Balaboosta

Balaboosta

Einat Admony is a 21st-century balaboosta (Yiddish for “perfect housewife”).She’s a mother and wife, but also a chef busy running three bustling New York City restaurants. Her debut cookbook features 140 of the recipes she cooks for the people she loves—her children, her husband, and the many friends she regularly entertains. Here, Einat’s mixed Israeli heritage (Yemenite, Persian)...

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Title:Balaboosta
Author:Einat Admony
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Balaboosta Reviews

  • Victoria

    For this and other reviews please visit

    Surprisingly this and the other cookbook

    have been on my

    request list for quite some time, perpetually pending approval. I’ve had time to forget I’ve requested them in fact. And then, one after another, I got the

    For this and other reviews please visit

    Surprisingly this and the other cookbook

    have been on my

    request list for quite some time, perpetually pending approval. I’ve had time to forget I’ve requested them in fact. And then, one after another, I got the magic email notifying me that I’ve been approved. A pleasant surprise indeed! Cookbooks always make me happy.

    Here, Einat Admony, mother of two and chef/owner of the three Manhattan eateries:

    , Taim, and Eama’s Kitchen, offers a glimpse into her own kitchen(s) with a variety of dishes that showcase both her Israeli heritage and Mediterranean cuisine. I have to say that the food from Mediterranean region is simply divine; so I had no doubt I would enjoy this cookbook and find plenty of new ideas for use in my own kitchen.

    In the beginning of her cookbook, Einat writes that to her,

    .” She paints herself as the one who loves to feed everybody, to make her family and friends happy through food. I can relate to that. So, perhaps, I too can call myself

    ? Although, I certainly hope a crowd of people will not relocate themselves to my house for weekly festivities.

    (p. 18).

    The book is filled with a variety of recipes, each full of Einat’s passion for cooking. Divided into several sections, from

    ,

    , to

    and many more. Einat frames the chapters with stories from her family table and various suggestions on serving, substituting, and other commentary. And that gives this cookbook a definite sense of a conversation.

    I can’t say that I will run out and make all these recipes at once. Some recipes might seem complex, but I can certainly feel the love here and inspiration. It is one of those cookbooks that I would love to add to my personal collection, to be able to take out once in awhile and find something unexpected, and idea or a new favorite dish…

  • Keith Soans

    Been a huge fan of Einat's restaurants in New York City and was super excited to read her book and learn from her recipes. The book is an easy read filled with the most delicious recipes. My fav is of course her falafel and Banana date lime smoothie.

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Einat Admony is the chef-owner of two NYC restaurants -

    and

    (a falafel/smoothie vegetarian place!). While you might expect this cookbook to be a companion book to the restaurant of the same name, it really isn't, except for one chapter called "Fancy-Schmancy," which features recipes from the restaurant.

    is a Yiddish term meaning "the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook & gracious hostess. She does it all and she doerestaurant.

    Einat Admony is the chef-owner of two NYC restaurants -

    and

    (a falafel/smoothie vegetarian place!). While you might expect this cookbook to be a companion book to the restaurant of the same name, it really isn't, except for one chapter called "Fancy-Schmancy," which features recipes from the restaurant.

    is a Yiddish term meaning "the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook & gracious hostess. She does it all and she does it well!" (definition taken from restaurant website). The idea is that Einat Admony is the embodiment of a balaboosta, and she includes recipes that span her own heritage as well as the broader scope of Mediterranean cuisine. If that sounds a bit far-reaching, well, it is, but there are traditional recipes alongside modern takes on dishes in this book that I really appreciated.

    The sections are not divided by type of dish, but rather by theme. There are chapters such as "Grown-Up Table," "Hurry, Hurry, Hurry," and "Backyard Barbecue." This makes for a more difficult quick reference, but aids in meal planning for entertaining or just making dinner.

    From the "Hurry, Hurry, Hurry" section, I made shakshuka, a spicy egg-tomato dish. I've made varieties of this dish before from other cultures, but this one is more of an Israeli focus. It was good, a nice balance of vegetables and spices, although I did instinctively cut back on the salt called for (and wished I'd cut back more!)

    I had also marked the Casablanca Catch and Challah from the "Grown-Up Table" section, Moroccan Carrots and Eighteen-Minute Rice from the "Hurry, Hurry, Hurry" section, and Sabich (an Iraqi eggplant sandwich), baklava, and Sambusak (Israeli empanada-ish dish) from "Thinking About Home." The "cook/bake the book" people over at Serious Eats recently

    , and the recipe is available over there if you want to take a peek.

    The last recipe I had a chance to try were the Space Cookies. The recipe calls for tahini and poppy seeds, and I had always wanted to try tahini in a cookie after seeing it all over Turkish baking blogs. I'm not sure what I personally thought of the recipe - there were no eggs in it so the texture was more like shortbread, very crumbly, and I thought the tahini was pretty savory for a cookie. I brought them to work and my student workers were equally torn, until two guys came in and ate the rest between the two of them. Although the verdict was mixed, I think they were definitely appreciated by those two.

    The one recipe I will most definitely still make because I can't get it out of my head is the Turkish Coffee Brownies. I had to track down cardamom at the spice store downtown because none of the local grocery stores seem to be stocking it these days, and then there is the challenge of keeping chocolate in the house... but someday, it will happen. Someday soon. And that recipe is a great example of the combination of traditional ingredients presented in a new way - Turkish coffee in brownie form.

    Hmm. I did make the Turkish Coffee Brownie but it was more like a lightly spiced lightly chocolate cake. So don't buy the cookbook for that recipe! Next time I'll just add cardamom to my favorite brownies to get the taste that I had in my head.

  • Robin

    I sat and read this cookbook from cover to cover after picking it up from the library yesterday. I can't say I've ever done that before. While there are many recipes I will never attempt, there were enough that I would try to justify the purchase of this cookbook ( which I just did ).

  • Stefani Akins

    I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a well-done cover. If a book LOOKS boring, I won't even pick it up, no matter how many best-seller lists it may be on. And, of course, creating an attractive cover for a cookbook is an essential strategy for selling. This one definitely caught my eye whilst aimlessly perusing the aisles of my local super bookstore. I enjoy a spunky chef, so I actually found Einat Admony's anecdotes in every chapter entertaining. My only beef with cookbooks (haha) is twofold, rea

    I have to admit, I'm a sucker for a well-done cover. If a book LOOKS boring, I won't even pick it up, no matter how many best-seller lists it may be on. And, of course, creating an attractive cover for a cookbook is an essential strategy for selling. This one definitely caught my eye whilst aimlessly perusing the aisles of my local super bookstore. I enjoy a spunky chef, so I actually found Einat Admony's anecdotes in every chapter entertaining. My only beef with cookbooks (haha) is twofold, really: 1) I don't like shelling out $30 or more for what I essentially consider a kitchen appliance -and we all know what happens to an often-used cookbook!-, and 2) I hate the way pages flip on their own while I'm trying to follow directions. Well, e-book to the rescue! A dear friend gave me a giftcard for above mentioned super bookstore, so I went ahead and purchased the NOOK version of Balaboosta. Voila, many problems solved!

    The digital version has only a few minor flaws, mostly in the way the print edit didn't exactly translate, but I'm not bothered by that. The recipes are mouth-watering (loving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food helps, I'm sure), and I cannot wait to get my amateur fingers into some of them. The recipes are sorted by chapters like Slow-Cooked, Comfort Foods, Kid-Friendly and similar headings. Someone in their review was piqued by the fact that Admony cautions against kids eating raw dough but not raw meat, to which I'd like to reply that the meat used in the recipe is beef, which generally doesn't present a problem. Furthermore, you can see why children would be tempted to taste something they know will be turned into bread or cookies shortly, but I really don't know any children who have an equal fascination with any other raw foods, especially meat.

  • Lindsay

    Read it hungrily from cover to cover and then re-read it with my grocery list in hand. How often can you say that?

  • Gaucho36

    Have tried several recipes so far and they have been GREAT. Don’t move the way the book is organized but the food is interesting and the recipes are well articulated and explained. Not for the first time cook but overall easily approached and executed

  • Sandra Lassiter

    I couldn't wait to get into this book, but the author turned me off before I ever got to the recipes. She comes across as very arrogant and boastful to the point I quit reading anything but the recipes. The recipes are varied and fascinating, but not enough for me to keep this book around.

    UPDATE** I first reviewed this book on my own just because I was interested in it. A couple of months later I received an unsolicited copy from the publisher (which, I might say, I do not have an is

    I couldn't wait to get into this book, but the author turned me off before I ever got to the recipes. She comes across as very arrogant and boastful to the point I quit reading anything but the recipes. The recipes are varied and fascinating, but not enough for me to keep this book around.

    UPDATE** I first reviewed this book on my own just because I was interested in it. A couple of months later I received an unsolicited copy from the publisher (which, I might say, I do not have an issue with receiving unsolicited cookbooks to review!), so I thought I'd go back and re-examine this book and see if I missed anything.

    On the positive side, because I was reviewing for a publisher, I did look at the actual recipes more, and found many great recipes. The book is well laid out and the photos are great.

    On the negative side, I still have several issues with this book. I realize many would not be bothered by this and think I'm being picky, but I didn't appreciate her referring to God as "She". The biggest thing that struck me going through the book this time was on page 47 in the section on cooking for kids she makes this statement: "Allow them (kids) to knead raw beef and stretch dough between their fingers--but be sure they don't swallow uncooked dough." So, let me get this straight. She's very concerned about your child's safety so doesn't want them to eat raw dough, but has nothing to say about raw meat?! I found that very strange.

    The quality of many of the recipes and the actual quality of the book pushed my rating up slightly, but definitely not going on my favorites list.

    I received a copy of this book from Artisan for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  • K

    Yes, I'm reviewing another cookbook. But I didn't buy this one. I actually won it in a cookbook giveaway, of all things. Can you imagine? I never win anything!

    Of course, I was very excited about this and tempted to give the cookbook a higher rating just to reflect that. But integrity won out, and I can really only give it three stars. Here's why.

    First of all, although organizing the recipes by themes rather than courses is arguably cute and original (romantic dishes, kid-

    Yes, I'm reviewing another cookbook. But I didn't buy this one. I actually won it in a cookbook giveaway, of all things. Can you imagine? I never win anything!

    Of course, I was very excited about this and tempted to give the cookbook a higher rating just to reflect that. But integrity won out, and I can really only give it three stars. Here's why.

    First of all, although organizing the recipes by themes rather than courses is arguably cute and original (romantic dishes, kid-friendly food, food for barbecues, etc.), it's really not as useful for me. I don't usually open a cookbook thinking, hmm, let me see if I can find something romantic. I'm far more likely to open a cookbook thinking, let's see if I can find an appetizer or dessert that I haven't already cooked ten times. A quest like that would require me to look through each section of this book individually or thumb through the long index, a far less efficient way of finding what I'm looking for than simply having a section devoted to my specific need.

    Second, wow, does this woman ever like salt. I thought I was bad, but she heaps it on by the tablespoon. It got to the point where I wondered whether she had made some consistent typos of substituting tablespoon for teaspoon when it came to writing the amount of salt. Sometimes I added the amount of salt in the recipe and found myself gasping and looking for ways to water things down. Other times I was smart enough to reduce the salt and still felt it might be a bit too much.

    Finally, although many of the recipe were for dishes I've enjoyed in Israeli restaurants and was excited to prepare at home (kibbeh soup, turkey patties with okra, etc.), I was unpleasantly surprised by how labor-intensive many of them were. I don't know if Einat's love for cooking completely outstrips mine (which is entirely possible), or if as the owner of several restaurants she's used to having a team of sous-chefs and has forgotten what it's like when you have to chop all those vegetables yourself. The food was decent for the most part (as long as I managed to successfully adjust the amount of salt), but I think I know now why I've seen those dishes more often on restaurant tables than at the homes of my Israeli friends. Ironically, Einat claims that most of the dishes in the books are for home cooks rather than restaurant style. Although the results are homey and unpretentious, the amount of hands-on time was really more than I want to spend preparing dinner.

    I'll still give the book three stars because the recipes did come out okay for the most part, if a little anticlimactic after the labor I invested. But unfortunately I don't think it's going to turn into one of my go-to cookbooks.

  • Marjorie Ingall

    A fun read as well as an intriguing cookbook. I got a kick out of Admony's self-confidence -- so different from the familiar self-deprecating "I was just lucky!"/"my friends are all better cooks than I am!"/"omg I had no ingredients in the house but I just whipped this up!" tone an unnerving number of women food bloggers seem to take. (I realize she's a chef, not a blogger, but I don't read a lot of cookbooks and I do read a lot of food blogs. Hey, if more cookbooks read like this, maybe I'd rea

    A fun read as well as an intriguing cookbook. I got a kick out of Admony's self-confidence -- so different from the familiar self-deprecating "I was just lucky!"/"my friends are all better cooks than I am!"/"omg I had no ingredients in the house but I just whipped this up!" tone an unnerving number of women food bloggers seem to take. (I realize she's a chef, not a blogger, but I don't read a lot of cookbooks and I do read a lot of food blogs. Hey, if more cookbooks read like this, maybe I'd read more of 'em! Which reminds me, you know what other cookbook was really fun to read? A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches. That was even quirkier and it was super-funny. But I wanted to make almost nothing in it, and I want to make a lot of Admony's recipes. So this is better. I'll end this parenthetical now.) I like Admony's stories about her past, her family, her relationships. And I am super-excited about some of the kid-friendly dishes (and I will ignore the "fancy-schmancy" ones).

    Several people have noted that a couple of recipes call for an insane amount of salt (FIVE TABLESPOONS?) which is indeed cray and shoulda been caught in the editing process, but I use recipes as compasses and not maps, so I don't think this is a dealbreaker. I mean, yeah, it's BAD. But a comfortable home cook tends to go, "hmm, intriguing flavor profile, let's futz with it as we go." So nu, whatevs.

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