Even in a modern, post women’s-lib world, a part of me aspires to be both a working mom in the future and a Balaboosta. “Balaboosta,” a Yiddish term for the perfect housewife/host/June Cleaver-type person, is also the name of a popular NYC restaurant, as well as the cookbook I recently bought for myself as an after-Christmas gift.
Since I don’t live close by to try this in person, I figured buying the cookbook would be the next best thing. The book is packed with great recipes separated by oftentimes funny titles (The Grown-Up Table, Fat Like Me, Fancy-Schmancy) along with history about the chef, Einat Admony, or history about the food, along with little blurbs for each recipe and tons of mouth-watering pictures. Not everything in the book would be something I’d eat, due to dietary restrictions, but I’m hoping to get a lot of use out of the book, along with some inspiration.
One of my favorite sections to peruse so far is “Can’t Live Without,” which starts with what looks like an irresistible hummus. I’m looking forward to making it soon. There are lots of sauces, dips, syrups, and preserved items in the back of the book, the foundation on which many of the recipes are built.
While there aren’t many of the recipes from the book available online, you can see a few of them here to get a feel for if this book might be a good fit for you. The first recipe that I attempted was one that is declared a classic dish for the holidays: Rice Fit for a King.
The recipe calls for fried potatoes coated in turmeric, jasmine rice, carrots, and raisins, along with a few spices, and it comes out great. You definitely have to dedicate some time to it (although not much active time) so it’s a good one for a weekend dinner with guaranteed weekday leftovers.
One note – I used brown rice in the recipe, while her cookbook calls for white rice. Brown rice will take much longer to cook, so I’d recommend twice the time for the initial boil, and then at least a half hour longer at the end to simmer and cook. It’s worth the time if you want a higher-fiber meal. And believe me, after you’ve eaten the crazy delicious fried potatoes, you’ll be glad that the higher fiber of the rice gives it a more redeeming quality, health-wise.
What recipes do you strive to make to be the perfect Balaboosta?