Menu #6: Shabbat Lunch

Appetizer Chicken and steak sushi
Salad 1 Avocado, orange, and pomegranate salad
Salad 2 Israeli salad
Entree 1 Chulent
Entree 2 Deli roll surprise
Entree 3 Kishka-stuffed chicken
Side 1 Sweet potato pie
Side 2 Noodle kugel
Side 3 Mushroom barley dish
Side 4 Broccoli with shallots and walnuts

Chulent is, for those who are not familiar, a beef stew, with beans, potatoes, barley, onions, and various spices, slow-cooked for about 24 hours. It’s prepared on the day before the Sabbath (one is permitted to cook on the holiday for the Sabbath) and is extremely yummy. The surprise in the deli roll is pepper steak — we stick it in the middle and the dish is a big favorite. And yes, there’s the Israeli salad again. But what really makes this meal stand out in my mind is the appetizer.

Last year’s appetizer at this meal was gefilte fish. Granted, it was the nice kind of gefilte fish — the loaf kind, cooked in a tomato-basil sauce. But a couple of months ago my husband and I went to a really nice steak and sushi place in Lakewood, NJ, where I had a duck sushi appetizer, which to date is still one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. And it sparked an idea of trying to do something similar. Raw fish won’t work for a number of members of my family, but there’s no rule that says I have to serve fish, right? So in keeping with my husband’s carnivorous reputation, we’re going with two kinds of sushi — chicken and steak. (No duck, though… I’m not that ambitious — yet.) I’m thinking of making the chicken one with avocado, but I’m not sure what else yet. The steak will likely be pepper steak with roasted peppers. I’ll be cooking the ingredients in advance, but assembling everything right before the meal (with the sushi kit I have yet to order… mental note: DO THAT). So this, along with the Turducken, are the two major innovations for this year’s Sukkahpaloozah… and that concludes the menu planning portion of this blog.

As of next week, I’ll be cooking and freezing for three weeks, then taking a week off to cook for and celebrate Rosh HaShanah, and then comes the big push — one and a half weeks of cooking and packing my refrigerator full of everything that can’t be frozen. I will be posting as many pictures of the finished components as I can manage, but there will be some things that won’t make the blog, unless I remember to take pictures of the leftovers, since a significant number of dishes will be made or at least finally assembled over the holiday, when I will not be using my camera (salads, for instance, as well as the chulent for this meal and the previous nights vegetable soup come to mind immediately). I hope you’ll all stick around… the fun (and utter madness) hasn’t even begun!

Menu #5: Friday Night

Appetizer Mini broccoli-salami quiches
Soup Vegetable soup
Salad 1 Chicken salad
Salad 2 Israeli salad
Entree 1 Stuffed cabbage
Entree 2 Cherry chicken puffs
Side 1 Yerushalmi kugel
Side 2 Mashed potato pie
Side 3 Zucchini in tomato sauce

…And we’re almost done! With the menus, at least. The vegetable soup is my own concoction, and to be honest, I never even got around to serving it last year. I had left cooking it for Friday during the actual holiday, since I was cooking it to be eaten on Shabbat, but it didn’t get done in time — and truthfully, no one missed it. But I’d like to make it anyway — it’s a pretty good soup, if I say so myself, and also pretty light — so I’m going to try and start it early and just reheat it a few hours later. Hopefully that will work.

I made the stuffed cabbage last year, and it went over extremely well — and it freezes wonderfully, which is a good thing in my case. The Israeli salad is the only item on any of the menus, in case anyone has noticed, that is getting repeated (but I think I’m allowed one item, right?). Yerushalmi kugel is a noodle pudding made with fine noodles, caramelized sugar, and a lot of pepper. I was lucky enough to find a recipe on the internet somewhere that provides enough of a kick to make me happy but does not set my guests’ mouths on fire. And the mashed potato pie is my lovely mother-in-law’s recipe, to which I added soymilk, which I think makes a huge difference in how light it tastes.

One more to go, and the cooking commences next week!

Menu #2: Thursday Lunch

Appetizer Potato-chicken croquettes with citrus green curry sauce
Salad 1 Deli salad
Salad 2 Israeli salad
Entree 1 (Beef) ribs 3 ways (“Way Down South” sauce, honey mustard, and plain S&P for my FIL)
Entree 2 Hush puppies
Entree 3 Sweet & sour chicken
Side 1 Roasted red potatoes
Side 2 Rice with caramelized onions and cumin
Side 3 Butternut squash kugel
Side 4 Moroccan carrot salad

 

Ribs! Ribs! Ribs!

Sorry, got carried away. This is generally my (and everyone’s; let’s be honest) favorite meal. Also, for me, because of the carrot salad… it’s nice and garlicky and even though it’s a love-it-or-hate-it kind of dish, I’ll just eat all the leftovers anyway.

The last couple of years I served ribs I went with the honey-mustard sauce, a really spicy rub, and a bottled hickory BBQ sauce (mostly because the decision to go with three types rather than two was last-minute, and the sauce I picked went over really, really well so we kept it). But after some insistence from my husband that no one eats the spicy ribs except me, they have been retired in favor of the “down south sauce” (that’s what the book called it) which I recall used an entire bottle of wine (among other ingredients) when I last cooked 8 lbs of beefy goodness. Also, my FIL likes his food tres simple, so I’m just going to go with basic seasoning for a bunch of them. Time-wise, it looks to be about the same preparation time as last year, so I’m good with it.

I reconsidered the salads on the menu from the previous meal and this one, and thus have swapped a couple of them; the Israeli salad was moved to this meal, and a hearts of palm salad will take its place for Wednesday night. (I also will be updating the menu post.)