US food writer and self professed 'nice Jewish boy' Jake Cohen has written his debut cookbook, Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, which explores new heights in modern Jewish food.
While Cohen tackles old-school classics, like chicken soup with matzo balls and babka, he demonstrates that Jewish food can be so much more in the collection of over 100 modern recipes.
Influenced by his Ashkenazi heritage, and drawing inspiration from his husband’s Persian-Iraqi traditions, Cohen is an agile cook able to blend cultures and put a contemporary spin on classic recipes, making them fresh and appealing to a younger generation. Think hybrid desserts like macaroon brownies and pumpkin spice babka, cacio e pepe rugelach and matzo tiramisu, to name but a few.
Cohen is also able to speak to the modern millennial, giving each recipe plenty of context with a very personal narrative, as he offers up tips on entertaining, and menus for holidays like Passover and Rosh Hashanah.
The book should appeal to all home cooks with a love of food and feasting, with "recipes so good, you obviously don't have to be Jewish to enjoy them either."
Cohen studied at the Culinary Institute of America before launching into food media, first as a former food staffer at Saveur Magazine, then food editor of TastingTable.com, the food critic for Time Out New York, and the editorial and test kitchen director of The Feedfeed. He has also written about food in publications including Food52, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and more. He lives in New York City with his husband, Alex.
Recipes from Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes From a Modern Mensch
Can't wait to get started? Cohen shares two recipes from his debut book with us below.
How to Make Jake Cohen's Roasted Chicken Matzo Ball Soup
"How do you like your balls?" asks Cohen, introducing this recipe. "My balls fall somewhere in between, greased up with a healthy amount of schmaltz. I want them to be fluffy and easily scooped with the touch of a spoon, while also modest in size, so I can have two, of course."
Try his recipe for roasted chicken matzo ball soup: "perfect for cooking up a storm for entertaining, a holiday, or both."
How to Make Jake Cohen's Chocolate Tahini Babka
Cohen became obsessed with babka after introducing it to his Iraqi Jew husband citing it as the dish that "sanctified" their relationship in the "sweetest way possible". Cohen has been pushing the boundaries of babka ever since, testing out sweet and savoury versions, from silky tahini swirled into chocolate ganache to pistachio pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.
Discover Cohen's sweet spot in his irresistible chocolate tahini babka recipe.
Excerpted from JEW-ISH: A COOKBOOK: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch © 2021 by Jake Cohen. Photography © 2021 by Matt Taylor-Gross. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.