Stalwarts of the recent deli revival offer a seasonal brisket in which apple cider tenderizes the meat and a sweet side of squash.
"The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home:" a book review by Amy Kritzer
With warm weather, friendly people, and the faint smell of BBQ in the air, living in Austin, Texas is a dream. But there is one thing I miss from the east coast. Classic Jewish deli noshes are nearly unheard of here. Good luck trying to find a knish in this town! Though there are plans to add a deli, for now I often resort to making my own Reubens and kugel. And now I have some new recipes to try. The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home by Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman is a bible of sorts with recipes for all things pickled, cured and schmaltzy.
Beginning with a brief history of Jewish deli in the United States, and its unfortunate recent decline, Zukin, co-founder of Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen in Portland, OR and Zusman, a state court judge, baker and food writer, dive right into the good stuff.
Basic recipes for Chicken Broth and Schmaltz set the stage for Matzo Ball Soup, Cheese Blintzes, Homemade Corned Beef and Bagels. Many of the recipes could have come from your Bubbe’s collection and are doable for the home cook. Simple, flavored schmears and chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons are easy enough to make you wonder why these aren’t staples in your own kitchen. Homemade bagels and pastrami take more skill and time, but they’re worth it.
With cheesy Pastrami and Cheddar Scones, or Zuke’s “Diet” Salad with chicken and blue cheese, this cookbook contains recipes that aren’t kosher – but then again, it’s not just for Jews, either. Anyone with an appetite for home-cured meats or American food history will enjoy the hearty recipes and anecdotes.
Though Zukin has his own deli, they also profile other greats, such as Wise Sons Deli and 2nd Avenue Deli, and offer brief explanations of Jewish food vernacular and the evolution of deli cuisine.
Besides the classics, there are a few modern updates, such as slightly healthier Zucchini Latkes, to show how delis should evolve with food trends and tastes. Others, like Chocolate Babka French Toast, Challah Sticky Buns and Pastrami Benedict are just gluttonous fun.
But the classics are where The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home shines. The photos of spreads of bagels, schmears and pickled vegetables are gorgeous, but too few in number. If only there was a photo to go with each mouthwatering comfort food recipe!
Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her Bubbe’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. Her recipes have been featured on Bon Appetit, Daily Candy, The Today Show Blog and more. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.
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