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Book Review: Kosher By Design Lightens Up – Fabulous Food For A Healthier Lifestyle by Susie Fishbein

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Susie Fishbein’s newest cookbook, Kosher By Design Lightens Up: Fabulous Food For A Healthier Lifestyle was introduced in bookstores on November 17, 2008. Like the other five titles in her ever popular Kosher By Design series — Kosher By Design, Kosher By Design Entertains, Kosher By Design–Kids In The Kitchen, Kosher By Design–Short On Time and Passover By Design — this edition is destined to become a top seller as well. Surprisingly, Fishbein is predominantly a self-taught cook who practiced and perfected her recipes on family and friends. Though basically unknown a mere five years ago, in this short time span she quickly rose up the ranks and is established as a leader in the kosher cookbook market. Her success can be attributed to developing a myriad of food options which are simple to prepare, elegant to look at and tasty to eat.

Kosher By Design Lightens Up is definitely not your grandmother’s cookbook. Here you will not find traditional recipes modified with a lower fat/lower calorie twist. Instead you will discover contemporary dishes with an international flavor which are mouthwatering, present beautifully, and best of all are healthy. For this volume, Fishbein teamed up with Bonnie Taub-Dix, a renowned dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Together they created over 145 brand new recipes. These are presented in the following categories: appetizers, soups, salads, poultry, meat, fish, eggs, pasta and dairy, side dishes and desserts. The plethora of multicultural delicacies include: Lamb Patties with Green Techina, White Portobella Pizza, Korean Beef Kim Chee Skewers and Caribe Island Stir Fry. Among the nutritious, satisfying sweet treats featured are Chocolate, Fruit and Nut Bark, Balsamic Strawberries, Banana-Chocolate Strudel, Baklava Bites and Apple-Rum Croustade.

The two also provide a wonderful reference section defining terms that many of us have probably heard of but may not completely understand their meaning. (Can you really explain the difference between a saturated fat, a trans fat, a monounsaturated fat and a polyunsaturated fat?) Included in this list is what I like to refer to as “the good, the bad and the ugly.” These are the foods, nutrients, and additives which we should eat more of, less of, and try to avoid completely.

Another chapter presents innovative entertaining ideas. Fishbein shares her passion for gathering people together and offers fun suggestions for themed-tasting parties. In addition to the familiar wine and cheese options, she explains how to host everything from the exotic extra-virgin olive oil to the decadent ice-cream sampling soirees.

Throughout the book are over 175 full-color, stunning photos. Shot by acclaimed food photographer John Uher, the pictures add elegance, class and visual appeal to the pages.
While Kosher By Design Lightens Up is geared toward the kosher cooks — those following the rules that observant Jews abide by regarding acceptable foods to consume and appropriate meal preparation — this book is definitely not limited to that audience. In fact, this cookbook would be a welcome addition to anyone’s collection, especially one who enjoys making healthful, easy to prepare, mouth-watering dishes.

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