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Jeff Nathan's Favorite Foods

short ribs, polenta

Recently, I was asked what my favorite meal to eat is.  And while my companion expected a quick answer, I found that it really took a lot of thought.  There is just so much to choose from!  Three meals a day, weekdays, weekends, Shabbos, holidays, celebrations.  Each time of day, each  occasion has it's very own specialty that makes my mouth happy.  Add to that the culinary work that I do when I create recipes for Abigael's or the major food corporations that I consult for, and I've got a whole new selection to choose from.

And so, here's a bit of an insight into the palate pleasing foods that I like to eat.


Slow SimmeredGrits with Pastrami Cracklings and Fried Eggs   While this isn't an everyday type of breakfast, it is right on up there with bagels and lox...


Years ago I may have had a Hot Pastrami Reuben on Rye as an all time lunch favorite, but nowadays I'm more into the healthy selections.   An Ancient Grain Salad of quinoa, millet, wheat berry and spelt is often the base with berries, fruit and nuts.  Top it off with grilled chicken or a salmon confit and a light vinaigrette and I've got a fabulous meal with no guilt.  And don't let the unfamiliar words scare you away.  With the right ingredients on hand, a salad like this can be put together in less than ten minutes!


Like most people, dinner for me is the meal I look forward to and plan my day around.  I like it to be indulgent and satisfying with Lamb, Veal or a well-marbled Rib Eye Steak.  The side dishes vary with the produce of the seasons... In winter I opt for sweet potatoes and in summer, anything from my garden, quickly sautéed in olive oil is always a perfect complement to the meats.


It wouldn't be summer without a few barbecues on the calendar.  But don't confuse barbecue with meats cooked on your back porch grill.  Barbecued foods are cooked long and slow in a low temperature grill or smoker.  Lucky me, I've got both on my back porch and at Abigael's.  I've been known to have the smoker going for so many hours that the neighbor's mouths water for days!  Short ribs, brisket, turkey and chicken are some of the standards that I work with.  The beauty of these is that they're delicious and enjoyable right away, and also freeze really well.  The Short Ribs always win as my favorite, especially when I round it out with a Fresh Vegetable Slaw and Grilled Corn on the Cob.


Long gone are the days when I indulged in a Sherry Scented  Wild Mushroom Soup, or a Seafood Bisque.  While I still love the smooth velvety textures and earthy tastes, the creaminess doesn't always love me back.  But who can miss those delights when there are so many other soup styles to choose from?  A hearty Minestrone, finished with garden fresh herbs, or an Italian Wedding Soup, that's more like a meal will always satisfy a hungry belly.  But my all time favorite is my very well known Spanish Style Chicken Soup, with Saffron Matzo Balls & Sofrito.  This is the soup that won TV's Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and remains a top seller whenever I offer it at Abigael's and my own dining room table.


But let's not kid ourselves; snacking is one of the most edibly enjoyable parts of the day!  I develop many of the Terra Chip flavors and so happily digging into a bag of chips tells me that I'm right on track with a particular flavor profile.   There are dozens of flavors to choose from, and as the days go by, I get to create more!


And once the work day is done, and I'm in front of the TV, I dream of tunneling into a pint of ice cream; but instead I opt for my number two favorite of Fresh Seasonal Fruits... sometimes drizzled with tequila & lime, or marinated in fresh savory herbs like basil or thyme and drizzled  with aged balsamic vinegar.  Sounds funky, but it's one of the best treats I've ever had.

And now it's your turn... take a moment to think about each of your favorite foods and how they've evolved over the years.  Do you indulge in them often enough to make you smile, just at the thought of them?

I hope I've inspired you to come up with some new dishes to try, or at the very least, to indulge in your happy flavors more frequently.  Don't just nourish your body, nourish your soul!

Main Image - One of my favorite dinners - Short Ribs with Polenta