Menu Of the Week

 

Full Shabbat Menu – Smokey Chicken Stew

 

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This week, as we begin the Book of Leviticus and start the month of Nissan, we read about the korbanot, the offerings to Hashem brought to the sanctuary.  To our modern eyes and ears, the graphic depictions of animal sacrifices seem difficult to fully comprehend.  We strive for elevation, but we recognize our limitations.  Our ancient rites tell the story of our timeless quest to connect more deeply to Heaven.  For our Shabbat menu, we offer up a delicious this Smokey Chicken Sausage Stew on our table.

Mixed Greens, Mango and Pecan Salad


 

Shabbat Menu with Caramelized Onion Soup

 

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As Moshe disappears high among the clouds covering Mount Sinai, the Children of Israel become afraid and construct a Golden Calf.  In this week’s parsha, Moshe returns with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments inscribed by the very hand of Hashem.  After seeing the glimmering symbol of idolatry he throws the tablets to the ground in anger.  Moshe has been betrayed (yet again) by the lack of faith of his people and furiously destroys the Golden Calf.  Hes begs forgiveness and Hashem gives the chosen people a second chance.  This week consider giving someone in your life a second chance, start your Shabbat shiny with Onion Soup with Golden Raisin Pesto and then try a side that’s even better the second time around with Twice Baked Potatoes Stuffed with Shiitakes.

Caramelized Onion Soup with Golden Raisin Pesto


 

Smoked Salmon Fritters

 

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This week’s parsha we read of incense burning, clouds of glory, smoke rising from the altar.  The fire inspires awe and the smoke adds a sense of mystery.  Sometimes you just need to throw down a little smoke at your Shabbos table.  Like this Curried Smoked Salmon Fritters with Mango Aioli.  Because we all can use a little awe and mystery…  Don’t you agree?

Curried Smoked Salmon Fritters with Mango Aioli


 

Shabbat Menu – Best Ever Onion Rings

 

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In this week’s parsha, we celebrate the beauty and mystery of the sanctuary.   The gifts we make help create a space for the presence of Hashem to dwell among us.  From the pure gold of the menorah to the cherubim and colorful fabrics, we are inspired to give from our hearts.  The mishkan is made complete with repurposed jewelry from the Egyptians.  In this way, the gold, silver and gemstones serve as a renewal of the present with a reminder from the past.  To kick off our Shabbat menu this week, we take a simple ring and transform it into something new – like the Best Ever Onion Rings.

Best Ever Onion Rings


 

Shabbat Menu – White Fish with Phyllo

 

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Parsha Mishpatim sets forth dozens of laws that follow the revelation at Sinai.  From laws that govern ethical conduct like the prohibition against murder, assault and theft to laws introducing kashrus and sacrificial offerings.  We are the People of the Book, but it is not what we read that defines us as a people.  We subscribe to a system of justice that is ancient and eternal.   It is a promise and a challenge to live up to the high standards to which we are subject.   This week as we begin our Shabbat meal, we meditate on the meaning of justice with an appetizer that “scales” the heights of deliciousness.

White Fish with Phyllo and Sesame


 

Shabbat Menu For The Ten Commandments

 

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In this week’s parsha, Yistro, the Israelites stand at the foot of Mount Sinai.  We witness thunder, lightning, smoke and the sound of the shofar and experience the declaration of the 10 Commandments.  This week’s Shabbat menu will also come as a revelation to many.  It did to me.  I attended a cooking class in Italy and learned a traditional Libyan recipe that is said to resemble Mount Sinai and is frequently served on Shavuot.  I thought it was a most appropriate dish to enjoy this Shabbat.  It is rustic and comfort food in the middle of February.  And you might just hear the following ten utterances from your guests: Please can I have some more this dish is delish!

 


 

Shabbat Menu – Water, Water Everywhere

 

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In parshat Beshalach time is running out. Pharaoh and his army are chasing after the Israelites and they stop at the edge of the Red Sea.  There is no place left to go.  After witnessing the miraculous signs and wonders that brought Egypt to its knees, fear and doubt begin to consume the former slaves.  After Hashem chastises Moses for timidity in the face of adversity, Moses bravely raises his hands. The waters split and we cross a free people, while Pharaoh and his army drown in the sea. This parsha is all about water – an element bringing salvation and destruction.  As the Israelites continue in the desert, bitter waters are transformed and made potable.  Then later, hunger and thirst overtake the Jews and their complaints lead Moses to strike the rock, a transgression that will ultimately cost him a chance to lead the Jews to the Promised Land.  With this week’s Shabbat menu, we celebrate water, but we don’t forget to include a little bitterness, a reminder of our journey along time ago.

Water Challah

Water Challah


 

Shabbat Menu – Easiest Roasted Lamb

 

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In this week’s parsha Bo, we witness the final three plagues against Egypt.  In preparation for the final plague, the Children of Israel are commanded to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle blood on their doorposts.  When we commemorate the Exodus on Seder night, we have a tradition to refrain from eating roast meat or lamb so that it does not appear that we are trying to replace the Paschal lamb.  Since Passover is still months away and lamb has a starring role this week, we decided to try a six-ingredient Roasted Lamb with Lemon Potatoes that is going to turn heads this Shabbos.

vegetable barley soup

Vegetable Barley Soup


 

Shabbat Menu – An Italian Feast

 

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In parsha Va’era, it is a remarkable scene in ancient Egypt.  Moses and Aaron standing before Pharaoh in his court.  The brothers are there to redeem the Jewish people and they know their opponent will not bend easily.  The plagues will soon follow, but for the moment it is just Moses and Aaron alone with Pharaoh in the palace of the king. It is this moment when Moses and Aaron throw their staffs to the ground and issue their challenge to Egypt. This week, our Shabbat meal begins with its own symbol to recall that historic summit.  We start with handmade Herbed Focaccia – Italian bread that present a challenge to anyone at your table.  How can you possibly resist this delicious treat?

Red Mullet with Pine Nuts and Raisins


 

Shabbat Menu with Dim Sum Baskets

 

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In Parsha Shemot, we are bent but not broken, the Jewish people persevere despite the cruelty of Pharaoh.  In this week’sparsha, we witness the birth of Moses, the agent of our redemption.  Moses floats along the Nile river in a reed basket, rescued by the kindness of Pharaoh’s daughter.  For this week’s Shabbat menu, discover our Dim Sum Baskets – easy to make, hard to resist.

 


 

Shabbat Menu With A Sweet Beginning

 

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In parsha Vayechi, Jacob’s days draw to a close, he gathers Joseph and his children, Ephraim and Manasseh, for a blessing that we include every Friday night for our sons.  Jacob reverses the traditional order and raises the younger son before the older, once again upsetting the traditional birthright.   Despite weary eyes, Jacob’s vision sees beyond the natural order of things.  We all know dessert typically follows a meal and you will never over hear a parent say: “eat your dessert and then you can have dinner” – except on this Shabbat.  This week we start our Shabbos meal off with a Chocolate Chip Challah Bread that will bring the sweet taste of the end of the meal to the beginning.  Like Jacob, we like to turn things around sometimes, too.

Butternut Squash Soup


 

Shabbat Menu with Blondies

 

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In Parsha Vayigash Joseph reveals himself to his brothers in one of the most emotional scenes in our entire Torah and sets into motion a series of fateful steps that will determine the destiny of the Jewish people.  The famine has brought the land of Egypt to its knees. Joseph asks his brothers to bring the entire family to the land of Goshen to sustain them during the remaining years of famine.  With wagons filled with the best grains, produce and food from Egypt and an inspiring revelation from Hashem, Jacob loads a lifetime of memories into the waiting wagons and descends to Egypt.  This week our Shabbat menu is designed to travel lightly.  Whether you are Shabbat guests, or visiting friends or family during the time of year when many of us are off of school or work, we share some favorites that can be wrapped, packed, stacked and reheated to perfection.

Roasted Cauliflower Soup


 

Shabbat Menu – Vayeshev

 

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Sheaves of wheat in the field.  And eleven sheaves bow down to a single one.  Oh, Joseph! What are we going to do with you?  It must be some very impressive wholewheat. Now, I don’t expect anyone to have to bow down to get the recipe for a perfect whole wheat bread. But try this Artichoke Wheat Berry Salad at your Shabbat table and they just might beg for it.

Curried Squash Soup with Frizzled Leeks


 

Shabbat Menu – Angel Food Trifle

 

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This is the reckoning. Esau is approaching with his entourage. To protect against an attack, Jacob divides his camp and stays on the other side of the Jabbok.

Jacob has accumulated great wealth and numbers.  But tonight he is all alone.  Jacob wrestles with an angel till dawn.  And although the match ends in a stalemate, Jacob emerges with a blessing, a new identity and a new destiny.  So tonight we dine with Jacob on the side of the angels.  This Strawberry Angel Food Trifle is a soulful dish, in the light of day or dark of night.


 

Shabbat Menu – Jacob’s Ladder Lamb...

 

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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. I love the simplicity of the presentation and how the layered skewers evoke the steps of Jacob’s ladder to heaven.