Cooking for the King
Cooking for the King
Winning Recipes for Shabbos and Yom Tov
Renee Chernin 

August 2013

ISBN: 978-965-7552-04-9

112 pages

LIST PRICE: $14.95


meet with fabulous, easy-to prepare recipes—fit for the king.

Renee Chernin, recipe developer and creator of the popular, was a freestyle cook, experimenting with techniques, never making the same thing twice. When she started her own catering business, she began to write down her recipes, testing and tweaking until each dish was perfectly balanced and easy to reproduce. Passionate as she was about cooking, Renee also realized that it’s not just about great-tasting food. Food plays a crucial role in Jewish life—for nurturing our families and feeding our souls.

Tishrei is a spiritually charged month. It’s also a lot of work: planning, shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning up. It can be overwhelming. In Cooking for the King, Renee makes yom tov preparation doable with easy-to-prepare, custom-tailored-for-the-day dishes you won’t be able to resist. Accompanied by stunning full-color photographs, every recipe comes with prepare-ahead instructions, and every entree includes menu suggestions.

Yom tov cooking has never been simpler to plan. Now you can enjoy yom tov the way it was meant to be: fit for the King. From the Mango-granate Barbecued Fish and Snappy Slaw to the delectable Beets Everything Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream, you won’t believe how easy it is to make great-tasting holiday fare. The Oven-Baked Glazed Corned Beef provides a simple twist on a yom tov favorite, and the Texas Caviar infuses the menu with a Down South flavor, a tribute to Renee’s Southern background. The Harvest Bisque will become your fall go-to dish, and you’ll enjoy the tailored-for-Rosh-HaShanah Chicken Rimon and Shanah Tovah Salad.

Once you’ve tasted these dishes—you won’t want to make yom tov without them.


Testimonials for Renee Chernin and Cooking for the King:

“RENEE CHERNIN’S COOKING demos are spiritual as well as culinary experiences. Her multidimensional approach, throwing in tidbits about Jewish traditions and the health benefits of the food according to Maimonides, distinguishes Renee’s cookbook from the rest. Her recipes are interesting to read, easy to follow, and delicious to eat.”

—Sara Yoheved Rigler, Author and International Lecturer

“RENEE DID TWO cooking demonstrations here at the OU Israel Center for the L’Ayla Women’s Initiative. The demonstrations were excellent. The women particularly enjoyed the new techniques for slicing vegetables as well as the healthful and spiritual elements of the various vegetables that Renee introduced. The women left excited to try the new recipes and returned the next week sharing the compliments that they received from their families on their new salads. The cookbook is beautiful and very user-friendly. I tried the apple cake and my son said it was the best apple cake he ever had…”

—Rivka Segal, Program Director, OU Israel

“WOW, INCREDIBLE JOB! You are truly gifted in developing an idea in a clear and inspirational way. Kol hakavod.”

—Shira Smiles, Author and Lecturer

“I WANTED TO write a note to thank you for this wonderful cookbook. You are able to demonstrate with flair and humor not only your skill and expertise, but how to raise cooking and eating to a new, higher level. It takes a special person to write with elegance and to demonstrate with flair. May HaKadosh Baruch Hu bless the works of your hands and inspire your creativity to greater heights.”

—Vivienne Tankus, Zichron Yaakov

“I REALLY ENJOYED your cooking so much, including the tasty Torah you gave over. My plan is to make all the dishes…”

—Ruth Schlossman, Jerusalem

Praise from Rebbetzin Faige Twerski:

ONE OF THE basic premises in Judaism is that we don’t negate the physical dimension of our existence. On the contrary, the Torah is replete with God-mandated commandments that for the most part can be observed only through a physical medium. Curiously, the Almighty, who wants us to reach for spiritual goals, has seen fit to place us in a world of blandishments and temptations where we might easily lose sight of the ultimate purpose of our lives.

The implicit challenge is to maintain balance, to enjoy the beauty and bounty that God has provided for us, using His blessings wisely in the service of His will. Clearly, eating is one of the great physical pleasures in life. One can engage in it in its most basic form, simply indulging at will—or use it to build a bridge between heaven and earth. Renee Chernin, in her book Cooking for the King, has proven to be an expert at building this bridge. I know Renee personally, and she is a consummately spiritual individual. She is also a great cook.

Renee’s recipes have been tried and tested, and her Torah insights have the capacity to transform food preparation from a mundane activity to the service of the heart and soul. Indeed, in using this book, one will find that there need not be contradiction or conflict, that culinary delights, so clearly physical, can also be supremely spiritual—truly heavenly delights.

Praise from Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman, Rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob in Atlanta, Georgia:

FOOD IS SO much more than it is cooked up to be. From man’s first moment of existence, the relationship between him and his Creator has been expressed through diet (“from all trees of the garden you shall eat; only from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat”). By creating man as a creature dependent on food, he has been given frequent opportunities to remember his Creator and know Him as his benevolent Provider.

It is for this reason that so much of Jewish life takes place around the dining room table. What would Shabbos be were it not for the Shabbos table? Would yom tov have its impact if it were not celebrated over an elegant, stately dinner in honor of the special day? Indeed, it can safely be said that Judaism’s most precious mesorah—that which is passed from parent to child—takes place primarily in close proximity to food.

And it is around food that the essence of our people emerges. We see the physical pleasures of this world as gifts from God, designed to be used to discover Him and perform His service. We look to release holiness into the world not through asceticism, but through the dedication of the physical universe for its original purpose—to know our Creator. And by properly structuring our relationship to physical pleasure, we discover yiras Shamayim, the fear of Heaven, and develop character traits that bring us to the highest level of human refinement, and of intimacy with God.

Cooking for the King is based on the principle that there is nothing mundane in a world created by God: “All that I created was designed for My glory.” God is found, and served, in the kitchen as well as in the beis midrash. Mrs. Renee Chernin models the essence of this book in her life. In her home is found the crossroads of elegance, hospitality, and sanctity. This book is not the result of her work, but rather of her being. Now the public has the opportunity to benefit from what is clearly an expression of her soul.

Through these pages, the homemaker, the chef, the hostess, will be transformed into servants of the Divine, constantly reminded that through her creations she is blazing a trail that leads to the source of all creativity, the true pleasure hiding in food. I invite you to join our author in unveiling that secret in your own kitchen.

Review of Cooking for the King by Malka Winner:

friend and I have the same conversation.

“This year, my Rosh HaShanah is going to be all about ruchniyus (spirituality),” she says. “So I’m making the menu very, very simple.”

“But it’s still yom tov,” I protest. “And you have to make food for meal after meal, so you must be cooking something.”

“True,” she concedes. “But still, ruchniyus, not gashmiyus (physicality), that’s what matters! Right?”

“Right,” I say. “But what about the simanim?”

And round and round we go…

This year that conversation is going to be different. Enter Cooking for the King, a new cookbook that takes care of the gashmiyus—while nourishing the ruchniyus. Cooking for the King by Renee Chernin is more than a cookbook. It’s a guidebook to Rosh HaShanah, and indeed to domestic life throughout the year, from the grocery store to the kitchen to the table—and everywhere in between.

“The woman who, day in and day out, manages and cares for her Jewish home holds the key to eternity,” Chernin writes. She acknowledges that a life of chores and housework “can feel fragmented.” But when you flip through the pages and see the beautiful photographs of Chernin’s easy-to-make dishes, you can’t help but be caught up in her enthusiasm.

Organized around the structure of a holiday meal—starting with salad and ending with dessert—the cookbook makes you want to just get busy planning your own yom tov meals. And with numerous, appetizing-looking options in each section, the most discerning chef—or most simple cook—will find recipes that appeal to her.

Chernin takes normal, everyday ingredients and turns them into foods with flair, whether it’s the Harvest Bisque, with its surprise ingredient (an apple), or the Best Rosh HaShanah Meatballs, which you’ll want to make year-round. She turns simanim into side dishes, soup, and salad, making Rosh HaShanah preparations easier, without all the simanim needing to be made individually. Many of these recipes are also sure to become perennial classics.

The recipes are easy to follow; they were developed with busy wives and mothers in mind, providing prepare-ahead instructions, shelf-life information, menu suggestions, complementary side dishes, and more. Chernin even shares tips on how to organize and prepare in Elul.

But the truth is, this cookbook isn’t just for Elul and Tishrei. It can be used throughout the year. The majority of the recipes, like the Pareve Cream of Zucchini Soup, the Roasted Beet Chips, the Brown Sugar Salmon, the Caramelized Onion Chicken, and Good as Gold Potatoes, to name a few, are ones you’ll want to use time and again, regardless of whether there’s a yom tov on the calendar.

Chernin’s book so aptly demonstrates that one can eat to indulge or one can use food “to build a bridge between heaven and earth.” Cooking for the King builds a bridge between recipes for food and recipes for life. This year, Rosh HaShanah preparations will be different. Cooking for the King is a siman of that!


RENEE CHERNIN has contributed to the Baltimore Jewish Times,, Horizons Magazine, Jewish Action,, and the Deep South Jewish Voice. Thousands visit her website,, each month. She made aliyah with her husband, David, in 2007 from Atlanta, Georgia, and now lives in the Old City of Jerusalem.


active time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 30 minutes

of ingredients, all easy to find, that complement each other to produce an amazing fresh flavor that even non–fish lovers will enjoy. Cilantro is delicious with mango, but if you prefer, top fillets with sliced scallions or fresh parsley for a punch of color.

    2 pounds tilapia, flounder, or grouper fillets
    ¼ cup barbecue sauce
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 mango, peeled and diced
    1 cup pomegranate juice
    1 teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon onion powder
    ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    Cilantro, sliced scallions, or parsley sprigs for garnish

1. Pat the fish fillets dry with paper towels. In a non-metallic container, brush the barbecue sauce lightly over the fillets and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the mango, pomegranate juice, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper and stir well. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and puree until smooth.

4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Brown the fish until almost cooked through, about 2–3 minutes per side, depending on the fillets’ thickness.

5. Pour the mango sauce over the fish and simmer until the fish flakes easily with a fork, an additional 3 minutes. Garnish with the cilantro, scallions, or parsley.

Salmon Quiche will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


WHETHER IT IS a matter of location or one of convenience, purchasing fresh fish is often not an easy option. I am regularly asked, “Is fresh always best?” Maybe, maybe not. Unless you caught the fish yourself, you really have no way of knowing exactly how fresh it is.

Nowadays fish is often frozen within hours of a catch, and this method can even result in a superior product to the fresh fish at your local market. But choosing really fresh fish is easy if you know what to look for:

  • Smell it: fresh fish should smell fresh, like cucumbers.
  • See it: the flesh color should be vibrant, the skin shiny and metallic.
  • Any liquid from fresh fish should e clear and not milky.

With these tips, you can also make the most of your frozen fish purchase:

  • Purchase only vacuum-packed fish or fish labeled “flash” or “quick” frozen. This means they were frozen within hours of the catch.
  • The best varieties to buy frozen are salmon, tilapia, halibut, and flounder.
  • Thaw fish slowly in the refrigerator. Thawing under water or in the microwave diminishes the flavor and texture of the fish.
  • After thawing, drain, rinse, and pat fish dry before preparing.

© Renee Chernin