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Updating classic Jewish dishes

Kasha Pilaf from Amy Rosen's cookbook, Kosher Style

Freelance writer Amy Rosen may be a familiar name to many CJN readers. She’s a cookbook author who’s written many award-winning food and travel articles for Canadian magazines and newspapers.

Her food line, Rosen’s Cinnamon Buns, which just launched a line of frozen buns in August, have also been very popular.

Rosen’s fifth cookbook, Kosher Style, just hit store shelves. “Its a passion project I wanted to do for a decade after my Bubby and my Bubbe passed away,” she said.

She said her paternal grandmother, who was from Poland, tended to cook more classic beef-based dishes, while her Russian maternal grandmother cooked with schmaltz and prepared a lot of chicken dishes.

Rosen said many of the recipes in Kosher Style are based on her “taste memories” of her grandmothers’ cooking, but she has recreated those cherished recipes using fewer packaged goods. “I’m good at figuring things out,” she said.

Rosen’s a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, a prestigious French cooking school with a campus in Ottawa.

Rosen has essentially updated a host of classic traditional Jewish recipes in Kosher Style. “Ashkenazi Jewish food is brown. It’s delicious, but not gorgeous. I’m trying to change that in this book,” she said, adding that she uses fresh ingredients in the recipes, in order to modernize the taste and the look of those dishes.

Growing up in Toronto, Rosen was the only girl in a family of four children. She is the daughter of Fred Rosen, a retired endocrinologist, and Marsha Rosen, a dietitian.

Rosen said her interest in cooking dates back to her childhood. “I got positive feedback and attention when I would noodle around in the kitchen,” she recounted. “I made dinner and snacks. My mother encouraged it.”

Her mother did her dietitian training, after she had her children. Rosen recalled that after her mother completed her training, a lot of the traditional fat-laden Jewish foods were no longer served in her home. “Overnight, all the good food was gone,” she said. “When I attended Le Cordon Bleu, I didn’t know to cook with fat.”

She graduated from a communications program at McGill University before embarking on her culinary training. Rosen has since held several prestigious editorial positions. She was the food editor at Chatelaine and House & Home magazines. She was enRoute magazine’s first restaurant critic, as well as a food columnist for the National Post. She also wrote a column on spas for the Globe and Mail.

Rosen continues to do food and travel writing for enRoute and the Globe, while developing recipes for Food & Drink magazine and brands such as Lindt.

In Kosher Style, there’s an essay about the Jewish experience, as well as a glossary of Yiddish terminology. It includes chapters on brunch and schmeers, soups, noshes and sides, main courses and desserts.

“The recipes are labeled pareve, dairy or meat, so there are no surprises,” Rosen said. “I wanted this generation, or the generation ahead of me, to know how to make the food they grew up with before these dishes disappear completely.”

Roasted Salmon from Amy Rosen’s cookbook, Kosher Style

Roasted Salmon with Horseradish Sauce and Pickled Onions

Pickled onions

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) red wine vinegar

o 5 ml (1 tsp) kosher salt

o 60 ml (1/4 cup) sugar

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) water

o 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Horseradish sauce

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) mayonnaise

o 45 ml (3 tbsp) jarred beet horseradish

o juice of 1/2 lemon


o 1.6 kg side, uncut, skin-on salmon

o 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

o 15 ml (1 tbsp) herbes de Provence

o 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) sea salt

o pepper, to taste


To make the pickled onions, place the vinegar, salt, sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Place the onions in a bowl and pour the hot vinegar mixture over top. Let the onion mixture cool on the counter for 1 hour, then put the onions in the fridge to chill.

For the horseradish sauce, stir together the mayonnaise, beet horseradish and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.

For the salmon, preheat the oven to 230 C (450 F) and line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Place the salmon, skin side down, on the baking sheet. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with herbes de Provence, salt and pepper. Roast the salmon in the preheated oven until just opaque in the centre, about 20 minutes.

Serve the salmon with pickled onions and horseradish sauce on the side.

Makes 8-10 servings.

Maple Soy Brisket from Amy Rosen’s cookbook, Kosher Style

Maple-Soy Brisket

o 250 ml (1 cup) pure maple syrup

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) soy sauce

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) apricot preserves

o 1 pouch (about 25 g) onion soup mix

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) tomato sauce

o pepper, to taste

o 1 (2.3 kg) beef brisket


In a small bowl, mix together the syrup, soy sauce, apricot preserves, onion soup mix, tomato sauce and pepper. Place the brisket in a roasting pan and pour the marinade over top. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. If you don’t have that much time to spare, several hours will do in a pinch.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 160 C (325 F). Cook the brisket, still covered with foil, for 3 hours. Remove the foil and cook, uncovered, for an additional 30 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate the brisket in the pan (this aids in slicing).

When the brisket is cold, skim and discard the fat with a spoon. Remove the brisket from the sauce and slice thinly against the grain. Add it back into the pan with the sauce.

About 1 hour before you’re ready to serve, preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Place the brisket in the oven and reheat, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, spooning the sauce over top a few times. Serve at once.

Makes 8-10 servings.


Kasha Pilaf

o 1 l (4 cups) vegetable stock

o 500 ml (2 cups) kasha

o 1 small bunch kale, fibrous veins removed

o 250 ml (1 cup) walnut pieces

o 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

o 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

o 1 l (4 cups) button mushrooms, stemmed and quartered

o 60 ml (1/4 cup) chopped dill

o juice of 1 lemon

o sea salt and pepper, to taste

o 5 ml (1 tsp) honey


In a medium pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil, then add the kasha. Bring the stock back to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until the kasha is cooked. Drain, fluff the kasha with a fork, then transfer it into a large bowl to cool.

Rinse the pot. Add about 250 ml (1 cup) of water and bring it to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and add the kale. Cover the pot with a lid and steam for 8-10 minutes, or until the kale is tender. Drain and chop the kale and add it to the big kasha bowl.

Wipe the pot and toast the walnut pieces over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until they are slightly browned. Add them to the kasha.

Drizzle the olive oil into the pot and sauté the red onions over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the quartered mushrooms and cook for about 15 minutes more.

Add to the kasha, along with the chopped dill, lemon juice, salt, pepper and honey. Serve warm.

Makes 6-8 servings.