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Cooking with Joan Nathan.

This Sunday I made Crustless Quiche Clafoutis with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, and Olive Oil with my friend Moira (she graduated from my school last year and now lives in a house in Philadelphia – with a kitchen and everything). I should thank her now for helping me make the quiche. I don’t think it would have worked as well in my dorm’s microwave.

The recipe comes from Joan Nathan’s newest cookbook, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous, the result of Nathan’s exploration of Jewish cuisine in France. On November 13, during the First Person Festival , you can brunch with Joan Nathan and hear all about her culinary adventure while munching on delicacies from Argan Moroccan Cuisine, Hershel’s East Side Deli and Zahav. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

After taking the short train ride from Bryn Mawr to Market East, I joined Moira and headed over to 10th and South to Super Fresh. There we bought crumbled goat cheese, grated parmesan, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and fresh basil. We only had a problem finding creme fraiche (probably because we were unsure of what it was); luckily, the nice man at Whole Foods (conveniently right across the street) pointed us in the right direction.

I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous for this assignment. I had never made a quiche before and am not the greatest culinary talent (except for my morning bagels which I toast and spread cream cheese on myself). Fortunately, I had two important tools with me: Moira and Joan Nathan’s cookbook. The recipe was easy quick and easy to follow. It only took about 15-20 minutes to prep and 45 minutes to bake. I feel like Julia Child, only Asian and in Philadelphia.

After only 5 minutes in the oven, the quiche already smelled great. The recipe said to serve the quiche immediately after coming out of the oven. So, after (im)patiently waiting for the timer to go off, Moira and I quickly gave ourselves generous portions. “This is the kind of thing you would make if you were going to a dinner party with a cute boy and you want to impress him,” Moira said gleefully. I was definitely impressed with our efforts, the quiche was light and airy. Plus, anything with tomatoes and basil gets an A in my book. The fact that the quiche tasted great this morning after heating it up for breakfast was the cherry on top.

In the end, it was a great way to spend my Sunday afternoon, and I hope I will be able to make more of Nathan’s recipes before anyone finds out that I have a copy of the cookbook in my dorm.

Here’s a sneak peek at the recipe I used: 

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
1/4 cup whole fresh basil leaves
6 large eggs
3 heaping tablespoons creme fraiche
1 cup of milk
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly round pepper to taste
2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes


  1. Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch quiche mold or springform pan with parchment paper 
  2. Put the basil leaves in a small cup, and coat with the tablespoon of olive oil, letting them macerate while you prepare the quiche
  3. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Then stir in the creme fraiche, milk, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste, making sure there are no lumps of flour. 
  4. Put the cherry tomatoes in the prepared pan, cover with the egg mixture, and poke the basil leaves in throughout 
  5. Put the quiche in a cold oven, then turn up the heat to 350 degrees. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the quiche starts to turn slightly golden on top. Serve immediately or at room temperature. 

Don’t forget to hear all about the stories behind this recipe and many others at Nathan’s event. (Besides, you never know when you’ll need one of the recipes to impress a cute boy).
– Laura Reeve


Writing this post has made me drool. (Excuse me while I wipe off my keyboard.)

Photo Credit: Linda Spillers

As we have learned from our Edible World programs, food tells stories. So join us for brunch on Saturday, November 13 at 12PM, as popular cookbook author Joan Nathan tells us about her latest culinary adventure- exploring Jewish cuisine in France. Quiches, Kugels and Couscous  will take place in the Painted Bride Art Center’s Cafe and will last for approximately 2 hours. $35 for the general public and $28 for First Person members gets you brunch and a talk by Ms. Nathan. Buy your tickets here

To get your taste buds watering and your stomach grumbling, we thought we’d take our own journey (our own kind of amuse-bouche, if you will) and look at some of the delicious Jewish cuisine right in our own backyard. 

Hershel's East Side Deli's Corned Beef Sandwich (Yelp.com)

We have to kick things off with Hershel’s East Side Deli, located in Philly’s famed Reading Terminal Market. Its owner, Steve Saftern, has food in his blood. Before his uncle and father came to America, his family made and sold deli meat. Jordan Epstein from Unbreaded urges readers to get their last meal there, “The pastrami sandwich is the crown jewel, a massive pile of dripping fresh hand cut, 10-day cured, slow-baked, 10 spice rubbed “Kosher navel.” Definitely worth the mad rush of people at Reading, Hershel’s is open seven days a week. But you can avoid the crowd since they’re also catering our brunch with Joan Nathan (now it’s official, you have to go). Visit their website.

Famous 4th Street Delicatessen first opened its doors in 1923 and has been on the rise ever since. In 2009 its desserts were named the Best of Philadelphia by Philadelphia magazine. “Everything at the famous is “zaftig,” which is Yiddish for hefty.” says Phyllis Stein-Novack of the South Philadelphia Review and Craig LeBan of the Philadelphia Inquirer describes Russ Cowan as “the Michelangelo of pickled beef and a van Gogh with Russian dressing.” Located at 700 South 4th Street and now at 38 S. 19th Street (between Market & Chestnut). Visit their website.

Delicatessen, formerly known as Kibitz in the City, has been described as a “Modern Jewish Deli.” Its menu features all the classics: kugel, blintzes, pastrami and corned beef; however, it also has a “New School Menu” which includes the Philly Bagel Roll, a sesame bagel topped with wasabi cream cheese, nova, pickled red onion, cucumber and tobiko roe. This deli even has vegan options such as their Mushroom and Barley Soup! Definitely a new spin on the Jewish deli, they are located at 703 Chestnut St.  Visit their website



Zahav's Stuffed Baby Peppers (Yelp.com)

Zahav means “Gold” in Hebrew and is a reference to Jerusalem. It has been only open for about two years and it is already one of the hot spots for Israeli cuisine. Critics all over cannot stop praising Zahav’s creamy hummus and house baked Laffa, and that’s just the beginning. (PS We’ll have their hummus at the brunch!) David Landsel from the New York Post says chef Michael Solomonov “transforms traditional, not-so-exciting dishes, using one-of-a-kind creative flourishes and unlikely flavor combinations,” and that Zahav’s cuisine “simultaneously tastes familiar and unlike anything you’ve ever eaten.” Zahav is located at 237 St. James Place on the ground of the Society Hill Towers, but you can also experience Solomonv’s unique flavors at The Painted Bride Art Center for our event with Joan Nathan! Visit their website

Marathon Grill, I’m sure you’ve heard of them, but have you also heard that they have some of the best Matzoh ball soup in the city? They do, so check out this city favorite at one of their numerous locations. Visit their website.

Mama’s Vegetarian is a fast food Middle Eastern Kosher restaurant that specializes in “MAMA’s sandwich” which is their very own falafel. Lisa Kelvin Tuttle of The Philadelphia Jewish Voice describes Mama’s food as “simple, delicious…flavorful, colorful and filling.” Their ingredients are fresh and their pita bread is baked daily on the premises. It is located on 18 S. 20th street and is definitely a go-to restaurant from flavorful Middle Eastern fast food. View their website

Kaplan’s Bakery: Jewish Rye Bread, Pumpernickel, Black Bread, Challah, Egg Wash Rolls, and knishes. Is your mouth watering yet? Kaplan’s is one of the oldest Jewish bakeries in Philadelphia and has been supplying the Northern Liberties neighborhood since 1916, when the community mostly catered to eastern European Jews. At 901 N. 3rd St. (Corner of 3rd and Poplar Streets) you can eat a part of Philadelphia history! Visit their website.

– Laura Reeve

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