…and 8 weeks later, come out with a cookbook.
But bubbe, not just any cookbook. This one is 4 Bloggers Dish Passover: Modern Twists on Traditional Flavors. The recipes cover the whole megillah — traditional, vegetarian, gluten-free; appetizers, soups and salads, main courses, sides, desserts. From beet latke with cucumber jalapeño relish, through “nuts for you” chicken schnitzel, to creamy vanilla cheesecake with matzah nut crust, these are not your grandmother’s recipes.
Though she would be very, very proud.
And– we have to kvell — one of the 4 authors is longtime Westporter Liz Rueven.
She got her 1st taste of writing at the Westport Writers’ Workshop. She contributed to CTBites. Then nearly 3 years ago she began Kosher Like Me. Like many who keep kosher at home and honor its rules in restaurants by eating vegetarian, she craved “exhilarating, varied” choices — not always the same ol’ salmon.
Her recipes, restaurant and product reviews, personal profiles and calendar listings drew a devoted audience. Not all keep kosher — or are even Jewish. Many readers just love Rueven’s great vegetarian style.
(It sounds meshugenah, but Relish.com named her 1 of the top 5 Jewish bloggers, thanks to her post-Thanksgivukkah recipe for beer-braised turkey tacos. It was to die for.)
Kosher Like Me also catapulted Rueven into the wide world of food bloggers (and the smaller niche of kosher and vegetarian writers). There she met Sarah Lasry of the Patchke Princess (“my crazy kosher life!”), Whitney Fisch of Jewhungry (“recipes and stories from my shvitzin’ kitchen”), and Amy Kritzer of What Jew Wanna Eat (Henny Youngman they ain’t.).
Through a series of circumstances, the women decided to collaborate on a Passover cookbook. But they only had 8 weeks, from the moment they agreed to the deadline.
Oy veys mir!
Working through Google Hangouts — they’ve never all been in the same space together — they wrote and edited feverishly. They were brutally honest with each other. If any woman couldn’t stand the heat, she would have left the kitchen.
But none did. The result — an e-book, fitting today’s fast-moving world — hit #1 in 2 Kindle categories. (Jewish Foods and Kosher Cooking. You had to ask.)
Some of Rueven’s favorite contributions are a slow-roasted salmon with easy beet relish appetizer; a French onion soup with cheesy matzah crackers, and a cheesy spinach matzah lasagna. (The lasagna uses local greens, and is topped with a traditional French sauce to stay moist. “Matzah can get pretty dry,” Rueven notes.)
Every recipe, from all 4 women, offers a twist. Even the cover shows mini-potato kugels — not the usual heavier-than-a-bowling-ball variety.
So which of Rueven’s recipes will she make for her own Seder?
“I’m going to Israel,” she says. “My in-laws are there. They do it all. I can rest and relax. It will be great!”