Sunday, December 2, 2012

A review of Susie Fishbein's Cooking Coach - Baked Coconut Brown Rice Pilaf & Raspberry Lemon Bars

I recently had the opportunity to write a short review of Susie Fishbein’s latest cookbook Kosher By Design Cooking Coach for  As you know, when I do a cookbook review for I generally do a pretty thorough overview of the books, including trying some of the recipes and letting you know how they turned out (I mean, if they send me the book, the least I can do is do a good review right?).  My review for is below, but I’d like to share some additional insights into the book.  On the back of the book Susie Fishbein describes the book  “I decided to …give my readers the best ideas and skills that have worked for me as an everyday cook with a busy life”.  I think that really sums up the book best.  The sports “play by play” theme keeps you engaged and helps to reinforce the concept that learning cooking's fundamental skills and how to plan for a great meals, is just like preparing to excel in your favorite sport.  The absolute best part of this book is the instruction that Susie gives you at the beginning of the book and before each section.  I firmly believe that the recipes are a bonus included with the tutorials that you get on everything from kitchen tools to how to select the best fish.  Her beef section is so outstanding and comprehensive that all you can say is - to quote the Great Baseball Broadcaster Harry Caray “Holy Cow!!” 

Raspberry Lemon Bars...
SO pretty!
I decided to make several recipes from Cooking Coach, and as Susie recommended made a list of the ingredients I needed before going to the store.  I had a plan!  Susie would be proud.  When I got to the store though, I couldn’t find some of the ingredients.  I went to a few local stores and ended up having to bag doing a few of the recipes I had planned on making.  One of the major themes in Cooking Coach is to have a game plan.  I think the recipes with harder to find ingredients are worth making, but you really need to plan in advance to have ingredients like date syrup, hawaij (for Susies favorite Yemenite Beef Soup), white truffle oil, or sriracha chili sauce.  That aside I ended up making the Baked Coconut Brown Rice Pilaf and the Raspberry Lemon Bars.  Both were pretty easy to make with clear, simple to follow instructions. 

Without further ado, here’s the review I wrote…enjoy!!

Susie Fishbein’s new cookbook Kosher By Design Cooking Coach, is a comprehensive guide to building a fantastic meal – leftovers included!  When I saw Susie Fishbein at Kosherfest I asked her what she most wanted people to know about her new book.  She answered: “Kosher By Design Cooking Coach is more than just a cookbook, it’s 10 years of cooking.  It’s better, creative, more efficient, and helps with leftovers.”  She loves all her recipes, but when nudged a little gave the Yemenite Beef Soup and Roast Turkey with Maple Mustard Glaze as two recipes to look out for as two stars.

In The Cooking Coach a great meal is all about the tools and the planning.  Susie is a great coach, and just like in any sport, in order to be a great player you need to work on the fundamentals. With her help, a good game plan and practice, you can be a star on your home court!  For example, in The Cooking Coach you can learn about how to select and care for knives and other useful kitchen tools – again, success in the kitchen starts with the fundamentals.

There are detailed descriptions of each of the ingredients in all the sections and a ”Game Plan” that gives you the important skills to be successful and score big with the preparation of your dishes.  For example in the salad section you learn the drills necessary to build a great salad. This includes the properties of the best salad ingredients and how to prepare them, how to clean and store lettuce, how to make and pair the best dressings, and finally how to toss and serve a “super bowl” of salad.

There are warm and hearty soups, beautiful appetizers, with plating and garnishing techniques that are as decorative as halftime cheerleaders!  When the meal is over, the leftovers don’t just sit on the sidelines.  Susie gives you a foolproof strategy to have your dishes go into overtime.  The beginning of The Cooking Coach has a whole section on ideas for re-using leftovers that will be a big hit with your family.

And just when you think the last run has been scored, there are tons of dessert ideas for your after game celebration.  Again, the “Game Plan” preps you with all the fundamentals you need for a great finale.  Here Susie doesn’t “play around”.  She gives you the science behind the ingredients like flour, butter, cream, sugar, chocolate and cocoa just to name a few.  All your efforts and time spent prepping for the “post-game show” will be worth it when you serve Susie’s Gooey Walnut Brownie Pie, Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten Cakes, or Raspberry Lemon Bars.

The Cooking Coach would be great for any enthusiastic cook that is interested in brushing up on basic and more advanced skills, the newly wed, or your favorite guy (they love game plans!).  With Susie Fishbein’s The Cooking Coach you are sure to have a successful (cooking) season – any time of the year!!

(Here's the link to the original article on <- click here!)

(Check out some of my kitchen “coaching” tips below!)

Baked Coconut Brown Rice Plaf (p. 270)
(Note:  The cooking time for this delicious rice is 1 hour and 40 minutes – make sure to leave enough time!)
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk, well shaken, opened, and stirred
4 cups water
3 cups short-grain brown rice
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple with its juice
10-12 dried apricots, thinly sliced to equal ½ cup
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
¼ cup sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut
¼ cup blanched slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.  Pour the coconut milk and water into a 9x13 inch oven-to-table casserole dish.  Stir in the raw rice.
2. Stir in the pineapple, apricots, and salt.  Sprinkle the coconut and almonds over the top.  Cover tightly with foil.  Bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes until the rice is soft.  Serve hot.

Raspberry Lemon Bars (p. 322)
Nonstick cooking spray
2 sticks butter or margarine, cut into pieces, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ½ cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
5 large eggs
2 tablespoons lemon zest (from 3-5 lemons)
2/3 cup lemon juice (from 5-6 lemons)
Confectioner’s sugar
Fresh raspberries for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Line with parchment paper, allowing some to come up over the sides.  Spray the paper.  This will allow for easy removal and cutting of the bars after they are baked.
3. Prepare the crust: In a stand mixer or with hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar on high speed.  Lower the speed and add the flour and salt.  Mix until combined and a smooth dough forms.  With slightly damp hands, press into prepared pan, coming up with ½-inch on all sides.  Bake 20 minutes until golden.  (Prepare filling while crust is baking so you can pour it while crust is warm.)  Remove crust from oven.  Leave the oven on.
4.  Prepare the filling:  In a small bowl, whisk ½ cup sugar, cornstarch, flour baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
5.  Place a fine sieve over a large bowl.  Add the raspberries to the sieve.  Using a wooden spoon, press the raspberries to that all the juice flows into the bowl, leaving the seeds behind.  Stir and mix the berries in the sieve until all that is left is a pulp of seeds.  Discard the seeds.  To the raspberry juice, whisk I the eggs, remaining 2 cups sugar, lemon zest and the reserved dry mixture.  Whisk in the lemon juice, mixing until all the ingredients are incorporated and there is no trace or clumps of the flour.  Pour over the hot crust and bake for 25 minutes, until the filling is set; top will look a little foamy.
6.  Cool completely; store in refrigerator.  When ready to serve, use the parchment to lift the lemon bars out of the pan.  Cut into squares, triangles, or diamonds.  Dust with confectioner’s sugar.  Garnish with fresh raspberries.  Serve cold.

Raspberry Lemon Bars:
First make the crust...
Sharon Matten's Coaching Tip #1:
When you need to line a pan with foil,
turn the pan over.  Cut a piece of foil 
larger than the size of the pan and mold the
foil around the pan....
Then remove the foil, flip the pan, and
drop the molded foil right into the pan!
How easy is that??
Press the dough into the pan...
Sharon Matten's Coaching tip #2:
To evenly press dough into a baking pan, 
use a rolling pin or coffee tamperer (see below).
It helps to get an even crust every time!
Measure the dry ingredients for the filling...
Raspberries in the fine sieve...
Check out the raspberry pulp!
Pretty puree!
Filling is mixed and ready to go...
Crust is out of the oven...
Pour the filling into the pan over the
hot crust...
Out of the oven it comes!
A little powdered sugar...
Check out how clean the pan is after
the foil trick!
Good enough to eat (and we did)!!
Sharon Matten's Coaching tip #3:
After the lemons are zested and
squeezed, run the peels through
the disposal until they are completely
ground and the disposal runs clear.
This helps to clean the inside of your disposal
and help it smell lemony fresh!

Baked Coconut Brown Rice Pilaf:
Coconut milk and water in the pan...
Add the rest of the ingredients...
(couldn't be easier!)
Rice is done...sweet and good for you too!

Ok, as a bonus here are some pictures of some cakes I made this week.  
Fun, fun, fun at the Matten house!!

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 


  1. Great review, this book is praised all over, yet I don't feel it's something I need so for now I'm skipping it.

    Those cakes look incredible, how many hoers goes into each one?