Hadassah College cooks up some fabulous recipes

A few years ago, I favorably reviewed a glossy, elegant, hardcover cookbook called “The Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook” that was based on recipes from its worldwide members.

So I was surprised when I was handed a homey paperback with a cheerful red spiral binding called “What’s Cooking at Hadassah College?” Although I am a lifetime member of Hadassah, I wasn’t aware that a Hadassah College, much less a culinary arts program, existed.

Located in Jerusalem, the school offers a science and liberal arts program plus a Culinary and Pastry Arts degree. The students who study in this program come from all walks of Israeli society, and the recipes in this book reflect their variety of cultures and ethnicities.

I have to say, I was blown away by the recipes. One could easily believe that they came from the Culinary Institute of America or the California Culinary Institute. Using locally grown produce, inventive combinations and stunning presentations, the recipes pulsate with enticing flavors.

This delightful cookbook was put together by the students as a fundraiser for Hadassah College. For $20, I can’t imagine a tastier way to support this effort. To order, call Bobbie Wagger at (650) 328-0434

Cucumber Apricot Salad | Serves 4

4 peeled cucumbers, cut lengthwise in quarters
2 red peppers, cut into 1?4-inch strips
3 Tbs. chopped parsley
1 lb. quartered apricots, fresh or dry, depending on season
2 cups fresh greens*
Juice of 1 lemon
1?4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1?2 tsp. chopped thyme
salt and pepper to taste
honey to taste
In a bowl, combine cumbers, red peppers and parsley. In another bowl or jar, mix lemon juice, olive oil, ginger, thyme, salt, pepper and honey and blend well. Fifteen minutes before serving, pour dressing over vegetables and fruit.
*Although not in the original recipe, I would either toss with greens or serve on a bed of greens.

Chicken with Fennel | Serves 4

3 lbs. chicken, cut into eighths
1?4 tsp. saffron
1?2 tsp. white pepper
pinch salt
1?4 cup oil
4 to 5 fennel bulbs, cut into quarters
Prepare a mixture of saffron, white pepper, salt and 2 Tbs. oil. Smear on chicken parts. Save remaining spice mixture. In a deep skillet heat remaining oil. Saute chicken 30 minutes until golden on all side. Add remaining spice mixture. Place fennel over chicken. Cover and simmer over low heat 1 1/2 hours. Check periodically and add a bit of water if needed.

Pears in Red Wine and Ginger | Serves 6

6 peeled pears with stems
1 walnut-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cups dry red wine
3?4 cup sugar
Put pears in pot with ginger and sugar and add wine to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, 45 minutes or until pears are soft.
Remove pears from wine. Continue boiling until it becomes syrupy. Return pears to syrup. Chill until ready to serve.