Jeff Morgan is the author, with his wife Jodie, of seven cookbooks, including the recently released The Covenant Kitchen: Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table. He’s also the proprietor of California's Covenant Wines, where he makes a wide range of extremely good kosher wines.
The recipes in The Covenant Kitchen, Morgan says, “aren’t what you’d consider traditional Jewish cooking by any stretch of the imagination. Neither Jodi nor I had a bubbe making us special dishes from Lithuania or Kazakhstan or whatever when we were growing up—it’s more a compendium of dishes that we’ve developed over the past 20 years in California and my 10 years before that in France. They’re all suitable to a kosher kitchen; if you don’t keep kosher, that’s fine, too. They’re still great recipes.”
So, for example, while there’s a recipe for cholent in the book—the slow-cooked, meat-filled casserole often eaten for lunch on the Sabbath—the Morgans’ version is influenced by a friend’s recipe for chili; hence, Cowboy Cholent. Same old matzo-ball soup? Nope: Fish Soup with Matzo Balls and Aioli instead, a smart Provençal spin on a Jewish classic. And there are plenty of recipes—the Morgans' Ginger Sesame Noodles, for example—that aren’t remotely what you’d normally associate with the old country, unless your old country happens to be China, Italy or Northern California.