Time for a food post! And since Shabbos/Shabbat is coming, here’s the long-ago promised Shabbos dinner menu and recipes. For those of you that are regular readers, you already know I’m not a foodie, so my recipes are somewhat laissez-faire. That’s my one and only disclaimer!
My Shabbos menu is a merger of tradition and what we love – that’s what I think Shabbos should be, in general. We maintain the “traditional” feel by sticking to a generally similar menu structure, and then there are places I experiment and have fun. So here goes.
- Challah with spreads
- Gefilte fish with horseradish and salads (occasionally salmon too if I’m feeling fancy or we’re having company)
- Chicken soup – usually with matza balls
- Main course is where I have fun. My default-mode is baked chicken of all varieties, a grain such as couscous or rice, and usually the ever-traditional and favored potato kugel. However, often we have meatballs (my husband’s favorite) or chicken cutlets. The salads from the first course round out the main.
- Dessert consists of pastries from the bakery – again, this is my husband’s favorite no matter what we make at home! My daughters love to bake (where’d they get that from?) so sometimes it’s homemade treats too, or sorbet, or sometimes my guests bring dessert.
- I usually make the challah, but sometimes I get lazy and buy it instead. Also, my family loves “water challah” – eggless challah from the bakery.
- “Spreads”: my husband loves mayo on his challah, and many of our guests have learned of this unfortunate trick. We also add chummus to the offerings. On a good week I’ve been known to make jalapeno dip, olive dip, and… um, that’s all.
- Fish: People seem flabbergasted that my gefilte fish is not Mrs. Adler’s in jelled broth. But I don’t quite make it from scratch either, although when I lived in Israel I sure did that. I buy a frozen loaf, unwrap it, spray it with a bit of olive oil cooking spray, sprinkle the top with lemon pepper, and bake for like an hour. It’s so good, it almost doesn’t last till dinner. Someone keeps coming over to cut off slivers and before you know it, half is gone. Okay, so that someone is usually me.
- Soup: I never called it “matza ball soup” growing up. Firstly, I was raised calling matza balls “kneidlach” (the Yiddish name) and sometimes we had them; sometimes we didn’t. The main attraction was the chicken soup, loaded with veggies and completely heavenly (shout out to my amazing mother here). However I’ve learned that your average Jew calls it matza ball soup and the main attraction is by far the actual matza ball. Everything else is “broth” – a word I never used in my childhood.
1 (5 lb) bag flour (regular, whole wheat, or a combination)
1 ½ c sugar
½ c honey
3 tablespoons dry yeast
4 c warm water
2 tablespoons salt
1 c oil
This yields 5 or 6 medium-sized loaves. Sorry for the huge amounts but I never make less. You can halve this recipe easily. Throw it all in a mixer or mix by hand. Allow to rise. There’s a special mitzvah to separate a small piece with a special blessing and prayer (beyond the scope of this post). Shape, braid, rise again, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame/poppy and bake for 45 min on 325. Hide from children till Shabbos. The challah, not yourself. Although that sometimes works too.
- Potato kugel
7 potatoes (white, sweet, or combo thereof)
¼ c oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Shred the potatoes and onion in a food processor. Dump out, then put the bottom blade into the food processor and dump everything in. Process just till blended. Bake on 350 for forever. Okay, so more like 2 hours. Taste for a while until you’re sure it came out good.
- Jalapeno dip
5 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 large can of tomato sauce (whatever you think large is)
5 cloves of garlic minced – now, I never mince garlic. That is too much work for this non-foodie. I buy the frozen garlic cubes at Trader Joe’s that come from Israel. Each cube = one clove.
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut off tops of peppers and process in food processor (that’s the hardest part). Sautee in oil with the garlic. Add tomato sauce and salt and pepper and simmer for anywhere from 20 min to an hour. This keeps in the fridge for weeks, by the way (not that you'll have any left over).
- Chicken Soup
However much chicken you want – I put it in a net bag for easy removal - place in large pot
Carrots, celery, parsnip, sweet potato, onion, squash – however many you want
Water till the top
Seasonings: garlic powder, dill, rosemary, salt, pepper
Bring to a boil and simmer for a couple of hours. Irresistible.
- My favorite salad
Lightly sautéed steak-sliced mushroom
Purple onion, sliced thinly
Hearts of palm
A generous squirt of ketchup. Okay, two.
A little olive oil, or more if you don’t care about calories
Same amount of vinegar as ketchup
A little sugar, or more if you don’t care about calories
Paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dry mustard.
Whisk and taste. Add sugar if not sweet enough or vinegar if too sweet.
Add croutons if you’re so inclined or some other crunchy like slivered almonds.
Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!
What are your favorite Shabbos dishes? Do you go more traditional or more with your personal favorites?