Plum Tarts for Rosh Hashanah: the Enduring Legacy of Joan Nathan

The Weiser Kitchen™ — Tami Weiser

Plum Tarts for Rosh Hashanah: the Enduring Legacy of Joan Nathan

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Zwetschgenkuchen is a simple tart with a clear history, really. A unique type of elongated, Italianesque plum was ripe in Alsace-Lorraine and southern Germany in the fall, and the large Jewish community in the region made a sweet, crusted tart using those plums for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. What makes the tart unique is two things: it wasn’t about apples (even though they were local and available too) and it was brought to fame by Joan Nathan. The food and cultural historian, recipe collector, and all-around Indiana Jones of Jewish food has written about Jewish food (including the Rosh Hashanah plum tart) for decades. I have read it all. It’s how I first learned about the tart—and I have close family Alsatian roots. You see, Nathan is THE godmother… Read More

My Number One Rule of the Kitchen: While Accommodating Everyone, Taste Comes First

The Weiser Kitchen™ — Tami Weiser

My Number One Rule of the Kitchen: While Accommodating Everyone, Taste Comes First

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I am a culinary accommodator. Maybe it’s because I have always been on diets, or maybe it’s a result of dealing with my son’s life-threatening food allergy, or maybe it’s because I was a vegetarian for so many years, but I serve food that accommodates others. I don’t see any point in serving food singularly for my own edification. Cooking is rarely for self-satisfaction, after all. I get joy from the cooking because I like to cook, and because I derive pleasure from giving others pleasure. I do have one strict rule, though—I don’t accomodate at the expense of good taste. Whatever I make has to be layered with flavors, rich in textures, and somehow or other be true to the ingredients. That’s what makes my food mine, but I… Read More

Spice Up Your Veggie Kebab Game with South Indian Flavors

The Weiser Kitchen™ — Tami Weiser

Spice Up Your Veggie Kebab Game with South Indian Flavors

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Toasted cumin, fragrant and warm. Roasted ginger, bracing and hot. Grilled garlic, deep and rich. All mellowed by the tender bath of a coconut’s mild oil. It’s a recipe for one gosh-darn tasty meal that smells as good as it tastes. For some reason beyond me, in most people’s minds—and spice cabinets—Indian flavors tend to get relegated only to curry. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love curries—all curries,  from India to Thailand—but curry is a dish and a spice profile, and it’s hardly the only way to get the luscious flavors of India. Why not zuzz up your vegetable kebab game this summer with the diverse and delicious spice palate of South India, without a tinch of curry? South India, like the southern part of the U.S., is a big area,… Read More

The Multi-Seasonal Power of Pomegranate Molasses

The Weiser Kitchen™ — Tami Weiser

The Multi-Seasonal Power of Pomegranate Molasses

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Nature gives us pomegranate for just a short time each year. The pomegranate growing-and-harvesting season in the Northern Hemisphere (north of the equator) runs from September through February, and in the Southern Hemisphere (south of the equator), it runs from March through May. In California, where most pomegranates grown in the United States come from, the season is even tighter, from October through January. The pomegranate is also successfully cultivated and grown in places like Armenia, Iran, Pakistan, Israel, northern India, Afghanistan, Malaysia, southern Europe, parts of Africa, Turkey, the East Indies, most of the Mediterranean, and Azerbaijan. Even in those locales, there are many, many months when nary a fresh pomegranate can be found. That doesn’t mean that you need to do without the powerful punch of pomegranate. Even… Read More

Dawn Lerman’s Memoir of Food, Love and Family with Recipes Scores with Heart and Charm

The Weiser Kitchen™ — Tami Weiser

Dawn Lerman’s Memoir of Food, Love and Family with Recipes Scores with Heart and Charm

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In My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love and Family with Recipes, recently published by Berkley Books, Dawn Lerman offers a honest, charming memoir that’s a fast read, with plenty of smile-inducing anecdotes and just enough authentic bittersweetness. It’s a particularly worthy read for anyone who loves food a little too much, or anyone who loves anyone who loves food a little too much. Peppered with hamishe Yiddishe recipes from her bubbes and spiked with new recipes, substitutions and tips, Lerman’s book showcases her belief that food is both an important and valued memory and that your size also matters. It all makes sense, given who she is. Lerman is a nutritional consultant and contributor to The New York Times’ Well blog. She’s a mom, blogger, and child nutrition educator… Read More