Potatoes that are sweet

Thankfully, I got everything done last week that needed to be done. The dark meat, de-boned chicken for the Sweet and Sour Chicken finally defrosted, so I added another two pans to the freezer for that dish:

Sweet and Sour Chicken

I also made a meat sauce for the spaghetti:

Meat Sauce

And then it was time for the sweet potatoes.  First, the pies:

Sweet Potato Pie

Then the soup:

Sweet Potato Soup

The best part about making this soup? I get to lick the pot clean after I pour the soup into a container to be frozen.  🙂 And I remembered to take out the bay leaf! This soup gets blended after it’s cooked — I use an immersion blender — and I have been known, in the past, to mince up the bay leaf in it accidentally.  However, I now know that: 1. If I mince up the bay leaf thoroughly enough, no one will notice, and 2. Even if it is noticeable, the soup is so good that no one will care. (And I know this because in spite of a minced bay leaf, I once had a guest ask for seconds and thirds, so I know it’s not just me!) Fortunately, the issue is moot, as the bay leaf was discarded before blending.

Finally, I also made a couple of squash kugels:

Squash Kugel

This, along with the sweet potato recipes, have also managed to use up most of my container of soymilk. That leaves me two cups that I will be using early this week to make the mashed potato pies and the mini broccoli-salami quiches. Also this week, I’ll be making the deli roll surprise, split pea soup, and the ribs, which have been taking up significant freezer space that is now in serious demand.  Normally I’d also make the potato kugels this week, but the last time I made some and froze it, several months ago, it didn’t go over very well, and I don’t want to chance it now. So I may just make that fresh shortly before the holiday.

So that’s one week down, and four and a half to go!

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!