editor of Dessert Professional magazine in New York (formerly Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design), and has worked as a caterer, pastry chef and food stylist. She is the author of The Good Cookie and Diner Desserts, and coauthor of Simply Sensational Desserts (IACP Award Winner), Chocolate Passion, and the Grand Finales series of books."

KosherEye recommends The Cake Book as a Gift Yourself, Gift Others item... certainly this is the ultimate “go to” volume for the devoted serious baker. Tish has shared two of her recipes with KosherEye; no-bake Raspberry–Topped Lemon Cheesecake and  Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Follow Tish Boyle on her website, TishBoyle Sweet DreamsThe Cake Book is available on Amazon.com.

Please read excerpts from our interview with the very talented Tish Boyle.

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Author of Passover - A Kosher Collection

What is the development process when you create a new recipe?
Some of my recipes are things that I've been making and tweaking for years.  They may be based on something my grandmother or one of my parents taught me years ago, something that I grew up with but then made it my own. Other recipes take more work.  I spend days and days making lists of flavors that I think will work well together. Then I refine the lists and eliminate items or expand on them; then it's into the kitchen to test them out.  Some things work right away, others take numerous attempts until I'm satisfied with them, and some of them are disasters that don't work at all.

The book was self-published--correct?  How did you find that experience?  Would you do the same with your next book?
Correct.  Self-publishing this book is quite different from the first book.  I'm learning a lot as I go. But this time I'm the writer, along with some help from my family, the editor, photographer, designer, publisher, marketer, salesperson, etc.  It's been a lot of work and the work continues, but I'm happy with my decision to go on my own because with all the hard work also comes the ability to do things my way.

Would I self-publish again?  I think I will. I'm still learning, but I've learned so much that I can take to the next book and the theory is that the next time should be easier.

Are you thinking about the next book?  If so, what is the subject matter?
I know that there will be another book, after I take a break, but I don't know what it will be.  Originally I thought the series of books would be soup, salad, sides, entrées, etc. But over the years, between the customers in my store that ask questions about Passover and the feedback I got on Passover recipes when I wrote a column in my local newspaper, I realized that a lot of people were looking for a new Passover cookbook.  I need to figure out what else people are looking for -- maybe I'll find it is salads or maybe it will be a multi-holiday baking book. 

What are your 3 favorite recipes in the new book?
Hard question! If I have to choose. . .  Pecan Flan, Mexican Strata (with salsa and guacamole) and Herb Roasted Cornish Hens.

Will you be having a "traditional" Seder based on family favorites? For some people, it just isn't Passover Seder without the same family menu.
We often have a traditional Seder one or both nights - though one of the best-received Seder dinners my mother and I served was a rib-eye roast, chicken souvlaki, lemon roasted potatoes and a big salad!  I love to have a traditional Seder one night with a less-traditional Seder the second night.

Do you have a Passover "Kitchen Tip or Secret" to share with our readers. 
A number of my recipes are recipes that I've converted from year-round recipes to make them KFP.  Thickening soups or sauces with a couple of tablespoons of cake meal for example. When you do this in baking, you have to reduce the amount of cake meal in the recipe because the cake meal absorbs more liquid than regular flour does (for every cup of flour, about 3/4 cup of cake meal).  For instance, my regular Almond Chocolate Chip Komish recipe calls for 3 cups of flour -- the KFP version uses 2 1/4 cups of cake meal.

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 ~ Pamela Reiss

passover-kosher-collection

Wondering what to prepare for Passover? Tired of using the same recipes and looking for something special? Well, look no further! Pam Reiss' fabulous new cookbook, Passover - A Kosher Collection  has everything you need to "wow" family and friends. You will also "wow" yourself!

We knew we were in for a treat from the moment we saw the cover--a heavenly chocolate tart, in a chocolate crust, decorated with whipped cream and strawberries. The second in the Kosher Collection series, the cookbook features traditional Passover standards plus new, modern recipes for the kosher kitchen.

Most of us have fond memories of Passover foods that our mothers and grandmothers made, and Passover wouldn't be the same without including some of the old favorites. Pam’s recipes for Chicken Soup and Matzo Balls, Toasted Farfel, Beef Borscht, Brisket with Onion Gravy, Apple Raisin Farfel Kugel, and Potato Onion Kugel, (with a crispy, golden brown crust) will be winners for the traditional cook.  

But, you are in for a surprise with her creative contemporary recipes including Mexican Strata, Mini Frittatas, Osso Bucco, Souvlaki (Greek Chicken Kebabs), Onion Tart with Cheddar Crust, Chocolate Pavlova, Carrot Cake, Chocolate Orange Flourless Cake—to name just a few; certainly not what our grandmothers made. 

Pam, is no stranger to food, recipes and cooking. She is co-owner of a specialty food store, Desserts Plus, in Winnipeg, Canada and has written recipe columns which have appeared in the Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Jewish Journal and several other newspapers throughout North America.  Pam's cooking philosophy is simple and straightforward: keep it simple and use the best ingredients.  Soup - A Kosher Collection, her first cookbook, was nominated for a Cuisine Canada cookbook Award.

We were very impressed with her new cookbook and asked Pam about her inspiration. "I really wanted to include a mix of traditional and "modern" recipes.  Customers are constantly asking for new recipes for Passover.  Traditional recipes are wonderful but people always seem to be looking for something new.  At the same time, I think there are a lot of people that don't know how to make the traditional recipes--the chopped liver and blintzes.  So I wanted to bring some new ideas to the Passover table while doing my part to keep the traditional recipes alive."

As is Pam's style, the book is well written, the recipes and pictures are enticing. Also included are several interesting menu suggestions; something we can all use to liven up our Passover repertoire.  We love this cookbook--especially the non-traditional recipe aspect! 

There is something for everyone…so be forewarned, there are so many truly wonderful recipes that the problem will be selecting which ones to make! A perfect item to Gift Yourself and Gift Others.

Read excerpts from KosherEye's interview with Pam Reiss.

Contact Pam Reiss at PamelaReiss.com.  The cookbooks are available on Amazon.com.

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~ Anne Byrn

Mixes to Masterpieces

cake-mix-doctor >

Anne Byrn, author of the bestselling cookbook The Cake Mix Doctor, has recently introduced a welcome, updated "sequel", The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!

Anne, the former food editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Tennessean newspapers, lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.  According to Anne, it all began when she “wrote a story for The Tennessean in June 1998, sharing cake mix recipes my family had doctored." The reaction was so unbelievable… I asked readers to send in their own favorites. I received 500 recipes within one week and realized that this likely should be a book. Yes, it was a great idea, especially for summertime in the south.  Take a box of cake mix — add some additional ingredients — and go from the ordinary to extraordinary."

Anne’s newest book, The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!, which is her sixth, updates some of the classic cake mix recipes and offers 160 new additions, including new cookies and brownies. As in the first book, all recipes consist of  purchased cake mixes along with other supermarket ingredients. Over 90% of America’s home cooks use pre-packaged mixes. Anne makes the old saying "let them eat cake" so much easier!

We were delighted to speak with Anne who shared some expert tips with us:

Do you prefer glass or metal pans for baking?
Metal pans bake more evenly.

Can margarine be substituted for butter?
Yes, when baking a cake, margarine is OK but I prefer to use oil. However, when creating a buttercream  frosting, it becomes more difficult. There really is not a good substitute for butter. (KosherEye suggested to Anne that she should consider trying Earth Balance, our favorite brand).  Anne recommended that when a cake needs to be dairy free, use a glaze instead of a frosting.

So, can yogurt, soy cream cheese and soy milk be substituted for dairy products?
Anne said, Yes.

Tips from Anne:
How can I reduce the fat content in my cakes?
Anne recommends reducing fat in small increments. For example: to reduce fat in a cake with no pronounced flavor, such as yellow cake, try swapping out some of the oil with unsweetened applesauce, or any mashed fruit such as banana, or pumpkin.

Will you share some of your favorites with us?
For dazzling, delicious dessert presentation, use any of the layer cakes, Blueberry Muffin Crumble Cake or Chocolate Raspberry Cake with Ganache; for the mom-on-the-go, any of the Bundt cakes would work.

Anne also recommends the Chocolate Espresso Pound Cake and the Apple Cider Cake; "The secret is to start with good apple cider!"  Sample Anne’s wonderful creations by trying her very moist and delicious Fresh Orange Birthday Cake — even if you are not celebrating a birthday.

And some exciting news from the Maestro of mixes:
Do you have a favorite cake mix brand?
"None are perfect. That is why I have been working on developing my own — a natural cake mix. It is quite a process. (KosherEye encouraged Anne to consider making it kosher!)

And a sensational scoop for our gluten free friends:
Sometime this Spring, Anne will be introducing her newest book, The Gluten Free Cake Mix Doctor (Workman Publishing).

Two important baking tips from Anne:
Be Organized: Read the recipe thoroughly before starting. Be sure that you have all of the ingredients on hand.

Be Temperature Aware: Of your kitchen, your oven, ingredients, frosting, eggs, etc. This includes knowing your oven.  Over time, some ovens tend to bake hotter and need to be calibrated. Check the temperature with an oven thermometer.

Visit Anne’s website and blog at The Cake Mix Doctor.

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KosherEye
Featured Cookbook

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We have searched the world of cookbooks and selected some of the most exciting, enticing, fun, entertaining and informative to share in our popular feature Featured Cookbook.

Some of these cookbooks have recipes with non-kosher ingredients. No worries! KosherEye and our team of cookbook authors, chefs and foodies will help you convert these ingredients to kosher substitutes. In fact we are providing an initial, basic list of kosher substitutions for you.

Attention Cookbook Writers and Media: If you would like KosherEye to consider your cookbook for feature, send a note to contactKoshereye@gmail.com.

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