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

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!

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E-mail me at deb@debsdelicacies.com