So many cookbooks these days focus on specifics: one-pot meals, low-carb dinners, sugar-free desserts. And then, some books try to accomplish a great deal -- maybe even too much.
The Light Jewish Cookbook, by Sylvia Jouffa and Annick Champetier de Ribes, may fall into the latter category, though it is intriguing. A small paperback, it includes ethnic recipes from around the world that tone down the fat and calories, and bump up the health factor. There is a chapter on kashrut and Jewish culinary traditions, holiday menus and even an introductory story by actress Lauren Bacall, the daughter of Polish Jewish immigrants who fled to France in the early 1930s.
The recipes are fairly basic and not too time-consuming, and all include prep time and cook time, as well as calorie counts.
3 eating apples
1 small-medium white cabbage
1 tsp. strong mustard
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup fat-free yogurt
1 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Wash and dry the cabbage. Discard the stalk and slice the cabbage into thin strips.
Peel and core the apples. Cut them into quarters, then into thin slices.
Squeeze the juice of the lemon-half over the apples.
In a salad bowl, mix together the yogurt, mustard, raisins, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the cabbage and apples, and stir everything together.
Serves 6 (100 calories per serving).
Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers
5 large, firm tomatoes
3 green peppers
21/4 lbs. ground beef
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsps. dried parsley
3 slices of bread
2 tsps. ground sweet pepper
1 Tbsp. sunflower oil
2 tsps. sugar
salt and pepper
Wash and dry tomatoes and peppers. Cut the tops off, about a quarter of the way down.
Scoop out the pulp from the lower part of the tomatoes; set aside. Discard the pepper seeds.
Keep the upper parts of the vegetables, which will be used as "lids" when they are stuffed.
Peel and crush the garlic.
Soak the bread in cold water. Drain and squeeze out the water.
In a large bowl, prepare the stuffing. Mix the meat with the garlic, dried parsley, sweet pepper, the bread and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Season with salt and pepper, and add 4 tablespoons of water. Blend this mixture.
Oil a nonstick frying pan and sauté the meat for 5 to 10 minutes, until cooked through.
Stuff the vegetables with this filling. Cover them with the tops.
Place the stuffed peppers in a high-sided pan.
Add the tomato pulp and two glasses of water. Season with salt and pepper.
Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, cover with lid and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
Lastly, add the stuffed tomatoes and continue cooking for 10 minutes more.
Serves 10 (200 calories per serving).
61/2 cups leaf spinach
1 cup matzah meal
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 tsp. sunflower oil
salt and pepper
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Put the eggs whites into a shallow bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk them until stiff. Wash, drain and finely chop the cilantro.
Wash and drain the spinach, then chop it finely by hand.
Put the spinach, egg yolks and matzah meal into a shallow bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and stir thoroughly. Carefully fold in the stiff egg whites.
Oil a nonstick frying pan.
With a wooden spoon, place heaps of the spinach mixture in the pan to form small blini-style patties. Fry patties.
Serve the spinach patties with hot sprinkled cilantro.
Serves 6 (190 calories per serving).
3 egg whites
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
11/2 cups ground almonds
1/3 cup brown sugar
11/2 Tbsps. sugar
Preheat oven to 350°.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat into stiff peaks.
In a shallow bowl, mix together the ground almonds, cinnamon, sugar and brown sugar. Carefully fold in the egg whites.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon, drop heaps of the dough the size of large nuts onto the parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before serving.
Makes 20 cookies (62 calories each).