Kim Kushner’s new cookbook is just what we need this Passover – The Forward

Kim Kushner’s latest cookbook, “The Modern Table,” was made for this moment.

Post-pandemic, our entertaining skills are rusty and we may be a little apprehensive about having a big Passover gathering.

But Kushner’s book, in addition to providing fresh kosher recipes, emphasizes how to host guests with the greatest of ease and enjoyment.

“Kim is a cheerleader in the kitchen in a way we all need more than ever,” wrote Adeena Sussman, author of “Sababa Cookbook,” in the foreword to “The Modern Table.” “. “There’s a lot of substance, with minimal fluff, an authenticity that comes through very clearly in his cooking.”

Ingredient lists are short and instructions are clear and direct. Kushner reminds his reader that if you start with seasonal, high-quality ingredients, you don’t need to overdo it.

These include sophisticated yet oh-so-easy dishes like leek and butternut squash soup (aka the easiest soup ever); tuna crudo with radish, citrus zest and shallot; fish breaded with herbs for 15 minutes; and grilled peaches with burrata, basil and mint.

The question, which Kushner strives to answer throughout “The Modern Table,” is how to shake off the stress that comes with being the host.

“If too much comes out of you during the cooking process and it’s not pleasant,” she said in a recent interview with the Forward, “there’s no point.”

In a section on entertaining, Kushner shares his favorite ideas for creating memorable experiences, such as designing a tablescape — with images of six stunning table settings — each conveying a different mood. Serving ideas include a “DIY Pasture Table” and all sorts of nice, generous platters (think cheese, dessert, crudité, bagel, and burger). There are ideas for children’s parties, edible gifts and modern menus for every occasion.

“I’ve always eaten kosher and it bothered me that kosher food didn’t have a sophisticated reputation,” Kushner said. ”

Indeed, there is not a ball of matzo or a chest in this book. Instead, for Passover this year, Kushner plans to make the easiest butternut squash soup ever, tuna crudo, and one of the big, colorful salads in the book, maybe the salad of cabbage, cilantro, salted cashews and crispy chili oil.

For a festive main dish that takes a little longer than most recipes, there’s slow-cooked lollipop ribs, which pair beautifully with cream of onion mashed potatoes. (The “cream” is simply a caramelized onion mash.) There’s also the Garlic Chicken Confit with Lemon and Thyme, a crowd-pleaser that requires very little hands-on time.

Whatever you’re serving, Kushner wants to make sure you’re having fun.

“In my mind, the dining experience is as much about the food as it is about the feelings you express and experience,” Kushner wrote. “This book is about unity.”

3 recipes

Garlic Chicken Confit with Lemon and Thyme

By Kim Kushner

“Confit” comes from the French word confire, which means “to preserve”. Slow cooking the garlic in oil creates a rich yet mild flavor. For this recipe, you will first need to prepare the garlic confit with lemon and thyme, then add the chicken to be cooked in the confit.

Candied garlic can be used as a condiment, so I always keep a jar of it in my fridge. Once you have candied garlic on hand, you can have a delicious meal on the table in a fraction of the time.

Ready in 1h50

For 4 to 6 people

20 garlic cloves, peeled 1 lemon, very thinly sliced ​​and seeded 5-6 sprigs of thyme ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 1 (3 lb) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skin on and bone, trimmed of excess skin and fat Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 tsp honey

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Combine garlic, lemon and thyme in a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken. Pour in the olive oil and cook, uncovered, for 35 minutes, until the garlic has softened. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly. Increase oven temperature to 375ºF.

Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. Using your hands, rub the vinegar and honey over the chicken.

Using a wooden spoon, move the garlic mixture up the sides of the baking dish to create a space in the center. Add the chicken to the center of the dish and pour the garlic mixture over the chicken.

Cover with a baking lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Uncover the dish and cook for another 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Discard the thyme and serve.

Advice

Get Organized To save time, use store-bought peeled garlic.

Substitutions You can experiment with different herbs.

Omissions Garlic confit can be prepared with or without lemon and thyme.

Make Ahead Garlic Confit with Lemon and Thyme can be prepared, chilled and stored in a glass jar with an airtight lid for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Before use, bring the confit to room temperature to liquefy the oil.

Make It Ahead Confit Garlic Chicken with Lemon and Thyme can be assembled, marinated and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Reheat Confit Garlic Chicken with Lemon and Thyme can be reheated, uncovered, in a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes.

Excerpt from The Modern Table: Kosher Recipes for Everyday Gatherings by Kim Kushner. Photograph by Kate Sears. Copyright © 2022 by Kim Kushner. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without the written permission of the publisher.

Cabbage, cilantro, salted cashews and crispy chili oil

By Kim Kushner

Can you stand the heat? I LOVE spicy food – and funny enough, all my favorite people in this world love spicy food too. Coincidence? A little heat and a hint of crunch enhance this hearty salad – it’s an explosion of flavor and texture in every bite.

Ready in 20 minutes

For 8 people

4 cups shredded red cabbage 4 cups shredded green cabbage ¼ cup rice vinegar 2 tsp coconut or brown sugar ½ tsp kosher salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 2 tbsp neutral oil such as avocado oil, vegetable oil, or rice bran oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp chili flakes ¼ cup crushed salted toasted cashews 1 tsp 1 tbsp toasted salted sunflower seeds 1 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds ½ tsp toasted sesame oil ¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix to combine. Set aside to marinate. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chili flakes, cashews and seeds and sauté for 5 minutes, until golden. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, then stir in the sesame oil. Sprinkle the cilantro over the cabbage. Drizzle with chilli oil and mix well. Serve immediately.

Tips Good to know You can double or triple the recipe for crunchy chilli oil. It’s delicious on almost everything! Make Ahead Shredded cabbage can also be marinated for up to 5 hours in the refrigerator. Chilli Crisp Oil can be stored in a glass jar in your pantry for up to 2 weeks. Excerpt from The Modern Table: Kosher Recipes for Everyday Gatherings by Kim Kushner. Photograph by Kate Sears. Copyright © 2022 by Kim Kushner. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without the written permission of the publisher.

Chewy Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Kim Kushner

Ready in 20-25 minutes Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup finely chopped walnuts 1 cup finely chopped pecans ¾ cup sugar 1 egg 1 tbsp vanilla extract Pinch of kosher salt ½ cup mini chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine nuts, sugar, egg, vanilla and salt and mix well. Stir in chocolate.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop small mounds of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets, evenly spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool completely. The cookies will harden as they cool.

Excerpt from The Modern Table: Kosher Recipes for Everyday Gatherings by Kim Kushner. Photograph by Kate Sears. Copyright © 2022 by Kim Kushner. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without the written permission of the publisher.

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