Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shabbos Menu #2

Last week I shared a basic menu for a quiet Shabbos at home with my husband. I thought this week I’d switch it up a bit and share a menu for a larger crowd!

After moving from Montreal to Toronto in March, I parted with preparing Shabbos for over a month! Between settling in, Pesach and wedding prep, Shabbos involved reuniting with friends and families after being out of town for a year! As wonderful as it was, I missed my Thursday night cooking marathons! So what's an itsy bitsy balebusta to do? Well host a crowd of 10 the week after the wedding, of course! 

Once Sheva Brachos were complete we had all of a week and a half before Shavuot, which included only one Shabbos! We invited my husband's parents, sister and brother in law as well as nieces and nephew to our newly unpacked apartment! We (and by we I mean, my husband while I stood a safe distance away only approaching to pass required tools) had just built our beautiful buffet, put together our dining room (thank you Craig's List!) and most importantly had unpacked and organized our kitchen! The sight of my KitchenAid mixer and all the amazing appliances we received as per our registry put a smile on my face and made the transition back into the kitchen seamless! 

When we stood back and looked at our table, adorned with the Shabbos dishes and Challah board my parents, siblings & niece so generously gifted us, as well as our beautiful crystal ware from close family friends, our excitement amplified. The pure happiness of having finally surpassed obstacles and being married and now hosting our first Shabbos in our new home was overwhelming!

The menu itself is the best example of how much I missed cooking! I couldn't settle on just one or another option – I had to make it all! From salads to mains to sides I wanted to ensure there was more than enough variety for everyone and that the kids would be happy! Also, preparing my first Shabbos as M’s wife and for his family, I wanted to make sure everything was absolutely perfect! Having only been married for a little over a week, I was relieved to have had five years of Shabbos prep experience to prepare me for my first Shabbos as a Mrs.!

Hope you enjoy this menu & that it helps with the next time you plan a large meal! With Chanukah, Thanksgiving and long winter Shabbos’ ahead, I hope you find plenty of opportunity to reunite, relax and celebrate with friends & family!



Shabbos Menu #2 (6 Adults 3 Children)

Homemade Challah (Gatherings)
A full 4 loaves!

Appetizers:

M’s Tomato Jalapeño Salad

Hearts of Palm salad (Bais Yaakov Cookbook, page 90)

Eggplant Salad (Fresh & Easy, page 79)
This is an absolutely fantastic recipe! It’s fairly time consuming – after the first couple of batches, start to reduce the amount of time you keep each slice on the heat. The hotter the oil gets the less time it needs to achieve the proper consistency. Make sure you allow it to get to the state that Leah describes (darker, crispier). When the vinegar and following ingredients are added, the eggplant is broken down beautifully! If you under fry them, it’ll be too soft when broken down. Make sure that they are patted down and as dry as possible as well, to avoid any burns while frying! Finally, this isn't really one of those recipes that you can multi-task with – the first time I made it I put the eggplant on and went to prepare another dish in the couple of minutes before they had to be flipped. Needless to say, bad idea! Out of everything I made this was the biggest hit of the meal! Everyone requests it now when we host or offer to bring a dish!

Caesar Salad (Bais Yaakov Cookbook, page 101)

Fsh:
Gefilte Fish

Main:
M’s Chulent

Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls (More Please, page 104)
I hope to have a longer post on this cookbook, shortly. We've yet to make something from it that we didn't love (the closest to my go-to Gatherings that I’ve found!). This recipe is incredibly simple and requires minimal ingredients while translating into incredible flavor! It was also the first time I successfully made a batch of meatballs that weren't baked! Fantastic directions, simple ingredients and wonderful flavor – what more could an itsy bitsy balebusta ask for?

Sides:
Butternut Squash Kugel (Gatherings, page 190)
This is by far our favorite Shabbos side. I'm pretty sure I make it every two weeks…  And any time we're short a side! It’s simple, any picky eaters won’t even realize the multiple cups of butternut squash they're consuming and the cinnamon topping leaves the kitchen smelling wonderful! If you’re looking for a great side, this is it!

Mexican Rice (Fresh & Easy, page 108)

Sunflower Green Beans (Fresh & Easy, page 93)

Dessert:
Banana Cake (Gatherings, page 217)
One of our favorite desserts! Takes minimal effort and is dense on the exterior while maintaining a moist consistency! Always comes out of it’s bundt pan beautifully and with the inclusion of a cup of chocolate chips (although my Dad insists it’s better without!) it’s a great go-to recipe that everyone will enjoy!

Fresh Cut Fruit (cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes)






Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Shabbos Menu #1

Thursdays look a little like this around here:

I go through countless flyers on my phone sorting out the best deals everywhere then put together a grocery list based on what we need. At some point after feeling totally capable and organized, I realize that I have to be at work in half an hour and that I’m still lacking a Shabbos menu – which I’ll have to start cooking less than five hours later! At this point I’m surrounded by cookbooks and menus from previous weeks, and frantically going through recipe groups online. Sounds hectic but I love every second!

I’ve really grown to appreciate the boards that share Shabbos menus! While we have a few salads and appetizers that are staples it’s always fun to see what other’s are making! The inspiration for many components for our Shabbos meals has come from reading other menus! So I realized, why not share my menus weekly here and if you’d like you’re more than welcome to share yours in the comment section.

I’ll share our menu from the previous week together with any notes on how things turned out and whether it’s worth trying or skip it altogether. I’ll add the cookbooks and coordinating pages to certain recipes and share family favorites as well!

I hope you’ll come back weekly and share what you’re making too!

Shabbos Menu #1 (2 people)

Homemade Challah
* When it comes to Challah, Gatherings is my go-to. My husband loves it and after a little tweaking and plenty of help from my awesome bread machine, we definitely look forward to it all week! We absolutely love Gatherings and after cooking our way through most of it a friend mentioned having tried the Challah at a Shavuot meal. I couldn’t believe after all our success with the other recipes; we had never tried it out! It’s now my base for onion buns, babka and basically anything that involves dough! I add the higher end of honey called for - ½ cup, set my bread machine to the dough setting and go about preparing the rest of our Shabbos menu. Stay tuned for a review, (courtesy of our nieces and nephew!) that made Shabbos Challah even more fun (and easier to prepare!).

M's Tomato Jalapeño Salad
* Will definitely have to get M to guest post this recipe ASAP!


Gefilte Fish

Gatherings Honey Garlic Chicken Wings (page 141)
* Line the roasting pan with parchment paper! No mess and bakes perfectly!

Steamed Green Beans

Marble Fudge Cake

Shabbos Lunch:

Challah
Hummus
M's Jalapeño Tomato Salad
Gefilte Fish

Beef Samosas

Bais Yaakov Cookbook Overnight Crockpot Potato Kugel (page 226)
* Amazing! I prepare it when I get home from work late Friday afternoon, and thanks to the food processor and crock-pot have a warm, filling side ready in no time. My husband suggested a few alternations after the first week I made it and now it’s exactly the way we like it! I use 7-8 medium potatoes, 4 eggs, and only 1 tsp of salt. I also gradually changed the amount of onions. I prefer it with one full onion while my husband prefers it with 2. 

Green Beans

Marble Fudge Cake

Enjoy!