Cookbook Review (& giveaway!): Secrets from Lori Rapp's Kitchen {CONTEST CLOSED}

By | January 14, 2015

lori rapp's kitchen

Ever wish you could recreate those gorgeous cakes in bakery displays? Want to know the secrets to those perfect dishes at catered events? Then you’ll love this cookbook! Read on and scroll all the way down to enter the giveaway for your chance to win a copy of Secrets From Lori Rapp’s Kitchen!

The basics

This cookbook stands out from most in that it isn’t just a collection of recipes, it’s also a memoir. That makes it a foodoir and, in my opinion, twice as enjoyable. Part 1 of the book tells the story of Lori and her husband Marvin’s journey into the food business with their company La Cuisine, first catering from their modest Jerusalem apartment, and then also owning and running their own bakeries. Part 2 is where Lori takes you into her kitchen and gives away all her secrets for the dishes that her customers loved for 20 years.

The writing

Lori’s voice, personality, and sense of humor, come through clearly in her writing. Even if you don’t know her in person, you’ll feel like you do by the time you finish reading the first portion of the book. Her story took hold of me and didn’t let go — from the funny memories of somehow fitting a growing catering company into her apartment to the serious stories of her infamous caramel burn accident and her battle with cancer, I really could not put the book down. This is saying a lot for me. I can’t remember the last time I sat still long enough to read even one page of a book, never mind 70 pages in the span of a couple days.

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Photography

Most of the recipes are accompanied by photos, and some even have more than one to illustrate different stages of the recipe. They aren’t the glamorous images you may have come to expect in a cookbook, but many are really nice and they all serve an important purpose: helping the home baker bring the recipes to life.

Recipes I’ve tried from this book:

Some recipes I can’t wait to try:

  • Chocolate pecan cake
  • Vanilla danish
  • Cream of lettuce soup (right?!)
  • Oriental salad with rice noodles

Who would enjoy this book?

Many of the desserts are somewhat involved, which makes sense since they’re fancy bakery/caterers’ desserts. If that kind of thing intimidates you, though, there are still a lot of recipes that are very doable and usable for everyday meals. Since La Cuisine was a dairy-and-pareve operation, all of the recipes in the book fit into one of those categories. Many of the recipes are dairy (and decadently so) but there are also plenty of non-dairy options. So basically, if the behind-the-scenes-world of catering and running a bakery sounds interesting to you, or if you like the idea of recreating super popular dishes in your own home, you’ll love Secrets From Lori Rapp’s Kitchen!

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Who wants to win?

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post that answers this question: What is the best thing you ever tasted from a bakery? Limit one entry per person.

Bonus (optional) entry: Subscribe to More Quiche, Please and then leave a separate comment on this post telling me that you did. (If you leave a single comment answering the question above and saying that you subscribed, I will have to count it as one entry only.) Limit one bonus entry per person.

To subscribe, just click the link under the words “Subscribe to More Quiche, Please” that can be found on the upper right side of any page on the blog (and then follow the directions that come up on the screen). If you already subscribe, just leave a separate comment to let me know.

The giveaway ends at midnight EST on Wednesday, January 21. One winner will be chosen via random.org and notified by email. (If you’re related to me, I’m sorry, but you are not eligible for this contest. Come for dinner instead!) The cookbook prize can be shipped anywhere internationally!

If you just want to buy the book, you can do that right here on Amazon. If you buy it through that link or any of the other Amazon links in this post, a (very) small portion of your purchase supports More Quiche, Please. Thank you! 

Disclaimer: Lori is sponsoring this giveaway and she provided me with a copy of her book but as always, my opinions are my own.

Menu Plan: Week of Jan. 11, 2015

By | January 11, 2015

I can’t believe we made it through the giant snowstorm with our electricity and water intact. I mean, it didn’t turn out to be a giant snowstorm in Kochav HaShachar, but the power did go in and out several times on the first day, and each time everything fell silent, I was sure that was it. Like, no power for the next three days. But we were spared. If I sound too dramatic, it’s because I’m still traumatized from last year’s adventures.

Looking ahead now to a (hopefully) normal week, these are the very normal things we’ll (hopefully) be having for dinner. And I have something for you, too: that giveaway for a terrific dairy cookbook! Stay tuned!

La Cuisine cheesecake {recipe review}

By | January 8, 2015

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Want a perfect, no-fail, classic cheesecake? You’ve come to the right place!

This is the second recipe I’m testing and reviewing from Lori Rapp’s cookbook, Secrets From Lori Rapp’s Kitchen. Lori and her husband Marvin ran the La Cuisine bakery and catering company in Jerusalem for 20 years. (If you missed my review of her popular quiches, you can catch up here.) Come back soon for a review of her foodoir and a giveaway!

Lori calls this cheesecake her signature creation, so I figured those were my instructions to test it out. I’ve made my share of cheesecakes before, and I was really curious to see what makes this one special. Here’s my answer: This is, quite simply, a perfect, crowd-pleasing cheesecake. It isn’t hard to make and you can count on it coming out well. That’s the cake itself. I did struggle with the topping, though.

The suggested toppings are caramel sauce, lemon curd, and forest fruit sauce. Caramel was the most popular with Lori’s customers (but of course) and that was the one I chose, too. I’ve made caramel many times, failed many times, and succeeded many times, so I was only minimally intimidated. Or maybe a little more than minimally, given the story in the book about Lori’s burn accident via a very large batch of caramel sauce.

Since my mixture turned amber like a good caramel should, I figured I was doing just fine, but my finished product was much lighter than the photo in the book, and it was also very thin. This has happened to me before, nothing some fridge time couldn’t fix, but even the next day, it was still too thin to properly top the cake (stayed in place until I cut the first slice, and after that it was caramel city and I was the mayor). So caramel needs to go back on my to-do list, but don’t let that dissuade you from making the cake. (Next time, I’d probably use a chocolate ganache.)

On another note, if cheesecake-eating is something you save for Shavuos because of the guilt, I have good news. No, this isn’t a healthy version (heh. heh heh.), but that kind of works to your advantage. Since this is so incredibly creamy and sweet, one-twelfth of the cake is a super adequate serving, and really, you could even have just half of that and still feel like you got the total dessert experience. Or just stash this away in the freezer and dole it out as needed. I like my cheesecake semi-frozen, anyway.

Menu Plan: Week of Jan. 4, 2015

By | January 4, 2015

So it’s been two weeks. I was supposed to have gotten 15 things in my freezer by now, at least according to my ambitious freezer plan. How did I do? Not perfectly. But not too bad, either. (I did take a bit of liberty with the crossing off: I made one batch of challah, not two. Don’t tell.)

  • 20 caramelized onions
  • 1 bag of carrots, sliced and frozen in 4-5 small bags
  • 6 half-liter containers of cooked chickpeas
  • 6 half-liter containers of cooked white beans
  • 6 half-liter containers of cooked black beans
  • 1 batch pureed zucchini for the baby
  • 1 batch healthy rice crispy treats for the toddler
  • 2 batches healthy blueberry muffins for the toddler
  • 1 batch black bean meatballs for the toddler
  • 1 batch granola for the toddler (pure silan, no nuts or seeds)
  • 1 batch granola for us (50% silan, seeds, chopped chocolate)
  • 2 batches challah loaves
  • 2 batches challah rolls
  • 2 batches carrot muffins
  • 3 vegetarian kishkas
  • 4 batches two-ingredient pizza dough

At this point, it’s looking like the rest of the freezer plan is going the way of the werewolves, or at least the way of all the other freezer plans I ever made but never wrote down. Which is to say that work is piling up again, and it’s back to survival mode. I’ll come back to you one day, freezer.