‘Joy of Kosher’ queen goes sabra
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‘Joy of Kosher’ queen goes sabra

18 months into her aliya, Jamie Geller adjusts to cumin, eggplant and hummus

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

She’s known as the Jewish Rachael Ray, and there’s a lot that Jamie Geller, the irrepressibly outgoing force behind the Kosher Media Network — her world of kosher cookbooks, magazines, a website and television series — has in common with her fellow celebrity chef.

Both offer quick, easy-to-make recipes for harried parents and home cooks who want to put something flavorful and current on the table. It was Ray who helped popularize the term EVOO, a nickname for extra virgin olive oil, and Geller has a similar approach, taking Jewish and Israeli standards and streamlining them for the American market.

Geller is a genius at marketing, from her new book, “The Joy of Kosher,” a play on the cookbook standard, “The Joy of Cooking,” to her Nefesh b’Nefesh-partnered TV reality series documenting her family’s move to Israel.

The new book lets Geller offer a personal take on many Israeli foods after her first year in Israel.

Jamie Geller (photo credit: Courtesy)
Jamie Geller (photo credit: Courtesy)

There’s ktzitzot, the standard Israeli meat patty (called Israeli mini burgers by Geller), falafel “poppers,” Yerushalmi kugel with raisins, “Somewhat Sephardic Chulent,” and a host of other traditional Jewish and Israeli classics.

She relies on many shortcuts, including some ingredients and ready-made products not very often found in the typical Israeli kitchen, such as margarine and mayonnaise, cake mixes and ready-made pie crusts, but Geller is adjusting to the Israeli kitchen, she told The Times of Israel.

“I love cumin — I put it in everything,” she said. “In guacamole, with eggplant. And eggplant has become a regular feature in our house; we eat it three times a week.”

But no, none of her five kids eat eggplant. For now, she’s happy they’re adjusting to hummus.

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