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Great Holiday Gift!

Backyard Kitchen: The Main Course (Sephardic Heritage Project, 2020) is a collection of entree recipes handed down from mother to daughter over several generations. It is the second in a series of kosher cookbooks, each with a different theme.

With over 90 recipes and magnificent images, Backyard Kitchen: The Main Course, offers entrée recipes, many of which are traditional to Middle Eastern homes. Some recipes have been Americanized or I provide suggestions to use healthier ingredients, which differ from what might have been available a century ago.

The genesis for Backyard Kitchen came from Esther Salem, Sarina’s Syrian grandmother, who came to America as an immigrant in 1921, and could not read or write. She met Selim, her future husband, at the Egyptian Rose restaurant, owned by her sister, on the Lower East Side. When they moved to Bensonhurst, Esther and Selim converted the garage of their home into a kosher kitchen – a backyard kitchen.

The cookbooks are complemented by Sarina’s blogs, an iPhone app called Sarina’s Sephardic Cuisine, and the sarinassephardiccuisine.com website.

Proceeds from the books benefit Sephardic Heritage Project (sephardicheritageproject.org).

The books are available o Amazon.com. Kindle versions available also.

Written by New York Times published Sarina Roffé, Backyard Kitchen: Mediterranean Salads includes authentic recipes for Middle Eastern salads, couscous salads and pickles. Sarina learned the secrets, techniques and subtleties of Syrian cooking that make the difference between a good cook and a great chef. She wanted to pass on the lessons learned from the women in her family to her children as a way of preserving Sephardic culture.  Mediterranean Salads includes authentic recipes handed down from mother to daughter with love and are traditional foods found in the Levant. The book has links to video demonstrations.

Sarina’s Sephardic Cuisine is a collection of kosher family recipes derived from Esther Cohen Salem, Sarina's grandmother, and Renee Salem Missry, her mother. The authentic recipes in the cooking app were handed down from mother to daughter with love and are traditional foods found in the Levant.

For Sephardic Jews, food is an essential component in conveying Arab culture and Jewish religion. Cooking was a religious effort in upholding the laws of kashrut and in conveying their culture through food and annual traditions at holidays. Foods served in Syrian Jewish homes are rich in nutrients, flavors, colors and smells and are heavily influenced by the topography and environment in the Middle East. The cuisine also reflected the fact that Jews who settled there were either indigenous to the region or emigrated from Spain as a result of the 1492 Expulsion by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, or from other parts of Europe.