Deb's Delicacies - Shabbat and Chagim Menus and Ideas: 2010

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Sunday, September 05, 2010

Ironic Menu Planning


You never know who or what will inspire you, and where the inspiration will take you...

A few weeks ago, when Rosh Hashana menus were far from my mind, a conversation at the Fairway kosher meat section with a man who regularly provides inspiration to so many people with his voice and spirit, gave me the inspiration to start planning for the holidays

We were talking recipes, and I told him about the grilled brisket that was this summer's "gotta have it"... He shared with me a recipe for a "meat" lasagna, using Morningstar crumbles - amused by the idea of making a "meat lasagna" for lunch one of the days of Rosh Hashana, I decided to continue the theme, and will be serving "crab" cakes for lunch the second day (my sister's recipe - I'll post it soon).

Never one to follow cooking recipes (versus baking recipes) very strictly, I combined the recipe Chazzan Yitzy sent me, with my regular spinach lasagna recipe, and took a little peek at the Ronzoni box recipe - to add a little authenticity -
Lasagna is a terrific holiday lunch meal - it reheats beautifully, and you can put it on the hotplate or in a low oven before you go to shul, have a tossed salad ready in the refrigerator, have the table set and when you get home from shul - IT'S ALL READY!!!! Considering how late lunch is after shul on Rosh Hashanah, after having received spiritual inspiration from Chazzan Yitzy (versus gustatory), this will be ready immediately and DELICIOUS!!!

Deb's "Meat" Lasagna

1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
12 ounce bag Morningstar farm crumbles
2 jars good quality marinara sauce ( sometimes I make my own, but with a 3 day chag coming it was too much)
2 pounds part skim ricotta
1 pound mozzarella cheese - shredded
10 ounces package frozen spinach, defrosted - squeezed dry
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Stir crumbles into sauce. Combine well ricotta, 1/2 of the mozzarella, spinach and pepper. Ladle a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Lay down 3 or 4 noodles, overlapping slightly. Carefully spread half of cheese mixture in even layer over noodles. Sprinkle with 1/3 of remaining mozzarella cheese. Ladle over a generous amount of sauce. Place 3 or 4 more lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly. Carefully spread remaining cheese mixture. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the mozzarella. Place 3 or 4 more lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly. Pour over remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake about 1 hour.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shavuot Confession

Of the three major festivals, Shavuot is the least complicated to celebrate. No manic cleaning, no shlepping boxes, no building a hut and eating (or living) in the cold, and it only lasts two days. But from a cooking standpoint, Shavuot has never found it's way into my heart - I just don't do dairy!

An internet search for "passover recipes", will result in a trillion hits, but google Shavuot - and you'll get a trillion cheesecakes (and to tell the truth, cheesecake is cheesecake - it's all about the mix-ins)

But notwithstanding all my whining - I make terrific homemade blintzes, a killer oreo cheesecake and learned from a friend to make a phenomenal greek salad dressing.

This year, I'm hosting dinner the second night of shavuot and for once, rather than try to figure out a menu that's balanced, nutritious and delicious, I've decided to just have fun and make everyone's dairy favorites - and worry about calories and nutrition another time. So, my shavuot guests will be treated to the following:

Homemade Warm Cinnamon Challah - served with homemade strawberry whipped butter

Greek Salad
Spinach Lasagna
Cheese Blintzes
Macaroni & Cheese
Individual Mini Pizzas (with a topping bar - so I can make them for each person)

Oreo Cheesecake
Heath Bar Cookies

If they're not exhausted from all night learning the night before, they will be when they're done with this food!


Monday, May 03, 2010

Strawberry Spinach Salad - A Taste of Spring

First course on Friday night is nearly always soup (and we all know the story why!). Shabbat lunch first courses run the gamut from meatballs to puff pastry things, or pasta, but when the weather warms up, I like to start the meal with a salad - gives people a few minutes to relax into the meal, but isn't overly filling.

This past shabbat I tried a new recipe - the seeds in the dressing, along with the toasted almonds gave a lovely crunch and the strawberries in the dressing had a tart, sweet, tangy flavor that woke up palates! Don't even bother to use a "fancier" vinegar - it will get lost!

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Dressing:
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablepoons grated shallot (use a microplane grater)

1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds - toasted
10 ounces baby spinach
12 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced

One day ahead of serving, put all dressing ingredients in cruet and shake well. Set aside to blend.

Immediately before serving, mix spinach, strawberries and almonds - shake dressing well, coat and toss!



Friday, April 30, 2010

Shabbat Menus

Meals to make the the birthday celebration delicious! The lemon filled cake looks like it's going to be a real winner! Three layer lemon sponge filled with lemon curd and frosted with seven minute frosting - can't wait!!!!

Friday Night Dinner


Homemade Challah

Crispy Baked Wonton
Chicken Soup with Noodles

Roast Chicken
Teriyaki London Broil
Bok Choy Salad - Soy Sauce Green Beans
Roasted Potato Wedges - Corn Kugel


Lemon Filled Cake with Seafoam Frosting
Peanut Butter Brownies




Shabbat Lunch

Homemade Challah

Strawberry Spinach Salad
or Fruit Cup

Shnitzel - Adin Shnitzel Nuggets
Silver Tip Roast Beef
Oven Browned Potatoes
Israeli Salad - Bok Choy Salad
Peanut Butter Noodles
Carrot Kugel
GF Pasta - GF Corn Muffins


Frozen Chocolate Mousse Cake with GF "Oreo" Crust
GF Muddy Buddies - Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies - Peanut Butter Brownies

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Deli Roll - Delicious!

Though a bit more effort that a standard deli roll, a mashed potato deli roll is just delicious! The day before I planned to make the deli roll, I made mashed potatoes, but a little stiffer than usual didn't add salt - the deli meats were going to add the saltiness!

On a sheet of plastic wrap, cold mashed potatoes were rolled/patted into a rectangle, about a half inch thick. Mustard was lightly spread over the mashed potatoes, then thinly sliced deli meats layered on top - I used pastrami and salami - next time I'd use turkey and one other - it was a little too salty....


Using the plastic wrap, the potatoes/meat were wrapped up jelly-roll style



Next, a sheet of puff pastry was lightly rolled out so it was slightly larger than the potato/meat roll and rolled around the outside of the roll



The roll was then brushed with egg wash, sprinkled with sesame seeds and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. I reheated it for shabbat lunch and it was delicious!


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cooking Class

“MAKE YOUR SHABBAT/HOLIDAY SPECIAL” SERIES – Session 2

(Just in time for Shavuot)

NOT ONLY MC900441749[1]CHEESECAKE …

MC900187543[1] Baking Class

(for Adults & Teens)

with Debra Kamerman

Sunday May 16, 4:00-5:30 pm

Hebrew Institute of White Plains

20 Greenridge Avenue

White Plains, New York

Think you’ve got no time to bake?

Debra will also teach organization and time management skills to get it all done!

Cloud Callout: Don’t Leave the Kids at Home! Children ages 5-12 are invited for movie & pizza while the adults are baking!


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RSVP by May 10

For more information contact Meira Orentlicher

meiraoren@optonline.net or 831-7111

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Deli Roll Dilemma

Whether you make it with pizza dough, or puff pastry dough, deli roll is delicious. For the those of you who don't know, a deli roll is a rectangle of dough, spread with mustard, lined with different thinly sliced deli meats, rolled like a jelly roll and baked.

But...

More often than not, the dough that's rolled within the slices of meats doesn't really cook nicely - it stays soft, and I've had more than one occasion when it just seemed raw and sticky.

This week I'm going to try a different approach - I'll make stiff mashed potatoes - pat them into a rectangle shape, line with the sliced meat, roll, THEN cover with dough and bake...

I'll try to get pictures as I go along and let you know if it works!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spinach Cheese Matzo Lasagna




Published again! Click to find the article which includes Deb's Spinach Cheese Matzo Lasagna Recipe. I will make this ahead of time, and pop in the oven to warm before I leave for shul on Wednesday - yummmmm

Hope everyone's pesach planning, shopping and cleaning is going well!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Getting Organized for Pesach

By planning the basics for all of your pesach meals ahead of time, you can get the shopping for all the staples in one trip.

This meal organizer will help you. It's what I used to create a framework for myself, making sure I wasn't duplicating too many dishes (other than matzah pizza), and from that framework, I can make shopping lists.

Spending a little time organizing before you go shopping will pay off!

Ban the Box!

Last night I drove out to Monsey, dealt with horrible traffic on Route 59, and got a majority of my pesach shopping done.

You'll have to decide if it's fortunate or unfortunate, but I found no new "faux" products this year, along the lines of last year's "soy" sauce. Personally, I'm thrilled. While products like "soy" sauce, "noodles" and "pizza" mix certainly follow the letter of the law, they seem to detract from the spirit of pesach, which should be different than the rest of the year. Pesach can be an opportunity to detox your family from packaged goods and ridiculously expensive convenience foods that don't really save time, and add too much preservatives and junk to your diet.

This year, I bought only basic ingredients - matzoh meal, cake meal, potato starch, sugar, cocoa and bars of chocolate. OK, I'm not perfect, I bought two bags of potato chips too. I'm not suggesting that sweets have to be avoided, but is it really necessary to have 4 ounces of candy for $10!!!!

But with those basic ingredients and fresh fruits and vegetables, and nuts, you can have nutritious, palate pleasing foods that will cost less and be better for you that mixes.

It's 8 days! Embrace the differences and let those differences remind you why we were commanded to do this.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recipes by Request - Passover Mandelbrodt

Different in texture and flavor than my regular mandelbrodt, but absolutely delicious!

Deb's Passover Mandelbrodt

1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups cake meal
6 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup mix-ins: any combination of raisins, chopped nuts, diced dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients other than mix ins in large bowl of mixer. Beat until well combined. Mix in mix-ins. Spoon in long logs onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 45 minutes. While still hot, slice into 1/2 inch slices. Place cut side down on cookie sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake an additional ten minutes.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Forget Lady Gaga - I'm Looking for my Passover Face!

When pesach falls early (more about that later), I have a hard time gearing up for pesach, my favorite holiday. I need the seasonal visual cues to get excited about spring and passover approaching. We've had a tough snowy winter, and up until yesterday, I've found it impossible to find my "Pesach Face". Then - behold - the sun came out with a brightness that finally engaged my brain, and enough snow melted so that I could see the daffodil shoots sticking out of the ground - hallelujah!

After many years of making two seders, and more recently making only one seder, I've pretty much got the system down. The timing of the seders this year, and the fact that I'm hosting the second further simplifies things for me.

The first seder is Monday night. Most people will kasher their kitchens after shabbat, or on Sunday morning, but because I love to do a lot of baking for pesach, I always need a bit more time, so I will start kashering Wednesday night, finish Thursday night and by Friday after my half day of work, I will start cooking for pesach - I can do this because a wonderful friend (who won't kasher until Sunday) is having us for dinner Friday night, and we'll either go to the shul for the Shabbat HaGadol lunch, or have motzi on the porch, and eat a basic meal for shabbat lunch that is kosher l'pesach - after all, roast chicken and potatoes always work!

I will spend some time today finalizing my menus and starting lists -

As always - if you have any questions or need help, please comment or email.

Ladies & Gentlemen - start your engines!

Recipes By Request - Mandelbrodt

Whether you call them biscotti, mandelbrodt, rusks or something else, they are delicious and satisfying treats. The "mix-ins" can be varied based on your mood or the contents of your pantry - and since mandelbrodt are dried out to begin with, they have a very long shelf life (assuming you can keep them on your shelf). I've been making the same recipe for mandelbrodt for many years. The mandelbrodt are light and crisp - not too dense, nor too crumbly - and have a coterie of devoted fans.

Deb's Mandelbrodt

1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mix ins - any combination of nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruits, raisins, craisins....

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat sugar and eggs until very light. Beat in oil, lemon juice and vanilla. Blend flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into egg mixture until well combined. Mix in "mix-ins".

Line two cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using half of dough on each cookie sheet, spoon dough into long strips. Bake 45 minutes. Immediately slice strips into 1/2 inch cookies. Place cookies cut side up back onto baking sheets, and put back into oven for 10 minutes to crisp up.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Recipes by Request - Broccoli Shiitake Kugel

This is one of my favorite kugels... It's fresh tasting, good any temperature, light and can be made for pesach too!

Deb's Broccoli Shiitake Kugel

2 head broccoli
1 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
1 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
4 eggs
1/3 cup fine dry breadcrumbs (or matzoh meal)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut florets from broccoli. Peel stems and cut into small chunks. Boil broccoli florets and stems in salted water about 8 minutes, until just tender. Do not overcook. Drain well, and coarsely chop.

Heat the oil and saute the onions over medium heat until soft, but not browned. Add the mushrooms and cook and additional three minutes. Add mushroom mixture to broccoli. Add dill.

Lightly beat eggs and stir into vegetable mixture. Add breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Spray either two 8 inch or one 9 x 13 pans with cooking spray, or lightly coat with oil. Fill with mixture. Bake about 40 minutes, until the kugel is firm when pressed in the center.

Chocolate Fudge Tart

Deb's Chocolate Fudge Tart

1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, cut into small chunks
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon ice water

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 tablespoons margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or substitute almond or orange)

Put flour and sugar in food processor and pulse once or twice to blend. Put margarine into food processor and pulse until the the mixture looks like course crumbs. Add egg yolk and ice water and pulse until dough forms moist clumps. Gather dough into ball, flatten into disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Press dough into 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Freeze 15 minutes. Prick dough all over with fork and bake 25 minutes.

While crust is baking, melt chocolate and margarine over double boiler. When melted, remove from heat and whisk in sugar and flour, then whisk in eggs one at a time and vanilla.

When crust comes out of oven, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, pour filling into crust, and bake 20 minutes. Filling will still be soft in the center.

Barterers Unite!

After extensive negotiations via a posting on facebook, this shabbat I will be bartering a deli roll for a dessert. We all love deli roll, but I never seem to get around to making it. One of my son's friend's mothers makes a phenomenal deli roll - and she loves my desserts, so it seems a natural! So rather than deciding on the desserts I will make for shabbat as an afterthought, I started my menu at the bottom of the page, by deciding what dessert I will be swapping for that deli roll. I wanted to give her a beautiful, delicious dessert, that was sufficiently easy to transport, but was more exciting than a batch of cookies - and I thought of the wonderful, rich chocolate fudge tart I make - so hopefully, the two fudge tarts I make this week will be enjoyed in two homes!

This shabbat we will have:


Chicken Soup with Kreplach and Noodles

Honey Mustard Chicken
Potato/Sweet Potato Torte
Saffron Rice
Broccoli Shiitake Kugel
Some kind of salad (I'll play it by ear, see what veggies look nice at the market)

Meringues (one of the guests favorites)


Shabbat Lunch

Deli Roll
Israel Salad
Leftovers (of course!)

Pesach Posting to start next week!

Shabbat Shalom





Friday, February 19, 2010

Reese's Frozen Mousse Pie

I wanted to make frozen chocolate mousse pie.

My son wanted frozen peanut butter mousse cake.

Solution: Frozen Reese's Pie!

Either with that crust or a graham cracker crust (8 graham crackers, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup margarine - bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes)
Then beat another 4 ounces of pareve whip and when stiff, beat in 1/2 cup peanut butter - use to top the chocolate mousse and decorate with chocolate curls or shaved chocolate.

Trying Something New - Follow Up

I made the Teriyaki Short Ribs last night - followed the recipe through the first cooking, except left out the lemongrass -

The little taste I took was amazing!!! I refrigerated the unstrained sauce and ribs separately, and the beef fat is now solid on top of the sauce, so I'll be able to easily lift it off, reduce, strain and enhance the sauce and have an incredible dish!

Worth it!!!!

Shabbat Shalom

Deb

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trying Something New

Sometimes, life gets in the way of living and obligations take precedence over desires. That's what's been going on with me lately. I've been embroiled in day to day life, keeping the balls juggling in the air, trying very hard not to let too many drop. The only way I could manage all the extra balls that have been thrown my way lately is find one or two to drop- and one big one that I had to drop was entertaining. The past few Shabbatot have been quiet and guest free, which keeps me from my favorite pastime of hostessing, but is good in that affords me extra time to get everything else done. It also allows me to play with new recipes.

Last night I look in the freezer for a little inspiration, and found a package of flanken short ribs I picked up last month at Costco (by the way, kudos to them for the extensive, reasonably priced kosher meats!). In an attempt to satisfy the tastebuds of all who will be eating Friday night, I searched for a recipe with an asian flair - tonight I will make this recipe:


and this week's menu will be:

Friday Night Dinner

Chinese Chicken Noodle Soup

Asian Style Braised Short Ribs
Rotisserie Chicken - (my new mini oven has a rotisserie - I've been meaning to test it)
Rice Pilaf
Corn Kugel
Stir Fried Vegetables

Hamentashen (it's close enough!)
Chocolate Puff Pastry Rugelach

Shabbat Lunch

Leftovers from Friday night
Chulent
Cold Cut Sandwiches
Asian Cole Slaw

Shabbat shalom to all -

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Menus for a Snowy Shabbat

Excellent news! There's a major storm predicted for the New York area for this Shabbat! As much as kids prefer a snowstorm in the middle of the week, I prefer a Shabbat storm. Reason 1: my commute to work is only a half mile, so I'm expected to show up no matter what the weather. Reason 2: If the storm is so bad that my office is closed and I'm stuck at home, my hyperactive nature kicks into "project" mode - and I try to get through a ton of items from my ever expanding to do list. But, if Shabbat brings a snowstorm (preferably starting just as my Friday night guests return home), it makes my nice, warm house feel like a cocoon, and my inner-nag is quieted by snowy Shabbat peace.

Having just finished chairing my son's school's fundraising dinner, being about to start baking 1000 hamentashen for the shul (besides all the baking for my personal mishloach manot), and co-chairing the shul's fundraising dinner right before pesach, I had already been looking forward to a quiet, peaceful Shabbat - the only invited guests were those that fell into the "more like family than friends" category. Add that to the snow, two novels from the library, someone to snuggle with, and I'm in heaven!

Now, to plan menus that match the weather and mood, take into account that I still need to lose my vacation weight gain yet still make everyone else happy....

Friday Night Dinner

Chicken Soup with Matzoh Balls

Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables
Popcorn Cauliflower
Braised Red Cabbage
Tossed Salad


Shabbat Lunch

Warm chicken and brisket sandwiches
Chulent
Israeli Salad

Desserts:
Lemon Bars, Oatmeal Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies (already in the freezer)


Desserts will be the beginning of "clear it out before pesach" - I have several batches of cookies and a bundt cake in the freezer.

I can't wait to wake up Shabbat morning to the snow softly falling, the chulent hot and bubbling, the newspapers and books calling, and naps for all!

Shabbat Shalom!
Deb




Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hamentashen Recipe

Last year, my shul chose "Home Made" as its theme for the Mishloach Manot baskets. Several of the "known bakers" (including me) were asked to contribute their time and effort. I assume based on taste (though it could just be that I was the only one who was willing) , my assignment was hamentashen - 900 of them! And though this year's theme is "Healthy Eating", I was asked to include my hamentashen again - only this year it's 1000 of them....

Wish me luck! After the dough is made, I can produce about 60 per hour - you do the math.

Deb’s Hamentashen

1 stick margarine

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Jam or preserves

In an electric mixer, cream margarine and sugar at medium speed until well blended, about three minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Blend into margarine mixture until fully incorporated. Refrigerate dough at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into three portions. Work with one portion of dough at a time leaving others in the refrigerator. Roll dough to ¼ inch thickness on a well floured board. Cut 2 to 2 ½ inch circles with a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or glass. Place a spoonful of jam in the center of each circle and pinch up into triangles. Dough scraps can be rerolled.

Place hamentashen on cookie sheet, leaving room for expansion. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until just turning golden.

Makes about three dozen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Recipe by Request - Hot and Spicy Cabbage

This past shabbat's Friday night dinner was a wonderful meal - great friends, great food, and because of good organization, a simple clean up too - even with 15 people at the table.

The three new recipes I tried were all great successes (I know, my "rule" is to limit to one new recipe, but I made so many dishes, I figured I was safe). The new dishes (to be posted soon) were the honey lemon chicken, roasted squash and parsnips and peanut butter brownies.

But the requested recipe was for Hot & Spicy Cabbage - a simple, and delicious side dish/salad that can be served hot, room temperature or cold - can be made fresh or the day before - what more could you want from a recipe?!

Hot and Spicy Cabbage

3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 small onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces savoy cabbage, cut into thin shreds (about 1/2 head
4 carrots, thickly grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper (more ore less to taste)
juice of half lemon

In large pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add crushed red pepper and cumin seeds and stir for 15 seconds. Add onion, sprinkle with some of the salt and saute about one minute. Add the cabbage and carrots by handfuls, sprinkling with the rest of the salt, continually stirring and adding the vegetables. Once all the vegetables have been added, stir over heat until just wilted.

Remove vegetables from heat, add a few (or more) grinds of fresh black pepper, squeeze in the lemon juice, stir well and either serve, or serve at room temperature or cold the next day!

Makes about 8 servings

Note: Don't try to double this recipe - make two separate batches. The veggies won't cook quickly enough if there is too much in the pan.


Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Menu for a crowd

Usually when I invite people for Shabbat dinner, some say yes and some say no. Sometimes I invite people for Shabbat dinner, and no one accepts. Then there are the weeks that everyone says yes, and my son decides to invite his friends to stay for Shabbat too! Those weeks require a little extra effort, a lot of organization, and end up both challenging and terrific fun! This is such a week, and I'm expecting somewhere between 14 and 18 people for Friday night dinner (we'll ignore the fact that my table only seats 16 - the teenagers will be more than happy to be relegated to the kitchen).

That large a crowd inspires me to make a few extra dishes, but I choose the dishes based not only on making delicious food that works well together and will look nice on the table, but specifically look for the ones that are easier and less time consuming recipes. (It also helped that I had cooked a brisket last week "for the freezer")

So this shabbat, we will be having:

Friday Night Menu
Homemade Challah

Chicken Soup with Noodles

Brisket
Honey Glazed Lemon Roast Chicken
Mesclun Salad with Honeyed Pecans and Balsamic Dressing
Hot and Spicy Cabbage
Spinach Patties Maple Syrup
Glazed Winter Squash and Parsnips
Roasted Red Potatoes
Basmati Rice

Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts
Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Truffles (tried to make them pareve - they're ok, but dairy is better!)
Chocolate Layer Cake with Seafoam Frosting

Shabbat Lunch

Challah
Chulent
Cold Cuts
Israeli Salad
Leftovers!

By doing a bit each night, it all gets done -

If you are curious to see my "to do" lists, send me an email...

Deb

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Friday Night Menu - Fill in the blank

I've received many requests to post menus - but in following the adage "if you give a man a fish, he has one meal, but if you teach him to fish.....", instead, this menu is my structure for a Friday night meal when I have a lot of company. When it's just family for shabbat, or one invited family, my menus can be more creative, but when the table is set for sixteen, it's best to stick with the basic structure, so that quantities and varieties are not an issue.

First Course:

Either: Salad with an added "fancy" or soup

Main Course:

Beef main dish
Chicken main dish

Sides:
Potato
Rice or Noodle
Hot Vegetable
Cold Vegetable or Salad

Dessert:
One "fancy" dessert
one cookie or smaller dessert
(one should be chocolate, one non-chocolate)

I follow this structure and there's always enough for each individual, no matter their eating idiosyncrasies.

When you're filling in the blanks, consider the colors of the foods, and the "strengths" of the flavors. Make sure to find something green or bright - not all beige foods (roast chicken, roast potatoes and eggplant salad will not really look great....) and making everything either super spicy or bland will also be boring for your guests!

As always, feel free to email with any questions!


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