AS: What were the origins of the A Taste of Pesach cookbooks?
HL: We wanted to do a fundraising mailer for Yeshiva Meon Hatorah. We came up with the idea of mailing recipes — and hatt is something that works uniquely well for our team of volunteers. We have a super-talented graphic artist, a super-talented photographer, and some great cooks — and for the last 11 years, we have been working together to produce a yearly pamphlet of Pesach recipes. Two years ago, we collected many of our most popular recipes in A Taste of Pesach, and the cookbook, published by ArtScroll, became a huge bestseller.
AS: What do you think is the secret of your success?
HL: We are a diverse team with very different ways of thinking about food. Our tastes vary, but we all love to cook and serve great food — especially for Yom Tov. With so many different types of cooks, our cookbook has recipes that appeal to everyone. Also, we are in touch with our friends and families all year round to collect delicious, “normal” recipes that work. Finally, our stunning pictures are true-to-life. So when you make a recipe from our cookbook, you know what you are getting.
AS: Taste of Pesach 2 features a special “plating” section. Can you tell us a little about it?
HL: This was the brainchild of Raizy Greisman. People are not always in the mood of cooking fancy food. She wanted to offer people the opportunity to prepare simple food in a way that dazzles. We show how cooks can work with ingredients that they have in their pantry to produce show-stopping presentations that makes the seudos more exciting for kids and guests.
AS: What are the criteria used to choose recipes?
HL: Every person on the committee has different criteria — and that’s why the recipes are so varied! We sit together in a planning meeting right after Succos every year and we present recipes that we’ve tried and loved. Then we’ll prepare them for our tasting/photography session. We always prepare a few extra dishes, because some recipes are nixed at the tasting session.
AS: What are some of your personal favorites?
HL: Some of my favorites include: Chimichurri Lettuce Cups, Pastrami Egg Rolls, Salt-Encrusted Prime Roast, Apple-Apricot Kugel, Pecan Meringues, and Gooey Nut Clusters. The new book also includes some old favorites, such as Doughless Potato Knishes and Pickled Salmon.
“We all love to cook and serve great food — especially for Yom Tov!”