“Anyone Can Be A Gourmet” A Conversation with Rivky Kleiman, author of Simply!

AS: This book is about “Simply Gourmet Every Day.” With our uber-crowded days, how can we manage gourmet?

RK: My cooking philosophy is — do things simply, but the result shouldn’t be typical.  It’s going to be delicious, but without extra sweat. How to do it? The key is that the steps are all easy. I’m working on a recipe and I say, “No, you’re not pulling out a second pot. Who wants to dirty a second pot?” Nothing  labor intensive. I use simplified techniques to make the prep as user friendly and quick as possible.

AS: All through Simply!  some recipes feature a “Simple Supper” icon – and there’s an entire “Simple Supper” section as well. Tell us about them.

RK: Here’s the criteria for Simple Suppers: No more than 10 minutes prep. If chopping the veggies takes over 10 minutes, it’s not a Simple Supper.  And it’s on your table – prepped and cooked – in under an hour. You came home from work, you need start to finish supper on the table in half an hour. You see the Simple Supper icon, you know it will work. The chapter on Simple Suppers includes tips and tricks and variations. How to double, how to freeze. And prep ahead – a working mom needs to know what she can make the night before.

AS: Winter’s coming – let’s talk soup.

RK: I call them “Dump and go soups” – and they are off the charts delicious. What gave me the idea?  One erev Shabbos, it’s 32 minutes before candle lighting and I forgot to put up my chicken soup!  I ran to my fridge, found some shallots, onion, and celery, and cauliflower in the freezer. I literally dumped everything in with a little salt and pepper and a touch of lemon juice.  I went to shower, and the soup — which I called a “dump and go cauliflower bisque” — came out great!

AS: Some people (me, included!) are, to be honest, intimidated by the idea of gourmet cooking. Got any encouraging words for us non-foodies? RK: That’s what this book is about. Anyone can be a gourmet. It’s not about spending hours. It’s about working with flavors, using creativity and following directions. Anyone – starter cook or someone really seasoned — should be able to walk away and say “I’m a gourmet.”  Anybody can do it. It’s really not scary.

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