Monday, March 27, 2023

With this, their fourth cookbook in the Made Easy series, Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek prove themselves to be the dynamic duo of the kosher cookbook world. Leah, the author of Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking and the co-founder of CookKosher.com and Victoria, managing editor of Ami Magazine’s Whisk cooking section, both come from very different backgrounds, giving their collaborations a well-rounded collection of crowd pleasing tastes and flavors.

Released just in time for Shavuos, Dairy Made Easy features 60 triple-tested recipes with tantalizing full color photographs that are sure to start your stomach rumbling. Creativity and practicality go hand in hand in Dairy Made Easy as the enticing recipes are enhanced by helpful tips, suggestions and anecdotes that make this cookbook a fabulous asset to your kitchen as well as a great read.

I have no doubt that there are those (particularly those of the male gender) who don’t think of dairy as “real food”, but let’s be honest.  I don’t know of anyone who eats three meat meals a day and there are so many inviting choices here that I firmly believe that even meat lovers will find offerings that appeal to them in Dairy Made Easy.  For all you dairy aficionados out there, all I can say is this:  this is the cookbook of your dreams.

The recipes here range from offerings you would expect to see like pancakes, calzone, frittata, spaghetti, cannelloni, quiche, cheesecake and chocolate chunk cookies, to recipes that are twists on some of your favorites: Pizza Bianca fills in the typical tomato sauce based pizza, French Onion Soup is replaced by French Mushroom Soup and Cajun Creamy Penne stands in for Fettuccine Alfredo.  So many other intriguing recipes abound and six separate chapters titled Breakfasts, Starters and Sides, Soups, Salads and Sandwiches, Pizza, Pasta and Desserts are bursting with culinary treasures like Grilled Avocado Sandwich, Pomegranate and Apple Salad with Creamy Parmesan, Sweet Potato Pasta and Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

No need to run to your local dairy cafe for smoothies when the warmer weather sets in. With five recipes for frozen drinks, including a coffee frappe, a peach cobbler smoothie and a chocolate chip cookie milkshake, Dairy Made Easy will inspire you to pull out your blender and save a nice chunk of change by making these fabulous beverages in your very own kitchen.

Also included in this 128 page  book are several special sections. A cheese guide demystifies some of those cheeses you might not be familiar such as kashkaval and brie, and also explains the difference between fresh mozzarella and regular mozzarella. The Make It Light section offers some quick calorie saving substitutions and there are handy recipes for homemade marinara sauce, ricotta cheese and even cream cheese. An introductory Make It! page at the start of each chapter offers a quick related recipe, including a trio of easy pasta sauces (vodka, pesto cream and alfredo) and a chocolate pizza topped with marshmallows, cinnamon sugar and dulce de leche.  Finally, a Make It Pareve section gives you the ability to easily tweak certain recipes so that you can serve them with both meat and dairy meals.

If you are lactose intolerant, Dairy Made Easy may not be the best cookbook choice for you.  For everyone else, Dairy Made Easy is a terrific collection of tempting recipes that are sure to become household favorites.   The offerings here appeal to a variety of palates and lifestyles, with a 30 minute pizza dough recipe a fantastic find for those of us who have to prepare meals on a tight schedule and a 180 calorie cheesecake recipe a welcome alternative to some of the more decadent desserts.   As with each of the other books in this series, which includes Passover Made Easy, Starters and Sides Made Easy and Kids Cooking Made Easy, Dairy Made Easy includes a charming conversation between the book’s two authors, folding side flaps that can be used as page markers and most importantly, a budget friendly list price of $15.99.  Best of all, while one recipe does call for the optional use of a kitchen sized blow torch, all of the recipes in this book can be easily prepared by a kitchen novice but are innovative and creative, making them appealing to the experienced cook.

Dairy Made Easy is an Artscroll book distributed by Mesorah Publications and is available online at www.artscroll.com or at your local Judaica store.

Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and private clients in addition to having written song lyrics and scripts for several full scale productions.  She can be contacted at [email protected]

By Sandy Eller

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