Beyond Matza

Cookbooks with easy Passover recipes to impress your guests

Michal Palti
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Michal Palti

Despite the abundance of recipes that can be found online and the countless blogs devoted to food, cookbooks continue to be published - and as the Passover holiday approaches, that trend only intensifies. Cookbooks released before Passover usually feature simple dishes, clear recipes and carefully selected photographs - not a bad return for your money in such a competitive market. At least two chefs released their books in index card format, divided by subject, eliminating the need for tiresome page-flipping.

"Mevashel Ve'ofeh" ("Cooking and Baking" ) by Erez Komarovsky (Keter, in Hebrew ). "This book manages to convey how I really cook, including the amount of time I use to cook vegetables and the way I combine cooking and baking," says Komarovsky, who has lived for the last four years in Mitzpe Matat in the Galilee, where he holds cooking seminars in his home kitchen. He also organizes culinary tours.

Matza treats with caramel and sesame seeds. Credit: Archive

Komarovsky's book is divided according to raw materials, including breads and baked items (for example, pepper dough filled with goat cheese, artichoke comfit rolls ), wheat and legumes, noodles, fish, poultry, lamb and more, except for desserts.

"The recipes don't include any rare ingredients," Komarovsky promises. When asked how he feels about shortcuts in cooking, he answers with a kind of Galilean spirit: "The recipes are simple, but I believe in seasonal vegetables, not artificial shortcuts."

The book was edited by Naama Abramovitch, with photographs by Erez Ben Shahar and layout by Nurit Kariv.

"Manat Hayom" ("Daily Dish" ) by Maya Darin (Israel Hayom Publishing, in Hebrew ). Maya Darin, the former chef and owner of Imoma restaurant in Tel Aviv, and who studied in Paris and apprenticed with Guy Savoy, is also an advocate of seasonal cooking with no shortcuts. Her book is set up as a box filled with index cards, and includes recipes she published over a four-year period in the daily newspaper Israel Hayom.

The box is divided according to subject: soups and salads, first courses and baked goods, main courses, sweets, and holiday dishes. Everything is healthy or as Darin says, "fresh, seasonal and natural."

"I don't use any powders," she continues. "There's no need for them if you use enough chicken and the right herbs."

The box comes with a magnet, so you can attach an index card to the fridge while preparing a recipe. Photos by Liron Almog.

"Haugiyot Hamorakaiyot Shel Ima" ("My Mother's Moroccan Cookies" ) by Rachel Keinan (Korim, in Hebrew ). The second book by the graphologist, who three years ago sold some 100,000 copies of "Habishul Hamorakai Shel Ima" ("My Mother's Moroccan Cooking" ).

"For years, I stood next to my mother in the kitchen and during the last few years, I wrote everything down," Keinan says. "I knew that she was considered an authoritative cook and I carefully documented her abilities."

Great effort was invested in the production of the book, the recipes are explained simply and it is evident they were each tried numerous times before being written down. Highlights include sesame cookies, flourless coconut cookies, nut clusters and meringue.

"Schmaltz" by Shmil Holland and "Kosher L'Pesach" ("Kosher for Passover" ) by Benny Saida (Modan Publishing, both in Hebrew ). Now is the time to play it safe and publish cookbooks by veteran chefs, and so Modan has released these books by Holland, who specializes in Eastern European Jewish cuisine, as well as Saida, a popular cookbook author and chef, who's not afraid to use soup mix. The latter is in an index card format.

"It's an update of the book published a few years ago before Passover, called 'Bishul L'Pesach' ('Passover Cooking' )," explains Saida. But this time he "added some ingredients that weren't included in the past, such as noodles."



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