There are so many things from my childhood I wish I knew how to make. So when I saw a recipe for what sounded familiar, I bought the book and wanted to try this recipe, as well as others.
The book I bought is called The Complete Guide to Traditional Jewish Cooking (http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Guide-Traditional-Jewish-Cooking/dp/0681103892) and I tried several recipes, just to see how I like the book.
One of the recipes I tried was for “Aubergine Caviar From Bessarabia” (page 89) . I had to remember that aubergine is an eggplant (and that a courgette is a zucchini). For years I’ve been wanting to make a dish that I remember one of my grandmas making, but I remember very little of it. I remember it had garlic, eggplant, and was spreadable on bread.
When I read this recipe, I thought “Aha! I’ve found it!” And I did! I did make this recipe and it turned out pretty well. It looks terrible, but don’t be deterred by that. A grilled eggplant that was put through the food processor doesn’t look good, but it tastes fantastic!
The other recipe I tried was for what the book called an “Apple Strudel” on page 446. This recipe gave me much more trouble. First, I couldn’t find the filo dough in the proportion the book specified, so I used what I could find at my local grocery store. Secondly, I think the directions weren’t completely clear. At one point, the directions have me roll up dough like a “Swiss roll”. I don’t know what that means. So I rolled it up like a burrito. Thirdly, because I couldn’t find the the correctly dimensioned dough and wasn’t able to figure out all the directions, I ended up having TWO strudels instead of one.
So I gave one to my grandmother and one to my dad. We ALL agreed that there was entirely too much butter even though I used about 3/4th of what the recipe called for. In the end, my strudel didn’t really look like the pictures in the book, though those pictures were somewhat helpful, but not completely.
Overall, I think I will try other recipes, but I’ll make sure I can understand everything.
N.B. Skim the books in the bookstore to see if you recognize the ingredients. Books that were published outside the US use metric measuring system (this book uses both, which makes it easy), and they also call things differently. As I mentioned, courgette and aubergine were the first words I ran into in this book that I had to think about, but much of the world calls cilantro “fresh coriander”. I’m sure there are other words, but these are the ones I found so far.