When we first encounter Jacob at the beginning of this parsha, he is a fugitive. Jacob is fleeing the wrath of Esau following the theft of his brother's birthright and seeks comfort and peace in Haran. When he leaves the land of his fathers, Jacob is a wealthy man, changed by time and circumstances to become the father of a great nation.
What is his secret? It starts with faith and it ends with lamb. Inspired by the vision of the ladder and angels, Jacob sees a future of great hope and promise. He meets Laban and learns the ways of the shepherd. It is his success that merits the marriage to Leah and Rachel. When Laban continues his pattern of doublecross and doublespeak, Jacob doubles down, too. Jacob bargains for his share of the flock and his household and livestock multiply exceedingly. It seems fitting to celebrate this Shabbat with lamb. Serve these lamb wrapped asparagus sticks that can also evoke imagery of the Jacob's ladder to heaven.
Note: The main course of this Shabbat menu consisting of Beef, Lo Mein, and Long Beans can be made in less than an hour. The optional appetizer and dessert will add a bit more time. It is also one of Jamie's favorite meals. She says, "This Chinese Shabbos menu is especially near and dear to our hearts. Since making aliyah we miss fresh blueberries and Chinese food with a vengeance. Homemade Chinese is our Shabbos indulgence."
I like the way the asparagus spears seem to be pointing upwards like Jacob's ladder and wrapping lamb bacon around them makes them a special Shabbat treat.
The beef is cut in such a way to cook faster than your average stir fry. Keep warm on a hot plate to serve for dinner.
Just throw everything in the pot and a delicious hearty lo mein will appear. Lo mein is a great Shabbat side any time of year because it reheats really well.
What I love about long beans is how they can cook forever and never lose their crunch. They don't overcook like regular green beans, making them perfect for a Shabbat dinner.
For a really quick and easy dessert, serve fortune cookies with canned pineapple and fresh sliced oranges like they do in many Chinese restaurants. But if you want to go all out since the main meal cooks up fast, try out this semifreddo.
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