Jewish deli food, really good Jewish deli food, seems to inspire cravings like no other; I know people who will drive 50 miles out of the way for a great pastrami sandwich. But if you've been itching to find the real thing a little closer to home, or are just looking to expand your DIY repertoire to include Jewish deli staples like bagels, bialys and corned beef, this cookbook is for you.
• Who wrote it: Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman
• Who published it: Andrews McMeel Publishing
• Number of recipes: 100
• Recipes for right now: Open-Face Potato Knishes, Zucchini Latkes with Tomato Relish, Kenny & Zuke's Pastrami Cheese Fries, Classic Chicken Salad, Chocolate Babka French Toast, Roasted Red Pepper and Onion Schmear, Summer Brisket with Tomatoes, Fennel and Summer Herb Sauce, Pumpernickel Bagels, Challah Sticky Buns
• Other highlights: Written by Nick Zukin, one of the guys behind Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen in Portland, OR, and Michael C. Zusman, a serious amateur baker, this cookbook is both an ode to Jewish delicatessen food and a lesson in producing authentic deli fare from scratch.
Beyond the traditional recipes like Chicken Schmaltz, Cabbage Rolls in Tomato Sauce and Challah, there are also a number of recipes that use traditional ingredients in unexpected ways, such as Kenny & Zuke's Pastrami Cheese Fries — perfect for any upcoming football gatherings! — and Rugelach with Nectarine-Almond Filling. Several classic recipes like cheese blintzes, brisket and chicken salad feature appealing seasonal variations, so you can keep things interesting throughout the year.
The Bagels, Bialys and Breads chapter is especially detailed, offering a lot of information and support for those who are looking to create the full Jewish deli experience at home. Serious bakers will appreciate that the recipes in this chapter give measurements in both volume and weight (ounces and grams).
Interspersed between the recipes in the book are profiles of some of the country's best Jewish delis and informative sidebars that cover the basics of Jewish deli fare ("What Are...Blintzes?") so even those who didn't grow up slurping matzo ball soup will feel comfortable approaching this homey, deeply comforting cuisine.
• Who would enjoy this book? Cooks who love Jewish delicatessen food, those interested in expanding their DIY knowledge, particularly when it comes to bread, and anyone who could use a great pastrami sandwich.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Artisan Jewish Deli at Home by Nick Zukin and Michael C. Zusman
• Visit the author's restaurant: Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen in Portland, OR
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(Images: Anjali Prasertong)