Meet Joan Nathan, Rhode Island–born and Harvard-educated author, as well as the premier authority on Jewish cooking. Now, I’m not religious. But I am a foodie with a soft spot for comfort dishes that bring family and friends together. And Jewish cooking happens to do just that. Case in point: Brisket.
“It is a dish I serve frequently – on Friday night, at holidays, and at dinner parties,” Nathan writes. “The whole piece of meat, from three to ten pounds, is potted (hence the term pot roast) and cooked slowly for hours. Brisket needs to be simmered slowly to transform it into the succulent morsels I remember as a child.” First time hosting? You’ll need a wow-worthy recipe. And it just so happens that Nathan is sharing one of her own. So grab a roasting pan and get started.
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Joan Nathan considers food through the lenses of history, culture, and tradition. She regularly contributes to The New York Times, Food Arts Magazine, and Tablet Magazine, and is the author of ten award-winning cookbooks. Her most recent book, Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France, was named one of the ten best cookbooks of 2010 by NPR, Food & Wine, and Bon Appétit.
Ms. Nathan lives in Washington, D.C. and Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. For more information, visit her website at joannathan.com.
It graced your grandmother’s holiday table, and you’ll likely pass yours to the kids. Why? Because, like white pearls and little black dresses, one-of-a-kind crystal and china never go out of style. Here, a brief history of the tabletop labels.
In 1783, exporters and brothers William and George Penrose of Waterford, Ireland, set out to create the finest crystal for decorative and practical uses. Over 200 years later, credited with achieving just that, Waterford merged with Wedgwood, one of the world’s premier manufacturers of high-quality china. Together, these labels became synonymous with taste and timeless tabletop style.
If you’re an enthusiast of classic tablescapes, you’ll recognize the brand names below. The epitome of timeless, fete-throwing style, these two enchanting patterns are our top picks.
Botanic Roses by Portmeirion
This pattern is a surefire hosting win. Light, cheerful, and ever brunch-ready, its fresh blooms infuse a little English sophistication into every meal.
Blue Italian by Spode
Designed in 1816, Spode’s signature style features scenes from the Italian countryside and a border inspired by Japanese art. It’s stunning over a crisp white tablecloth – or even when peeking through a glass cabinet.
My love for Italian food? Let’s just say, it’s everlasting. Fresh ingredients, savory sauces, seafood – I’m sold. This week, we’re taking our tastebuds through Northern Italy to Tuscany. On the menu: homemade gnocchi with pesto sauce.
Emily Schuman, author of the blog Cupcakes and Cashmere, gushes, “Last week I made it from scratch and was delighted by the results. I love the versatility of gnocchi – that it can work with any sauce (I made a quick pesto) that you have on hand and is far superior to the packaged variety available in stores.”
Potatoes, flour, an egg, and a ricer, and dinner is served.
Industry professionals know copper is top-notch, but it’s a must-have for the home cook, too. Incomparable heat distribution. Ever-stunning on the stovetop. And despite what you may have heard, you can cook acidic foods in copper. (The secret? Using pieces lined with stainless steel or tin, both nonreactive metals.)
So whatever you’re whipping up – tomato sauce, orange chicken – don’t think twice. These chef favorites are whizzes in the kitchen.
This spring, before the dinner parties begin, take a moment to assess your tabletop pieces. Missing a plate here or there? Whether you crave a modern or French-inspired kitchen, choose a handmade collection by this renowned label. Not only will your heirlooms be locked in – you’ll also find your soiree guests ever impressed.
Sometime between college graduation and now, I realized that I could recreate the same tasty drinks I’d sip at swanky Boston bars for a fraction of the price. Case in point: jalapeño margaritas. Needless to say, my friends were impressed when I served those up last week – salt rim and all.
This week? I went on the hunt for a tart concoction that didn’t scream summer. The answer: rum. Even when packed with grapefruit and oranges, rum – the way it warms from the inside – is ideal for cold weather. “The ruby color, however, is what keeps me coming back,” writes Pastry Affair blogger Kristin Rosenau. “A pink grapefruit is juiced, which is mixed with ginger ale for sweetness, rum for boldness, and triple sec to round out the citrus flavor.” Consider me convinced.
Click the recipe card to download and print.
A couple of quick tips: Mason jars give this mixture a rustic feel, but it can just as easily be served in a martini glass. And, if you find it too sweet – or you’re looking to cut a couple calories – swap in club soda for the ginger ale.
Pandora set to the salsa station? Check. The taco bar’s set up. With homemade guacamole – obviously. You’re a champ. But the fact is, it’s no party without the proper beverage. From the blog Love and Lemons: Spicy Jalapeño Margaritas.
Click the recipe card to download and print.
Jeanine Donofrio of Love and Lemons suggests mixing the margaritas with regular tequila, then preparing a jalapeño-infused tequila for guests to add to their drinks to taste. But, if you’re for spicy all the way, I say shake it up with the infused version from the start. If the taste is too sharp, add a slice or two of cucumber to balance the heat.