Jewish people have a beautiful way of chauffeuring the passing of time. We follow the holidays and festivals through the months of the year. We celebrate with symbolic foods, which we gladly share with our family and
friends. Our prayers speak of the past, the present, and often the future. And so it is this September, in which we find three significant dates.
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur begin our new year. Unlike other important days, these are solemn holidays, also known as the Days of Awe. This is a time of repentance, a time of introspection, a time of birth and new
beginnings, new hopes, goals, and aspirations.
And then, as quickly as these dates are here, spent in dedicated prayer, they will be over, and soon followed by the festival of Sukkot. Once again, we will joyously gather to celebrate the harvest of fruits and vegetables
and give thanks for their abundance.
The following recipes are a medley of make-ahead dishes for you to gloriously share with your family and friends. May G-d shine upon you and your loved ones.
One afternoon while preparing the food for a buffet-style dinner party, I was trying to create a new pasta recipe. Thinking that lasagna would be ideal, I tried rolling up the noodles, jelly-roll style, with my guests
serving themselves mini stuffed lasagna.
Since the filling features tuna and cheese, it is considered dairy-accepted, perfect for Yom Kippur. It can be assembled the day ahead, requiring last-minute baking after sundown for your break-the-fast meal. A simple salad of dark greens (such as arugula), with a balsamic vinegar/oil dressing will complement this pasta.
Eight whole wheat lasagna, parboiled and drained*
Two five-ounce cans tuna (white albacore), drained
One fifteen-ounces container part skim ricotta cheese
One small to medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
Two tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
Kosher salt to taste
Easy Tomato-Herb Sauce**:
One twenty-nine ounce can tomato sauce
One teaspoon each dried leaf oregano, garlic powder, sugar, dried parsley, dried celery flakes and two whole bay leaves Note: This home-made sauce suggests dried seasonings and spices, if you wish to use fresh, increase the amounts from one teaspoon each to one tablespoon chopped each, or to tasted. Sometimes, I combine fresh and dried.
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish, if desired
Place pre-cooked lasagna noodles on a piece of waxed paper on your counter top. *(Note: You may want to boil four at a time. You may need two waxed-paper-lined trays.)
To make the filling: Place the tuna in a large mixing bowl; flake with a fork. Add cheese and continue to flake with a fork. Add the onion, parsley and salt. Continue mixing with a fork until you have a paste Place approximately four tablespoons of tuna-cheese mixture on each flat noodle. Carefully smooth out the filling with a spatula, leaving the curly part of the noodle uncovered. Carefully roll up the noodle jelly-roll style.
To make the sauce: Pour the canned sauce into a large saucepan. Add all the seasonings and herbs, crumbling the leaves through the palms of your hands and fingers directly into the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil;
reduce to a simmer and continue to cook over low heat for one half hour, stirring occasionally. Sauce can be made a day ahead.
**Note: If you do not have the time or interest to make this herb sauce, use a jarred variety, approximately two sixteen-ounce jars. There are many excellent products available at your local market. Do not use too thick of a sauce.
Pour half the sauce into a glass baking dish. Place lasagna rolls, standing on end, close to each other in the dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over each floweret.
This dish may be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated until dinner. If refrigerated, increase baking time by ten to fifteen minutes. Bake, lightly covered by foil, in a preheated three hundred and fifty degree oven,
approximately forty-five to sixty minutes. Let flowerets stand about five minutes before serving. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Leftovers can be reheated.
To vary the color, use egg or spinach lasagna.
Yield: Eight servings.
VEGETABLE MELANGE WITH WALNUT-BASIL DRESSING
Here’s another cook-now, serve-later, dish. You can refrigerate this vegetable melange for twenty-four hours; then serve it cold or at room temperature. Save this recipe for another dinner, in which you are serving grilled chicken or fish.
Three medium carrots, peeled and sliced one fourth inch thick
One medium yellow squash, halved and sliced one fourth inch thick
One half cup frozen peas
One half medium sweet red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into one half inch
Two tablespoons minced red onion
One clove garlic, minced
One fourth cup walnut halves
One cup minced fresh basil
One fourth cup chicken or vegetable broth
Two tablespoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
In the bottom section of a steamer or in a medium size sauce pan, bring one inch of water to a boil. Insert the steamer basket with the carrots, cover, and steam over moderately high heat for five minutes. Add the squash
and steam for four more minutes. Add the peas and continue to steam another two minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add the red pepper and onion.
Meanwhile, blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor or an electric blender until smooth, about one minute. This will somewhat resemble a pesto sauce in texture and in taste. Pour dressing over the vegetables to
At this point, your salad can be refrigerated, tightly covered, for twenty four hours.
Yield: Six servings.
LEMONY LEMON CAKE
In honor of the etrog (citron), I have made this Sukkkot cake. It will keep for several days at room temperature if protected by a cake cover or wrapped well in aluminum foil or plastic. At serving time, simply dust with
confectioner¹s sugar, or make a glaze by blending one half cup confectioner¹s sugar and one tablespoon of lemon juice.
One and one half cups all-purpose flour
One teaspoon baking powder
One cup unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
Four ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
One and one half cups sugar
Three eggs, at room temperature
One tablespoon grated lemon zest (one to two lemons; save juice)
For topping: Confectioner¹s sugar or one half cup confectioner’s sugar blended with one tablespoon lemon juice
In a bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter (or margarine) and cream cheese, until well blended. Beat in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest until the mixture is light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the flour mixture, until smooth.
Lightly grease a ten-inch tube pan, then place a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on the bottom, and grease and flour the entire inside of the tube pan. Spoon batter in to pan and smooth the top. Bake in a preheated
three hundred and fifty degree oven for fifty-five to sixty minutes, or until the top of the cake is a light golden brown and springs back easily when pressed..
Cool cake, in the pan, upright on a wire rack for fifteen minutes, then carefully turn out onto rack to cool. Prior to serving, dust with confectioner’s sugar or lemon glaze.
Yield: Twelve to sixteen servings.