A RECIPE FOR A SWEET NEW YEAR
When planning a dinner for a crowd, it is essential to start a couple of weeks ahead. Write a list of who’s coming and make sure you have the right size table and number of chairs.
Think about a tablecloth (Spotlight fabrics by the metre are a great idea) and serviettes, plates, cutlery and glassware.
Make a note of any dietary requirements and plan the menu.
Choose dishes that do not need a lot of oven space at the last minute, and that do not need to be served piping hot.
Decide which of your guests can bring something to lighten the load, and then ask them to do so (and make sure you tell them how many people it needs to serve).
Then start writing lists – start with the shopping list, and end with the list of what you can do in the days leading up to the dinner.
Order your meat a couple of weeks out, especially if you buy kosher and/or want a particular cut that has limited supply.
ONE SUGGESTED MENU
This one came about when the Australian Jewish News asked us for a menu where every course as both apples and honey in it. Fun! So this is what we came up with, and it actually works quite well.
Challah with dried apples, sultanas and honey. Use the wonderful MMCC challah recipe and add 2 tablespoons honey (at the same time as the eggs and oil) and add 1/3 cup each chopped dried apples and sultanas to the dough just before plaiting. Check out the video of Merelyn making a round challah.
Flommen tsimmes brisket (The Feast Goes On, p. 141) with Red Cabbage and Apple (Monday Morning Cooking Club, p. 44).
Baked Apples (It’s Always About the Food, p. 218).
If this was your menu, you could do as follows:
Monday: Write your shopping lists, including drinks and wine.
Tuesday: Do your supermarket and wine shopping.
Wednesday: Set the table. Bake the challahs, then cool, wrap and freeze.
Thursday: Do your fruit and vegetable shopping.
Friday: Cook the red cabbage and the brisket. Cool, cover and refrigerate.
Sunday: Remove the challah from the freezer. Cook the baked apples. Reheat the challah before serving. Reheat the brisket and cabbage before serving.
To supplement this quite limited menu you might add an entree of egg & onion, chopped liver and dill pickles (recipes in Monday Morning Cooking Club). Accompany the brisket with a large green salad with avocado and chives, and Aunty Myrna’s Carrot Tzimmes. And definitely add Israeli Rice Pilaf (recipe below) (It’s Always About the Food, p.212). If you have non-meat eaters, then you can cook a side of salmon (salmon crumble, The Feast Goes On) at 5 pm and serve at room temperature.
For more Rosh Hashanah ideas, head HERE.
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ISRAELI RICE PILAF
- 75 g dry vermicelli noodles 2 ½ oz
- 60 ml olive oil 1/4 cup
- 440 g basmati or long grain rice 2 cups
- 4 cups chicken stock broth
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 onion chopped
- 40 g pine nuts ¼ cup
- 40 g currants or sultanas ¼ cup
- Break up the vermicelli noodles into short pieces, about 4 cm (1 1/2 inches) long.
- In a large, preferably non-stick, saucepan, heat half the oil over medium heat and cook the vermicelli, watching carefully until they turn brown. Take care, they burn easily.
- Add the rice and sauté for a few minutes until the rice becomes opaque.
- Add the stock (broth) and the salt, bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer, undisturbed, for 20 minutes.
- While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a small frying pan and sauté the onion until golden, about 15 minutes.
- Add the pine nuts and currants or sultanas, tossing to toast them lightly. Remove from heat.
- Turn the cooked rice onto a serving platter and fluff with fork. Top with onion, pine nuts and currants.